Clement Theodore Perthes.

Memoirs of Frederick Perthes, or, Literary, religious, and political life in Germany, from 1789 to 1843 (Volume 2) online

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was heart-touching. He had done now with earthly things ;
he had neither eaten nor drunk anything for weeks, a tea-
spoonful of coffee was all that he was still able occasionally to
enjoy ; his own body appeared to be something detached from
himself, whose suff'erings he contemplated with compassion. He
loved his wife, his children, and all who approached him, more
and more, and often asked them to place themselves so that
he might see them all at once, but they felt that he did not
grieve at leaving them : he had entirely done with this life,
and waited in perfect composure for the last great moment.



490 LIFE OF PERTHES.

He did indeed long inexpressibly to be with God, but however
weary this mortal life now seemed, he never lost the certainty
of its blissful close. Those around him heard him exclaim,
" Thanks be to God my faith is firm, and holds in death as in
life ; for his dear Son's sake, God is merciful to me a sinner I"
On Thursday, the 18th of May, the doctor was able to tell him
that all would soon be over. He had no longer any actual
pain, and on being asked whether liis dreams were distressing,
he answered, "No, no, not now; once distressing, now delightful."
Sometimes he would pray aloud and repeat hymns in a firm
voice. But for the most part he lay there peaceful and joyful,
and the peace and joy that God had granted him, pervaded all
that were near. " When he folded his cold hands," wrote one of
his daughters, " and prayed from his inmost soul, we too were
constrained to fold our hands and pray, it was all so sublime,
so blessed, we felt as though our Lord Jesus Christ were with
us in the room." " The last conflict is severe," we find it said
in another letter, " but we see with our own eyes that he can
overcome it in love, and without pain or fear. The last enemy
loses all his terrors for us, and the resurrection seems nearer
us than the death."

About six o'clock in the evening, an intimate friend, the
court-preacher Jacobi, came in. Perthes opened his languid
eyes, and stretched out his hands to him, saying, " For the
last time ; it will soon be over, but it is a hard struggle."
About seven, Jacobi and the Doctor left him ; at eight his
breathing became slower and deeper, but without occasioning
any distress. His whole family stood round him. Perthes
had folded his hands, and for a short time prayed aloud, but
his speecli had now become inarticulate ; only the oft-repeated



SICKNESS AND DEATH. 491

words, " My Redeemer — Lord, — forgiveness," could be distin-
guished. It had now grown dark. When lights were brought
in, a great change was visible in his features, every trace of
pain was gone, his eyes shone, his whole aspect was, as it were,
transfigured, so that those around him could only think of his
bliss, not of their own sorrow. The last sounds of this world
that reached the dying ear were, " Yea, the Lord hath prepared
blessedness and joy for thee, where Christ is the Sun, the Life,
and the All in All." He drew one long last breath ; like a
lightning flash, an expression of agony passed over his face,
and then his triumph was complete. It was within a few
minutes of half-past ten. Immediately after death a look of
peace and joy settled on his face. Early on the morning of
the 22d of May he was buried in the churchyard of Gotha,
and his favourite hymn was sung around his grave :

What can molest or injure me who have in Clirist a part ?
Fill'd with the peace and grace of God, most gladly I depart.



END OF VOLUME SECOND.



EDIKliUKGH . T. CONSTARI.E, PRINTEIITO HhR IJ AJIiSTT.



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