Sermon 2917. The Doors of the Shadow of Death
A SERMON PUBLISHED ON THURSDAY, JANUARY 5, 1905.
DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON, ON LORD'S-DAY EVENING, SEPTEMBER 24, 1876.
"Have you seen the doors of the shadow of death?" Job 38:17.
Last Sabbath our spirits flew forward as far as the Judgment Day. We stood with wondering awe to gaze upon the Great WhiteThrone and the fillet of gold about the head of the Reaper who gathered in the harvest of the earth. We trembled as we sawthe other angel take the sharp sickle and reap the world's vintage and hurl it into the winepress of Jehovah's wrath whereit was trampled underfoot until the blood of men flowed forth in torrents. [See Sermon #2910, Volume
50-THE HARVEST AND THE VINTAGE] Our excursion at this time will
not take us so far in human history. We shall halt at a nearer stopping place. We shall not journey even to the Resurrection-onlyto the doors of the shadow of death.
The question is, "Have you seen the doors of the shadow at death?" And the answer implied is-"No." In this chapter, God isquestioning Job in order to show him his inability and his ignorance. To each question which the Lord puts to the Patriarch,a negative answer is expected. "Have you entered into the springs of the sea?" "Have you walked in the search of the depth?""Have the gates of death been opened to you?" "Have you perceived the breadth of the earth?" Job had done none of these things.
Well, then, Job, "Have you seen the doors of the shadow of death?" The only answer the Patriarch could have given or thatwe can give is, "No." We can get as far as the gates of death, but we cannot pry within. Apart from Revelation, we have noinformation about the dreary land beyond that land which lies enshrouded, as far as we are concerned, in perpetual gloom.We cannot tell when or how we, ourselves, shall die, so we know little of the dread mystery. The message will someday cometo us that the pitcher is to be broken at the cistern, but when it shall come, we little dream. It may be much nearer thanwe think and, on the other hand it, may be farther off than we have feared. We are all, in this life, something like the prisonersconfined during the dreadful French Revolution. They were shut in so that they could not escape-and every morning there camea man with a little slip of paper who read out the names of that day' s victims-who were then hurried to the wagon which wasin waiting outside to drag off its weary load to death. So every morning comes the death angel into the world and he readsout the names of such an one and such an one. We miss our comrade who has been called and we grow so accustomed to the routinethat, alas, we think too little of having missed him. But we are waiting, each one of us, till the missive shall come forourselves-yet we know no more when we shall die than does the ox in the pasture, or the sheep in the fold.
Neither do we know what it is to die. We know, in a certain sense, what the act of death is, but what is the strange feelingwith which the soul finds itself houseless, forsaken of the body which falls about it like a crumbling tenement? What is itto have the link severed which keeps the mortal bound to the immortal-the spiritual caged within the material? What that is,we do not know-neither has any told us. We have watched others passing. We have stood by the beside of the dying. We havewitnessed the last gasp and still it remains a secret what it is to die! We only know that these gates of the shadow of deathare so shut upon us that we cannot hold any conversation whatever with the world beyond, save only as there is an everlastingfellowship in the Person of Christ between all that are in Him, so that-
"The saints on earth, and all the dead, But one communion makee."
Indeed, we are so shut off from the other world that we never even dare to pry behind the curtain which God has thrown acrossthe abode of spirits. There have been necromancers in all ages who have desired to intrude into these mysterious regions-whohave pretended to have done so. Their craft is to be abhorred as Hell! Woe unto the man that comes near to them! They are,as far as Christians are concerned, to be utterly loathed, for, where the Lord has hung up a curtain and shut the door, itis not for you and me to meddle, lest in eating those sacrifices of the dead we are found to be having fellowship with devilsand be cast down to share their doom!
