Death’s Door

And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?
~ Luke 6:46

When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are: Then shall ye begin to say, We have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets. But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity.
~ Luke 13:25-27

Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed:
~ Matthew 25:24

Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us.
~ Matthew 25:11

Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
~ Galatians 6:7

For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears.
~ Hebrews 12:17

Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.
~ Matthew 10:32-33

“I Can See the Old Devil Here on the Bed with Me”, by E. A. Rowes. The below entries contain excerpts from Solomon Benjamin Shaw’s work, “Dying Testimonies of the Saved and the Unsaved”.

There lived at one time in our neighborhood a man whom we will call Mr. B. He was intelligent, lively, a good conversationalist, and had many friends. But Mr. B loved tobacco and strong drink, and was not friendly to Christianity. He would not attend church and would laugh and make fun of religion, and some of his neighbors he would call Deacon so-and-so for fun.

But Mr. B was growing old. His head was frosted over with many winters and he had long since passed his three score and ten years.

At the close of a wintry day, in a blinding snowstorm, a neighbor called at our home saying Mr. B wished to see my husband. Knowing Mr. B was ill, my husband was soon on his way. On entering the sick room, he asked what he wished of him. He replied, “O, I want you to pray for me.” “Shall I not read a chapter from the Bible to you first?” was asked. He assented. The chapter selected was the fifth of St. John. While reading, Mr. B would say, “I can see the old devil here on the bed with me, and he takes everything away from me as fast as you read it to me, and there are little ones on each side of me.” After reading, prayer was offered for him, and he was told to pray for himself. He said: “I have prayed for two days and nights and can get no answer. I can shed tears over a corpse, but over this Jesus I cannot shed a tear. It is too late, too late! Twenty-five years ago, at a camp-meeting held near my home, was the time that I had ought to have given my heart to Jesus. Oh!” he cried, “see the steam coming up! See the river rising higher and higher! Soon it will be over me and I will be gone.”

The room was filled with companions of other days; not a word was spoken by them. Fear seemed to have taken hold of them; and some said after that, “I never believed in a hell before, but I do now. O, how terrible!”

Mr. B lived but a short time after this and then died as he had lived, a stranger to Jesus, with no interest in His cleansing blood.

The Awful End of a Backslider, by Solomon Benjamin Shaw.

The following is a short account of the life and death of William Pope, of Bolton, in Lancashire. He was at one time a member of the Methodist Society, and was a saved and happy man. His wife, a devoted saint, died triumphantly. After her death his zeal for religion declined, and by associating with back-slidden professors he entered the path of ruin. His companions even professed to believe in the redemption of devils. William became an admirer of their scheme, a frequenter with them of the public-house, and in time a common drunkard.

He finally became a disciple of Thomas Paine, and associated himself with a number of deistical persons at Bolton, who assembled together on Sundays to confirm each other in their infidelity. They amused themselves with throwing the Word of God on the floor, kicking it around the room, and treading it under their feet. God laid His hand on this man’s body, and he was seized with consumption.

Mr. Rhodes was requested to visit William Pope. He says: “When I first saw him he said to me, ‘Last night I believe I was in hell, and felt the horrors and torment of the dammed; but God has brought me back again, and given me a little longer respite. The gloom of guilty terror does not sit so heavy upon me as it did, and I have something like a faint hope that, after all I have done, God may yet save me.’ After exhorting him to repentance and confidence in the Almighty Savior, I prayed with him and left him. In the evening he sent for me again. I found him in the utmost distress, overwhelmed with bitter anguish and despair. I endeavored to encourage him. I spoke of the infinite merit of the great Redeemer, and mentioned several cases in which God had saved the greatest sinners, but he answered, ‘No case of any that has been mentioned is comparable to mine. I have no contrition; I cannot repent. God will damn me: I know the day of grace is lost. God has said of such as are in my case, “I will laugh at your calamity, and mock when your fear cometh,”‘

I said, ‘Have you ever known anything of the mercy and love of God?’ ‘Oh, yes,’ he replied; ‘many years ago I truly repented and sought the Lord and found peace and happiness.’ I prayed with him after exhorting him to seek the Lord, and had great hopes of his salvation; he appeared much affected, and begged I would represent his case in our Society and pray for him. I did so that evening, and many hearty petitions were put up for him.”

