Project Canterbury

The Life and Work of William Augustus Muhlenberg
Doctor in Divinity

By Anne Ayres

New York: T. Whittaker, 1889.

CHAPTER XXIX. 1876-1877.

The Shadows lengthen.--Joy and Peace.--Effect of Birthday Tribute.--Public Esteem.--"From Tweed to Dr. Muhlenberg."--His latest Labors.--Last Visit to his Sister.--Washington's Birthday.--Sudden Illness.--Six Weeks of Trial--Died as he had lived.--Simplicity of Burial.--The Arrival at St. Johnland.--Impression on Bishop Kerfoot.--A noble Pageant.--His Grave-stone.--The Contributors.--St. Johnland Cemetery

THROUGHOUT the year 1876 he continued in comfortable health, but the evening shadows were evidently lengthening. The long, beautiful day was mellowing towards sunset, and with an unclouded "joy and peace in believing" that made it the very fruition of the promise: "With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation."

The fatigue and excitement of the birthday celebration left no ill effects; and all that the founders of the Muhlenberg Endowment looked for, at the time, in their tribute, was abundantly realized; for he saw in this combined and generous gift a token and pledge that St. Johnland would be provided for when it should no longer have a Father's care and protection.

Its Founder's eightieth year was still more munificently signalized in relation to St. Luke's Hospital which received during that twelve months, the quite extraordinary addition to its permanent fund of a hundred and thirteen thousand dollars. A new song of thanksgiving was put into the mouth of the aged saint.

The birthday gift for St. Johnland as it became publicly known brought him pleasure and enlivenment in visits and letters of congratulation from friends far and near, and even from strangers. A person in California, now prosperous, but first helped by Dr. Muhlenberg to extricate himself from pecuniary distress--though the latter had no memory of so aiding him--wrote from that distance of his glad and loving sympathy in the honor shown his former benefactor; an account of which he had seen in the daily papers.

There were tokens also, at this time, of the place he occupied in the heart and mind of the community at large, which are remarkable and exceptional, taking into account his retiring and unworldly habits. Since his humility can no longer be pained by it, we may venture to record two or three of these as an illustration. In his public acknowledgment of the "Bryant Vase," the poet, speaking of the far-reaching goodness of God, said, as if instancing the extremes of human character, "From Tweed to Dr. Muhlenberg." Again: "A million of inhabitants and only one Dr. Muhlenberg," was quoted by the author of the "Century of Nursing"; and very striking also were some closing words in one of the daily journals which, noticing, under the title of "A Blameless Life," the completion of his eightieth year, after outlining his unselfish labors says: "It behooves even those of us who are most doubtful about the dogmas, and most impatient of the exclusive pretensions of the churches, to be very chary of dismissing as 'effete' an institution which is still capable of giving their full scope to the powers for well-doing of such an ornament to the human race as Dr. Muhlenberg."

The year 1877 began brightly for him. There was a little revival of physical strength, and he was able to do more work among the patients and in the Chapel, and enjoyed it. He had not been as animated and interesting in the Chapel service for a long while, as he was the last time his voice was ever heard there. This was at evening prayer on Wednesday, February 21st. The whole of that day was well filled up. The morning among the patients and other poor: the afternoon in calls upon two sick friends and a long visit to his sister, then a confirmed invalid. He was accompanied on the occasion by his Sister friend, on whom, from the period of his illness in 1874, he had grown to depend for constant attendance and companionship.

Little did any present imagine that it was the last time this aged brother and sister were to meet in the flesh; but had it been known, the parting could not have been more perfect. He had terminated other visits to Mrs. Rogers with prayer and blessing, but what so quickly followed, has invested the memory of that farewell with a beauty and solemnity of its own.

