When my sweet daughter Eliza was dying!
(John Newton's Letters)
My Dear Sir,
Our dear daughter Eliza never went out of doors after she returned home from visiting you. She had a succession and a variety of pains and maladies — and three weeks from her leaving your hospitable roof, the Lord delivered her from them all. For four days we expected her death every hour — and though she suffered much, we could not but be thankful that she continued so long.
Her peace and confidence in God were abiding. Her mouth was filled with words of grace — comforting or exhorting all around her. Often she declared that she would not change conditions with any person upon earth, nor be willing to live longer here, even if restored to perfect health — for all that the world, or a thousand such worlds can afford! She smiled upon pain — and she smiled upon death. When she died, which seemed to be in a sort of slumber, she had reclined her cheek gently upon her hand, and there was almost a smile left upon her countenance.
When my sweet daughter Eliza was dying, I almost wished it practical to have set my door open, and invited all who passed by to come in and see what it is to die in the Lord, and to hear what a child under fifteen could say of His goodness, and of the vanity of everything short of His favor!
Yes, the Lord has done great things for us since we came home. He sent a chariot of love for our dear Eliza! We almost saw her mount to Heaven. Surely she was in Heaven, and Heaven in her — before she left the earth!
I am constrained to confess that no one circumstance in my whole life called for a larger return of gratitude and praise — than the death of our dear girl. I knew that I loved her dearly — but how dearly I never knew, until about the last week of her life. Yet I am most perfectly satisfied, and have not had the most distant wish for a moment since she died — that the outcome had been otherwise.
The thought of her helps me sometimes in prayer, often in preaching, and gives me such a confirmation of the great truths I speak of, as I would not be without.