He never thought that he would sink into Hell!
(James Smith, "Suppose I Should Die Suddenly!" 1865)
Death has a voice — it is sent with a message to us. It says, "I am coming for you soon! Be ready!"
Sudden death reminds us . . .
that time is short,
that life is uncertain,
that death is always near,
that we may die at any moment,
that there is only a thin veil between us and eternity,
that dying is going to an eternal abode, from whence we shall never return!
Death is always solemn! SUDDEN death is peculiarly so. It should make as serious. It should lead to reflection.
Suppose I should die suddenly? I may. There is no security against it. It is possible, if not probable:
"Dangers stand thick all around,
To push us to the tomb!"
Any one of these dangers may push me down, and in a moment the body and soul may part. Well, suppose it should be so — am I ready?
To the true Christian, sudden death — is sudden glory! The soul departs to be with Christ — which is far better than remaining here on this poor earth.
But would this be my case? Am I truly in Christ? Am I truly born again? Solemn inquiries these! Without the new birth, there can be no salvation. If I should imagine that I am born again when I am not, and then if, while deceived by such a vain hope, I should die suddenly — what dreadful consequences would follow! Such a mistake could never be rectified. The effects of it must be endured forever!
Suppose I should die suddenly today! I may! And if I do,
where will I spend this night?
Where will I be tomorrow?
What will be my portion forever?
Jesus tells us of one who in this life, had everything his heart could wish for; and to warn us against neglecting the soul, while feasting the body, He utters these solemn words: "The rich man died and was buried; and in Hell he lift up his eyes being in torments!" Most likely, he was taken by surprise — he never thought that he would sink into Hell!
I dare say, that none of his friends supposed that he was lifting up his eyes in Hell, being in torments. But it was so, and he is in torments now — and in these torments he will remain forever!
O fearful case! But will it be mine? Oh, it is possible — it is more than possible!
If I die suddenly as a true Christian — how glorious the transition will be. How wonderful, to be one hour in a poor world like this — engaged in its difficult duties, enduring its sore trials, and suffering from its evil habits and customs; and the next moment to be in the presence of God, suddenly free from sin, sorrow, care, and trouble; beyond the reach of doubt, fear, and the devil; and to enjoy safety, satisfaction, and the fullness of joy forever.
But the alternative! Ah, the alternative! If I die suddenly, and die unholy and unsaved — how dreadful even the supposition! But what must the reality be? To be one hour in comfort, surrounded by kind relatives and friends, in the land of hope and mercy — and the next moment in the regions of eternal despair, filled with anguish, bitter regrets, and hopeless misery!
Reader, you may die suddenly! You may die today — and if you do, your state will be fixed forever. There is no certainty of life — beyond the present moment. Therefore make your calling and your election sure!