Rising to go, he placed his friend's hand in that of his sister and with his own hands enfolding both theirs said: "Let us pray." The Lord's Prayer was repeated in unison, as the three stood together, and was followed by his fervent supplications for grace to the end and by praiseful joyous aspiration of the everlasting reunion. Then he embraced his sister lovingly, and as they separated, lifted his hands, vibrating in benediction, and with the sweetest of parting looks at her, left the room. Neither in life nor after death did she see his face again. Three days before this, he wrote his last rhymes. Perhaps he had a premonition that such they would be, for they were found, after he had gone, laid in his writing-drawer, dated and signed, quite contrary to his wonted negligence in such matters. They have an interest in that they are the last trembling touches of his broken lyre, still giving forth clearly and distinctly the keynote of his life's faith:

"Glad I am, thou knowest, Lord,
When I can to do the Brother,
Mindful of thy parting word:
'Loving me, love one another.'
But withal, my sin, my sin.
Oh! thy blood to cleanse within,
Heart, and mind, and soul, I pray!
Now, and for the last great day.

"Feb. 18, '77. W. A.M.

He busied himself also on the same day about providing the accustomed household treat for Washington's Birthday, on the morrow. He was always careful to pay due honor to the Father of his country; and the next morning, at breakfast, more mindful than those around him of the anniversary, he did not forget to add to his accustomed grace, "and may God preserve the commonwealth." He seemed in unusual health and spirits at that meal, and no one observing him dreamed that the day begun so cheerily in the Hospital family was to close in a deeper gloom than will ever again settle upon that house.

"We know how Dr. Muhlenberg lived," said one of his college sons, "tell us how such a man died." To which it would be as true as it is comprehensive to reply, "He died as he lived." Never was a symmetrical, holy life more perfectly rounded off. The record of tie six weeks of illness preceding his release, fully and carefully kept, reveals throughout, a wonderful harmony of word and action, with all that the strong man in his strength ever presented for our love and admiration. From first to last of these days, there was nothing discordant or incongruous.

Reverence and affection shrink from laying open the sacred seclusion of the sick room; but Dr. Muhlenberg fills a place in the hearts of his fellow Christians and fellow citizens which entitles them to see something of the closing scenes of his life; and the more striking particulars may not be withheld.

It was Washington's Birthday, as already said. Being a public holiday there were many persons coming and going during the morning, and an extraordinary demand was made upon the attention of all the officials of the institution. The beloved Pastor took only too full a share in the work, listening to poor people at the door, and accompanying visitors over the building, without its being perceived, amid the throng of business, that he was doing too much; nor, as afterwards appeared, that he had not been quite himself from eleven o'clock. The too late discovery of this, gave exquisite pain; yet he thus fell "with his armor on," as he had often expressed the wish he might do. At one o'clock, a terrible convulsion struck him down, never again to take the field.

He was insensible for more than an hour, with fearfully violent jactations. The best medical aid was in attendance, and all that was possible for his relief was done. As the convulsive motions subsided, his consciousness gradually returned. He asked for his Sister friend, the thirty years' companion of his labors. She was quickly at his side. Though suffering much pain, his mind soon became perfectly clear, and in the reaction that had then set in, he began to talk in almost his usual tones. He was never again able to express himself as strongly and coherently, and every word of that precious afternoon was eagerly treasured with deep thankfulness for the privilege of hearing him speak once more.

He supposed he was dying, and took affectionate leave of her, adding: "Not for long. Friends in Christ can not be long parted. Our union has been in Christ and for Christ; we can look the angels in their faces with it."

After a pause, he said: "Praise the Lord, I have had a good time. Thanks, thanks, thanks! I have lived long enough. I am ready. What would signify a year or two longer of life? I do not think there is any more that I could do. Lord, forgive all that has been amiss."

He sent last messages to those dearest to him, and spoke most of all of St. Johnland; charging her who sat by him to keep on bravely and fearlessly in the work there, confident that it is of the Lord; after which, lifting up his arms and eyes heavenward he so besought grace and blessing for it that the answer could not be doubted.

