Death Sermon Illustrations

Death Sermon Illustrations

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The glories of our blood and state
Are shadows, not substantial things.
There is no armour against fate:
Death lays his icy hand on kings.
Sceptre and crown
Must tumble down,
And in the dust be equal laid
With the poor crooked scythe and spade.—James Shirley

(2 Sam. 14. 14)


When our earthly day is closing,
And the night grows still and deep,
Let us, in Thine arms reposing,
Feel Thy power to save and keep.
Blessed Jesus,
Give Thine own beloved sleep.—Selected


Jesus can make a dying bed
Feel soft as downy pillows are.—Watts


'Tis sweet, as year by year we lose
Friends out of sight, in faith to muse
How grows in Paradise our store.—Keble


Archbishop Leighton was once asked by a friend, as he was returning homewards, if he had been to a sermon. "I met a sermon," was the answer, "for I met a funeral."—Selected


Owen, in his last hours, when on his dying bed, dictated a short letter to a friend. His secretary had written, "I am yet in the land of the living," when Owen said, "Stop, change that; write, I am yet in the land of the dying, but I hope soon to be in the land of the living."—Selected


A lady once asked Mr. Wesley, "Supposing that you knew you were to die at twelve o'clock tomorrow night, how would you spend the intervening time?" "How, madam?" he replied; "why, just as I intend to spend it now. I should preach this evening at Gloucester, and again at five tomorrow morning; after that, I should ride to Tewkesbury, preach in the afternoon, and meet the societies in the evening. I should then repair to friend Martin's house, who expects to entertain me; converse and pray with the family as usual; retire to my room at ten o'clock; commend myself to my heavenly Father; lie down to rest; and wake up in glory."—Selected


Lifetime Secret—Dying Together

The Associated Press, April 27, 1962, tells how in Belmont, California, a lifetime secret was shared too late and how two sisters who vowed never to part, died together.

The inseparable Ellis sisters—75-year-old Buena, 84-year-old Aline—still had flecks of gold in their white hair. These hinted of bygone days when they were very blonde, very young and very pretty.

Thirty years ago, a brain operation reverted Buena to childhood mentality. Thereafter she called Aline "mother" and was obsessed by the fear Aline might leave her. Aline never did. They always were together, in one rest home after another. But Aline got to feeling so bad that she called a sanitarium. "Turn this way, dear," Aline said, helping Buena out of the car at the sanitarium entrance. "Yes, mother," Buena obeyed. Then—"You won't leave me, will you?" "Of course not," Aline assured. "I told you we could never be separated, didn't I?"

Aline always carried a purse which she never allowed anyone to touch. She said it contained a family heirloom. The purse was in her hand when she and Buena went for a walk in the sanitarium garden after lunch. It was open when sanitarium officials later found the bodies of the two sisters in a garage. Both had been shot in the head. In Aline's hand was the family heirloom—an ancient, nickel-plated .38-caliber revolver.

Perhaps—for one of them, at least—death was armed with a new terror. If that pistol could talk, I wonder what it would say. I wonder if it could say what Whitman wrote about "the hands of the sisters, death and night, incessantly, softly wash again and ever again, this soiled world." And I wonder if one sister could truly say:

Come,  lovely and soothing death,
Undulate  around  the  world,
Serenely  arriving,   arriving,
In the day, in the night, to all, to each,
Sooner or later, delicate death.


On Tuesday, a colored maid asked her mistress for permission to be absent on the coming Friday. She explained that she wished to attend the funeral of her fiancé. The mistress gave the required permission sympathetically.

"But you're not wearing mourning, Jenny," she remarked.

"Oh, no, ma'am," the girl replied. "You see, ma'am, he ain't dead yet. The hanging ain't till Friday."

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