For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
Our love is our life. What is your life? It is even that which is your strongest love. We do not live indeed until we love in real earnest; and the greater, the nobler our love, the greater and the nobler will be the life born from it. And hence there are many persons who have lived long in the world, but they have never begun to live indeed. No one has begun to live whose whole existence has been consumed upon the life of self. We do not know what we are capable of till something crosses our path, and says, "Live for me." Look at that gay girl, merry and thoughtless, careless and quite unprophetic of the future, simply living on from day to day, from wave to wave of laughter and pleasure — the privileged and licensed plague of the family. Let a year or two roll round, and look at her again. She is not less interesting — nay, but how much more interesting? Young as she is — almost venerable — the merry gaiety is gone, and in its place the sweet seriousness of wifehood; and all the powers of her being have been aroused, for a little helpless being has fallen at her feet, and said to her, through its blue eyes, "Take care of me." If she could put her thoughts into speech she would say, "For me to live is my darling." It has revolutionized her — it has robbed her of her selfish coquetry, and given to her a selfishness almost divine. It is so with the husband and the father. He is most capable of noble exertions as the love of his life takes noble shapes to him, and rouses to noble energies. Nor can I conceive how the heavy and monotonous wheels of business could roll on at all, if God had not made our nature so, that the social love becomes a sacred incentive to action, and in spite of himself man is made to live for beings outside of himself — to find his happiness in their happiness — and thus to find that "Life is indeed more than meat, and the body than raiment." But this principle of our existence is intensified when we become the subjects of a holy, divine affection — when we become so related to divine persons and realities as to say, "To me to live is Christ." Then a great affection enthrones itself, so that it takes possession of all our powers, "body, soul, and spirit;" it sways a sceptre over all, and unites all to itself; it commands the resources of the mind and the heart, and makes them all its own.
Parallel VersesKJV: For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.