An Appeal to the Youth

3/35

BRIEF NARRATIVE OF THE LIFE, EXPERIENCE, AND LAST SICKNESS OF HENRY N. WHITE

By Adelia P. Patten

“Sweet is the scene when virtue dies,
When sinks a youthful saint to rest;
How mildly beam the closing eyes!
How gently heaves the expiring breast!”
APYO 16.1

A large circle of friends have been called to mourn, and to sympathize with the afflicted family of Elder James White, on account of the death of Henry, their eldest son, and brother. He died in Topsham, Maine, December 8, 1863. Having been a member of the family for nearly two years, I give, by request, a brief sketch of his life, experience, and the events connected with his last sickness. APYO 16.2

Henry was born in Gorham, Maine, August 26, 1847. In October following, his parents removed to Topsham, Maine, and occupied a part of the house owned by their much-esteemed friend and brother in Christ, Stockbridge Howland. APYO 16.3

In December of the same year, Henry was taken sick with inflammation of the lungs, and all who saw him thought his recovery doubtful. One evening he appeared to be fast failing, and it seemed that he must die. It was then, when all earthly means failed, that his parents presented his case before the great Physician, trusting in his power and willingness to save their beloved child. They spent much of the night in prayer. While pleading with God to spare his life, he fell into a sweet sleep, and from that hour began to recover. APYO 16.4

His parents felt it to be their duty to give themselves up unreservedly to labor in the cause of God. And as Frances H. Howland, the eldest daughter of the family, cheerfully accepted the charge, they decided to leave Henry in her care. It was a sacrifice to give up the company of their child; but as God had heard their prayers, and spared his life, they felt that it would be wrong to let him stand in the way of their duty, by excusing themselves from traveling on his account. Especially was it a great trial for the mother to leave her only child. She well remembers the expression of his sad, yet very beautiful little face, as he was brought to the carriage at the door to receive the parting kiss. She was about to leave him when only one year old, for another to exercise a mother’s part. As the carriage drove away, she found relief in tears, and was sustained by living faith that He who had called the parents to labor in his cause, would bless the child. He remained with this kind family, and they had the entire care of him, for five years. As he grew older, his sweet disposition, and the affection he had ever manifested for his friends, endeared him to all who knew him. APYO 17.1

When six years old, he had an attack of fever. And when he had partially recovered from it, his parents, who at that time resided in Rochester, N.Y., thought that a change of climate might benefit his health, and took him under their care. His health improved. APYO 18.1

The affectionate parents have often felt grieved that their pilgrim life has obliged them to be absent from their children so much. And while at home it has ever been their aim to educate them for usefulness, and to bring them up in the fear of the Lord. And when away, the children have received by letter numerous tokens of the anxiety of their parents for their welfare, urging them to adhere to correct principles, and instructing them how to form characters, not only for this life, but for the life to come. APYO 18.2

The father’s life has been one of care, and as has borne the triple burden of preacher, editor, and the leading business of the cause with which he has been connected, the tender mother has found opportunities, though many of them very poor, while traveling, to write to her children. Some of her letters are given in the last part of this pamphlet. They were written hastily for her children only, without a thought that they would be made public. This makes them still more worthy of publication, as in them is more clearly seen the real feelings and sentiments of a godly mother. APYO 18.3

For a number of years past their mother has spent much time in reading to them on the Sabbath from her large amount of choice selections of moral and religious matter, a portion of which she has recently published in the work entitled, Sabbath Readings. Reading to them before they could readily read themselves, gave them a love for useful reading, and they have spent many leisure hours, especially the Sabbath hours, when not at Sabbath School and meeting, in perusing good books, with which they were well supplied. APYO 19.1

It has been a source of satisfaction to the parents, and those connected with the family, to see the fruits of such labor manifested in the good deportment of the children, and more especially in the triumphant and happy death of him whom they have recently laid in the grave. APYO 19.2

