Live while you live; while it is called today, work, for the night cometh wherein no man can work. And let us learn never to do anything which we would not wish to be found doing if we were to die. We are sometimes asked by young people whether they may go to the theatre, whether they may dance, or whether they may do this or that. You may do anything which you would not be ashamed to be doing when Christ shall come. You may do anything which you would not blush to be found doing if the hand of death should smite you; but if you would dread to die in any spot, go not there; if you would not wish to enter the presence of your God with such-and-such a word upon your lip, utter not that word; or if there would be a thought that would be uncongenial to the judgment-day, seek not to think that thought. So act that you may feel you can take your shroud with you wherever you go. Happy is he that dies in his pulpit. Blessed is the man that dies in his daily business, for he is found with his loins girt about him serving his Master; but, unhappy must he be to whom death comes as an intruder, and finds him engaged in that which he will blush to have ever touched, when God shall appear in judgment. Power supreme; thou everlasting king; permit not death to intrude upon an ill-spent hour, but find me rapt in meditation high; singing my great Creator; proclaiming the love of Jesus, or lifting up my heart in prayer for myself and my fellow-sinners.
For meditation: Life contains a final moment when it will be impossible to explain away or cover up something inappropriate.
note: This sermon was occasioned by a mine explosion, in which some two hundred or so miners were killed, at Risca, near Newport in South Wales. Spurgeon had often gone to the Vale of Risca to rest and preach.
Sermon no. 349 10 December (Preached 9 December 1860)