Second Anniversary in Heaven
Christian Recorder: July 30, 1891
I am at home to-day to celebrate the Second anniversary of my wife’s entrance into the heavenly land, by spending it in fasting and prayer, as I now expect to do, till we meet or part eternally beyond the chilly Jordan of death.
Although two years have expired since I stood horror seized, and saw her sweet and precious life ebb out and depart, although one hundred and twenty million souls have departed this life since my earthly dearest breathed her last, I bless God for a heart tender enough to feel all of the emotion of the sad event, with the same sensibility, and even susceptibility which then made earth a dismal scene and life a dolorous panorama.
At this hour, six o’clock a.m., two years ago, all that was mortal of my balance wheel of life, God’s precious pendulum to man, breathed her last, plumed her pinions and mounted the spheres celestial, there to dwell with the Prince of Peace while eternity rolls her infinite cycles by her everlasting clock ticking years by billions and striking countless ages by eons.
As I sit here by my office table, near the spot in an adjacent room where my jeweled wife succumbed to monster death, deep and solemn reflections gather every fiber of my heart, and the dread drama presents afresh all of the realizations of that memorable, but doleful hour.
Thank God for tears. Had it not been for tears, my heart would have busted a thousand times and shattered this body into fragments, as though it had been struck by a bolt from the magazine of all the garnered force of nature. These oft-shed tears may indicate a weakness that amounts to puerility, but they have been sweeter to me than honey, yea, than the honey comb. They may be in part a retribution also,--for no man has been more hard hearted in the presence of death than myself. I have stood by the opened tombs or graves a score of times, while the dear ones of others were being let down into the silent vaults, and as mothers, wives and children would vent the agonies of their souls in lamentations and screams. I have stood there as heartless as a bronze statue, looked on with disgust, and have even said, if I had a good whip and a chance at some of their backs I would give them something to cry for. My dissecting room experience, and my war experience with the dead and dying, literally extracted the last vestige of death sympathy from my nature. So petrific had I become in this respect that all exclamations of grief when I was preaching a funeral or reading the burial service, was a down right insult, or an uncivil interference with my vested prerogatives, and had I been privileged, in many instances, I would have had such persons removed as offensive nuisances. But oh my God, how changed the scene; what a revelation in this stubborn, obstinate and even contumacious mental contexture. Now bring on your tears, let them come by gallons. Do you want company? If so speak, and I will join the band. You need offer me no pay, as some of the heathens do; I can give you tears without money and without price. Never will I chide the loved ones again for dropping the crystal tear for those who have assisted them in the battles of life, but I will rather lend a helping hand.
The thought of dear ones there, sweetens heaven itself.
What would be the pearly gates, the jasper walls, the transparently golden paved streets, the amber domes, the saphired minarets, the crystal waters of life’s river, the azure turrets that rise over the undulating fields of glory, the vermeil seas of liquidized gold, were it not for the presence of Jesus and the loved ones? We would tire of all the other splendors, but companionship with dear and loved ones, will rejuvenate heaven, until the knell of eternity shall sound its funeral dirge.
As I shall start on a trip to the continent of Africa, sometime near the first of October, and as I may die before returning, which is a matter of minor consideration with me, at least, I beg this opportunity to express my heartfelt thanks to all who have honored the memory of my sainted wife. Editorials contributions to the press, poetic productions, cuts of her likeness, the naming of two societies, one literary association, a mission chapel, and other manifestations and expressions of respect, have the gratitude of my soul. And may God bless all who even said a kind word, or uttered a sympathetic phrase.
What I shall now present, will stamp me in the estimation of some materialistic fossils (as I regard them) as cranky, idiotic, superstitious and cracked,--for I have been set down as crazy a thousand times, by persons I knew I could teach forty years, but the following words, minus their versification, were communicated to me, as I believe, by my wife, as a comforter. I dare not divulge the name of the verifier, but that she uttered them some months ago as a partial fortune of the heavenly land is to me unquestionable. Let us presume, however, that the revelation is imaginary, a delusion, a wild fancy, the product of a vitiated brain, the concept of an ignis fatuus, or a hallucinated mania prompted by desire. Call it what you may, ridicule it as you like. Did anyone ever hear or read a grander description of heaven, (than as I have said before) my wife has communicated to me?
Here it is. Let those who wish, read it; reading it will enlarge the fancy, and strengthen the imagination, if it does nothing more.
If all the flowers that ever grew,
Of varied tints and shades and hue
Were pressed in palace walls
If all the gems and glittering gold
And diamonds rare, of worth untold
Adorned that palace halls;
If all the perfumes of the rose,
And every flower of earth that grows;
Of every shrub and spicy vale
Borne on the breeze by western gale,
That palace air pervade;
If all the music, ever heard
Of human voice of singing bird,
Of harp, or lute of dulcet airs;
Of insects’ hum of chanting spheres-
In one grand harmony within were played.
It could not half begin to give
One glimpse, or sound of heaven, where good souls live
Nor of God’s glorious throne,
Where Jesus lives and reigns, and pleads for those
Who by their faith, He calls his own.