Sermon 304. Memento Mori
Delivered on Sabbath Morning, March 18th, 1860, by the
REV. C.H. SPURGEON
At Exeter Hall, Strand.
"Oh that they were wise, that they understood this, that they would consider their latter end."-Deuteronomy 32:29.
MAN IS UNWILLING to consider the subject of death. The shroud, the mattock and the grave, he labors to keep continually outof sight. He would live here always if he could; and since he cannot, he at least will put away every emblem of death as faras possible from his sight. Perhaps there is no subject so important, which is so little thought of. Our common proverb thatwe use is just the expression of our thoughts, "We must live." But if we were wiser we should alter itand say, "We must die." Necessity for life there is not; lift is a prolonged miracle. Necessity for death there certainlyis, it is the end of all things. Oh that the living would lay it to heart. Some years ago, a celebrated author-Drelincourt,wrote a work on Death, a valuable work in itself, but it commanded no sale whatever. There were no men who would trouble themselveswith Death's heads and cross-bones. And to show how foolish man is, a certain doctor went home and wrote a sillyghost-story, not one word of which was true, sent it to the bookseller, he stitched it up with his volume, and the wholeedition sold. Any thing men will think of rather than death-any fiction, any lie. But this stern reality, this master truth,he puts away, and will not suffer it to enter his thoughts. The old Egyptians were wiser than we are. We are told that atevery feast, there was always one extraordinary guest that sat at the head of the table. He ate not, he drank not, he spakenot,he was closely veiled. It was a skeleton which they had placed there, to warn them that even in their feastings, theyshould remember there would be an end of life. We are so fond of living, so sad at the very thoughts of death, that such amemento mori; as that, would be quite unbearable in our days of feasting. Yet our text tells us that we should be wise, if we would considerour latter end. And certainly we should be, for the practical effect of a true meditation upon death would beexceedingly healthful to our spirits. It would cool that ardor of covetousness, that fever of avarice, always longingafter, and accumulating wealth, if we did but remember that we should have to leave our stores, that when we have gotten ourmost, all that we can ever inherit for out body is one six feet of earth, and a mouthful of clay. It would certainly helpus to set loose by the things which we here possess. Perhaps, it might lead us to set our affections upon things above, andnot uponthe mouldering things below. At any rate, thoughts of death might often check us when we are about to sin. If we lookat sin by the light of that death's lantern by which the sexton shall dig our graves, we might see more of the hollownessof sinful pleasure, and of the emptiness of worldly vanity. If we would but sin on our coffin lids, we should sin far moreseldom. Surely we should be kept back from many an evil act if we remembered that we must all appear before the judgment seatof Christ.And, mayhap too, these thoughts of death might be blessed to us in even a higher sense, for we might hear an angel speakingto us from the grave, "Prepare to meet your God," and we might be led to go home and set our house in order, because we mustdie and not live. Certainly, if even one of these effects shall be produced by considering our latter end, it would be thepurest wisdom continually to walk arm in arm with that skeleton teacher-Death.
I propose this morning, as God shall help me, to lead you to consider your latter end. May the Holy Spirit bend your thoughtsdownward to the tomb. May he guide you to the grave, that you may there see the end of all earthly hopes, of all worldly pompand show. In doing this, I shall thus divide my subject. First, let us consider Death, secondly, let us push on the consideration by considering the warnings which Death has given us already; and then, further,let us picture ourselves as dying,-bringing to our mind's eye a picture of ourselves stretched upon our last bed.
