Philippians 1:21
For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
Sermons
A Believer's Privilege At DeathT. Watson.Philippians 1:21
A Comparative View of Life and DeathJohn Foster.Philippians 1:21
A Strait Betwixt TwoAlexander MaclarenPhilippians 1:21
An Ideal Life Blooming into a Happy DeathD. Thomas Philippians 1:21
Christ and DeathW. H. H. Murray.Philippians 1:21
Christ Our LifeR. Tuck, B. A.Philippians 1:21
Christ the End of LifeA. K. H. Boyd, D. D.Philippians 1:21
Christ the Grandest LifePaxton Hood.Philippians 1:21
Christ the Saints' LifeW. Anderson, LL. D.Philippians 1:21
Christian Life and DeathJ. D. Geden, D. D.Philippians 1:21
Christian Life and DeathT. N. Toller.Philippians 1:21
Christian Life and DeathH. G. Guinness.Philippians 1:21
Christly Life and Gainful DeathW. Sidebottom.Philippians 1:21
Contrasted Views of DeathJ. F. B. Tinling, B. A.Philippians 1:21
Death a GainW. H. H. Murray.Philippians 1:21
Death Differently Viewed by Different CharactersJames Hamilton, D. D.Philippians 1:21
Diverse Views and Aims of LifePaxton Hood.Philippians 1:21
Happy to Live or Die in ChristPhilippians 1:21
Life and Death in ChristW. Arnot, D. D.Philippians 1:21
Life in ChristH. G. Guinness.Philippians 1:21
Love the True LifePaxton Hood.Philippians 1:21
Ready for Life or DeathPhilippians 1:21
Socrates and Paul on DeathJ. Hutchinson, D. D.Philippians 1:21
The Antidote of DeathJ. A. James.Philippians 1:21
The Apostle's AlternativeA. Maclaren, D. D.Philippians 1:21
The Benefit of DeathPhilippians 1:21
The Benefits Which Believers Receive At DeathT. Boston, D. D.Philippians 1:21
The Christian's Estimate of Life and DeathC. Bradley, M. A.Philippians 1:21
The Constancy of Paul's Purpose to Live ChristA. K. H. Boyd, D. D.Philippians 1:21
The Death of Saints Magnifies ChristJ. Bate.Philippians 1:21
The Gain of DeathV. Hutton Philippians 1:21
The Gain of DyingJ. H. Evans, M. A.Philippians 1:21
The Good Man's Life and DeathC. H. Spurgeon.Philippians 1:21
The Grand AlternativesT. Croskery Philippians 1:21
The Great End and Business of a Christian's Life is to Glorify ChristT. Manton, D. D.Philippians 1:21
The Ideal of Christian LifePaxton Hood.Philippians 1:21
The Means of Living ChristW. Arnot, D. D.Philippians 1:21
The Reason Why Some Men Cling to LifeA. Maclaren, D. D.Philippians 1:21
The Saints' Death GainR. Johnstone, LL. B.Philippians 1:21
The Significance of the Apostle's SentimentProfessor Eadie.Philippians 1:21
The Testimony of Nature and of Christ Concerning DeathArchdeacon Hare.Philippians 1:21
To Die is GainA. Pope.Philippians 1:21
To Live is Christ and to Die is GainJ. Parker, D. D.Philippians 1:21
To Me to Live is ChristA. Raleigh, D. D.Philippians 1:21
To Me to Live is ChristW.F. Adeney Philippians 1:21
To Serve Christ Must be Our One AimC. H. Spurgeon.Philippians 1:21
Two Prospects in DeathA. Maclaren, D. D.Philippians 1:21
Various Degrees in Living ChristW. G. Pascoe.Philippians 1:21
Victory After DeathT. Watson.Philippians 1:21
What Makes Death GainArchdeacon Hare.Philippians 1:21
Why Christianity Does not PrevailW. Arnot, D. D.Philippians 1:21
Thoughts Suggested by His CaptivityR. Finlayson Philippians 1:12-30
Life Here and HereafterR.M. Edgar Philippians 1:21-26
To me to live is Christ, to die is gain. This elucidates as well as confirms his previous statement.

I. HIS NATURAL LIFE FINDS ITS SUPREME OBJECT IN CHRIST. The apostle does not here assert that Christ is his spiritual life, for the reference is strictly limited to his "life in the flesh." That life is supremely devoted to Christ.

1. In all its thoughts. There never was a man whose intellectual life was so wrapped up in his Savior; his plans, his anxieties, his hopes, centred in him; every thought was brought into subjection to him; therefore his thoughts were not vain, or selfish, or earthly.

2. In all its deeds. The apostle abounded in labors more than the other apostles. Yet Christ was the object of such holy activity. His ceaseless, exhausting works of love found their spring in the love of Christ as they marked his supreme devotion. Thus Christ was his life. It ought so to be with us all. "For whether we live, we live unto the Lord."

II. HIS DEATH WOULD BE GAIN. "To die is gain."

1. This assertion seems hard to reconcile with human feeling. Death always involves loss of some sort. To the saint it involves the loss of many pure enjoyments of life, of happy domestic ties, of the means and opportunities of working for Christ; while to the sinner it is utter, irreparable loss.

2. The assertion is not that of a mere pessimist, who asks, "Is life worth living?" nor of a worn-out roue, who has outlived the very sensation of enjoyment; nor of a holy man wearied out with exhausting labors and anxious to get quit of trials and persecutions. There is nothing in the apostle's writings to justify the conclusion that he was sour, or morose, or cynical, or merely attached to the scene of human existence at the point of duty; for he possessed hearty human sympathies and entered with spirit into all the schemes of true Christian life.

3. His assertion marks the true connection that exists between death and the believer's gain. Death is pure gain; for it puts an end to all the losses which so largely shake human comfort in this life, to all the evils of sin, and to all temptations to sin; and it puts the believer in possession of his full inheritance with the perfection of grace, the blessed vision of God, the society of the just made perfect. It is gain:

(1) Immediate; for "absence from the body" is "presence with the Lord."

(2) Incalculable; for "eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, what God hath prepared for them that love him" (1 Corinthians 2:9).

(3) Everlasting; for God himself is the eternal Portion of his people. - T.C.







For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain
The language is like a great river which, flowing through some country, bends first from the one side and then from the other, and then comes back into its straight course. There is a triple movement of thought and feeling.

1. There is the absorbing devotion which this man has to Christ.

2. Then comes in the bend of the stream; a rock on the margin sends the waters away in another direction. He thinks about others.

3. Then comes the third feeling when he apprehends it to be his duty to stop and work.

I. The first attitude of the apostle's mind. Here we get THE GRAND, NOBLE SIMPLICITY AND UNITY OR CONTINUITY OF LIFE AND DEATH to a devout man thinking about himself.

1. Look at the noble theory of life. In all senses in which you can use the words, Christ is this man's life.(1) The secret of its origin, its source, and basis.(2) Its goal and aim.(3) Its law and pattern. My life, if it be in Christ, rosy become a chain of golden deeds; if I be out of Christ, it is but a heap of unconnected links.

2. Wheresoever life is thus simple and of a piece, death will be gain, continuous and increasing.(1) The direction is the same; he passes the points and gets on to the other line without a shock.(2) The life is simply lifted out of the common atmosphere and plunged, as it were, into an oxygen jar, and it blazes out the more brightly for the change.

II. The second bend or reach. THE HESITATION WHICH ARISES FROM THE CONTEMPLATION OF LIFE AS A FIELD FOR WORK. The broken language of the original expresses the broken waters of the river as it takes the turn. "I am in a strait," like a man hedged up between two walls, not knowing how to turn. Paul was the subject of two counter attractions, that of death and that of life.

1. Notice how be talks about the former. "I desire to depart," weigh an anchor or lift the pegs of a tent. To be with Christ that is the attraction. He draws us, and we run after Him. This is no morbid, sentimental desire for death arising out of hatred with life.

