We pity the poor wretch who can dance under the gallows!
(Charles Spurgeon, "Flowers from a Puritan's Garden" 1883)
"Do you account him a happy man, who is condemned to die — because he has a plentiful allowance until his execution? Do you account him a happy man, who makes a fair show abroad — while at home he is pinched with poverty and misery? Do you account him a happy man, who revels in all kinds of pleasures today — but is to die this night?"
If we view unpardoned sinners aright, we shall heartily pity them! Let their temporal condition be as good as it may at this present time — the wrath of God abides on them, and they are "condemned already!" And as for the future, it is black with certain doom!
Alas for the unhappy man against whom God sets His face! What misery can be greater, than to be reserved for damnation in the great day of the wrath of God? We wonder at the mirth of men who are condemned to Hell — their fantasy is terrible to behold!
Hence we cannot join with them in their carnal mirth. Sinners may dance — but it will not be to our music. They may revel and riot — but we dare not endorse them in their jollity, for we know that their day is coming!
If you are indeed a child of God — let no desire to share their carnal delights lurk in your mind! Do not be envious of the prosperity of the wicked! Who would envy a criminal about to be executed, of his last cup of wine? Do not let their frivolities attract you. We pity the poor wretch who can dance under the gallows which he will shortly hang on! Just so, sinners who are on the road to Hell sporting and jesting, are worse than mad! Their singing will soon turn to sighing!
"But as for me, my feet had almost slipped; I had nearly lost my foothold! For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. They have no struggles; their bodies are healthy and strong. They are free from the burdens common to man; they are not plagued by human ills. From their callous hearts comes iniquity; the evil conceits of their minds know no limits! This is what the wicked are like — always carefree, they increase in wealth." Psalm 73:2-7, 12
"When I tried to understand all this, it was oppressive to me — until I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny!" Psalm 73:16-17