Death, The Christian’s Friend

The life in heaven begins at death. Death is the birthday of that life of immortality, and that is the life which can only truly be called life. When Christ came by dying to purchase life, it was not this sorry life on earth, but the life in the world to come, that life of immortal glory; and death’s day is the birthday of this life. And for our bodies, they are but refined by death, and fitted, as vessels cast into the fire, to be molded, to be most glorious vessels after. 

Death is ours every way. It is our greatest friend under the mask of an enemy. So that, whatsoever Satan may suggest to the contrary, death is ours; our friend that was our enemy; a good thing that was an ill. Our fancy in a temptation may make us apprehend those things that are useful and good to be terrible and ill, and those things that are truly dangerous to us as if they were the only good. Satan abuseth our imagination, by amplifying the good of evil, and the evil of good. But, indeed, death, and all that makes way unto it, sickness, and misery, they are ours; they do us good, they fit us for heaven. Sickness, it fits us for death; it unlooseth the soul from the body. As for the profits, and pleasures, and honors of the world, what do they? They nail us faster to the world, and do us hurt.

Therefore, death is ours. It is a good messenger; it brings good tidings when it comes. Hereupon it is that the wise man saith, ‘The day of death is better than the day of birth,’ Eccles. 7:1. When we are born, we come into misery; when we die, we go out of misery to happiness. It is better to go out of misery than to come into it. If the day of death be better than the day of birth to a Christian, certainly then death is theirs. It makes a short end of all that is miserable, and it is a terminus from whence all good begins. There is nothing in the world that doth us so much good as death. It ends all that is ill both of body and soul, and it begins that happiness that never shall have an end. Therefore, ‘blessed are they that die in the Lord, saith the Spirit,’ Rev. 14:13, ‘A voice from heaven’ saith so, and therefore, ‘Write,’ saith he. It may be written if the Spirit saith it: it is testimony and argument enough. ‘Blessed are those that die in the Lord: they rest from their labors; and their reward follows them.’ For they rest from all that is evil, and from that only. All that is good, ‘their works follow them.’ So that if all evil cease, and all good follows, I hope death may well be said to be ours, and for our good.

~Richard Sibbes

from A Christians Portion; volume 4 of Works, pages 11-12

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