In their absence, the parents have always endeavored to leave with their children persons of the best moral and religious influence, who have enjoyed the love and respect of the children. Henry especially always manifested a cheerful obedience to his mother’s wishes, and a tender regard for her feelings. His prospects in life were fair. He was aspiring, and seemed determined to excel in scholarship. So far as his parents saw that his mind was well balanced with religious principles, they were willing to indulge him in his persevering efforts in study. He possessed an uncommon love for music, and during the last few years of his life he applied himself very closely to its study and practice. He would often study till late in the evening, until persuaded not to do so for fear of injuring his health. He loved the society of the educated and refined, and in return shared their highest regards for his intelligence and manliness. APYO 20.1

During the winter of 1862-3, the church at Battle Creek enjoyed a season of revival, and thirteen youthful members were added to their number. Henry and his brother, James Edson, were among the little believing company who followed their Lord in baptism. APYO 20.2

In the summer of 1863, the parents made arrangements for a journey to New England. For the benefit of the children, who had attended three terms of school in succession, and especially for the improvement of the health of the two youngest, it was decided that they should accompany their parents. Accordingly they all left home, August 19. They stopped at Olcott, N.Y., held a two-days’ meeting, and enjoyed a pleasant visit with old friends - the families of Lindsey, Gaskill, and others. Henry and Edson were much pleased to find here an instrument of music. In company with friends, the family enjoyed a boat-ride on lake Ontario. Henry and his brothers sung “The Evergreen Shore,” and several other pieces. The music of his clear, full, tenor voice upon the water in connection with the others, will not soon be forgotten by the surviving ones who enjoyed the delightful excursion. The kindness of these dear friends, and their efforts to make the visit pleasant for the children, will be held in grateful remembrance. APYO 20.3

The principal object for which Elder White went East, was the publication of Charts of the prophecies and ten commandments. From New York they proceeded to Boston, where the work was executed. The children here had opportunity to visit several places of interest while their father was procuring material, and engaging artists to do the work. Brethren R.G. Lockwood and Henry O. Nichols, who are quite at home traveling through the city of Boston and vicinity, accompanied Henry and his brothers to principal places of interest, such as the Missionary Rooms, Public Gardens, Glass Works, Bunker Hill Monument, Prospect Hill, the State House, etc., with which they were greatly delighted. APYO 21.1

From Boston the family went to Topsham, Maine. Here, at his old home, Henry was affectionately and joyfully welcomed by those who had formerly cared for him. They soon purchased a new melodeon, and the same old mansion in which a dozen years before was heard the innocent, merry laugh of the beautiful, prattling little Henry, now resounded with music of the instrument from his skillful touch, mingled with his own sweet voice. APYO 22.1

After a short visit, the parents left their three sons here, to go and hold meetings in New Hampshire, Vermont, and New York, and from thence intended to return to Michigan for a short time. The children accompanied their parents to the depot, and before the family parted, Henry, Edson, and Willie, by request, sung “The Evergreen Shore,” much to the gratification of the crowd waiting for another train. The whistle was heard, the “good- by” and “farewell” were said, and away sped the train, bearing the parents on their mission of love, and leaving the children again without their watchcare. APYO 22.2

The special blessings of the Lord attended them on this mission. But while in Brookfield, N.Y., Elder White received impressions from a dream, which led him to feel that all was not well with the children, and that they must return to Maine without delay. Each day they anxiously waited the arrival of the mail, but news from Topsham reported “all well.” This did not satisfy their minds, and in accordance with their convictions of duty, when they had filled their appointments, they immediately returned to their children. APYO 23.1

The day before they reached Topsham, Henry came in from his work in the afternoon, and threw himself upon the sofa, and said that he never felt such gloom resting upon his mind before in all his life. He said that it was not anything he had done which caused such feelings, but that it seemed to him that something dreadful was about to happen. The next day brother and sister White reached Topsham, and found their three sons at the depot waiting for them. When the cars stopped, Henry bounded through the crowd with more than usual activity, and embraced his mother most affectionately, while in her heart she thanked God for such a son. From the depot they went directly to brother Howland’s house, and when the excitement of meeting was over, Henry asked the company to listen to one of his favorite pieces, “Home Again,” so appropriate for the occasion, which he played and sung. In four days from this time, which was December 1st, he was taken sick with lung fever. He failed rapidly. From his room in the chamber he was carried into one of the lower front rooms, which was the very one where sixteen years before, when but an infant, he was apparently brought to the point of death. APYO 23.2