I. In the first place, then, LET US CONSIDER DEATH.
1. Let us begin by remarking its origin. Why is it that I must die? Whence came these seeds of corruption that are sown within this flesh of mine? The angels dienot. Those pure ethereal spirits live on without knowing the weakness of old age, and without suffering the penalties of decay.Why must I die? Why has God made me so curiously and so wondrously-why is all this skill and wisdom shown in the fashioningof a man that is to endure for an hour, and then tocrumble back to his native element-the dust? Can it be that God originally made me to die? Did he intend that the noblecreature, who is but a little lower than the angels, who hath dominion over the works of God's hands, beneath whose feet hehath put all sheep and oxen, yea and the fowl of the air and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the pathsof the sea-did he intend that that creature should waste away as a shadow, and should be as a dream that continueth not? Come,my soul, let this melancholy thought thrust itself upon thy attention. Thou diest because thou sinnest! Thy death is notGod's primal ordinance, but it is a penalty brought upon thee on account of the transgression of thy first parent. Thou wouldsthave been immortal if Adam had been immaculate. Sin, thou art the mother of Death! Adam thou hast digged the graves of thychildren! We might have lived on, in everlasting youth, if it had not been for that thrice-cursed theft of the forbidden fruit.Look, then, that thought in the face. Man is a suicide. Our sin, the sin of the human race, slays the race. We die becausewe have sinned. How this should make us hate sin! How we should detest it because the wages of sin is death! Brand then, fromthis day forward, the word Murderer on the brow of sin.
2. In considering Death, let us go a step further, and observe not only its origin but its certainty. Die I must. I may have escaped a thousand diseases, but Death has an arrow in his quiver that will reach my heart at last.True, I have one hope, a blissful hope, that if my Lord and Master shall soon come, I shall be among the number of them thatare alive and remain, who shall never die, but who shall be changed. I have that fond anticipation, that he will comeere this body of mine shall crumble into dust, and that these eyes shall see him when he shall stand in the latter dayupon the earth. But, however, if it be not so, die I must. "It is appointed unto All men once to die, end after death thejudgment. Run! run! but the 'beet pursuer shall overtake thee. Like the stag before the hounds we By swifter than the breeze,but the dogs of Death shall outstrip us: Fever and plague, weakness and decay; he hath but to let slip these dogs and theyare onus, and who can resist their fury? There is a black camel upon which Death rides, say the Arabs, and that must kneel atevery man's door. With impartial hand he dashes down the palace of the monarch as well as the cabin of the peasant. At everyman's door there hangs that black knocker, and Death hath but to uplift it and the dread soumd is heard, and the uninvitedguest sits down to banquet on our flesh and blood. Die I must. No physician can stretch out my life beyond its allotted term.Imust cross that river Jordan. I may use a thousand stratagems, but I cannot escape. Even now I am today like the deersurrounded by the hunters in a circle, a circle which is narrowing every day; and soon must I fan and pour out my life uponthe ground. Let me never forget, then, that while other things are uncertain, Death is sure.
3. Then, looking a little further into shade, let me remember the time of my Death. To God it is fixed and certain. He has ordained the hour in which I must expire. A thousand angels cannot keep me from thegrave an instant when that hour has struck. Nor could legions of spirits cast me into the pit before the appointed time.
"Plagues and death around me fly,
Till he please I cannot die;
Not a single shaft can hit,
Till the God of love sees fit.
