Reaping

Sad Ending of a Life that Might have been Otherwise.

I remember a few years ago I felt very anxious for a man who was present at a meeting like this. At the close of the meeting I asked all to rise, and he rose among the others. I took him aside and said, “Now you are going to become a Christian–you will come out for the Lord now?” He said he was wanting to very much. The man was trembling from head to foot, and I thought surely he was going to accept Him. I spoke to him in his hesitating condition, and found out what was standing between him and Christ. He was afraid of his companions. Nearly every day and night news came to me that some of these employers and clerks make light of these meetings, and make fun of all who attend them, and so many give the same reason that this man did. I said to him: “If heaven is what we are led to believe it is, I would be willing to accept it and bear their fun.” I talked with him, but he wouldn’t accept it. He went off, but for weeks he came every night, and went away as he came, without accepting it.

One day I received a message to come and see him. He was sick, and I went to his chamber. He wanted to know if there was hope for him in the eleventh hour? I spoke to him, and gave him every hope I could. Day after day I visited him, and, contrary to all expectation, I saw him gradually recovering. When he got pretty well he was sitting on the front porch, and I sat down by him and said: “You will be going now to confess Christ; you’ll be going to take your stand for him now?” “Well,” said he, “Mr. Moody, I promised God on my sick bed that I would; but I will wait a little. I am going over to Michigan, where I am going to buy a farm and settle down, and then I’ll become a Christian.” “If God cannot make you a Christian here he cannot do it there,” I replied. I tried to get him to make an unconditional surrender, but he wouldn’t; he would put it off till the next spring. “Why,” I said, “you may not live till next spring.” “Don’t you see I am getting quite well?” “But are you willing to take the risk till next spring?” “Oh, yes, I’ll take it; Mr. Moody, you needn’t trouble yourself any more about my soul; I’ll risk it; you can just attend to your business, and I will to mine, and if I lose my soul, no one will be to blame but myself–certainly not you, for you’ve done all you could.” I went away from that house then with a heavy heart.

I well remember the day of the week, Thursday, about noon, just one week from that very day, when his wife sent for me. When I went to their home I found her in great trouble, and learned that he had had a relapse. I asked if he had expressed a desire to see me. She said “No; he is always saying ‘there is no hope,’ and I cannot bear to have him die in that condition.” I went into the room. He did not speak to me, but I went around to the foot of the bed and looked in his face and said, “Won’t you speak to me?” and at last he fixed that terrible deathly look upon me and said, “Mr. Moody, you need not talk to me any more. It is too late; there is no hope for me now. Go talk to my wife and children; pray for them; but my heart is as hard as the iron in that stove there. When I was sick He came to the door of my heart, and I promised to serve Him, but I broke that promise, and now I must die without Him.” I got down to pray. “You needn’t pray for me,” he said. I prayed, but it seemed as if my prayer went no higher than my head. He lingered till that night, repeating, “The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and I am not saved.” There he lay in agony, every few minutes this lamentation breaking from him. Just as the sun was going down behind those Western prairies, his wife leaned over him, and in an almost inaudible voice, he whispered, “The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and I am not saved,” and he died.

He had lived a Christless life, he died a Christless death, he was wrapped in a Christless shroud, and he was buried in a Christless grave. Oh, how dark and sad! Dear friends, the harvest is passing; the summer will soon be ended; won’t you let Him redeem you?

– D.L. Moody

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