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Old Daniel by Thomas Hodson


When Daniel was over seventy years of age, he said to a friend, |It has pleased God to take my wife to himself, and I am now an aged pilgrim near my journey's end. I have been spared to see my children's children, even to the third generation. I have five sons, twelve grandchildren, and eight great-grandchildren. I commit them all to the hand of the great God whom I serve. I pray that He will bless them, keep them all in the way to Heaven, and that I may meet them all in glory. May He help me to wait patiently here until He shall call me into Heaven through the merit of my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. God bless the Missionaries and the Mission work abundantly.|

About twelve months before his death, Daniel caused the following testimony to be written, |I was born in sin, and I lived in the practice of all kinds of iniquity. I performed the ceremonies and followed the customs of our people for many years, but I found no peace in them. Then I began to think about worshipping the one God, of whom I had heard something, but I was very ignorant and knew not how to worship Him. While I was thinking much on this subject, the Missionaries came and preached the Gospel. I heard the truth; and by their teaching I was made to understand the way of salvation. I believed on the Lord Jesus Christ with my whole heart, and then I felt that God, for the sake of Christ's merit, had pardoned all my sins. Peace and joy sprung up in my heart: and I now pray for His help to keep me from sin as long as I live. I am nearly eighty years old; my days are uncertain; I do not know when I may die. I have no delight in this world, and I hope to enter the world of glory, through the merit of the death of Christ.|

He became gradually more and more feeble, and for many weeks before he died was blind and nearly deaf. Mr Haigh, who was then at Goobbe, gives the following account: |On Saturday evening I went with Mr and Mrs Hocken to see Daniel. We found him sleeping on a mattress. He awoke soon after we entered his room, but the attendants found it difficult to make him understand who we were. He did not answer our questions, but muttered a few short sentences, and then after a long pause, he said distinctly, `O, Jesus, take me to Thyself, take me to Thyself.' When, at length, his son made him understand who we were, the good old man wept, and said, `Alas! I cannot see them.' At this moment of clearer consciousness, his son, at Mr Hocken's request, asked him if he had joy in thinking of Jesus. He replied, `Yes, great joy.'|

Mr Hocken has given the following account: |On Saturday evening, October 25th, Mr Haigh, Mrs Hocken and myself went from the Mission-house to see old Daniel. We found him lying on a mat, and covered with a white cloth. He appeared unconscious of our presence, and murmured as one in a dream, `Jesu, Swamy, (Lord), take me to Thy feet.' It was some time before he could understand who we were, and then he cried because he could not see us. The villagers crowded round the door, and watched us with almost deathly silence. I tried to draw the old man into conversation, but his mind wandered. At intervals he prayed fervently to Jesus, lingering over, and repeating many times, the name of Jesus. His mind seemed to be continually running on the thought that he should soon be with Jesus. We prayed, and made preparations for giving him the Lord's Supper. As soon as I put the sacramental bread into his hand, a flash of devout joy lighted up his face, and he lifted the bread reverently to his mouth. It was a very affecting sight to see this worthy old Christian taking the Sacrament for the last time. All his family were deeply moved. When we took leave of him he started as he took my wife's hand. He said, `This is a little one, whose is it?' They told him it was Mrs Hocken's. The old man bent over it and blessed her.|

A few days after this, while the Missionaries were away from Goobbe, Daniel died; and the Catechist gives the following account: |On the day of his death he appeared to be much better; his hearing and his sight were both partially restored. He could see anyone moving about the room. In the morning, being conscious that he was dying, he asked that all his people might come around him, and when they had assembled he exhorted them all to follow him to heaven. He said, `Give my salaam to the Missionaries, and tell them I die happy; my heart is full of love to God.' And when he had said this, he fell asleep.|


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