Last Words Of Saints And Sinners
Last Words Of Saints And Sinners. From Revival Fires. Box 940 Claysburg, PA 16625 – Dennis Corle
“Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end by like his.” Numbers 23:10
I have always believed the Bible by faith, regardless of whether any other information supported it or denied its validity. However, one of the most moving and convincing arguments that wholly reinforces the truth of the scripture and brings it to real-life drama is the recorded last words of dying men and women, saved and unsaved. As they passed through the vale of death and approached eternity, they have left us with many wonderfully breath-taking descriptions of the beauties of Heaven, as well as some startling accounts of the horror of a Christ-less eternity. Let us travel, if only momentarily, to the edge of eternity, and view through the eyes of these dying mortals what lies beyond this life for those who have placed their trust in Christ, and for those who have rejected His blood-bought redemption. These are the LAST WORDS OF SAINTS AND SINNERS.
“And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.” revelation 14:13 The Bible records the moving account of the last words of Stephen as he was martyred for his faith in Acts 7:55-60. “But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up steadfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, And said, behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God . . . And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.” As Stephen neared death, the Lord allowed him to see through the vale of darkness into the very portals of glory to see the Lord himself standing to welcome home His servant who had been ‘faithful unto death’.
As the Apostle Paul neared the time of his death, he wrote these words to Timothy, his son in the faith. “For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith; henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day; and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.” Tradition teaches that as Paul was led to the guillotine to be beheaded by Nero, he took his last moments as an opportunity to share the message of the Gospel with the soldiers who led him to his death and they were saved.
Phillip Otterbein was a German evangelist whose dying words were: “The conflict is over and past. I begin to feel an unspeakable fullness of love and peace divine. Lay my head upon my pillow and be still.”
As he lay dying, John Owen said, “I am going to Him whom my soul loveth, or rather who has loved me with an everlasting love, which is the sole ground of all my consolation.”
In his final words, George Fox said “All is well, and the seed of God reigns over all, and over death itself.”
Christmas Evans passed on with these words. “I am about to leave you. I have labored in the sanctuary fifty-three years, and this is my comfort and confidence; that I have never labored without blood in the vessel. Good-bye! Drive on!”
George Whitefield prayed, “Lord Jesus, I am weary in thy work, but not of thy work. If I have not yet finished my course, let me go and speak for thee once more in the fields, seal the truth, and come home to die.”
The beloved missionary, Dr. William Carey, said, “When I am gone, speak less of Dr. Carey, and more of Dr. Carey’s Savior.”
“If this is dying, it is the pleasantest thing imaginable,” said Lady Glenorchy.
Susanah Wesley was the heralded mother of John and Charles Wesley as well as 17 other children. She said, “Children, when I am gone, sing a song of praise to God.”
Pastor Edward Perronet exclaimed: “Glory to God in the height of His divinity! Glory to God in the depths of His humanity! Glory to God in His all-sufficiency! Into His hands I commend my spirit.”
A minister by the name of John Pawson told onlookers, “I know I am dying, but my death-bed is a bed of roses. I have no thorns planted upon my dying pillow. Heaven is already begun!”
Missionary Adoniram Judson said, “I am not tired of my work, neither am I tired of the world; yet when Christ calls me home, I shall go with the gladness of a boy bounding away from school.”
When the great Christian and scientist, Michael Faraday was dying, he was questioned by some journalists as to his speculations for a life after death. “Speculations!” said he. “I know nothing about speculations. I am resting on certainties. ‘I know that my redeemer liveth,’ and because he lives, I shall live also.”
Others who faced death did so with the same peaceful assurance.Martin Luther uttered these words. “Our God is the God form whom cometh salvation. God is the Lord by whom we escape death.”
John Knox assured others, “Live in Christ and the flesh need not fear death.”John Wesley bade his loved ones, “The best of all is God is with us. Farewell! Farewell!”
