Not Parted Even By Death

Your very dust is the Lord’s, and the grave rots not the bond of the covenant. -John Flavel, paraphrase from sermon 37 in Fountain of Life.

The Art of Dying

“Three centuries ago a story went round about a student dent visit to Thomas Goodwin, the Puritan president of Magdalen College, Oxford. In the dark study Goodwin opened the conversation by asking if his visitor were ready to die. The lad fled. The story was told for laughs then, as it would be now; but it ought to be said that if it really happened, Goodwin was asking a proper pastoral question that should not be made fun of, whatever we might think of his technique. For however old or young you are, one secret of inner peace and living to the full is to be realistically prepared for death-packed up, we might say, and ready to go. It is not absurd for its to remind each other of that fact.” -Derek Thomas

Anti-God Energy

“One who does not have the Spirit does not necessarily and self-consciously say, “How can I destroy my life today?” He may choose a path that looks good and proper, but it leads to destruction: “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death” (Prov. 14:12). A relentless anti-God energy is at work in the minds of unbelievers, distracting, deceiving, and dragging down every thought into a grave.”-Derek Thomas

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

How Death Changes Our View of Possessions

“We are stewards of our possessions. Contrary to the hopes of all the Pharaohs who stuffed their graves with enough gold to get them through eternity, we can’t take our stuff with us. Death has changed our relationship with everything in earthly life. We continue to appreciate health and prosperity when we have them, but they aren’t the cherished possessions they once were.” -Ed Welch, Running Scared