Robert S Lyons
Robert S. Lyons went about Ireland last summer visiting the deaf and
dumb, and talking to them about Jesus. He was then home for vacation
from America, where he had gone to study, in order to fit himself to be
a missionary to the deaf and dumb. We all hoped that he would have
entered on his duties as such this summer, and that many of his deaf
country men and women would have been helped by him on the way to
God has ordered it otherwise. He died at his father's
residence, near Newtownstewart, after a long and painful illness, on the
evening of Friday, the 5th of June last.
Mr. Francis Maginn, who is also deaf and dumb, went with Robert Lyons to
America last autumn, and left his studies in the College that he might
take care of him on the journey home, has written some reminiscences of
his friend, of which the following is a part:--
"It was my privilege to be his companion on his return to
Washington, and to share the same rooms. He spent much time in
Bible reading and prayer. He was attacked in February last with
a serious illness, which he bore with wonderful patience. At
one time his death was expected. We sat up one night watching
for his last breath, but life was lengthened.
He seemed to improve for a while, and was able to go out for a
drive in the President's carriage. Every comfort was his,
supplied by the kind ladies of Dr. Gallaudet's family. Flowers,
books, pictures; every delicacy possible constantly sent to
tempt the appetite; but his strength scarcely increased.
Prayers were daily offered on his behalf. Even a little girl
prayed daily for him, and said, 'I know God will hear my
prayers, and he will recover.' But such was not the will of
God. He was sent home, and given up to my care. The voyage was
fine four days, when a gale arose which lasted five days, and
tried his strength terribly. He seemed sinking, and said, 'I
will not live to see my parents again.' I said, 'You will, if
you trust in God, and if it is His will.' When we came to see
lights of the Irish coast we felt joy and comfort. Arrived in
Londonderry he had scarcely any strength to stand. When
Newtownstewart was reached his relations and I knew each other
by our troubled and anxious faces."
His sister wrote that on the last two occasions that his mother talked
to him of his sufferings his reply each time was, "If we suffer with Him
(Jesus), we shall reign with Him." Again, he said he left himself in the
hands of his Lord, to take him or leave him as He pleased. He breathed
his last in the arms of his brother John, on Friday, the 5th of June, at
10.30 p.m. The end was so peaceful that they could not tell when the
last breath was drawn.
The funeral took place on Monday, the 8th, when the long procession of
vehicles, some forty or fifty in number, bore testimony to the love and
respect with which he was regarded in his own neighbourhood. Next after
the chief mourners walked Samuel Carrigan and young M'Causland, two deaf
mutes who loved and honoured him. Many others would have been present
also, had it been in their power, for Robert had the love and regard of
all the deaf and dumb who knew him.
Copy of a letter given to R. S. Lyons on leaving America, by Dr.
Gallaudet, President of the College:--
National Deaf Mute College, Kendal Green,
MY DEAR ROBERT,--I want to give you more than a mere "good-bye"
in words, as you take your leave of us. I want to tell you how
much I have been pleased with your course here as a student,
how gratified I have been to see your pleasantness in your
work, and how thoroughly you have won my respect and esteem;
and then want to add that your patience and cheerfulness under
the heavy cross of extreme illness has made you seem a real
hero. It is an added pleasure to think that this heroism is of
that sort which those sons of men alone exhibit who are filled
with the spirit of our good and glorious leader, Christ. I
believe, dear Robert, that you have that spirit, truly and
fully, and I am sure it will sustain you in all future work. As
you go far away over the ocean to your home, to your loved
ones, and to that work which God will give you to do, my
prayers will follow you daily that God will give you health and
strength to do His will, and, above all, that the "peace of
God" which passeth knowledge may fill your soul. Wishing you
every blessing that earth and heaven can bestow,--I am, yours
in loving friendship,
E. M. GALLAUDET.