A minister told this story at a camp meeting in Georgia…
“There were three boys in the old home,” he said. “One became a lawyer, and I became a minister, and the other a prodigal.
“During his life of sin, the prodigal often admitted the need of a change of heart, but he put it off from time to time. At last he contracted a loathsome disease and returned to the old home to be taken care of by Father and Mother.
“Our home was on the border of the Okefenokee Swamp in Southern Georgia. The swamp was a realism of all that was horrid to our boyish minds; the frogs rose earliest in the morning and settled latest in the evening around that dreadful place. We never thought of going to the old spring after dark, so fearful were we of the denizens of that swamp.
“Brother grew worse and weaker. The folks were worn out with their long vigil of several weeks, so they asked me to come and help in this hour of need. I arranged my work and was soon there. I asked my brother to make his peace with God; but he replied, ‘Brother, if I should settle it now, the boys would say I was scared into it. I’ll settle it when I get well.’ I warned him, saying, ‘Boast not thyself of tomorrow, for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.’
“He admitted the danger, but would not yield. He grew weaker every day. After weeks of watching, I was so weary that I felt I must take a much needed rest, and I threw myself down upon a cot and soon fell asleep. I do not know how long I slept: but I do know that I was seized by some strange nightmare, and I endured the agonies of soul and spirit that no mind can conceive or describe.
“I seemed to see my brother’s face reveal some fearful struggles that were going on within, and in the midst of his paroxysms his mouth opened and a miniature object emerged. It occurred to me that it was his soul. Strange thought, fearful picture! But it seemed to realize an immediate danger, for it sprang to the floor and rushed across the room where the wood was piled in the corner, and hid beneath it.
“My attention was then directed to the swamp, and I saw an object a little the undersize of a man, with the marks of damnation upon his face. His paraphernalia bespoke his hellish mission, and his face his fiendish intent. He came stealthily to the house, without any signs of fear, and at last reached out his hand for the outside doorknob to enter the house.
“The power of a vise seemed to hold me, for I tried to scream, to rise, to move, but I was powerless within the awful grasp of that dream.
“I looked, and that hellish monster stood in the room and looked at me. Seeming to realize my helplessness, he walked straight to the bed and looked into the face of my brother. Evidently he realized that the spirit had tried to evade him, but he seemed to track it to the corner and under the wood, and began slowly to remove the pine knots in order that he might secure his prize.
“At last the tiny object sprang quickly from the wood and made a dash for liberty; but as quick as a flash, the devil was upon it. I heard my brother’s voice as clearly as I ever heard it, and I saw his arms wave frantically above his head as he shrieked: ‘Lost! Lost!’ But I saw the fiendish smile upon the demonic face as he cried out in horrid, rasping tones, ‘Ha, ha, I have come for my own.’
“The cry of my brother seemed to freeze the blood in my veins. I tried to speak, to defend my brother, but I was doomed to see that fearful vision to its end. The voice of my brother grew fainter as they neared the swamp, until it died like a whisper, ‘Lost.’
“I instantly awoke and sprang to my feet, but I was so weak that I had to support myself for a time. The room was dark, and I was covered with great cold beads of perspiration. Regaining my composure, I hastily threw some pine knots into the fireplace, and lighted a candle, and went to the bed to see what I could do for my brother. I looked into his face; the pallor of death was upon it; his mouth was open, and he was dead.
“Brethren, I believe that I saw the literal transaction of my brother’s doom enacted!” God has used the strongest language possible to describe the horrors of hell; and I am sure of this, that the price paid for our redemption means that hell is a fearful place. “The wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” —Sel.
The spirits of just men made perfect in this life will, when physical death comes, be carried by the angels to Paradise, as they are Christ’s and will be accepted of Him. But the wicked, who have rejected Christ, will be claimed by Satan and will be carried by him and his imps into that awful place of misery and woe from whence there is never any release.
Read Hebrews 12:23; Luke 16:22; also read 2 Thess. 1:9.
There is no neutral ground to stand on; for you are either for Christ or against him. In that great Judgment day you will either be set on the right hand or on the left (Matt. 25:33). Choose this day whom you will serve.