I’ll Die Rich
Some time ago, the ship Britannia was sailing along the southern coast of America. All apparently was going well, giving promise of a safe and prosperous Voyage. On board was a large consignment of Spanish dollars; and special guard was taken of the casks which contained them. One day, as the ship was passing the coast of Brazil, she struck on a rock, and instantly filled with water. All was hurry and confusion; but the precious casks with their riches were not overlooked. In the hope of saving some of them, they were brought on Deck; but the leak gained so fast, and the ship was in such a sinking condition, that the only hope for life was to take at once to the boats.
Ah, of how little avail was the money then! the golden Spanish dollars, which would bring so much wealth and happiness to many families, were unthought of when life was in danger: men felt that dear life was worth more to them than money. The hungry sea was lashing around the shift, threatening every moment to engulf it; and what good could money do at such a time as that question mark surely no one on-board would even think of it!
The last boat was about to push off; it was the final chance for those on board and a young midshipman, who was just stepping into the boat, mindful of his duty, rushed back to make sure that there was no one by any mischance being left in the now fast sinking vessel. How great was his surprise to see a man calmly sitting on deck, with a hatchet in his hand, breaking open the casks, and heaping the money all about him.
“What can you be thinking of?” shouted the young man. “What are you doing? Don’t you know the ship is sinking fast? A few minutes more, and she will go down!”
“She may go down,” said the infatuated man; “but I have lived a poor wretch all my life, and now I am determined that I’ll die rich!”
The young midshipman vainly pleaded with him to escape, while escape was possible, by coming into the boat; but the only answer was a flourish of his hatchet as he deliberately began to open another cask. Seeing that his most pressing entreaties were in vain, the young man hastened away to save his own life. He jumped into the boat, and the crew pulled away rapidly, leaving the money-seeker to his self-chosen fate. A few minutes more, and the ship heeled over and sink beneath the waves. The last view that they had of the man showed that he was still sitting among the shining heaps of gold.
Did he die rich? He died poor, immeasurably poor for the next world. He risked his life for gold, and he lost his life. “What shall it profit a man if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” The man had the opportunity of being saved; but he would not heed the entreaties of his friend. Safety was offered to him; yea, he was begged to leave his gold and enter the boat, but he first neglected, then finally rejected, all offer of escape, and went to his doom. He was not lost because he had no opportunity of being saved; but because he refused it. Like him, if we are lost, it will not be because we had no opportunity; but because, having had every warning and pleading that God can give, we have rejected his way of escape, and deliberately chosen our own way. God Gave his well-beloved Son, his only son, to die for us; and unless we come as poor, lost, guilty ones, deserving of hell, and accept his salvation, we shall be eternally lost; for it is written, “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under Heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”