Recorded by Robert Young, Missionary
While residing in a British colony, as a Wesleyan minister, I was called one evening to visit a Miss D., who was said to be dying. Mrs. Young, whom Miss D. met with weekly for religious instruction, feeling a deep interest in her spiritual welfare, accompanied me to her residence. We found her in the chamber of a neat little cottage, exceedingly ill, but trusting in the merits of Jesus. After spending some time with her in conversation and prayer, we commended her to God and took our departure without the least hope of seeing her again in this life.
Soon after we left, she seemed to die. But as the usual signs of death, which so rapidly develop in that country, did not appear, her friends concluded that she was in a trance, and they anxiously waited to see the end. She remained in this state for several days, during which period we repeatedly visited her. The only indications we could perceive that life was not extinct were a slight foaming at the mouth and a little warmth around the region of the heart. She was watched with great interest both night and day; and after having been in this state for nearly a week, she opened her eyes and said, “Mr. C. is dead.”
Her attendants, thinking that she was under the influence of delirium, replied that she was mistaken, as he was not only alive, but well. “Oh no,” said she, “he is dead; for a short time ago, as I passed the gates of hell, I saw him descend into the pit, and the blue flames cover him. Mr. B. is also dead, for he arrived at heaven just as I was leaving that happy place, and I saw its beautiful gates thrown wide open to receive him and heard the host of heaven shout, “Welcome, weary pilgrim!” Mr. C. was a neighbor, and a very wicked person, but Mr. B, who lived at no great distance, was a good old man, and for many years he had been a consistent and useful member of the church of God. The parties who heard Miss D.’s startling and confident statement immediately made inquiries about the two individuals alluded to, and found, to their utter astonishment, that Mr. C. had dropped dead about half an hour before while in the act of tying his shoe; and that about the same time Mr. B. had suddenly passed into the eternal world. For the truth of these facts I do solemnly vouch. Miss D. went on to tell where she had been, and what she had seen and heard.
After being sufficiently recovered to leave the house, she paid us a visit. Mrs. Young, as well as myself, heard from her own lips the following account of what she had passed through. She informed us that at the time she was supposed to die, a celestial being conducted her into the invisible world, and mysteriously unveiled to her the realities of eternity. He took her first to heaven, but she was told that as she still belonged to time she could not be permitted to enter into that glorious place, but only to behold it. She described it as infinitely great in beauty and splendor, with a glory that no language can describe.
She saw the Savior on a throne of light and glory, surrounded by the four and twenty elders and a great multitude of beings, which no man could number (Rev. 4:2-4; 7:9). Among them she recognized patriarchs, prophets, apostles, martyrs, and also missionaries who had died in that colony, besides many others whom she mentioned. Though the angel that attended her did not name those parties, she said that seeing them was to know them. She described those heavenly spirits as being variously employed; and although she felt herself inadequate to convey any definite idea of the nature of that employment, yet it appeared to be adapted to their respective mental tastes and spiritual attainments. She also informed us that she heard the most sweet and enrapturing music, such as she had never heard before. She made several attempts to give us some idea of its melodious character but she found that her notes were too earthy. The missionaries, and other happy spirits, as they glided past her, sweetly smiled, and said they knew where she came from, and, if faithful to the grace of God, she would be admitted in a short time into their delightful society. All the orders of heaven were in perfect and blessed harmony, and appeared to be directed in all their movements by a mysterious influence proceeding from the throne of God.
SHE HAD A VIEW OF HELL.
She was next conducted to a place, which she described in the most terrific language. She declared that the horrid shrieks of lost spirits still seemed to sound in her ears. As she approached the burning pit, a tremendous effort was made to draw her into it, but she felt herself safe under the protection of her guardian angel. She recognized many in that place of torment whom she had known on earth, even some who had been thought to be Christians! There were princes and peasants, rich and poor, learned and unlearned, writhing together in a dreadful and unquenchable fire, where all earthly distinctions and titles were forever ended. Among them she beheld a Miss W., who had occupied a prominent station in society, but had died during the trance of this young woman. She said that when Miss W. saw her approach, her shrieks were appalling beyond the power of language to describe, and that she made a desperate, but unsuccessful, effort to escape.
She described the punishment of lost souls as corresponding to the sins that occasioned their condemnation. Miss W., for instance, was condemned for her love of money (which I had every reason to believe was her besetting sin). She seemed to be robed in a garment of gold, all on fire. Mr. O., whom she saw, was lost through drunkenness, and he appeared to be punished by devils administering to him some boiling liquid. She said there was no sympathy among those unhappy spirits, but that pure hatred, in all its frightful forms, prevailed in every part of the fiery regions.
She beheld parents and children, husbands and wives, and those who had been companions in sin, exhibiting every mark of deep hatred toward each other. She heard their fiendish speech upbraiding and bitterly cursing one another. She saw nothing in hell but misery and despair, and she heard nothing there but the most disagreeable sounds, accompanied with weeping and wailing, and gnashing of teeth. While she gazed upon this revolting scene, many souls arrived from earth, and were greedily seized by innumerable devils of monstrous shapes and with horrid shouts of hellish triumph, and tortured according to their sins.
This fearful view of the state of the lost agrees with the testimony of S. T., whose case is on record in Mr. Wesley’s journal (Vol. 2, pp. 22-26). She tells us that while in her trance the place of the condemned was unveiled, and she saw a vast number who stood up cursing and blaspheming God, and spitting at each other. Many were making balls of fire and throwing them at one another. She also saw many others who had cups of fire, out of which they were drinking down flames; and others who held cards of fire in their hands, and seemed to be playing with them, proving that the sins they once delighted in torment them now.
