Dying Testimony of Martha Flack
Martha Flack, the subject of the following lines, was ignorant of even the outward form of religion, and, like the whole of Adam's posterity, she went astray from the womb, speaking lies; and though greatly afflicted in body, she showed no concern for her immortal soul until a few weeks before her death. But, bless the Lord, he knows them that are his, and he will bring them to know their spiritual need of the Lamb; he will give them a feeling sense of their sinfulness, their want of righteousness, and of the truth of the judgment to come.
When poor Martha was laid on a bed of affliction, a friend who knew the Lord went to see her, to whom she told the distress of' her soul. She said to him, "O my sins lie with a great weight upon my mind! O that some one would come and pray with me! I do try to beg in my poor way; but O, shall I ever find mercy?" Another person was asked to go and see her, and upon seeing him she said, "O what a sinner I am! My sins lie as a heavy burden upon my mind, and I have no hope." I said, "Perhaps you will get better, and then no doubt you will be very good." This I said to see whether it was merely natural conviction. She said, "I fear that should be worse, if possible." "But," I asked, "do you not want to see your old companions?" She answered, "I want to see none, unless they talk about the Lord." "But you did like to see them," I said. "Yes, but I did not know then that there was a God." I said, "Then you do now?" She answered, "Yes," and here the tears rolled down her cheeks, as she exclaimed, "O my sins!" On seeing this, I spoke of our state by nature and practice, of the necessity of vital religion, which every poor sinner feels when God the Holy Spirit opens his eyes, and of the freeness of mercy to every sin burdened soul.
On my visiting her a second' time, I found her in great distress; and, still in much sorrow, she, said, "O that God would give me repentance!" I then spoke of Christ, who was "exalted to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins;" and O with what eagerness did she listen to those truths which exalt the Saviour, and abase the sensible sinner! I read the hymn commencing,
"Rock of Ages, shelter me;"
and also the one,
"Father, at thy command I come."
I then spoke of Christ bearing the curse and fulfilling the law, and of the righteousness which he had wrought out, and which God the Father places to the account of the sinner, God the Holy Ghost applying it to the conscience of every poor soul whom he is pleased to favour with a feeling sense of his nakedness. At this moment her soul appeared full of joy, and she
"Wept to the praise of the mercy she'd found."
The next time I visited her, she told me that she had had a precious view of the Lord Jesus. But after this Satan was permitted to distress her. She said that Satan told her she must not beg, but, she added, "I tell him that I must." At another time, she was distressed on account of darkness and dreadful suggestions; but the dear Lord again visited her with his sovereign kindness. At one time a person said to her, "What a mercy that you have found the Lord!" to which she replied, "The Lord found me, and he found me on this bed, or I should never have known him." She was not able to speak much, as she had great difficulty in breathing.
At another time when I called to see her, she appeared as if she would soon be gone, but she was quite happy. I asked her how she expected to go to heaven, to which she replied, with great energy, "By the blood and righteousness of Christ." She said to her father, "You have been a good father to me, but I have a better Father to go to."
The last time I visited her she was labouring hard for breath. I said, "Are you still happy?" She answered, "Yes." I asked, "Is Jesus still precious?" She replied, "He is." I observed, "It is hard work." She said, "I can bear it." "Then Jesus still supports?" said I. She answered, "He does. This is nothing to what I deserve."
On Thursday she could hardly speak; and from five o'clock in the afternoon until eleven at night, she did not speak. We thought that she would never speak any more; but, ere she departed, she made a great struggle to speak. At last she burst forth, and said, "Thanks be to God, I have overcome Satan. I am clothed with a long white robe. I fear not Satan nor sin, death nor hell." She waved her hand in triumph. It fell; and, in a few moments, her soul took its flight to its Father and its God, there to sing the song of all the ransomed tribes, "Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood."
"O'er heaven's gate a motto stands engraved,
R. P. L.