REV. JOSEPH KISER
BORN APRIL 1ST 1832, DIED SEP 3D 1897
While his family and friends were standing around him weeping he told them not to weep, but to live right and they would see each other again beyond this vale of tears. A little while before he died he looked at brother Jessee Sutherland and said brother, it will not be long till life is over. He was earnestly praying for sinners nearly all the time he was sick.
The clock told the hour of his peaceful departure at 7:30 in the afternoon of Sept. 3d. 1897. No great monument of stone will spring up to keep alive his memory, but his epitaph is written by kind words and good deeds upon the hearts of many of the rescued and redeemed of the Lord. Now his noble soul freed from all the sorrows and toils of earth sweetly rests at home in the bosom of his God, with many friends and loved ones gone on before. He left his bereaved and sorrowing family and many friends to mourn their loss. He was buried as he requested in the orchard attached to his home on Sandy Ridge. The services at the grave were conducted by brother L. H. Kiser.
His burial was a solemn and interesting occasion. It was attended by a very large crowd of his neighbors and many friends who in the deep reverence and solemnity they manifested attested their love, sympathy and respect for the memory of their dead friend and religious teacher and guide.
During his life at different times he was pastor of Sulphur Spring, Cleveland, Springfield, Clintwood and Mount Zion churches in the New Lebanon Association.
The earnest labors of our brother were blessed with many conversions. During his pastoral life he added a great many souls by baptism to the churches. Into every neighborhood and into hundreds of homes in Russell and Dickenson counties he went with the word of salvation, consolation and help.
Brother Kiser was a man of stern and upright religious and moral character. He was a true and useful friend; kind and gentle in his family; a friendly and generous neighbor; a loyal and patriotic citizen and an able preacher of the gospel; a faithful and loving pastor and a man and a Christian who in all the relations and responsibilities of life earnestly and conscientiously strove to do his duty and to make himself useful and helpful to his fellow man. He was one who loved mercy, endeavored to act justly and whose piety and faith remained steadfast to the end, and supported and cheered and comforted him unto the dying hour.
As pastor he mingled freely with his people; shared their hospitality; knew their needs and sympathized with them in their trials and sorrows. He was greatly beloved by his churches and many who read these lines will drop a silent tear to his memory. Hid kindness won him friends where-ever he chanced to wonder. Kindness makes sunshine where-ever it goes.
It is the tear dropped with the companion and the children as they weep over the dead body of the husband and father; it is the word of sympathy to the bereaved ones; a cup of cold water to a thirsty soul. A word of kindness to a bereaved family is as welcome as the smile of an angel.
The loss of a parent is always felt. They are like the lonely star before us. Neither the heat nor light are anything to us in themselves.
Over the grave of a friend, brother or sister we would plant the primrose of youth; but over that of a father or mother we would let the green grass shoot up unmolested; for there is something in the covering which nature spreads upon the grass which well becomes the abiding place of decaying age. Ah! a parents grave! It is indeed a sacred spot. It may be retired from the noise of business and unnoticed by the stranger, but to our hearts, ah! how dear!
The love we should bear to a parent is not to be measured by years nor annihilated by distance nor forgotten when they are in dust.
Who has stood by the grave of a father or a mother and not remembered their pleasant smiles, kind words, earnest prayers and assurance expressed in a dying hour? Why may we not linger where rests all that was earthly of a beloved parent? For while the grass grows over their grave it may convict some poor soul and cause it to turn from its evil ways and live.
Death takes the young, full of vigor and activity when he will and spares not the old. Death, oh think of death. What is it? The king of powers, the great destroyer, before whom all the nations of the earth fall prostrate. It is death which separates the soul and body, turns the body to corruption and dust, and introduces the soul into a new, strange and invisible world, and fixes our everlasting doom. Surely then it is a solemn thing to die. Yes, we must die. The unalterable decree has gone forth. It is appointed unto men once to die. God has spoken it. Our own observation teaches us that it must be so. The infant, the youth, the vigor of manhood nor the venerable aspect of old age can stay his hand. It is certain that we must die, but when, how, where, this is wrapped up in awful mystery. We have no assurance that the next moment will find us in time. God does not want instruments to cut us down. In the twinkling of an eye death is taking one by one. The air we inhale may be tainted with his breath. The food we eat may destroy us. The lighting may smite us. The waves may swallow us up. The whirlwind may sweep us to the tomb. Fever may burn us to death, or consumption may waste us away.
But after death the judgment. The solemn decision of that day which God has appointed in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained.(Acts 17:31.)Mark these words which God has appointed to all the world of mankind. All must stand before God; small and great; rich and poor; bond and free; Jew and Gentile; all must come to judgment. The grave will not hold us. Rocks and mountains will not hide us. Nothing will excuse us for the hour is coming in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, the voice of the son of man and shall come forth. The judge is seated on his throne. All nations are gathered before him. The books are opened. The righteous rule of judgment is appointed and according to its just decisions a separation is made. He shall separate them one from another as a shepherd devideth his sheep from the goats and he shall set the sheep on the right hand the goats on the left.(Mathew 25:33.)Oh, reader what a separation that will be Neighbors and friends will be separated; husbands and fives, parents and children, brothers and sisters will be separated to meet no more, no more forever and ever.
Is the reader of these pages an impenitent sinner? Meditate seriously upon what you have read and upon what I now have to say as I am bidding you adieu. Your moments are passing away swifter than thought. The last hour may be near and if it finds you unprepared death will present you trembling to the Judge. The Judge will sentence you to ruin and eternity will measure out to you your sufferings. What shall it profit a man if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul, or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? The door of mercy is now open, but it may soon be shut. Jesus is now pleading but he will not plead forever.
Should any poor reader of these pages finally sink to hell you will find no gospel, no Savior there. Sinner what are you doing? What madness has seized you? Unconverted and yet at ease. Oh that I could speak to your slumbering conscience in a voice of thunder! As the departed brother has so often preached repentance and Jesus Christ and Him crucified to the sinner how can I cease to warn you to flee the wrath to come?
May all who read these pages prepare to meet their God and be an undivided family in Heaven.
And now commending you to God and the word of His grace, I bid you farewell.