Useful Quotations As Man Faces Death

Pithy Prose for Politicians, Preachers, Professors, Pundits, and Public Speakers.

1 Corinthians 15:51 Behold, I tell you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,

52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.

53 For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality.

54 But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, “DEATH IS SWALLOWED UP in victory.


56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law;

57 but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Galatians 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered Himself up for me.

“See in what peace a Christian can die.” Joseph Addison (1672-1719), writer

“Life is pleasant. Death is peaceful. It’s the transition that’s troublesome.” Isaac Asimov

“Now comes the mystery.” Henry Ward Beecher (1813-1887), evangelist

“Too bad, too bad! It’s too late!” Ludwig van Beethoven

“O God, have pity on my soul. O God, have pity on my soul.” Anne Boleyn, executed wife of Henry VIII of England

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, German theologian, standing in front of a firing squad during World War 2, for speaking out against Nazism, “This may seem to be the end for me, but it is just the beginning.”

“The waters are rising, but so am I. I am not going under, but over. Do not be concerned about dying; go on living well, the dying will be right.” Catherine Booth (January 17, 1829 – October 4, 1890) was the wife of the founder of The Salvation Army, William Booth.

“And the homeless children, Bramwell, look after the homeless. Promise me . . .” General William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army (to his son)

“I have provided in the course of my life for everything except death, and now, alas, I am to die unprepared.” Cesare Borgia, Roman Catholic Cardinal, Duke of Valentinois

“I am going into eternity; and it is sweet to me to think of eternity; the endlessness of it makes it sweet. But oh! What shall I say of the future of the wicked! The thought is too dreadful!” David Brainerd, American missionary to the Northeastern Indians

Lord Byron the famous English poet on his deathbed said: “My days are in the yellow leaf. The flowers and the fruits of life are gone. The worm and the canker and the grief are mine alone.”

“Weep not for me, but for yourselves. The Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who, through the mediation of His blessed Son, receives me, though a sinner. We shall meet to sing the new song, and remain everlastingly happy.” John Bunyan (28 November 1628 – 31 August 1688) was an English Christian writer and preacher, famous for writing The Pilgrim’s Progress.

“I don’t feel good.” Luther Burbank

“I am ready to meet my Maker. Whether my Maker is prepared for the great ordeal of meeting me is another matter.” Winston Churchill, British prime minister

“Frances and Courtney, I’ll be at your altar. Please keep going Courtney, for Frances. For her life will be so much happier without me. I love you. I love you. Kurt Cobain, lead singer, Nirvana (suicide note)

“Ay, Jesus” Charles V (1338-1380), King of France

Charles IX, King of France was responsible for ordering the great massacre that took place on St. Bartholomew’s Day.  On his own dying day, Charles cried, “What blood!  What murders!  I know not where I am.  How will all this end?  What shall I do?  I am lost forever…I know it!”

While on his deathbed, Clarence Darrow asked several clergymen to “please intercede for me with the Almighty. During my life I have spoken many times against Christians, and I now realize that I may have been wrong.” Clarence Darrow, the Scopes Trial lawyer in the famous 1925 debate

“I regret that I suggested a theory, and that gullible men gobbled it up, as though it were fact. I never intended that.” Charles Darwin, on his deathbed

“He would make a lovely corpse.” Charles Dickens (1812-1870)

“I commit my soul to the mercy of God, through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and I exhort my dear children humbly to try and guide themselves by the teaching of the New Testament.” Charles Dickens

One short sleep past, we wake eternally, and Death shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die!

John Donne (c. 1572-1631), English divine, metaphysical poet. Death be not Proud.

“Trust in God and you shall have nothing to fear.” Jonathan Edwards, preacher

Adolph Eichmann, was offered the services of a Protestant Minister a few hours before his execution. He declined by saying: “I am not a Christian and I don’t have time for this. I don’t believe in life after death. Long Live Germany and long live Argentina.”

“All my possessions for one moment of time.” Elizabeth the First, Queen of England

Michael Faraday was asked when he was near death: “What are your speculations now?” He answered: I have no speculations. I rest upon Jesus Christ who died, and rose again from death.” Sir Michael Faraday, (English scientist 1791–1867),

“The meager satisfaction that man can extract from reality leaves him starving.” Sigmund Freud, psychologist

“I have a tender reliance on the mercy of the Almighty, through the merits of the Lord Jesus Christ. I am a sinner. I look to Him for mercy.” Alexander Hamilton, American vice president

“Nobody will ever know I existed. Nothing to leave behind me. Nothing to pass on. Nobody to mourn me. That’s the bitterest blow of all.” Tony Hancock (British comedian)

“All is lost, irrecoverably lost. All is dark and doubtful. Edward Gibbon, author of the ‘Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire’:

“Doctor, I wish you to observe how real and beneficial the religion of Christ is to a man about to die . . .” In his will he wrote: “This is all the inheritance I give to my dear family. The religion of Christ which will give them one which will make them rich indeed.” Patrick Henry, American patriot

“Tie a rope round my body, pull me out of bed, and lay me in ashes, that I may die with repentant prayers to an offended God. O! I in vain wish for that time I lost with you and others in vain recreations.” Prince Henry of Wales

“I am about to take my last voyage, a great leap in the dark.” Thomas Hobbs, writer

“My dear children, do not grieve for me . . . I am my God’s. I belong to Him. I go but a short time before you, and …I hope and trust to meet you all in heaven.” Andrew Jackson, American president

“I see from the number of physicians that you think my condition dangerous, but I thank GOD, if it is HIS will, that I am ready to go.  It is the Lord’s Day; my wish is fulfilled.  I have always desired to die on Sunday.  Order A.P. Hill to prepare for action!  Pass the infantry to the front rapidly!  Tell Major Hawks…” he stopped, leaving the sentence unfinished.  Presently a smile of sweetness spread itself over his pale face, and he said quietly with an expression, as if of relief, “LET US CROSS THE RIVER AND REST UNDER THE SHADE OF THE TREES.” Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, Confederate General

I go with the gladness of a boy bounding away from school. I feel so strong in Christ.” Adoniram Judson (1788-1850) was an American Baptist missionary, lexicographer, and Bible translator to Burma.

Julian the Apostate (Roman emperor who hated Christians), was leading his forces in the battle for Persia in 363 AD. He was mortally wounded, and as he lay dying on the battlefield, picked up some of his own blood, mingled with dirt, flung it skyward and said: “Thou hast conquered, Oh Galilean.” (A reference to Jesus).

“Build me a hut to die in. I am going home.” David Livingstone, missionary to Africa

“For the Christian, the grave itself is but a covered bridge leading from light to light, through a brief darkness.” Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (February 27, 1807 – March 24, 1882) was an American educator and poet.

“Into Thy hands I commend my spirit! Thou hast redeemed me, O God of truth.” Martin Luther

Famous French author Guy de Maupassant (1850–1893) of whom it was said: “critics praised him, men admired him, and women adored him.” Before he went insane and died at the early age of 42, as a result of having contracted syphilis, he penned his own epitaph: “I have coveted everything, found pleasure in nothing.

Louis XIV had the most magnificent, extravagant court in all Europe, and planned his own funeral to be just as spectacular.  The King instructed Massillon (French preacher) that upon his death he was to lie in state in a golden coffin at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. He further instructed that at his funeral service the entire cathedral was to be completely dark, lit dimly by only one candle positioned above the coffin so that all would be awed by the late king’s presence, even in death.  When Louis died, Massillon did exactly as the King had instructed.  At the funeral thousands waited in hushed silence as they peered at the exquisite casket that held the mortal remains of their monarch. But as he began his funeral oration, Massillon slowly reached down, snuffed out the candle, and proclaimed to all: “Only God is Great” — a defiant cry to both the late king and those who called him “Louis XIV the Great.” Massillon, French pastor

“I die in the faith of Jesus Christ, and in the firm hope of a better life.” Michelangelo, famous painter and sculptor:

“Death is the great key that opens the palace of Eternity.” John Milton (British poet)

“Earth recedes. Heaven opens before me. If this is death, it is sweet!” There is no valley here. God is calling me, and I must go!” Dwight L. Moody (1837-1899), evangelist

John Newton, originally a slaver trader, he had a dramatic mid-ocean change of heart that led him to turn his slave ship around and take the people back to their homeland. He became a Presbyterian minister and preached against the slave-trade. He is most famous for having authored the words to the hymn “Amazing Grace”. As he neared his end exclaimed, ”I am still in the land of the dying; I shall be in the land of the living soon.” John Henry Newton (July 24, 1725 – December 21, 1807) was an English Anglican clergyman and former slave-ship captain. He was the author of many hymns.

“I am going to Him whom my soul loveth, or rather who has loved me with an everlasting love, which is the sole ground of all my consolation.” John Owen

“I am become death, shatterer of worlds.” Robert J. Oppenheimer (1904-1967) (citing from the Bhagavad Gita, after witnessing the world’s first nuclear explosion)

Thomas Payne, originally one of America’s great patriots in his book: “The age of reason” ridiculed the Christian religion. He slowly lost his friends. He left America and while in England came to a premature death. On his deathbed he said to a friend ‘I would give worlds if I had them, if the ‘Age of Reason’ had never been published. Oh Lord help me. Christ help me. You stay with me. It is hell to be left alone.”

“What an account I shall have to give to God! How I should like to live otherwise than I have lived.” Phillip III, King of France

“I throw myself on the mercy of God, through the merits of Jesus Christ.” William Pitt, British statesman

“Holy, holy, holy.” Polish evangelist, friend of Dr. Howard Irving, late Chairman of the Department of Theology at Oral Roberts University, as told to me.