After recapitulating some last directions, he said, "My back aches severely, but never mind. It is good for me to suffer something," and then he repeated, distinctly and unhesitatingly, the last three verses of the hymn which had been his favorite in boyhood:

"Jesus, my Lord, I know his name,
His name is all my trust,
Nor will he bring my soul to shame,
Nor let my hope be lost

"Firm as his throne his promise stands,
And he can well secure
What I've committed to his hands
Till the decisive hour.

"Then will he own my worthless name
Before his Father's face,
And in the New Jerusalem
Appoint my soul a place."

After this, great restlessness ensued and the next day was a most distressing one from a cerebral disturbance which, without impairing his consciousness, haunted him with phantasmagoria in a very harassing manner. His endurance of this new trial was striking. He would describe and analyze the phantoms--now a huge balloon, floating over his bed, then the walls were covered with hieroglyphics, or perplexing diagrams spread themselves over the ceiling; these were so real to him that he could sometimes hardly be persuaded his attendants did not see them. Later the apparitions increased fearfully and his suffering was intense. He was always jealous as to a sound mind and began to fear for his reason. He bade his Sister nurse pray the Lord to take him away by whatever violence, rather than to suffer him to live on in imbecility. Seeing her grief, he suddenly calmed himself, exclaiming, with attempted cheerfulness, "Well, well! It can't be helped, many have had them. It's all right, a good discipline for me."

Throughout his illness, rarely a wakeful hour passed without some interesting, holy words, and the greater part of his nights, whether fully awake or but semiconscious, were spent in absorbed, audible "stress of prayer." Amid thickened speech and broken utterance, one could hear pathetic supplications and joyous praises. "Lord, forgive my mistakes. Forgive my sins. Wash me clean. Jesus, thou art all in all Praise, everlasting praise!" Then, from time to time, he would lift his arms over his head, clasp his hands, and seem in rapturous communion with far other than the poor watchers at his bedside.

Sometimes, after lying apparently asleep or as unaware of any one's presence, he would abruptly utter something that showed how his thoughts were occupied; thus, without any previous reference to the subject:

"Our Lord did not send Judas out before the communion, that would have been to make or proclaim him a traitor. Judas went out, and then it was as if Jesus had said, 'The traitor has gone, now, my beloved ones, come and partake of the parting feast." At another time: "Those Alpine chapels--how sublime that among those heights there is ceaseless worship." Again: "'Love one another as I have loved you'--'Love one another!'--Yes, that's it; that's the church."

During a delirious night he broke out into a rhapsody on Evangelical Catholicism. He seemed to be addressing a congregation of ministers in the Church of the Testimony at St. Johnland, spoke eloquently of the Fatherhood of God--the Brotherhood of men in Christ. Suddenly, as though visited by applicants for relief, he asked the Sister to get him a pair of shoes for a man who he thought asked for them; after which he sank exhausted into a sleep of some duration. On awaking he said, "Well, has he got them?" "What do you mean? "it was asked. "Why, the poor fellow who wanted the shoes. See that he is not sent off without them." In the wanderings of his mind he was constantly occupied in the relief of the poor.

He made much, as was always his habit, of the accommodation and attendance secured for him: "No royal person could be better provided. Such rooms, such comforts, such doctors and nurses." He was never left exclusively to hired attendants, however trustworthy, and he appreciated it. [His physicians were Dr. William H. Draper, and Dr. Charles Packard. His chief nurse was his Sister friend, the House Mother and then Superintendent of the Hospital, who was devotedly aided by a former pupil of Dr. Muhlenberg's, the Rev. Dr. McNamara, at that time, acting Chaplain for St. Luke's and assistant Pastor of St. Johnland.] After thus review-big his mercies he would clasp his hands saying:

"Ten thousand thousand precious gifts,
My daily thanks employ;
Nor is the least a cheerful heart,
That tastes those gifts with joy.

