A TRIBUTE TO REVEREND HUGH CONN: A Story About Making the Most of One’s Days
A few weeks ago, I was speaking in church and decided to share a story frommy family history that my parents have shared with me a number of times. In the past, I have shied away frommentioning this particular story from the pulpit. After I shared it, a number of people who heard it approached me afterwards to tell me how much they enjoyed it, so I thought you might like to hear it as well. On Thursday, July 9, 1752, the Maryland Gazette published an article detailing the final moments of Reverend Hugh Conn (see right). In the exact moment Rev. Conn was reminding the members of his congregation that they could never know how much time they’d have on Earth, he took his last breath and passed away — thus “verifying in the most extraordinary Manner the Truth of his Doctrine.” While his passing was a tragic event, the dramatic irony of its unfathomable timing demonstrates something incredibly important about our approach to the number of days we have left. I’ve often found myself sleepwalking through life, taking for granted the time I have left. Reverend Conn’s story reminds me that my time on Earth is finite and therefore should not be wasted. Judge Brent Adams, one of our state’s finest jurists, used to begin settlement conferences with the question “What are you doing with your time on Earth?” There are ample reasons to make haste regarding any changes you want to see in your own life, and I hope that, if nothing else, this story serves as motivation to update your perspective — to help you treat your own existence as the amazing gift that it is.
On Sunday the 28th of June last, the Reverend Mr. Hugh Conn, a Presbyterian Minister, as he was preaching to a Congregation near Bladensburg in Prince George’s County, dropp’d down dead in his Pulpit. The Subject he was upon gave him Occasion to mention: ‘the Certainty of Death, the Uncertainty of the Time when it might happen, the absolute Necessity of being continually prepared for it, the vast Danger of Delay to be constantly in such a State, or trusting to a Death Bed Repentance; for that altho’ we may pos- sibly live some Years, yet, we may be called away in a Month, or in a Week, or for aught any one could tell, Death might surprise us the next Moment;’ which last Part of his Discourse he was observed to deliver with some Elevation of Voice; but had scarce utter’d the Word ‘Moment,’ when, without speaking any more (putting one Hand to his Head, and the other to his Side), he fell backward and expired, verifying in a most extraordinary Manner the Truth of his Doctrine. MARYLAND GAZETTE JULY 9,1752
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