2. Then think of that reason for living which overbears the wish for death. "There is work to be done, and so I feel that life tugs at me." How different to many men's clinging to life, because of the judgment after death.

III. Notice THE BEAUTIFUL CALM SOLUTION OF THE QUESTION — not an equipoise of hesitation, something pulling two different ways, and so the rest of equal forces acting. "I KNOW THAT I SHALL ABIDE AND CONTINUE WITH YOU ALL" — a calm taking what God wills about the matter. Stick to your tasks, and in God's time you will have rest and reward. Conclusion: Here are two theories of life for you. "To live is Christ, and to die is gain." "To live is self, and to die is loss and despair." Which?

(A. Maclaren, D. D.)

I. THE PROPER SCOPE AND CHARACTER OF ALL TRULY CHRISTIAN LIFE.

1. Such life is never aimless; but how many people could give no rational answer to the question, What are you living for?

2. Its aim, however, does not lie within the circle of the seen and temporary. While not indifferent to the claims of the present world, its ambition pitches higher.

3. Its end and substance is Christ.

4. A life is possible which, while in a sense Christ, Shall not be such in the full and proper sense of the term. St. Paul has just spoken of Christians who were insincere and contentious. So now there are men whose life is Christ, predominately, it may be, but not wholly.

II. WHAT CHRISTIAN DEATH IS, AND HOW IT OUGHT TO BE REGARDED.

1. It is Christian death of which he speaks, yet we cannot but be struck with an assumption he makes concerning death in general — living, only not in the flesh. "All live unto God."

2. The life out of the flesh which Christians live is a higher and more advanced life than that of the present. Not that there is anything essentially evil or degrading in the flesh; but death will, to those who love Christ, obviously be so far gain that it will clear away a throng of hindrances to the free consecration of the soul to God.

3. The pre eminence is defined as being with Christ.(1) Believers are already with Him, "joined to Him," etc., but in important respects we are at present not with Him. He is beyond the reach of our sense.(2) Death raises the saint to be with Him immediately, although we shall be nearer after the resurrection.

4. St. Paul does not measure this preeminence of Christian death over Christian life. He is content with a general statement of its exceeding superiority; it is "much more than much better."

III. CHRISTIAN LIFE AND DEATH REGARDED AS AN ALTERNATIVE.

1. Ordinarily, even Christians recoil from death, partly for want of an adequate faith, partly from physical shrinking.

2. Within limits this desire for life is not blameworthy. Such a sense of future blessedness as should spoil earth for us is nowhere encouraged in Scripture; it would be incompatible with our duty to God and man, and in many cases it is desirable for others that we should stay.

3. But whether life be more or less desirable, it should be spent under the assurance that death is gain, i.e., if life be Christ, otherwise we have no reason to expect that death would bring any advantage.

4. Granting this, however, if the will of God ordains life, it is an unspeakable grace to live and not die. It is service for the blessed Master, the fruit of which is so ample that we can afford to wait for everlasting life. Be death ever so desirable, it is our own fault if the happiness of life does not more than counterbalance the trial of it. Other things being equal, the more life, the more heaven.Conclusion:

1. How startling a contrast the current life of man forms with this lofty ideal.

2. When this august profession is more than a profession, how rare is the type of character which answers to the apostolic model.

3. Yet this same life is the only secure, rational, and happy life to live.

(J. D. Geden, D. D.)

I. THE CHRISTIAN'S LIFE A DESCRIPTION OF IT. The Christian lives —

1. From Christ. Christ is the source of his existence.

2. On Christ. Christ is the support of the life He has given, nourishing it with communications from Him self.

3. To Christ. Coming from Him, He is its aim and end.

II. THE DESIRE HE HAS WHILE LIVING THIS LIFE (ver. 23).

1. "To set loose a second time," as vessels, not outward bound, but from a foreign port on a return voyage. He is not looking back on the country behind him, he is looking on the sea which he has to cross before he can get home.

2. Why? Because Christ is there. "Whom have I in heaven but Thee?"

3. This is the result of the new life which tends towards Christ, its source.

4. Thus to be with Christ is "beyond all comparison better." There is a fruition of Christ above, compared with which the highest enjoyment we can get out of Him here is as nothing.

III. A FEELING IN THE CHRISTIAN'S MIND COUNTERACTING THIS DESIRE, viz., a desire to remain, springing from —

1. Love to Christ. "To me to live is Christ" — it is for Christ's honour and glory to live a fruitful life.

2. Love for his fellow men. Love for self would say "Go"; love for perishing sinners is stronger, and says "Stay." The hesitation only lasted as long as he was speaking of it.

(C. Bradley, M. A.)

I. BY THOSE WHO LOOK AT LIFE ON ITS BRIGHT SIDE.

1. To me to live is gaiety, delightful society; and to die is the quenching of all joy, to plunge into I know not what, and to go where I do not wish to go.

2. To me to live is the indulgence of the luxury of my senses; to die is the destruction of all that gratifies them.

3. To me to live is affluence in what all are coveting; to die would be to have all this seized by others.

4. To me to live is successful enterprise, competition overcome, prosperity, power, fame; to die that would be to lose the field of my career.

II. BY THOSE WHO LOOK ON THE DARK SIDE. To me to live is a hard thing; it is to endure privation, poverty, pain. Well then, would you die in preference? Oh, no, that would be worse. Why so? Sometimes the person can hardly tell — there is an undefined horror of death, but sometimes there is the power of conscience in the case.

III. BY WHOSE WHO LOOK ON LIFE IRRELIGIOUSLY.

1. To me to live is a course in which my pleasures are poisoned with vexation; but at any rate it is for so long an exemption from what I have to expect hereafter. Besides, while I live I may repent and reform; but to me to die is perdition.

2. To me to live, says the atheist, is to have the play of all my senses, to take all I dare or can of immediate good, to exult in defiance of what superstition has feigned an almighty power, perhaps to command great attention by my genius. On the contrary, to die is to have all this broken up, and to become a clod of earth.

IV. BY THE CHRISTIAN. To live is Christ and to die is to be with Him, therefore gain — far better.

(John Foster.)

That which a man loves supremely is that for which he lives — money, fame, pleasure, etc. The lofty altitude of moral nature to which we have to aspire is to find in Christ our only reason for living. Apart from this, the yearning aspirations and voids of humanity can never be satisfied.

I. LIFE IN CHRIST COMPREHENDS ALL TRUE LIFE — science, air, beauty, music, all that adorns the saint, strengthens the worker, sustains the sufferer. All life rooted in Christ will bear all manner of fruits and be beautiful with all the hues of heaven. Into what base are our life roots struck?

II. LIFE IN CHRIST CAN SEE THE ULTERIOR PHASE OF WHAT MEN CALL DEATH. The eye of true life can see clear through the dispensation of dying, and behold the "gain;" can see straight through the troubled night of the final act of man upon earth, and gladden itself with the sight of the morning glory that falls forever on the hills of heaven. To die is mystery; speculation; life's most desperate venture; annihilation-this is the creed of those whose life is not centred in Christ. Compare this creed with the gain which Christianity discloses.

(J. Parker, D. D.)

There are only two questions that a truly wise man would think it of any essential consequence to ask in regard to himself, "What is the proper object of life?" "What is beyond life?" Here, then, only they are completely answered. Let us —

I. INQUIRE INTO THE MEANING OF THE WORDS, "TO ME TO LIVE IS CHRIST." True experimental Christianity is —

1. A life of dependence on Christ, as of children on the head of a family. This dependence is

(1)constant;

(2)humble;

(3)trustful;

(4)invisible, but real.

2. A life of communion with Christ; as between two dearest friends. This is

(1)habitual;

(2)cordial;

(3)private and public.

3. A life of conformity and devotedness to Christ, as servants to an illustrious and beloved master. This is entire, and embraces

(1)all the occupations of life whatever they may be, secular or sacred;

(2)all the thoughts and affections.

