“And one of the malefactors which were
hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save
thyself and us. But the other answering rebuked him, saying,
Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same
condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we receive the due
reward of our deeds but this man hath done nothing amiss.
And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest
into thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto
thee, Today shalt thou be with me in Paradise.” LUKE
You know these verses, I suppose. It would be strange indeed if
you did not. Few passages in the New Testament are more familiar
to men’s ears.
And it is right and good that these verses should be well known.
They have comforted many troubled minds. They have brought peace
to many uneasy consciences. They have been a healing balm to
many wounded hearts. They have been a medicine to many sin-sick
souls. They have smoothed down not a few dying pillows. Wherever
the Gospel of Christ is preached, they will always be honoured,
loved, and had in remembrance.
Reader, I wish to speak to you about these verses. Listen to me
while I try to unfold the leading lessons which they are meant
to teach. I cannot see the state of your heart before God, but I
can see truths in this passage which no man can ever know too
I. First of all, you are meant to learn from these verses, Christ’s
power and willingness to save sinners.
This is the main doctrine to be gathered from the history of the
penitent thief. It teaches you that which ought to be music in
the ears of all who hear it,—it teaches you that Jesus Christ is
mighty to save.
I ask you if any man’s case could look more hopeless and
desperate, than that of this penitent thief once did?
He was a wicked
man,—a malefactor,—a thief, if not a murderer. We know this,
for such only were crucified. He was suffering a just punishment
for breaking the laws. And as he had lived wicked, so he seemed
determined to die wicked,—for when he first was crucified, he
railed on our Lord.
And he was a dying
man. He hung
there, nailed to a cross, from which he was never to come down
alive. He had no longer power to stir hand or foot. His hours
were numbered. The grave was ready for him. There was but a step
between him and death.
If ever there was a soul hovering on the brink of hell, it was
the soul of this thief. If ever there was a case that seemed
lost, gone, and past recovery, it was his. If ever there was a
child of Adam whom the devil made sure of as his own, it was
But see now what happened. He ceased to rail and blaspheme, as
he had done at the first. He began to speak in another manner
altogether. He turned to our blessed Lord in prayer. He prayed
Jesus to “remember him when He came into His kingdom.” He asked
that his soul might be cared for, his sins pardoned, and himself
thought of in another world. Truly this was a wonderful change.
And then mark what kind of answer he received. Some would have
said he was too wicked a man to be saved. But it was not so.
Some would have fancied it was too late: the door was shut, and
there was no room for mercy. But it proved not too late at all.
The Lord Jesus returned him an immediate answer,—spoke kindly to
him,—assured him he should be with Him that day in Paradise:
pardoned him completely,—cleansed him thoroughly from his
sins,—received him graciously,—justified him freely,—raised him
from the gates of hell,—gave him a title to glory. Of all the
multitude of saved souls, none ever received so glorious an
assurance of his own salvation, as did this penitent thief. Go
over the whole list, from Genesis to Revelation, and you will
find none who had such words spoken to them as these: “To-day
shalt thou be with Me in Paradise.”
Reader, the Lord Jesus never gave so complete a proof of His
power and will to save, as He did upon this occasion. In the day
when He seemed most weak, He showed that He was a strong
deliverer. In the hour when His body was racked with pain, He
showed that he could feel tenderly for others. At the time when
He Himself was dying, He conferred on a sinner eternal life.
Now, have I not a right to say, Christ is able to save to the
uttermost all them that come unto God by Him? Behold the proof
of it. If ever sinner was too far gone to be saved, it was this
thief. Yet he was plucked as a brand from the fire.
Have I not a right to say, Christ will receive any poor sinner
who comes to Him with the prayer of faith, and cast out none?
Behold the proof of it. If ever there was one that seemed too
bad to be received, this was the man. Yet the door of mercy was
wide open even for him.
