This story comes from "Twice-born Men," hdm0617, by Hy Pickering:


Robert Matheson, late Registrar-General for Ireland, thus relates the story of his passing "from death to life" (John 5:24).

In 1873, our family, visiting Scotland, went to Lanark for the purpose of seeing the Falls of Clyde. Not having time to go the distance from the town, we decided to visit Lanark Old Abbey. Soon we reached the Abbey, which stood in the center of a large burial ground. There was a main walk leading to the ruins and a circular walk on each side. My dear wife and my father took their places on the circular walk, and proceeded, one to paint and the other to sketch the Abbey, while my brother and I set out to search for the graves of the martyrs. I soon got tired of the search, and determined to rejoin my wife. The shortest way to reach her was to cut across the grass, but I had not taken into account the difficulties of picking my way through the rank grass, full of small grave stones. I nearly tripped over one of these, and finally was thrown to the ground by another of them which was partly concealed by the grass. Instantly I felt a strong desire to see what it was which caused my fall. Most of the tombstones were very small slabs with the name cut on the rim of the stone. Only one or two letters of the Christian name on this slab were visible, the remainder of the inscription being covered by the grass. I lifted up the grass, and what was my astonishment and horror to find my own name (Matheson) and Christian name (Robert) cut on the rim Robert Matheson.

I was not at all inclined to be superstitious, but thinking over the strange coincidence which had brought me there, I could not fail to see that it was a direct message from God to me. I felt the letters of the inscription with my hand, so as to make sure that it was real. Had I heard a voice or seen a vision I would have readily ascribed it to a disordered state of the brain, resulting from overwork, but here was a tangible reality, about which there could be no question.

It presented itself to me thus: "Here lie the remains of a man who once bore my name. He has gone into Eternity; you will be there soon, and then what about your soul." I felt I was unprepared to meet God. Reliance on my religious observances and my own righteousness vanished, and I saw myself as a lost sinner in the presence of a Holy God, before whom I would have shortly to stand and give an account. I thought there was no hope for me, and that I was in the same category as the man in the parable to whom God said, "Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee" (Luke 12:20).

A few nights after my return to Ireland, I was sitting alone in our dining-room by the fire, thinking over the wonderful thing which had happened to me, and in deep anxiety about my soul. The Bible was lying on the chimney-piece. I opened it listlessly at I John 5:1, when the words of verse I seemed to light up in a way I never experienced before. It was the Holy Spirit illuminating the page. I read the verse again and again, "Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God." I said to myself: This verse says that if I really believe on the Lord Jesus as the Christ, I am born of God. I will believe on Him now, and trust Him with my whole heart as my Saviour. Then the Devil made a last effort to keep me in his grasp, and whispered to me: "It is all very fine for you here in your own parlor to say you will trust Christ, but what about to-morrow, when your friends and companions will declare you have gone mad and turn you into ridicule." I recognized the force of this, but, reading on, I came to verse 4, which says, "Whosoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith." I saw at once that this supplied the answer to the suggestion of the Evil One. I resolved to trust Christ then and there, for time and eternity, and boldly to take my stand for Him in this world.

Many years have elapsed since that memorable night, which altered the whole course of my life. I have passed through many trials and many difficulties in my earthly journey; but God has been faithful to His promise, and has given me the victory, and soon I shall be in the Savior's presence to see the King in His beauty, and to praise and adore Him for all His wonderful love to me.

He passed to his reward on January 27, 1926.