Brief Notes of the Last Days of Miss A. M. S.
ON February 21st, 1936, a beloved sister in the Lord, Miss Α. M. Stoney, departed to be with Christ. Βοrn on August 12th, 1839, she was in her ninety-seventh year when she died at her home in Filey, Yorkshire.
For some months, she had been failing in bodily strength. Her mental faculties were but little diminished, except for some loss of memory, a symptom common to extreme old age.
To the last, Miss S. retained her belief in the fundamental principles of the divine revelation of God in His Eternal Son, and she delighted to speak of the Lord Jesus in these days of failure and declension, as "The Holy and the True." Having in her mind, too, the words of the Lord Jesus to the seven churches (Rev. ii.—iii.), and the downward course of the church as therein set out, with the introduction of error and the giving up of the truth; His words produced a great impression upon her, especially His exhortation to "hold fast," repeated three times.
Miss S. spoke of Philadelphia as "the last hold fast." Her great thought was that by holding fast, saints would become "overcomers." She loved to speak of those whom she called "holy men," men such as J.N.D., G.V.W., J.G.Β., and others whom she knew intimately in her young days, and by whom the Lord recovered truth which for centuries had been covered up by error. Their lives and example exercised great influence upon her, and the Christ in glory Whom they knew was the One she knew, and of Whom she loved to hear and tο speak.
Miss S. was very fond of a story which she herself told concerning a gardener and his wife whom she knew in Ireland. They were in very poor circumstances, and the husband was often depressed by reason of the roughness of the way. At such times, the dear old wife used tο try to help him by saying, "Keep your eye on the glory, William, or you'll never get through!" These words of the old saint cheered Miss S. many a time, as well as those to whom she repeated them.
As the years passed, she often said, "Ι don't know why the Lord has left me here in my helpless old age and in this position of isolation." Writing to one of her old friends a few years ago, she said, "I do pray that if it be His will, the Lord will not leave me here till all my friends that have prayed for me have gone. But my consolation is, that I shall meet them all again. Like the fragments which were gathered up after the multitude had been fed, nothing will be lost."
She felt more keenly than any can know, the forsaking of οld friends simply because she could not give up the precious truths which the Lord made good in her soul during those ninety-seven years. Those who visited her, saw her sorrow and its effect upon her, but "keeping her eye on the glory," she held fast," and encouraged others to do the same. She seldom wrote to any without some reference to "overcomers."
She loved, too, to speak of the thief on the cross, and of the Lord's words to him, "Today, thou shalt be with Me in Paradise." What is Paradise? With Me. What is "with Me?" Paradise.
It was very remarkable that when the undertaker came to attend to her body, he said, "What a beautiful face! that is the face of an overcomer." It was all the more remarkable because, so far as was known, she was an entire stranger to him.
The interment took place at Scarborough on February 25th. Many brethren from various parts attended to have fellowship in this last service to the Lord with regard to the departed sister. The family mourners were a niece and a nephew of Miss S. With them was Mrs. G., who had been with her for many years, and had also nursed her father (the late J.B.S.)
The funeral service commenced with the beautiful hymn, "Thou art the Everlasting Word," a hymn singularly appropriate to the occasion. The prayer that followed dwelt upon the greatness of the Person of the Lord Jesus, the Everlasting Word, the Eternal Son, the revelation of divine love in Him, His lowly grace, and His victory over death.
A brother then read John xvii., which he said was a favourite Scripture with the departed one. In his frequent visits to her, when asked if she would like him to read to her, the reply was, "Yes. John xvii." [Also a favourite of her father]
Another brother spoke upon verse 24 of the same chapter. Part of J.N.D.'s hymn, "O Lord, Thy love's unbounded," was sung. This hymn was a favourite with Miss S., and she had it at her bedside. It was said that the lines, "Yet sure if in Thy presence, My soul still constant were," were among the last words she uttered. After a further hymn and prayer, the service was concluded.
Those present felt it to have been a privilege tο have part in laying tο rest one whom the Lord had been pleased tο use as a standard-bearer in these days of unhappy conflict with regard to His Eternal Sonship.
"The Bible Monthly" 1936