Have I not a right to say, by grace ye may be saved through
faith, not of works: fear not, only believe? Behold the proof of
it. This thief was never baptized. He belonged to no visible
Church. He never received the Lord’s Supper. He never did any
work for Christ. He never gave money to Christ’s cause. But he
had faith, and so he was saved.
Have I not a right to say, the youngest faith will save a man’s
soul, if it only be true? Behold the proof of it. This man’s
faith was only one day old, but it led him to Christ, and
preserved him from hell.
Why then should any man or woman despair with such a passage as
this in the Bible? Jesus is a physician who can cure hopeless
cases. He can quicken dead souls, and call the things which be
not as though they were.
Never should any man or woman despair! Jesus is still the same
now that He was eighteen hundred years ago. The keys of death
and hell are in His hand. When He opens none can shut.1
What though your sins be more in number than the hairs of your
head? What though your evil habits have grown with your growth,
and strengthened with your strength? What though you have
hitherto hated good, and loved evil, all the days of your life?
These things are sad indeed; but there is hope, even for you.
Christ can heal you. Christ can raise you from your low estate.
Heaven is not shut against you. Christ is able to admit you, if
you will humbly commit your soul into His hands.
Reader, are your
sins forgiven? If
not, I set before you this day a full and free salvation. I
invite you to follow the steps of the penitent thief: come to
Christ, and live. I tell you that Jesus is very pitiful, and of
tender mercy. I tell you He can do everything that your soul
requires. Though your sins be as scarlet, He will make them
white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as
wool. Why should you not be saved as well as another? Come unto
Christ, and live.
Reader, are you a
true believer? If
you are, you ought to glory in Christ. Glory not in your own
faith, your own feelings, your own knowledge, your own prayers,
your own amendment, your own diligence. Glory in nothing but
Christ. Alas, the best of us knows but little of that merciful
and mighty Saviour! We do not exalt Him and glory in Him enough.
Let us pray that we may see more of the fulness there is in Him.
Reader, do you
ever try to do good to others? If
you do, remember to tell them about Christ. Tell the young, tell
the poor, tell the aged, tell the ignorant, tell the sick, tell
the dying,—tell them all about Christ. Tell them of His power,
and tell them of His love. Tell them of His doings, and tell
them of His feelings. Tell them what lie has done for the chief
of sinners. Tell them what He is willing to do to the last day
of time. Tell it them over and over again. Never be tired of
speaking of Christ. Say to them, broadly and fully, freely and
unconditionally, unreservedly and undoubtingly, “Come unto
Christ as the penitent thief did: come unto Christ, and you
shall be saved.”
II. The second lesson you are meant to learn from this passage
is this,—if some
are saved in the very hour of death, others are not.
This is a truth that never ought to he passed over, and I dare
not leave it unnoticed. It is a truth that stands out plainly in
the sad end of the other malefactor, and is only too often
What became of the other thief who was crucified? Why did he not
turn from his sin, and call upon the Lord? Why did he remain
hardened and impenitent? Why was he not saved? It is useless to
try to answer such questions. Let us be content to take the fact
as we find it, and see what it is meant to teach us.
We have no right whatever to say this thief was a worse man than
his companion. There is nothing to prove it. Both plainly were
wicked men. Both were receiving the due reward of their deeds.
Both hung by the side of our Lord Jesus Christ. Both heard Him
pray for His murderers. Both saw Rim suffer patiently. But while
one repented, the other remained hardened. While one began to
pray, the other went on railing. While one was converted in his
last hours, the other died a bad man as he had lived. While one
was taken to paradise, the other went to his own place, the
place of the devil and his angels.
Now these things are written for our warning.
There is warning, as well as comfort in these verses, and that
very solemn warning too.
They tell me loudly, that though some may repent and be
converted on their death-beds, it does not at all follow that
all will A death-bed is not always a saving time.
