Monday, March 9, 2009

Are we prepared?

We are blind to our own weakness far too much, and shall do well to ask ourselves, each of us, "My soul, how wilt thou do in the swelling of Jordan?" The ancient warrior who wept because before a hundred years were passed, he knew his immense army would be gone, and not a man remain behind to tell the tale, would have been wiser, if he had wept also for himself, and left alone his bloody wars, and lived as a man who must one day die, and find after death a day of judgment.

Each one of you must die. If I were addressing an assembly of the sages of the world, I should say, “All your combined wisdom cannot lengthen out the days of one of you even a single minute. You may reckon the distance of the stars, and weigh worlds, but you cannot tell me when one of you will die, nor how many grains of sand are left behind in the hour-glass of time, which shows the exit of each spirit from the world.” I say now to you, the wisest of you must die; and you know not but that you may die ere long. So with the mightiest, and the richest of men. Samson was mastered by a stronger than man, and the wealthiest of men cannot bribe death to stay his dart for a single hour. We all come into the world one by one, and will go out of it also alone. Loved ones come to the brink of the dark stream, but there they shake hands and say “farewell,” and we go on alone. The prophet’s companion and successor followed his master till the fiery chariot came to take his leader away; but when the messengers of God came, they left the servant behind, vainly crying, “My father, My father; the chariot of Israel and the horsemen thereof.”

We had better therefore take the question up as individuals, seeing that it is one in which we shall be dealt with singly, and be unable then to claim or use the help of an earthly friend. I put to the young, to the old; to the rich, to the poor; to each one of this vast assembly - I put it, as if we were alone before our God - "How wilt thou do in the swelling of Jordan?"

From a sermon entitled "Are You Prepared To Die?" Image by Jeff Turner under Creative Commons License.

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