His brother Charles Wesley expressed his peace in saying, “I shall be satisfied with thy likeness - - satisfied, satisfied!”
“I have pain, but I have peace,” said Baxater.
“Ah! Is this dying? How have I dreaded as an enemy this smiling friend?” said the departing Goodwin.
The songwriter, Frances Havergal, on the final day of her life asked a friend to read to her from the 42nd chapter of Isaiah. When she had read the 6th verse, “I the Lord have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee.” Miss Havergal stopped her. “Called – held – kept,” she whispered. “I can go home on that!” And she did.
Dr. R.G. Lee may have been the greatest oratorical preacher of the 20th century. He was known for his ability to paint vivid pictures with his powerful preaching and make the invisible seem to be just in sight, he so dramatically portrayed the Lord and the heavenly home. Yet when he was dying, he suddenly opened his eyes and said to his wife, “I see heaven! Oh... I didn’t do it justice! I see Jesus! I didn’t do Him justice!”
A few hours before entering the ‘homeland’, Dwight L. Moody caught a glimpse of the glory awaiting him. Awakening from sleep, he said, “Earth recedes, Heaven opens before me. If this is death, it is sweet! There is no valley here. God is calling me, and I must go!” His son was standing by his bedside, and said, “No, no father. You are dreaming.” “No,” said Mr. Moody. “I am not dreaming. I have been within the gates; I have seen the children’s faces.” A short time elapsed and then, following what seemed to be the death struggle, he spoke again. “This is my triumph; this is my coronation day! It is glorious!”
What a treasured inheritance these dying saints have left in our behalf – the assurance that death is but a crossing over to Glory, not to a grave but to a graduation! Their last words are an exciting reassurance that Christ has indeed removed the sting of death for those who are found in Him. In their triumph we can find the peace of knowing death is merely the bridge between this life and eternal life with Christ for those who have been redeemed.
But what about the unsaved and unprepared?
Have they left any descriptions of their destination for us to examine? Just as the accounts of dying saints are so thrilling, so are the last words of those dying in their sin so horrifying. These are some of the final words of those who began a Christ-less eternity at the end of a godless life.
Luke 16 gives us the literal account of the words of a man already in hell. “And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments...And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue, for I am tormented in this flame...Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house; for I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them lest they also come into this place of torment.” This man’s first cry was for himself, that he might find relief from the torment and agony he knew in hell. When he found this impossible, he immediately begged that a soul-winner would present the Gospel to his family so that they might be saved from the anguish that was his. How many others in Hell might be pleading the self same request, if only we might hear them?
The last words we hear of Cain, the world’s first murderer, are: “My punishment is greater than I can bear.” I am sure that is the cry of many in hell today.
Lord Byron, at 36 years of age, was facing death after a life without God. He said, “My days are in the yellow leaf, the flower and fruit of life are gone; the worm, the canker, and the grief are mine alone.”
Said Sir Thomas Scott: “Until this moment I thought there was neither a God nor a hell. Now I know and feel that there are both, and I am doomed to perdition by the just judgment of the Almighty.”
Charteres cried, “I would gladly give one hundred and fifty thousand dollars to have it proved there is no hell!”
In great terror, Hobbs said, “I am taking a fearful leap into the dark.”
Altamont, the infidel, cried out his last words: “My principles have poisoned my friend; my extravagance has beggared my boy; my unkindness has murdered my wife. And is there another hell? Oh, thou blasphemed, yet most indulgent Lord God! Hell is a refuge if it hides me from thy frown.”
A famous infidel by the name of Adams cried out these final words, “I’m lost! Lost! Lost! I’m damned! Damned! Damned forever!” His agony was so great that he tore his hair from his head as he passed away.
It was Charles IX who ordered the great massacre that took place on St. Bartholomew’s Day. On his own dying day, he said, “What blood! What murders! I know not where I am. How will all this end? What shall I do? I am lost forever...I know it!”
