“A grave, wherever found, preaches a short and pithy sermon to the soul.” ― Nathaniel Hawthorne.
Look for a minute into the grave….
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 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 hourglass of time which shows the exit of each spirit from the world.”
Now you have so many days and in one of those days there will be the poison of death. I do not know which one. It may be tomorrow. It may not be until many days have gone by. Is it not foolish, therefore, to be living in this world without a thought of what you will do at last?
A man goes into an inn and as soon as he sits down he begins to order his wine, his dinner, his bed. There is no delicacy in season which he forgets to request. There is no luxury which he denies himself. He stays at the inn for some time. By-and-by there comes the bill and he says, “Oh, I never thought of that… I never thought of that!”
“Why,” says the landlord, “here is a man who is either a born fool or else a thief! What? Never thought of the reckoning; never thought of the settling-day?” And yet this is how some of you live! You have this and that and the other thing in this world’s inn, (for it is nothing but an inn), and you have soon to go your way and yet you have never thought of the settling-day!
You have either been a dishonest person, or else you must be supremely foolish to be spending every day in this world’s inn and yet to be ignoring the thought of the great day of account! But remember, though you forget it, God forgets not. Every day is adding to the score. Photographed in Heaven is every action that you perform. Your very thoughts are photographed upon the eternal mind. And in the day when the book shall be opened it will go ill with you. Perhaps you will say, as one did in the Book of Kings, “Well, I was busy here and there. I was looking after my family and my property. I was looking after politics. I was seeing after such-and-such an investment. And my soul is gone.”
Yes, but this will not bring it back again. And what shall it profit you, though you gain the whole world and lose your own soul?
Be wise now! Remember this and consider your latter end. What words shall I use to urge you to consider the subject and take my warning? Is Heaven a place you would like to enter? Is Hell a place you would like to avoid, or will you make your bed in it forever? Are you in love with eternal misery that you run to it so madly? Oh, stop! Turn! Turn! Why will you die? I do pray you stop and consider. Consideration does no man harm. Second thoughts here are for the best. Think and think and think again and oh, may God lead you, through thinking, to feel your danger and may you then accept that gracious remedy which is in Christ Jesus!
The best preparation for sleep, the healthiest inducement for sleep, is hard work and one of the best things to prepare us for sleeping in Jesus is to live in Him an active life of going about doing good (Ephesians 2:10). The attitude in which I wish Death to find me is with light trimmed and loins girt―waiting and watching―at work, doing my allotted task and multiplying my talent for Jesus Christ and His Glory. Idlers may not anticipate rest, but workers will not be unwilling to welcome the hour which shall hear the words, “It is finished.”
― C. H. Spurgeon, Bell Alp, Switzerland, June 16th, 1865 (abridged).