The Titanic's Last Hero
Book Review: The Titanic's Last Hero: A Story of Courageous Heroism and Unshakable Faith
by Moody Adams, copyright 1998 , Ambassador Publications ISBN 1 84030 024 8
Being interested in that time era and the event of the sinking of the Titanic, the largest and possibly most extravagant ship at the time, considered " practically unsinkable", I was happy to read this book. It tells the story , through the original testimonies and tributes. of John Harper, the first pastor of the Harper Memorial Baptist Church in Glasgow, Scotland. Pastor Harper, who bravely and unselfishly died on that fateful night of April 14, 1912, had his memory kept alive by Bill Guthrie, a concerned Scottish Christian, by his brother George Harper, and by many others.
On that night, 1522 lives were lost, along with Mr. Harper's. Much of his life story was recorded in the 1912 book John Harper: A Man Of God, written by John Climie, and also by many writings and tributes from the many people whose lives Mr. Harper had influenced. There was much sadness that he was taken away in his prime, but as the book quotes, "We know not what awaits us. God kindly veils our eyes." In his final minutes, his last acts were to try to bring more people to Christ, urging them to put their faith in Jesus. After helping others , including his own 6-year-old daughter Nana into the insufficient number of lifeboats and giving his own life jacket to another man, Harper, as opposed to the fears and selfishness exhibited by many ( although certainly not by all ), " faced death with absolute assurance that Jesus had conquered death and given him the gift of eternal life. This assurance overcame the terrors of drowning."
The book starts by telling of John Harper's early life. Never an academic type, he went to work at a young age in a paper mill. Although materially poor, he was raised in a good Christian family and he eagerly studied the Bible. As a young man, a vision from God of Jesus's love for us strongly influenced him. He began preaching on street corners with his brother. His strongest desire was to bring people to Christ. But sorrows often shaped his life. His physical health broke down in 1905, which made him physically weak but also spiritually stronger. Also, his wife Annie died after only two years of marriage. Saddened, he accepted and prayed to God, " Not my will, but Thine be done." He himself nearly drowned earlier in life, so he well knew the danger of death by drowning.
Many people wrote their memories and testimonies of John Harper. One man wrote that the last words Mr. Harper gave him were," He that doeth the will of God abideth forever." ( 1 John 2:17) At only 40 years of age, who knows what more great good he may have done had he had a longer life and avoided that ill fated voyage. He was on his way to preaching in Chicago when the Titanic hit that iceberg and shortened his and so many other's lives. This book is quite a tribute to a good Christian man whose life and actions impacted so many lives. We can all only hope to make such an impact during our own limited time on earth before God calls us home. A wonderful inspiring book that I'm glad to have had the privilege of reading.
Richard Cerruti - Sept. 14. 2016