Charles Darwin

FFF 12:1 Jan 1966)

Charles Darwin

Neither the biographers of Charles Darwin, nor writers on Evolution, relate the following story of the last days of Charles Darwin, as told by Lady Hope, at meetings in Northfield, Mass. U.S.A.

It was a glorious autumn afternoon, when I was asked to go and sit with Charles Darwin. He was almost bedridden for months before he died. Propped up with pillows, his features seemed to be lit up with pleasure as I entered the room.

He waved his hand towards the window, as he pointed out the beautiful sunset scene beyond, while in the other hand he held an open Bible, which he was always studying.

“What are you reading now?” I asked.

“Hebrews,” he answered, “Still Hebrews. The Royal Book, I call it.” Then, placing his finger on certain passages, he commented on them.

I made some allusion to the strong opinions expressed by many on the history of Creation, and then their treatment of the earlier chapters of the Book of Genesis. He seemed distressed, his fingers twitched nervously, and a look of agony came over his face as he said, “I was a young man with unformed ideas, I threw out queries, suggestions, wondering all the time over everything; and to my astonishment the ideas took like wildfire. People made a religion of them.” Then he paused, and after a few more sentences on the holiness of God, and the grandeur of this Book, looking at the Bible which he was holding tenderly all the time, he said:

“I have a summer house in the garden which holds about thirty people; it is over there” (pointing through the open window). “I want you very much to speak here. I know you read the Bible in the villages. Tomorrow afternoon I should like the servants on the place, some tenants, and a few neighbours, to gather there. Will you speak to them?”

“What shall I speak about?” I asked.

“Christ Jesus,” he replied in a clear emphatic voice, adding in a lower tone, “and His salvation. Is not that the best theme? And then I want you to sing some hymns with them. You lead on your small instrument, do you not?”

The look of brightness on his face as he said this I shall never forget; for he added: “If you take the meeting at three o’clock, this window will be open, and you will know that I am joining with the singing.”

—Christian Witness