"Have you seen the gates of the shadow of death?" We are content to give the answer which Job must have given, that we havenot seen them and do not wish to see them. Between those iron bars we do not wish to pry. What the Lord reveals we are contentto learn from His Word, but we wish to know nothing more. Now, dear Friends, that being the case, we shall only in meditationgo down to those gates as far as we may lawfully go-and speak only about what we may actually know, not dreaming or dotingabout things beyond our knowledge. There have been some poets who have sung of descents to Avernus and of the circles of theInferno. You need not that I go through Dante's majestic conceptions, or tell how Milton sings of worlds unknown. Ours isa far less ambitious business. We have no poetry to make-we have simple facts to state.
I. First, then, we ask you to come down as near to the gates of death as we may, in mediation, VIEWING DEATH IN GENERAL fora few minutes.
Look up in vision to these terrible portals and do you not observe, as you stand before them, that these gates are alwaysopen? Never, day and night, are those gates of death shut, for at all hours there is traffic through them. Men die at midnight,as they did in Pharaoh's palace. And men die at noon, as the child did who said, "My head, my head," and whose father said,"Take him to his mother," and who then fell asleep in her lap. They die in springtime and the flowers sweetly waking fromthe earth adorn the hillock which marks their tomb. And they die in summer and know nothing of the sweet flowers that bloomand perfume all the air. They drop like autumn leaves and the winter, howling their requiem, bears many of them away. Thereis never a moment, I suppose, at any time when the fall of feet may not be heard by listening ears that are hard by the gatesof death-shade. The dead have always been coming since Abel led the way- one perpetual stream, never ceasing day nor night.
Let us also remember that multitudes have now passed through those iron gates! You cannot count the hosts who have entered.The calculating machine might fail and the powers of mind utterly fail before the mighty total! We speak of them as the greatmajority and earth with her more than thousand millions has but a slender congregation of living persons compared with thecongregation of the dead. What multitudes, I say, have passed through from the first day until now! Sometimes there has beena rush when death's jackals, the kings and princes of the world, have driven their prey in troops through them by means ofbloody wars. At other times men in hosts have rushed through those gates pursued by plague or famine-and always by human decayor disease men have come up to these gates, always, always, always passing through. The stream of passengers through the gatesof death goes on, on, on. While you and I are sitting here, they are stepping between the posts. Perhaps some dear to us arenearing the portals. We ourselves are, certainly, on the way, and at all times our fellow creatures are being swallowed withinthe gaping jaws which never shut!
If you will stop here a minute and look-and have eyes strong enough in the shade to mark who they are that come-you will seethere a man leaning on his staff. But did you notice that there also went by him little children that had not yet learnedto speak? You see the strong man come all of a sudden, running away from life. And you see the invalid who has long waitedfor his summons-you may count his bones as he passes down to his grave. Do you see yonder man? There is nothing special abouthim. He looks just like any other. He once was a king-there is still a little royal about him. Do you see that other man?He was once a beggar. He does not seem, now, a bit more beggarly than did the monarch! They have, neither of them, broughtanything with them-they come here penniless-all of them, and they pass through with empty hands. Titles, grandeur, estates,position, fame-all are left behind. They come a great crowd in a liberty, equality and fraternity of death-a common brotherhoodthat will never be realized in life. Do you see them going? In view of this general leveling, you may set small store on thedistinctions of this world. I have come to declare that nothing is worth seeking after but that which will survive the tomb!
Through that gate you have seen many go in thought tonight. Will you please remember that no one has ever returned, with theexception of a few restored by miracle? They go through that way, but there are no steps backward.
Gone, gone forever. Once the breath has left the body, I think that the soul shall not revisit its old haunts or know anythingof all that it done under the sun. But whether that is so or not, it is certain that they will not come back in the old familiarform. They are gone. They cannot return. It is idle to weep and wish them among us again-floods of tears cannot restore them.As for the tree that is cut down, at the scent of water it will bud, but rivers of precious water from weeping eyes cannotcause these dead ones to live again.
