Sermon 1588. The Believer's Death Day Better Than His Birthday
DELIVERED ON THURSDAY EVENING, MARCH 3, 1881,
BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON.
"A good name is better than precious ointment; and the day of death than the day of one's birth." Ecclesiastes 7:1.
IN this part of the world, we can hardly understand how much the Easterns thought of perfumes. When Solomon speaks of "preciousointment," he speaks of a luxury highly appreciated by those who heard him. Orientals delighted to anoint themselves withfragrant oil and to pour upon their heads salves full of perfume. We do not-at any rate, not to the same lavish extent. Butamong the luxuries of eastern life was that of delighting the nostrils with sweet smells. The figure is easy to understandas it is here used to set forth the excellence of a good name. A man who is perfumed and who has put upon his head preciousointment is sweet and pleasant to himself. It gives him joy and so does a good name afford pleasure to its possessor. Besidesthat, the perfumed person was agreeable to other people-those who were round about him were refreshed by the fragrance-andso a noble character is agreeable to all who come near it.
In some cases the use of a sacred ointment, or anointing oil, signified that the man was himself pleasant even to God-thepriests went not into the Holy Place except they had been anointed with a certain appointed compound of sweet-smelling perfumes-andso precious ointment became the type of the anointing of the Spirit of God and of that acceptableness which comes to men throughJesus Christ who is a sweet savor unto the Lord God. And so you see that precious ointment, or sweet perfumed oil, was veryprecious to the Jew, first, because of the pleasure it gave to him and the healthy influence which he believed it exertedupon himself. Next, because it made him pleasurable to others and, next, because in its highest sacred sense it prepared himto come before God. You can see why, "precious ointment," was so much held in esteem.
But Solomon says that a good name is better than that. I do not think he merely meant a good reputation-and yet it would betrue if he referred only to an honorable character among his neighbors, for it is a good thing for a man to stand high inthe esteem of his fellow men and he ought never to lose their respect except for one cause, namely, for the sake of standingin higher esteem before God. The faithful follower of Jesus must be content to part with name and fame if, through obedienceto Christ, he is spoken of evilly-yes, in such a case he may rejoice and be exceedingly glad when they say all manner of evilagainst him falsely for Christ's' name's sake! Yet even then it is a sharp sorrow to have lost one's good name among men,though for Christ's sake it should be borne right cheerfully.
Every good man would be glad if it were possible to have the good word of all his fellow men, for this is the groundwork ofsocial peace and would be, in itself, good and pleasant were it not that sin destroys it and turns it into a "woe" when allmen speak well of us. I believe that the text has a deeper meaning than this, for a man truly has a good name if he deservesto be held in high esteem, though he may, for Christ's sake, be in disrepute. His name is good, whatever men may say aboutit. His name is, indeed, all the better in the sight of God because he has been slandered and reproached for the sake of theTruth of God. His name shall shine out like the stars of Heaven when Christ comes-even the name of the man of whom the worldwas not worthy. It is, after all, a small matter to be judged of man's judgment-our record is on high. A good character maybe understood here and, assuredly, that is better than the rarest luxury of kings.
Consider it spiritually and, dear Brothers and Sisters, what is a good name? A good name is a name that is written in theLamb's Book of Life and that is better than the sweetest of all ointments! Oh, that I may find my name recorded in some cornerof the page among the sinners saved by Grace! The very thought of that has a savor in it which no earthly delicacy can rival!Oh, how blessed to be among the chosen of God, the redeemed of Christ Jesus, beloved of the Father from before the foundationof the world! "A good name." Why, that must be a name written upon the breastplate of the great High Priest! If you couldhave gone up to the high priest of old you would have read there, "Reuben," "Simeon,"
"Levi," "Judah," "Dan," "Gad," "Naphtali" and the like-and they were all good names when once they were engraved there.
