28 SEPTEMBER (PREACHED NEW YEAR’S MORNING, 1770)
‘I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.’ 1 Corinthians 15:31
SUGGESTED FURTHER READING: Acts 20:17–24; 21:7–14
We have but very faint apprehensions of that unseen world which lies beyond the moment of death. We know we must then be separated from all we have seen or known here below, and enter upon an unchangeable state. And we cannot tell how soon the summons may reach. Perhaps the disease that is to remove us may be just at the door—or we may be snatched away without notice by some of those innumerable events which the world, who know not God, call accidents—but though they are accidental to us, with respect to any power we have to foresee or prevent them, they are, in the disposal of God, as fixed and determinate as the rising or the setting of the sun. What then is our wisdom in this situation, while surrounded with so much darkness on every side? Happy they who are enabled to die daily.
John Newton to John Ryland, 26 March 1791, after Mrs Newton’s death:
I hope from henceforth I shall be a pilgrim and a stranger upon earth. The world is too poor to repair my loss. It is a wound which can only be effectually healed by him that made it. And faithful indeed are the wounds of such friend! But what is the death of a fellow worm, however beloved, to the death of Jesus! This is the thought which ought to wean us from the world and to crucify us unto it, and, indeed, which alone is sufficient for the purpose! May we die daily. May we live for ever. Amen.
FOR MEDITATION: Her [Polly’s] patience was wonderful. No complaining or impatient word was heard from her lips. She still found something to be thankful for; that she was preserved from extreme pain, that she could used her hands, though she could not move her body. Her natural spirits were good and cheerful to the last.… Excuse me, I could still run on upon a subject so near my heart. Her sufferings are now over; her tears, I trust, wiped away, and she shall weep no more. She is gone a little before I am following her. Blessed be God, I am satisfied.… if I may but live to him and be enabled to make full proof of my ministry, till his appointed time shall come.
John Newton to William Wilberforce, 24 December 1790
SERMON: 1 CORINTHIANS 15:31 [3/6]