King's Business - 1913-10

True Stories of Conversion Doctor Valpy’s Verse

S OME years ago an esteemed cor­ respondent called our attention to incidents related in the biog­ raphy of Dr. William Marsh respect­ ing the well-known verse of Dr. Valpy: In peace let me resign my breath, And thy salvation see! My sins deserve eternal death—• But Jesus died for me! The biography (which was written by Dr. Marsh’s daughter, our friend Miss Marsh, the author of “Memorials of Captain Hedley Vicars”) records that Dr. Marsh received the verse from Dr. Valpy, and after reciting it in a Bible-reading at Lord Roden’s seat, Tollymore Bark, he was asked by Lord Roden to write out the lines for him. This was done, and Lord Roden fastened the paper over the mantel-piece in his study. Some time after, General Taylor, a survivor of Waterloo, when visiting Lord Roden, was greatly impressed by the verse. He was a man who pre­ ferred to avoid all discussion of re­ ligion; but he was converted through the verse, frequently quoted it, and died with the words upon his lips. In after years Lord Roden told the story at the house of a neighbor. A young relative of the family, a Crim­ ean officer, was a listener; and al­ though at the time he turned careless­ ly away, the words proved to be God’s message to his soul, and some months after, when on his deathbed, he sent for Lord Roden and acknowledged the fact, at the same time repeating the familiar lines. Towards the end of his fruitful life, Dr. Marsh was visited for the last time by an old friend, Mr. Fuller Mait­ land- In the course of a conversation designed to lead his friend to the Sa­ viour, Dr. Marsh quoted Dr. Valpy?s

verse. Mr. Maitland saw its force and said: “I must learn that.” Dr. Marsh accordingly wrote the words down for him, and as he received the paper Mr. Maitland said: “I shall keep it near my heart,” where it was found after his death. The above striking facts were set forth in The Christian for April 10, 1902. We are interested to note that in an article in last week’s Record, Canon Dyson Hague, of London, Ont., after reciting the chief points of the story, adds the following sequel:— “1 was telling this story in my ser­ mon in St. Paul’s, Halifax, but as I began to tell it I noticed that an old gentleman, a representative of one of the oldest families in Nova Scotia, who was sitting in a pew not far from the pulpit, just in front of me, was being overcome with an extraordinary emotion. As I went on telling the story, there was no doubt that it had in some way seized upon the very soul of the listener. And when at last I came to the part about the Crimean officer, I thought that the old gentle­ man would have almost cried out in the church, so deeply was he affected. The sermon ended with the story. Af­ ter the singing of the hymn I went into the vestry. I had scarcely got there when a knock was heard at the door, and the old gentleman, with emotion still evident, came and said: ‘Where did you get that story?’ Then, with tears streaming from his eyes, he told me his story. Years ago, when he was a young man, careless and indifferent in matters of religion, he sauntered one day in his walk into an old church yard near Wolfyille, Nova Scotia; and seeing a fallen gravestone, he turned it over in pure curiosity, and there he read at the foot engraved in the stone, a verse of four lines that took such' hold upon him, and so clearly explain-

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