But what a blessed place to have your name inscribed-not upon a jewel that shall hang on the breast of a man, but upon thevery heart of Jesus Christ your Lord! If you could see your name written on the palms of His hands, you would say, "It isa good name that is written there. Blessed be the Lord that ever I had that name, insignificant as it is. Though it is a namethat has been ridiculed. Though it is a name that has been bandied about and kicked like a football through the world, yetit is a blessed name, for it is written on the palms of Jesus' hands." It is so if we are the Lord's own people and are walkingthe walk of faith. Jesus says, "I have engraved you upon the palms of My hands." That is a good name which is recorded inthe Lamb's Book of Life and engraved upon the breastplate of the Savior. Do you not think so?
Connected with this, I may say that a name that is written among the living in Zion is a good name. Oh, there is nothing likeit! Some men are very anxious to get their names upon the roll of this club or of that, or of some wonderful secret society-orto get their names into the peerage. It is thought to be a wonderful thing to be a nobleman, though it is better, far, tobe a noble man. But the best list of names on earth seems to me to be the list of the people of God. I should count it a higherhonor to be inscribed on the Church book of a humble company of baptized Believers meeting in a barn than to wear a name importedby the Conqueror and written in the roll of Battle Abbey! The pedigree of saintship confers honor such as angels recognize-allelse they think little of. Are you one of God's believing people? Have you taken up your cross, resolved to follow Jesus?
Do you, as a servant and as a soldier, bear His name as your Master and Captain? Then you have a good name and there is asweetness about it better than the perfume of precious ointment. If, dear Brothers and Sisters, you go on, after having yournames inscribed in the Church of God, to get a beloved name among God's people through Divine Grace, it will be better thanprecious ointment! It will be better than all the expensive luxuries which wealth could purchase to have a name esteemed forlowly piety or sacred courage! How sweet, for instance, to be like that woman who brought our Lord precious ointment. He paidher back with a good name, immortalizing her in the Gospels, for He said, "Wherever this Gospel is preached, there shall bealso this, what this woman has done, be told for a memorial of her."
A humble woman like Dorcas may make garments for the poor and this shall be better than precious ointment! A simple traderlike Lydia may entertain the servants of God-constraining them to come into her house-and this shall be better than preciousointment! And a lowly man may so live as to adorn the Gospel of God his Savior-may so speak as to bring one and another tothe Savior's feet-and this shall be better than a blaze of courtly honor! "A good name"-that is a name for humility, a namefor love and affection, a name for generosity, a name for zeal, a name for warm-heartedness, a name for prayerfulness, a nameamong the people of God for being a wholehearted, sincere man-a name for being one who is ready to help you in time of trouble,a name like that of Barnabas, the Son of Consolation!
A good name of this sort should be our ambition to win and to wear. A good name that shall arise out of our exhibiting a compoundof many precious virtues shall be better than an ointment formed of the rarest spices, however pleasant it may be. You maybe in the Church and yet you may not have a good name as a member of it. I mean as to your own personal character as a Christian,for some professors are in the pot of ointment, but I wish we could pick them out, for they are flies and they spoil everything!There are such in this Church-oh that they had gone elsewhere! If only they would have flown into a pot of the world's honey,or something of that kind! For them to get into the Church's ointment is a great pity. May God grant that you and I may neverbe dead flies in the pot of ointment.
Some get a name in the Church for quarrelling and fault-finding. "Oh," people say, "if anybody can pick a hole in the sermon,I know who it is." You need only have half-a-dozen words with this crab apple critic and you surely and speedily lose whatenjoyment you have had during the service. Alas, that many Christian women have not a good name, for they are addicted togossiping. A word to the wise on this matter will, I hope, be enough. I will not, at this time, dive deeply into any of yourfaults, whatever they may be, but will cover them all over with this truth-A good reputation, well earned among your ChristianBrethren is better than precious ointment. It is of persons who have this good character and are known by the sweet savorof their lives, that the latter part of the text is spoken-"The day of death is better than the day of one's birth."
