The death of the godless versus the godly

SERMON TOPIC: The death of the godless versus the godly

Speaker: Gavin Paynter

Language: ENGLISH

Date: 3 April 2023

Topic Groups: HELL, DEATH

Sermon synopsis: ARE YOU PREPARED FOR YOUR APPOINTMENT WITH DEATH?
It ought to be the business of every day to prepare for our last day. Christians must live their lives packed up and ready to go.

Jesus spoke of a PREPARED PLACE for a PREPARED PEOPLE:
John 14:1-2 (NIV) “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you.”

He also spoke of a PREPARED PLACE for an UNPREPARED PEOPLE:
Matt 25:41 (NIV) “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.’”

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IS HELL FOR REAL?

IS HELL FOR REAL?

According to a Pew Research Center (2021) survey of US adults:

62% believe in hell

73% believe in heaven

Of those who believe in heaven, over half (53%) believe that someone who does not believe in God can go to heaven.

We saw that according to the Bible – and Jesus in particular - hell is a place that is real and is to be feared. It is a place of eternal torment, fire, sorrow, regret, darkness, loneliness, and separation from God.

WHO WILL BE THERE?

We saw that Satan will be there as will the fallen angels, demons, the Antichrist and the false prophet. So will:

Those who follow the crowd and popular opinion of the day.

Those who do not believe the gospel. Those who cause others to lose their faith. Those who persecute God’ messengers.

Sinners - The sexually perverse, drunkards, brawlers, liars, murderers, occultists, pagans (but also those who are lustful, who hate and are verbally abusive).

Fake Christians - Those who have no relationship with Jesus, those who are ashamed of Jesus, those who deliberately keep on sinning after they know the truth, unrepentant backsliders.

MATERIALISTS - UNCONCERNED ABOUT THE SUFFERING OF OTHERS

Jesus spoke of a rich man who lived in luxury but was unconcerned about the sick, starving beggar at his gate (Luke 16:20).

When he died, he ended up in hell, where he was in torment (v. 22-23).

Often those who refuse to help others do so while passing a judgement (all people are in that position because they are lazy and choose to live in poverty).

Matt 7:2 (NIV) For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

In his life he could afford the finest food and wine, but now he begs for water.

THOSE WHO ARE UNPREPARED

Matt 22:11-13 (NIV) But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes. ‘Friend,’ he asked, ‘how did you get in here without wedding clothes?’ The man was speechless. Then the king told the attendants, ‘Tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

ARE YOU PREPARED?

People make all sorts of preparations when they go on a journey.

But there is a final journey we are all destined to take and many people fail to prepare for that journey.

Luke 12:19-20 (NIV) And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.” But God said to him, “You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’

Cesare Borgia (1476-1507) was the illegitimate son of the notorious Pope Alexander VI and his mistress. He was feared by his own father and murdered those who stood in his way. He is believed by some to have murdered his brother. One of his enemies, Astorre III Manfredi was drowned in the Tiber river by Cesare’s order.

Killed in battle at age 31, Cesare’s dying words were: “I have taken care of everything in the course of my life, only not for death, and now I have to die completely unprepared.” 1

1 www. thewordteaches.com

Those who are unprepared

All you need to do in order to end up in hell is just – do nothing. Don’t prepare.

The safest road to hell is the gradual one--the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts. ~ C.S. Lewis

Many accidental deaths result from taking risks. That's the conclusion of an organization in Canada that is seeking to decrease accidents between cars and trains.

Roger Cyr, national director of Operation Lifesaver, puts most of the blame for fatalities on drivers who are risk-takers. “Studies have shown that when people hear a train whistle their minds tell them to accelerate their speed,” says Cyr.

About 43% of the accidents occur at crossings equipped with flashing lights and bells or gates.

Cyr also said that many drivers “even have the audacity to drive around or under gates.”

They take the risk, thinking they can beat the train and somehow miss the collision— but with tragic consequences! *

* Daily Bread, April 6, 1991

ARE YOU PREPARED FOR YOUR APPOINTMENT WITH DEATH?

Or do you think you can beat the train?

It ought to be the business of every day to prepare for our last day. Christians must live their lives packed up and ready to go.

Jesus spoke of a PREPARED PLACE for a PREPARED PEOPLE:

John 14:1-2 (NIV) “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you.”

