FROM THE FURNACE TO THE SEA OF GLASS MINGLED
“Brief life is here our portion;
Brief sorrow, short-lived care;
The life that knows no ending,
The tearless life is there.
" Oh, happy retribution !
Short toil, eternal rest;
For mortals, and for sinners,
A mansion with the blest
" And now we fight the battle,
But then shall wear the crown
Of full and everlasting
And passionless renown.
“ But He whom now we trust in
OWARDS the close of 1861 Duncan Matheson
Shall then be seen and known;
And they that know and see Him
Shall have Him for their own.”
found himself in floods of trouble, arising from his
fearless stand for vital godliness and his faithful re
proof of lukewarm religion. Exhausted by gigantic
labours, he sighed for rest, yet held himself ready for new fields
of toil, and longed to win fresh trophies for his great Master.
He was persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not
destroyed. “Come,” said he one day to a “companion in tri
bulation and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ,”
“ come, and let us visit St. Andrew’s, and see the place where
the old Scottish heroes fought their good fight; it will stir
and cheer us, and perhaps God will give us of their martyr
spirit.” Accordingly they went and saw the place where
RUTHERFORD’S GRAVE. 215
George Wishart was burned to be a light to Scotland to the
end of time; where Knox thundered defiance to Rome, and
proved himself a match for mail-clad hosts; and where
saintly Rutherford, pattern-witness for the truth not less in
his sound teaching and masterly logic than in his rapturous
piety and blameless life, laboured, and prayed, and suffered,
and fell asleep, saying, “Glory, glory dwelleth in Immanuel’s
land.’’ After they had visited every spot of historic interest,
they laid themselves down on the grave of Rutherford, and
all alone with their faces on the dust they wept and prayed,
praising God for all He has done for Scotland, and entreat
ing for their dear country with many supplications and tears,
another and a complete reformation in the awakening of
the churches and the conversion of all the people in the
land. Here too, with the tears dropping from their eyes
upon the grass, they consecrated themselves anew to the
service and glory of God their Saviour, begging with heart-
breaking earnestness for grace to be faithful even unto death.
Here too they sang praise. The words of the psalm were
“ For sure the Lord will not cast off
Those that his people be,
Neither his own inheritance
Quit and forsake will He:
But judgment unto righteousness
Shall yet return again,
And all shall follow after it
That are right-hearted men.”
As they sang “ Rock of ages, cleft for me,” they realized
at once their security in the great Covenant-Head, and their
oneness with redeemed men of every age : and on the spot
where saints and martyrs repose so calmly they could sing,
“There is rest for the weary” with unwonted joy. Thus
they were strengthened for the sore toil and travail that still
Some may feel disposed to set this down as sentimental-
ism. But if fellowship with God and with his saints be
sentimentalism, if sympathy with Christ in his blood-baptized
cause, and with those that suffered for the love they bore
Him be sentimentalism, if prayers and tears for a lost world
that still goeth on in its mad way of cursing and casting out
its best friends be sentimentalism, then I say, Heaven send
216 “I AM GOING TO SEE THE KING.”
us more of it. Scotchmen are said to have hard heads:
but triply hard is the heart of that Scotchman who can drink
at the springs of his country’s greatness and not be filled as
with new wine. The ashes of the martyrs never grow cold;
and dull must the Christian spirit be that is not fired with
new zeal at the sight of those hallowed spots whence flamed
up to heaven and far out upon the world‘s night Scotland’s
testimony to Christ, which is our country’s truest glory.
Happily the echoes of that testimony linger about ten thou
sand hearths, and come back with strange power on ten
times ten thousand hearts; nor will the sweetly solemn
reverberations of those martyr-voices die till they merge in
the sounds of the last trump.
This incident marked an epoch in the life of our evan
gelist. Scottish Christianity has been characterized by the
pre-eminently high and holy place assigned by it to the
crown rights of the Lord Jesus as the Church’s sole Head
and King. Duncan Matheson was thoroughly of that spirit.
His martial, loyal, heroic nature must needs love, serve,
fight, and suffer for a King. Fondly and unceasingly as he
preached the atonement of Jesus, and thus recognised the
Priest and the one great Sacrifice for sin, the chief enthu
siasm of his personal devotion to the Lord, in all the labour
and turmoil of his life, seemed to take rise scarcely so much
in the love he bore his Saviour as in the passionate loyalty
he felt for his King. And this noble affection grew more
and more intense to the end of his life : it was still to the
last, “the King ! the King !“ When the last campaign was
over, and the end drew near, one of his frequent utterances
was, “ I am going to see the King.”
After that last and fullest consecration of himself to God
at the grave of Samuel Rutherford, a remarkable change
was noticed in him by his more intimate friends. His faith
now took a higher flight. Henceforth he spoke everywhere
and always of “ going home.” “ 0 how near eternity seems,”
he was ever saying: “We’ll soon be home.” “That man
breathes the very atmosphere of heaven,” said some who
met him. When a young man he had a presentiment that
he would not live long: middle life, he said, would see his
sun set. The hope of the gospel now taught him to think
of the sun rising in another sphere rather than of its setting
REMEMBER LOT’S WIFE.”
in this. “Heaven will literally be a rest to me,” was his
frequent saying. In consequence of his incessant, fatiguing,
and often most painful labours, his mind naturally enough
contemplated heaven as a rest. All the spiritual songs of
the coming glory were now peculiarly sweet to his heart.
But the feeling did not evaporate in mere singing or in the
indulgence of pleasant thoughts. It was in him, as all his
beliefs were, a most powerful motive to work for Christ and
win souls. “ You are hurting yourself,’’ we said to him.
“ Souls are perishing,” was his invariable reply. “ But you
should take rest.” “ Nonsense! we’ll rest in heaven.” Some
may think he carried this too far: but he had no idea of
what is called “ settling in life.” A mighty power was work
ing in him. How could he rest ? His soul was in the agonies
of travail. And till disease struck him down the years that
elapsed were one unbroken day of toil for the saving of the
Towards the close of his more active life, although he
did not abate one jot of his manly frankness, his uncom
promising faithfulness, and his fearless testimony, a mellow
ing influence was clearly at work in him. His prayers grew
more childlike and tender; his addresses, whilst not less
searching and faithful, were more deeply solemn, and more
tearfully compassionate ; and the big heart of the man, like
an overflowing well, gushed out in streams of genuine kind
ness and Christian love.
Little did we imagine, when he stood up on a gloomy
November night in 1866, in Hilltown Free Church, where
his voice had often been accompanied with more than
human power, that we were listening to his last address in
Dundee. His text was “Remember Lot’s wife.” Lot’s
wife, he said—I here give not his words, but the spirit of
them—Lot’s wife had many privileges, but she perished.
Lot‘s wife had a godly husband, but she perished. Lot’s
wife had been often prayed for, but she perished. Lot’s wife
had had a good example set her, but she perished. Lot’s
wife had been warned by God, but she perished. Lot’s wife
saw her danger, but she perished. Lot‘s wife was led by
angels out of Sodom, but she perished. Lot‘s wife was
nearly saved, but she perished. Lot’s wife only looked
round, and she was damned for that look. She lingered
218 LAST ADDRESS IN DUNDEE.
when she should have made haste, and God left her. Mercy
drew her, but she grieved Mercy, and Mercy forsook her.
Where Mercy left her, Justice found her, and Destruction
seized her. She loved Sodom, and would love Sodom, and
God gave her her bad love to the full. The Lord took her
out of Sodom, but she took Sodom out of Sodom with her.
“ Let me get a last look at my idol,” she said; and she got
a last look with a vengeance. “ She is joined to her idols,”
said the jealous God: “let her alone;” and she was let
terribly alone : she became a pillar of salt. Sodom was
more to her than her daughters, her husband, her soul, or
God. In judgment she was wedded to her evil choice: she
entered eternity in fellowship with those that suffer the ven
geance of eternal fire.
Ah, friends, you see how near being saved you may be,
and yet never know salvation. Privileges and means of
grace may be yours, and yet you may never enter heaven.