You must have a good name-you must be written among the living in Zion, written on the heart of Christ, written in the Lamb'sBook of Life, or else the text is not true of you and, alas, though the day of your birth was a bad day, the
day of your death will be a thousand times worse-for when you die, my Hearer, remember what will happen to you unless youhave that good name! You will be driven from the Presence of God and from the Glory of His power-and begin to feel the terrorsof His vengeance! And then, when the Day of Judgment comes, God will prove that He is able to destroy both body and soul inHell, for there must you dwell in everlasting punishment, prepared for the devil and His angels, so that the day of your deathwill be a day of darkness and not of light-and it will be better for you that you had never been born.
But now, if you are one of God's people, trusting in Him, look forward to the day of your death as being better than the dayof your birth! It is possible that you may never die, since the Lord Jesus may suddenly come a second time. But if this shouldnot occur in our day, we shall, in due course, fulfill our service and fall asleep. At this hour, before yet the sand in theglass shall all run down, the long-expected Lord may suddenly appear in His Glory! Therefore let us stand ready, as men thatwait for their Lord, with our loins girt and our lamps burning. But if He does not come for the next hundred years-and Hemay not, for our Lord has not committed to us a knowledge of the times and seasons-then we shall die. And in that case itis no small consolation that "the day of death is better than the day of one's birth."
I. First, then, OUR DEATH DAY IS BETTER THAN OUR BIRTHDAY-and it is so for this, among other reasons-"Better is the end ofa thing than the beginning thereof." When we are born we begin life, but what will that life be? Friends say, "Welcome, littlestranger." Ah, but what kind of reception will the stranger get when he is no longer a newcomer? Very likely he is not longin the world before he begins to feel the poverty of his parents and, perhaps, the misery of an unholy home. A troop of infantilediseases are waiting around him and the little candle that is newly lit is in great danger of being blown out! Infancy isa very dangerous passage for a tiny boat unfitted to bear rough buffetings.
Those first few years are full of rocks and quicksand and many scarcely begin life before they end it. He who is newly bornand is ordained to endure through a long life is like a warrior who puts on his harness for battle-and is not he in a bettercase who takes it off because he has won the victory? Ask any soldier which he likes better-the first shot in the battle orthe sound which means, "Cease firing, for the victory is won!"? The soldier does not deliberate a moment! There is no roomfor question! Since the day of a Believer's death is his time of triumph and of victory, it is better than the day of thefirst shot-the day of one's birth.
When we were born we set out on our journey, but when we die, we end our weary march in the Father's house above. Surely itis better to have come to the end of the tiresome pilgrimage than to have commenced it. We wave the handkerchief and bid good-byeto those who start upon a long voyage and it is only right that they should be made as cheerful as they can be. But, surely,it is a better day when, at last, they reach their port, all danger over, and come to their desired haven. So, then, it isbetter to die than to begin to live, if we are, indeed, the Lord's people. Better is the day of death than our birthday becauseabout the birthday there hangs uncertainty.
I cannot tell you, good woman, what is to become of the little child who is pressed to your bosom this evening. God blessit and make it a comfort to you and an honor to His Church! But it is all matter of hope as yet. Children are certain cares,they say, and uncertain blessings. I hardly like the phrase. They are blessings anyway-but there is certainly this about them-wecannot tell what will become of them when they grow up and come under the influence of evil. You look upon a youth as he growsup and you feel, "I cannot quite see what you will be. You may be led astray by temptation, or by Divine Grace you may cleanseyour way. You may be useful and honorable, or you may be dissolute and degraded."
Everything is uncertain about the child on his birthday, but everything is certain about the saint on his death day. I heard,this morning, of a dear friend who had fallen asleep. When I wrote to his wife I said, "Concerning him we speak with certainty.You sorrow not as those that are without hope. A long life of walking with God proved that he was one of God's people andwe know that for such there remains joy without temptation, without sorrow, without end, forever and ever." Oh, then, as muchas certainty is better than uncertainty, the day of the saint's death is better than the day of his birth!
