On the Utility of Meditating on Death
1 Corinthians 15:31
I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our LORD, I die daily.

Such meditation —

I. TEACHES US TO VALUE ALL EARTHLY THINGS ARIGHT, and perpetually corrects the fallacy of our calculations by reminding us of the period to which they apply; it discourages those schemes of injustice and ambition, the fruits of which are distant, by reminding us that that distance we may never reach.


1. By destroying in it trifling discontents, and by blunting the force of all the malevolent passions. Jealousy and hatred cannot coexist with the prospect of the last hour. It diminishes the importance of the offence we have suffered, awakens that candour which self-love has set to sleep, and makes us think, not of the trifling scenes which are past, but of the awful events which are to come.

2. It aggrandises the mind as the near approach of death itself is commonly accustomed to do; for men on their death bed often evince an heroism of which their lives have afforded little or no symptom, forgive injuries which should have been forgiven years before, faults which should have been rectified before half the race of life was run, confession of Christ who had been denied before the world. The distant contemplation of death leaves us greater time for godly actions — whatever seeds it casts into the mind may spring up and fructify.

III. INDUCES US TO CONSIDER BY WHAT MEANS WE SHALL AVERT ITS TERRORS. Can we figure to ourselves anything more dreadful than a human being at the brink of death who has never once reflected that he is to die? Let us, then, in youth and strength gather a decent firmness for that trial.

IV. OPENS UP THE PROSPECT OF ETERNITY. In the contemplation of heaven the persecuted man figures to himself a state of rest; the poor, an exemption from want; the sick, health; the weak, power; the ignorant, knowledge; the timid, safety; the mean, glory; the parent looks for his lost child across the great gulph, and the widow for her husband; the soul lifts itself up to the great Author of our being who has sanctified and redeemed us by the blood of Christ.

V. TEACHES US THAT THE EVIL IS NOT WITHOUT ITS REMEDY. That through Christ we are become the lords of death, that the mere separation of matter and spirit is a pang of so short a moment that it is hardly a rational object of fear, that the real pang is the remembrance of a misspent life. If you think the accumulation of such thoughts is awful take care that they do not accumulate. Conclusion: The choice is, Shall we meditate voluntarily on death as a religious exercise, or shall we be haunted by the image of death as a terrific spectre? Shall we gain wisdom by meeting the danger, or shall we, like children, be bribed by the tranquillity of a moment to keep it off? The image of death follows the man who fears it, it rises up at feasts and banquets; no melody can soothe it; it is undaunted by the sceptre or the crown. All men suffer from the dread of death; it is folly to hope you can escape it. Our business is to receive the image, to gaze upon it, to prepare for it, to seek it, and by these means to disarm.

(Sydney Smith.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.

WEB: I affirm, by the boasting in you which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.

Of Dying Daily
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