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thanks to Him that liveth and was dead, and hath the keys of hell and of death, that he had given our dear brother, as we could hope, the final victory over all disappointment, sorrow, and sin.
“As soon as the news of his death was heard, all the flags of the different consuls were seen at half mast. His funeral was attended at four P. M. At his grave, a part of the chapter in Corinthians respecting the resurrection was read in Italian, and a prayer offered in English, in presence of a more numerous and orderly concourse of people, than we have ever witnessed on a similar occasion. His remains sweetly slumber in a garden connected with one of our houses.
“As for ourselves we feel that we have lost our elder brother. Our house is left unto us desolate. To die, we doubt not, has been infinite gain to him, but to us the loss seems at present irreparable. He cheered us in the social circle, he reproved us when we erred, he strengthened us by his prayers, exhortations, and counsels. The Board of Missions will feel the loss, perhaps, not less than we. Another servant, with talents like his for explaining and enforcing the doctrines of the Gospel, and who shall be able to preach fluently in most of the languages heard in this country, will not soon be found. But the Lord of the Harvest has resources of which we know but little. To him let us still repair, and pray in hope.”
Such was the end of this beloved, devoted missionary. Few possess such a rare combination of qualities adapted to the missionary work. It is not an exaggerated statement which Mr. Goodell has made in remarking that,—"He possessed a vigorous constitution, a discriminating judgment, an ardent spirit of enterprise, an entire devotedness to the service of his Lord, a facility of acquiring the languages and learning the customs of the people, and a happy talent in accommodating himself to times,
and places, and companies. If to this rare assemblage we add his long experience, it only awakens us to a more affecting sense of our loss. He had made such attainments in Italian, French, Modern Greek, and Arabic, that he could preach in all these languages the unsearchable riches of Christ, and “his doctrine dropped as the rain, and his speech distilled as the dew." If any one trait of his ministerial character was more prominent than the rest, it was a remarkable aptness to teach, a trait discovered from the first attempts he made to give religious instruction.
To those, and many there are, who are left to mourn what seems to us his untimely death, there are not wanting circumstances of a truly alleviating nature. He did not, like Martyn, die alone among strangers. A kind Providence brought him to the bosom of a beloved family, where every attention was given him which Christian kindness and friendship could afford. “It seems a great mercy,” says Mr. Goodell, “that he died with us, and not abroad among strangers. This he often mentioned with thankfulness in the course of his illness. It appeared a comfort to have us about him, to converse with him, read to him, pray for him, and strengthen his faith in God. We administered to his wants. We had also the opportunity of listening to his dying counsels, of witnessing his dying behavior, of giving a satisfactory account
of his last
hours to his friends, and of improving the event in this place in our public discourses, and in our intercourse with the natives, to deepen the solemn impressions, which were made on the minds of any. "Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints,' and in infinite wisdom and goodness does he order all the circumstances of their removal from us.”
Already had Mr. Fisk gained upon the affections of many in that land of strangers. He was esteemed, he was reverenced, he was lamented. “Some of the
Arabs,” says Mr. G., “were deeply affected, as they stood around his dying bed. They were amazed at his peace of mind, and could not conceive it possible, how any one could be so willing to die. They wept. We explained to them the cause of his tranquillity and joy, related to them much of his religious views and experience, and told them of Christ and heaven. Indeed we sometimes felt that Christ and heaven were present. It seemed but one step 'to Him that sitteth upon the throne, and to the Lamb, where God himself wipes away all tears.
“The chamber where the good man meets his fate,
On the day that Mr. Fisk died, as soon as the intelligence of his death was communicated, Mr. Goodell says,—“The Arabs assembled at an early hour to mourn- with us. And though I was very feeble, yet I spent as much of the day, as I was able, in conversing with the people. I read to them various portions of the Holy Scriptures concerning heaven, and the happiness, glory, and worship of the world above; and told them, we had good reason to believe, that our dear brother was no longer a sinner or a sufferer, but was holy and happy; his tears forever wiped away, clothed in a robe clean and white, singing with saints and angels, and worshipping God and the Lamb. Some of them smote upon their breasts—again they wept—said one, "Who will now preach the Gospel to us? I have heard no one explain the word of God like Mr. Fisk.'"
People of different nations and languages witnessed the dying behavior of this devoted missionary, and followed him to his grave weeping. They felt that they had lost a friend. Such was the favorable impression that his godly life and conver
sation had made on their minds. They respected him, and mourned for him.
The last precious memorials of this beloved servant of God, are two short epistles, which he dictated to his fellow laborers, Messrs. King and Temple, and one to his father, a few days before his death.
TO REV. JONAS KING.
“Beyroot, Thursday, October 20, 1825. “My beloved brother King.-Little did we think, when we parted, that the first or nearly the first intelligence concerning me, would be the news of my death. Yet, at present, this is likely to be the
I write you as from my dying bed. The Saviour whom I have so imperfectly served, I trust now grants me his aid; and to his faithful care I commit my immortal spirit. May your life be prolonged, and be made abundantly useful. Live life of prayer. Let your conversation be in heaven. Labor abundantly for Christ. Whatever treatment you meet with, whatever difficulties you encounter, whatever vexations fall to your lot, and from whatever source, possess your soul in patience; yea, let patience have her perfect work. I think of you now in my dying moments, and remember many happy hours we have spent together. And I die in the glorious hope of meeting you where we shall be freed from all sin. Till that happy meeting, dear brother, farewell!
“I have lost a friend, a brother," said Mr. King, “the beloved companion of my studies, and missionary labors in the Holy Land! Very pleasant hast thou been unto me.-Dear Fisk and Parsons! They were lovely and pleasant in their lives, and in their death not long divided.' Now their labors
and trials are ended! They behold the unveiled glories of the Son of God.”
“In their death not long divided.”—This fact forcibly suggests the closing paragraph of that mutual, solemn covenant* into which they entered wher it was settled that they were to labor together, and which is as follows;
“And while we take this covenant upon ourselves, it is with earnest prayer, that in life we may long be united, and in death not far divided."
TO REV. DANIEL TEMPLE, MALTA.
“Beyroot, Thursday, October 20, 1825. “My beloved brother Temple.-On the confines of eternity, as I suppose, I send you a last token of my love, and a last farewell. Viewing myself, as I now do, a dying man, the great and holy cause, in which we are engaged, presents itself to my mind with indescribable importance. We have both had slight disappointments and troubles in our work, but they are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be, as we trust, revealed in us. At this solemn moment, I seem unable to recollect any thing that deserves the name of trial, disappointment, or sacrifice. The history of my life has been a history of mercies, and of sins! My only hope is in the unmerited mercy of Christ. I trust that, for sixteen or seventeen years, I have found his service pleasant, and him a faithful and gracious Master, though I have been constantly violating his laws, and wandering from his presence.
“I wish you a long and useful life, and much communion with Christ. My kindest love to Mrs. Temple. My prayer is, that you may long live and be happy together; and the Lord grant, that your children may be early sanctified by his grace, and
* Doe Memoir of Parsons.