You may sit at the Lord’s table and sing of salvation, and
after all be cast away. You may feel the strivings of the
Spirit, and yet be lost. You may break off from some sins
and do many things, and in the end go down to destruc
tion. You may be all but saved, and at last find that from
the very gate of heaven there is a path to hell. Anxious en
quirer, you are out of Sodom, but not out of danger; you
are on the plain, but not in the place of refuge. Flee to
Christ. Escape for thy life. Backslider, you are just where
Lot’s wife was when the devouring fire overtook her. She
was looking back; so are you. Remember Lot’s wife. “ If
any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.”
(Heb. x. 38.) Procrastinator, you are trifling with your soul
and with God. There is no fear of judgment, you think.
How do you know ? The sin of Lot’s wife is your sin:
take heed lest her fate be yours. You may die to-night:
what then ? And if you live, God may give you your own
way and let you alone. Let alone, left behind by the mer
ciful God! To be fixed in sin, to be a pillar of salt, a soul
encrusted with judicial hardness, as good as damned, how
“There is a time, we know not when,
A point we know not where,
That marks the destiny of men
To glory or despair.
PREACHING AT THE FAIR. 219
There is a line by us unseen,
That crosses every path;
The hidden boundary between
God‘s patience and his wrath.”
With heart, voice, and eye overflowing with tenderness,
he pled with his hearers to flee to the refuge—to Jesus.
The people were deeply moved, and some of them, among
the rest a man who is now a zealous office-bearer in a
church, have a blessed remembrance of that night, as the
time when they entered the Ark and for them God shut
the door of covenant security in Christ.
In the same month, November, he went to the feeing
markets in Aberdeenshire. At Ellon his sufferings were
such as he never recovered from. Here, drenched with
ceaseless showers, and shivering in fierce hail-blasts of no
ordinary violence, he stood all day in the mud, and de
livered his last testimony for Christ amidst the din and
strife of the fair. “ We must not lower the standard,” said
he, in reference to his trying work. Nor did he lower the
standard, for the standard-bearer fell in the very front of
the battle. On returning south he revisited Kirriemuir,
Alyth, and other places, spending the last night of the year
with the Christians in Forfar, whence he writes to his wife :
“Forfar, January 1st, 1867. A happy New Year to you,
my dearest M. The Lord bless you very abundantly. As
the clock struck the knell of the departing year I was pray
ing for you. My heart was with you all. Ah, my beloved,
we may sing, sweetly sing. The Lord hath done great
things for us. We may raise our Ebenezer. Now we know
not what may be before us this year; but never mind, all
will be well. The Lord will break up our way. He will lead
us aright. He is our own God. Give each of our pets a
New Year kiss from father. I may be able to come and
give it myself to them tomorrow. If I am with you by
11 a.m. you will see me; and if not, it will be because of
the work. I will try at any rate, but must return at night.
We had a blessed time last night. We met at nine, and
separated at half-past twelve o’clock. It was very, very
solemn. I took the superintendence of the meeting. Very
seldom have I seen such a meeting—so much power and
evident blessing. A great cry for help comes from many
220 AT LIMPLEY STOKE.
places. I do trust that 1867 will be a year of greater
blessing than any before it.”
About the middle of January he set out for Orkney; but
in consequence of a severe snow-storm, it was only after
making extraordinary efforts that he was enabled to reach
Aberdeen. There he was arrested by the disease, diabetes,
which ultimately carried him to the grave. With the sentence
of death in him he returned to Perth, and thence without
delay went up to Edinburgh, where he sought advice
from the late eminent physician, Sir James Simpson. Little
hope of recovery was held out to him; nevertheless, the
ruling passion stirred in him, and he addressed a meeting,
ill as he was, in the house of Mr. Barbour. On returning
home he suddenly grew worse, and in his fevered condition
fell into unconsciousness. But whilst reason slept, the gra
cious heart was all awake, and his talk was constantly of
Jesus and souls and eternity. Fancying that he was address
ing the students of the New College, Edinburgh, he cried
out, “Young men, young men, down with books and up
with Christ! Souls are perishing ! souls are perishing !
Up, and aim at saving sinners.” Noble spirit, in thy very
wanderings wise and good !
On recovering a measure of strength, he went in April to
Limpley Stoke, near Bath, where he sought rest and resto
ration in the hydropathic establishment. A few of his letters
will be read with interest:
“Limpley Stoke, near Bath, 13th April, 1867.
My dear Mrs. B------, I cannot tell you how gladdened I
was by your kind letter. Away from home, among strangers,
sick, one likes to see old friends have not forgotten them.
I knew neither you nor Mr. B. would, nor many of the
flock to whom I have so often spoken, and to whom if it
please God, I hope to speak again—though not this Whit-
Sunday—after Turriff market. Markets, I fear, if I should
be spared, must be left now to others. My day, I fear, is
done with them, and with much rough work besides. It
has been a trying time. I cannot tell you all I have passed
through for three months, nor recount to you the loving
kindness of our God. Oh, how good He has been ! How
tenderly He has watched over me! How bounteously He
has provided for me ! I have been treading the banks of
“EVEN SO, FATHER."
the river, and listening to its flow as it rolled along, but
all has been peace within. All has been calm, unruffled. I
have had no fears, and at the worst was helped to say,
“ Even so, Father,” &c. A greater trial than even leaving my
beloved wife penniless on a cold world, and children loved
with tenderest affection, was the thought of leaving the
loved work of bringing souls to Jesus. Away from it—dumb,
one sees its greatness, and heaven, hell, God, salvation,
eternity, stand out as great realities. I had long battled
with the storm, long tried to do something on the field, and
God saw fit to put his hand on me even when success in
his work was at its highest. We shall know all one day: the
web is rapidly weaving, and in glory its finish will be bright,
shining in perfect holiness. Hallelujah ! I have been six
weeks from home. How wondrous the Lord’s raising up
Mr. J------M------, of London, to keep me here. He has
been as a brother, and I lack nothing, as he is paying all
costs. There was no hope of my getting better at home,
and I can say it has been good to be here. I cannot tell
you exactly how I am. My general health is better, but as
yet the disease is apparently not touched. It is greatly
kept under, and I am not without hope, in answer to much
prayer offered and offering up, I may be so far cured as to
be able to preach. It is a strange, mysterious disease, but
the Lord can heal it. I am not allowed to preach, read, or
write, though I cannot refrain from sending this to you.
Today I feel strong. Tomorrow I may be weak. I often
think of you all, and am with you in spirit. May the dew
of heaven be on your beloved husband and his flock. It is
a dying scene. All around this death reigns. Poor, poor
England ! Highly favoured Scotland ! If I could preach
I would. Revival all around this is unknown. My wife
left three days ago for home, going to see Miss M------on
her way. Amidst all her watching, &c, she has been greatly
supported. Give my love to Mr. B------, Miss F------, and
all friends. Pray for me. I do hope there is room to en
courage faith in my better condition for the last week. I
commend you to the Lord. It is long since we met, going
to Aberdeen in the ‘ Defiance ’ coach. How many are gone
since! We too shall soon go. Blessed be the Lord, it is
home. There is sweet rest in heaven. God bless you.
“ Yours in Jesus, Duncan Matheson,”
222 THE BANKS OF THE DARK RIVER.
TO MRS. J. S.
“Limpley Stoke, near Bath, 18th April, 1867.
“My dear Friend,—Many, many a time I think of
you and of all the S-----s of that Ilk. You are often very
near my heart, and the prayer for blessing on each has often
gone up from me here where I am living, at the back of
“Like an old hulk disabled, I lie passive,—no easy thing
for a restless Bedouin like me. I am in a new school, and
if I learn my lesson well I may be able yet to comfort many
and give them a lift Zionward. Rutherford says : ‘ Oh, how
much I owe to the file and hammer of the dear Lord Jesus!‘
Can we not say the same ?
“ Tenderly, lovingly, and in a fatherly way, has the Lord
dealt with me. How gently He has held the cup to my
lips! How much of mercy (yea, it’s all mercy) has been
mingled with my lot. I have been standing by the banks
of the dark river, and have listened to its flow, and yet have
not been afraid. I have been on the verge of eternity, and
could sing for joy. Ah, there is no god like our God! no
rock like our Rock!
“ Right glad was I to meet Mrs. C------on my way here.
I could scarcely credit it. Short as my interview was, it
sent me along more cheerfully. My heart was much set on
coming to see you all; but the Lord arranged differently. . .
