"I have just been to the funeral of a very dear friend," said I to a merry-looking man, whilst waiting for the train. "And it is no small comfort, when a friend departs, to know with absolute certainty, that that friend is gone to be with Christ, which is far better."
"I should think," said he, "there are very few that die who have that certainty. At least not many would like to chance it, if it were put to them to-day; I mean if the question was put, Are you so sure of heaven, that you do not mind dying to-day?" I replied, "I fear even amongst those who profess to be Christians, too few would stand that test. But it was very different with my departed friend. She had only been ill a few days, and on the day before her death, knowing there was no human possibility of recovering, she calmly said, 'I would not exchange places with the Queen.' Not the shadow of a doubt passed over her happy soul. She rested not in anything she had done, but in the finished work of Christ Jesus, the Son of God. Precious Jesus! thy blood and righteousness never fail in the hour of death. Nothing can be so certain as that which God has said, 'that whosoever believeth on him, shall not perish, but have everlasting life.'"
"Well," said he, "it is a happy thing when a person has such confidence; but I fear there are very few who have the happiness to enjoy it. Man is so given to sin, he has such strong inclinations to sin."
"Very true," I replied. "But you are not a man of all sin; you have not committed all sin. But God is the God of ALL grace, and that grace is seen on the cross, surpassing all your sins. Who can tell the value of the blood of Jesus as God sees it? I myself am the chief of sinners; I have not one particle of worthiness. But I tell you, if we are all killed before we reach home, I have no fear or question whatever, about my salvation. It was eternally settled by the death of Jesus."
"Ah," he said, "it seems to me a poor thing to hang one's salvation on."
"What is? Is Christ a poor thing to trust? Is God's word a poor thing to trust?"
"Oh! no, I mean it is a poor thing to hang on faith. To think that if you have faith you will be saved, let you sin and do as you like."
"Ah! my dear sir, but the man that has real faith in Christ, does not want to sin. He hates it and longs for delights in holiness; and he is the only one that gets delivered from sin. But now you try, from this day, in your way, never to sin again."
"I have tried," said he, "many a time; but still I sin in thought, word, and deed. I think I now see that to believe in Christ is the only way both to get saved, and give up sinning."
Reader, what as to your dying hour? You cannot help the thought crossing your mind at times, can you now? Your dying hour may be very near — yes, very near! Now are you prepared for that hour? What, are you going on carelessly in sin? Well may you tremble at the thought of your dying hour. Are you trusting in forms and ceremonies of human religion? Ah! these will utterly fail you in your dying hour.
But mark the blessed condition of every saved sinner: "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God, through our Lord Jesus Christ." Is this your condition? Are you justified? Have you peace with God? Then, my reader, if you should fall asleep before Jesus comes again, yours will be a happy dying hour.