posted by Phil Johnson
The PyroManiacs devote some space each weekend to highlights from The Spurgeon Archive.The following excerpt is from the sermon "Precious Deaths," preached Sunday morning, 18 February 1872 at the Metropolitan Tabernacle. (HT: Steven Hall)
"Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints."Psalm 116:15.
e it known that while we are sorrowing Christ is rejoicing. His prayer is, "Father, I will that they also whom thou hast given me be with me where I am," and in the advent of every one of his own people to the skies he sees an answer to that prayer, and is, therefore, glad. He beholds in every perfected one another portion of the reward for the travail of his soul, and he is satisfied in it. We are grieving here, but he is rejoicing there.
Dolorous are their deaths in our sight, but precious are their deaths in his sight. We hang up the mournful escutcheon, and sit us down to mourn our full, and yet, meanwhile, the bells of heaven are ringing for "the bridal feast above," the streamers are floating joyously in every heavenly street, and the celestial world keeps holiday because another heir of heaven has entered upon his heritage.
May this correct our grief. Tears are permitted to us, but they must glisten in the light of faith and hope. Jesus wept, but Jesus never repined. We, too, may weep, but not as those who are without hope, nor yet as though forgetful that there is greater cause for joy than for sorrow in the departure of our brethren.
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Death, too, we may be sure from this statement cannot be any serious detriment to the believer after all; it cannot be any serious loss to a saint to die. Looking upon the poor corpse, it does seem to be a catastrophe for death to have passed his cold hand across the brow, but it is not so, for the very death is precious; therefore, it is no calamity. Death if rightly viewed is a blessing from the Lord's hand. . . . It is not a loss to die, it is a gain, a lasting, a perpetual, an illimitable gain.
The man is at one moment weak, and cannot stir a finger; in an instant he is clothed with power. Call ye not this a gain?
That brow is aching; it shall wear a crown within the next few tickings of the clock. Is that no gain?
That hand is palsied; it shall at once wave the palm branch. Is that a loss? The man is sick beyond physician's power; but he shall be where the inhabitant is never sick. Is that a loss?
When Baxter lay a dying, and his friends came to see him, almost the last word he said was in answer to the question, "Dear Mr. Baxter, how are you?"
"Almost well," said he, and so it is. Death cures; it is the best medicine, for they who die are not only almost well, but healed for ever. . . .
Death to the saints is not a penalty, it is not destruction, it is not even a loss.