He also spoke of a PREPARED PLACE for an UNPREPARED PEOPLE:

Matt 25:41 (NIV) “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.’”

ARE YOU PREPARED FOR YOUR APPOINTMENT WITH DEATH?

Those who hear but do not respond to the preaching of the gospel

Matt 11:20-24 (NASB) Then He began to denounce the cities in which most of His miracles were done, because they did not repent. “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! 

DEGREES OF PUNISHMENT

 “For if the miracles had occurred in Tyre and Sidon which occurred in you, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. Nevertheless I say to you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment than for you. 

 “And you, Capernaum, will not be exalted to heaven, will you? You will descend to Hades; for if the miracles had occurred in Sodom which occurred in you, it would have remained to this day. Nevertheless I say to you that it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for you.”

DEGREES OF PUNISHMENT

Luke 12:47-48 (NIV) “That servant who knows his master’s will and does not get ready or does not do what his master wants will be beaten with many blows. But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.”

But I ask you – are you ignorant of your master’s will?

DEGREES OF PUNISHMENT

The punishment of an apostate will be worse!

2 Pet 2:20-21 (NIV) If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning.

It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them. [cf. Heb 10:25-29]

DEGREES OF PUNISHMENT

Jesus said of the apostate Judas:

Matt 26:24 (NIV) “The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born.

THE DEATH OF THE GODLESS vs THE DEATH OF THE GODLY

CAUTIONARY NOTICE

Many web articles with titles like “the last words of famous atheists” are misleading because they cite people who are not necessarily atheists but simply non-Christian (or non-Protestant). E.g. Edward Gibbon and Voltaire are often cited as atheists, but they were Deists.

Where accounts are not corroborated (or contradicted) by eye-witness sources – I have left them out. E.g. Deathbed quotes from the apostate, Thomas Carlyle, and the liberal theologian, David Strauss, appear to be unsubstantiated.

The accounts of Charles Darwin recanting spread a couple of decades after his death by his former nurse are questionable. *

Some quote “Altamont the Skeptic” but he’s a fictional character from an 18th-century poem (Night-Thoughts) by Edward Young.

* https:// creationism.org/ english/ DarwinDeathBed_en.htm

VOLTAIRE

Voltaire (1694–1778) is often cited as being an atheist but was closer to being a deist. He was extremely anti- Semitic, anti-Christian (in particular anti-Catholic) and anti-Islam.

Far from being the cynical remark it is often taken for, his statement “If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him”, was meant as a retort to atheistic opponents. *

In February 1778, when he believed he was near death Voltaire wrote “I die adoring God, loving my friends, not hating my enemies, and detesting superstition.” *

* https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voltaire

The accounts of his deathbed have been numerous and varying, and it has not been possible to establish the details of what precisely occurred. *

His enemies related that he repented and accepted the last rites from a Catholic priest, or that he died in agony of body and soul, while his adherents told of his defiance to his last breath. *

* Ibid.

DEATH OF A DEIST

Adoniram Judson (1788-1850) grew up in a conservative Congregational pastor’s home but went to Brown University where he made friends with Jacob Eames, a persuasive Deist, leading to his own rejection of Christianity.

He broke his parents hearts when he told them that he had no faith and that he intended to go to New York and learn to write for the theatre. He did not, however, find his expected fame or fortune there. *

* SOURCES: Florence Huntington Jensen, The Life Of Adoniram Judson” by Courtney Anderson, https:// nationalministries.org, https:// wholesomewords.org, https:// desiringgod.org,

DEATH OF A DEIST

Eventually he headed West and one night he stayed in a small village inn where he’d never been before.

The innkeeper apologized that his sleep might be interrupted because of a man critically ill in the next room.

Adoniram was tired but rest did not come. Throughout the night, he heard sounds in the next room - low voices, people moving about on the creaking floor, groans and gasps, but most of all agonizing cries of despair and desperation, coming from the dying man.

DEATH OF A DEIST

It bothered him to think that the man may not be prepared to die. All night long he wondered about himself and had terrible thoughts of his own death. How would he face this enemy that his own father would welcome as the doorway to God? His philosophy offered no answers beyond this earthly life.

But then he felt ashamed of himself - what would his deist friend, Jacob Eames, think of his silly thoughts of God?

