“Lord,” they answered, “we love You.”
He asked again: “Do you love Me?”
They said: “Lord, You know that we love You.”
Then He asked for a third time; “Do you love Me?”
And they exclaimed all together: “We cannot tell in words, O Lord, how we love You!”
“Then go forth. Go to the poor, and comfort them; to the sinners, and raise them up. Go to all nations, and teach them all that I have told you. Those who believe in Me will be blessed. I am the way, the truth, and the life. I go now to My Father. My spirit and My strength I leave to you: light to the eyes, the word to the tongue, love to the heart. And mercy to sinners——”
Thus they heard Him speak, and lo!—there was no one there except the disciples. Two footmarks were impressed on the stone. The heavens above were still; they bowed their heads, then watched how He ascended to the clouds, how He hovered in the light, how He went to the Father, to whom also we shall go through our Saviour, Jesus Christ.
My Father and my God! I thank Thee that Thou hast permitted me to behold the Life, the Passion, and the Resurrection of Thy Son, and to steep myself in His words and promises during this terrible time. In the torture of suspense, which is more dreadful than death, I have won courage from the great events of His life, and received consolation from the appearance of my Redeemer upon earth. My hope has been strengthened by the saints of old who repented. For the sake of the crucified Saviour, O Lord, put mercy into my King’s heart. If it is God’s will that I die, then let me die like Dismas. Only pardon me. In the name of Jesus, I implore Thee, O Father, for mercy! Have mercy on me, a sinner. Amen.
Such is the story. It was written by a common workman awaiting sentence of death in a prison cell. The last prayer was written exactly six weeks after his condemnation.
Conrad began to feel a little frightened. He had been so absorbed in his Saviour’s story that he felt himself to be almost part of it. He had written it all day, and dreamed of it all night. He had been in the stable at Bethlehem, he had wandered by the Lake of Gennesaret, and spent nights in the wilderness of Judaea. He had journeyed to Sidon, and across the mountains to Jerusalem. He, a prisoner in jail and sentenced to death, had stood on the Mount of Olives, he had been in Bethany and supped at Jesus’ side. But now he felt almost indifferent to the thought. Had he not lived through that glorious death at Golgotha? All else sank into insignificance beside that. It almost seemed to him as if he had passed beyond the veil. The Risen One possessed all his soul. He could not get away from all these holy memories. Then suddenly came the thought: when death comes