So, too, in things which are certain, the saint's death day is preferable to the beginning of life, for we know that whenthe child is born he is born to sorrow. Whatever else is uncertain about him, we are quite sure that those little eyes willweep; that those little limbs will know weariness and pain and that his little heart will be distracted, sooner or later,by many griefs. We know this, for "man is born to trouble as the sparks fly upward." No man has ever been able to find a
perfectly smooth road through this mortal life. Trials must and will befall and your little one who is born today is bornto an inheritance of grief, like his father, like his mother, who prophesied it as it were by her own pangs.
But look, now, at the saint when he dies. It is absolutely certain that he has done with sorrow, done with pain. We know thatthey shall die no more-"they shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat;and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes." Now, surely, the day in which we are certain that sorrow is over mustbe better than the day in which we are certain that sorrow is on the road! For this reason we set up the headstone of thegrave above the tablet which records the birth. Yes, and this holds good about subsequent birthdays.
It is thoughtfully and cheerfully wise to mark each birthday. It should be a holy day in every Christian's case-a day of gratefulthanksgiving that we have come so far upon the road of life. It is a very blessed thing to sit down on the milestone and say,"Well, now, I have come 20 miles or 30, 40, 50, 60, 70 miles of my journey. I shall never tread those miles over again. Somany troubles are past-so many waves have risen that will never wash over me a second time! So many tossing to and fro I haveendured and I shall never feel them any more." Every man should say at the end of a sickness, "Thank God that is gone. I shallnot suffer a repetition of that same sickness. I shall not feel those pains over again. I shall not groan through those sameweary nights for a second time." For every pang that shoots through your bones you should say, "That bone will not ache thatpain over again, at any rate." Be joyful that you are so far on your journey!
There remains that other portion of the journey-long leagues of pilgrimage may lie beyond. There are still battles to fight,mountains to climb, dark nights in which one sighs for light. There is still temptation; still sin. Yes, but when we get tothe day of one's death, then the whole journey lies behind! It is all over then! On your coming to die there is nothing leftto do but die. All else is done. The battle is fought and the victory is won forever! Oh, is not that better than even thebest birthday that we have ever had-good as they have been-and cause for thanksgiving as each one certainly has been? I think,then, I need not dwell longer on this point. "The day of death is better than the day of one's birth."
II. Now I will give the same thoughts in another form. The day of death is BETTER TO THE BELIEVER THAN ALL HIS HAPPY DAYS.What were his happy days? I shall take him as a man and I will pick out some days that are often thought to be happy. Thereis the day of a man's coming of age when he feels that he is a man-especially if he has an estate to come into. That is aday of great festivity. You have seen pictures of, "Coming of age in the olden times," when the joy of the young squire seemedto spread itself over all the tenants and all the farm laborers-everybody rejoiced!
Ah, that is all very well, but when Believers die they do, in a far higher sense, come of age and enter upon their heavenlyestates! Here, you know, in this life we are very much as children who are under governors and tutors and we differ littlefrom servants. We still have to be chastened, kept under rule and denied much which is nevertheless ours. We have many goodthings kept from us because we are not yet able to appreciate them. "Now we know in part." It is only in a small measure thatwe come into possession, enjoying only the earnest of the inheritance. Yes, but-
"Then shall I see, and hear, and know
All I desired or wished below!
And every power find sweet employ
In that eternal world of joy."
Then shall I pluck the grapes from those vines that I have read of as enriching the valleys of Eshcol! Then shall I lie downand drink full drafts of the river of God which is fall of water! Then shall I know even as I am known and see no more througha glass darkly, but face to face!
