Dr. Langdale of New York tells of a devoted businessman who was struck by an automobile and hurried to a hospital. Doctors informed him that he had about two hours to live.
His faith was implicit in the goodness of God in this life and in a future life in Heaven. To him death was only a gateway leading to the presence of God and to his Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
His family was hurriedly called to his bedside, and as he embraced each one he had a parting word.
“Beloved,” he said to his wife, “you have been the dearest woman in the world to me. Through sunshine and shadow we have walked together. You have been my inspiration in all that I have undertaken. And many times I have seen the Spirit of God shining in your face. Good-night, my dear, I'll see you in the morning. Good-night.”
“Mary, you are our first born. What a joy you have been to your father. I see in you the sweet and beautiful young woman who left her home to be the builder and keeper of mine. And what a fine Christian you are. Good-night, Mary dear, good-night.”
He then turned to the oldest son. “Will, your coming into our home has been an unmixed blessing. You were a manly boy; you have become an exemplary man. You love and seek to serve the God of your father. Continue to grow in every Christian grace and virtue. Good-night, Will, good-night.”
Charlie was next. Charlie had fallen under evil influences and had grievously disappointed his father and mother. The dying man skipped him and spoke to the youngest child.
“Gracie, your coming was like the breaking of a new day in our home. You have filled our hearts with music. When not long ago you surrendered your son to Christ; our joy was full to overflowing. Good-night, little girl, good-night.”
He then called Charlie to his side. “Charlie, you were a promising boy . . . but I believe that you know that you have disappointed your father and mother. You have followed the broad and downward road. You have not hearkened to the call of the Saviour.”
“But I love you, Charlie... God only knows how much I love you. Good-bye, Charlie, good-bye, good-bye.” Charlie seized his father's hand and between sobs he cried out: “Father, why have you said good-night to the others and good-bye to me?”
“Son, I will meet the others of the family in the morning because of the promises in the Word of God that assure us of a reunion. But by those same statements of God's Word, I have no hope of seeing you over there. It is good-bye, Charlie.”
Charlie fell on his knees by the bedside. He cried out in agony of his soul, praying that God would forgive his sins and make him a new man in Christ. “Do you mean it, Charlie? Are you sincere, Charlie?”
“God knows that I am,” said the broken-hearted young man between sobs.
rif">When death reaches for your hand, ready to separate you from your loved ones on this earth, will you say a short “good-night,” or will it be “good-bye” forever?