Early Days and Conversion
We spent our early days in the Highlands of Sutherland. I do not remember ever having the Gospel, or our need as sinners ready to perish put plainly before us. In the autumn of 1884 I came to Dundee, and there the Lord met and saved me the following January. Jim came to Dundee the same year, and went to learn the florist trade, unconverted, and quite careless about his soul. At first he would not accompany me to hear the Gospel, but after much coaxing he came to the Gospel meeting. One Sunday evening after returning, we were preparing to go to bed when Jim began to cry bitterly. The Spirit of God had been convincing him of sin, and showing him his need and danger. He feign would have hid it, but so real were now the verities of death and the Judgement, we could not restrain himself any longer. Putting my arms around his neck, I repeated the words of John 3:16 three or four times in his hearing. Looking up, he earnestly asked, “But is that all, John? Have I only to believe in Jesus?” Again the words were repeated, and their entrance gave him light. Seated there, side by side, my brother passed from death to life. The great transaction was done, and Jim, in the fullness of his heart, exclaimed, “Oh God, I believe; I do believe in Jesus.” Reader, can you say so in truth? Is this the language of your heart?
His Last Hours on Earth
“No hope for Jim. Come.” These were the words I received by telegram from Edinburgh fully a year after Jim’s conversion. He had gone to Edinburgh with his father the preceding day to consult the physicians concerning symptoms that foreboded danger to his health. After careful examination, the disease was pronounced to be incurable, and likely to quickly end his days. I hastened to see him, and found him lying in a ward of the Royal Infirmary, with our father sitting by his side in tears. AS soon as my brother saw me he said, “No hope, John; but I am going to see Jesus”. Dear Jim, well for him it was that he was saved and ready to go, for a deathbed and its pains is a most unfitting time to settle the momentous question of one’s salvation for eternity. Reader, are you putting it off till then? Be warned not to be so foolish; besides, you may go down to death and hell in a moment, without even the chance of a deathbed conversion. The prospect of death had no alarms for Jim. He looked beyond the tomb to that fair paradise where the living Lord receives his saved ones to be with Himself. “I will see the marks of the nails in his hands and feet; they were there for me- yes, for me,” he said. The desire to speak of Christ to those around him was very great, for he longed to see them in possession of the peace that filled his own heart. Alas, many of them were near to eternity without it.
When the night nurse came to his bedside, he grasped her hand and asked so earnestly, “Are you saved?” and preached Jesus to her. A tall plowman, who had been an inmate of the same ward, was leaving, having recovered, and came to bid Jim “good-bye”. Jim asked, “Are you ready to meet God?” at which the man wept like a child. Jim longed for the salvation of his kindred, and especially of his four sisters, to whom, with his dying strength, he wrote the following letter:
You will have seen by the last letter you received that I am dying. Thanks be unto God that Jesus died for me. I am going home to see Him. When are you going to accept Him as your Savior? He wants you to come to Himself. If I am alive on Monday, you will perhaps let me know if you are saved yet. Love to all and kisses.
your loving and dying brother,
The following day the professor, with some fifty students, visited him and the nature of the disease was explained by the professor, he ended up with the words, “There is no hope for Jim, but we must do what we can for his comfort,” to which Jim replied, “Professor, students, I am going to heaven to see Jesus.” As I gave him a last kiss and a parting look, he said-
“Oh, that will be joyful, When we meet to part no more.”
On the first day of June my brother Jim passed peacefully away to be with Jesus, at the early age of eighteen.
Reader, if you should be called to die in the morning of your life, are you ready? Would you pass from earth into an open heaven, secured through the blood of the Lamb, and yours by faith in His Name; or, would you pass through the dark gate of death into the darker despair of an endless hell, a rejector of Christ?