At another time:

"If I have many sorrows, I have innumerable mercies."

Towards the middle of March there was a little revival of strength, bodily and mental, but speedily to die out again. The tenor of his days was the same whether better or worse--prayer and praise and perfect submission to God's will, with loving words and ways to his attendants, and now and then a little play of his quaint humor.

"You look better to-day," a friend remarked.

"I have my ups and my downs," he said; "by and by, the wave will come that will float me over."


One morning, at his usual dressing-time he seemed so languid, so absent or far away, and so unwilling to be moved, that his attendant was directed to defer his morning duties awhile, the Sister adding: "I do not think it right to disturb him as he now lies." To the surprise, of all present, he instantly said in a strong, sonorous voice, "Amen, Amen! Thank you."

A little later the barber came, and was told his services would be dispensed with that day. The man was rather a privileged person, in his way, and instead of taking his departure, as was expected, placed himself full in front of Dr. Muhlenberg's bed, and remained there, unwilling to lose what he came for "Do you feel able to be shaved, sir? "some one asked. "No! I feel too weak." Then, opening his eyes, they fell on the persistent barber. At once, he roused himself. "Oh! you are there, are you? You want your job, of course. Well! I'll give you a chance," and so he did, without further delay, unequal as he felt for the exertion.

St. Johnland was almost daily on his lips in prayer or blessing, and tidings from there always roused him. Some one, not well-conversant with the work, remarked that it would be a desirable locality for a young gentlemen's school. With unusual quickness he said: "Oh no! I could never give it up to that. That would be to have it supported by the world, and the world would carry it on in its own way."

About two weeks before Easter, what faint hope there had been that he might rally for a while was suddenly brought to an end by the setting in of alarming symptoms. He quickly discerned the anxiety of the medical men and the distress of his friends. "Don't be afraid," he said to the latter. "Never mind. It could not be long, at any rate. I am satisfied. The heavenly Jerusalem--we'll meet again there." At another time: "How could things be more beautifully ordered for my departure,

"Lord, what can I ask of thy Providence more, Than thus to leave for the heavenly shore."

Again: "I am as it were wounded on the battle-field, but I can still work. I can send up messages from this sick bed to the patients in the wards and in the Chapel, and I can pray for all." One of his messages later was as follows: "Tell them upstairs not to be putting up prayers for my recovery, for I am asking the Lord to call me home. I don't wish confusion in our prayers." Then: "Jesus, Good Shepherd, take me, take me. O that I had wings like a dove, then would I flee away and be at rest." "I am so tired," he said, on another occasion; "so oppressed with languor and weakness, I know not what to do." "If we could but help you," was said in reply. "What can we do that you may be eased?" Instantly he answered, "Be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might," and in so saying the burden seemed momentarily lifted from him.

A Sister and others would from time to time come for his blessing. On one of these occasions, he asked rather urgently, for a young Sister newly entered when he was taken ill, and who had evidently been much on his mind, though he had hardly seen her. He laid his hands on her head as she kneeled by him, with a prayer that being "found faithful unto death she might receive the crown of life."

He grew much worse, sometimes remaining in a nearly comatose state for hours, then brightening up, he would talk much and pray still more. Bishop Kerfoot spent some days with his beloved old master, and on Palm Sunday took advantage of more continuous consciousness for the celebration of* the Lord's Supper. The bishop had received his first communion at the hands of him to whom he now gave his last Dr. Muhlenberg enjoyed the privilege of communing, "More than I expected," he faltered out, and although he sank into semi-consciousness through a large part . of the service, true to his joyous nature, he was himself in all the more praiseful parts of the office, joining particularly, with some strength of voice, in the Ter Sanctus and Gloria in Excelsis.

On Good Friday, he was able to listen comfortably to some reading from St. John's Gospel. It was the eleventh chapter, the raising of Lazarus. At the passage, "Whoso liveth and believeth in Me shall never die," he exclaimed, "Yes, those are glorious words. Those are my death words. This is the happiest day of my life."