II. THE GROUND WE HAVE TO INFER THAT WHEN "TO LIVE IS CHRIST," TO DIE WILL BE GAIN. Because —

1. To whatever world death shall introduce us, Christ will be Lord of it. "I have the keys of Hades," etc. "I go to prepare a place for you."

2. The graces and tempers of such a life as the Christian's must be the root and commencement of the happiness of that world, whatever it be as to particulars. "Whatsoever a man soweth." "Blessed are the poor in Spirit," etc.

3. We are assured that there will be an illustrious manifestation of Christ for the very purpose of making death gain. "Our conversation is in heaven," etc. (1 Corinthians 15:42).Improvement:

1. What an unspeakable advantage has the Christian over every other character.

2. Let the Christian be satisfied that death is gain, without prying into particulars.

3. Learn the importance of keeping together what God has made inseparable. Life Christ, and death gain.

(T. N. Toller.)

I. CHRISTIAN LIFE.

1. Separation for Christ, from the world, self, sin.

2. Dedication to Christ. All are dedicating their life to something — fashion, money, pleasure, science, fame.

3. Use by Christ. Religion is not a man's transformation into something different, but his acceptance by Christ for the accomplishment of his purpose.

4. Likeness to Christ, in love and knowledge.

5. Concealment in Christ.

II. CHRISTIAN DEATH. "Gain," because heaven.

1. No more trial and sickness, but eternal health and peace.

2. No more bereavement, but eternal union.

3. No more superstition, but eternal light.

4. No more sorrow over the dissensions of Christ's Church, but eternal harmony.

5. No more spiritual ignorance, but perfect knowledge.

6. No more temptation and sin, but perfect safety and holiness.

7. No more death, but the fadeless life.

(H. G. Guinness.)

I. THE CHRISTIAN'S LIFE IS CHRIST.

1. Obedience to Christ's precepts. These preferred

(1)to the dictates of man,

(2)and to personal inclinations.

2. Admiration of Christ's character. Jesus is regarded as —

(1)The ideal of perfection.

(2)The model of imitation.

3. Devotion to Christ's interests. True Christians seek —

(1)The extension of Christ's dominion.

(2)The exaltation of Christ's name.

4. Inspiration by Christ's Spirit.

(1)In us there is no inherent holiness.

(2)Our good desires are derived from Christ.

5. Sustentation by Christ's power.

(1)We are naturally impotent.

(2)Christ works in His people, and they can do all things through Him strengthening them.

II. THE CHRISTIAN'S DEATH IS GAIN.

1. Physically. The resurrection body will be characterized by —

(1)Perfect health.

(2)Perfect beauty.

(3)Capability of increased power and activity.

2. Mentally.

(1)All hindrances to intellectual pursuits will be removed.

(2)Mental facilities will be increased.

3. Socially. Death introduces the Christian to —

(1)A more respectable circle of acquaintance. (a) The great and good of all ages. (b) The holy angels. (c) Christ Himself.

(2)A better place of residence.

(3)Unprecedented possessions.

4. Spiritually. After his decease the Christian has —

(1)A freedom from external temptations.

(2)A deliverance from inherent depravity.

(3)A constant manifestation of the glory of God.

(W. Sidebottom.)

1. How ominously the words "live" and "die" follow each other. There is but a comma between them. Life is but death's vestibule.

2. If you would get a fair estimate of the happiness of a man, you must judge him in these two closely connected things, his life and his death. Solon said, "Call no man happy till he is dead; for you know not what changes may pass upon him in life." We add, "because if the life to come be miserable that shall far outweigh the highest happiness he has enjoyed in this."

I. The good man's LIFE.

1. It derives its parentage from Christ. The righteous man has two lives, that which he has inherited from his parents, and a spiritual life, which is as much above mental life as that is above the animal or the plant.

2. Christ is its sustenance. Without Christ the newborn spirit must become vague emptiness.

3. The fashion of his life is Christ. Every man has a model by which he endeavours to shape his life. Men do not always do a thing because it is right, but because some one does it whom we take as a standard of propriety. What an outcry there is against a man who dares to be singular, and says, "I will not follow your model, I will follow Christ."

4. The end of his life is Christ; not wealth, respectability.

5. Its happiness and glory is all in Christ.

II. The good man's DEATH. Why does not death spare the good and take the bad. Gain! is it not loss in every sense? No; in every sense in which it is loss it is immeasurable gain.

1. He loses friends, wife, children; but only for a time; he gains them forever.

2. He loses his wealth; but, he gains eternal riches, and those who have no money to lose are made rich forevermore.

3. He loses the means of grace, but gains heaven.

4. He loses his partial knowledge; but sees face to face.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

I. LIFE IN CHRIST. Life for this man is —

1. Negatively. Not(1) the life of the beasts that perish. Meat, drink, clothing, are the means of preserving life; but not the objects for which we live. A disciple of Christ lives on them, but not for them.(2) To acquire a great property. Property is useful in fulfilling some of the ends of life, but when it comes to be an end in itself it is no longer a blessing.(3) Pleasure. He will not occupy the day in chasing thistle down.(4) Honour. He has gotten the favour of God.(5) In refusing and avoiding these things. Strip them all off, and you are no nearer a true life in the Lord. Life consists neither in having them nor wanting them.

2. Positively. His life is not a life with Christ, nor even in Christ. His very life was Christ. His former self was lost. Henceforth he lives Christ. His common life, when he lies down and rises up, when he labours and rests, in private and public.

II. DEATH IN CHRIST. The substance of the inheritance beyond we know from verse 23 is the same Christ. What are the gains?

1. Peace instead of war. Here Christ and conflict; there Christ and peace.

2. Here Christ and ignorance; seeing in part, through a glass darkly; there Christ and light.

3. Here Christ and sins; there Christ and purity.

4. Here Christ and pain; there Christ and perfect joy.

(W. Arnot, D. D.)

When did he utter this? It was not as he rose from earth dazzled into blindness by the Redeemer's glory, and the words of the first commission were ringing in his ears. It was not in Damascus, while as the scales fell from his eyes he recognized the Lord's goodness and power. Nor was it in Arabia where supernatural wisdom so fully unfolded to him the facts and truths which he was so uniformly to proclaim. It sprang not from some momentary elation as at Cyprus where he confounded the sorcerer and converted the Roman proconsul. No, it was written at Rome, in bonds, and after years of unparalleled toil and suffering. His past career had been signalized by stripes, imprisonment, shipwrecks, and unnumbered perils, but he did not regret them. He had been "in weariness and painfulness," etc., but his ardour was unchilled; and let him only be freed, and his life prolonged, and his motto would still be, "For me to live is Christ." It did not repent the venerable confessor now, when he was old, infirm, and a prisoner, with a terrible doom suspended over him, that he had done, travelled, spoken, and suffered so much for Christ. Nor was the statement like a suspicious vow in a scene of danger, which is too often wrung from cowardice, and held up as a bribe to the Great Preserver, but forgotten when the crisis passes, and he who made it laughs at his own timidity. No. It was no new course that the apostle proposed, it was only a continuation of those previous habits which his bondage had for a season interrupted. Could there be increase to a zeal that had never flagged, or could those labours be multiplied which had filled every moment and called out every energy? In fine, the saying was no idle boast, like that of Peter at the last supper — the flash of a sudden enthusiasm so soon to be drowned in tears. For the apostle had the warrant of a long career to justify his assertion, and who can doubt that he would have verified it, and nobly shown, as hitherto, for him to live was Christ? He sighed not under the burden, as if age needed repose; or sank into self-complacency, as if he had done enough, for the Lord's commission was still upon him, and the wants of the world were as numerous and pressing as to claim his last word and urge his last step.

(Professor Eadie.)

I remember when I used to live in the south of England, there was a story abroad about some man that was thrown over the face of the Isle of Wight chalk cliffs. They found him in the morning lying down there among the white boulders and black seaweed, and below the finger nails there was powdered chalk that he had scraped in his desperate clutch as he fell to save himself. My friends, there are some of you that grasp at life like that, and for something of the same reason, because you are afraid of the smash when you get down to the bottom.