Now, concerning these gates of the grave, we may say further that though they are thus thronged, there are very few that evercome there as voluntary passengers. Man dreads to die. It is right that he should, so long as it does not come to a fear thatis bondage. Understand this-that God has implanted within us all the desire to live for right ends and purposes. There area few that pass that way in a hurry or of their own consent. Ah, dreary souls that take away their lives! To what has a mancome when he dares to contemplate such an insult to his Maker? He that gave you breath may take it back, but you may not giveit up yourself! To die by your own hand is not to escape from suffering, but to plunge yourself into it forever, for we knowthat no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. Therefore he that murders himself, if he knows what he is doing, gives sureevidence that eternal life is not in him! We must all go through those gates, but we must gallantly bide our time and takearms against the sea of trouble that now awaits us. Then at last, if we are Christ's-and all of us may be His and know weare His-when our Captain bids us come to Him, we will bow our heads and pass through the gates of iron, not fearing for amoment! Our Lord will come to meet us and our soul will stretch her wings in haste and fly fearless through the shadowed portals,nor feel anything of terror as she passes them!
Those thoughts may suffice about death in general.
II. Now, in the second place, let us go down to the doors of that death-shade and stand some moments VIEWING SAINTLY DEATHS.I wish only to speak simply about them.
First, I remark that all saintly deaths are not pleasant to look upon. Some of the grandest men who ever lived have died ina storm. Martin Luther's deathbed was troubled. I do not wonder that when a man has done such glorious mischief to Satan'sdominions, he should not be allowed to enter into his rest without one more struggle with his foe! John Knox, again, had afierce battle when he came to die. He found it hard, though he triumphed at the last even as Luther did. And many that haveserved their Master well, instead of shouts of joy and singing of hymns in their departure, have had to lay hold with alltheir might upon their Crucified Savior in order to sustain their hope. There is something right about this, too-it becomesa lesson to us all-"If the righteous scarcely are saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?" And if to die issometimes hard work to a man who is known to be a true Believer and who has shown to others that he is really saved, whatshall they expect in the hour of death who have no such confidence
Yet, Beloved, standing at the doors of death tonight, I must confess that as far as I am concerned, of those I have seen passingthrough, who have believed in Christ, most of the saints have passed through gladly. They have entered the gates with a cheerynote, with a song, or with a Hallelujah. I cannot forget the times in which I have been asked to sing at dying beds when Icould not possibly have done it for very choking of sympathy with those about me. But the dying man has sung and the dyingwoman has joined sweetly in the hymn-and when we seemed to feel as if it might be too much for the failing strength-we havebeen asked by the saint who was ready to depart that we might sing another verse! While they have been-
"Sweeping through the gates of the new Jerusalem,"
they have wanted us to sing them Home! If I had to tell where I have seen the most joy on earth, I would certainly not sayat the bridal feasts, for that joy has much that is flimsy about it. In many that partake in that festival, the sentimentsare often unreal. But the joy of the dying man-the joy of the expiring saint-has something so deep, so sublime, yet so simplein it that I know not where to equal it, whether I am permitted to search in the palaces of kings or in the homes of content!The greatest joy on earth is, after all, the joy of departing saints. So you may stand at the gates of death-shade, and hearthem sing as they pass through. Some of them you may hear saying extraordinary things. Haliburton cried, "Have at you, Death!Have at you, Death!"-as if he fought and conquered the grim foe without a fear. Others have shouted, "Victory, victory, victory,through the blood of the Lamb!" in their last moments. There has been sorrow, but there has been far oftener joy!
Concerning the doors of the shadow of death, let me say that there are stores of Grace laid up hard by those gates of thegrave for saints when they come there. You must not expect, dear Friends, to have dying Grace in living moments. You mustnot expect at this time to have Grace to die with, when, perhaps, God intends you to live another 50 years! What would youdo with such Grace? Where would you put it? You shall have it when you come to die. Only trust in Christ, today, and do Hisbidding-when the dying time shall come-the dying Grace shall be afforded you.
