“For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” Philippians 1:21
Suggested Further Reading: 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
Not the greatest master-minds of earth understand the millionth part of the mighty meanings which have been discovered by souls emancipated from clay. Yes, brethren, “To die is gain.” Take away, take away that hearse, remove that shroud; come, put white plumes upon the horses’ heads, and let gilded trappings hang around them. There, take away that fife, that shrill sounding music of the death march. Lend me the trumpet and the drum. O hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah; why do we weep the saints to heaven; why need we lament? They are not dead, they are gone before. Stop, stop that mourning, refrain your tears, clap your hands, clap your hands.
“They are supremely blest,
Have done with sin, and care, and woe,
And with their Saviour rest.”
What! Weep for heads that are crowned with garlands of heaven? Weep for hands that grasp the harps of gold? What, weep for eyes that see the Redeemer? What, weep for hearts that are washed from sin, and are throbbing with eternal bliss? What, weep for men that are in the Saviour’s bosom? No; weep for yourselves that you are here. Weep that the mandate has not come which bids you to die. Weep that you must tarry. But weep not for them. I see them turning back on you with loving wonder, and they exclaim “Why weepest thou?” What, weep for poverty that it is clothed in riches? What, weep for sickness, that it has inherited eternal health? What, weep for shame, that it is glorified; and weep for sinful mortality, that it has become immaculate? Oh, weep not, but rejoice. “If you knew what it was that I have said unto you, and where I have gone, you would rejoice with a joy that no man should take from you.” “To die is gain.”
For meditation: There is probably at least one Christian whom you miss terribly. The temporary loss and sorrow may be very hard for you (Philippians 2:27), but the dead in Christ enjoy eternal blessedness (Revelation 14:13).
Sermon no. 146
16 August (1857)