Retta Dixon's speech, Jimmy Governor - Chief of Sinners, is published on this blog with the permission of the copyright holder, the Long family. Not to be republished elsewhere without the permission of the Long family.

... The day of my last visit came at length - all too soon in fact. I had had some of the sweetest fellowship I have ever enjoyed with a soul on earth, in that condemned cell.

In the morning visit I read Isaiah 12, "Thou was angry with me, but thine anger is turned away" and then Hebrews 11 - "By faith".

In conversation Jimmy told me he knew Jesus would give him strength to die, as he was trusting Him. "I'll see Him face to face tomorrow", he said, as I went out during the dinner hour. When I returned, his wife and little Sid were with him for the last time. I heard the poor little fellow say, as he waved his hand, "Doodbye Daddy, Doodbye".

Jimmy kissed them again and again and the parting was over. They were not to meet again till they reached the Land where there is no more parting.

I could not speak for some time after I entered the cell, and when I did it was but brokenly. "What's up, Miss Dixon? I'm alright. I'm in God's hands. Don't be sorry for me, to-morrow I will be happier than you."

I tried to talk of the death of our blessed Lord who tasted death for every man, and then I turned to Acts and read of Stephen. Jimmy quickly picked up the last words on the lips of Stephen as a man looking for something and he had found it, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit" - and I said "Them will be my last words - not that I am like Stephen. I deserve to die. It is right for me to die."

Then together we read Psalm 103. As we got to Verse 10 "He hath not dealt with us after our sins nor rewarded us according to our iniquities", Jimmy said, "No, He has not! God's mercy spared me. I deserved to be cut down and go to hell but He gave me this chance. He is good, I will thank him in heaven." He revelled in the truths and comforts of this beautiful Psalm, under, not the shadow of the gallows, but under the shadow of the Almighty.

Then we had to say "Goodbye". I promised him that as long as God spared me I would strive to reach his people and give them the Gospel. He thanked me for ever coming to him and said< "Won't I be glad when I see you coming into Heaven. I'll thank you properly then. We'll meet again - it won't be long. If I thought that what you have told me were not true I would be terribly frightened. It would break my heart, but I'm not afraid. I trust Jesus."

"Yea, though I walk through the Valley of the Shadow of death I will fear no evil", I said. "No, I have no fear," he replied, "Jesus is with me and He'll give me strength."

I gave him as a parting promise, "I will never leave thee nor forsake thee." Then, "We'll meet again", he said, and with another goodbye I left the cell and outside my pent-up feelings found outlet in weeping.

I said farewell to the warders, one of whom had said more than once, "I wouldn't mind being as sure of heaven as that fellow."

During the five weeks in which I spent some hours each morning and afternoon at the gaol, I stayed in my father's home, only spending Sundays at the Mission Station. Before I left home on the last morning I was asked not to go to the execution. I said I did not think I would be allowed, but if Jimmy asked me to stand my him I would do my utmost to gain permission to do so. But Jimmy forestalled the question by telling me he did not wish me to come so that I might remember him as he was.

I spent the last night in prayer and asked not to be disturbed until after 9 o'clock, the hour of the execution. The agony of soul as I wrestled in pray that last twenty minutes could never by forgotten, maybe never repeated. The burden of prayer was for sustaining grace for this poor pardoned sinner in the hour of extremest need. All at once a joy rushed into my soul, the load was gone and I heard as it were the singing and music of a great host and I knew that Jimmy had swept through the Gates washed in the blood of the Lamb.

I joined in the Heavenly Chorus and sang Praise the Lord, Hallelujah! Hallelujah! for I knew all was well. What a wonderful Saviour to save such a sinner! What a precious, understanding Lord to grant me such an exquisite experience of His love and fellowship in letting me hear the heavenly song!

Continued on a new page as RETTA DIXON'S JIMMY GOVERNOR SPEECH 6