It is a strange and fickle disease, and if I should be ever
again as before, it will be a special forth-putting of divine
power. I long for the loved work of bringing souls to Jesus.
I long to be on the battle-field. I long to sing over the
slain of the Lord, and shout ‘victory’ because He has done
it. Sometimes I hope I shall. All is in his,hands. The
sheep in the wilderness I feel for. The lambs’ bleating goes
to my heart. I pity the lost. It is only at times we can
realize sin, salvation, heaven, hell, eternity, as great realities.
How soon shall all have passed here! Life ought to be an
earnest matter, seeing we have only one. . . And now I must
close. May all blessing rest on you and yours. We are
under the shadow of his wings. We are safe in his arms.
We move along the rugged pathway to that land where no
sigh is heard nor sorrow known, where not a cloud darkens
the sky. Ah, we shall soon know about the palms, harps,
LONGING FOR THE CHILDREN. 223
crowns of glory! For ever with the Lord! Once again I
pray for blessings on you all.
“ Ever yours in a loving Lord,
“tö his wife.
“Limpley Stoke, May 13th.
“Another morning dawned, my beloved M------, and
another week begun. How they do glide away! How quickly
they run! Soon all will be done, all will end. The vast
eternity lies before. Many in heaven! many in hell! No day
there! no star of hope! no rest! no rest! no rest! Saved from
hell, we should sing all the way. We should never murmur.
Ah, how the thought should still be, ‘ I shall never be in
devouring fire! I shall never lie down in everlasting burn
ings !‘ As the song of heaven shall never end, neither shall
the wail of hell. May the Lord save our children! I long
to see them in the ark. They will be brought. Don’t let us
ever doubt it for a moment. We had a blessed day yester
day—a sweet word from Mr. T------. The Lord can restore
me fully; but patience must have her perfect work.”
“Limpley Stoke, May 15th.
“ How few realize the solemnity of eternity! I feel for
the people. They are dying, perishing, going to destruction!
Oh that God in infinite love would save! I long to be in
the field again, but must possess my soul in patience. I am
glad I do feel as I do. It’s joy to be able to do some little
work for God. I cannot express it. My whole system feels
as if it partook of joy. If not able to preach, I may for
some time be able to get tracts ready, and many things. I
hope Lizzie is getting on with her spelling and reading. She
will try and be able to read to me the 90th Psalm when I
come home. How I do long to see them (the children),
and yet the Lord keeps my mind at rest. It has been all
Leaving Limpley Stoke in May, he went to Jersey. He
is charmed with the scenery, praises God for all he behold
of the divine glory on land and sea, and often wishing
wife were by his side to share his delight. “ But he will
224 IN NORMANDY.
see grander sights," he adds : “ we shall see the King in his
beauty, and the land that is afar off.” But the scenery is
not the great thing; it is the souls of the perishing. In a
certain town he sees the walls covered with placards an
nouncing that Dean this and Rev. that will lecture on
Shakespeare, &c, and his heart bleeds.
From Jersey he proceeds to St. Servan, in Normandy;
but the disease has fastened on him, and will not let him go.
Not a breath of murmur escapes his lips. He is full of
comfort, and often writes to cheer the beloved partner of
his life, whose heart droops on his account. Often he
breaks out in praise. “Oh praise the Lord, 0 my soul.
How wondrous his love ! At times it quite overpowers me.
Oh for grace, grace to love his holy name ! When I think
of others I am humbled. Poor------and his family several
times last winter had only meal in the house. He told me
so. Oh, how good the Lord is !“
TO MRS. J. S.
“St. Servan, Normandy, France, 27th May, 1867.
“My dear Christian Friend,—Your kind letter reached
me at Limpley Stoke.....I congratulate you on the birth
of another son. The Lord bless him, and early implant
grace, that, if spared, he may be a great blessing. We can
take our children to Jesus and not be rejected. They are
dear to Him. I like to grasp the promise, ‘ To thee and to
thy seed.’ Our charge, our responsibility, is great; but the
great burden-bearer will take all. Oh, how He loves ! The
height, depth, breadth, we cannot fathom. The length we
may have some dim idea of, but cannot understand.
“I left Limpley sometime ago better of my sojourn there.
I do feel stronger, but the disease still remains. It seems
to have got firmly intrenched; but the Lord can remove it,
and no one else. The more I see of doctors, the more do
I see they know little of it. As yet its seat is a mystery.
Some days I think it is almost gone ; and next day I feel
great weakness. But all is in a Father’s hand, and such a
Father too! I would not it were otherwise than He
sigh I long to get home, and may in course of a fortnight,
the skyr wife and children I have not seen for long now.
They are well. She longs to meet you all. We shall see if
it can be arranged her meeting me at Edinburgh, and both
coming on. We shall see as the Lord directs.
“I am all alone in this strange land, unknown to any,
and knowing no one. Poor, poor France ! You can have
no idea of the perfect despotism that reigns. No happy
smile seems to light up the people‘s countenances. There
is a restlessness and a yearning after something,—they know
not what. Alas, alas ! no gospel is preached, no salvation
made known, and, so far as can be seen, no souls saved. I
often almost weep as I see the masses here rushing on to
eternity, not knowing that ‘ God so loved the world, that
He gave his only-begotten Son.’ God will not forget the
prayers of many a martyred Huguenot. The soil of France
was drenched with their blood. The cry, ‘ How long, Lord,
how long,’ has gone up from those beneath the altar. Many
a time on entering the churches here, and seeing the mum
mery on every side, have I prayed, ‘Lord, send thy light
forth and thy truth;’ and often have I blessed God Scotland
had a Knox, a Cameron, a Cargill, and a Peden.
“ I was looking today at the grave of the great Chateau
briand, who is buried on a small island off this place, and
asking what now is all the glory he had ? All has perished.
Only shall the righteous be had in everlasting remembrance.
Ah! my beloved friend, ours is a glorious hope, ours is a
great reward. What things are in the light of eternity, and
that alone, is worth, and ought to be looked at. To live for
Christ, our motto now. To be with Him—what shall it be ?
I do long to go forth again. Had I been in health, I would
have been speaking to masses with God’s blue sky overhead
and his presence realized. Open-air preaching is glorious,
though hard work. I hear from Kirriemuir and Forfar that
the converts go well on. Cullen still retains the blessing.
I long to hear of Melrose and Little Darnick. It will come.
Let faith be strengthened. What God is doing in other
places, He can do with you. My kindest love to your be
loved J------, to Mrs. C------, and all the S------s. Kindly
omit no one. To Mr. and Mrs. B------and A------, &c, &c.
Now I must finish, as I have a good deal to do. I send
you Psalm cxxi. 6 and Deut. xxxii. 9. We are marching
home. Every march shall yet become an Elim. He will
226 RETURN TO SCOTLAND.
take the stumbling-blocks out of the way. He will lead
and guide. His everlasting arms are around and under
neath. He keeps us as the apple of his eye. Hold! is it
not enough ? “ Ever yours in Christ Jesus,
In July he returned to Scotland, and for a while stayed
at Bervie, where he set up a daily prayer-meeting. From
Bervie he went to Braemar, and from Braemar to Aberdeen,
still seeking to recover health and win souls. Health was
denied him; souls were given him. From Aberdeen he
went to Dufftown, which had been much laid on his heart
in prayer. The weak man was strong to bear this burden
before the Lord. His prayers were marvellously answered.
Here God began to work by him, and several were added
to the Lord. At a social meeting held on the evening of
the first day of the following year, he delivered an address
of extraordinary power, and a considerable number were con
verted. From Dufftown he retraced his steps to Aberdeen.
His soul is on fire. “ I would gladly give all I have,’’ he
writes to his wife, “ to be once more out preaching Jesus.
It is a great and glorious work. I bless God I was called
to it. The work done is done for eternity. All other things
will soon end.....Tell Lizzie I long to hear of her be
coming a child of God, a lamb in Christ’s fold. Tell her I
long very much. Tell Duncan I wish him to cleave to
Jesus. Tell Mary I long to know she has a new heart.
Tell them I wish them all to be in heaven with us to praise
for ever. I feel being away from them, but it is the Lord,
and all is well.”