All our times are in his hand. The means, the way I shall die, how long I shall be in dying, the sickness and in what placeI shall be seized with the contagion, Al these are ordained. God hath in his mind's eye the wave that shall engulph me, orthe bed in which I shall breathe out my last. He knows the stones that shall mark my sleeping place, and the very worm thatshall crawl o'er this face when it shall be cold im death. He hath ordained everything; and in that Bookof Fate it stands, and never can it be changed. But to me it is quite uncertain. I know not when, nor where, nor how Ishall breathe out my life. Into that sacred ark I cannot look-that ark of the secrets of God. I cannot pry between the foldedleaves of that book which is chained to the throne of God, wherein is written the whole history of man. When I walk by theway I man fall dead im the streets; an apoplexy may usher me into the presence of my Judge. Riding along the road, I may becarried as swiftly to my tomb. While I am thinking of the multitudes of miles over which the fiery wheels are rimming,I may be in a minute, without a moment's warning, sent down to the shades of death. In my own house I am not safe. There area thousand gates to Death, and the roads from Earth to Hades are innumerable. From this spot in which I stand there is a straightpath to the grave; and where you sib there is an entrance into eternity. Oh, let us bethink, then, how uncertain life is.Talk we of a hair; it is something massive when compared with the thread of life. Speak we of a spider's web, it is ponderouscompared with the web of life. We are but as a bubble; nay, less substantial. As a moment's foam upon the breaker, such arewe. As an instant spray-nay, the drops of spray are enduring as the cabs of heaven compared with the moments of our life.Oh, let us, then, prepare to meet our God, because, when and how we shall appear before him is quite unknown to us. We maynever go out of this hall alive. Some of us may be carried hence on young men's shoulders, as Ananias and Sapphire ofold. We may not live to see our homes again We may have given the last kiss to the beloved, cheek, and spoken the last wardof fondness to those who are near to our hearts. We are on the brink of our tombs,
"Ten thousand to their endless home
This solemn moment fly;
And we are to the margin come,
And soon expect to die!"
4. But I must not linger here, but go on to observe the terrors which surround Death. I would call to your memory to-day the pains, the groans the dying strife, which make our affrighted souls start back fromthe tomb. To the best men in the world dying is a solemn thing. Though "I can read my title clear to mansions in the skies,"and know that I have a portion among them that are sanctified, yet must it always give some trembling to the flesh, some quiveringtothe human frame, to think of breathing out my soul, and launching on an unknown sea. He that can laugh at death is a fool-stark,staring mad is he. He who can make jokes with regard to his end will find that if he should die jesting, it will be no jestto be damned. When this tent is being taken down, when this clay tenement begins to creak and shake in the rough north windof Death, when stone after stone tumbles from its place, and all the bonds are loosened, it will be a terrible momentthen. When the poor soul stands beneath the temple of the body, and sees it shake, sees rifts in its roof, sees the pillarstremble, and all the ruins thereof falling about it, it will be an awful moment-a moment which, if it were continued and lengthened,would be the most dread picture of hell that can be presented to us, for hell is called the second Death. An endless dying,the pang of death prolonged eternally, the woes and the grief of dissolution made to last without an end, that, Isay, is one of the most terrible pictures of hell. Death itself must be a tremendous thing. Let me think, too that whenI die I must leave behind me all that I have on earth. Farewell! to that house which I have so fondly called my home. Farewell!to that preside and the little prattlers that have climbed my knee. Farewell I to her who has shared my life and been thebeloved one of my bosom. Farewell! All things-the estate, the "old, the silver. Farewell! earth. Thy fairest beauties meltaway, thy most melodious strains die in the dim distance. I hear no more, and see no more, Ears and eyes are closed, andmen shall carry me out and bury their dead out of their sight. And, now, farewell! to Al the means of grace. That passingbell is the last sound of the sanctuary that shall toll for me. No church bell now shall summon me to the house of God. IfI have neglected Christ I shall hear of Christ no more, No grace presented now; no strivings of the Spirit,
"Fix'd is my everlasting state,
Could I repent, 'tis now too late."
Death hath now closed up the window" of my soul If I am impenitent, an everlasting darkness, a darkness like that of Egypt,that may be felt, rests on me for over. Ye may sing ye saints of God, but I must howl eternally. Ye may gather round the SacramentalTable and remember your Master's death, but I am cast away for ever from his presence, where there is weeping, and waning,and gnashing of teeth. This is to die, my friends, and to die with a vengeance, too. To thebeliever there are softening tints; there are lines in the picture which take out the blackness. The very shades helpto make the believer's glory brighter, the grim passage of Death makes heaven shine with a superior lustre. He thinks of thelands beyond the flood, of the beatific vision, of the face of the exalted Redeemer, of a seat at his right hand, of crownsof glory, and of harps of immortal bliss. But to you who are ungodly and unconverted, Death has only this black side. It istheleaving of all you have, and of all you love. It is an entering upon eternal poverty, everlasting shame, and infinitewoe. Oh that ye were wise, ye careless sinners-oh that ye were wise, that ye understood this, and would consider your latterend.
