Living on the Edge of Eternity

“Dr. Johnson is credited with the remark that when a man knows that he is going to be hanged in a fortnight it concentrates his mind wonderfully, and in the same way the Puritans’ awareness that in the midst of life we are in death . . . gave them a deep seriousness, calm yet passionate, with regard to the business of living that Christians in today’s opulent, mollycoddled, earthbound Western world rarely manage to match. Few of us, I think, live daily on the edge of eternity in the conscious way that the Puritans did, and we lose out as a result. For the extraordinary vivacity, even hilarity (yes, hilarity; you will find it in the sources), with which the Puritans lived stemmed, I believe, from the unflinching, matter-of-fact realism with which they prepared themselves for death, so as always to be found, as it were, packed up and ready to go. Reckoning with death brought appreciation of each day’s continued life, and the knowledge that God would eventually decide, without consulting them, when their work on earth was done brought energy for the work itself while they were still being given time to get on with it.” -J.I. Packer
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