Upon leaving the next morning he asked if the man was better. “He is dead,” said the innkeeper. Struck with the finality he asked, “Do you know who he was?”

“Oh yes.” came the reply, “Young man from the college in Providence. Name was Eames, Jacob Eames.”

ADONIRAM JUDSON

That reality sent Adoniram’s mind reeling and he wondered about the eternal destiny for such a man. Suddenly, he realized that his father’s God was true: The beliefs of Jacob Eames were empty and had failed him at his greatest hour. Adoniram was converted and later went to Burma as a missionary.

Shortly before Judson died, he said: “I am not tired of my work, neither am I tired of the world; yet, when Christ calls me home, I shall go with the gladness of a boy bounding away from his school.”

A KING WHO MURDERED PROTESTANTS

Charles IX (1550–1574) was the young weak-willed French Catholic king who, urged on by his mother (Catherine de Medici), gave the order for the massacre of the Huguenots, in which 30,000 to 100,000 Protestants were slaughtered.

Charles did not long survive the massacre. Emotionally, his moods now swung from coarse boasting about the extremity of the massacre, to claims that the screams of the murdered Huguenots kept ringing in his ears. *

* https:// en.wikipedia.org/ wiki/ Charles_IX_of_France

Frantically he blamed his mother: “Who but you is the cause of all of this? God’s blood, you are the cause of it all!” The Queen-mother responded by declaring she had a lunatic for a son. *

The strain following the massacres weakened his body to the point where, by spring of 1574, the hoarse coughing turned bloody and the hemorrhages grew more violent. He became bedridden and delusional. “What blood shed! What murders! he cried to his nurse. What evil council I have followed! O my God, forgive me... I am lost! I am lost!” *

* Ibid.

A POLITICIAN WHO PERSECUTED REFORMERS

Thomas Scott was a favourite of King James V of Scotland by whom he was appointed justice-clerk in 1535. A noted persecutor of the reformers, he died in 1539 with the following circumstances being related by his contemporary, John Knox.

Of the terrible utterances of the said Thomas Scott before his death, men of all estates heard, and some that yet live can witness. His words were ever, “Justo Dei judicio condemnatus sum”; that is, I am condemned by God's just judgment. *

* The History of the Reformation of Religion in Scotland, by John Knox

Knox also writes:

Men of good credit can yet report a terrible vision the said Prince [James V] saw, when lying in Linlithgow, on the night that Thomas Scott, Justice Clerk, died in Edinburgh.

Affrighted at midnight, or after, he cried for torches, and raised all that lay in the Palace. He told that Thomas Scott was dead; for he had been at him with a company of devils, and had said unto him these words, “O woe to the day that ever I knew thee or thy service; for serving thee against God, against His servants, and against justice, I am adjudged to endless torment.”

JAMES V

A HINDU AND POLITICAL ACTIVIST

Some 15 years before his death, Mohandas K. Gandhi (1869-1948) wrote: “I must tell you in all humility that Hinduism, as I know it, entirely satisfies my soul, fills my whole being, and I find a solace in the Bhagavad and Upanishads.” *

Just before his death, Gandhi wrote: “My days are numbered. I am not likely to live very long—perhaps a year or a little more. For the first time in fifty years I find myself in the slough of despond. All about me is darkness; I am praying for light.” *

* https:// www.preceptaustin.org/ the_resurrection_of_christ

AN EMPEROR

Napoleon Bonaparte (1769 –1821) was a famous French emperor who brought death to millions of men while building an empire.

He once said to a group of his officers who were sympathetic to atheism: “Alexander, Caesar, Charlemagne, and I have founded empires. But on what did we rest the creations of our genius? Upon force! Jesus Christ alone founded his empire upon love; and at this moment millions of men would die for him.” *

* “The Life of Napoleon Bonaparte”, John Stevens Cabot Abbott, Beeton, 1860, pg. 117

He continued, “I die before my time, and my body will be given back to the earth, to become food for worms. Such is the fate of him who has been called the great Napoleon. What an abyss between my deep misery and the eternal kingdom of Christ, which is proclaimed, loved, and adored, and which is extended over the whole earth.” *

* Ibid.

A STATESMAN

Mirabeau (1749-1791) was a statesman during the French Revolution.