On the morning of the 2nd,in faithful conversation with him, his mother said to him that life was uncertain, and that persons violently attacked as he had been were frequently deprived of their reason, and if he had anything to say, he had better improve the present opportunity. He said that he felt unprepared to die, and requested his parents to pray for him. After they had prayed for him, he called his brothers to him. He embraced them, and told them he had not always treated them as a brother should have done, and wept as he asked their forgiveness. The scene was most touching, as brothers were embraced in each other’s arms weeping aloud and confessing to each other. In the evening he requested that all the family should have a praying season in his room. This was a most solemn and affecting time. He feared that on account of his unfaithfulness as a professed Christian, God would not look upon him with approbation. He was pointed to the sinner’s Friend, and was told that Christ came to save just such sinners as he was, and that if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father - that he must rely wholly upon the merits of Christ. Then he said,“O Lord, forgive my sins, and accept me as thine.” With deep feeling he repeated these lines several times, “Here, Lord, I give myself away, ‘Tis all that I can do.” APYO 24.1

He entreated the forgiveness of God that he had not formed a better Christian character, and set a better example before the world. He then expressed a desire to recover, that he might show his gratitude to his faithful parents, and live a Christian life. He said that his great failure had been in neglect of secret prayer. He thought that if his life could be spared, he might be a blessing to the young. APYO 25.1

While thus engaged in conversation and prayer, the Spirit of the Lord rested upon him, and upon all in the room, and he felt that his confessions were accepted of God, and he praised the Lord for his goodness. APYO 25.2

On the morning of the 3rd, his friends were alarmed by the discharge of blood from his nose and mouth. From this time forward he expressed but little desire to get well. He said to his mother, as she was attending him, “Promise me, mother, that if I die I may be taken to Battle Creek, and laid by the side of my little brother, John Herbert, that we may come up together in the morning of the resurrection.” He was assured that his wishes should be gratified. APYO 26.1

He told his mother that he had sometimes felt that too much restraint had been put upon him. “But,” said he, “mother, you have not been any too strict. I now realize that I was in danger, and am glad you said as much as you did. I wish I had heeded your advice more faithfully.” APYO 26.2

On the 4th he carefully reviewed the events of his life, mourning over his imperfections, still pleading with God for pardon and acceptance. From this time he seemed to enjoy peace of mind and the blessing of God. He often requested his parents to pray for him, not that he might get well, but that he might feel his acceptance with God every moment. He grew weaker, and could not speak above a whisper. APYO 26.3

On the 5th, burdened with grief, his father retired to a place of prayer, and afterward returned to the sick room, feeling the assurance that God would do all things well, and thus expressed himself to his suffering son. At this his countenance seemed to light up with a heavenly smile, and he nodded his assent and whispered, “Yes, he will.” He suffered much through the night, but seemed to bear all with patience. APYO 27.1

On the morning of the 6th he said that he had enjoyed more of the blessing of God for the past two days, than ever before in all his life. APYO 27.2

He realized that many were the dangers of the young, and seemed to have no desire to live. As he expected to die, he said that though for some time he might lie unconscious in the grave, yet it would seem to him to be but a moment, and would be the same to him as if he went to heaven immediately. He felt that he could not live long, and wished to dictate a few lines to the young as follows: APYO 27.3

“I consider it a privilege before I sleep to say a few words to my young friends. My age is sixteen years. I was baptized and united with the church last winter. I mourn over my unfaithfulness and lack of devotion in the good cause. I believe that God has laid the hand of affliction upon me, to save me; and if I go down to the grave now, I have a good hope of coming up with the saints in the first resurrection. APYO 27.4

