That death is certain and unavoidable, near at hand and will quickly come, I suppose you take for granted.
You are dying verily, my friends, you are dying men, and women; the time is coming, and how quickly will it be here? When you must breathe your last, when neither the tears of relations, the pity of friends, the skill of physicians, nor any virtue there is in medicine can prolong life or keep off death, lo, this is your motto: “Dust you are and to the dust shall you return” (Gen 3:19).
And should you not labor to be such persons while you live that you may have hope in your death?
To be a stranger upon earth is your character; to get a hope of an abiding city should be your endeavor.
And this cannot be had without gospel-righteousness.
It is not a superficial sorrow, and slight repentance for your past sins; a few good thoughts or wishes, a few cold and lifeless prayers in the church or closet.
It is not an escaping of the gross pollutions of the flesh or doing some acts of charity, and justice, sobriety, and temperance that will be a sufficient ground to hope in a dying hour.
It is nothing short of a thorough, universal change of heart and life; nothing short of a supernatural principle in the heart, exerting itself in suitable actions in the life, will warrant and legitimate your hope, and oh how speedily, and diligently should everyone labor after it!
—Samuel Doolittle, 1673-1730