Solomon B. Shaw was a longtime pastor and evangelist in the latter part of the nineteenth century and into the first half of the twentieth. He was also the author of several books. One of those, compiled in 1898, he entitled Dying Testimonies of the Saved and Unsaved. He was widely traveled and collected these accounts from those who had witnessed them.
He lived in an era of our history when people came to the end of life more fully aware than often is the case today with modern hospitals, and powerful drugs. The dying, both believers and unbelievers, were then often much more conscious in their last hours.
Of the nearly 300 testimonies recorded, without exception, those of the dying who were saved people were filled with peace and even joy, and those of the dying lost were filled with fear, torment, and anguish.
D.L. Moody, the great evangelist of the late nineteenth century, had his family gathered around his deathbed. His final words were, “If this is death, there is no valley. This is glorious! I have been within the gates and saw the children, Dwight and Irene” (his two grandchildren who had died). “Earth is receding. Heaven is approaching. God is calling me.”
The Child of God can face death that way. It is a foolish gambler who is willing to chance death unprepared. “Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden; I will give you rest.” “Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world.”