William Gadsby’s Last Days
If William Gadsby honoured the Lord in his life, the Lord honoured him in his triumphant death.
He was able to preach on his last Sabbath on earth, thus fulfilling a desire not to be laid aside for long. One present made a note in his Bible opposite the text
(Isaiah 43:2: “When thou passest through the waters, I will be with
thee”): …Mr. Gadsby preached this sermon with very great fervour, but with very great difficulty of breathing, especially in the evening, when it took him four minutes to ascend the pulpit, having to stop upon every step. But the Lord was very gracious to him in supporting his mind, although suffering in body. He was got home with much difficulty.”
The trouble was inflammation of the lungs.
On the Tuesday he had to remain in bed. He was at times harassed by Satan, his poor wife was especially trying, and he suffered much. But now he proved the blessed support of the things he had long preached.
Just before the end, when it was felt his voice was gone, he most solemnly and affectionately prayed for the church and his family. Shortly afterwards he said, “There is nothing too hard for Christ; He is the mighty God – from everlasting to everlasting. He was precious; He is precious.” Then raising his left hand, for his right was cold and motionless, he exclaimed, “Victory! victory! victory!” Then after a short sleep, he testified that he was on the Rock.
“Is he precious to you?” asked his friend and fellow-member, John Ashworth, who was constantly with him.
“Yes,” he firmly replied. “King, Immanuel, Redeemer, all glorious!”
“You will soon have done here.”
“I shall soon be with Him, shouting Victory! victory! victory!” raising his hand, “for ever.”
Shortly afterwards he said, “Free grace! free grace! free grace!” and fell asleep in Jesus.
It was Saturday, January 27th, 1844.
So lived and died William Gadsby.
In his desk was found a slip of paper on which he had written his own epitaph.
“Let this be put on my stone,” it read. And surely nothing could be more
“Here rests the body of a sinner base,
Who had no hope but in electing grace;
The love, blood, life, and righteousness of God,
Was his sweet theme, and this he spread abroad.”
By B.A. Ramsbottom