He spent some time in jail, during which he wrote erotic letters and books. A death sentence against him was reversed and he was released in 1782. The excesses of his youth – he had a violent temper, gambled himself into financial ruin and was engaged in various scandalous love affairs – finally caught up with him, and he died in 1791, aged 42, after contracting pericarditis. *

His last words are said to have been: “Give me more laudanum [opium], that I may not think of eternity and of what is to come. I have an age of strength, but not a moment of courage.” *

* https:// lookandlearn.com/ blog/ 5894/ gabriel-mirabeau-famous-last-words & Milford Times, 1 May 1875

AN ATHEISTIC DICTATOR

Josef Stalin (1878-1953) was the murderous atheistic dictator of the communist USSR from 1922 until 1953. Quoted in Newsweek is Svetlana Stalin’s description of his death.

“My father died a difficult and terrible death... Then he lifted his left hand as though he were pointing to something above and bringing down a curse on us all. The gesture was full of menace... The next moment... the spirit wrenched itself free of the flesh.” *

* https:// family-times.net/ illustration/ Cursing/ 200454

She wrote in her memoirs, “God grants an easy death only to the just”, before going on to describe her father’s last agonising moments, “The death agony was horrible. He literally choked to death as we watched.

“At what seemed like the very last moment he suddenly opened his eyes and cast a glance over everyone in the room. It was a terrible glance, insane or perhaps angry, and full of the fear of death.” *

* https:// www.history.co.uk/ article/ stalin%25E2%2580%2599s-daughter-the-cold-war%25E2%2580%2599s-most-famous-defector

A MATERIALIST

Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679) is one of the main philosophers who founded materialism (i.e. the belief that everything that truly exists is matter; thus all phenomena we see are a result of material interactions.)

His religious opinions remain controversial as many positions have been attributed to him ranging from atheism to Orthodox Christianity. *

In the Elements of Law, Hobbes provided a cosmological argument for the existence of God, saying that God is “the first cause of all causes”. *

* https:// en.wikipedia.org/ wiki/ Thomas_Hobbes

While Hobbes was accused of atheism by several contemporaries like Bramhall, he always defended himself from such accusations. He wrote, in his answer to Bramhall's The Catching of Leviathan, that “atheism, impiety, and the like are words of the greatest defamation possible”. *

His attributed last words were, “I am about to take my last voyage, a great leap in the dark.” **

He also said, “I leave my body to the grave and my soul to the great perhaps.” ***

* Ibid. *** Ibid. & https:// www. oxfordreference.com / display/ 10.1093/ *** Augusta County Argus, Vol 5, No 23, 31 May 1892

A MATERIALIST

AN AGNOSTIC

The agnostic, Colonel Robert Green Ingersoll (1833–1899), in his eulogy delivered at the funeral of his beloved brother, poured out his soul in anguish.

“Life is a narrow vale between the cold and barren peaks of two eternities. We strive in vain to look beyond the height. We cry aloud, and the only answer is the echo of our wailing cry. From the voiceless lips of the unreplying dead there comes no word.”

He went on to say, “But in the night of Death, Hope sees a star, and listening Love can hear the rustle of a wing”. But when adversaries confronted him with the implications of this expression of hope, he rationalized by suggesting that his words were simply spontaneous eruptions of affection. *

Despite claims by some of a deathbed conversion, ** his wife Eva and the two others present at the time of his passing signed an affidavit confirming that he never abandoned agnosticism, though he expressed hope of immortality. ***

* https:// christiancourier.com/ articles/ robert-g-ingersoll- apostle-of-infidelity-robber-of-hope ** It is widely reported that on his deathbed Ingersoll cried, “Oh God, if there be a God, save my soul if I have a soul”, but this is elsewhere attributed to a soldier just before the battle of Blenheim (1704) predating Ingersoll’s death by 2 centuries. *** https:// centerforinquiry.org/ blog/ death-bed_ conversion_of_robert_g-_ingersoll

AN AGNOSTIC

AN AGNOSTIC

When Ingersoll died in the summer of 1899, the Young Women’s Christian Conference was in session at Northfield. On this occasion D.L. Moody made his first public allusion to Ingersoll when he said: “Mr. Ingersoll and I started out in life about the same time, and in the same State. Of course I have been interested in watching his career, but I have never mentioned his name in public until tonight, and I don’t believe in talking about a man after his death.