(A. Maclaren, D. D.)

1. The rendering is literally, "To me life is Christ," life altogether, everywhere, always is neither more nor less than this.

2. The word has wide application. The blade of grass, the tree, the worm, bird, behest, man, God, live. But there is life proper to each. In the lower forms it is simple, but as we ascend life becomes more complex, difficult, and, therefore, more noble. That is the noblest thing which surmounts disaster or suffering which retrieves itself or is retrieved. The life of man has so suffered, and has been so retrieved.

3. The text expresses an infinite indebtedness. No man could confer a benefit on fellow man so great as to put him under this law. Not to benefactor, defender, deliverer, could you say this.

I. THIS CANON RULES THE THOUGHT. The intellectual life is Christ's. This is not, however, to impair mental freedom. Man may expatiate on any field, making fresh discoveries at every step. But from the vantage ground of the Christ life all acquired knowledge can he put in right relations and error detected. Christ does not reveal all truth, but places man on the mountaintop of truth, where he is never out of the view of some truths.

II. TAKE LIFE AS SENTIMENT — thought with aroma in it, and beauty in it, without which no life is complete. How shall we keep the poetry in our life? Only by having the beauty of Christ's life.

III. TAKE LIFE AS FORCE — active moral force. A life without much force may be pure and good, but it can never be beneficent. A life with force may be destructive. To constitute good human force we need more than energy and self-will. We need right motives and wise means. If you leave Jesus Christ out of your life you cannot have any of them perfectly, "Be strong in the Lord," etc.

IV. TAKE LIFE AS HOPE, ASPIRATION, DESTINY. What is life if it be not this much. Without an assured future, no present of any kind can be worth a hearty interest. Have we an assured future without Jesus Christ? "Because He lives we shall live also." Conclusion: Is it Christ for you to live, or money, sentient pleasure, ambition, indifference, emptiness?

(A. Raleigh, D. D.)

We can see what this did for Paul.

1. It gave steady perseverance to his endeavours.

2. It put a tone of charity on all his intercourse.

3. It gave him calmness under trial and persecution.

I. SO FAR AS OUR LIFE IS FEELING we may say the text. Take —

1. Our thinking. The unity, peace, freedom, safe guidance of our thoughts, follow and are assured if to us to think is Christ.

2. Our trusting. No fear comes to us out of the uncertainty and insecurity of our earthly trusts if our great trust rests on Christ.

3. Our loving. There will be an ever-enlarging love to men if our first love be set on Christ.

4. Our hoping — that hope is full of immortality which can build on this sure foundation, "Jesus is mine."

II. SO FAR AS OUR LIFE IS ASSOCIATION, we may say the text.

1. In friendship His presence can make our hearts burn within us.

2. In the family He can be the all-hallowing thought sanctifying the home life.

3. In society He can make by His unseen presence our social fellowships purer and more truly happy. If this is not so it is because we have permitted the un-Christly stamp to get printed on our associations.

III. SO FAR AS LIFE IS ACTIVITY we may say the text.

1. In business, "Let every man wherein he is called," etc.

2. In the Church.

3. In the world of morals, politics, science: all these are spheres of Christ's rule.

(R. Tuck, B. A.)

1. There is no other name but Christ's which has life in it. There is no life in the world's wealth, learning, honour, love. If they do not destroy, they afford no protection or sustenance. To be Christless is to be lifeless.

2. Is it possible that St. Paul can he speaking of a mere man? This is not an accidental expression of temporary excitement. It is a sentiment that pervades his writings (Philippians 3:7-9; Galatians 2:20; Galatians 6:14). On the Socinian hypothesis all this is extravagant and idolatrous. Where do we find succeeding prophets speaking thus of Moses?

3. Paul means that Christ constituted his life. In what sense?

I. CHRIST WAS THE BESTOWER AND SUSTAINER OF IT. He was this naturally (Hebrews 1:2; John 1:3; Hebrews 1:3). On this ground Adam in his state of innocence would have said that the Son of God was his life. But Paul was thinking of Christ as —

1. The life of pardon. Distinguish the gaining of pardon and the persuasion that it has been gained. A rebel may be pardoned without knowing it, but before he can be happy he must know it. Paul knew fully that Christ had forgiven him.

2. The life of love. Pardon properly is only the capacity for living; but love is the soul's life. How this love burned in Paul towards God and towards man.

3. The life of hope. Hope is life; despair is death. The unbeliever is hopeless and therefore lifeless.

II. CHRIST WAS THE OBJECT OF THE ENERGIES OF THAT LIFE HE HAD BESTOWED. Paul had three reasons for his engrossing consecration to Christ.

1. A reason of justice. Christ had surrendered His life for him, and equity demanded that he should consecrate his life to Christ (2 Corinthians 5:14-15). Life for life: Christ gave all He could give: Paul returns all he can. Gratitude facilitates the justice, and makes the duty a delight.

2. A reason of self-interest.(1) Unless he rendered the service, he would renounce the discipleship and be a castaway (1 Corinthians 9:27).(2) He had respect unto the recompense of the reward of all duty well discharged (Luke 19:17-19).

3. A reason of taste. He liked the work for its own sake.

(W. Anderson, LL. D.)

It is said of Thomas Pett, the miser, that his pulse rose and fell with the funds. He never lay down or rose that he did not bless the inventor of compound interest. His one gloomy apartment was never brightened with coal, candle, or the countenance of a visitor, and he never ate a morsel at his own expense. Of course he made money, for he gave himself wholly to it; and we ought not to forget that the same single-mindedness and self-denial would make Christians rich towards God. What is wanted in the service of Christ is the same unity of purpose which has ruled all men who have won the object for which they lived. He who makes God's glory the one only aim before which all other things bow themselves, is the man to bring honour to his Lord.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

For me to live is —

I. FAITH IN CHRIST.

1. Without faith life is dwarfed and desolate.

2. The grander faith's object, and the firmer faith's trust, the nobler the life.

3. Christ is the grandest object, and faith in Him the strongest trust.

II. MEDITATION ON CHRIST.

1. We can come very near Him.

2. This meditation is sweet. The thought of Christ the antidote to life's sorrows.

III. ACTION FOR CHRIST.

1. Inspired by the loftiest motive: Christ.

2. Of the most diverse character.

3. With the best result.

IV. HOPE IN CHRIST.

1. He is the hope of this life and consequently glorifies it.

2. He is our hope for eternity — "Because I live ye shall live also."

(Paxton Hood.)

I. I ARGUE IT THUS: —

1. We have life from Him; life, therefore, should be to Him. A supernatural influence causeth a supernatural tendency. As rivers run into the sea from whence their channels are filled, so doth grace cause all the issues and outgoings of the spiritual life to return to Christ from whence they came.

2. The right Christ has to our service. We are His by every right and title (Romans 14:7-9).

II. TO MAKE THIS CLEAR LET US EXAMINE THE SEVERAL TITLES CHRIST HATH TO A BELIEVER.

1. By creation (Hebrews 1:2). Note —(1) The absolute right that accrueth to Him from hence. We were made out of nothing by Him; all we have, therefore, is His — mind, eyes, tongue, hands, etc. His is a right both of jurisdiction as a king, and of propriety as a creator.(2) The intention of the Creator (Proverbs 16:4; Romans 11:36). All things were made for man, but man himself for God. Our end was not to eat, drink, sleep, etc., but to live and use all things for God.(3) The obligation left upon the creature to love and serve Him that created us.

2. Preservation, by which the title of creation is daily renewed and reinforced (Acts 17:28; Hebrews 1:3).

3. Redemption (1 Corinthians 6:20). Consider —

(1)The right.

(2)The price (Peter 1:18-19).