In the beginning of 1868 he went to reside for a few
weeks with his Christian friends at Darnlee, in the south of
Scotland. Here again the fire burned. He could not rest.
Gathering together the people of Darnick, a village in the
neighbourhood, he indulged once more in the luxury of
preaching Christ. Immediately there was a sound and a
stir among the dry bones. The Spirit of God began to
work gloriously among the dead. The movement, though
confined within the narrow limits of the village and adja
cent country, was a remarkable one : men and women were
brought to the Lord. Happening to meet him at this time,
I asked how he, who was suffering from a terrible malady,
could do so much work. His reply was characteristic.
“Ah!" said he, “the Lord saw that I was very weak, and
just worked all the more Himself.”
In spring he went to Carlsbad, Bohemia, for the benefit
of the waters. On his way to the Continent he writes from
Tunbridge Wells to Miss M------:
“ My dear Friend,—Mary has sent me your note here.
I left Perth about ten days ago, and have been in Hamp
shire and London. I went to see Major Gibson. He is
very ill. I am here for a few days in a palace. The pro
prietor, Mr. R------, is a man of God. I scarcely ever was
in a house like it. ‘Holiness unto the Lord’ is stamped
upon it. I am going to Carlsbad in Austria on Tuesday (d.v.).
The doctors have ordered a trial of its baths, and God has
sent plenty of money to take me. It is a strange, wandering
life, in quest of health. Yet all is well. I have been rather
worse lately. The disease has been very active. All is in
the Lord’s hands. I feel leaving all at home. I shall be
away about five weeks. Pray for me that I may be useful,
and, if the Lord sees fit, get health for his work. I do desire
greatly to see you. I long for it. Had I not been going to
the Continent I would have come at once. All, all, ALL
is love. God can do nothing amiss. All but Mary Jane are
well at Perth. We are kindly treated. We have all things
richly to enjoy. You would wonder what the Lord does for
us. If I come back by London I may get to see you.
Will you not be with us this summer? What a welcome you
will get! I must close, as I have a good deal to do. There
are many changes, but Jesus lives and Jesus reigns. We
shall soon be home. It is a sweet prospect—Home !
“ A dear saint of God when dying asked them to put his
simple name on his tombstone, and ‘kept’ under it. We
may do the same.
‘ Duncan Matheson.
“ In Jesus, yours, “ Duncan Matheson.”
228 IN BOHEMIA.
In Carlsbad he found means of distributing some 6oo
copies of the Word of God. Unable to speak the language,
he would turn up his favourite text, “God so loved the
world,” &c, and by gestures and the use of such terms as
he could command he managed to introduce himself and
the gospel to a good many of the people. By and by they
began to know him, and hail him as a friend. Here he
made the acquaintance of a German Christian, who had
charge of the Bible Depot. An attempt being made by the
Burgomaster, instigated by the priest, to stop the Bible
selling and distribution, and the agent being ordered to
leave the house, with the view to his being thrust out of
the place altogether, our evangelist took up the case, wrote
to a friend in London, through whose instrumentality the
priest’s design was foiled, and the Bible distribution went
on as before. Still panting to be useful, Mr. Matheson
undertook to give instruction to the two Jewish girls who
attended him in his lodgings. His own children were never
forgotten. In all his labours and wanderings he found time
to write little letters to them. Out of a heap let us take one
very much of a piece with the rest:
TO HIS LITTLE DAUGHTER LIZZIE.
“ Carlsbad, 4th May, 1868.
“ My own dear Lizzie,—I often think of you, for I love
you very much. I often pray for you, for I long to see you
safe in Jesus’ fold. Many a time when wandering alone in
the woods here, I wonder what you are doing, and what kind
of a scholar you are getting. You must get on very fast at
school, as likely you will one day have to earn your bread
through the education you have got. I expect great pro
gress before I return. This is a very beautiful country. The
town of Carlsbad is very pleasant, built on both sides of a
little river about the size of Bogie at Huntly. The boys
and girls are very much like what they are in Perth. I see
some with knickerbockers like Duncan’s. They have balls,
and marbles, and hoops, as the children have in Scotland.
But alas, dear Lizzie, they hear not about Jesus as you do.
I give some of them copies of the Gospel of John, and if
you saw how pleased they are ! Some of them begin to
know me now, and as I pass smile and take my hand. I
LETTER TO HIS DAUGHTER. 229
love all children : Jesus did so very much. I gave a man a
copy of the Gospel, and, poor fellow, he was so grateful, he
asked me to come at night and get wine and coffee from
“ There are a good few Jewish boys and girls here. I feel
deeply for them. They bate the very name of Jesus. Oh,
my own Lizzie, if you were really converted you would pray
for them. We should love the Jews. We got the Bible
through the Jews, and Jesus was born a Jew. Once He
was a little boy, running about the streets of Nazareth.
“ Would it not be grand if God would send me back to
Perth to you all healed? Would I not, as Duncan says,
pack up my things, and be off to preach ? The waters are
very nice, boiling up from the earth. One is very great.
I am up every morning long before you now. You must
write me a long letter some day. I will try to send a letter
to Duncan, and Mary, and George soon. Will you, dear
Lizzie, take Jesus to be your Saviour? Oh, do ! It would
give mother and me more joy than anything in the world
would. "Your own dear father,
to miss g.
“Carlsbad, Bohemia, 11th May, 1868.
“ My dear Miss G------, How are you all, and especially
your dear mother ? I do hope you are all well. The larks
will be singing sweetly now in S------, and I hope the time
of the singing of birds (spiritual) has also come. Thank
God for droppings on the parched ground. Thank God for
saved ones. The little one shall soon, I trust, become a
thousand, and many a sweet flower be planted among your
hills that shall bloom and blossom up yonder where the weary
rest. Rest is a sweet word. Even a child knows its mean
ing. My third child Mary is very delicate. One day she
came in tired, and in her artless way said, ‘ Mother, will
there be chairs in heaven to sit down on?’ Oh, yes, there
will be thrones, and crowns, and palms. How we shall
make the courts re-echo with the sweet name of Jesus !
How we shall shout Hallelujah ! Hallelujah ! You see, I
am far from home in a land of strangers, I know no one.
All the time I have been here, I have been the only English-
230 SUNDA Y IN CARLSBAD.
man. I have met only one Christian, a German Protestant.
It is a dark, dark land. No Sabbath here. It is the chief
market day. The theatre is open, and almost every shop.
The priests have it all their own way. I wish Mr. M------
and others were here one day. After that they would cease
tearing the lambs, and speaking against revival. What a
terrible doom theirs will be that go to hell from Scotland !
Tell W------to flee for his very life. Were he here he would
have no one to tell him. I love W-----, and my heart wanders
at times from this earthly paradise to the bleak strath. I
long to hear glorious tidings from it. I hope M------, ‘ Great-
heart,’ has visited you again. God bless him, and give him
mighty strength. I was very poorly when I left Scotland.
I am drinking the mineral waters, and taking the baths.
Thank God, I am feeling a good deal better, but as to whether
it may touch the root of the disease remains to be seen.
Pray for me. Tell your dear mother to ask healing for the
work‘s sake, if the Lord sees fit. I hope to leave this in
three weeks, and may come home by Switzerland. I enclose
this in a letter to Mr. Matheson, London. He will post it
“ I feel it sweet to lean on Jesus here. I can speak to
Him though I can to no one else. He heareth prayer.
My church is the woods alone on the Sabbath day. I have
no one to go to. The Lord bless you all. I would like to
see you once more. What if my sun is to set at noon ?
Yet I long to preach Jesus. He must reign. He shall
reign. We shall soon see Him as He is. We shall be like
Him. “Ever yours in Him,
The following letter appeared in The Revival:—
“My dear Brother,—I am about to leave this land,
and I am sorry to do so. Circumstances, however, compel
me; and, if my work is done in it, I would joyfully say,
‘ Thy will be done.’
“Since my last, a great door has been opened for the
dissemination of the Word of life. I have bought at full
price from the Bible Society nearly 6oo copies, and scattered
them abroad. My main efforts have been directed to the
peasantry, as the most hopeful and most needy field. The
poverty of many of them is such that they cannot pur
chase a Bible, and they need it to be brought to their very
“ Many a weary mile I have walked, and many a scorch
ing sun has shone upon me. Day after day I have waited
on the highway, some distance from the town, and, accosting
the travellers passing along, have made all who could read
John iii. 16. I felt God could make one text as effectual
as a thousand; and especially that one on which so many
have rested their all for eternity. It has undoubtedly been
the most interesting work in which I was ever engaged.