A newspaper article related that the author had met the woman who nursed the great agnostic, Professor J.H. Huxley, through his last illness. She said that as he lay dying, the great skeptic suddenly looked up at some sight invisible to mortal eyes, and, staring a while, whispered at last, “So it is true.”
Voltaire, on his deathbed, cried out, “Oh, Christ! Oh Jesus! I must die abandoned by God and men.” His condition had become so frightening that his infidel associates were afraid to approach his bedside. He said to his doctor, “I am abandoned by God and man. I will give you half of what I am worth, if you will give me six months of life.” the doctor replied, “Sir, you cannot even live six weeks.” Voltaire answered, “Then I shall go to hell, and you will go with me!” Soon after, he was gone. After he passed on, his nurse said repeatedly, “For all the wealth of Europe, I would never see another infidel die.”
“Devils are in the room ready to drag my soul down to hell! It’s no use looking to Jesus now; it’s too late!” Cried Brown.
The anguish of Volney, the atheist, was reported to be something awful to behold. Nothing could calm him, but he repeatedly screamed out, “My God! My God!” until he finally fell back dead.
When Kay was dying, he cried “Hell! Hell!” with a soul-rending terror. His family fled from the house until death had quieted him.
Tom Paine was a noted infidel, brazen in his attacks on God and the Bible. Yet when death came, his boldness was gone, and he pleaded, “Stay with me! Stay with me for God’s sake! I cannot bear to be alone!”
Begged Mirabeau. “Give me more opium that I may not think of eternity!” Oliver Green once told of a man on his deathbed who suddenly began to scream in terror: “Pull me up in the bed! My feet are burning! I am sliding into Hell!”
Francis Newport, despairing upon his deathbed, asked, “What argument is there now to assist me against matter of fact? Do I assert there is no hell while I feel one in my own bosom? That there is a God I know, because I continually feel the effect of His wrath. That there is a hell, I am equally certain, having received an earnest of my inheritance already in my own breast. Oh! That I was to lie a thousand years upon the fire that never is quenched to purchase the favor of God, and be reunited to Him again! But it is a fruitless wish. Millions and millions of years will bring me no nearer to the end of my torments than one poor hour! O Eternity! Eternity!” Then as death seized him, he uttered a groan of inexpressible horror and cried out, “Oh! The insufferable pangs of hell! Oh Eternity! Forever and forever!”
Worse than any nightmare that we can envision is the reality of death when it is not a crossing over into the celestial glories of Heaven, but the final struggle of a perishing soul as it slips hopelessly into the torment of Hell. No wonder the compassionate told us, “...It is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.” (Mark 9:43, 44)
The ultimate of statistics is this – that one out of every one; dies. “And it is appointed unto man once to die, but after this the judgment.” (Hebrews 9:27) Death is a certainty for which we must make preparation, or else suffer the consequence. Reviewing these final words of those in Christ, as well as those who rejected Him, causes me to say with the Scripture, “Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his.” (Numbers 23:10) I found no Christians recanting in torment in their dying hours, but most every infidel whose last words can be found recorded expressed unutterable grief and fear at his death. As we think upon these LAST WORDS OF SAINTS AND SINNERS, it naturally brings us all to an important question. It is a sobering and for some even a frightening thought, but one which ought to be considered thoughtfully and at length by each of us. – WHAT WILL YOUR LAST WORD BE?
THE BAD NEWS
“Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so DEATH PASSED UPON ALL MEN, FOR THAT ALL HAVE SINNED:” (Romans 5:12)
THE GOOD NEWS
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)Jesus Christ died on the cross in our place, making the required payment for our sins – physical and spiritual death. He offers salvation free to all – the price has been paid in full. In order to have Christ’s payment applied to our account, we must ‘receive Him’ by inviting Him into our heart and life as Lord and Savior. If we sincerely do so, we have His promise; “I will come in.”