We cannot know a man's mental processes. This is surely true, that if in the very last half-twinkling of an eye a man look up towards God longingly, that look is the turning of the will to God. And that is quite enough. God is eagerly watching with hungry eyes for the quick turn of a human eye up to Himself. Doubtless many a man has so turned in the last moment of his life when we were not conscious of his consciousness, nor aware of the movements of his outwardly unconscious sub-consciousness. One may be unconscious of outer things, and yet be keenly conscious towards God.
At another of these summer gatherings this incident came to me. A man seemingly of mature mind and judgment told me of a friend of his. That was as close as I got to the friend himself. This friend was not a professing Christian, was thrown from a boat, sank twice and perhaps three times, and then was rescued, and after some difficulty resuscitated. He told afterwards how swiftly his thoughts came as they are said to do to one in such circumstances. He thought surely he was drowning, was quiet in his mind, thought of God and how he had not been trusting Him, and in his thought he prayed for forgiveness. He lived afterwards a consistent Christian life. This illustrates simply the possibilities open to one in his keen inner mental processes.
Here is surely enough knowledge to comfort many a bereft heart, and enough too to make us pray persistently and believingly for loved ones because of prayer's uncalculated and incalculable power. Be sure the prayer-fact is in the case of your friend, and in strong.
Yet let us be wary, very wary of letting this influence us one bit farther. That man is nothing less than a fool who presumes upon such statements to resist God's gracious pleadings for his life. And on our side, we must not fail to warn men lovingly, tenderly yet with plainness of the tremendous danger of delay, in coming to God. A man may be so stupefied at the close as to shut out of his range what has been suggested here. And further even if a man's soul be saved he is responsible to God for his life. We want men to live for Jesus, and win others to Him. And further, yet, reward, preferment, honour in God's kingdom depends upon faithfulness to Him down here. Who would be saved by the skin of his teeth!
The great fact to have burned in deep is that we may assure the coming to God of our loved ones with their lives, as well as for their souls if we will but press the battle.