From the gates of hell Miss D. was conducted to another place, where she had a view of heaven and earth. She described the earth as appearing like a vast stage crowded with human beings and full of confusion and blood. From this stage persons were continually stepping off and others were rapidly approaching its edge, and would very soon disappear. Among them was Mrs. L., an intimate friend of ours, who died two weeks later. Other persons, whom she named, were viewed as near the edge of the stage; and although they were quite well when she made this communication, they did in every case shortly afterwards leave this probationary life.
One of the days in which Miss D. lay entranced was the Lord’s Day. She told us that she knew where I and my colleague preached that day; and from each chapel she saw holy incense rise, which she described as mingling together and coming up before the throne, then taken by the Savior and presented to the Father, while angels and all the company of heaven rejoiced together. She also stated that during one of Mrs. Young’s visits to the house where she laid entranced, she saw her sitting by her bedside, reading to the family a chapter out of John’s Gospel, and then saw her kneel down and pray with them. She related to us that physical, material matter does not obstruct the vision or movements of spiritual beings.
She was next taken to a place where she was permitted to see the moral state of the world. A lady, holding a prominent position in the church, was seen sitting under a tree of the most luxuriant and beautiful foliage, with a long tube in her mouth, through which she was drawing people to her. The conducting angel informed Miss D. that the tube indicated the power of this woman’s persuasive language; the foliage of the tree was her religious profession, and its trunk was the state of her heart. Looking at the trunk, she saw that its core was rotten and full of venomous reptiles. Miss D. told this afterwards to the lady in question, and from her unchristian temper on that occasion, and her subsequent conduct, she fully proved the correctness of the vision.
Another lady, a professor of religion, highly respected for her apparent piety, was represented to her as having yielded to temptation and withdrawn her heart from God. When her backsliding was announced in the world of spirits, Miss D. looked toward the Savior and thought she saw the appearance of blood trickling from His wounds, as if “crucified afresh” (Heb. 6:6). When Miss D. was at our house, she sent for this person, and in the presence of Mrs. Young and myself, told her the above; and, according to her penitential acknowledgement, but to our utter astonishment, it was a correct view of her state.
Miss D. also saw the moral condition and perilous circumstances of a young man brought to her view. He was in possession of religion, but was seen assailed by a very plausible temptation, and would make shipwreck of his faith if he did not resist it. She made this disclosure to him also in our presence, and after some evasion on the subject, he appeared greatly agitated, and declared that such was his temptation, although he had not mentioned it to anyone. For some time he resisted it but he finally fell into the snare of temptation, and his sad experience proved the correctness of Miss D.’s communication.
A lady was represented to her as attired in the purest white and surrounded by a number of little children, whom she was striving to wash in pure water, that they too might be white and clean. The angel told her that the lady’s robe was symbolic of her purity of heart and her holiness of life, and that her employment symbolized the nature and effects of her exertions in the church of God. I was well acquainted with this lady and could bear witness to the correctness of this vision, for she was in my opinion one of the holiest of women and was exceedingly useful to children and young people. She was indeed the honorable instrument of bringing many of them to God.
She described another lady as standing at the entrance of the path leading to eternal life, with a book in her hand, and crying to the giddy multitude,
“Come back – this is the way; come back, and walk therein.”
This lady, who was well known to the writer, had made many sacrifices for the cause of Christ, and was doing what she could to bring poor wanderers back to God.
According to the testimony of Miss D., she knew without being informed the various beings she met in the world of spirits. It appears to be a region of knowledge intuitively obtained, without any laborious effort or inquiry. This view of the subject is calculated to strike terror into the hearts of those who, by their neglect or influence, destroy souls; as it supposes that they will know their victims when they meet them in the world lying beyond the grave. But it is also a view well adapted to excite pleasurable emotions in the breast of those who turn many to righteousness, as it encourages the hope of their recognizing their spiritual children.
The opinion seems correct that the inhabitants of eternity know what is taking place in this world. The temptations presented by wicked spirits, the guardianship of angelic beings (Psa. 34:7; 91:11), the cloud of witnesses represented by the apostle as looking from their place of rest upon Christians running the race set before them (Heb.12:1), and the joy felt in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents (Luke 15:10), certainly countenances this opinion very strongly. This also agrees with Miss D.’s statement, for she told us most distinctly that the state and circumstances of the population of the earth were fully known to the inhabitants of the other world. How startling is the thought that the earth is without a covering to obscure the view of eternity! How circumspectly ought we to walk! “Not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil” (Eph. 5:15-16).
One of the persons that Miss D. saw in torment had been in the habit of violating the Lord’s Day through matters of worldly business. I more than once reproved her for it, warned her of her danger, and exhorted her to flee from the wrath to come. She acknowledged the propriety of my remarks, but like many others, pleaded for her secular engagements, and expressed a hope that she would soon be able to retire from business and attend to her soul! Unhappy woman! Procrastination has ruined many souls, and it ruined hers; for while she was about to realize all that her earthly mind had long and ardently desired, the messenger of death suddenly and unexpectedly blighted all her hopes and abruptly put an end to her mortal life. Miss D. saw her lifting up her eyes in hell, being in torments. O, that mortal human beings were wise; that they understood this, that they would consider their latter end!
Miss D. lived about three years after her trance, and then died happy in the Lord. Reader, to what place does the road that you are traveling lead to?
A Vision by a Wesleyan Lady was revised, and may be reproduced and distributed.
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