"Do you expect to die to-day?" it was asked.

"No, I feel rather strong."

A little after he said, "If the Lord would but come and take me--but as he wills."

The bells of St. Thomas's Church were silenced very frequently during that Lent, in tender regard for the venerable sufferer. The rector's usual kind morning inquiry on the subject was referred to the patient on a certain day, when he was brighter than usual. "I don't like those Lenten tones," he said, "but let them ring," adding, "I feel lively."

But if those penitential minors were in ill accord with his Christian joyousness, the beautiful bells were amply vindicated when Easter Day came. Steadily declining as he then was, scarcely at all alive to ordinary matters, when at the dawn of the festival, they sounded forth triumphantly, "Jesus Christ is risen today, Hallelujah," he was transported with pleasure, endeavoring to accompany them with his voice and again and again expressing his delight "Beautiful! Beautiful! Praise, all praise!" After enjoying the early bells, he recited the Te Deum antiphonally with. Sister A., remarking at the close that the ascription "Holy, Holy, Holy," ought to be said in unison by the clergyman and the congregation. After he had rested a while, his favorite Easter verses were read to him from the twentieth of St. John: "Go tell my brethren, I ascend to your Father and my Father, your God and my God." "Thank you," he exclaimed, not without some ring of his wonted joyousness, "those are glorious words. They should be written in diamonds and rubies," repeating them again to himself. Later he wanted some Easter music in his room. A beloved musical son, who was present, drew the melodeon from the study to the door connecting with the bedroom, and played and sang "Christ the Lord is risen to-day, sons of men and angels say." Dr. Muhlenberg joined with all the voice he could command, in the chorus after every verse. This was his last song of praise below.

As. Easter Day wore on, he sank into a more comatose condition than had yet been. He was with difficulty roused to take nourishment, but in every lucid interval there were broken utterances of prayer and praise, and of longings "to depart and be with Christ." During the succeeding day, his consciousness became increasingly obscured, and so continued until the dawn of Friday, April the 6th, when he was heard to utter some petitions of the Lord's Prayer. A little later he said a faint "Good morning "to his Sister friend as she bent over him, and that was the end of his intercourse with earth.

He never spoke again, nor opened his eyes, nor moved upon his pillow, nor took the slightest nourishment, though his final release was not until the Sunday night following.

It was a watch of sixty hours. Breathing almost imperceptibly, without the least sound of the voice, or stir of hand or foot, the form so venerated, so beloved, lay utterly prostrate, with an entire shrouding of mind and soul. Some who watched there could not have borne the sight, but for the thought of the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the infinite mystery and marvel of the obscuring of the Divine as well as the human spirit, ere the Lord entered Paradise.

He died on Sunday night, April 8th, at a little after ten o'clock. The only perceptible change at the moment of dissolution, was the unmistakable shade that passed over the face. The Sister whom he had so often charged to see him "safe out of the world," fulfilled the behest to the utmost, kneeling by his couch and holding his dying hand till the last faint pulsation of life had some time ceased.

Few were present, at the moment, in addition to the habitual attendants of that sacred room. His niece, and, next to Mrs. Rogers, only near relative, Mrs. Chisolm, with members of her family; three of his "sons in the Lord," a friend from St. Johnland, and the Rev. Dr. Geer, accidentally calling at the house with loving inquiry, were all. The latter came in only a few minutes before the saint's release, and said the last prayer for him. A breathless silence followed. Then, all rose and recited together the Gloria in Excelsis. There was nothing left to do, but to give thanks, even though eye "and heart were straining yearningly after him--"My Father, my Father, the chariots of Israel and the horsemen thereof!"

The funeral, in accordance with his expressed wishes, was markedly plain. "I desire to be buried as the poorest of my brethren."

