Prepared, yet Unprepared

AN old man, who was questioned as to his readiness for eternity, replied, "I have all that prepared. I have everything ready. I have bought a grave, paid for my funeral, and arranged with the priests. Indeed, I have also paid eight musicians to play at my burial. Don't you think it will be beautiful?”
"Poor, ignorant old man!" the reader will probably exclaim. And perhaps a shrewd guess will be made that he must have been a Roman Catholic, and certainly could not have been an Englishman, for in this country we do not have musicians at funerals.
But even in this comparatively enlightened country we find people making preparations of an equally thoughtless kind. I say "thoughtless," for what sort of thought is that which takes no account whatever of the vast future that lies beyond the funeral? It is as if an emigrant to Canada should make every provision for the short journey from his home to Liverpool or Glasgow, and entirely overlook the necessity of making preparation for the ocean voyage that lies beyond We hear of people drawing up their wills, giving instruction as to certain details connected with their burial, and sometimes leaving inscriptions for their tombstones, yet troubling little, if at all, about the preparation of the soul.
Would that with clarion voice we could ring out the words, which long ago were echoed in the land of Israel:
“Prepare to Meet thy God!”
Various reminders had been given to that favored nation of the power of that God of whose claims they were so neglectful. Famine, drought, pestilence had all spoken without effect. In two year's time a terrible earthquake was to follow. (See Amos 1:11The words of Amos, who was among the herdmen of Tekoa, which he saw concerning Israel in the days of Uzziah king of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash king of Israel, two years before the earthquake. (Amos 1:1)) Multitudes would perish. So the alarm was sounded, that none might say they had had no warning.
You certainly cannot say so. Warning after warning has been given. This printed page brings you another: a warning, mark, not against possible danger, but against certain doom unless you make due preparation.
What preparation can we make? What does God require?
Listen! We need a shelter, a refuge, and the only effectual preparation that we can make is to avail ourselves of the refuge that God has Himself provided. Knowing our helplessness, He gave His Son to make atonement for sins, to shed His life's blood in order to maintain in all their integrity God's claims upon the sinner, yet set Him free to bless according to the deep love of His heart. Christ, then, is the Refuge. Through the shedding of His blood a Shelter has been provided for sinful men. To prepare for the future you have but to flee to that Shelter, to betake yourself in all your guilt to the Savior, and rest upon the efficacy of His precious blood.
Possibly you may have discovered before now that you cannot do anything to prepare your soul for eternity. You are ready to admit “No preparation can I make, My best resolves I only break.”
How thankfully, then, will you avail yourself of the grace of God in providing salvation so freely for you! None could be better prepared for the dawning of the everlasting day than those who are prepared by having CHRIST as their Savior, the Refuge of their souls, their Shelter from the coming storm of judgment. H. P. B.