Speak of heirs, of heirs coming into their estates! Why, our day of death shall be such a day as that! What a jubilee dayit will be! If we were really in our senses, the thought of fearing death would be ridiculous! No young man is afraid of comingto be twenty-one. No! He says, "Fly away, fly away, days and nights. I shall be glad to get out of my nonage, out of my infancyand to come into my full manhood and into possession of everything." So might we say, "Fly away, years! Come, gray hairs!Fly away, years, and bring me into possession of things which eye has not seen, nor ear heard which God has prepared for themthat love Him."
Another very happy day with a man is the day of his marriage-who does not rejoice, then? What cold heart is there which doesnot beat with joy on that day? But on the day of death we shall enter more fully into the joy of our Lord and into that blessedmarriage union which is established between Him and ourselves. Then we shall enter into the guest
chamber where the supper is to be spread and we shall wait a while with joy, the Bridegroom being with us, till the word shallbe given and the trumpet note shall ring out-and then we shall sit down at the marriage supper of the Lamb, not to look atHis guests, but to be ourselves part and parcel of that blessed bride, the Lamb's wife, in whom Christ finds all His heart'scontent.
Oh, yes, we may long for our departure because it is to the saint, a marriage day in which he shall be "with Christ," whichis far better and, as the bride longs for the wedding, so may the heart that is full of faith long for the time when we shallbe forever with the Lord! There are days with men in business that are happy days because they are days of gain. They getsome sudden windfall. They prosper in business, or, perhaps, there are long months of prosperity in which all goes well withthem and God is giving them the desires of their heart. But, oh, Beloved, there is no gain like the gain of our departureto the Father! The greatest of all gains is that which we shall know when we pass out of the world of trouble into the landof triumph. "To die is gain."
As for prosperity, what worldly prosperity can be compared with the eternal years in which we shall dwell in infinite felicityabove? To die is to enter upon days of peace, rest, joy, satisfaction and, therefore, the day of our death is better thanour happiest days! There are days of honor, Brethren, when a man is promoted in office, or receives applause from his fellowmen. But what a day of honor that will be for you and me if we are carried by angels into Abraham's bosom! Our honorable escortwill manifest how highly the Lord thinks of us. Oh, the honors that will be heaped upon the saints when they shall be recognizedin Glory as Brothers and Sisters of Christ, heirs of God, joint heirs with the Redeemer!
Days of health are happy days, too. But what health can equal the perfect wholeness of a spirit in whom the good Physicianhas displayed His utmost skill? Days of recovery from sickness are happy days, but, oh, to be totally recovered-to go wherethe inhabitant shall no more say, "I am sick." When Jehovah Rophi shall restore our whole spirit to perfection, then willa new gladness take possession of us. We enjoy very happy days of social friendship when hearts warm with hallowed communion-whenone can sit awhile with a friend or rest in the midst of one's family. Yes, but no day of social enjoyment will match theday of death! Some of us expect to meet troops of blessed ones that have gone Home long ago, whom we shall never forget. Wehave priceless friends over yonder and the bliss of reunion will be sweet.
Some of you old people have more friends in Heaven than you have on earth! You may forget all sorrow as to those you willleave in the joy of meeting those with whom you will be united again! What family greetings there will be! Mother has gone;father has gone; uncles and aunts that were in the Lord and brothers and sisters, too, are all gone before-and all these arewaiting for us and we shall soon be in full fellowship with them! Best of all, He has gone before whom our hearts love andwho is more to us than brother, sister and mother! Oh, the bliss of meeting with our risen Lord! Oh, the joy of meeting inHim all that are truly our own kin! The saints will meet around the Throne of God, an unbroken family-not one of God's childrenwill be absent!
We shall have no brothers or sisters who will not be there. "Oh," you say, "I am afraid that we have some who are still unconvertedand who will not be there." They will not be your brothers and sisters, then. Ties of merely natural kinship will come toan end-only spiritual relationship will last and survive. We shall have none to mourn over! Our kindred will all be in Glory.Those that were truly related to us in the bonds of everlasting life shall all be there. One might wish for it to come soon,for the joy of being forever with the people of God, sitting down with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of Heaven!
