For the believer, death means entering into the glorious presence of Christ. The 18th-century Bible commentator Matthew Henry expressed this confidence in words he hoped would be read after his death by anyone who might unduly mourn his passing. He wrote: “Would you like to know where I am? I am at home in my Fathers house, in the mansions prepared for me here. I am where I want to beno longer on the stormy sea, but in Gods safe, quiet harbor. My sowing time is done and I am reaping; my joy is as the joy of harvest. Would you like to know what I am doing? I see God, not as through a glass darkly, but face to face. I am engaged in the sweet enjoyment of my precious Redeemer. I am singing hallelujahs to Him who sits upon the throne, and I am constantly praising Him. Would you know what blessed company I keep? It is better than the best on earth. Here are the holy angels and the spirits of just men made perfect. I am with many of my old acquaintances with whom I worked and prayed, and who have come here before me. Lastly, would you know how long this will continue? It is a dawn that never fades! After millions and millions of ages, it will be as fresh as it is now. Therefore, weep not for me!” - H.G.B.
Francis Patton (1843-1932, a former president of Princeton University, observed that whereas the high watermark of the Old Testament was Psalm 23:4, that of the New Testament was Philippians 1:23. David was willing to go, but wanting to stay, but Paul was willing to stay, but wanting to go.
Longing To Be With Christ
To Jesus, the crown of my hope,
My soul is in haste to be gone;
Oh bear me, ye cherubim, up,
And waft me away to His throne!
My Saviour, whom absent I love,
Whom, not having seen I adore;
Whose name is exalted above
All glory, dominion, and power;
Dissolve thou these bonds that detain
My soul from her portion in thee,
Ah! strike off this adamant chain,
And make me eternally free.
When that happy era begins,
When arrayd in Thy glories I shine,
Nor grieve any more, by my sins,
The bosom on which I recline;
Oh then shall the veil be removed,
And round me Thy brightness be pourd
I shall meet Him whom absent I loved,
I shall see Him whom unseen I adored.
And then, never more shall the fears,
The trials, temptations, and woes,
Which darken this valley of tears,
Intrude on my blissful repose.
Or, if yet rememberd above,
Remembrance no sadness shall raise,
They will be but new signs of Thy love,
New themes for my wonder and praise.
Thus the strokes which from sin and from pain
Shall set me eternally free,
Will but strengthen and rivet the chain
Which binds me, my Saviour, to Thee.