Philippians 1:23
I am torn between the two. I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better indeed.
Sermons
Thoughts Suggested by His CaptivityR. Finlayson Philippians 1:12-30
Life Here and HereafterR.M. Edgar Philippians 1:21-26
Fruit and GainV. Hutton Philippians 1:22-24
The Apostle's DilemmaT. Croskery Philippians 1:22-24
A Strait Betwixt TwoR. Johnson, LL. B.Philippians 1:22-26
Self-Love and Social LoveD. Thomas Philippians 1:22-26
St. Paul's ChoiceJ. Rogers, D. D.Philippians 1:22-26
A StraitW.F. Adeney Philippians 1:23, 24
Better to be with Christ than HerePhilippians 1:23-24
Christ is Best: Or, St. Paul's StraitR. Sibbes, D. D.Philippians 1:23-24
Christ, Heaven's Supreme AttractionC. H. Spurgeon.Philippians 1:23-24
Death a GainH. W. Beecher.Philippians 1:23-24
Death, a DepartureT. De Witt Talmage.Philippians 1:23-24
DepartW. Arnot, D. D.Philippians 1:23-24
Forever with the LordC. H. Spurgeon.Philippians 1:23-24
Heaven Our HomeT. Guthrie.Philippians 1:23-24
Life More Our Business than DeathJ. L. Nye., Bishop Beveridge.Philippians 1:23-24
Longing for HomeC. H. Spurgeon.Philippians 1:23-24
Paul and VoltaireW. Jay.Philippians 1:23-24
Paul's Desire to DepartC. H. Spurgeon.Philippians 1:23-24
Ready for HeavenJ. N. Norton, D. D.Philippians 1:23-24
St. Paul's Doubt and DesireA. Farindon, B. D.Philippians 1:23-24
StraitW. Arnot, D. D.Philippians 1:23-24
The Attractions of Heaven Checked by the Claims of EarthS. Martin.Philippians 1:23-24
The Desire of the Apostle; Yet His PerplexityW. Jay.Philippians 1:23-24
The Desire to DepartH. W. Beecher.Philippians 1:23-24
To Depart is to be with ChristPhilippians 1:23-24
Willing to Wait, But Ready to GoW. Arnot, D. D.Philippians 1:23-24
St. Paul is in a strait between his personal desire to depart and be with Christ, and his unselfish willingness to remain on earth for the good of the Church.

I. THE PERSONAL DESIRE TO DEPART AND BE WITH CHRIST. This is no mere sentimental yearning for death, such as very young people sometimes dream about. St. Paul is an old man, and old men commonly cling to life. He is in bonds, however; he has fought a good fight; he feels the weariness of a life of extraordinary hardship and toil; soberly, earnestly, reverently, he longs to be with Christ.

1. St. Paul had a gram! faith in the future life. He was not; simply resigned, he longed for the great change. His was not Hamlet's wish -

"To die, - to sleep,-
No mere; and, by a sleep, to say we end
The heart-ache, and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to." Many have devoutly wished for this consummation, longing only to be at peace, "where the wicked cease from troubling and the weary are at rest." St. Paul's great desire was positive - life with Christ.

2. The essential Christian blessedness is to be with Christ. We know exceedingly little about the future life. When we pass from rhetorical images to distinct facts, the chief, almost the only, thing we know is that Christians will be with Christ (John 14:3).

"My knowledge of that life is small, -
The eye of faith is dim;
But 'tis enough that Christ knows all,
And I shall be with him." Note:

(1) Only they who have followed Christ on earth can dwell with Christ in heaven.

(2) Only they who have loved Christ on earth can rejoice to depart and be with Christ in heaven. It is far better to depart, just because, and only because, Christ is far dearer than all earthly things; for where our treasure is, there will our heart be also.

