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William G. was a young man in vigorous health and of ardent temperament, with great energy of character. His office was that of a brakeman upon the Railroad. A long line of freight cars had been delayed a few minutes behind the time, and must hasten to reach the turnout in season for the pa.s.senger train, which was expected to pa.s.s in a few moments. Two cars were to be detached; which, by a dexterous movement, could be done without entirely stopping the train. The moment the engine is slackened, the cars behind will gain a little upon those in front, when the connecting pin can be removed, and the hinder cars detached. This the young man had often done before, and he sprang forward with alacrity to perform it now. But, in the path lay a pebble, so small as to escape notice, and yet large enough, as he stepped rapidly backwards, to throw him prostrate on the track, while the heavy-laden cars pa.s.sed on over his body. It was the work of an instant, but it was done. There lay, mangled and writhing, the young man, who, not one moment before, was buoyant, healthful, full of enterprise and hope. There was no hope of his life. With one arm extended, the only unbroken limb in his body, he speaks: "I must die--I know it--I must die, but thank G.o.d I am ready to die. Yes, I am willing to die, if it is G.o.d's will. And yet, I should like to live. My poor mother--who will take care of her? My poor sisters--and oh, my _poor dear Mary!_ Send for them--send for them. Send now. I must see them once more. I have much to say to them. Oh, my G.o.d, thy will be done!" They came, and there was such a burst of grief as is seldom witnessed. Yet, amid all this, he was calm. Not a groan, not a murmur had escaped him through the long hours of bodily suffering which he had endured, and not a murmur nor a groan did he suffer now, when the heart-strings were broken. He spoke calmly and clearly to them all, gave them counsel, bade each a tender farewell; then closed his eyes, and sunk into the sleep of death. What would this scene have been without the Christian hope? This young man had anch.o.r.ed his hope firm upon the Rock of Ages. It had supported him in the busy scenes of life.
It now sustained him in the sudden hour of trial, when the pains of death seized upon him without warning. "LET ME DIE THE DEATH OF THE RIGHTEOUS, AND LET MY LAST END BE LIKE HIS!"