A Growing In Grace Testimonial
Dying Words of Eliza W., 1818
(Taken from the magazine "Gospel Visitant", 1818)
(Introduction to the letter by Hosea Ballou, editor of the magazine)
The following letter was written by a young woman in the last stage of an incurable disease, to a female friend, with whom she had had some previous conversation on the doctrine of Universal Salvation. The writer, it seems, had uniformly opposed the doctrine; her friend had argued in favour of it, and professed her belief in it. During the sickness of the writer, and but a few hours before her death, she wrote this letter to her friend, expressing her firm belief in the doctrine which she before disputed, and detailing the treatment she received in consequence of her avowal of her faith.
Hosea Ballou, Jan. 1, 1818
I am confident that this is the last time ever I shall be beyond the reach of friends; but I could not be fully composed until I had written to you, for in your last letter to me you reprimanded me for my opinions respecting the salvation of all men. This I could not well reconcile. You observe, the purchase was for all, through the blood of Christ.
I have, since my confinement, been visited with an evidence, that there is a fullness in Christ for every son and daughter of Adam.
Doctor P. has visited me a number of time, to endeavor to convince me that I am in error. The Baptists and Free-will Baptists have likewise been to see me. They all consider me as fast hastening to eternity; and when I awake in another world, they tell me, it will be the ambassadors of hell that will bear my immortal spirit to their infernal abode, if I do not renounce the belief of the salvation of all men. And further, they express a great desire about my poor soul, and are searching with all diligence to know what led my mind at first to think of so wicked a principle. (Doctrine of the Salvation of all mankind.)
Thursday Morning.--I perceive that I am every moment drawing towards my dissolution. There is a plain alteration in me since I began to write.
Dr. P. made me a visit yesterday, and finding me firm and unshaken, left me with these words; "Eliza, you still persist in your cursed, damnable doctrine: but my prayers are, that you may be convinced of your error, before it shall be eternally too late, and flee from the wrath to come. To all appearance, Eliza, you may never behold the rising of another sun; and then your poor, immortal soul must sink in eternal despair, if you do not renounce your awful doctrine." Dear Martha, as I never heard a Universalist preach, nor one talk, except yourself, and that better than a year ago, you must think my mind has been wrought upon by the Almighty, or I never could have been changed. I thank and adore his holy name, of his infinite goodness to me, in bringing me from darkness into the paths of light, life and that peace and happiness which is without end.
I wish my paper was larger, but my friends withhold it from me. You will find this almost unintelligible, for I am so weak that I have to rest almost every word.
It would be impossible for me to describe to you the calmness of my mind, while meditating on death, since the glorious period of my being brought to the fulness and mercy of Jesus Christ my Redeemer, in his offering for me and all mankind. Here is love which is stronger than death.
At the age of twenty-two, I am cut off from the circles of the world, from my companions and friends, and brought to a dying bed. Even in this situation, I am happy beyond expression, in the joys of my Saviour.
Martha, may this be a careful lesson to you, to put your trust in Christ, and never repine at the dispansation of providence, let you lot be as it may, in life.
I wish you to come to B---(probably Boston), as soon as you receive this; for you are the only sister that will own me, on this side of heaven. There I hope to meet those who now disown me and persecute me, even while on the verge of eternity, the only believer, who put my trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men.--Farewell.
P.S. May the faithful promulgators of Christ pray for one, that is left alone, to travel through the troubles and trials of life, to her Saviour's arms.