I Do Not Believe in a Future (1)
by Arthur Cutting
“There is no truth in what those preachers say about eternity. I do not believe in a future.” Such was the proud boast of a fashionable worldly lady to her Christian maid who had ventured to speak to her about her eternal welfare.
She was a favourite of society, and had moved in a gay and pleasure-seeking circle all her days, but at the comparatively early age of fifty-six she was somewhat suddenly called away from the scene of her gaieties.
Early in March 1895 she complained of feeling unwell, but insisted on fulfilling her theatre engagement at an afternoon performance. She went, and that night was taken ill.
It was Tuesday, but she refused to see a doctor until Thursday. When he came he said: “It is only influenza, but it is TOO LATE! She has gone too far!”
Soon after she sank into unconsciousness, and remained thus for two or three days. Suddenly emerging from that state, she turned to one by her side and said, “I wish everybody in the house to come into my room.”
A few minutes found doctor, son and daughter, brother, and servants round her bed. Drawing herself up, she said in hushed tones: “I wanted to see you all together, and to tell you I have had an awful vision! I have never before believed in a future, but I do now. I have seen God, and He has told me I am entering upon my first week in hell!
The doctor raised his hand as though to cheek her, but with those awful words upon her lips, she gasped her last, AND WAS GONE!—but where?
Such is the true, unvarnished, solemn account of the close of the life of this lover of pleasure.
The shock of this God-given vision collapsed her infidel opinions, and woke her to the fact that eternity is a stern reality, and that hell lies at the end of the slippery, downward path of the pleasure-hunting, sin-loving, Christ-rejecting worldling. How true are the words of the Psalm, His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that day his thoughts perish” (Ps. 146:4).
A few sentences can sum up the life and death of such an one, but what tongue can utter, what pen describe—
“The horrors that roll o’er the godless soul
Waked up from its death-like sleep,
Of all hope bereft and to judgment left,
Or ever to wail and to weep.”
Scoffing scepticism and callous indifference are very short-lived.
Fifty-six years sufficed to span sin’s pleasures for this poor lady, but only eternity can measure sin’s wages.
Be assured, dear reader, that SIN’S FLEETING PLEASURES for a life-time will certainly be followed. by SIN’S BITTER WAGES for eternity!
God has inseparably linked together this world’s joys with this world’s judgment. “Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth, and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth . . . BUT KNOW THOU, that for all these things God will bring thee into judgment” (Eccl. 11:9).
My dear unsaved friend, remember time is with swift wing speeding thee on to eternity. Yes, the moment is surely coming, whether your days are few or many, when You must enter upon your first week in eternity! And rest assured, of this, your eternal weal or woe will then be fixed for ever.
Dying in your sins will mean dying without hope of mercy, for
“There are no pardons in the tomb,
And brief is mercy’s day.”
The star of hope never casts its genial rays beyond the horizon of time, can never lighten the gloomy regions of the lost, and is never needed in heaven’s eternal sunshine.
It shines brightly for thee now, poor sinner, through the thickening moral darkness of this death-stricken world,
“A door of hope” has been thrown wide open by the hand of a Saviour God, “who is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Pet. 3:9).
Sin’s penalty must be borne, and sin’s defilement must be removed, or heaven must be an utter impossibility for any poor sinner: therefore “the Son of man must be lifted up,” that by His atoning work God may be enabled righteously to proclaim eternal forgiveness to every guilty sinner. That forgiveness shall be yours if you will repent and believe the gospel (Acts 10:43). “The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin” (1 John 1:7). God’s holiness demanded it, divine love provided it, and simple faith appropriates it.
Trust it, and you trust that which has met every claim of divine justice and holiness, and shelters the feeblest believer in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Despise it, and you despise God’s only means of removing all that unfits you for His holy presence.
Unknown reader, art thou cleansed by this precious Wood? If not, delay no longer. “The coming of the Lord draweth nigh” (Jas. 5:8), and with it the closing for ever of “the door of hope”! “Flee from the wrath to come!” “Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation” (2 Cor. 6:2). “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31).
The Gospel Messenger 1904, p. 113