In addition to this, I believe that God not only gives His people Grace to die, but, in their last moments, some of the saintsget visions of another world before they enter the gates of death. I am persuaded that the glow and the glory that I haveseen on some men's faces when they have been dying, have not been of earth-that the strange light that lit their featuresand the wondrous smile of ineffable delight with which they have fallen asleep-have not been things of time. They could nothave been created by their present circumstances, for their surroundings have been all to the contrary. The radiance fromthe world beyond has been upon them. What strange things, too, they have said! Some of them have been hard to comprehend,for the expiring saints have spoken a language more of Heaven than of earth, as if they knew things which were unlawful forthem to utter and must not speak so as to be understood. Stray notes from harps of seraphim they have caught and they havetried to sing them here, below, but have failed. Yet we have heard enough to let us know that God has partly drawn up theblinds and permitted them to see through the lattice and behold the King in His beauty. Angels, too, we doubt not, come tothose gates of death. Why should they not? They came to Jesus in Gethsemane. They are bid to the care of the Lord's people,lest they dash their foot against a stone. I have no doubt that they minister to the heirs of salvation, for it is writtenthat when Lazarus died angels carried him into Abraham's bosom. The angelic bands wait, I believe, at these gates of deathto help the righteous in their last extremity.
Best of all, I should like you, as you come with me to these doors of death-shade, to notice that there is a blood-mark rightacross the entrance. If you look down, there is the print of a footprint unlike that of all the rest, for it is the printof a foot that once was pierced! Ah, I recognize that mark. My Lord has gone that way! I have not yet been down to the doorsof death-shade, but He, my Savior, has been there. He has passed through them, indeed, and yet He lives! Therefore the joyof the Believer is that when he passes through, because Christ lives, he shall also live! And because Christ is risen, he,too, shall rise! I could not believe the Resurrection if it were not certain that Christ has risen. But if ever there wasa fact in history that is well attested beyond all conceivable doubt, it is the fact that He who was put into the grave bythe Jews and whose tomb was sealed, rose again from the dead on the third day! All His people shall also rise because He hasled the way. O gates of death-shade, we dread you no longer since Christ has passed through your portals!
And see, Brothers and Sisters, for the Believer, all around those gates of death-shade bright lamps are burning! Do you notsee them? They are lamps of promise. "When you pass through the rivers I will be with you, and through the rivers they shallnot overflow you." "O death, I will be your plagues." You know how the Lord of the pilgrims has given the assurance over andover and over again, in all shapes and ways, that He will not leave nor forsake His people, but that He will help them evento the end and cause them, when they walk through the Valley of the Shadow at Death, to fear no evil because He is with them.
The gates of the grave, then, as far as Believers are concerned, are not places of gloom at all! We ought often to go there.It is greatly wise to be familiar with our last hours-to antedate them and to die daily. Make a friend of death! Oh, go tothe graves, not to weep, but that you may not weep when you go there! Often strip yourself and go through the rehearsal ofyour death, that when the time shall come it may be no strange work for you to die since you shall have died daily for, itmay be, 50 years at a stretch!
III. Now, lastly, and very sorrowfully, a few words VIEWING THE DEATH OF SINNERS. Down to these grim gates the ungodly mustgo as well as the people of God. To every one of them is the lot appointed. Let us speak the truth about them solemnly andtenderly, with tears in our heart, though sad words are on our lips.
The death of ungodly people is not always terrible. There are many that die and are lost, of whom David says in the Psalm,"Like sheep they are laid in the grave." They never cared for the House of God nor regarded the Sabbath. They knew nothingof prayer, or of faith. Their consciences have become seared. They played bravado with God and He has given them up, so whenthey come to die, they take it coolly enough. They "shuffle off this mortal coil" almost without a fear, and they that standaround say, "Oh, he died so sweetly-such a happy death." Ah me! Ah me! Ah me! Saints often die struggling-and sinners oftendie in dreadful peace! I say, "dreadful," for have you never noticed the stillness-the
awful silence of nature before a storm, when there is not a breath of air and not a leaf stirs on the trees? The very cloudsseem to hang still in mid Heaven and earth and sky get more quiet and still more quiet, and our very breath becomes intenselystifling in the dread stagnation-till with peal on peal the dread artillery of Heaven begins to shake Heaven and earth! Suchis the death of many an ungodly man-a treacherous calm. Oh, what an awakening for him when in Hell he shall lift up his eyes,far from every hope of mercy! Pray God you may not die so. I should not like to die stupefied. I would prefer to be in mysenses. Presumption is a drug which stupefies the soul and because of it men often die at peace, full many of them. But itwere far better that they had never taken that dire drug, but could really look into the future, perhaps, even at the lastmoment, while their feet were sliding, so they might find Grace enough to start back and lay hold on Everlasting life thatthey might not descend into the abyss below! Because their eyes are blinded, there are many that die peaceably enough-andare lost.