They tell me loudly that two men may have the same opportunities
of getting good for their souls,—may be placed in the same
position, see the same things, and hear the same things; and yet
only one shall take advantage of them, repent, believe, and be
They tell me, above all, that repentance and faith are the gifts
of God, and are not in a man’s own power; and that if any one
flatters himself he can repent at his own time, choose his own
season, seek the Lord when he pleases, and, like the penitent
thief, be saved at the very last,—he may find at length he is
And it is good and profitable to bear this in mind. There is an
immense amount of delusion in the world on this very subject. I
see many allowing life to slip away, all unprepared to die. I
see many allowing that they ought to repent, but always putting
off their own repentance. And I believe one grand reason is,
that most men suppose they can turn to God just when they like.
They wrest the parable of the labourer in the vineyard, which
speaks of the eleventh hour, and use it as it never was meant to
be used. They dwell on the pleasant part of the verses I am now
considering, and forget the rest. They talk of the thief that
went to paradise, and was saved, and forget the one who died as
he had lived, and was lost.2
Reader, take heed that you do not fall into this mistake. Look
at the history of men in the Bible, and see how often these
notions I have been speaking of are contradicted. Mark well how
many proofs there are that two men may have the same light
offered them, and only one use it; and that no one has a right
to take liberties with God’s mercy, and presume he will be able
to repent just when he likes.
Look at Saul and David. They lived about the same time. They
rose from the same rank in life. They were called to the same
position in the world. They enjoyed the ministry of the same
prophet, Samuel. They reigned the same number of years.—Yet one
was saved and the other lost.
Look at Sergius Paulus and Gallio. They were both Roman
Governors. They were both wise and prudent men in their
generation. They both heard the apostle Paul preach. But one
believed and was baptized,—the other “cared for none of these
Look at the world around you. See what is going on continually
under your eyes. Two sisters will often attend the same
ministry, listen to the same truths, hear the same sermons; and
yet only one shall be converted unto God, while the other
remains totally unmoved. Two friends often read the same
religious book. One is so moved by it, that he gives up all for
Christ; the other sees nothing at all in it, and continues the
same as before. Hundreds have read Doddridge’s “Rise and
Progress” without profit: with Wilberforce it was one of the
beginnings of spiritual life. Thousands have read Wilberforce’s
“Practical View of Christianity,” and laid it down again
unaltered;—from the time Legh Richmond read it he became
another man. No man has any warrant for saying, Salvation is in
my own power.
Reader, I do not pretend to explain these things. I only put
them before you as great facts. And I ask you to consider them
You must not misunderstand me. I do not want to discourage you.
I say these things in all affection, to give you warning of
danger. I do not say them to drive you back from heaven;—I say
them rather to draw you on, and bring you to Christ while He can
I want you to beware of presumption. Do not abuse God’s mercy
and compassion. Do not continue in sin, I beseech you, and think
you can repent, and believe, and be saved, just when you like,
when you please, when you will, and when you choose. I would
always set before you an open door. I would always say, “While
there is life there is hope.” But if you would be wise, put
nothing off that concerns your soul.
I want you to beware of letting slip good thoughts and godly
convictions, if you have them. Cherish them and nourish them,
lest you lose them for ever. Make the most of them, lest they
take to themselves wings and flee away. Have you an inclination
to begin praying? Put it in practice at once. Have you an idea
of beginning really to serve Christ? Set about it at once. Are
you enjoying any spiritual light? See that you live up to your
light. Trifle not with opportunities, lest the day come when you
will want to use them, and not be able. Linger not, lest you
become wise too late.
You may say, perhaps, “it is never too late to repent.” I
answer, That is right enough, but late repentance is seldom
true. And I say further, You cannot be certain if you put off
repenting, you will repent at all.
You may say, “Why should I be afraid?—the penitent thief was
saved.” I answer, That is true, but look again at the passage
which tells you that the other thief was lost.
III. The third lesson you are meant to learn from these verses
is this,—the Spirit
always leads saved souls in one way.