4. Conquest (Colossians 1:13).

5. Actual possession (1 Corinthians 6:15).

6. Resignation and voluntary consent (Song of Solomon 2:16; 2 Corinthians 8:5; 2 Chronicles 30:8).

III. THE USE. To persuade us to make it our business to honour Christ and advance Him.

1. Directions.(1) You must close with Him by faith, and use Him to the end which God hath appointed Him (2 Thessalonians 1:11-12).(2) Consecrate and dedicate yourselves to Christ's use (Romans 12:1).(3) Use yourselves as those that are Christ's, improving your time, estates, strength, relations, talents, for His glory (Zechariah 14:20).(4) Honour Him by the holiness of your conversation (1 Peter 11. 12).(5) Let Christ be endeared to you by all your enjoyments. Temporal and spiritual (1 Corinthians 3:21).(6) Count it an honour to suffer for Christ's sake (Acts 5:41; Philippians 1:29).

2. Motives.(1) You are not your own, but are under another Lord.(2) We have owned Christ's right in baptism (1 Peter 3:21).(3) There will be a day of accounts when the great God of recompenses will reckon with you.(4) The utility and profit of it.

(a)For the present an interest in Christ's intercession (John 17:9-10).

(b)Heaven in the eternity to come.

(T. Manton, D. D.)

To some men to live is a man, for a man; they are content to merge their individuality in his; they do not care to be known if he is known; they always wish to be regarded as his friends; they live on his words; they immortalize themselves by recording them; to please him is their highest honour and felicity, and they leave a beautiful biography behind them in which they entomb and lose themselves, and rear a monument to the memory of their idol. Such was Boswell's "Life of Johnson" — "To me to live is Johnson!" Such was Lockhart's "Life of Scott" — "To me to live is Scott!" Such is the elegant tribute of Tacitus to Julius Agricola!" "To me to live is Agricola" Such is the, to me, sad and shocking life of Cicero, by Dr. Middleton — "To me to live is Cicero!" But Paul said, "To me to live is Christ!" To some men to live is a science. They are absorbed by it; the pursuit of it is the unconscious charm of their existence. All things and all bodies are regarded as through the lens supplied by it. To Lyell and Murchison — "To me to live is Geology!" To Rosse or Nicholl — "To me to live is Astronomy!" To Liebig or Davy, to Faraday or Matueccei — "To me to live is Chemistry or Electricity?" To Owen or Cuvier — "To me to live is Comparative Anatomy! "To Young — "To me to live is a Rosetta stone!" But Paul said, "To me to live is Christ!" And some men live for an idea. They live for it; in it; become martyrs to it. Bravely, but sometimes very foolishly, they identify the whole world with their one idea. If it expires all perishes. Hence Vane and Sidney would say, "To me to live is a Republic!" Hence Leibnitz and Kant and Descartes concentrated their life on an idea. But Paul said, "To me to live is Christ!" And to some men to live is self. "What shall I eat, and what shall I drink, and wherewithal shall I be clothed?"

(Paxton Hood.)

Behold yonder flower; it lives by means of the plant on which it grows; does it not? Did not the plant give it birth? and does not the plant supply it nourishment? and if you separate it from the plant will it not die? Now, consider it once more — it lives for the plant on which it grows; does it not? Does it not blossom into beauty that it may adorn it as a lovely ornament, and ripen into maturity that it may serve it by forming precious seed? Just so Paul grew as a flower upon Christ. He felt that he lived by Christ; and so he determined to live for Christ; and the sweet meaning contained in this fragrant saying that he breathes out an offering to Jesus in the thought of life for Christ.

(H. G. Guinness.)

If life is to be measured by the dignity of its affections, by their purity and power, then what affection is so lofty, so inspiring, so ennobling, as the love of Christ? If life is to be estimated by its raptures of exalted hope, its frequent glimpses of unfathomed being, its cadencies of harmony borne upon the ear from distant spheres of praise, then what raptures are so glowing as those kindled by the life of Christ? If life is to be estimated by what it performs, and by its motives to performance, then what life can hold so lengthened a series of unselfish exploits, as his who lives for Christ? What motive can occupy so high a ground or purpose, so glorious an aim? "For me to live is Christ."

(Paxton Hood.)

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.

(Paxton Hood.)

As the river's flowing, even away amid inland hills, is all advance towards the distant sea: as the blossom's beauty, even in early April days, is all progress towards the autumn fruit; so all St. Paul's life, even those acts and thoughts that seemed remotest, was a means to an end — Christ.

(A. K. H. Boyd, D. D.)

Suppose you have three students sitting with their canvas on easels before the work of some great painter. They have looked on that work until all have caught inspiration from it, and, with painstaking earnestness, they all try to reproduce what they see in the picture before them. Each will do his very best; each will have some palpable resemblance to the work, but each will differ from the others according to his ability, And with ourselves there is not the slightest reason for discouragement, though we are not able to reach the same degree of excellence that is obtained by some fellow disciple. Let every one try, as near as possible, to reproduce the original.

(W. G. Pascoe.)

A vine is growing; it grows in good ground; it grows strong. It draws the sap of the ground, and bears much fruit; but the fruit is bad. It is bitter to the taste, and poisonous. Another vine grows near it — a good vine — all good. They take a branch of the good vine, and bend it gently towards the wild vine, and they lay a strong hand on the wild vine, and bend it towards the good vine. They touch. They are fastened — the branch of the good vine to the stem of the evil. As yet this produces no change on the wild vine; but it is some needful preparatory work. They now make an opening in the stem of the wild vine, and another in the branch of the good vine. They place them into each other at the wound, and bind them up. The wounds heat, and the two have grown into each other. The next step in the process is to cut off the head of the wild vine, and leave instead the now engrafted branch of the good. Then the branch of the good is severed from its parent stem. The root of the evil tree remains; but its head now is the new and the good tree. "I live," murmurs the root and stem of the old evil tree far below." I live — you live; you have no leaf, no flower, no fruit: all the life is in the new tree. "I live," still humbly murmurs the old root out of the ground; "nevertheless not I, but the new good tree liveth in me; and the life that I now live in the ground, I live through the new and good tree, which loved me, and gave itself for me." This cutting, and bleeding, and binding, and grafting process took place while the patient was prostrate and blind outside the gate of Damascus.

(W. Arnot, D. D.)

Changed and varied the scenes around might be, but the heart was always the same: true to its one grand object far more steadily than the magnetic needle which does not always point to the north. The pinched miser might for a minute forget his wealth: a spring of something better might gush unawares in the ambitious man's heart, and make him forget the aim of his ambition: the watching mother might for a brief instant be startled into a forgetfulness that would take away the heavy burden of the seldom ceasing remembrance of her little dying babe: but the moment never came and the place never was, in which the great Apostle of the Gentiles forgot his Saviour. Was it too much, then, when looking over a life thus leavened and pervaded, he said, with a truthfulness of which words were but poor expression, "To me to live is Christ!"

(A. K. H. Boyd, D. D.)

The chief reason why Christianity does not yet pervade the world, is that Christ does not pervade the life of Christians.

(W. Arnot, D. D.)

I. WHAT KIND OF AN EVENT DEATH IS.

1. It is the most dreadful of events.(1) Its personifications show this: "Tyrant," "monster," "usurper," "king of terrors," "last enemy."(2) Every circumstance connected with it is appalling.

(a)Its cause and sin.

(b)Its forerunners — spiritual and bodily.

(c)Its accompaniments, forced separation, burial.

(d)"After death the judgment."

2. It is the most decisive event. It places the righteous beyond the possibility of fear, and the ungodly beyond the possibility of hope.

3. It is that event in which the excellency of religion pre eminently appears. Religion does not prevent the hissing of the serpent, but it extracts his sting; it does not show another entrance into Canaan than through the Jordan, but it divides the flood.

II. IN WHAT SENSE DYING IS A GAIN. It exchanges earth for heaven. Think of —

1. Its beauty.

2. Its purity.

3. Its pleasures.

4. Its friendship.

(A. Pope.)

I. PHYSICALLY: freedom from bodily restrictions, pain, and temptation.

II. MENTALLY. The liberation of the mind; multiplication of subject of thought; heavenly inspiration.

III. SOCIALLY. Reunion of friends; indefinite enlargement of the circle of acquaintance; society under the happiest, healthiest, and permanent conditions.

