Death, Greeted As Friend

“Must we put off these tabernacles? Is death necessary and inevitable? Then it is our wisdom to sweeten to ourselves that cup which we must drink; and make that as pleasant to us as we can which we know cannot be avoided. Die we must, whether we be fit or unfit, willing or unwilling: It is to no purpose to shrug at the name, or shrink back from the thing. In all ages of the world, death hath swept the stage clean of one generation, to make room for another, and so it will from age to age, till the stage be taken down, in the general dissolution.

But though death be inevitable by all, it is not alike evil, bitter,and dreadful to all. Some tremble, others triumph at the appearances of it. Some meet it half-way, receive it as a friend, and can bid it welcome, and die by consent; making that the matter of their election, which, in itself, is necessary and unavoidable; so did Paul, Phil. i. 23. But others are drawn, or rent by plain violence from the body. Job xxxvii. 1. when God draws out their souls.

That man is happy indeed, whose heart falls in with the appointment of God, so voluntarily and freely, as that he dare not only look death in the face with confidence, but go along with it by consent of will. Remarkable to this purpose, is that which the apostle asserts of the frame of his own heart, 2 Cor. v. 8. ‘We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and present with the Lord.’ “

-John Flavel, from A Treatise of the Soul of Man; works, volume 3, page 10

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