This is a point that deserves particular attention, and is often
overlooked. Men look at the broad fact that the penitent thief
was saved when he was dying, and they look no further.
They do not consider the evidences this thief left behind him.
They do not observe the abundant proof he gave of the work of
the Spirit in his heart. And these proofs I wish to trace out. I
wish to show you that the Spirit always works in one way, and
that whether He converts a man in an hour, as He did the
penitent thief,—or whether by slow degrees, as he does others,
the steps by which He leads souls to heaven are always the same.
Listen to me, reader, and I will try to make this clear to you.
I want you to shake off the common notion that there is some
easy royal road to heaven from a dying bed. I want you
thoroughly to understand that every saved soul goes through the
same experience, and that the leading principles of the penitent
thief’s religion were just the same as those of the oldest saint
that ever lived.
See then, for one thing, how
strong was the faith of
He called Jesus, “Lord.” He declared his belief that He would
have a kingdom. He believed that He was able to give him eternal
life and glory, and in this belief prayed to Him. He maintained
His innocence of all the charges brought against Him. “This
man,” said he, “hath done nothing amiss.” Others perhaps may
have thought the
Lord innocent,—none said so
openly but this poor dying man.
And when did all this happen? It happened when the whole nation
had denied Christ,—shouting, “Crucify Him: crucify Him. We have
no king but Cæsar!”—when the chief priests and Pharisees had
condemned and found Him guilty of death,—when even His own
disciples had forsaken Him and fled,—when He was hanging, faint,
bleeding and dying on the cross, numbered with transgressors,
and accounted accursed. This was the hour when the thief
believed in Christ, and prayed to Him. Surely such faith was
never seen since the world began.3
The disciples had seen mighty signs and miracles. They had seen
the dead raised with a word,—and lepers healed with a touch,—the
blind receiving sight,—the dumb made to speak,—the lame made to
walk. They had seen thousands fed with a few loaves and fishes.
They had seen their Master walking on the water as on dry land.
They had all of them heard Him speak as no man ever spake, and
hold out promises of good things yet to come. They had some of
them had a foretaste of His glory in the mount of
transfiguration. Doubtless their faith was the gift of God, but
still they had much to help it.
The dying thief saw none of the things I have mentioned. He only
saw our Lord in agony, and in weakness, in suffering, and in
pain. He saw Him undergoing. a dishonourable punishment;
deserted, mocked, despised, blasphemed. He saw Him rejected by
all the great, and wise, and noble of His own people,—His
strength dried up like a potsherd, His life drawing nigh to the
grave. (Psa. xxii. 15; lxxxviii. 3.) He saw no sceptre, no royal
crown, no outward dominion, no glory, no majesty, no power, no
signs of might. And yet the dying thief believed, and looked
forward to Christ’s kingdom.
Reader, would you know if you have the Spirit? Then mark the
question I put to you this day.—Where is your faith in Christ?
See, for another thing, what
a right sense of sin the
thief had. He says to his companion, “We receive the due reward
of our deeds.” He acknowledges his own ungodliness, and the
justice of his punishment. He makes no attempt to justify
himself, or excuse his wickedness. He speaks like a man humbled
and self-abased by the remembrance of past iniquities. This is
what all God’s children feel. They are ready to allow they are
poor hell-deserving sinners. They can say with their hearts, as
well as with their lips, “We have left undone the things that we
ought to have done, and we have done those things that we ought
not to have done, and there is no health in us.”
Reader, would you know if you have the Spirit? Then mark my
question.—Do you feel your sin?
See, for another thing, what
brotherly love the
thief showed to his companion. He tried to stop his railing and
blaspheming, and bring him to a better mind. “Dost not thou fear
God,” he says, “seeing thou art in the same condemnation?” There
is no surer mark of grace than this. Grace shakes a man out of
his selfishness, and makes him feel for the souls of others.