IV. SPIRITUALLY. "Forever with the Lord."

(W. H. H. Murray.)

I. IN REGARD TO DEATH ITSELF IT IS NOT A GAIN. It is part of the curse, the effect of sin. We may look further and consider these things as they bear upon eternity. The irrevocable step is taken. Every other step may be recovered, but not this. If death be not gain, what is it? Infinite, eternal loss. It is no small thing —

(1)To lose one's lamp of profession; it has cost years of hypocrisy to keep it;

(2)to lose one's hope;

(3)to lose one's body;

(4)but to lose one's soul, what is there not in that loss.He that hath not death for his gain, what has he for his gain?

(1)Is his money his gain? he had better not have acquired it.

(2)His talent? he had better not have used it:

(3)His soul? he had better not have had it.

(4)The gospel? he had better never have heard it.

II. IN WHAT SENSE CAN THE CHILD OF GOD SAY THAT DEATH IS GAIN.

1. Negatively.

(1)Not because he has more pardon. He is as much forgiven on earth as in heaven.

(2)Not because he is more a child of God.

(3)Not because he is more the object of God's sovereign love.

2. Positively. Because —

(1)He enjoys perfect freedom from sin and temptation.

(2)He enters the land of perfect rest, full enjoyment, and unbroken peace.

(3)He mingles with the society of perfected beings.

(4)He is forever with Christ.

(J. H. Evans, M. A.)

I. THE CONVICTION of the apostle.

1. It did not rest on observation or speculation. These would lead a man to regard death as the very reverse. We naturally shrink from death, and that because death is unnatural, yet we know it to be the destiny of every one of us. An element of uncertainty mingles with every other expectation, but with this none. Think, too, of its irrevocableness. Many of our efforts may be repeated, but there is no repetition of death. Mere human speculation, even in the wisest, never approached a conviction that death could bring gain. Strong desire and sublime guessing, this is all we find in Socrates or Cicero.

2. Paul's conviction rested on faith in Christ as the conqueror of death. The causes of aversion to death include the "dread of some thing after death." The only adequate explanation of death is that it is the wages of sin. The glorious tidings of the gospel are that Christ hath borne the curse and overthrown the power of death. Death is abolished, only the form remains. The saint shrinks from dying but has no fear of death.

3. The conviction stood in the very closest relation with the clause, "To live is Christ." Only those who are alive unto God will find death to be gain.

II. THE FACT THAT TO THE CHRISTIAN DEATH IS GAIN.

1. It is wider, deeper, clearer, more accurate knowledge of God and truth.

2. It is perfect holiness. "We shall be like Him."

3. We shall enter a glorious society.

4. We shall engage in joyful tireless work.

(R. Johnstone, LL. B.)

I. IMMEDIATELY ON DEATH MAN IS CAPABLE OF GAIN. The text is altogether against the notion of the soul's sleep between death and the resurrection.

1. The soul is distinct from the body and is not merely the vigour of the blood (Genesis 2:7; Ecclesiastes 11:7). It is distinct

(1)in its supports;

(2)in its operations;

(3)as to weakness and perfection;

(4)as to pleasure and pain;

(5)in the commands God hath given about it (Matthew 6:25; cf., Deuteronomy 4:9).

2. The soul can exercise its operations apart from the body (2 Corinthians 12:2).

3. That the souls of the saints do exist apart from the body appeareth from Scripture (Philippians 1:3; 2 Corinthians 5:1-2; Luke 23:43).

II. WHAT THIS GAIN IS.

1. Its nature.(1) Privatively.

(a)A freedom from all misery (Revelation 14:13; Revelation 21:21; Matthew 25:21). There is to be no serpent in the upper Paradise.

(b)Freedom from sin (1 Corinthians 15:26; Ephesians 5:27; Jude 1:24).(2) Positively.

(a)The vision of God (1 Corinthians 22:12); 1 John 3:2).

(b)The full fruition of God (2 Corinthians 3:18; 1 John 3:2) in holiness and happiness.

2. Its comfortable adjuncts.

(1)The place which is very glorious.

(2)The company (Hebrews 12:22-23; Matthew 8:11). As the loops of the tabernacle did couple the curtains, so dear love unites the glorified saints.

III. WE SHALL LOSE NOTHING THAT SHALL NOT BE MADE UP.

1. Do we lose friends? They are better in heaven, and we shall rejoin them.

2. Is it ordinances that we lose? There the Lamb shall be the light of the New Temple. We shall study Divinity in the light of Christ's face; and drink of the fruit of the vine new with Christ (Matthew 26:29).

3. Communion with God (1 Thessalonians 4:17). There will be no cloud on that day.

4. Service and opportunities for glorifying God. We shall be more active in his praise. The instrument will be perfectly in tune. Here we often jar, There will be no spot or blemish (Ephesians 5:27).

5. Comforts of this world. They are of use in our passage, and we must possess as if we possessed not (1 Corinthians 7:31); but there we are free from all needs. No man complains when he is recovered out of a disease, that he needs no more physic.

IV. USE.

1. To commend Christ's service to you. If you have dedicated your life to Him, then death will be better (Galatians 6:8).

2. A meditation for the dying.

(T. Manton, D. D.)

In what respect death is gain to believers.

I. IN RESPECT OF THEM SOULS. It separates souls from bodies, not to their loss but to their gain. It is with the souls of believers as with Paul and his company in Acts 27. The ship broke in pieces, but the passengers came all safe to land. The benefit is two-fold.

1. Perfection in holiness (Hebrews 12:23), which up to this consisted only in gradual advances. This perfection consists in —(1) Complete freedom from sin (Ephesians 5:27); from its commission (Revelation 21:27); its very inbeing, the possibility of sinning (Revelation 3:12).(2) The arrival of their holiness at the highest pitch they are capable of (Ephesians 4:13).(a) Their understandings shall be perfectly illuminated (1 Corinthians 13:12).(b) Their wills shall be perfectly upright, so that they shall will nothing but good, without the least bias to the other side (Revelation 21:27). A perfect conformity betwixt God's will and theirs, without the least possible jarring (1 John 3:2).(c) The executive faculty shall then perfectly answer the will with ease and delight (Matthew 6:10).

2. Immediate entering into glory (Luke 23:43). Here consider —(1) The glory they enter into.

(a)A glorious place (2 Corinthians 5:1; John 14:2; Revelation 21:23).

(b)A glorious society (Hebrews 12:23-4; John 17:24).

(c)A glorious state. What eye hath not seen. Rest and perfect blessedness.

II. IN RESPECT OF THEIR BODIES. Death cannot harm them.

1. It cannot separate them from Christ (1 Thessalonians 4:14).

2. It is a stage in their progress towards the resurrection. The saint's dust is precious, locked up in the grave as in a cabinet, till the Lord have further use for it.

(T. Boston, D. D.)

I. TO WHOM THE STARTLING EXPRESSION APPLIES. To Christians and no others. The text is limited in its application by the previous clause. Character and privilege are unseparably connected. To all but Christians death is everlasting ruin.

II. THE MEANING OF THY EXPRESSION.

1. There are few words that have a more powerful influence over human affairs than gain. It is the folly and the sin of men that they do not extend the application of it to moral subjects. Blessed the man who in reckoning up his gains can enter death as one of the items.

