And the Lord said unto Moses, Behold, thy days approach that thou must die.
MARTYN LLOYD-JONES (1899-1981): We all have to meet and face the fact of death. It will come to each of us in some shape or form, and will test to the very foundation all we have ever built. What a tremendous thing death is! We have not been through it, so we know nothing about it, although we may sometimes have watched others dying and heard them speak of it. Whether it comes suddenly or gradually we have to meet it.
MARY WINSLOW (1774-1854): It is one thing to talk of death: it is quite another thing, when it becomes a reality, to grapple with it. It is an easy thing to speak of the war in the East—perhaps to plan an attack upon the enemy, but it is quite a different thing to be in the heat of the conflict, the mighty foe contending with you foot by foot.
WILLIAM JAY (1769-1853): Men may live in a crowd, but they must die alone. Friends and ministers can only accompany us to the entrance of the passage. None of them can speak from experience, none of them can tell us what it is to die.
MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: I say it must be a tremendous thing to pass through that moment when you realize you are going out of this world, and leaving all you have always known, and crossing into that land beyond the veil. There is nothing that so profoundly tests a man as to his foundations as the mighty fact and moment of death.
J. C. RYLE (1816-1900): I have seen not a few dying persons in my time. I have seen great varieties of manner and deportment among them. I have seen some die sullen, silent, and comfortless. I have seen others die ignorant, unconcerned, and apparently without much fear. I have seen some die so wearied out with long illness that they were quite willing to depart, and yet they did not seem to me at all in a fit state to go before God. I have seen others die with professions of hope and trust in God, without leaving satisfactory evidences that they were on the rock. I have seen others die who, I believe, were “in Christ,” and safe, and yet they never seemed to enjoy much sensible comfort. I have seen some few dying in the full assurance of hope, and like Bunyan’s “Standfast,” giving glorious testimony to Christ’s faithfulness, even in the river.
But one thing I have never seen. I never saw any one enjoy what I should call real, solid, calm, reasonable peace on his death-bed, who did not draw his peace from the Bible. And this I am bold to say, that the man who thinks to go to his death-bed without having the Bible for his comforter, his companion, and his friend, is one of the greatest madmen in the world. There are no comforts for the soul but Bible comforts, and he who has not got hold of these, has got hold of nothing at all, unless it be a broken reed.
JOHN FLAVEL (1630-1691): The Scriptures teach us the best way of living, the noblest way of suffering, and the most comfortable way of dying.
J. C. RYLE: There is but one fountain of comfort for a man drawing near to his end, and that is the Bible. Chapters out of the Bible—texts out of the Bible—statements of truth taken out of the Bible—books containing matter drawn from the Bible—these are a man’s only chance of comfort when he comes to die. I do not at all say that the Bible will do good, as a matter of course, to a dying man, if he has not valued it before. I know, unhappily, too much of death-beds to say that. I do not say whether it is probable that he who has been unbelieving and neglectful of the Bible in life, will at once believe and get comfort from it in death. But I do say positively, that no dying man will ever get real comfort, except from the contents of the Word of God. All comfort from any other source is a house built upon sand.
ROBERT MURRAY M’CHEYNE (1813-1843): “I have lost a world of time,” said one, when dying, “if I had another year to live, I would spend it in reading David’s Psalms and Paul’s Epistles.” Oh, be wiser in your Bibles than in your newspaper. What good will all that ever you read in the newspaper do when you are dying?
C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): It sends a shiver through some when we begin to speak of death, and the bravest man who ever lived may well tremble at the thought that he must soon meet the king of terrors; but, brothers and sisters, if Christ loves us, and we love Christ, we may well be persuaded that death will not break the union which exists between us. I have lately seen one or two of our friends almost in the very article of death; I think that they cannot long survive, but I have come out from their bed-chamber greatly cheered by their holy peacefulness and joy. I can see that death does not break the believer’s peace; it seems rather to strengthen it.
THOMAS MCCRIE (1797-1875): The manner of [Robert] Bruce’s death, which took place in August, 1631, was beautifully in accordance with the tenor of his life. On the morning of his departure, his illness consisting chiefly in the debility of old age, he arose to breakfast with his family, and having eaten an egg, he desired his daughter to bring him another. Instantly, however, assuming an air of deep meditation, he said, “Hold, daughter, my Master calls me!” and having asked for the family Bible, and finding that his sight was gone, he said, “Cast up to me the 8th chapter of the epistle to the Romans, and place my finger on these words, I am persuaded that neither death nor life…shall be able to separate me from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Now,” he said, “is my finger upon the place?” and being told it was, he added, “Then God be with you, my children; I have breakfasted with you, and shall sup with my Lord Jesus this night!” And so saying the good man expired.
ROWLAND HILL (1744-1833): Where you die—when you die—or by what means is scarcely worth a thought, if you do but die in Christ.