III. In the third place, going a step farther, the day of a Believer's death is BETTER THAN HIS HOLY DAYS ON EARTH. I thinkthat the best holy day I ever spent, (yes, I think I must put it as high as that), was the day of my conversion. There wasa novelty and freshness about that first day which made it like the day in which a man first sees the light after having beenlong blind. My conversion day-shall I ever forget it?-When my heart began to beat with spiritual life and the lungs of mysoul began to heave with prayer! And the hands of my soul were stretched out to grasp my Lord and the eyes of my soul beheldHis beauty! Yes-that was a very blessed sight-but what will it be to see Him face to face? What will the first five minutesin Heaven be?
Surely those dawning moments will be forever remembered and spoken of by holy beings as they commune with one another concerningtheir delights! Oh, for a celestial visitor to tell us of his experience in the first five minutes in Heaven! No, I thinkhe had better not because we might be frightened by him and he would talk a language that we could not understand! He wouldsay things which it were not lawful for a man to utter! Brother from the Glory Land, you may go
back-it were better that we did not hear your story of the better country. We will think of it and begin expecting it. Itwill certainly be better to see the Lord in death than when we first of all saw Him here below. Since then we have known manyblessed days-our Sabbaths, for instance. We can never give up the Lord's Day.
Precious and dear unto my soul are those sweet rests of love-days that God has hedged about to make them His own that theymay be ours. A young man said to me yesterday, when he came to join the Church, "I often wish that all the week was made upof Sundays." I thought, "Yes, and so do I," only I could not always be preaching. I would want to come down and take a turnat hearing, although it is always precious to talk about God's Word. Oh, our blessed Sabbaths! Well, there is this about theday of one's death-we shall then enter upon an eternal Sabbath. We shall go-
"Where congregations never break up, And Sabbaths have no end."
And the Glory Sabbaths will be real Sabbaths, never disturbed or distracted. They will be blessed Sabbaths, shut out fromsinners and from that filthy conversation which often vexes us even on the Sabbath. "There remains a rest for the people ofGod."-
"To that our laboring souls aspire With ardent pangs of strong desire."
Our communion days have been very holy days. It has been very sweet to sit at the Lord's Table and have fellowship with Jesusin the breaking of bread and the drinking of wine. But sweeter far will it be to commune with Him in the Paradise above-andthat we shall do on the day of our death! I might go on mentioning all our holy days, one after another, but whichever youshould select as the season of your highest joy on earth, I should say of the best of them, "Yes, but the day of one's death,as ushering us into a higher and holier state, is better than any of those days." Those days have been good, I am not goingto depreciate them, but to bless the Lord for every one of them. When we say that a second thing is, "better," it is supposedthat the first thing has some goodness about it. Yes, and our holy days on earth have been good-fit rehearsals of the jubileebeyond the river!
When you and I enter Heaven, it will not be going from bad to good, but from good to better! The change will be remarkable,but it will not be so great a change as thoughtless persons would imagine. First, there will be no change of nature. The samenature which God gave us when we were regenerated-the spiritual nature-is that which will enjoy the heavenly state. We shallnot carry with us our depraved nature-we do not want to do so, I am sure. Mr. Ready-to-Halt, in Bunyan's, "Pilgrim," performedHis journey on crutches. But when he died he threw them away! He did not need to carry his crutches into the land of perfection-andwe shall carry no sinful infirmities with us into Paradise, nor, indeed, any infirmities at all!
As to Mr. Feeblemind, he gave orders that his feeble mind should be buried in a dunghill-he did not want to import a tremblingheart into the skies! But all that is good about us, all that is really ourselves as we have been begotten again in ChristJesus-all will go to Heaven, without loss of any portion. I shall be the same man there that I am here- and I have not theslightest doubt that you will know me. At any rate, you will be bigger fools in Heaven than you are here if you do not! DidI hear someone reply, "We shall not know you in the disembodied state, for here we only recognize you by your outward appearance"?I answer, Many of you know me in another manner than after the flesh-you not only know me by my looks, but you know my spirit.