On a certain occasion, replying to some counsels of prudence, he had said, "I only need to leave enough to bury me." He did not do this. All he possessed at his death was forty dollars, in two gold pieces, given him shortly before his illness. This gold was afterwards bestowed upon a devoted attendant of his sick room.

A eulogy, attributed to William Cullen Bryant, contains the following: "Other men have accumulated wealth that they might found hospitals; he accumulated the Hospital fund as such, never owning it and therefore never giving it. The charitable institutions which he founded, were to him what family, and friends, and personal prosperity are to men generally, and dying as he did, poor, in St. Luke's Hospital, he died a grandly successful man....." The above brings to mind a satire once uttered by the departed, in reference to the accumulation of enormous wealth; he called it, "living to die rich."

He was buried on the fourth day after his decease. The interment was at St. Johnland; the preliminary part of the office in the Chapel of St. Luke's Hospital, on the day previous.

The remains were robed in surplice and stole, with a copy of St. John's Gospel, opened at the fourteenth chapter, lying upon the breast. Some two hours in advance of the time appointed for the service in St Luke's, the body was laid in its place before the chancel, in order that the patients and others so desiring, might have full opportunity to see his face in death. A guardian of the precious dust was necessary to control the demonstrations of grief. One poor widow passionately kissed his name upon the coffin lid, exclaiming, "Every body's father is gone."

The Chapel was not large enough to receive the multitude who came to the funeral. "Dr. Muhlenberg's taste and feeling," said one, "revolted from the display and extravagance of floral funeral tributes; but, if every one who loved and honored him, from all classes and conditions of men and woman, and from all the branches of the Christian church, should lay but a violet or a crocus upon his bier, his grave would not contain the flowers."

The remains, accompanied by a few personal friends, including Bishop Kerfoot, were conveyed from the city by the evening train, in readiness for the burial on the morrow. The St. Johnland station was reached just after sunset. As the cars stopped, the little platform was seen crowded with boys, older and younger, waiting in awed silence for the arrival, of all that remained to them of their friend and father.

The coffin was transferred to the hearse in waiting, and next to it walked these young St. Johnlanders; the friends from New York, in their conveyance, slowly following. It took fully an hour thus to make the mile and a half of distance between the railroad station and the gate-house of the village; the twilight meantime deepening, and the distant tolling of the Church bell falling mournfully upon the ear.

"Well! well!" Bishop Kerfoot said, as he caught sight of the gathering at the railroad station, and then watched them in their close attendance upon the hearse, "this is reality. This is what he would have liked."

There was just light enough, on arriving, to descry the sobbing groups, issuing from the different houses. All followed the sad procession into the Church, dimly lighted at the chancel, where the remains were reverently placed, and from that moment, faithfully guarded by relays of young male communicants, both throughout the night, and until the hour of burial, next day. The little sanctuary was thronged, making deep, solemn shadows in the unlighted aisle. It was impossible to separate without united prayer. The bishop led in an improvised service, not a mournful one; but looking upwards, whither the sainted father had gone, lifting the thoughts of those true mourners, from the sad mortality before their eyes, to the unspeakable joy of his beatified soul in Paradise.

In a private letter, the bishop afterward wrote: "That journey to St. Johnland, specially that slow walk from the train to the gate, and then, that strange, quiet, solemn movement in the dusk towards the Church, among those groups of his sheltered orphans, old and young; and that entrance and silent depositing of the body--and that service of trust and triumph, that no sadness could suppress--Oh! what a true and noble pageant was it all, in the sight of holy angels looking on. No old story of the church can surpass it. ... I recall none other so significant . . . ."

The burial took place in the early afternoon of the next day, after the arrival of the morning train from New York. Dr. Muhlenberg had been explicit in his directions, that no invitations were to be sent, and no sermon or address was to be added to the appointed service of the church, which again was to be read by a single clergyman, whoever might be on duty. Also, there was to be no anthem, or ornamental music, but a simple hymn of faith to some well-known plain tune.

