Victory in Death: Narrative of the Death of an Irishman
A certain Irishman was a complete agnostic, who believed only in materialism; he was a lawyer, but now he knew that he would die. His aunt, a Christian, had asked for Spencer, a minister of the Christian Gospel, to visit him.
They had many interesting visits, discussing in detail questions of knowledge, certainty, and whether or not there was a God. Though the lawyer had been convinced of his beliefs, he was surprised to find a minister who could challenge some of his views, and as they talked through every aspect of his beliefs, he found that the evidence in favor of God was overwhelming.
About the time that he was reaching this conclusion, in one of their discussions, Spencer said that he would leave him for a while, so that he could rest, since he evidently needed it. But he said, “Another time! Another time! You astonish me, sir! I am a dying man! I stand on the verge of time now! I feel that the grave-digger is at the side of me! You may talk of time…But if I should be talking of time, Death would laugh at me, and call me fool and liar!”
Then he asked, “Tell me what to do to be ready to die.”
Spencer asked if he believed in God, who is infinite, eternal, and spiritual. He said that he did. Did he pray? He said that he did, and would continue. Was he a sinner? He knew that he was. “Then repent, and trust in Christ for pardon,” Spencer said.
“Will repentance save me?” the man asked.
“No,” Spencer replied. “Christ Jesus saves sinners. You must not trust to your repentance and faith to save you. That would be self-righteousness. Trust only in the crucified Son of God, your proposed Surety.”
Then the man asked him, “What must be done first, before I trust in him?”
“Nothing,” Spencer answered. “Nothing.”
The man asked how that could be. Was there no preparation to make? “No,” Spencer said, “none at all.” Holiness? That results from faith in Christ.
So the two men knelt in prayer, and then Spencer left. He came back the next day, but the man’s friends said he was too weak to have another visitor.
Shortly afterward he heard that the man had died. But those who knew him at the end said that he had completely renounced his infidelity, he believed the Bible was from God, and the atonement of Jesus Christ was all that a dying sinner needed. He talked of these things and prayed until he fainted from exhaustion.
He was told, that the man had died in peace, with praises for the atonement of Jesus Christ on his lips.