2. How wonderful does this appear when we consider what death is — the most fearful thing in the universe next to hell and sin. Yet it is gain to the believer. True, he loses all that is most precious to him in life upon earth; but all that he loses here compared with what he gains in heaven is as the surrender of a little homestead and a contracted farm to gain a kingdom and a crown, or parting with a single farthing for the acquisition of a princely revenue. Death is gain.(1) By delivering the Christian from all evils; labour and weariness, pain and weakness, care and fear, danger and disappointment. There will be no mortification of sin, for there will be no sin to mortify. No ignorance will becloud the judgment; no rebellion enslave the will, no depravity taint the heart, no disorder misguide the passions. And as there will be no evil in ourselves so there will be none in our companions. Hence there will be no envies nor strifes.(2) Because it brings us to the possession and enjoyment of all desirable, great, and glorious things.(a) In heaven there will be all things really desirable. Here many of our desires are unreasonable and their objects unattainable, or if attained injurious, but in heaven there is no improper desire. We shall wish only for what is right and shall never be disappointed.(b) All things great and glorious. Here the things we desire are not great, and there is a disproportion between the object we covet and the intensity of our longings. There we shall have put away childish things.Two words are descriptive of the heavenly state.(a) Life — Eternal life. We know now only imperfectly what it is to live. There our intellectual, spiritual, and social being will be in full and everlasting development.(b) Glory. We shall not merely behold its infinite glories, but shall say, "All these are mine." Here possession and enjoyment are often separated; but in heaven the objective source of happiness and the subjective condition of the soul will be in harmony.

III. Leaving these general remarks we may notice THE RESIDENCE OF THE RIGHTEOUS. Consider —

1. The agreeable and happy associates of all who reach that blessed world.

2. Their employments. True, we shall rest from our labours, but activity and glory will not be labour.

3. Their condition. They have the light of perfect knowledge irradiating their understanding, the glow of perfect love warming their hearts, the purity of perfect holiness diffused through their character forever. This gain accrues to all who live to Christ. We may advance a step further, and say that the death of a believer is, in a sense, gain to Christ. He is magnified by the death of His saints, in the support He administers, the consolation He imparts, the triumphant joys He inspires.Conclusion:

1. What a proof we have in this subject of the truth, excellence, and sustaining power of Christianity.

2. What a powerful means to overcome the undue love of life and fear of death.

3. How this subject should reconcile us to the death of our pious friends.

(J. A. James.)

Socrates in prison in Athens, as Paul was in Rome, unjustly accused, too, as he was, a good teacher further, according to his light, though a despised and rejected one, was sustained by the consciousness that no crime had been his, by the thought, also, that his suffering and death were of God's will. But among his last words, before the hemlock bowl had done its work, was this saddest saying to his friends: "It is now time to depart: — for me to die — for you to live — but which of us is going to a better thing, is uncertain to every one except only to the Deity." These words are not unlike those of Paul, but nothing of Paul's hope and assurance glows within them. All is gloomy uncertainty, if not even despair. There is nothing said of gain, and where it is to be found.

(J. Hutchinson, D. D.)

This is indeed a strange sound in the ears of nature, a sound of which nature knows nothing, and which sorely puzzles her. Death gain Why, in nature's account book death is sheer loss, the loss of everything, the loss of life, and of all that makes life pleasant and happy, the loss of the green fields and of the blue sky, of the sun and the moon and the stars, of the fresh air, of our homes and our gardens, of health, and strength, and mirth, and thought, and friendship, and love. It is the loss of all these bright and precious joys: and what does it give us in exchange? Darkness, and coldness, and numbness — a house of clay, with worms for our bedfellows — rottenness and nothingness. And can this be gain? Yes, brethren, if you are in Christ, as sure as Christ liveth, as sure as God liveth, it is gain. It is the passing from impurity to purity, from imperfection to perfection, from corruption to incorruption, from mortality to immortality, from broken glimpses of joy glancing through clouds of sorrow, to the full ever-beaming sunshine of the presence of God.

(Archdeacon Hare.)

As a father wades out into a stream to encourage his timid child to cross, so Christ went down into the river men had dreaded, but whose waters are full of cleansing, and whose farther waves beat on a golden shore. I regret to say that Christians are slow to improve the privilege of knowledge and faith.

(W. H. H. Murray.)

A leafless wood may preach you an awful sermon. Not only may you look upon it as a host of skeletons; it may also cry to you to bethink yourselves that even as these trees stand naked from head to foot before the eye of heaven, so will your souls ere long stand utterly bare and naked before the eye of God. Every cloak and mask you may have clad them in will be torn off. Every fading leaf and perishing flower — whatever is bred by the sun of this world, or put forth to win the eyes of this world — all the dress and drapery of our minds and hearts — our cleverness, our skill, our learning, our knowledge, our prudence, our industry, our gaiety, our good fellowship — all those qualities of fair seeming which have no higher aim than to look well in the sight of our neighbours — will be swept away; and nothing will remain but the skeletons of our souls, shivering in the sight of men and of angels, in the day of that last and terrible winter, when the glory of this world will have waned, and death will have spread out his hand over all the generations of mankind. Nothing will remain but the naked trunk and leafless branches of our souls, except those seeds of Christian faith and love, which may have remained secretly wrapt up in the bosom of the flowers. The leaf dies; for the leaf has no life in it. The flower dies; for the flower has no life in it. But the seed, if it be the seed of Christian faith and love, has life in it, and cannot die. When it falls to the ground, Christ sends His angels to gather it up, and bids them lay it by in the storehouses of heaven. By the world, indeed, it is unseen. The world perceives no difference between the flower that has seed in it, and the flower that has no seed. To the outward eye they look the same; for the outward eye sees only what is outward. But Christ knows His own: He beholds the seed within the heart of the flower: and He will not suffer it to die or to be lost. In the last day He will bring it forth, and will crown the branches again with the undying flowers of heaven.

(Archdeacon Hare.)

Rev. J. Hervey: Oh, welcome death! thou mayst well be reckoned among the treasures of the Christian. The great conflict is over; all is done. To live is Christ, but to die is gain — Dr. Payson: The battle's fought — the battle's fought; and the victory is won; the victory is won forever! I am going to bathe in an ocean of purity, and benevolence, and happiness to all eternity. Faith and patience, hold out — Rev. G. Roberts: Be quiet, my son? Be quiet, my son? No, no! If I had the voice of an angel I would rouse the inhabitants of Baltimore, for the purpose of telling them of the joys of redeeming love, Victory! Victory! Victory through the blood of the Lamb! — Rev. P. Hardcastle: On the second day before his death his pulse was feeble, and he was evidently sinking. When asked, "Can you say that the precious Word which you have been preaching is now your individual salvation?" "Yes," said he, "and my strength." "And your comfort?" "Yes, and my peace." "And your refuge?" "Yes," said the dying man, "and my life, my life, my life!" He passed away in the sixtieth year of his age, and the thirty-fifth of his ministry — Rev. J. Dickens: "My dear brother, do you not already see the towers of the New Jerusalem?" said a Christian brother. "I do," was his reply. When asked by the same person if they should engage in prayer, he said — "I would rather engage in praise." In that exercise he spent his last breath. The last words uttered were — "Glory! Glory! Come, Lord Jesus!"

(J. Bate.)

Before some of us there rise the high, cold, great snow mountains, on the summits of which nothing can live, and when we come to the base of them we look up and feel the trackless impassable wastes, and know not what lies beyond; but before others of us this man and those who hold with him, there has been a tunnel cut through the Alps, and it goes straight on, and comes out, keeping on in the same direction, beneath a bluer sky, and with a brighter land, with summer plains and a happier life spread before us in the warm south.

(A. Maclaren, D. D.)

"To die is gain," said Paul. "Out upon thee, thou ugly, foul phantom," said Charles Lamb, the mere man of letters, "I detest, abhor, and execrate thee, to be shunned as a universal viper, to be branded, proscribed, and evil spoken of. I care not to be carried with the tide that smoothly bears human life to eternity. I am in love with this green earth, the face of town and country, the unspeakable rural solitudes and the sweet security of streets. I would set up my tabernacle here — a new state of being staggers me."

(J. F. B. Tinling, B. A.)