If I could get out of my body and I could not use a voice, but yet could influence your spirits by my spirit, you would knowmy spirit! You know what spirit I am of. I will not try to describe myself, but you know me. I know you do! Nobody is exactlylike me in some traits of character-each one stands alone. Nobody is exactly like you, dear Friend, so that there will bepeculiar points by which to distinguish man from man. We shall certainly know each other. Yes, and we shall be the same persons-andwhen our bodies rise, they will be the same bodies. "Every seed its own body"- changed and perfected, but still preservingits identity!
On earth we have had good days because we have had a good nature given us by the Holy Spirit-and we shall possess the samenature above-only more fully grown and purged from all that hinders it. We shall follow the same employments above as we havefollowed here. "Oh dear," says one, "I hope not! I do not want to work hard, there, as I have had to do here." No, perhapsnot, but I mean the employments of our spirits will be similar to what they have been while we have been in the world. Whatare the employments of our spirits here? Why, one of the sweetest of them is to sing the
Lord's praises. We shall spend eternity in adoring the Most High. To draw near to God in communion-that is one of our mostblessed employments. We shall do it there and take our fill of it.
Nor is this all, for we shall serve God in Glory. I do not know what God will want us to do in Heaven, I have never been thereto see. But I am sure that He will make use of us. Does He not say, "They shall see His face and His servants shall serveHim"? Oh, yes, He has something for me to do up there and for you, too. You active-spirited ones, you shall find an intensedelight in continuing to do the same things as to spirit as you do here, namely adoring and magnifying and spreading abroadthe saving name of Jesus in whatever place you may be. We shall certainly possess the same enjoyments of our richest enjoymentsas saints are found in fellowship with Christ and with one another-and we shall have these above. We shall live upon Christ!We shall rejoice in God, there, as we do here!
And there is one thing I like to think of-we shall have the same company. I was visiting a poor old woman who was near todeath and she said to me, "One thing makes me feel quite safe about where I am going. I believe that I shall go to my owncompany and for the last 60 years I have never had any company but the Lord's people. And if a stranger has come in here andbegun to talk about worldly things in a carnal way, I have wished him gone. I said to myself, 'The Lord won't take me awayfrom my own people. Surely He will let me go where they go and if I go where those people go, that I love, I know that I shallbe happy.'"
So, dying Believer, you will not change company-only the company will be all improved and you will be improved as much asany of them! It will be the same company and this makes it look so much like going home. The day of our death has nothingso very strange and mysterious about it as to make us fear it. You and I ought to live like people, who, when they hear aknock at the door, do not go into fits at the startling sound. Some people are terribly alarmed at a knock or a ring becausethey have not paid their rent and they are afraid that somebody is after them for money. You and I have paid our debts, orrather, they have been all paid for us. The Lord Jesus Christ has set us free-and when death comes and knocks at our door-allthat we shall have to do will be to answer the summons and go with God's messenger at once.
Our friends will say, "He is gone." And if we have lived so that we have had a good name, that is better than precious ointment!They will know where we have gone and if they lament on that account they will be very foolish, for they ought rather to say,"Thank God that our friend has entered into his joy and rest!" There was a dear mother, a woman of great faith, who lovedher daughter very much, but she loved her Lord more. And when her dear daughter was dying, she kissed her and said to her,"My dear girl, you will be in Heaven within a few hours and I congratulate you. The thought of your joy fills me with joyconcerning you and I cannot weep. I congratulate you and wish I was going with you." Let us think of death after that holymanner.
IV. I have not time to finish my sermon. At least, I have time to finish it, but not to continue it as long as I would like.I was going to say, in the fourth place, that the day of a saint's death is BETTER THAN THE WHOLE OF HIS DAYS PUT TOGETHERbecause his days here are days of dying. The moment we begin to live we commence to die-
"Every beating pulse we count Lea ves but the number less."