Mr. Barraclough gives the following account of what he witnessed. He says: “I went to see William Pope, and as soon as he saw me he exclaimed, ‘You are come to see one who is damned forever!’ I answered, ‘I hope not; Christ can save the chief of sinners.’ He replied, ‘I have denied Him, I have denied Him; therefore hath He cast me off forever! I know the day of grace is past, gone — gone, never more to return!’ I entreated him not to be too hasty, and to pray. He answered, ‘I cannot pray; my heart is quite hardened, I have no desire to receive any blessing at the hand of God,’ and then cried out, ‘Oh, the hell, the torment, the fire that I feel within reel Oh, eternity.’ eternity! To dwell forever with devils and damned spirits in the burning lake must be my portion, and that justly!’

On Thursday I found him groaning under the weight of the displeasure of God. His eyes roiled to and fro; he lifted up his hands, and with vehemence cried out, ‘Oh, the burning flame, the hell, the pain I feel! I have done, done the deed, the horrible, damnable deed!’ I prayed with him, and while I was praying he said with inexpressible rage, ‘I will not have salvation at the hand of God! No, no! I will not ask it of Him.’

After a short pause, he cried out, ‘Oh, how I long to be in the bottomless pit — in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone!’ The day following I saw him again. I said, ‘William, your pain is inexpressible.’ He groaned, and with a loud voice cried out, ‘Eternity will explain my torments. I tell you again, I am damned. I will not have salvation.’ He called me to him as if to speak to me, but as soon as I came within his reach he struck me on the head with all his might, and gnashing his teeth, cried out, ‘God will not hear your prayers.’

At another time he said, ‘I have crucified the Son of God afresh, and counted the blood of the covenant an unholy thing! Oh, that wicked and horrible deed of blaspheming against the Holy Ghost! which I know I have committed!’ He was often heard to exclaim, ‘I want nothing but hell! Come, O devil, and take me!’ At another time he said, ‘Oh, what a terrible thing it is! Once I might, and would not: now I would and must not.’ He declared that he was best satisfied when cursing. The day he died, when Mr. Rhodes visited him, and asked the privilege to pray once more with him, he cried out with great strength, considering his weakness, ‘No!’ and passed away in the evening without God.”

Backslider, do you know you are in danger of the fires of hell? Do you know you are fast approaching the “line by us unseen that crosses every path, that marks the boundary between God’s mercy and His wrath.”

You are, and unless you turn quickly, you with William Pope will be writhing in hell through all eternity. God says, “The backslider in heart shall be filled with his own ways.” But He says again, “Return, ye backsliding children, and I will heal your backslidings.” Oh, come back and be healed before God shall say of you, “He is joined to his idols, let him alone.”

The Advice of Ethan Allen, The Noted Infidel, to His Dying Daughter, by Solomon Benjamin Shaw.

Though the following biographic note may be familiar to some, it may yet be useful to many. Ethan Allen was a professed infidel. He wrote a book against the divinity of our blessed Lord. His wife was a Christian, earnest, cheerful and devoted. She died early, leaving an only daughter behind, who became the idol of her father. She was a fragile, sensitive child, and entwined herself about the rugged nature of her sire, as the vine entwines itself about the knotty and gnarled limbs of the oak. Consumption marked this fair girl for its own; and she wasted away day by day, until even the grasshopper became a burden.

One day her father came into her room and sat down by her bedside. He took her wan, ethereal hand in his. Looking her father squarely in the face, she said:

“My dear father, I’m going to die.” “Oh! no, my child! Oh! no. The spring is coming and with the birds and breezes and the bloom, your pale cheeks will blush with health.” “No; the doctor was here today. I felt I was nearing the grave, and I asked him to tell me plainly what I had to expect. I told him that it was a great thing to exchange worlds; that I did not wish to be deceived about myself, and if I was going to die I had some preparations I wanted to make. He told me my disease was beyond human skill; that a few more suns would rise and set, and then I would be borne to my burial. You will bury me, father, by the side of my mother, for that was her dying request. But father, you and mother did not agree on religion. Mother often spoke to me of the blessed Savior who died for us all. She used to pray for both you and me, that the Savior might be our friend, and that we might all see Him as our Savior, when He sits enthroned in His glory. I don’t feel that I can go alone through the dark valley of the shadow of death. Now, tell me, father, whom shall I follow, you or mother? Shall I reject Christ, as you have taught me, or shall I accept Him, as He was my mother’s friend in the hour of her great sorrow?”