Of impenitent men I may say that when they come to die, many of them are not at peace. A very large number of such peopleshrink back from the doors of death because, in the quiet chamber, memory begins to work. Then the evil deed, the midnightscene, the neglected Sabbath, the unread Bible, the Throne of Grace forsaken-all claim to speak. And as the clock goes tick,tick, upon the wall, the mind begins to go over childhood, youth, manhood, married life and to remember and to bring up sin.It is not every sinner that is such a fool as to be able to remember a wasted life without some terror or regret! Fear, too,is generally busy, for the mind begins to ask whether the thought is pleasant to the dying person or not-"Where am I going?"And there is a something in man that does not let him believe that he is a mere animal. Look at your wife, man-you that believeall living men to be mere beasts. What is that dear body of your wife whom you have loved these many years? Well, principallyso much water and so much gas. When that is taken away, there is a small residuum of earthy ash-that is all. And is that whatyou have loved-so many pounds of water and gas and earth?
No, Sir, you have not. You have loved a woman! You have loved a thing infinitely better than dead earth and water and gas.You know that. You do not believe that your mother is only mere water and gas and earth, nor your child, nor yourself! Youcannot persuade yourself to accept such materialism as that! There is a something in this body that is better than this water,gas and earth-a something that will consciously exist when these have been dissolved. And there is that within all of us thatmakes us believe it whether we will it or not! Therefore, at the portals of death there comes into the mind the question,"Where am I going?" And if the heart cannot answer that question by saying, "I am going where Jesus is-I am going to my Savior,in whom I have trusted, who has washed me from my sin"-then fear comes up and the man begins to say, "Oh, how can I go forward?The Bible tells me I am going to judgment and I am unfit for judgment-that I am going to resurrection and what must it befor a sinful body like mine to rise from the dead? I am going to condemnation and already in my conscience I am condemned!How can I go? How can I stop? Ah, must I leave you, O earth, and cannot I enter you, O Heaven? Then where must I fly?" Notmany ungodly men can manage to shake off such thoughts as these in the dread prospect of departure.
Let me say, further, that near these gates of death-shade is a very difficult place in which to seek the Lord. When a mangets troubled with memory and fear, and his body it racked with pain, he is very ill-fitted to listen to the voice of Jesus.I would not discourage a dying man for a moment from looking to Jesus. If he desires salvation, if he will but believe inthe Christ of God, he shall have eternal life even at the last! But speaking from what I have seen, the most of men in thearticle of death are quite unfit for thought-quite unable to feel anything beyond the stabs of physical anguish-and quiteincapable of faith. No man knows how far God's mercy goes, but if that mercy is given to faith, I cannot see how it can beextended to some dying men. Delirium, a wandering mind, an aching head-oh, these will give you quite enough to do in dyingwithout having to seek your peace with God! It is task enough only to die, to take a tearful farewell of those babes and ofthe partner of your life. It is enough to die without then having to begin to cry, "God be merciful to me a sinner." Haveyou seen the doors of death-shade? If you have, you will not choose them as a place to repent in-you will rather choose thepresent time to seek the Lord-now while yet your mind is fresh and vigorous and He is waiting to be gracious!