“I am sorry for his wife and children, for it is said that he was a kind husband and father, and I don’t want to tear open that wound. My feeling toward him has always been that of deepest pity, for a life like his seems so barren of everything that has made my life joyous and blessed.” 

AN AGNOSTIC

“How dark must be the life of a man for whom, by his own confession, it was like ‘a narrow vale between the peaks of two eternities; we cry aloud, and the only answer is the echo of our calling,’ and for whom death seemed like ‘a leap into the dark.’”

Moody continued: “How different from that of a believer in Christ! For him not only is the present life filled with the peace of God, but the future is bright with hope. He knows that for him death is only the exchanging of a shifting tent for an enduring mansion. How much Colonel Ingersoll’s sorrowing wife and daughters need our prayers, as they stand by the still body of their loved one, if they really believe the hopeless doctrine he taught!” *

* “The life of Dwight L. Moody”: by William Revell Moody (1900)

AN EVANGELIST

Contrast the death of Ingersoll with his contemporary, the famous evangelist, D.L. Moody, (1837-1899) who died in the same year as Ingersoll.

Moody said, “Some day you will read in the papers that D.L. Moody of East Northfield, is dead. Don’t you believe a word of it! At that moment I shall be more alive than I am now; I shall have gone up higher, that is all, out of this old clay tenement into a house that is immortal - a body that death cannot touch, that sin cannot taint; a body fashioned like unto His glorious body. I was born of the flesh in 1837. I was born of the Spirit in 1856. That which is born of the flesh may die. That which is born of the Spirit will live forever.”

God was magnified again in his marvelous triumph over death, but what we call death had absolutely no terrors for him. He calmly looked death in the face and said, “Earth is receding. Heaven is opening. God is calling me. Is this death? It isn’t bad at all. It is sweet. No pain. No valley. I have been within the gates! It is beautiful. It is glorious. Do not call me back. God is calling me.” *

* “The life and work of Dwight Lyman Moody” by the J. Wilbur Chapman

AN EVANGELIST

For four hours Mr. Moody faced death without a tremor. Nay, he rejoiced in it and welcomed it… Later he said, “This is glorious. This is my coronation day, I have long looked forward to it.” … It is the testimony of those who were privileged to stand around that bed, that his last four hours took all the sting and terror out of death, and that the room was transformed from the place of mourning to the chamber of triumph.” *

* www.archive.org/ stream/ lessonsfromlifed

JESUS

About those who had unjustly condemned him to death and who were mocking Him: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34, NIV)

Just before he breathed His last: “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” (Luke 23:46, NIV)

THE MARTYR STEPHEN

Stephen, the first Christian martyr prayed for those who were murdering him: “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” (Acts 7:60, NIV)

While dying he cries, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” (Acts 7:59)

AN ENGLISH MARTYR – JOHN NOYES

John Leland (1691–1766) was an English Presbyterian minister who was arrested and condemned to the stake.

When bound, he looked up to heaven and said, “Fear not them that can kill the body.” Then seeing his sister weeping and lamenting for him, he told her to be comforted and to dry her tears. *

Then one Nicholas Cadman, being hastler, a valiant champion in the pope's affairs, brought a faggot and set against him; and the said John Noyes took up the faggot and kissed it, and said, “Blessed be the time that ever I was born to come to this.” *

* Foxe’s Book of Martyrs

Rev. John Leland (1691-1766), the English Presbyterian minister: “I give my dying testimony to the truth of Christianity. The promises of the gospel are my support and consolation. They, alone, yield me satisfaction in a dying hour. I am not afraid to die. The gospel of Christ has raised me above the fear of death; for I know that my Redeemer liveth.” *

* http:// christschurchinmichiana.org

A PREACHER

A CONVERTED SLAVE TRADER

John Newton (1725-1807) , the converted slave trader who penned the words of ‘Amazing Grace’: “I am still in the land of the dying; I shall be in the land of the living soon.” *

* www.thewordteaches.com

THE DEATH OF THE UNGODLY

Of course, all this does not mean that there was never an ungodly man who seemingly faced death bravely – even if it was based on a false belief system.

Of the two criminals crucified with Jesus only one was penitent – the other man brazenly mocked Jesus.

Not all the ungodly recant on their deathbed.

But an atheist in particular is to be pitied when he faces death because:

if his worldview is correct, he faces oblivion

if he is mistaken, he faces the fate of the damned.