There was an honest heart beneath that rough exterior. Though tears nearly choked his utterance, the old soldier said:

“My child, cling to your mother’s Savior; she was right. I’ll try to follow you to that blessed abode.”

A serene smile over-spread the face of the dying girl, and who can doubt there is an unbroken family in heaven.

A Dying Man’s Regrets, by Solomon Benjamin Shaw.

A minister once said to a dying man, “If God should restore you to health, think you that you would alter your course of life?” He answered: “I call heaven and earth to witness, I would labor for holiness as I shall soon labor for life. As for riches and pleasure and the applause of men, I account them as dross. Oh! if the righteous Judge would but reprieve and spare he a little longer, in what spirit would I spend the remainder of my days! I would know no other business, aim at no other end, than perfecting myself in holiness. Whatever contributed to that — every means of grace, every opportunity of spiritual improvement, should be dearer to me than thousands of gold and silver. But, alas! why do I amuse myself with fond imaginations? The best resolutions are now insignificant, because they are too late.”

Such was the language of deep concern uttered by one who was beginning to look at these things in the light of the eternal world, which, after all, is the true light. Here we stand on the little molehills of sublunary life, where we cannot get a clear view of that other world; but, oh! what must it be to stand on the top of the dark mountain of death, and take an outlook upon our surroundings, knowing that from the top of that mountain, if angel pinions do not lift us to the skies, we must take a leap into the blackness of darkness!

Reader, when your soul shall pass into eternity, is it an angel or a fiend that shall greet you on your entrance there? if you want a well-grounded hope of heaven, live for it! live for it!

“It is Easier to Get Into Hell, Than It Will Be to Get Out”, by Solomon Benjamin Shaw.

In the village of Montgomery, Mich., in the spring of 1884, an infidel, husband of a spiritualist, was stricken down with disease. He had such a hatred for the cause ofChrist that he had requested previous to his death that his body should not be ‘carried to a church for funeral services, or any pastor be called upon to officiate. As he was nearing the shores of eternity, he turned his face toward the wall and began to talk of his future prospects. His wife saw that he was troubled in spirit and endeavored to comfort and console him by telling him not to be afraid; that his spirit would return to her and they would commune together then as now. But this gave him no comfort in this awful hour. With a look of despair, he said, “I see a great high wall rising around me, and am finding out at last, when it is too late, that it is easier to get into hell than it will be to get out,” and in a few moments his spirit had departed from this world to receive its reward. My sister-in-law was present at the time and heard the conversation. — Written for this book by Rev. W. C. Muffit, Cleveland, Ohio.

“I Have Treated Christ Like a Dog All My Life, and He Will Not Help Me Now”, by Solomon Benjamin Shaw.

About twenty years ago, when we were holding revival meetings at G, Mr. B, a well-to-do farmer living near the town, was in the last stages of consumption. He was a wicked man; all of his life having been spent in laying up treasures on earth. At the time we visited him, he was about sixty years old. The pastor of the Methodist church, whom we were assisting, had not as yet called on him because he was so ungodly. The pastor said to me one day, “I am waiting until Mr. B is near his end, hoping he will then allow me to talk to him about his soul.”

Several days before Mr. B’s death, in company with the pastor of the Methodist church, we visited this man and talked with him about his moral condition. His mind was very dark and full of unbelief. We talked earnestly with him about the saving of his soul, but left him without receiving much encouragement.

In a day or two we called on him again and found him more willing to converse, but he still seemed to be fur away from God. We plead with him and urged him to call on God to have mercy on him for Jesus’ sake.

“I cannot: I have never spoken the name of Jesus, only when using it in profanity, and I have used it that way all of these years. I have treated Christ like a dog all of my life and He will not hear me now. I would give all I am worth if I could only feel as you say you feel.” was his reply.

We told him that God was no respecter of persons, that He never turned any away that came to Him for pardon. He continued, “I cannot get any feeling. What can I do? My heart is so hard.” Our heart ached for him. He was afraid to die without faith in God, but he seemed to have no ability to repent.

Before we left the town, he went to meet his God, so far as we know, unprepared, as he gave no evidence of salvation. He had treasures on earth; but, alas, that did not avail him anything when he came to face eternity.

Reader, how are you treating the Christ on whom you must depend if you are ever saved? God grant that your experience may not be like his.