Death Sermon Illustrations

Death Sermon Illustrations

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In the Cathedral at Worcester, there is an ancient slab, bearing as its inscription the solitary word `Miserrimus' (most miserable).

Down in the catacombs, those vast underground chambers of the dead where the early Christians endeavoured to hide from their fierce persecutors—engraven on a stone embedded in the well, stands this beautiful word ‘Felicissimus' (most happy).

Which of these two Latin inscriptions would describe your condition were you to die?

(John 8. 24; Phil 1. 23; Heb. 10. 28)

Death of the Huntsman

There's a keen and grim old huntsman
On a horse as white as snow.
Sometimes he is very swift
And sometimes very slow.
But he never is at fault,
For he always hunts on view,
And he rides without a halt
After you.

The huntsman's name is Death,
His horse's name is Time.
He is coming, he is coming
As I sit and write this rhyme;
He is coming, he is coming
As you read the rhyme I write;
You can hear his hoofs' low-drumming
Day and night.

You can hear the distant drumming
As the clock goes tick-a-tack,
And the chiming of the hours
Is the music of his pack.
You can hardly note their growling
Underneath the noonday sun,
But at night you hear them howling
As they run.

And they never check or falter,
For they never miss their kill.
Seasons change and systems alter,
But the hunt is running still.
Hark! the evening chime is playing:
O'er the long grey dawn it peals.
Don't you hear the death-hound baying
At your heels.—Sir A. Conan Doyle

(Heb. 9. 27)

Life through Death

Have you heard the tale of the aloe plant
Away in a sunny clime?
By humble growth of a hundred years
It reaches its blooming time;
And then a wondrous bud at its crown
Bursts into a thousand flowers;
That floral queen in its blooming seen
Is the pride of the tropical bowers.
But the plant to the flower is a sacrifice,
For it blooms but once and in blooming dies.
Have you further heard of the aloe plant
That grows in the sunny clime,
How every one of its thousand flowers,
As they drop in the blooming time,
Is an infant plant that fastens its roots
In the place where it falls to the ground;
And as fast as they drop from the dying stem,
Grow lively and lovely around?
By dying, it liveth a thousandfold
In the young that spring from the death of the old.
Have you heard the tale of the pelican,
The Arab's 'Gimel el Bahr,'
That lives in the African solitudes
Where the birds that live lonely are?
Have you heard how it loves its tender young
And cares and toils for their good?
It brings them water from fountains afar
And fishes the seas for their food.
In famine it feeds them—What love can devise!
The blood of its bosom, and feeding them dies.
You have heard these tales: shall I tell you one,
A greater and better than all?
Have you heard of Him Whom the Heavens adore,
Before Whom the hosts of them fall?—
How He left the choirs and anthems above
For earth with its wailings and woes,
To suffer the shame and pain of the cross,
To die for the life of His foes.
0 Prince of the noble! O Sufferer divine!
What sorrow and sacrifice equal to Thine?
Have you heard this tale, the best of them all,
The tale of the Holy and True?
He died, but His life in untold souls
Lives on in the world anew.
His seed prevails and is filling the earth
As the stars fill the sky above.
He taught us to yield up the love of life
For the sake of the life of love.
His death is our life, His loss is our gain,
The joy for the tear, the peace for the pain.
Now hear these tales, ye weary and worn,
Who for Him do give up all.
Our Saviour hath said the seed that would grow
Into earth's dark bosom must fall,
Must pass from the view and die away,
And then will the fruit appear.
The grain that seems lost in the earth below
Will return many-fold in the ear.
By death comes life, by loss comes gain,
The joy for the tear, the peace for the pain.

(John 12. 24; Gal. 2. 20)

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