The Late Editor's Last Days
The writing of an account of the late Editor's, my dear husband's, home-call devolves upon me, and I feel so unqualified for such a sacred task that I tremble to attempt it. Making the words of the prophet my own, "I am not a prophetess, neither the daughter of a prophet," yet I feel the dear readers of Studies in the Scriptures are friends and desire that we give them some details of his last days with us. I know their love will cover all mistakes found in this little piece. As he abominated flattery, I trust I shall give you a truthful report in my feeble way. Mr. Pink maintained a standard both in spirituality and diction which makes it difficult for one to emulate him, as it was a special gift for the work designed him. May He who once used a "little maid," be pleased to assist me now, and He shall have all the praise.
There is one verse of Scripture which impresses itself upon my mind more than any other as I seek to bring my thoughts to the object of these lines, and which has enabled me to frame the whole in my mind as to how I should present the following. In Hebrews 13:7, we read, "Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith."
Certainly there are not a few readers in the world who have regarded Mr. Pink as their spiritual ruler or guide into the truth, as many, many scores of letters abundantly testify, and I am sure he will be long remembered by each one of them who deeply mourn their loss. He sought to write unto you (and speak to those with whom he came into contact) the Word of God as it was given unto him, keeping back nothing he felt was profitable for our souls, whether it be exhortation, reproof or correction. We trust there are hundreds scattered here and there in the world who know the meaning of the next clause, "whose faith follow" — who do not need to be admonished by this poor scribe, but I need to turn those words into prayer that I may "do them."
Studies in the Scriptures is a living monument of his faith in the veracity of God's Word, Christ's great and glorious work of redemption, and the Holy Spirit's work in applying the truth to the soul in living power — and needs no word from me to confirm where he stood on the fundamentals of the faith.
He regarded the readers of Studies in the Scriptures as friends, and was daily in prayer for all, showing that he had a real pastor's love. Up to the last three days of his life, he had a most keen interest in all letters which came to hand and would thank the Lord for the encouraging words contained therein. He was an ardent student of the Scriptures, often being so absorbed in his meditations as to lose all trace of time, or any consciousness of my being in the room. Often I have heard him exclaim, "Oh, that is wonderful. I never saw that before. I rejoice as those who find great spoil when the Lord is pleased to open His truth to me. It is inexpressibly precious to have Him lead me into His truth. The more I study God's Word, the more precious I find it; and the more I marvel at the inexhaustible treasures contained therein. How surpassingly glorious to think that we shall spend eternity with Christ, and He, our Teacher, unfolding the great mysteries of His 'Word which lives and abides forever.' What I have just seen is only a foretaste which causes me to desire Him to hasten the day when I shall have done with all things mundane."
He was so full of thanksgiving and praise for everything, and though very weak in body, "he was strong in faith, giving glory to God" continually. He was not unmindful of the many kindnesses shown him by the many dear friends who were bringing things to the door. Feeling so unworthy of the least of all His mercies, he besought the Lord's richest blessing on every one who so lavishly ministered unto his temporal needs.
"Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith." This is the purpose of this piece and there is much before me, nevertheless, it is hard for me, but I trust I may be enabled to write to His praise, for I well know my dear husband desired none for himself. His was the spirit of the apostle, "What do you have, that you did not receive?" Several months before the end, I saw he was failing and it worried me very much. Each time I made a reference to it he would always say, "It's old age, my dear. Thank the Lord it is so. I am thankful I am so near the end, and not just beginning life. I am heartily sorry for the young men of today who are just starting out. It will be terribly hard for those who are conscientious. The times are so dark and will get much darker for them, but the Lord will keep His own."
Many times he appeared so weary and exhausted as he was losing his energy, that I would press him to rest and he would be better able to do his work. To which he would ever reply, "We must work while it is day. The night comes when no man can work. I desire to be found at my post when the call comes." He would not stop except for the short intervals he was accustomed to go out each morning, which he continued until three weeks before his death.
