What King Edward Read Just Before He Died!

 •  5 min. read  •  grade level: 8
WE do not give credence to the many stories that are circulated as to the doings of royal and other notable personages. Some of them may be true, some are undoubtedly false. But there appears to be solid foundation for what we have to say in the following pages. Our authority is a statement made at a recent meeting of the Colportage Association at Weston-super-Mare, and referred to in the November issue of "With Tongue and Pen." The statement is based upon the word of one of the late King's personal attendants.
This gentleman states that eight days before the King died he called him, and asked him to go and purchase a little book called, "The Sinner's Friend," which the King said he had read when a boy, and wished to read again.
The attendant accordingly procured a copy, and had the pleasure of seeing the King attentively reading it.
We thought that it would interest our readers to know what book the late King read as he lay upon his sick bed a week before his death. We therefore obtained a copy of it. It is a small book written many years ago by Newman Hall. It has reached its 486th edition, and has been printed in over thirty different languages. Nearly three million copies have been sold.
Briefly and pointedly many important topics are dealt with, such as "The Consequences of Sin," "Good News for Sinners," "Salvation through Faith—not by Works," "True Repentance," and so on.
One of the early chapters is entitled "Peace to a Guilty Conscience," and is based upon the narrative in Luke 7 of the sinful woman to whom the Lord Jesus said: "Thy faith hath saved thee; go in PEACE.”
"This poor woman," says the little book, " had performed no previous good works to recommend her to the Lord; but, with sincere contrition of soul, she came to Him the moment she was convinced of sin, believed in His power to pardon, and was instantly forgiven, although her sins were many.
“Now, poor sinner, here is every possible encouragement for you to do the same, in order that you may obtain the same blessing, the same mercy, the same forgiveness. Christ is as willing now, as He was eighteen hundred years ago, to welcome and pardon every self-condemned sinner who comes to Him.... It is no obstacle that your sins have been of the deepest dye, or have been continued many years; the power, the love, and mercy of Christ far exceed the sins of the whole world." Further on in the book, in a chapter entitled, "The Warning Voice of God," we find the following words “Will you not HEAR? Will you not even listen to the voice of mercy, which calls aloud to save you from eternal woe?
“O sinner! whatever situation of life you fill,... seek the Lord of glory, who is indeed the SINNER'S FRIEND.
“Think of His compassion, how He wept over the rebellious city with an agony of tenderness.... Come, then, to the feet of Jesus; plead His precious blood, and confess your sins, and all will be well.
“He beckons you with His gracious hand.... Come with a humble and a contrite heart, and though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow.' Blessed be God, for such abundant mercy for rebellious man.”
It is cheering to think of words like these, full of the grace of God, being under the eye of the late King as he lay upon his bed of suffering. But it is not as a mere matter of interest that we quote them. GOSPEL TIDINGS finds its way into many a home and into many a hospital ward, and it may be that these words from the last book read by King Edward VII will come as a message from God Jo some other sufferer in a humbler sphere of life.
But the message of mercy is not sent only to the sick, the suffering and the dying. It is addressed equally to those in the robust vigor of youth, or the prime of manhood or womanhood.
Permit me to speak plainly to: you, my reader, whoever you are. You are a sinner, and your only hope is in "The Sinner's Friend," the glorious Person, who died upon the cross for you, and who lives to-day in heaven to save and to bless all who come to Him.
Much more might be quoted from the booklet, which was perused by the dying King. But one more extract must suffice.
There is a chapter entitled "The Love of God." In support of this heading the verse which Luther used to call his "miniature Bible" is quoted from John 3:1616For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16): "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
The book Continues: “Now, reader, what have you to say to this blessed declaration, made to rich and poor, of EVERY NAME and NATION throughout the whole world?
“What excuse would you make for not accepting this gracious assurance of mercy?
“Will you plead your unworthiness? There is nothing said about worthiness or unworthiness, but it is whosoever.' Therefore it is addressed to you, to you individually, and woe be to your soul if you refuse this gracious invitation.
“Were you as holy as an archangel, this would not make you worthy of the Lord's mercy. ‘It is all of free grace... without money and without price ... ’
“The writer1 of this portion (now gray-headed, a monument of the LOVE of God) was once as far off from salvation as the vilest of the vile; but before he takes his final leave of this world, he now (as a redeemed sinner) earnestly entreats, implores, and exhorts his fellow-sinners to turn to the Lord, and seek Him while He may be found.”
May the writer of this article join his voice with that of the honored servant of Christ, whose words have been quoted, in urging every reader of these lines to flee without delay to the Savior, the Sinner's Friend, whether the sinner be a monarch on his throne, or a pauper dying beneath a workhouse blanket.
H. P. B.