I must not detain you more than another minute or two, but let me remind you that at the doors of death-shade is the placeof testing and the place of stripping. The man comes there who has professed to be a Christian. If he is not, how the ragsof his self-righteousness are torn off! Or he says, "I was no professor of religion. I was better than that! I was an Volume51 www.spurgeongems.org 5
honest man." Now it turns out, at last, that he was not even true to his God and his fancied honesty drops off him like agarment! Build castles in the air if you will, but death is a wonderful dissipater of all your magic! At the shadowy gatesnothing will do for you or for God but reality. If the religion you have and the hope you have will not stand the test ofself-examination and heart-searching sermons, certainly it will not stand the test of a dying hour. What a stripping timeit will be! Now, my lord, you must take the last look at your crown-that will never encircle your brow again. Now look throughthe window at your broad estates-you will not be able to call a foot of it your own! Even the six feet of earth in which youlie will only be yours as long as the charity of your successors will permit you to slumber in peace. Good-bye to your moneybags! Farewell to the market and the exchange! You have got your wealth with much labor, but you are forced to leave it now-everypenny of it. None of it can go with you.
Worse still, the gates of death-shade are the places of farewell An ungodly man has to bid, sometimes, farewell to a Christianwife. Kiss her cheek, man-you will never see her again. You have a Christian child, a dear child that has lately joined thechurch, but you are no follower of Christ. When you come to die, they will bring her to your bedside and you will have tosay, "Good-bye, Mary. I shall never see you again, or if I do it, will only be as Dives, who looked up and saw Lazarus faraway in Abraham's bosom, but with an awful gulf between." Some of you unconverted brothers, how will you like to be separatedfrom your Christian sisters? Some of you daughters-how will you like to be divided from your father and your mother who willbe in Heaven? Oh, all of you say, "We would like to meet in Heaven as unbroken families." Young girl. Young man. What if yourname should be left out when Christ shall summon home His own? Certain it is that death-shade gates are the place of everlastingfarewell. God grant you may never have to take such farewell of any of your kin who are in Christ, but may you soar up toHeaven and be raised with them when the trumpet of the archangel sounds!
Thus I have, as best I could, talked of the end of the earthly life. O Souls, prepare to meet your God, for you may have tomeet Him before another sun has risen! I beseech you, by the living God, whose servant I am, postpone not repentance and faith,but now, while mercy' s white flag is to the front and God waits to be gracious to you, bow before the Cross of Christ! Trustin Jesus and be saved! The Lord bless you, for Christ's sake. Amen.
EXPOSITION BY C. H. SPURGEON: PSALM49.
The chief musician here bids us not to fear the ungodly. However high they may be placed, they are but dying men and whenthey die their hope shall perish with them. He gives a very graphic description of the deathbed and of the perdition of ungodlymen.
Verses 1, 2. Hear this, all you people; give ear, all you inhabitants of the world: both low and high, rich and poor together.Whenever God has a voice for men, it is meant for all sorts of men. No Scripture is of private interpretation. No warningis intended only for a few. Hear this, then, all you people. Whether you are low, you are not too low to listen to His voice.Or, whether you are high, you are not too high to be under His supremacy.
3, 4. My mouth shall speak of wisdom; and the meditation of my heart shall be of understanding. I will incline my ear to aparable: I will disclose my dark saying upon the harp. Mysteries are to be preached, but they are to be preached with an earnestendeavor on the preacher's part to make them plain. If it is a dark saying, yet let it be open and, if music will help, solet it be. Whatever there is to be taught, let it be plainly taught to the sons of men.
5. Why should I fear in the days of evil, when the iniquity of my heels shall compass me about?We may read it, "The iniquityof my supplanters shall compass me about." There may be some dark days when the wicked seed, whose delight it is to bite atthe heel of the Seed of God, will gather around us. And we think, perhaps, that they will be too many for us. But why shouldwe fear them? Who are they? They are great and mighty, perhaps, but if they are but an iniquity-we need not to be afraid ofthem. Our righteous God is our defender.
6, 7. They that trust in their wealth and boast themselves in the multitude of their riches; none of them can by any meansredeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him. They may be rich as Croesus, but they cannot save a comrade from thegrave. They may pay the physician, but they cannot bribe death. How little is the power of wealth, after all! The rich mancannot even save his baby that he loves so well. He certainly cannot save his fellow sinner.
