As Thomas Goodwin, the great Puritan divine, lay dying with a fever, his son recounts the way he died. I relay this testimony because this is the way a man of God dies. The only way we know the metal or valor of a man’s faith and his devotion to Christ, is in the way he meets his death. This is a common thread that seems to run pretty consistently through all the Puritans. Another reason I love to read them. They simply had an all-consuming passion for Christ.
“In all the violence of [his fever], he discoursed with that strength of faith and assurance of Christ’s love, with that holy admiration of free grace, with that joy in believing, and such thanksgivings and praises, as he extremely moved and affected all that heard him…. He rejoiced in the thoughts that he was dying, and going to have a full and uninterrupted communion with God. ‘I am going,’ said he, ‘to the three Persons, with whom I have had communion: they have taken me; I did not take them…. I could not have imagined I should ever have had such a measure of faith in this hour…. Christ cannot love me better than he doth; I think I cannot love Christ better than I do; I am swallowed up in God….’ With this assurance of faith, and fullness of joy, his soul left this world” (Works, 2:lxxiv-lxxv)
(Quote taken from Meet The Puritans, page 273)
Goodwin’s own words, “I could not have imagined I should ever have had such a measure of faith in this hour.” This encourages me to not be concerned about death. For when it comes, I will be just as sustained by Christ as ever I have always been. Praise God that he keeps us!