You have been in a ship when it entered the harbour, and you have noticed the different looks of the passengers as they turned their eyes ashore. There was one who, that he might not lose a moment's time, had got everything ready for landing long ago; and now he smiles and beckons to yonder party on the pier, who in their turn, are so eager to meet him, that they almost press over the margin of the quay; and no sooner is the gangway thrown across, than he has hold of the arm of one, and another is triumphant on his shoulder, and all the rest are leaping before and after him on their homeward way. But there is another, who showed no alacrity. He gazed with pensive eye on the nearer coast and seemed to grudge that the trip was over. He was a stranger going amongst strangers, and though sometimes during the voyage he had a momentary hope that something unexpected might occur, and that some friendly face might recognize him in regions where he was going an alien and an adventurer — no such welcoming face is there, and with reluctant steps he quits the vessel, and commits himself to the unknown country. And now that every one else has disembarked, who is this unhappy man whom they have brought on deck, and whom, groaning in his heavy chains, they are conducting to the dreaded shore? Alas! he is a felon and a runaway, whom they are bringing back to take his trial there; and no wonder he is loath to land. Now, dear brethren, our ship is sailing fast. We shall soon hear the rasping of the shallows, and the commotion overhead, which bespeak the port in view. When it comes to that, how shall you feel? Are you a stranger, or a convict, or are you going home? Can you say, "I know whom I have believed"? Have you a Friend within the veil? And however much you may enjoy the voyage, and however much you may like your fellow passengers, does your heart sometimes leap up at the prospect of seeing Jesus as he is, and so being ever with the Lord?

(James Hamilton, D. D.)

Just before Calvin died he wrote to a friend these words: "My respiration is difficult, and I am about to breathe the last gasp, happy to live and die in Jesus Christ, who is gain to all His children in life and death." He felt what Paul felt.

A lady once said to John Wesley, "Suppose you knew you were to die at 12 o'clock tomorrow night, how would you employ the intervening time?" "Why, just as I intend to spend it now. I would preach this evening at Gloucester, and again at 5 o'clock tomorrow morning. After that I should ride to Tewkesbury, preach in the afternoon, meet the Societies in the evening. Then repair to friend Martin's, who expects to entertain me, converse and pray with the family as usual, retire to my room at 10 o'clock, commend myself to my heavenly Father, lie down to rest, and wake up in glory!"

1. Believers at death shall gain the glorious sight of God. They shall see Him intellectually with the eyes of their mind, which divines call the beatifical vision; if there were not such an intellectual sight of God, how do the spirits of just men, made perfect, see Him? They shall behold the glorified body of Jesus Christ; and if it be pleasant to behold the sun, then how blessed a sight will it be to see Christ the Sun of Righteousness clothed with our human nature, shining in glory above the angels? Through Christ's flesh, as through a transparent glass, some bright rays and beams of the Godhead shall display themselves to glorified eyes; the sight of God through Christ will be very complacential and delightful; the terror of God's essence will be taken away; God's majesty will be mixed with beauty, and sweetened with clemency; it will be infinitely delightful to the saints to see the amiable aspects and smiles of God's face.

2. The saints at death shall not only have a sight of God, but shall enjoy the love of God; there shall be no more a vail on God's face, nor His smiles chequered with frowns, but His love shall discover itself in all its orient beauty and fragrant sweetness. Here the saints pray for God's love, and they have a few drops, but there they shall have as much as their vessel can receive. To know this love that passeth knowledge, this will cause jubilation of spirit, and create such holy raptures of joy in the saints as are superlative, and would soon overwhelm them if God did not make them able to bear it.

3. Believers at death shall gain a celestial palace, an house not made with hands. Here the saints are straitened for room, they have but mean cottages to live in, but they shall have a royal palace to live in; here is but their sojourning house, there in heaven is their mansion house, an house built high above all the visible orbs, an house bespangled with light, enriched with pearls and precious stones. And this is not their landlord's house, but their Father's house; and this house stands all upon consecrated ground; it is set out by transparent glass to show the holiness of it.

4. Believers at death shall gain perfection of holiness. Here grace was but in its cradle, very imperfect; we cannot write a copy of holiness without blotting; believers are said to receive but "the first fruits of the Spirit." But at death the saints shall arrive at perfection, their knowledge clear, their sanctity perfect, their sun shall be in its full meridian splendour. How come the saints to have all this gain? Believers have a right to all this gain at death upon divers accounts: by virtue of the Father's donation, the Son's purchase, the Holy Ghost's earnest — and faith's acceptance. Therefore the state of future glory is called the saints' proper inheritance. They are heirs of God, and have a right to inherit. See the great difference between the death of the godly and the wicked; the godly are gainers at death, the wicked are great losers at death. They lose four things:

1. They lose the world.

2. They lose their souls.

3. They lose heaven.

4. They lose their hopes; for though they lived wickedly, yet they hoped God was merciful, and they hoped that they should go to heaven.Some plants thrive best when they are transplanted: believers, when they are by death transplanted, cannot choose but thrive, because they have Christ's sweet sunbeams shining upon them. And what though the passage through the valley of the shadow of death be troublesome? who would not be willing to pass a tempestuous sea if he were sure to be crowned so soon as he came to shore? What benefits do believers receive at death?

I. The saints at death have great immunities and freedoms. An apprentice when out of his time is made free: when the saints are out of their time of living, then they are made free, not made free till death.

1. At death they are freed from a body of sin.(1) It weighs us down; sin hinders us from doing good. A Christian is like a bird that would be flying up, but hath a string tied to its legs to hinder it; so he would be flying up to heaven with the wings of desire, but sin hinders him: "for what I would, that I do not." A Christian is like a ship that is under sail, and at anchor; grace would sail forward, but sin is the anchor that holds it back.(2) Sin is more active in its sphere than grace. How stirring was lust in David when his grace lay dormant!(3) Sin defiles the soul, it is like a stain to beauty, it turns the soul's azure brightness into sable.(4) Sin debilitates us, it disarms us of our strength: "I am this day weak, though anointed king:" so, though a saint be crowned with grace, yet he is weak, though anointed a spiritual king.(5) Sin is ever restless: "the flesh lusts against the Spirit."(6) Sin adheres to us, we cannot get rid of it.(7) Sin mingles with our duties and graces; we cannot write a copy of holiness without blotting. Death smites a believer as the angel did Peter, he made his chains fall off, so death makes all the chains of sin fall off. This makes a believer so desirous to have his pass to be gone; he would fain live in that pure air where no black vapours of sin arise.

II. At death the saints shall be freed from all the troubles and incumbrances to which this life is subject. There are many things to embitter life and cause trouble, and death frees us from all.

1. Care. Care is a spiritual canker which eats out the comfort of life; death is the cure of care.

2. Fear. Fear is the ague of the soul which sets it a shaking; "there is torment in fear." Fear is like Prometheus's vulture, it gnaws upon the heart.

3. Labour. "All things are full of labour." They rest from their labours.

4. Suffering. Believers are as a lily among thorns; as the dove among the birds of prey.

5. Temptation. Though Satan be a conquered enemy, yet he is a restless enemy. After death hath shot its darts at us, the devil shall have done shooting his; though grace puts a believer out of the devil's possession, only death frees him from the devil's temptation.

6. Sorrow. Believers are here in a strange country, why then should they not be willing to go out of it? Death beats off their fetters of sin, and sets them free. Who goes weeping from a jail? Besides our own sins, the sins of others. O then be willing to depart out of the tents of Kedar!

(T. Watson.)

Caesar, after his victories, in token of honour, had a chair of ivory set for him in the senate, and a throne in the theatre; the saints, having obtained their victories over sin and Satan, shall be enthroned with Christ in the empyrean heaven. To sit with Christ denotes safety: to sit on the throne, dignity: "this honour have all the saints." In glory is a blessed rest — "there remaineth therefore a rest." A happy transit from labour to rest. Here we can have no rest, tossed and turned as a ball on a racket, "we are troubled on every side." How can a ship rest in a storm? But after death the saints get into their haven. Everything is quiet in the centre; God is "the centre where the soul doth sweetly acquiesce." A Christian, after his weary marches and battles, shall put off his bloody armour, and rest himself upon the bosom of Jesus, that bed of perfume; when death hath given the saints the wings of a dove, then they shall fly away to paradise and be at rest.

(T. Watson.)

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