8. (For the redemption of their soul is precious, and it ceases forever). There is no redemption but one. And if a soul isunredeemed, the hope of it ceases forever.
9. That he should still live forever, and not see corruption. For the bodies of the great are fed upon by worms as readilyas the bodies of the paupers. They may embalm the body, if they will, to cheat the worms, or put it into a coffin of lead,but little can they do with it. It is a costly business, after all, and is the exception to the rule. Even the wisest cannotlive forever so as not to see corruption.
10. For he sees that wise men die, likewise the fool and the brutish person perish and leave their wealth to others. Whatevermen may have gathered, the wisest cannot find an invention which will enable him to take his treasure with him. He must leaveit behind. "Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return there."
11. Their inward thought is that their houses shall continue forever, and their dwelling places to all generations. They calltheir lands after their own names. Man is so fond of immortality that while he foolishly rejects the reality of it, he clingsto the name of it-and he builds a house which he ties down by deed to his heirs, and his heirs' heirs, "forever," as he callsit. And then he calls the land by his own name that it may never be forgotten that such a worm as he once crawled over thatportion of the earth!
12. Nevertheless man being in honor abides not. He passes away. His grace, his lordship, his reverence must lie in the grave!How ridiculous grand titles seem when once it is said, "Earth to earth; dust to dust; ashes to ashes." "Vain pomp and gloryof the earth." Indeed we may say in the presence of the shroud and the mattock, and the grave and the worm- "Man being inhonor abides not."
12. He is like the beasts that perish. Not like any one beast, but like any beast that perishes. He does but live and, asfar as this world is concerned, he is gone.
13. This their way is their folly: yet their prosperity approves their sayings. Selah. When men have lived only for this worldand die and pass away without any future worth the having-without any hope of Heaven-yet still they report it in the papersthat he died "worth" so much-as if it were wonderful to have so much to leave! And they speak of the shrewd things he usedto say-mostly very greedy things and very grasping things. And though he was a fool, after all, for aiming at the "main chance,"as he called it-while he missed the real main chance, namely, the salvation of his soul-yet his posterity inherit his follywith his blood and they approve his sayings.
14. Like sheep they are laid in the grave. They lead a worldly life and die a worldly death-quiet, contented with this world-nothought of the world to come.
14. Death shall feed on them; and the upright shall have dominion over them in the morning. That everlasting daybreak shallshed a light on many things. And then the master and the lord who tyrannized over the poor and needy shall find himself underthe foot of those he trod upon! "The upright shall have dominion over them in the morning."
14, 15. And their beauty shall consume in the grave from their dwelling. But God will redeem my soul from the power of thegrave: for He shall receive me. Selah. What a happy confidence! Blessed are those who, by a living faith in a living God,know that their soul shall be received into its Maker's hands! But woe unto those whose confidence lies in the treasure theyhave accumulated and the acres they have purchased.
16, 17. Be not you afraid when one is made rich when the glory of his house is increased. For when he dies he shall carrynothing away: his glory shall not descend after him. They will not know him in the next world to be the squire, the peer,the prince. Death is a dreadful leveler. Envy not the great man of this world! "His glory shall not descend after
18. Though while he lived he blessedhis soul: andmen willpraise you, when you do well to yourself Not "when you do good,"mark, for often when you do good, men will criticize and censure-and the better the deed, the more sure is it to provoke thecontempt of many. But "men will praise you when you do well to yourself"" "A shrewd man, that! That is the kind of man I wantto be! See how he prospers! A smart, pushing fellow! Oh, yes, he is the man for a friend." Whenever there is an aggravatedselfishness that accumulates to itself like a rolling snow-ball, men are sure to praise. It is the irony of life.
19. He shall go to the generation of his fathers; they shall never see light. They are sleeping in the grave. So shall he.And beyond the grave there is nothing but darkness for him whose heart is set on this world.
8 The Doors of the Shadow of Death Sermon #2917
20. Man that is in honor and understands not, is like the beasts that perish. Understanding and the fear of the Lord, whichis the beginning of wisdom-not earthly honor-is our only succor in the day of death.