When the Samaritan woman was converted, she left her water-pot
and ran to the city, saying, “Come, see a man that told me all
things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?” When Saul was
converted, immediately he went to the synagogue at Damascus, and
testified to his brethren of Israel, that Jesus was the Christ.
Reader, would you know if you have the Spirit? Then where is
your charity and love to souls?
In one word, you see in the penitent thief a finished work of
the Holy Ghost. Every part of the believer’s character may be
traced in him. Short as his life was after conversion, he found
time to leave abundant evidence that he was a child of God. His
faith, his prayer, his humility, his brotherly love, are
unmistakable witnesses of the reality of his repentance. He was
not a penitent in name only, but in deed and in truth.
Let no man therefore think, because the penitent thief was
saved, that men can be saved without leaving any evidence of the
Spirit’s work.. Let such an one consider well what evidence this
man left behind, and take care.
It is mournful to hear what people sometimes say about what they
call death-bed evidences. It is perfectly fearful to observe how
little satisfies some persons, and how easily they can persuade
themselves that their friends are gone to heaven. They will tell
you when their relation is dead and gone, that “he made such a
beautiful prayer one day,—or that he talked so well,—or that he
was so sorry for his old ways, and intended to live so
differently if he got better,—or that he craved nothing in this
world,—or that he liked people to read to him, and pray with
him.” And because they have this to go upon, they seem to have a
comfortable hope that he is saved. Christ may never have been
named,—the way of salvation may never have been in the least
mentioned. But it matters not; there was a little talk of
religion, and so they are content.
Now I have no desire to hurt the feelings of any one who reads
this paper, but I must and will speak plainly upon this subject.
Once for all, let me say, that as a general rule, nothing is so
unsatisfactory as death-bed evidences. The things that men say,
and the feelings they express when sick and frightened, are
little to be depended on. Often, too often, they are the result
of fear, and do not spring from the ground of the heart. Often,
too often, they are things said by rote; caught from the lips of
ministers and anxious friends, but evidently not felt. And
nothing can prove all this more clearly, than the well-known
fact, that the great majority of persons who make promises of
amendment on a sick-bed, if they recover, go back to sin and the
When a man has lived a life of thoughtlessness and folly, I want
something more than a few fair words and good wishes to satisfy
me about his soul, when he comes to his death-bed. It is not
enough for me that he will let me read the Bible to him, and
pray by his bedside; that he says, “he has not thought so much
as he ought of religion, and he thinks he should be a different
man if he got better.” All this does not content me,—it does not
make me feel happy about his state. It is very well as far as it
goes, but it is not conversion. It is very well in its way, but
it is not faith in Christ. Until I see conversion, and faith in
Christ, I can not and dare not feel satisfied. Others may feel
satisfied if they please, and after their friend’s death say,
they hope he is gone to heaven. For my part I would rather hold
my tongue, and say nothing. I would be content with the least
measure of repentance and faith in a dying man, even though it
be no bigger than a grain of mustard seed; but to be content
with anything less than repentance and faith, seems to me next
door to infidelity.
Reader, what kind of evidence do you mean to leave behind as to
the state of your soul? Take example by the penitent thief, and
you will do well.
When we have carried you to your narrow bed, let us not have to
hunt up stray words, and scraps of religion, in order to make
out that you were a true believer. Let us not have to say in a
hesitating way one to another, “I trust he is happy: he talked
so nicely one day, and he seemed so pleased with a chapter in
the Bible on another occasion, and he liked such a person, who
is a good man.” Let us be able to speak decidedly as to your
condition. Let us have some standing proof of your penitence,
your faith, and your holiness, that none shall be able for a
moment to question your state. Depend on it, without this, those
you leave behind can feel no solid comfort about your soul. We
may use the form of religion at your burial, and express
charitable hopes. We may meet you at the church-yard gate, and
say, “Blessed are the dead that die in the Lord.” But this will
not alter your condition. If you die without conversion to
God,—without repentance,—and without faith, your funeral will
only be the funeral of a lost soul.
