by William Schenck, "Nearing Home; Comforts and Counsels for the Aged" 1868
"Soon I must go down that road from which I will never return!" Job 16:22
An approaching journey lies before me. I have to pass from time--to eternity; from this world--to the next. And the time of my departure, although to me uncertain, cannot be very far distant. A few years--perhaps a few days--will close my stay on earth!
It is an unavoidable journey. I must go. There is no choice. Willing or unwilling, when God's summons for me arrives--I shall have to set off.
It is an unknown journey, I have never taken it before. I have no practical acquaintance with the road, the mode of transit, the dangers or the discomforts which await me. And there is no one who can clearly explain them to me. Those of my friends who have traveled that way, have never come back to relate their experience.
It is a solitary journey. I must accomplish it alone. The most beloved of my present companions cannot accompany me. They may think of me, feel for me, pray for me--but they cannot be with me. We must separate; they to remain behind--and I go forward.
It is a momentous journey. For at its termination, I enter upon my everlasting destiny! It will convey me either to the mansions of happiness--or to the abodes of misery! The narrow boundary between the present and the future state once crossed--there will be no possibility of change. "He who is unjust--let him be unjust still; and he who is righteous--let him be righteous still." Revelation 22:11
It is a final journey. "Soon I must go down that road from which I will never return." My pilgrimage will be forever ended. It will be my last journey. And if I am a Christian, how welcome is this fact! I shall be done forever with sin and sorrow. Eternal felicity will be mine--perfect holiness, and perfect happiness. This journey leads me . . .
to my eternal home,
to my Father's house,
to my everlasting rest!
Then I will not shrink from its approach, nor complain of its accompaniments. It may be linked with much that is painful and unpleasant--but it is my way home; and therefore, although life has many ties and many joys, I feel an earnest desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better than being here. "For this is not my resting place, because it is polluted, it is ruined, beyond all remedy!" Micah 2:10
Death is a solemn journey--but it is a safe journey to Christ's people; for He will not only receive and welcome them at its close--but He will be them as they are passing through it. Oh, it will not be lonely with Him! And He is a guide who is well acquainted with the way, for He has trodden it Himself. He went for the purpose of smoothing its difficulties, clearing its dangers, dispersing its terrors--and He fully accomplished His purpose. Therefore when I walk through the dark valley, I will fear no evil; for you, O Jesus, will be with me, and Your rod and your staff shall comfort me!