Many had never seen the Book; and many even did not
know its name. This is true of hundreds of thousands, if
not millions, in the Austrian empire.
“One day, shortly after my arrival, I gave a copy of
John’s Gospel to an old man. He took it to his home. In
a few days he came to the depot and bought a Bible. Time
after time he has come for copies for his neighbours, and
now he has become a self-appointed colporteur. Last week
the police interfered with him, but he has since got a
regular license from a magistrate, and from love to the
truth pursues his calling.
“ I have had a fine opening amongst the soldiers here in
hospital, some of whom had been in Mexico with the un
happy Maximilian. One poor fellow, who has lost his eye
sight, asked his comrades what I was doing. On telling
him, he said, with a voice choked with emotion as he
pointed to his sightless eyeballs, ‘ No light, no light.’
“One day I came upon an old man sitting by the way
side reading a copy I had given. He smiled on seeing me;
and, pointing to heaven, and then to John xiv. 2, repeated
with much emphasis, ‘ In my Father’s house are many
mansions,’ and added, ‘ Yes, and one for me.’
“It is work needing the greatest caution; for there is the
greatest danger of overdriving and attracting notice. One
false step might injure for long to come, as, though there is
a measure of liberty, yet the priestly power is very great.
The work will go rolling along, but not so fast as we may
anticipate, or would from our hearts desire.
“ To get one Bible into Austria almost baffled me when
in the east; and now the Bible Society have an unlimited
232 THE BIBLE IN AUSTRIA.
field, a field the extent of which no one can conceive.
Fourteen years ago, 50,000 copies of the Word were sent
across the Austrian frontier guarded by dragoons. Now
they have returned, and a thousand times more will follow.
A bill has lately passed the Hungarian Assembly giving free
toleration; and now the colporteur may go from one end
to another unmolested. Colportage is the special agency
needed. Men of God must be found. The Word must be
carried to the cottages of the poor, and the palaces of the
rich. Men and money ! men and money ! The Lord send
that with his blessing; for the fields are ripening, and ‘ the
breaker-up’ (Micah ii. 13) is going before. Half-hearted
efforts will not do. The opening has been made, the prayer
of years has been answered, and the responsibility is not
realized. Something more is needed than thundering
applause at great meetings, when some well-turned sentence
is uttered. Something more is needed than singing—
“ ‘ Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all. ’
“God does not want what we have not to give. The whole
realm of nature belongs to Him. He has, however, given
money to some, and He expects that his cause shall be sup
ported, and that with liberal hand.
“ I have gleaned much information about the Bohemian
Protestant Church, and have met with some of its pastors.
Looking abroad on Bohemia, you are reminded of Ezekiel‘s
visions. The valley is full of bones, and they are very dry.
Can these dry bones live ? Yea, Lord, we believe they can.
Only breathe, and it is done! Only command, and it shall
stand fast! Many of the Protestants live too much on the
past. It is well to speak of the sufferings, trials, and triumphs
of those who have gone before. It is well to unroll the scroll
of martyred lives, and speak with hallowed breath of the
names so gloriously written there. But nothing will do in
the place of a crucified, living, coming Jesus, and the forth-
putting of the Spirit‘s power.
“Bohemia fills a noble niche in history’s page; but as one
reads it, how sad the thought, that what faggot and exile could
not do a Christless form accomplished! Revival is a thing
LEA VES BOHEMIA.
unknown, and few think of the living power. If they can
hold their own, they are satisfied. Efforts for the conversion
of others are almost unknown. They have been sadly iso
lated, and now when they breathe the air of freedom, and
the opening is made, no one is ready to enter on it. One
said to me yesterday, ‘ We need evangelists. If God were
to raise up a Spurgeon amongst us, the fuel is ready for the
kindling.’ Only let the cry be heard, ‘ Bohemia for Christ!’
and many would rally round the standard. On its plains the
battles of 1866 were fought, which have made a way for the
truth never known before.
“ I am deeply anxious to get ‘ The Blood of Jesus,’ by
Mr. Reid, and a selection of M‘Cheyne’s sermons, such as
I got into Gaelic, translated into the Bohemian language,
spoken by three millions. I have so far made arrangements
for the translation, and also to have articles taken from the
Herald of Mercy monthly, and inserted in periodicals pub
lished in Prague. Will your readers help with money ? It
would be but little for some of them to do it altogether. It
would be a great privilege. I ask it in the name of Him
whose they are, and whom they serve. It may be of infinite
consequence having it done soon. Time is passing quickly,
and masses are on the march to an eternal hell.
“ A gentleman from London has been labouring quietly,
and putting the gospel before many here. He has great
advantages, speaking the German as well as English.
“ Farewell, Bohemia ! The dark shadows which so long
have hung over thee may soon be chased away. A bright
morning may soon dawn upon thee. Resurrection-life may
be felt in thy scattered hamlets, along thy mountainsides,
and in thy crowded cities. I bid thee farewell! and as I
do, I breathe out the prayer that God may soon say, ‘ Arise,
shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is
risen upon thee !’
"Ever yours in Jesus,
“Carlsbad, Bohemia, June 2, 1868.”
After making arrangements with a Bohemian pastor for
the translation of Bonar’s “ Memoir of M‘Cheyne,” Reid’s
“ Blood of Jesus,” and his own “ Herald of Mercy,” into
German, he took his departure from Carlsbad. Passing
234 AT THE PERTH CONFERENCE.
through Switzerland, he spent a few days at Mannedorf, the
scene of Dorothea Trüdel‘s healing labours, where he was
received with the greatest kindness by Pastor Zeller. “ All
here,” he writes, “is love.” Ever bent on winning souls, he
sought the means of reaching at least one poor heart. A
lady, who had lived a gay life, was deeply impressed by his
faithful words as he spoke to her of Christ. Hastening
home, he reached Perth in a state of utter exhaustion; and
it was only too evident to all his friends that the earthly
tabernacle was passing rapidly to decay.
At the Perth Conference, in September, 1868, he de
livered the following address on co-operation in the work of
the Lord :
“ We live in stirring times. The old order of things in
Church and State is rapidly breaking up, or if not breaking
up, great changes are taking place in both.
“ A few years ago there was no need of introducing such
a subject as this, for evangelists did not occupy the places
they now do, and the work which the great God has on the
wheels had not then appeared. Whatever may be thought,
this subject is a momentous one, and demands instant atten
tion. It is pregnant with infinite results, and affects the
destiny of many a soul.
“ God has raised up not a few evangelists who go hither
and thither. I call the majority of them irregulars, free
lances, knowing no church, understanding nothing of paro
chial divisions, subject to no master but Christ, and, it can
not be denied, wielding a mighty influence on not a few.
“ There is much in their freedom of action fitted to help
on the work, and also snares which only grace can deliver
from. It is likely their numbers will be greatly increased;
and if the Lord shall use them as sharp sickles for gather
ing in souls, surely every Christian will, from the inmost
soul, bid them Godspeed.
“ With such of them as have a single eye in seeking the
salvation of the lost (and I think life is nobly spent if spent
for this), living ministers can have no difficulty in working.
Co-operation with the dead on either side is out of the
question; co-operation with the living is to be sought after
by every possible means.
“Usually evangelists go to places to which they have
WORDS TO EVANGELISTS. 235
been invited by one or more living souls. Their work is to
‘ preach the GOSPEL.’ With all my heart I protest against
what I have known—men received with all warmth of
simplicity, and quietly leading unsuspecting ones away to
their peculiar views, leaving afterwards a leaven of division
injurious in its results. Let men be honest. They have a
fair field, and the sacred rights of conscience no man has
a right to invade. I have preached in many lands, and in
this dear land of ours I have proclaimed salvation in its
crowded cities, lowly hamlets, by the side of its wimpling
burnies, and on its mountainsides, and no one dare charge
me with making one proselyte to my views, or spending my
time on aught else but the one theme.
