Jacob Worshiping on His Staff
Charles H. Spurgeon
"When he was a dying." Death is a thorough test of faith. Beneath the touch of the skeleton finger shams dissolve into thin air, and only truth remains; unless indeed a strong delusion has been given, and then the spectacle of a presumptuous sinner passing away in his iniquities is one which might make angels weep. It is hard, very hard, to maintain a lie in the presence of the last solemnities; the end of life is usually the close of self-deception. There is a mimic faith, a false assurance, which lasts under all ordinary heats of trial, but this evaporates when the fires of death surround it. Certain men are at peace and quiet in their conscience; they stifle convictions; they refuse to allow such a thing as self-examination; they count an honest self-suspicion to be a temptation of the Devil and boast of their unbroken tranquility of mind and go on from day to day with perfect confidence; but we would not be of their order. Their eyes are closed; their ears are dull of hearing, and their heart has waxen gross. A siren song forever enchants them with delight but also entices them to destruction. Terrible will be their awakening when they lie a dying; as a dream their false peace will vanish, and real terrors will come upon them. That expression, "When he was a dying," reminds me of many deathbeds; but I shall not speak of them now, for I desire each one of you to rehearse the scene of his own departure, for soon of everyone a tale will be told commencing-"When he was a dying."
I want each one to project his mind a little forward to the time when he must gather up his feet in the bed, pronounce his last farewell, and yield up the ghost. Before your actual departure, probably, there may be allotted to you, unless you are carried away with a sudden stroke, a little time in which it shall be said, "He was a dying." Perhaps it is a desirable thing to occupy some weeks in departure, until the mind ...
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