It must be consigned to the dust from whence it came!
(William Nicholson, 1862)
"It is appointed for men to die once — and after this comes judgment!" Hebrews 9:27
No event is so important as death — but how little is it regarded!
Death is sure to come. Nothing can prevent it. Every expedient has been tried, but there can be no discharge in this war.
The time of Death's approach is uncertain. It may come when . . .
you are young and in health, and calculating on long life,
you are deeply immersed in worldly cares and business,
your mind is not the least directed towards it,
in the hour of festive enjoyment, and
at a time when you would not be at all prepared for it — unpardoned, unrenewed, and without love to God.
At death, the body returns to its original dust. "By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return." Genesis 3:19. "Then shall the body return to dust," etc. Ecclesiastes 12:7
Death, then, as the effect of sin, is the cessation of human existence. It is ended . . .
by sudden violence or accident,
by the human machine being worn out by affliction,
or by protracted old age.
The lungs heave no more;
the pulse ceases to beat;
the blood is congealed in the veins;
the eyes are dimmed;
the tongue is silent, and
the hand forgets its dexterity.
Such is the end of the human structure, so fearfully and wonderfully made. And however stately, well-formed, athletic, strong, and beautiful before — it must be consigned to the dust from whence it came! Its tendency to corruption causes even its once adorers to exclaim, "Bury my dead out of my sight!" It . . .
is deposited in the silent tomb,
becomes worm-food, and
is hidden from mortal sight.
Think then, of the momentous results of death. It . . .
mars the beauty and strength of the body,
casts it into the abhorrent grave,
tarnishes all its glory, and
terminates all its happiness!
Death is the last of time, and the commencement of eternity! It is a complete change . . .
and of feeling.
After death, the soul appears before God. "It is appointed for men to die once — and after this comes judgment!"
Death then, is the crisis of man's fate — the seal of his destiny.
It encounters either a smiling Father — or a frowning judge!
It conducts to the crown of life — or the regions of death!
It conducts to eternal glory — or to everlasting perdition!
"Therefore be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect!"