“I stand today and with my eye fixed on the lost, I
plead with evangelists to keep at the one thing. With the
vision cleared by heaven’s lamp, they will see the crowd
rushing on to destruction, sporting with death, indifferent to
Calvary, laughing on the way to hell. When there are no
souls to save, turn to teaching. William Burns, that man of
God now in glory, was once asked by a lady many things as
to how he felt when preaching to the millions of China.
After a pause, and fixing his eye on her—an eye that was
always full of pity—he said, ‘I never think but of one
thing—the lost and a Christ for them !‘
“ I have been told that it is a sacrifice preaching always
to the unsaved. I grant it. We lose much joy in always
dwelling about the temple door, and not rising to proclaim
higher truths, in which our souls would luxuriate. But if
we speak of sacrifices, let us think of the tears wept over
Jerusalem, of the sore agony in dark Gethsemane, of the
dying love on the cross, and then say if life itself is not
worth the giving, if we may but win one jewel for Immanuel’s
“ Bless God for Scottish caution; but it is often at fault.
When an evangelist comes to a place, there ought at first to
be a ‘ trying of the spirits.’ Standing on etiquette must be
laid aside. Evangelists, if full of power, need not to be
patronized. Earnest ministers are not be ignored. They
meet on a common platform. They serve the one Christ.
“Stereotyped modes of action, if need be, must be laid
aside, and the ministry of the Spirit must be recognized.
236 “BEAR AND FORBEAR.’’
“ In my younger days there was a very current advice
common amongst the people—‘ Bear and forbear.’ There
will ever be need of doing both. Essentials must be held
by both as with a death-grip; but non-essentials may be
scattered to the winds. In one sense, neither must act the
gentleman. Both should toil and sweat as labourers. The
furrows turned up by both should be so joined that when
the seed springs the furrows may be hid under the golden
grain ripening for the harvest-home of heaven.
“ I only returned a few days ago from the seaside. In
my weakness I used to sit and mark the ebbing and flowing
tide. When it was out every inequality in the shore could
be seen, hidden rocks were laid bare, and the tangle-covered
bottom exposed. When in, all was covered. There was
nothing to be seen but the blue sea—the one great ocean.
So, when the Holy Ghost shall put forth his almighty power,
a subject such as this will not be raised. The waves of
salvation rolling along shall put all out of sight, as ministers
and evangelists,—like men rescuing the drowning from a
wreck, almost sweating blood as they do it; or saving the
inmates of some burning home,—run with hell pursuing and
heaven beckoning onward, holding up the cross, and in
thrilling tones cry aloud—
"' There is life for a look at the crucified One,
There is life at this moment for thee ;
Then look, sinner, look unto Him and be saved,
Unto Him that was nailed to the tree.’
“ There is nothing comparable to the loss of a soul. God,
heaven, hell, salvation, are awfully solemn realities. The
shadows of eternity are falling on the path of some of us.
They are not dark, but lightened by the glory that shines
from the better land. I know not how it may soon be with
me. A Father can heal if He pleases. I leave it in his hand.
It is sweet to know that we toil only for a little. That
sowing in tears, we shall reap in joy. Let us seek the weld
ing heat of heaven. We can only do valiantly as we receive
power from on high. That power will not be withheld, and
blessing will come. With all the earnestness of a dying
man, and with my eye fixed on the judgment-seat, I would
affectionately urge all who love the Lord to pray, labour,
and live for the lost. Lift up Jesus and “ Jesus only,’ for—
HIS INTENSE EARNESTNESS. 237
" ‘ His name for ever shall endure:
Last like the sun it shall;
Men shall be blest in Him, and Bless’d
All nations shall Him call.
"' And blessed be his glorious name,
To all eternity;
The whole earth let his glory fill:
Amen : so let it be.’”
For the rest of his time he was seldom able to preach.
But the ruling passion was strong in him to the last. Al
though not a murmur escaped his lips, he longed for the
old freedom and joy in proclaiming the glad tidings of sal
vation, and sometimes seemed like the imprisoned lion
thrusting himself with a noble violence against the bars of
his cage. One day on hearing that three persons had been
converted through the instrumentality of his “ Herald of
Mercy” he said, “ I thank God for this; but after all there
is nothing like the living voice for carrying the truth to
men’s souls.” Now and then he indulged in the luxury of
preaching, and never at this period without marked results.
There was now a marvellous intensity and tenderness in his
words. He really poured out his soul in his addresses. It
appeared to need more than human obduracy of heart to
listen to him without being melted and drawn. In several
places sinners were converted at the little meetings.
Now, however, that the living voice was all but hushed
did he labour to publish salvation through the press. And
the grace and kindness of his Divine Master were strikingly
displayed in the remarkable blessing that now rested on his
publications. Every week, and sometimes indeed every
day, brought him tidings of sinners converted by means
of his periodical or special issues. The blessed results of
the labour of former years were also constantly and pro
videntially coming to light, and he was both cheered and
humbled. “ Oh, how good a God He is !" was his frequent
exclamation. “ Oh! if I were better,” he often said, “ I would
preach Christ more than ever. I would warn men more than
ever. I would speak of eternity more than ever.”
As he was about to start for the South of England in quest
of health, the dying evangelist took up the railway map to
examine the route, but forgetting his immediate purpose he
began to ponder the spiritual condition of the region, and
238 THE MINISTRY OF SUFFERING.
looking up said, “These three counties are dead—utterly
dead!" Compelled by the inroads of the fatal disease to
avoid the excitement of conversation, he invented various
devices to supply the place of personal dealing with fellow-
travellers, or other strangers whom he happened to meet.
Knowing the reluctance of many to read religious tracts or
books, he printed in large type on little neat cards pointed
and solemn truths, with which he sought to awaken the
world’s heavy sleepers. For example the following:
Who sees thee !
Which flies from thee!
Which awaits thee !
A God whom you serve so ill!
A Moment of which you so little profit 1
An Eternity you hazard so rashly 1
Where will you spend Eternity?
In Heaven or Hell?
His was now a new and even more Christ-like ministry.
The ministry of activity, of valour, of exhausting toil, and
of heroic perseverance had been fully accomplished. It was
now the ministry of suffering: and holy suffering is most like
the ministry of the Son of God. It is the ministry of the
crushed sandal-tree which yields its perfume to the wood-
man’s axe. The ministry of the alabaster box which must
needs be broken that the aroma of the ointment may fill
the house. We saw the breaking of the box, and the rich
ness of the fragrance tempted us to ask, Why this waste,—
why this premature break-up of that goodly form ? We might
as well ask why the angel of the covenant maimed Jacob
just as he obtained victory and blessing. God’s Israels have
strange experiences : out of weakness they are often made
strong. It was at this period he attained his greatest power
in prayer. He now ascended to a summit of faith that
INSTANT IN PRAYER.
few Christians ever reach. “ I have been all night,” said he
to a Christian friend, “ between Gethsemane and Calvary,
between the manger and the cross.’’ Many a night was
now spent on the mount of intercession. It was not merely
the prayer of faith: it was also the prayer of love. As the
glory of love is its disinterestedness, so one of the noblest
qualities of true prayer is disinterested love. He seemed
to lay his will alongside of the will of God, and the answer
admitted not of doubt. Often did he rise from his knees in
a flood of tears, but they were tears of joy. And we have
seen a whole assembly moved till every eye was wet, whilst
with childlike simplicity and holy tenderness he entreated
his God—“Lord, take us today to Calvary, and shew us
afresh thy pierced hands and feet, thy thorn-crowned brow.
Give us at the cross a new baptism of thy Holy Spirit.
Send us to tell the unsaved that we have seen the Lord.
Make us weep over them, as Thou didst over Jerusalem.
Shew us the moving mass on their march down to the pit.
Shew us the city: let us walk its golden streets. We are in
it by faith today. Shew us its jasper walls, and above all
Him that is its light.” Thus he prayed: and it is added by
the narrator, “ he wept as he rose from prayer.” Often as
he pled for the salvation of Scotland, and of the whole
world, he said, like one of our ancient worthies, “Take
long strides, Lord, take long strides.”
