« AnteriorContinuar »
alienated from him-pardoned or unpardoned-renewed or unrenewed ; so must judgment, so must eternity find him-accepted and saved, or cast away and lost! In either case what an End !-because what a Beginning!
VI. THE LAST ENEMY.
• The Christian does not look upon Death and the grave with so much of dread and repulsion as did Job : he can look upon them not only without fear, but with feelings of triumph. But this is not because Death and the grave are changed, but because the future is changed--because life and immortality are brought to light in the Gospel.
“The way by which we pass out of the world is still narrow and dark and cold, though our sharpened vision may see sweet fields beyond, and our quickened ear may catch celestial strains. We should look at Death as it is, as we shall find it, that we may know how to rise above it."
Rom. v. 12. ' By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin ; and so death passed upon
for that all have sinned.” “ Draw near to this express image of God,
ye ignorant and disobedient children! See, in his eyes, how the God of thunder and lightning and terror will look at you. Behold, you are the prodigal son, and he is the Father, who sees you, and has compassion, son was dead and is alive again. ."-Robert Robin. son (1786).
VIII. FINAL CAUSES OF DEATH.
These are various : 1. There must be some mode of exchanging worlds.
2. And of emptying this world of those whose probation is ended, that there may be room for others to follow. 3. For otherwise the world would have been over populated. 4. Besides, Death teaches us great lessons as to the evil of sin, the vanity of this life, and the infinite importance of the life beyond the grave. Time is but the title-page, while eternity is the never-ending volume of existence. But, whatever may be the final causes of Death, its procuring cause is Sin. To evade Sin is to evade Death, but “there is none righteous, no not one.”
Ps. civ. 29.
Ps. XC. 3.
“ Thou takest away their breath ; they die and return to their dust.”
• Thou turnest man to destruction and sayest, Return, ye children of men.
(Cf. Job xiv. 20; xxx. 23 ; Is. xl. 6, 7; Ps. Ixxx. 16, etc.)
Those, therefore, who teach that“ the death of a human being is a natural result, as much as that of a worm or a plant,” and affirm that to teach otherwise is to slander the Almighty,” are not teaching within the Divine Record, but directly against it.
X. GOD, THE AUTHOR OF IT.
Deut. xxxii. 39. “I, even I, am he, and there is no god with me. I kill and I make alive ; I wound and I heal : neither is there any that can deliver out of my hand.”
Ecc. ix. 3.
" There is one event unto all." (Cf. Josh. xxiii. 14, etc.)
Death is never idle. Among the millions of earth there fall on the average, one every second, sixty every minute, 3600 every hour, 86,400 every day; one in about thirty to thirty-five of the whole population per unnum. Seventy years is the extreme limit; thirty-five is the ordi
nary limit, with few exceptions. 2. It is inevitable.
Ps. lxxxix. 48. “What man is he that liveth and shall not see death ?” (Cf. Job xxx. 20; Ecc. viii. 8, etc.) The longest life will come to an end.
The young mag die ; the old must die.”
3. It is impartial.
Ecc. ix. 2. *There is one event to the righteous and to the wicked.”
Perhaps this was never more clearly than when the two thieves were crucified, with “ Jesus in the midst.”. 4. It is sure. Job xxx. 23.
“I know that thou wilt bring me to death; to the house appointed for all living.'
“ Ten thousand human beings set forth together on their journey. After ten years one third at least have disappeared. At the middle point of the common measure of life but half are still upon the road. Fast and faster, as the ranks grow thinner, they that remained till now become weary and lie down to rise no more. At three-score and ten a band of some four hundred yet struggles on. At ninety these have been reduced to a handful of thirty trembling patriarchs. Year after year they fall in diminishing numbers. One lingers, perhaps, a lonely marvel
till the century is over. We look again, and the work of
Death is finished.”-Burgess. 5. Its time uncertain to man.
Ecc. ix. 12. "For man also knoweth not his time : as the fishes that are taken in an evil net, and as the birds that are caught in the snare ; so are the sons of men snared in an evil time, when it falleth suddenly upon
(Cf. Gen. xxvii. 2 ; Prov. xxvii. 1; Jas. iv. 14.)
· Nothing is so sure as death, and nothing so uncertain as the time. I may be too old to live, I can never be too young to die ; I will therefore live every hour, as if I were
to die the next."-Divine Breathings (16th century). 6. But certain with God.
Job xiv. 5. “His days are determined ; the number of his months are with thee; thou hast appointed his bounds, that he cannot pass."
7. Without order.
before I go whence I shall not return; even to the land of darkness and the shadow of death, order.''
There is “no order” (1) as to age, or (2) as to bodily strength or weakness [Job xxi. 24), or (3) as to place, or (4) means of death, or (5) manner of death, or (6) as to character (Ps. xlix. 10], or (7) circumstances, or (8) feelings
of men. 8. Near.
Ps. xxxix. 5. "Behold, thou hast made my days as an handbreadth and mine age is as nothing before thee.”
(Cf. 1 Sam. xx. 3 ; Mark xiii. 35.)
Zach. i. 5.
9. Often unexpected.
Isaiah xxviii. 15, 17, 18. “ Because ye have said, We have made a covenant with death,
the hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies covenant with death shall be disannulled.”'
It is noteworthy that those who are the proudest of their physical powers are oftentimes the nearest to the grave. This particularly holds true of the middle-aged and old, who will frequently, through this feeling, overtax them
selves. 10. Ever approaching.
“Your fathers, where are they?” The present is the only visible part of the scroll of the generations. Death rolls up the past, as Life unrolls the
future. II. To be kept in view.
Ecc. ix. 10. “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest."
The ancients represented Opportunity as a fair boy, standing tip-toe on one foot and stretching his wings to
In the grave there is no work, for the hand is dust; there is no device, for the cunning tongue is still ; there is no knowledge, for the brain is dead ; there is no wisdom, for the thought has perished. (Cf. Ps. cxlvi. 3, 4.)
Returning to the dust. Gen. iii. 19; Ecc. xii. 7..