He never ceased to praise the Lord for bringing us to the Island of Lewis, and for placing us in the home in which it has been our happy privilege to reside for twelve years. In the peace and quietness here in Lewis, he pursued and enjoyed his studies away from the maddening crowds of the cities. More than once he told me that he had no desire whatever to be anywhere else and never expected to leave until the Lord took him to glory.
One night in May, he had a seizure which lasted several minutes. After it passed, he said, "I shall soon be home in glory. I cannot go soon enough! 'Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me bless His holy name.' I am so happy I feel like singing through that psalm."
He observed I was weeping, and asked, "My dear, why do you weep? You should be rejoicing that I shall soon be home." I told him I was weeping for myself at being left behind. I knew it was good for him, but I dreaded the separation. He gently said, "The Lord has been so wondrously good to us all these years and brought us safely through until now. He will not desert you in your hour of greatest need. Only trust Him with all your heart. He will not fail you."
After that night, he was making plans and getting all things in order for his departure, as if he was going on a long journey, and he would be telling me what to do. Among other things, he wanted me to publish in Studies in the Scriptures all the material he was leaving with me before closing down the magazine. As he saw his time was short, he applied himself more strenuously to composing articles so as to leave as much as he could and to complete as nearly as possible some series he was working on. "The Lord is good, and does good" was daily on his lips. He rested as few have on the sovereignty of God and seemed to be completely resigned to His will for him to such an extent that he said many times, "Let Him do with me as seems Him good." Once when we were speaking of the past and present dealings of the Lord in our pilgrim journey, he said, "He has done all things well. All things, my dear, not some things."
On the Wednesday morning before his death the following Tuesday morning, while still in bed, and I about my duties in the room, he began to speak, "The darkness is past and the true light now shines. Yes, it shines more and more unto the perfect day." Lifting his hand toward the ceiling he said, "All is glory before me. I cannot say with Mr. Rutherford, 'Dark, dark has been the midnight,' for my experience has been so different from his. But I can say, 'Dayspring is at hand, and glory, glory dwells in Immanuel's land.' I am leaving the darkness behind to you who have still to finish your pilgrimage."
I said to him, "That is all very beautiful for you." To which he quickly replied, "And it can be for you too if you will cast aside your doubts and fears and put your whole trust in Him." He sat in his chair most of the day dictating an article with great effort, for he was so desirous to finish it, but said he felt he had left it too late to get it done. We lacked only four sentences when he stopped, put down his paper and glasses, and said, "Put me to bed." I shall never know how I got him to bed, but by the Lord's mercy I did, supporting him for over an hour until he got relief and I could lay him down. After a few minutes' rest he said, "Get your glasses and paper and pencil and come to the bed, and I will give you the last four sentences and you can type them when I am gone." I took them down and when I had completed writing, he said, "My work is finished. My race is run. I am ready to go. I cannot go soon enough." He never rose after that, but still remained happy and praising the Lord.
The 23rd Psalm was almost constantly on his lips both to myself and the Christian nurse, and many wonderful things he said to us, among them being, "Not one good thing has failed of all the good things He has promised." Another time we heard him say, "He has not dealt with me after my sins, nor rewarded me according to my iniquities." Again, "Wearisome nights are appointed me, but I have nothing to say, for the Lord has so wondrously spared me bodily pain all my life through until now." Once we heard him ask the nurse if she knew those lovely lines, "The King of love my Shepherd is, whose goodness fails never; I nothing lack if I am His, and He is mine forever." Once in great agony, he said, "O taste and see that the LORD is good, blessed is the man that trusts in him."
A dear friend came in to relieve the nurse and be with me and we beheld his face radiant many times, and we felt sure he was having visions of glory. Then we heard him say, which were his last words, "The Scriptures explain themselves," showing us what his mind was on. So having finished his course, and completed his work, he has gone to be with Him whom he loved and served for so many years. "O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together."
I thank all the dear readers who have sent such loving letters of sympathy at this time of my sore bereavement, and earnestly covet the prayers of all in my hour of greatest need.