The summer of 1869 found him in a dying state. Many
prayers had been offered for his recovery, but he grew
worse. All known remedies had been employed; for the
same generous friends who had aided him in his numerous
schemes of Christian usefulness, lovingly ministered to him
of their substance during his long illness. But all means
were in vain; the disease obedient to the great Master’s
will went on in its stern course, till at length every pin was
unfastened, and the tabernacle lay in ruins. In July of that
year he went to Bruar in the Highlands, where he remained
till within a fortnight of his death. Although in a condition
of extreme prostration, he employed much of his time in
preparing various matters for the press. “The Herald of
Mercy” was got ready for the rest of the year; and after he
was gone it was touching enough to see his little periodical
appear month after month just as he had prepared it; it
240 THE “GOOD TIDINGS,’’ ETC.
was like a voice speaking out of eternity. He also pre
pared a little book entitled “Things Worth Knowing,’’
and papers called “Good Tidings” and “New Year’s Gift,”
hundreds of thousands of which were printed and put into
circulation. One of these papers, it may be stated on the
authority of a faithful servant of the Lord Jesus, was instru
mental in the conversion of two persons some three months
after the hand of this unwearying ‘ sower of the truth had
lost its cunning in death.
Another instance of blessing on those last labours ap
peared in “The Christian,” of Sept. 15th, 1870:—
“H.M.S. Hibernia, Malta.—Towards the end of last
year I received a large bundle of tracts, books, and ‘ New
Year‘s Gifts,’ from an unknown donor. They were ad
dressed to Mr. Hodges, Royal Naval Scripture Reader
(my predecessor), Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Institute, Burmala,
Malta, who kindly sent word that I might distribute them
amongst the men for whom they were intended. This I did
as follows :—Hymn-books, Burmala and Valetta Institutes,
books amongst the soldiers and children; ‘New Year’s
Gifts ’ one in each mess of every ship on the station, some
twenty-four vessels; and the tracts have been given away in
various ships, regiments, hospitals, and prisons. Now all these
have not only greatly strengthened my hands during the past
ten months, but a rich manifest blessing has attended their
widespread circulation. The ‘New Year’s Gifts’ and ‘Good
Tidings’ caused quite a revival of true religion in several
quarters. One remarkable case I will mention. To the
reading of a ‘ New Year’s Gift,’ one of the crew of the
Bellerophon owes his direct conversion. This man is a
genuine disciple of the Lord ; so that if he was the only
case of blessing, the person who kindly sent them is richly
rewarded. ‘ That day ’ will declare all the good done. I
ought to mention that, after W------ received the blessing
himself, he sent the little messenger home to his aged
mother and friends, there to be a further blessing, we trust.
I should be very happy to receive another similar bundle
ere this year closes, and we will look forward with increasing
joy for a greater blessing on them, and to that happy hour
when sower and reaper shall rejoice together in our home
above. Mr. G. Brown, Sick Bay, Steward H.M.S. Crocodile,
LAST ADDRESSES. 241
Portsmouth, will receive any parcels for me, and see them
safely delivered.—Charles Brider.”
On Sabbath evenings Mr. Matheson addressed a meeting
in a room of the house where he lodged. To this meeting
he literally crept, so weak was he; and from the last one
he was all but carried to his own room. In vain did friends
entreat him to spare himself. He knew his time was very
short; he several times told his wife he would be removed
about the middle of September; and he begged to be in
dulged in the luxury of preaching Christ once more. These
services were deeply impressive, his last text being, “ What
think ye of Christ?”
As he lay looking out on the hills he said, “ Very, very
soon these eyes shall be gazing on the everlasting hills. . . .
Soon I shall be beholding fairer scenes than these. ... I
shall soon see the King in his beauty, and the land that is
very far off.”
On September 3rd he returned to Perth; and on reaching
his house he called his whole family together, that together
they might offer thanks for the great goodness of the Lord
to him and them. He then calmly set his house in order,
not overlooking the most trivial matter. “ Give my clothes
to the poor,” he said to his wife : it was almost the only
legacy he had to leave. To his friends at parting he spake
words of joy and triumph. To Dr. A. S------ he said,
“ Resurgam.” To Mr. M------, an evangelist, “You are
going to speak of the King, but I am going to see Him.”
To his old Crimean friend, Mr. Hector Macpherson, whose
emotion at parting was too strong for even the soldier’s
firmness, he said, “ Do not weep for me : I have only to
die once that I may live for ever.” To another, who found
him making arrangements for a series of evangelistic ser
vices to be held at Hillhead, near Glasgow, he said, “ I
should like to die planning revival services.” The services
then planned by him were in progress at the time of his
death: the word was in demonstration of the Spirit, and a
considerable number of persons were converted.
To another friend he said, “ I got the victory long ago—
when the Lord first forgave my sins. . . . You have nothing
now to ask for me but that I may have an abundant en
To Mrs. Sandeman, Springland, he said, “ It’s all love—
it’s all well. Reality is the great thing—I have always sought
reality.....I have served the Lord for two and twenty
years; I have sought to win souls—it has been my passion—
and now I have the fruit of it. One of my spiritual chil
dren went the other day as a missionary to China, and many
others of them are preaching the gospel. . . . Well, at least
you can say you have seen the vanquished the conqueror.”
When alone, he was often heard saying to himself with a
quiet jubilance of tone, “ Victory!“ and often too, in soft,
rapt whispers, “ Jesus only !“
From day to day he fed on the good word of grace. One
day it was, “ Ye are complete in Him.” Another day it was,
“Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one
that believeth.” Again it was, “ Who his own self bare our
sins in his own body on the tree, that we being dead to sins
should live unto righteousness; by whose stripes ye were
healed.” Near his end he triumphed in those words, “ The
eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlast
ing arms.” Shortly before his departure he was fiercely
assailed by the great adversary. The conflict was sharp but
short, and victory remained with the soldier of the cross.
Grasping the sword of the Spirit, he was enabled to contend
till at length the enemy left the field and returned no more.
Curiously enough, the scripture by which he was enabled
through grace at this time to overcome was the memorable
passage inscribed on his grand uncle’s tombstone, “They
that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament,
and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for
ever and ever.” More than twenty years before he had
knelt upon the grave and consecrated himself to the service
of Jesus, transcribing with prayers and tears into his inner
most heart the words of the prophet. They had been the
helm of his subsequent career, the guiding star of his extra
ordinary ministry. To these words his thoughts naturally
reverted; and now when clouds gathered upon the sky, his
star shone calmly down upon him, and he was guided
through the storm. To use his own saying, he was now
getting what he had gone in for. There are many lights in the
firmament of the Word; and it may seem meet to God in
his wisdom to guide through the darkness and the tempest
AWAITING THE SUMMONS. 243
some keen-eyed mariner of faith by a star too remote for
your eyes or mine to discern. “ I have not been wise,” he
said with unfeigned humility to his wife. “Yet God has
used me in turning many to righteousness, and I know,” he
added, with an eye rekindled as the darkness passed away
before the light of coming glory now streaming into his soul,
“ I know He is true, and I shall be with Him for ever.”
To his children he spoke of Jesus, and of the chariot
coming to take him to glory. He charged them each one
to meet him in heaven. To his wife he frequently addressed
words of comfort: “You will have your trials,” he said,
“ but the Lord will bear you through them, and the trials
will make you shine the brighter.” He assured her again
and again that the Lord would liberally supply all her and
their children’s needs. “Mary,” said he to her, “I have
another text to give you today. It is this: ‘A Father of
the fatherless, and a Judge of the widows, is God in his
holy habitation.’” (Ps. lxviii. 5.) To his sister he said, “Oh,
Jessie, isn’t it infinite love that I should not be suffering?”
He abounded in thanksgiving, and often asked Mrs. Mathe-
son to assist him in singing praise. Psalms, and hymns,
and spiritual songs were the latest efforts of his voice. Two
hymns, “ Awaiting the Summons,” and “ Soon to be with
Jesus,” he frequently repeated; and as they seemed most
fitly to express his thoughts and feelings during his last hours,
one of them may, in part at least, be given here:—
AWAITING THE SUMMONS.
“ Away from the wilderness-state
My spirit would thankfully flee;
And yet in the patience of hope I would wait,
Till Thou, my Lord, callest for me.
" O why should I tremble or dread
At whatever may happen around,
While I cling unto Thee, the life-giving Head,
In whom all true nourishment’s found?