“I would appeal to all my young friends, to not let the pleasures or accomplishments of the world eclipse the loveliness of the Saviour. Remember that the death-bed is a poor place to prepare for an inheritance in the second life. Spend the best of your days in serving the Lord. Farewell.” APYO 28.1

After this he wished to say especially to his young friends in Battle Creek these words, “Don’t take my life for an example! Give up the world and be Christians.” APYO 28.2

In the evening, as one of his sinking spells was coming on, all thought that in a few minutes his heaving bosom would be at rest. He gave each one an affectionate farewell, as they listened to catch each precious whisper. APYO 28.3

He inquired for his brothers, and said as they came to his side, “Eddie, I shall not be a brother to you any more; never give up trying to do right; a death-bed is a poor place for repentance.” To his youngest brother he said, “Willie, be a good boy, obey your parents, and meet me in Heaven - don’t mourn after I am dead.” While in calmness and composure of mind he was taking his farewell, his father said, “God can make a sick room one of the happiest places on earth.” The cheerful sufferer replied, “Yes, I know that from experience.” APYO 28.4

He felt anxious, lest some one might be away weeping, and inquired for his mother, and said, “O my dear mother, may God comfort her.” After this he inquired if the physician was coming soon, and said there was not much need of a physician then. His mother asked him if he suffered pain, and he replied that he did not. He called his father and said, “Father, you are losing your son. You will miss me, but don’t mourn. It is better for me. I shall escape being drafted, and shall not witness the seven last plagues. To die so happy is a privilege.” He said that music had been his greatest earthly pleasure, and asked Edson to play “Mount Vernon” for him on the melodeon. Edson went into the parlor and complied with his request, and on his return Henry said, “Music in heaven will be sweeter than that.” Among other directions, he requested that his brother should take special care of a piece of music which he had arranged from hearing it sung in Western New York. See pages 34,35. He wished to tender his sincere thanks to the sexton of the church, which stood on the opposite side of the street, for not disturbing him by ringing the bell as long as usual at their hours of service during the day. APYO 29.1

He thought of Mr. Collier, his teacher, under whose instructions he applied himself as a student for a year previous to leaving Battle Creek, and requested that some one would inform him of his sickness and death. After this he seemed to revive. He slept for a short time, and then passed a restless night. APYO 30.1

On the morning of the 7th he expressed a wish to die, fearing that if he lived he would not be able to escape the many dangers to which the young are exposed. His father told him that he must be submissive to the will of God - that it would be blessed to live to do good in his service, and blessed to die in the Lord. To this he submissively assented. APYO 30.2

During the day and the night following, his sufferings were great. For about ten minutes his mind seemed to be wandering. His father sat near him and supported him in his arms, praying for him, and trying to soothe and comfort him, and he was soon restored to his former clear and peaceful state of mind. He seemed most happy thus supported in his father’s arms, and manifested the strongest attachment for him, and seemed unwilling for his father to leave him for a moment. APYO 30.3

December 8th, a short time before his death he said to his mother, “Mother, I shall meet you in heaven in the morning of the resurrection, for I know you will be there.” He then beckoned to his brothers, parents, and friends, and gave them all a parting kiss, after which he pointed upward and whispered, “Heaven is sweet.” These were his last words. APYO 31.1

And when he could not whisper, he expressed the power of that grace which sustained him in a dying hour, by waving his hand upward, while a heavenly smile beamed upon his countenance. His breath grew shorter, and without a struggle he sank in death at half-past one, p.m. His sufferings were over. At an early hour his work on earth had ended. It was indeed a trying day for the afflicted family, yet the thought that their dear son and brother was enabled to calmly resign himself into the hands of his heavenly Father - that the presence of the Saviour cheered him as he entered the dark valley, and that henceforth there is laid up for him a crown of righteousness, sustained them. At the request of friends, Elder M.E. Cornell, then at Haverhill, Massachusetts, was sent for, and funeral services were held in the Baptist church. APYO 31.2

