He who trifles
with it is a fool!
(J. A. James, "The
Practical Believer Delineated")
If the man who trembles at death is a coward; he who
trifles with it is a fool! There is a thousand times more
rationality in the trembler--than in the trifler!
There is a phenomenon in the rational world well
worthy of consideration, inquiry, and solution--the
strange and fatal insensibility of men to the grand
fact that they are mortal! Since it is infallibly certain
that they must and will die--and since death is so
solemn an event--how does it happen that so few
ever seriously think of it, or really prepare for it?
One would think that so grand and solemn a fact
as death, especially viewed in connection with the
events which are to immediately follow it--heaven,
hell and eternity--along with the uncertainty how
soon it may be realized--might operate with an
unlimited and altogether overpowering influence
upon men's minds and hearts!
But men wish to forget death!
They try to forget it--and alas, too often succeed
in accomplishing this fatal oblivion! Yet we can
scarcely wonder at this, when we consider what
is their spiritual condition--and what death is!
It is the commonness of death, which deprives it
of its extreme dreadfulness. If death happened in
our world only once in a century, it would be felt
like the shock of an earthquake; and would hush
the inhabitants of earth into a breathless silence,
while the echoes of the knell of the departed soul
were reverberating around the globe!
Death is . . .
the moment of destiny;
the seal of eternity;
the cessation of probation;
the commencement of retribution and judgment!
The antecedents of death are dreadful--so are
the accompaniments--so are the consequences!
To every sense--death is revolting!
To every social affection--death is crucifying!
To reason--death is perplexing!
To everything but saving faith--death is overwhelming!