“ Thou dost not allow me to quail,
Though keen the blasts oftentimes blow;
For Thou art my refuge, that never can fail,
Though all things are failing below.
“ With a conscience at peace with my God,
And a heart from anxiety free,
I pray that the rest of my path may be trod
In happy communion with Thee. "
“ Mary,” he said to his wife, “ this room is filled with the
heavenly host. Had I strength, how we would sing!” On
this he repeated the last three verses of the 72nd Psalm in
metre, coming back with rapt delight on the last four lines—
“And blessed be his glorious name
To all eternity!
The whole earth let his glory fill:
Amen: so let it be! "
He now appeared to be filled with the Spirit of glory and
of God; and as if already triumphing amidst the heavenly
host, his voice gave out with exultant tones the words of
Psalm lxviii. 17—
“God’s chariots twenty thousand are,
Thousands of angels strong;
In ‘s holy place God is, as in
Mount Sinai them among. “
As night came on—the last brief period of darkness to
him for ever—he said, with characteristic joyfulness of faith,
“Light all the lights; and let not this be a charnelhouse.”
It was to him not death but life; not sorrow, disaster, or
defeat, but joy, honour, and victory. It was not a time to
mourn, but a festive season; and he would go to the mar
riage-supper of the Lamb with a garland of praise in his
hand to cast at the feet of the King. It was in the same
jubilance of faith that he often said, “ Be not sorrowful at
my burial. Praise God as ye carry me to my grave. And
when you lay me down, sing—
"' There is rest for the weary.’"
Yet amidst all this triumph, nothing could be more striking
than the increasing trustfulness with which he clung to the
cross. The scriptures he chiefly dwelt on were those bearing
on the death of Jesus in the room of sinners. To an evan
gelist who came to bid him farewell, he said, with deathlike
earnestness, “Preach Christ.” Not long before he had said
to a young minister—one of his own converts—“ If I were to
live I would preach substitution more than I have ever done.”
His peace was now neither coming nor going, but flowing
on like a river; and he frequently repeated these lines—
“ In peace let me resign my breath,
And thy salvation see;
My sins deserve eternal death,
But Jesus died for me.”
BIDDING HIS FRIENDS FAREWELL. 245
He had now but one want—“ the coming of the King.”
“ How is it the King tarries,” he said, in a tone of intense
longing, “when the chariot-wheels are so very near?” Then
he seemed to hearken for a little to the inaudible voice of
the King, and after the pause said, “ Ah, but He has a pur
pose in this!“
It was said to him,
“Jesus can make a dying bed
Feel soft as downy pillows are.”
“Yes,” he replied; “and He is doing it for me.” His
suffering was great, but at the worst he said, in his own
hopeful way, “ Beyond the sighing and the weeping
I shall be soon.”
At this time, a few hours before he died, he said that
many of his old friends were passing before his mind. His
ardently affectionate heart was summoning them up for a
last embrace. Mentioning the names of one after another,
he said, “ Give them my undying love.”
Every prayer seemed to be answered and every wish
gratified. He longed to see his sister, and she came unex
pectedly from Huntly. He desired to see his former pastor
and fellow-labourer in the gospel, Mr. Williamson, and pro
videntially his well-tried friend came in after a long journey.
He earnestly desired once more to see the writer of these
pages, and it was my privilege to be with him during the last
hour of his life. On entering his room I was struck with his
appearance. He was singularly elevated, and yet profoundly
calm. His intellect possessed all the vigour of his best
days; his eye was clear and softly lustrous ; his voice had
recovered its manliness and power, and his lion-like features
seemed to repose in the sense of victory. I saw at a glance
that he was on the threshold of glory, for the very light of
heaven was on his face. Yet all was so natural and un
affected that I could not help saying to myself, “He is the
same man, the very same man, Duncan Matheson and no
other.” Even a touch of the old humour was there. Taking
a few whiffs of a cigar to relieve his mouth of the painful
sensations caused by disease, he said, referring to the
morbid pietism which his manly spirit had never liked,
“ If some people saw me at this, they would think it was
not very like reading ‘ Thomas à Kempis.’ "
THE LAST SCENE.
Particularly and tenderly he enquired about the welfare of
all his friends. As of old, he asked especially about the work
of the Lord, praising God when he was told of prosperity,
and saying solemnly in reference to certain who temporised,
“Never mind them. ‘What is the chaff to the wheat?’ saith
the Lord.” Then he began to tell me that he was resting
on the Sin-bearer, at the same time quoting the scriptures
that were yielding his soul peace and rest. He said, “I am
weary, and I am waiting. . . . Heaven will literally be a rest
to me.” He seemed like a man returning from the harvest-
field with the last golden sheaf upon his shoulder. Pacing
wearily along the stubble in the clear, crisp air of an autumnal
evening, suddenly the countenance of the worn-out reaper
brightens, and his step is instinctively quickened as his ear
catches the first sound of the merry-making and the harvest-
home ; and all his weariness is forgotten as he anticipates
" The shout of them that triumph,
The song of them that feast.”
As he talked of Christ and glory, he said, “It may be a few
days yet before I get home, or only a few hours.” Perceiv
ing the emotion I could not conceal, he said, with the tear
of fond, but manly affection in his eye, “ You cannot come
with me. You have more work to do, and you must wait
awhile.......Ah ! dear Macpherson,” he added, with
much feeling, as he called to mind the former days, “you
and I are like two warships “—the old warrior spirit stirred
in him to the last—“meeting far out at sea, and one of
them is going down in mid-ocean.” “ Not so,” I replied;
“ rather it is this : one of them is about to enter the haven
of peace, while the other is left to toss upon the uncertain
deep.” Then, as if girding up his loins, he said bravely,
“I have cast my five fatherless children upon the Lord, and
all shall be well.”
His heart now began to stir again with longings to depart,
and with the high praises of his God. When we had prayed
together, he said in his old familiar way, “ Man, I don’t get
singing enough. I want to sing: will you help me?” I agreed
to sing with him the hymn, “Shall we gather at the river?”
But before singing he insisted, with that warmth of genuine
hospitality that characterized him, on my partaking of re
freshment. Just then he was seized with cramp. We seemed
LIFE’S LAST HOURS.
to hear a voice saying, “The Master is come, and calleth
for thee.” Quickly his wife and sister were by his side.
“Our friend is in deep waters,” said his kind Christian
physician whom I ran to fetch. So indeed it was : but his
feet were firm upon the rock. The everlasting arms were
underneath him. “ Lord Jesus, come quickly ! Oh, come
quickly!“ he several times exclaimed. Quickly the Lord
Jesus came and took him. Our hymn was not sung. He
went to sing by the river: we were left to weep. On the
16th day of September, just as the sun was going down,
Duncan Matheson disappeared from our view to shine in
another sphere. Thus departed a right brave and great-
hearted man,—the man who above millions had lived for
God, the man who above most men had laboured for souls
and for eternity. “ Blessed are the dead that die in the Lord
from henceforth : yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest
from their labours : and their works do follow them.”
In accordance with his own wish the funeral was a pri
vate one. On the 21st September a few friends, not without
prayers and praises, and tears and sore pangs of grief, quietly
carried him to the new burial place at Scone, and laid him
down in a pleasant spot chosen by himself. His friend, the
minister of the Free Church at Scone, having offered prayer
by the grave, the company joined in singing, “There is
rest for the weary,” two of the evangelist‘s own converts, a
preacher and a student, both devoted to the work of the
Lord, leading the praise. So we left him there to rest, and
truly he sleeps well.
His grave is marked by a plain monument on which is
inscribed, as prepared by himself, the following epitaph;
Editor ‘ Herald of Mercy,
Born at Huntly, Nov. 22nd, 1824.
Born again, Oct. 26th, 1846.
Died Sept. 16th, 1869.
' And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament :
and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever. ‘
(Dan. xii. 3.)”
But first, if you want to come back to Scotland's History and Legends again, just add www.historyandlegends.com to your bookmarks or favorites now! Then you'll find it easy!
Also, please consider sharing our Scottish History and Legends website with your online friends.
Copyright © 2000-present Donald Urquhart. All Rights Reserved. Designated trademarks and brands are the property of their respective owners. Use of this Web site constitutes acceptance of our legal disclaimer.