Death is the end of dying! On the day of the Believer's death, dying is forever done with! The saints who are with God shallnever die again. Life is wrestling, struggling-but death is the end of conflict-it is rest victory. Life is full of sinning.Blessed be God, death is the end of that-no transgression or iniquity shall follow us into Heaven. Life is longing, sighing,crying, pining, desiring. Heaven is enjoying, possessing, delighting one's self in God. This life is failure, disappointment,regret. Such emotions are all over when the day of death comes, for Glory dawns upon us with its satisfaction and intensecontentment!
The day of our death will be the day of our cure! There are some diseases which, in all probability, some of us never quiteget rid of till the last Physician comes and He will settle the matter. One gentle touch of His hand and we shall be curedforever! All infirmities, as well as sicknesses, will vanish in our last hours. Blind Sister, you will have your eyes. Youthat have lost your hearing shall listen to the songs of angels and enter into the most refined of their harmonies. You whomust limp to your graves shall dance, by-and-by. You shall have no more infirmities. Death will also be the cure of old age.No doctor can help you about that-but this Doctor will end all. You shall renew your youth like the eagle's. You shall begirt about with power when your body rises from the grave and, till then, your soul shall enjoy all the fresh-
ness and juvenility of youth! You shall be at your prime in Glory! Our death day will be the loss of all losses. Life is madeup of losses, but death loses losses. Life is fall of crosses, but death is the cross that brings crosses to an end. Deathis the last enemy and turns out to be the death of every enemy.
Dear Friends, put all your days together-they shall not equal that last day which shall be to you the beginning of days ofanother sort! The day of our death is the beginning of our best days! Sometimes even that part of a dying day which is spenton earth is the best that the dying Believer has ever lived. I have seen Believers die and if anything can convince a manof the reality of religion, of the truth of the Scriptures and of the power of the Spirit, it is the death of saints! I haveseen many persons who seemed to be as much dying of their joy as of their disease, they were so happy! Their eyes, their face,their whole bearing were those of persons in whom the utmost pain was forgotten in an excess of joy, while weakness was swallowedup in the delights of the Heaven which was dawning upon them.
I believe that angels come and meet certain departing ones-that they come trooping outside the gate-and that dying ones frequentlysee that which is supernatural. I am not dreaming! I believe that they actually see what eyes have not seen and that therecomes upon them a Light which is neither of the sun, nor of the moon. At any rate, they speak words of wondrous import! Dyingchildren have spoken words which certainly they never learned, for none have ever heard the like before! And other departingones have uttered words of rapture and ecstasy and almost delirium of bliss, for Christ has come to them and they have seenthe King in His beauty even in the border land before they have crossed the river and entered into Canaan!
"Is this what it is to die?" asked one. "Well, then," he said, "it is worth while to live even to enjoy the bliss of dying!"The holy calm of some and the transport of others prove that better is the day of death in their case than the day of birth,or all their days on earth! And then that later part of the day which is spent among the angels! They breakfast with Christon earth, but they sup with Him in Heaven. Oh, that eventide of the day! Then to think that it shall be without end-foreverhappy, forever triumphant and forever more and more so-for, "from glory unto glory" makes us look for progress even there!
We shall rise from seeing Christ to seeing Him yet more and to discovering more and more beauties in Him! We shall ascendfrom one perfection to another perfection-from fullness up to our capacity to an enlarged capacity and an equal fullness!From Glory unto Glory-from sunlight to Godlight-from Godlight to the light of God yet more received and enjoyed. There! Icannot go farther. Good night, "till the day breaks and the shadows flee away" and then you and I will know, in ten minutes,more than all the bench of bishops could tell us in a year! You will know more in half a second than I could tell you if Iwere to keep you here the whole night!
Only mind you, do not miss the way, one of you! Mind you do not miss the way! Turn to the right, by the Cross, and go straighton. God lead you by His Holy Spirit! Amen.