5. I have thus you see pushed into another head which I meant to have dwelt upon for a moment, viz., the results of death. For, verily, its results and terrors to the wicked are the same. Oh that ye were wise to consider them. Let me, however,remind the Christian, in order that there may be a flash of light in the thick darkness of this sermon, that Death to himshould never be a subject upon which he should loathe to meditate. To die!-to shake off my weaknessand to be girded with omnipotence. To die!-to leave my pangs, and palms, and fears, and woe, my feeble heart, my unbelief,my tremblings and my griefs, and leap into the divine bosom. To die! What have I to lose by Death? The tumult of the peopleand the strife of tongues. A joyous loss indeed! To the believer Death is gain, unalloyed gain. Do we leave our friends byDeath? We shall see better friends, and more numerous up yonder, in the general assembly and church of the first-born, whosenames are written in heaven. Do we leave our house and comforts?" There is a house not made with hands, eternal in theheavens." Do we lose our life? Ah no, we gain a better far; for remember that we live to die, we die to live, and then arelive to die no more. Without any fraction of loss, death to the believer is a glorious gain. It is greatly wise, then, fora Christian to talk with his last hours, because those last hours are the beginning of his glory. He leaves off to sin andbegins tobe perfect; he ceases to suffer and begins to be happy; he renounces all his poverty and shamed and begins to be richand honored. Comfort, then, comfort, then, ye sorrowing and suffering Christians. "Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saithyour God." Say unto them your warfare is accomplished, your sin is pardoned, and you shall see your Lord's face without Aveil between.
II. I shall now turn to the second head of my discourse. Brethren, fellow immortals. I desire you now to CONSIDER THE WARNINGSWHICH DEATH HATH ALREADY GIVEN TO EACH ONE OF US. We are so prone to turn away from this subject, that you must excuse meif I continue to bring you back again, again, and again to it, alluring the brief time that can be allotted to the discourseof this morning. Death hath been very near to many of us; he has crossed the ecliptic of our life manyand many a time. That baleful planet has often been in close conjunction with us.
Let us just observe how frequently he has been in our house. Call ye then to mind, first of Al, how many warnings you havehad in the loss of relatives. There is not a person here, I imagine who has not had to make a pilgrimage to the tomb, to weepover the ashes of your friends. During the few years that I have been the pastor of this church, how many times have I journeyedto the tomb. One after another of the valiant men in our Israel have been taken away. Many who weremy spiritual sons and daughters, whom I buried first in the tomb of baptism, have I had to bury afterwards in the tombof death. The scene is always changing. As I stand in my pulpit, I remark many an old familiar face. But I have to observealso, how many places there are which would have been empty, if it were not that God has sent other Davids to occupy David'sseat. And, my dear friends, it cannot be long with some of you ere it shall be my mournful task, unless I die myself, to gocreepingover your bodies to the tomb. That funeral oration may soon be pronounced over some of you. And you have good reason toexpect it when you think how one after another of those who were the friends of your youth have gone. Where is the wife withwhom you lived joyously in the early days of your life? Or where is the husband whose fair young face so often looked on youwith eyes of love? Where are those children who sprung up like flowers, but withered as they bloomed? Where are those brothersand those sisters, the elder born, that have crossed the flood before us? or, where those younger ones, whom we livedto see born, who shone with us for an hour, but whose sun even before it had reached its zenith, had set in eternal night?Brothers and sisters, Death has made sad inroads into some of our families. There be some of you who stand to day like a manupon the shore when the tide is swelling towards his feet. There came one wave, and it took away the grandmother; anothercame, and amother was swept away; another came, and the wife was taken; and now it dashes at your feet. How long shall it be ereit break over you-and you, too, are carried away by the yawning wave into the bosom of the deep of Death? The Lord has givenmany of you serious and solemn warnings. I do entreat you, listen to them. Darken now, to the cry which comes up from thegrave of those who being dead yet speak to you. Hear them now, those lately buried ones, as they cry, "Children, husbands,wives,brothers, sisters, prepare to meet your God, lest ye should fail in the lest dread day."