THE DEATH OF THE GODLY

It also doesn’t mean that there was never a Christian who was fearful when facing death. We are still mortals and are frail at times or have moments when our strength might waver.

Even Jesus – as an incarnated man – would say to his disciples, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” (Matt 26:38, NIV)

THE DEATH OF THE GODLY

Heb 2:14-18 (NIV) Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death

For this reason he had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people.

Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.

Christians can take comfort in the fact that they do not face death alone. Like David they can say, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me.” (Ps 23:4)

One thing is certain. I cannot find any account of someone who repented of being a Christian on his deathbed.

But there are numerous cases of sinners who recanted - like the one criminal next to Jesus on the cross.

DO THE GODLY RECANT?

Luke 23:40-42 (NIV) But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”

AN APOSTATE?

Talleyrand (1754 –1838) was a French bishop in the Catholic Church, but later a politician and leading diplomat. During the French Revolution, he strongly supported the anti-clericalism of the revolutionaries. Along with Mirabeau, he promoted the appropriation of Church properties. He resigned as Bishop following his excommunication by Pope Pius VI in 1791.

Talleyrand had a reputation as a voluptuary (a person devoted to luxury and sensual pleasure) and a womaniser. He left no legitimate children, though he possibly fathered over two dozen illegitimate ones. *

* https:// en.wikipedia.org/ wiki/ Charles_Maurice_de_ Talleyrand-P%C3%A9rigord

Some articles claim that facing death, Talleyrand said, “I am suffering the pangs of the damned.”

However, during the last years of his life Talleyrand became interested in Christianity again while teaching his young granddaughter simple prayers. He began planning his reconciliation with the Catholic Church. *

The Abbé Félix Dupanloup came to Talleyrand in his last hours, and according to his account Talleyrand made confession and received extreme unction. On 16 May 1838, in the abbé's presence, he signed a retraction of his errors towards the church before dying the following day. In this solemn declaration he openly disavowed “the great errors which … had troubled and afflicted the Catholic, Apostolic and Roman Church, and in which he himself had had the misfortune to fall.” *

* Ibid.

A CONVERTED LIBERTINE

A libertine is one who spurns accepted morals, and forms of behaviour sanctioned by the larger society.

John Wilmot, 2nd Earl of Rochester was an English libertine, a friend of King Charles II, and the writer of satirical and bawdy ** poetry. Bishop Gilbert Burnet wrote of him that, “For five years together he was continually drunk … [and] not … perfectly master of himself… [which] led him to … do many wild and unaccountable things.” He said that Rochester was unable to express any feeling without oaths and obscenities. **

* https:// en.wikipedia.org/ wiki/John_Wilmot,_2nd_Earl_ of_Rochester ** Bawdry is humorous entertainment that ranges from bordering on indelicacy to gross indecency.

By the age of 33, Rochester was dying from what is usually described as the effects of tertiary syphilis, gonorrohea, or other venereal diseases, combined with the effects of alcoholism. *

His mother had him attended in his final weeks by her religious associates, particularly Burnet. Rochester’s deathbed renunciation of libertinism and conversion to Christianity was published by Burnet. In the early morning of 26 July, 1680, Rochester died a ‘without a shudder or a sound’. *

* Ibid.

THE APOSTLE PAUL

For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has come for my departure. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing. (2 Tim 4:6-8, NIV)

For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. (Phil 1:21, NIV)

Death has been swallowed up in victory. Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting? (1 Cor 15:54-55, NIV)

THE APOSTLE PAUL

WE NEED NOT FEAR DEATH

1 Cor 15:51-57 (NIV) Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.

For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality.

When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

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Biblical illustrations by Jim Padgett, courtesy of http:// sweetpublishing.com & http:// freebibleimages.org

Unless otherwise stated, Scripture quotations are taken from the NIV: THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation; Used by permission. (http:// Lockman.org)

Scripture quotations are taken from the ESV: Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

AUTHOR: Gavin Paynter

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COPYRIGHT INFORMATION

Biblical illustrations by Jim Padgett, courtesy of http:// sweetpublishing.com & http:// www.freebibleimages.org

Unless otherwise stated, Scripture quotations are taken from the NIV: THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation; Used by permission. (http:// www.Lockman.org)

Scripture quotations are taken from the ESV: Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.



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