“Eighty and six years have I served Him, and He never once wronged me; how then shall I blaspheme my King, who has saved me?” Polycarp (AD 69-155), Bishop of Smyrna

“So the heart be right, it is no matter which way the head lieth.” Sir Walter Raleigh (at his execution)

Lord V.C. Roberts who died in France while telling those gathered by him of the importance of their studying the Bible: “I ask you to put your trust in God. You will find in this Book guidance when you are in health, comfort when you are in sickness, and strength when you are in adversity.” Field Marshal Frederick Sleigh Roberts, 1st Earl Roberts, (September 30, 1832 – November 14, 1914) was a distinguished Anglo-Irish soldier and one of the most successful commanders of the Victorian era.

“Until this moment I thought there was neither a God nor a hell. Now I know that there are both, and I am doomed to perdition by the just judgment of the Almighty.” Sir Walter Scott, the skeptic

“I commend my soul into the hands of God my Creator, hoping and assuredly believing, through the only merits of Jesus Christ my Savior, to be made partaker of life everlasting; and my body to the earth, whereof it was made.” William Shakespeare, author

“All of the wisdom of this world is but a tiny raft upon which we must set sail when we leave this earth. If only there was a firmer foundation upon which to sail, perhaps some divine word.” Socrates, philosopher

“I can hear them coming!” He sat straight up in bed and asked: “Don’t you hear them? This is my coronation day. I can see the chariots, I’m ready to board.” Charles Haddon Spurgeon, beloved preacher and author, on his deathbed

“Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God… Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!” Stephen the first Christian Martyr (Acts 7:56, 59)

Henry David Thoreau, the writer who was known as a stubborn, arrogant individualist (who is said to have loved a snowstorm more than Christ and wanted nothing to do with the church) died on May 6, 1862. Shortly before his death, his aunt asked him if he’d made his peace with God. Thoreau responded to her with his final cynical words—”I didn’t know we’d ever quarreled.”

“All is light, light, light.” Augustus Toplady, songwriter of the great hymn Rock of ages.

On her deathbed, Queen Victoria told those around her that she loved God and was His little child, so she was ready to die. Then she called for the hymn to be sung:“Rock of Ages, cleft for me.”Let me hide myself in Thee.” Queen Victoria (Alexandrina Victoria; May 24, 1819 – January 22, 1901) was the Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 20 June 1837, and the first Empress of India of the British Raj from 1 May 1876, until her death. For decades she had ruled the British Empire, but when death approached, all she had was God.

“Don’t let it end like this. Tell them I said something.” last words of Pancho Villa (1877-1923)

“Now, now my good man, this is no time for making enemies.” Voltaire (1694-1778) on his deathbed in response to a priest asking that he renounce Satan.

“I am abandoned by God and man! I will give you half of what I am worth if you will give me six months’ life. Then I shall go to hell; and you will go with me. O Christ! O Jesus Christ!” (The talented French writer once said of Jesus, “Curse the wretch!” He stated, “Every sensible man, every honorable man, must hold the Christian sect in horror …Christianity is the most ridiculous, the most absurd and bloody religion that has ever infected the world.”) He also boasted, “In twenty years Christianity will be no more. My single hand shall destroy the edifice it took twelve apostles to rear.” Some years later, Voltaire’s house was used by the Geneva Bible Society to print Bibles. Voltaire (skeptic)

“Thy will be done.” Lew Wallace (Union Civil War general, author of Ben Hur)

“Doctor, I am dying, but I am not afraid to die.” He folded his hands over his chest and said: “It is well.” George Washington, American President

“It is a great mercy that I have no manner of fear or dread of death. I could, if God please, lay my head back and die without terror this afternoon.” Isaac Watts (hymn-writer)

“The great mystery is Jesus Christ—the gospel. What would the condition of any of us be if we had not the hope of immortality? . . . Thank God, the gospel of Jesus Christ brought life and immortality to light.” His last words were: “I still live.” Daniel Webster (just before his death)

H.G. Wells, historian and the ‘apostle of modernism’, and a determined atheist: “Here I am at age 64, still searching for peace of mind. It is a hopeless dream”

“The best of all is that God is with us, farewell, farewell.” John Wesley, preacher and songwriter

“Lord Jesus, I am weary in thy work, but not of thy work.  If I have not yet finished my course, let me go and speak for Thee once more in the fields, seal the truth, and come home to die.”  George Whitefield, preacher

“My affections are so much in heaven that I can leave you all without a regret; yet I do not love you less, but God more.” William Wilberforce (August 24, 1759 – July 29, 1833) Member of Parliament, philanthropist and a leader of the movement to abolish the slave trade.

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