Think, again, what solemn and repeated warnings we have had of late, not in our families, but in the wide, wide world. Itis a singular fact, that afflictions and accidents never come alone. A few weeks ago, we were all shocked with the news, thatone who sailed across the treacherous sea full many a time, and who at last had risen so high in his profession as to becomecaptain of the largest vessel that was ever launched upon the deep, that he had suddenly perished incalm craters, and his spirit had appeared before his God. It seemed to us to be a sad thing, that one who had enduredthe tempest and the storm, perhaps a thousand times, should sink as a ship that founders in mid-ocean, when not a wave rocksher keel. He is at home-he has just left his family-his foot slips, and he finds a watery grave. Quick upon that, as one messengerfollows anther, came the news across the sea of the falling of a mill, in which so many hundreds were at once overwhelmedby the ruins, and sent hurriedly into the presence of God. We can little tell what a thrill of horror went through thetowns which are adjacent to that mill in America. Even ourselves, across leagues of the sea, felt stunned by the blow, whenso large a number of our fellow-creatures were hurried from this state of being into another. Immediately after that, therecame another calamity, which is just fresh in our memory. A train is whirling along, and suddenly the iron horse leaps fromhisroad, and men who are talking together, as fully at ease as we are, amid the breaking of bones, and the crashing of timber,and whirlwinds of dust and steam, are snatched from time into eternity. And, now, this last week, how many tokens have wehad that man is mortal? A judge who has lone presided over the trials of his criminal countrymen, delivers his charge beforea grand jury. He delivers it with his usual wisdom, calmness, and deliberation. He has finished; he pauses; he lifts thesmelling bottle to his nose to refresh himself; he falls back; he is carried from the court to receive his own charge,to go from the judgment-seat on which he sat to the judgment-seat before which he must himself stand. Then, in the same week,a good man who has served his day and generation in a sister church of this city, is suddenly snatched away from before us.He who aided every good cause, and served his day and generation-perhaps you may know that I allude to Mr. Corderoy-issuddenly taken away, and leaves a whole denomination mourning over him. Nay, nearer than that has the stroke of deathcome to some of us. It was but last Wednesday that I sat in the house of that mighty servant of God, that great defender ofthe faith, the Luther of his age, Dr. Campbell; we were talking then about these sudden deaths, tattle thinking that the likecalamity would invade his very family; but, alas! we observed in the next day's paper, that his second son had been sweptoverboardin returning from one of his voyages to America. A bold brave youth has found a liquid grave. So that here, there, everywhere,O Death! I see thy doings. At home, abroad, on the sea, and across the sea, thou art doing marvels. O thou mower! how longere thy scythe shall be quiet? O thou destroyer of men, wilt thou never rest, wilt thou ne'er be still? Death I must thyJuggernaut-car go crashing on for ever, and must the skulls and blood of human beings mark thy track? Yes, it must be so tillHe comes who is the King of life and immortality; then the saints shall die no more, but be as the angels of God. So then,Death has spoken very loudly to us as a nation, as a people, and has spoken to many of us, very loudly, in our own familycircles.