A large concourse gathered. "Bishops and other clergy," college sons of former days, dear kindred and loving friends and neighbors thronged to pay him a last tribute of respect and affection. Every thing was done as he would have wished. The aged brethren from St. John's Inn, with the poor children from the different houses led the funeral procession as it wound around the little church, and up the hill to the cemetery.

No hired official took part in the interment Four St. Johnland communicants bore the coffin, other communicating members of the Community had dug and shaped the grave, and stood waiting there in readiness to complete their sad though voluntary and privileged task. Bishop Kerfoot and the venerable Dr. Diller,--oldest of the long line of his college sons,--dropped the earth on his sacred ashes at the words of committal; the usual prayers were said, a hymn sung--

"Angels and living saints and dead,
But one communion make;
All join in Christ, their vital head,
And of his love partake "--

And so "every body's father," and the "St. John" of these latter days was buried.
Possibly some present said in their hearts that which one of the funeral guests was heard openly to express: "What a poor little place to put so great a man in." Yet he sleeps well in his own St. Johnland--a father in the midst of his children, and "where," as he loved to say, "I can speak from my grave for the 'Evangelic Brotherhood.'"

And this he does. Almost immediately after the funeral, contributions were spontaneously offered towards the erection of a durable stone, or "monument," as it is popularly called, to mark the resting-place of the precious remains. Dr. Muhlenberg's long esteemed friend and brother in the ministry, Dr. Heman Dyer, acquiesced in a request that he should be the treasurer of this fund, and announced from time to time, over his own name, the contributions as they came in. Without any solicitation nearly twelve hundred dollars were received. The cost of the stone was between eight and nine hundred dollars. The remainder was expended in improving the burial ground, which is now enlarged to twice its original size, enclosed by a well-built rustic, fence of native cedar-wood, and with the tall trees that shade it and the sweet surrounding scenery, forms a beautiful rural cemetery.

The subscriptions to the stone consisted largely of the offerings of poor persons, often in sums of fifty and twenty-five cents. One poor little girl sent four cents, a poor boy, with small earnings, "Two dollars for the Doctor's head-stone," and another contributor, five dollars, with these words: "From a Bishop who would be glad to sit at his feet in heaven." [Bishop Clarkson of Nebraska.]

The "monument," of dark polished Aberdeen granite, is composed of a solid but gracefully proportioned cross upon a handsome massive cube, heavily capped; the whole standing ten and a half feet high, with a foundation six feet in depth. It is placed at the head of the grave, and indestructible and immovable, so guards the sacred spot. At the intersection of the arms of the cross, one on each side, are the ancient monograms of the "Alpha and Omega" and "Jesus Hominum Salvator." Dr. Muhlenberg had left in writing: "If I have a tomb-stone, I want these words on it--'I know whom I have believed,'" and therefore on the west front of the cube those words are engraven. On the east front, facing the grave, is read (suitably adjusted as an inscription)--"Here sleeps the earthly part of William Augustus Muhlenberg, Doctor in Divinity. He was born, Sept. 16th, 1796, ended his work, April 8th, 1877." On the side of the stone northward, the reason of his interment in that place is thus expressed: "In Testimony of those Evangelical Catholic Principles, to which, as the Founder of St. Johnland, he consecrated it."

Near to him are interred the remains of a number of the aged pilgrims whom his love and care succored in their declining years, and nigh these again, are the little grassy hillocks of several crippled children and others. The graves are designated by simple blocks or index stones; the rule of the, cemetery for all, of whatever degree, who are privileged to lie there. The stone marking the Founder's grave is the sole monument, and its surmounting cross the one symbol of redemption for all the sleepers there, for them and him alike proclaiming: "WHOSOEVER LIVETH AND BELIEVETH IN ME SHALL NEVER DIE."

Project Canterbury