And there reader, you are going!
(William Thoseby, "Foot-prints on the Sands of Time" 1869)
"It is appointed unto man once to die; but after death the judgment." Hebrews 9:27
"In Adam all die." 1 Corinthians 9:15
"Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned" Romans 5:12
Memories of the dearly departed, crowd in upon us all, and often "fill the haunted chambers of the night." Who has not some friend or family member among the past deceased millions?
What is our life? "It is even as a vapor which appears for a little while, and then vanishes away!" Nothing can exempt us from the common lot of humanity.
What is the history of our race? It is a lengthened bill of mortality — a vast Aceldama (field of blood), on whose gates are written, "Lamentation, mourning and woe!"
What are the words that apply alike to all? It is the solemn sentence — "Dust you are, and unto dust shall you return!" Everywhere we meet with the grim and ghastly triumphs of death. In every language you may hear his hoarse, bass voice calling — "Return O children of men!" The pyramids of Egypt, while they are a monument of human labor — are likewise a monument of human mortality. The thickening grave-stones in our cemeteries preach to us their reminder, "Remember death!"
The brief allusions of the inspired writers to the ravages of death are fitted to arrest the attention of our readers:
"How frail is humanity! How short is life, how full of trouble! We blossom like a flower and then wither. Like a passing shadow, we quickly disappear!" Job 14:1-2
"We finish our years like a sigh. Seventy years are given to us! Some even live to eighty. But even the best years are filled with pain and trouble; soon they disappear, and we fly away!" Psalm 90:9-10
"All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field. The grass withers and the flowers fall, because the breath of the LORD blows on them. Surely the people are grass!" Isaiah 40:6-7
These are but a few, out of the many, of the ever recurring cries of humanity, respecting the ravages of death. Into how many of our homes has the "King of Terrors" and the terror of kings entered unbidden and smitten down some of our nearest, dearest, and best of friends! May we not ask:
Where is the husband who stood by you at the altar, and under the protection of whose arm you felt secure?
Where is the wife with whom you took sweet counsel, and walked to the house of God, to whose accents you surrender your soul, and to whose language of affection you desired to listen forever?
Where is the father who toiled for you with his brawny arms, and loved you with a manly heart?
Where is the mother who watched over your infancy, hushed you to sleep on her gentle bosom, and tended your sick-bed through many a fevered dream?
Where are the children, those angels of your home over whom you shed your hottest tears?
Are they not gone, some of them at least, to the cold damp bed, the grave, where there is . . .
no pillow but the cold clay;
no covering but the sod;
no curtain but the dark coffin lid;
no companion but the worm!
And there reader, you are going!
But death is not your final resting-place.
"It is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment!" Hebrews 9:27
As death leaves you — so judgment shall find you!
As the judgment finds you — so shall eternity keep you!
"Prepare to meet your God!" Amos 4:12