IV. You are meant, in the next place, to learn from these
verses, that believers
in Christ when they die, are with the Lord.
This you may gather from our Lord’s words to the penitent thief:
“This day shalt thou be with Me in paradise.” And you have an
expression very like it in the Epistle to the Philippians, where
Paul says he has a desire to “depart and be with Christ.” (Phil.
I shall say but little on this subject. I would simply lay it
before you, for your own private meditations. To my own mind it
is very full of comfort and peace.
Believers after death are “with Christ.” That answers many a
difficult question, which otherwise might puzzle man’s busy,
restless mind. The abode of dead saints, their joys, their
feelings, their happiness, all seems met by this simple
expression,—they are with Christ.
I cannot enter into full explanations about the state of
departed believers. It is a high and deep subject, such as man’s
mind can neither grasp nor fathom. I know their happiness falls
short of what it will be when their bodies are raised again, and
Jesus returns to earth. Yet I know also they enjoy a blessed
rest,—a rest from labour,—a rest from sorrow,—a rest from
pain,—and a rest from sin. But it does not follow because I
cannot explain these things, that I am not persuaded they are
far happier than they ever were on earth. I see their happiness
in this very passage, “They are with Christ,” and when I see
that I see enough.
If the sheep are with the Shepherd,—if the members are with the
Head,—if the children of Christ’s family are with Him who loved
them and carried them all the days of their pilgrimage on earth,
all must be well, all must be right.
I cannot describe what kind of place paradise is, but I ask no
brighter view of it than this,—that Christ is there.4 All other
things in the picture which imagination draws of paradise, are
nothing in comparison of this. How He is there, and in what way
He is there, I know not. Let me only see Christ in paradise when
my eyes close in death, and that suffices me. Well does the
Psalmist say, “In Thy presence is fulness of joy.” It was a true
saying of a dying girl, when her mother tried to comfort her by
describing what paradise would be: “There,” she said to the
child, “there you will have no pains, and no sickness; there you
will see your brothers and sisters, who have gone before you,
and will be always happy.” “Ah, mother,” was the reply, “but
there is one thing better than all, and that is, Christ will be
Reader, it may be you do not think much about your soul. It may
be you know little of Christ as your Saviour, and have never
tasted by experience that He is precious. And yet perhaps you
hope to go to paradise when you die. Surely this passage is one
that should make you think. Paradise is a place where Christ is.
Then can it be a place that you would enjoy?
Reader, it may be you are a believer, and yet tremble at the
thought of the grave. It seems cold and dreary. You feel as if
all before you was dark, and gloomy, and comfortless. Fear not,
but be encouraged by this text. You are going to paradise, and
Christ will be there.
V. The last thing you are meant to learn from these verses is
portion of every man’s soul is close to him.
“To-day,” says our Lord to the penitent thief, “to-day shalt
thou be with Me in paradise.” He names no distant period,—He
does not talk of his entering into a state of happiness as a
thing “far away.” He speaks of to-day: “this very day, in which
thou art hanging on the cross.”
Reader, how near that seems! How awfully near that word brings
our everlasting dwelling-place. Happiness or misery,—sorrow or
joy,—the presence of Christ, or the company of devils,—all are
close to us. “There is but a step,” says David, “between me and
death.” There is but a step, we may say, between ourselves and
either paradise or hell.
We none of us realize this as we ought to do. It is high time to
shake off the dreamy state of mind in which we live on this
matter. We are apt to talk and think, even about believers, as
if death was a long journey,—as if the dying saint had embarked
on a long voyage. It is all wrong, very wrong. Their harbour and
their home is close by, and they have entered it.
