I have often said, Memorial Day just might be the most helpful holiday of all. One reason why I believe that is true is that it reminds us that death is coming and our days are limited. We won’t be here forever. That being the case it behooves us to apply our hearts unto wisdom and do those things that are of the greatest importance while we have the opportunity. These words from the pen of John Angell James (1785-1859) should serve to remind us of the importance of this matter:
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!