On Looking unto Death in Hope

Taken and adapted from, “The Practice of Piety: Directing a Christian How to Walk, that He May Please God.”
Written by Lewis Bayly, London: 1842.
Material sourced from The Dead Puritan Society, hosted by Paul D.

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“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”   Revelation 21:4 (ESV)

Death brings to the godly an end of sinning (Romans 6:7)…

…and of all the miseries which are due to sin; so that after death, “there shall be no more sorrow nor crying; neither shall there be any more pain; for God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes” (Revelation 21:4.).  Yes, by death we are separated from the company of wicked men; and God “takes away merciful and righteous men from the evil to come” (Isaiah. 57:1).  So he dealt with Josiah: “I will gather you to your fathers, and you shall be put into your grave in peace; and your eyes shall not see all the evil which I will bring to this place” (2 Kings 22:20).  And God “hides them for a while in the grave, until the indignation pass over” (Isaiah. 26:20).  So that as paradise is the haven of the soul’s joy, so the grave may be termed the haven of the body’s rest.

Whereas this wicked body lives in a world of wickedness, so that the poor soul cannot look out at the eye, and not be infected; nor hear by the ear, and not be distracted; nor smell at the nostrils, and not be tainted; nor taste with the tongue, and not be allured; nor touch by the hand, and not be defiled; and every sense, upon, every temptation, is ready to betray the soul.  By death the soul shall be delivered from this thraldom; and this “corruptible body shall put on incorruption, and this mortal immortality” (1 Corinthians 25:53).  O blessed, thrice blessed be that death in the Lord, which delivers us out of so evil a world, and frees us from such a body of bondage and corruption!

Death brings the godly man’s soul to enjoy an immediate communion with the blessed Trinity, in everlasting bliss and glory.  It translates the soul from the miseries of this world, the contagion of sin, and society of sinners, to the “city of the living God, the celestial Jerusalem, and the company of innumerable angels, and to the assembly and congregation of the first-born, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the souls of just men made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of the new covenant” (Hebrews 12:22, 23, 24).  Death puts the soul into the actual and full possession of all the inheritance and happiness which Christ hath either promised to you in his word, and purchased for you by his blood.

This is the good and happiness to which a blessed death will bring you. And what truly religious Christian that is young, would not wish himself old, that his appointed time might the sooner approach, to enter into this celestial paradise? Where you may exchange thy brass for gold, your vanity for felicity, your vileness for honor, your bondage for freedom, your lease for an inheritance, and your mortal state for an immortal life. He that does not daily desire this blessedness above all things, of all others he is less worthy to enjoy it.