Some of us know by bitter experience, what a long and weary time
it is between the death of those we love, and the hour when we
bury them out of our sight. Such weeks are the slowest, saddest,
heaviest weeks in all our lives. But, blessed be God, the souls
of departed saints are free from the very moment their last
breath is drawn. While we are weeping, and the coffin preparing,
and the mourning being provided, and the last painful
arrangement being made, the spirits of our beloved ones are
enjoying the presence of Christ. They are freed for ever from
the burden of the flesh. They are “where the wicked cease from
troubling, and the weary are at rest.”
Reader, the day that believers die they are in paradise. Their
battle is fought;—their strife is over. They have passed through
that gloomy valley we must one day tread;—they have gone over
that dark river we must one day cross. They have drank that last
bitter cup which sin has mingled for man. They have reached that
place where sorrow and sighing are no more. Surely we should not
wish them back again. We should not weep for them, but for
We are warring still, but they are at peace. We are labouring,
but they are at rest. We are watching, but they are sleeping. We
are wearing our spiritual armour, but they have for ever put it
off. We are still at sea, but they are safe in harbour. We have
tears, but they have joys. We are strangers and pilgrims, but as
for them they are at home. Surely, better are the dead in Christ
than the living. Surely, the very hour the poor saint dies, he
is at once higher and happier than the highest upon earth.5
I fear there is a vast amount of delusion on this point. I fear
that many, who are not Roman Catholics, and profess not to
believe purgatory, have, notwithstanding, some strange ideas in
their minds about the immediate consequences of death. I fear
that many have a sort of vague notion that there is some
interval or space of time between death and their eternal state.
They fancy they shall go through a kind of purifying change, and
that though they die unfit for heaven, they shall yet be found
meet for it after all.
But it will not stand. There is no change after death. There is
no conversion in the grave. There is no new heart given after
the last breath is drawn. The very day we go, we launch for
ever. The day we go from this world, we begin an eternal
condition. From that day there is no spiritual alteration,—no
spiritual change. As we die, so we shall receive after death. As
the tree falls so it must lie.
Reader, if you are an unconverted man, this ought to make you
think. Do you know you are close to hell? This very day you
might die, and if you died out of Christ, you would open your
eyes in hell, and in torment.
Reader, if you are a true Christian, you are far nearer heaven
than you think. This very day, if the Lord should take you, you
would find yourself in paradise. The good land of promise is
near to you. The eyes that you closed in weakness and pain,
would open at once on a glorious rest, such as my tongue cannot
And now let me say a few words in conclusion, and I have done.
This tract may fall into the hands of some humble-hearted and
contrite sinner.—Are you that man? Then here is encouragement
for you. Sec what the penitent thief did, and do likewise. See
how he prayed,—see how he called on the Lord Jesus Christ,—see
what an answer of peace he obtained. Brother or sister, why
should not you do the same? Why should not you also be saved?
This tract may fall into the hands of some proud and
presumptuous man of the world,—Are you that man? Then take
warning. See how the impenitent thief died as he had lived, and
beware lest you come to a like end. Oh, erring brother or
sister, be not too confident, lest you die in your sins! Seek
the Lord while He may be found. Turn you, turn: why will you
This tract may fall into the hands of some professing believer
in Christ.—Are you such an one? Then take the penitent thief’s
religion as a measure by which to prove your own. See that you
know something of true repentance and saving faith, of real
humility and fervent charity. Brother or sister, do not be
satisfied with the world’s standard of Christianity. Be of one
mind with the penitent thief, and you will be wise.
This tract may fall into the hands of some one who is mourning
over departed believers.—Are you such an one? Then take comfort
from this Scripture. See how your beloved ones are in the best
of hands. They cannot be better off. They never were so well in
their lives as they are now. They are with Jesus, whom their
souls loved on earth. Oh, cease from your selfish mourning!
Rejoice rather that they are freed from trouble, and have
entered into rest.
And this tract may fall into the hands of some aged servant of
Christ.—Are you such an one? Then see from these verses how near
you are to home. A few more days of labour and sorrow, and the
King of kings shall send for you; and in a moment your warfare
shall be at end, and all shall be peace.