According to his request, Henry was brought to Battle Creek in a Metalic Burial Casket, and agreeably to the wishes of many friends, appropriate funeral services were held. A large congregation were addressed by one of the Elders of the Battle Creek church, which address has since been written for publication. APYO 32.1

One interesting feature of the occasion was the order in which the students of the public school, accompanied by the teachers, came to pay their last token of regard for one of their number whom they loved. As the speaker proceeded with his remarks, the congregation were moved to tears. One in the bright morning of youth, whose course of life had won their highest regard, had closed his eyes in death, cheered by those sacred hopes and promises whose attractive light ever takes from the joys of earth their delusive brightness. The exercises were closed with singing by the school - APYO 32.2

“One sweet flower has drooped and faded,
One sweet youthful voice has fled,
One fair brow the grave has shaded,
One dear schoolmate now is dead.”
APYO 32.3

After the last look had been taken, a large procession of sympathizing friends followed to Oak Hill Cemetery, where the lifeless form of noble Henry was laid by the side of a little brother, there to rest till the Life-giver returns to bring them from the land of the enemy. APYO 32.4

Dear youthful reader, have you a hope sufficient to sustain you in a dying hour? If you are in health to-day, remember that you are in the land of the dying, and you know not how soon you may be summoned to pass through the dark valley. Till the time of his last sickness, the glow of health had been upon Henry’s countenance; but in one short week the roses faded from his cheeks, and were removed by the icy hand of death. Should this be your lot, you will need the sustaining grace of Him who has passed the dark shades before you, and rose victorious from the tomb. Be admonished by the dying counsel of this dear youth, to secure the favor of God without delay. Then if life is spared, you can be happy in the service of the Lord, and a blessing to those around you; and if you are called to sleep, be among those who will have part in the resurrection to that life and that inheritance where sickness and death will never cast their gloomy shades. APYO 33.1

Music Page

Music Page

The Pilgrim Band

On Jordan’s stormy banks I stand, And cast a wishful eye To Canaan’s fair and happy land, Where my possessions lie. Chorus. Oh the transporting, rapturous scene, That rises to my sight! Sweet fields arrayed in living green, And rivers of delight. Chorus. There gen’rous fruits that never fail, On trees immortal grow; There rocks and hills and brooks and vale, With milk and honey flow. Chorus. All o’er those wide, extended plains, Shines one eternal day. There Christ the sun forever reigns, And scatters night away. Chorus. No chilling winds, or poisonous breath Can reach that healthful shore: Sickness and sorrow, pain and death, Are felt and feared no more. Chorus. When shall I reach that happy place, And be forever blest? When shall I see my Father’s face, And in his kingdom rest? Chorus. There on those high and flowery plains, Our spirits nee’er shall tire; But in perpetual, joyful strains, Redeeming love admire. Chorus. APYO 36.1

Music Page - The Evergreen Shore

Music Page - Evergreen Shore Concluded

The Evergreen Shore

We are joyously voyaging over the main,
Bound for the evergreen shore,
Whose inhabitants never of sickness complain,
And never see death any more.
APYO 39.1

Chorus. -
Then let the hurricane roar,
It will the sooner be o’er;
We will weather the blast,
And will land at last,
Safe on the evergreen shore.
APYO 39.2

We have nothing to fear from the wind and the wave,
Under our Saviour’s command;
And our hearts in the midst of the dangers are brave;
For Jesus will bring us to land.
Chorus. - Then let, etc.
APYO 39.3

Both the winds and the waves our Commander controls;
Nothing can baffle his skill:
And his voice when the thundering hurricane rolls,
Can make the loud tempest be still.
Chorus. - Then let, etc.
APYO 39.4

In the thick murky night, when the stars and the moon,
Send not a glimmering ray,
Then the light of his countenance, brighter than noon,
Will drive all our terror away.
Chorus. - Then let, etc.
APYO 39.5

Let the high heaving billow and mountainous wave,
Fearfully overhead break;
There is one by our side that can comfort and save;
There’s One who will never forsake.
Chorus. - then let, etc.
APYO 39.6