Now, man, I will come closer home to you still. Death has given home strokes to all of us. Put thy finger in thy own mouth,for thou hast Death's mark there. What mean those decaying teeth, those twitching pains of the gum?-an agony despised by thosealone who feel It not. Why do some parts of the house tremble and hurry to decay? Because the rottenness that is in the teethis in the whole body. You talk of a decayed tooth: remember, it is but part of a decayed man. Youare yourself rotting, but a little less rapidly. For, to some of you, what warnings Death has given. He has laid his coldhand upon your head and frozen your hair; and there it lies in snowy flakes upon your temples. Or, perhaps, he has put thathand yet more heavily upon it, and now your bare head is exposed to the rays of the sun, and, remember, this is but a typeof the exposure of your bare soul to the stroke of death. What signs have we all had in our bodies, especially the aged, theinfirm, the consumptive, and the maimed? What mean those lungs that are so soon exhausted of their breathing if you travelup a flight of stairs to your bed? Why is it you need your optic glasses to your eyes, but that they that look out of thewindows are darkened? Why that affected hearing? Why that failure of the voice, that weakness of the entire body, that accumulationof the flesh, or that prominence of the bones and leanness of the body? What are all these but stabs from the hand ofDeath? They are, if I may say so, his warrants which he presents to you, summons you in a little time to meet him in anotherplace, to do your last work, and take your last farewell. Oh! if we would but look at ourselves, we bear Death's signs andtokens about us in every part of our body. But some of us have had yet more solemn warnings than these. If these suffice not,Death gives us a more thundering sermon. It is but a little while ago with me since Death with his axe seemed to be fellingmy tree. How the chips flew about me and covered the ground! It is a marvel to myself that I am here. Brought to Death'sdoor, till the mind became distracted, and the body weakened, so that one could scarce stand upright, and yet again recovered.
"Tell it unto sinners-tell,
I am, I am, out of hell."
Still spared, and yet alive. You have had fever, cholera it may be. You have hen stretched on your bed time after time; andeach time the branch has creaked and bent almost double, till we have said, "Surely, it must snap." As a bowing wall havewe been, and as a tottering fence; down it must come, so we thought; for a rough hand was shaking it, and moving us to andfro. There was not a pillar that stood firm. There was not a beam or rafter that did not quiver. We said, inthe bitterness of our soul, "My days are cut off, and I shall go down to my tomb before my time." Well, man, and yet youare living in sin, as careless and unconcerned as you were before. Remember, if you will not hear Death's tongue you shallfeel his dart. If you will not think of God when he gives you a warning from a distance, you shall be made to feel God, for" he shall tear you in pieces, and none shall deliver." Methinks I see this morning, Death fitting his arrow to the bow. Heisdrawing it, pulling it tighter, and tighter still; and the marvel is that he can hold the arrow in his hand so long. "Shallit fly?" saith Death; "shall I let fly at yon wretch's heart? he will not repent; let me cut him off, and send him to hisdestruction." But the Lord saith, "Spare him yet a tattle longer." But, anon, Death's fingers are itching. He saith, "My Lord,let me take aim; I have bent my bow, and made it ready. So sharp is it that it would cut through bars of brass, or triplesteel, to reach a human heart. My throat is thirsting after his blood. Oh, let me lay him; let him die." "No," cries thelongsuffering voice of God; " spare him, spare him, spare him yet a little longer." But the time will soon arrive. Perhaps,ere that clock shall reach the half hour, it may he said in heaven, "Time is! Time was!" And then shall Death let fly; hisarrow shall reach your heart; and you, fading down on earth, shall appear before the awful Judge of the quick and the dead,andreceive your final sentence. And, good God, if you are unprepared to die! O careless sinner, what then will become ofthee?
I have thus tried to make you think of Death's warnings in the loss of friends, and the deaths of many abroad; moreover inthe failing of our bodies, and in the diseases which have begun to prey upon us.
