In London, when I was there in 1867, I was told a story which made a very deep impression upon me. A young French nobleman came there to see a doctor, bringing letters from the French Emperor. The Emperor Napoleon III. had a great regard for this young man, and the doctor wanted to save him. He examined the young man, and saw there was something on his mind. “Have you lost any property?
What is troubling you? You have something weighing upon your mind,” said the doctor. “Oh, there is nothing particular.” “I know better; have you lost any relations?” asked the doctor. “No, none within the last three years.” “Have you lost any reputation in your country?” “No.” The doctor studied for a few minutes, and then said, “I must know what is on your mind; I must know what is troubling you.” And the young man said, “My father was an infidel; my grandfather was an infidel, and I was brought up an infidel, and for the last three years these words have haunted me, ‘Eternity, and where shall it find me?'” “Ah,” said the doctor, “you have come to the wrong physician.” “Is there no hope for me?” cried the young man. “I walk about in the day time; I lie down at night, and it comes upon me continually: ‘Eternity, and where shall I spend it?’ Tell me, is there any hope for me?” The doctor said: “Now just sit down and be quiet. A few years ago I was an infidel.
I did not believe in God, and was in the same condition in which you are in.” The doctor took down his Bible and turned to the fifty-third chapter of Isaiah and read: “He was wounded for our transgressions; He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon Him, and with His stripes we are healed.” And he read on through this chapter.
When he had finished, the young man said: “Do you believe this, that He voluntarily left heaven, came down to this earth, and suffered and died that we might be saved?” “Yes, I believe it. That brought me out of infidelity, out of darkness into light.” And he preached Christ and His salvation and told him of heaven and then suggested that they get down on their knees and pray. And when I went there in 1867 a letter had been received from that young nobleman, who wrote to Dr. Whinston in London, telling him that the question of “eternity, and where he should spend it” was settled, and troubled him no more. My friends, the question of eternity, and where we are going to spend it, forces itself upon everyone of us. We are staying here for a little day. Our life is but a fibre and it will soon be snapped. I may be preaching my last sermon. To-night may find me in eternity. By the grace of God say that you will spend it in heaven.