Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Sinners' last words

This life is given us to prove our worth in the sight of the Almighty, to prove our worthiness of joining Him in eternity. Many people have abused their lives and spurned this great and most important opportunity. The longer one lives without God, or rather the longer a person spends running away from Him, the harder it is going to be in the end to repent and gain His favour, and forgiveness. We should all profit by paying heed to the words of those enemies of God who, on their death beds, have made some startling remarks about the hell they never believed in during the better part of their lives.

O, but they say the tongues of dying men enforce attention like deep harmony. Where words are scarce, they are seldom spent in vain for they breathe truth that breathe their words in pain.

- The life and death of King Richard the Second,
William Shakespeare

Julian the Apostate was Roman emperor from 361-63. In May, 362, Julian left Constantinople for Asia and made active preparations at Antioch for a great war with Persia. While at Antioch in the winter of 362-63, he wrote his books against the Christians. In March, 363, he advanced from Antioch into Mesopotamia, successfully crossed the Tigris, and fought a successful battle with the Persians. Burning his supply fleet, he now marched into the interior of Persia, but soon found himself obliged by lack of provisions to begin a retreat, during which he was beset by the Persian cavalry. On 26 June, 363, he was wounded in the side by an arrow in a small cavalry skirmish, and died during the night. Various reports concerning the circumstances of his death have come down to us. Both Christians and pagans believed the rumor that he cried out when dying:

“Nenikekas Galilaie (Thou hast conquered, O Galilean)”.

Sir Thomas Scott (1535-30 December 1594), of Scot's Hall in Kent, was an English Member of Parliament (MP). In Parliament, Scott seems to have been a consistent scourge of the Roman Catholics. He told the Commons that in his view there was "more danger by advancing Papists into place of trust and government than by anything”. His last words are as follows:

“Until this moment I thought there was neither a God nor a hell. Now I know and feel that there are both, and I am doomed to perdition by the just judgment of the Almighty.”

Thomas Paine wrote The Age of Reason; which criticizes institutionalized religion and challenges the legitimacy of the Bible. On his deathbed, Thomas Paine uttered the following words:

"I would give worlds, if I had them, if 'The Age of Reason' had never been published. O Lord, help me! Christ, help me! Stay with me! It is hell to be left alone."

Sir Francis Newport (of Her Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council), died aged 88 in 1708 in Twickenham. On his deathbed, he wailed in anguish:

“What argument is there now to assist me against matters of fact? Do I assert there is no hell while I feel one in my own bosom? That there is a God I know, because I continually feel the effect of His wrath. That there is a hell, I am equally certain, having received and earnest of my inheritance in my own breast.”

Lest his friends should think he was going insane he said to them, “You imagine me melancholy or distracted: I wish it were either, but it is part of my judgment that I am not. My appreciation of persons and things is more quick and vigorous than when I was in perfect health. O! that I was to lie a thousand years upon the fire that never is quenched to purchase the favor of God, and be reunited to Him again! But it is a fruitless wish. Millions and millions of years will bring me no nearer to the end of my torments than one poor hour! O Eternity! Eternity!” As death seized him, he uttered a groan of inexpressible horror and cried out, “O! The insufferable pangs of hell! O Eternity! Forever and forever!”

Charles Churchill (February, 1731 - November 4, 1764) was an English poet and satirist. Of genuine love to humanity he seems to have been as destitute as of fear of God, or regard for the ordinary moralities. While he lay dying he repeated some manly but not very Christian lines from his own poetry. His final deathbed utterance is reported as follows:

“What a fool I have been!”

William Pope, who died in 1797, was a leader of a company of infidels who ridiculed everything religious. One of their exercises was to kick the Bible around the floor and tear it up. Friends present in his death chamber spoke of it as a scene of terror while he died crying. These were the last recorded words of this depraved man:

"I have no contrition. I cannot repent. God will damn me! I know the day of grace has see one who is damned forever...Oh, Eternity! Eternity! Nothing for me but hell. Come eternal torments... I hate everything God has made, only I have no hatred for the devil -- I wish to be with him. I long to be in hell. Do you not see? Do you not see him? He is coming for me!"

Honoré Gabriel Riqueti, Comte de Mirabeau (9 March 1749 – 2 April 1791) was a French writer, popular orator and statesman. During the French Revolution, he was a moderate, favoring a constitutional monarchy built on the model of the United Kingdom. He unsuccessfully conducted secret negotiations with the French monarchy in an effort to reconcile it with the Revolution.

“My sufferings are intolerable; I have within me a hundred years of life but not a moment's courage. Give me more laudanum (alcoholic herbal preparation of opium) that I may not think of eternity.”

Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord was an agent of the French Revolution under Napoleon I, Louis XVIII, Charles X, and Louis-Philippe. He was ordained a priest in 1779. In 1780, he became a Catholic church representative to the French Crown, the Agent-General of the Clergy. In this position, he was instrumental in drafting a general inventory of church properties in France as of 1785, along with a defence of "inalienable rights of church", a stance he was to deny later. He assisted Mirabeau in the secularisation of ecclesiastical properties, betraying the Catholic Church. At his deathbed in 1838, King Louis asked Talleyrand how he felt, and his reply was thus:

“I am suffering, Sire, the pangs of the damned.”

It has been well said that nobody ever repented of being a Catholic on their deathbed. Please, repent and convert while the day of grace has not yet been extinguished by the dusk of eternity.

What Must You Do To Get to Heaven?

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