III. And now to conclude, will you in the last place, PICTURE YOURSELF AS DYING NOW. Antedate for a very little while yourlast day. Suppose it to have come. The sun has risen. "Throw up that window! let me see that sun for the last time!-this ismy last day! " The physicians whisper with one another. You catch some syllables, and you learn the sad news that the caseis hopeless. Much has been done for you, but skill has its limit. "He may survive," says the physician,"perhaps another twelve hours, but I hardly expect it will be so long as that. You had better gather his friends togetherto see him. Telegraph for the daughter; let her come up and see her father's face for the last time in the world." Yes, andnow I begin to feel that the hour is coming. They are gathering round my bed. "Farewell! to you all, a last farewell! A fatherbids you follow him upwards to the skies. 'I know that my Redeemer liveth.' My hope stands fast and firm in Christ Jesus!Farewell! Farewell! I commend you to him who is the Father of the fatherless and the husband of the widow." But the hourdraws nearer still. And now the lips refuse to speak. We have a something to communicate-a last word to a wife. We mutterthrough our closed teeth, but no audible sounds are heard, no words that can be interpreted. We breathe heavily. They stayus up in the bed with pillows. And now we begin to understand that expression of the hymn, "The cracking of the eyestrings."Now,we cannot see. Strange to say, we have eyes still, but we cannot see. If we want anything we must feel about us for it;but, no, we cannot lift our hands. They begin to hang down. We can still hear, and we hear the whisper the question, "Is hedead?" One of them says, " I think there is still a little breath." They come very near and try to hear us breathing. Thatcan hardly be heard. What must our sensations be in that solemn moment! There is a hush now in the room. The watch alone isheardticking, as the last sands drop from the hour glass. And now, the last moment is come. My soul is severed from my body.And where am I now-a naked, disembodied spirit? My soul, if thy hope be sound and real, thou art now where thou hast longedto be; thou art in the presence of thy Savior and thy God. Thou art now brother to the angels. Thou standest in the mid-blazeof the splendor of divinity. Thou seest Him, whom having not seen, thou hast loved; in whom believing, thou hast rejoicedwithjoy unspeakable and full of glory.
Ah, but there is another picture, the reverse of this, I cannot attempt to draw it, I will give you but the rough outlineof it-a crayon sketch without the filling up. Yes, you are dying; and bad as you have been, you have some that love you, andthey gather round you. You cannot speak to them. Alas! you tell them more than if you could speak, for they see in your facethat clammy sweat, those staring eyes. They see tokens that you have a vision of a something whichwould not bear to be revealed. You try to be composed; you quiet yourself. The doctor assists you to be damned easily:he drugs you, helps to send you to sleep. And now you feel that you are expiring. Your soul is filled with terror. Black horrorsand thick darkness gather round you. Your eyestrings break. Your flesh and your heart fail. But there is no kind angel towhisper, "Peace, be still." No convoy of cherubim to bear your soul away straight to yonder worlds of joy. You feel that thedartof death is a poisoned dart, that it has injected hell into your veins; that you have begun to feel the wrath of God beforeyou enter upon the state where you shall feel it to the full. Ah, I will not describe what has happened. As your ministerit may be, I shall have to come up and see you in your last extremity, and I shall have to say to the mother, to the children,to your brothers and to your sisters, "Well, well, we must leave this in the hands of a Covenant God." I must speak as gentlyas I can, but I shall go away with the reflection: "O that he had been wise, that he had understood this, that he hadconsidered his latter end." My heart, as I go down the stairs, shall ask me this question, "Was I faithful to this man? didI tell him honestly the way to heaven? if he is lost, will his blood be required at my hands?" I know that with regard tosome of you the answer of my conscience will be, "I have preached as well as I possibly could the Word of God, not with enticingwordsof man's wisdom, but with a desire to be simple and to come home to the heart. I must leave the matter there. If theyare lost, oh, horror of horrors! but I am clear of their blood." Ah, my hearers, I hope it will not be so with you, but thateach one of you, dying, may have a hope; and rising again may possess immortality, and ascend to the throne of my Father andof your Father, to my God and to your God.
And, now, if there is any impression upon your minds, any serious thought, let me send you away with this one sentence. Theway of salvation is plain: "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; he that believeth not shall be damped." Believe-thatis, trust-trust the Lord Jesus and thou shalt be saved. My God the Holy Spirit enable you to trust him now, for with some of you-and mark this last sentence-with some of you it is NOW or NEVER.