II. THE UNSELFISH WILLINGNESS TO REMAIN ON EARTH TO SERVE THE CHURCH. St. Paul was resigned to life. His conception of Christianity was unselfish service. Men sometimes ask - Why are not Christians taken straight to heaven out of the troubles and temptations of this world? One reason for remaining here is their own discipline. Another is the work they have to do. As Christ came into the world to bless mankind, Christians are retained in the world that they may be the salt of the earth. But they should remember that they are pilgrims and strangers; in the world, but not of it; serving the world, but looking for their greatest joy above it. Let every man ask him-self - Is it for the good of my fellow-men that I should be continued in life? How many useful lives are cut down! How many cumberers of the ground are spared by the long-suffering mercy of God, in the hope that they may yet bear fruit, though at the eleventh hour! - W.F.A.







I am in a strait betwixt two
I. ST. PAUL'S STRAIT. His soul was as a ship between two winds, tossed up and down; as iron between two loadstones, drawn first one way and then another. The people of God are often in great straits. Some things are so exceedingly bad that without deliberation we ought to abominate them; some things so good that we should immediately cling to them; others again are of a doubtful nature, requiring our best consideration, as Paul's here.

II. ONE GROUND OF THIS STRAIT WAS HIS PRESENT DESIRE.

1. I have a desire. When there is anything set before the soul having a magnetical force to draw out the motives thereof we call that a desire, even though for the present the soul desires it not. This desire was —

(1)Spiritual.

(2)It came from a taste of sweetness in communion with Christ.

(3)Constant. "I have," I carry it about with me.

(4)Efficacious, not the will of a sluggard, but one which carried him through death itself.

2. I desire to depart.(1) There must be a parting from the enjoyment of the creature, from the body, from friends.(2) There was to be a departing also. Here we cannot stay long; away we must; we are for another place (Psalm 90:2). Paul labours to sweeten so harsh a thing by comfortable expressions of it — sleep, going home, etc.

3. I desire to be with Christ.(1) Why doth he not say heaven? Because heaven is not heaven without Christ, but He is the heaven of heaven. Every creature is best in its own element; Christ is the element of the Christian. If, therefore, death is a passage to Him, what is there in it to be feared? (1 Corinthians 3:22).(2) There is none but a Christian who can desire death, for to be with Christ is perfect holiness.

4. The consummation of this desire would be far better than anything or everything else. God reserves the best for the last. The Christian is happy in life, happier in death, happiest in heaven.

5. How shall we attain this desire? Let us carry ourselves as Paul did (chap. Philippians 3:20).(1) He had his conversation in heaven.(2) He loosed his affection from all earthly things (Galatians 6:14).(3) He laboured to keep a good conscience in all things (Acts 24:16; Hebrews 10:22).(4) He had the assurance that he was in Christ by his union with Him (Galatians 2:19).(5) He had an art of sweetening the thoughts of death, by regarding it as the passage to Christ and life.

III. THE OTHER GROUND OF HIS STRAIT WAS HIS PRESENT CONVICTION that to stay was better for them.

1. The lives of worthy men are very needful for the Church of God, because God's method is to bless man by man.

(1)By their counsel and direction (Proverbs 7:21).

(2)By their reformation of abuses.

(3)By their good example (Philippians 2:15).

(4)By their prayers.

2. Holy men can deny themselves and their own best good for the Church's benefit. Because —

(1)They have the spirit of love, and love seeketh not her own.

(2)The Spirit of Christ who minded not His own things (1 Corinthians 10:24).

3. Use.

(1)Oh that we may have this Spirit to set us a work to do good while we are here.

(2)Set loving hearts full of inventions how to glorify God and do good to man.

(3)Labour to have sufficiency that you may have ability to do good.

(R. Sibbes, D. D.)

I. THE TWO DESIRES.

1. To depart and be with Christ. This desire is composed of two parts — a vestibule somewhat dark and forbidding, through which the pilgrim must pass, and a temple unspeakably glorious, which is to be his home.(1) The exodus from this life by dissolution of the body. The band that knits body to soul is broken at death, and the soul escapes.(2) The company to which the exodus more directly leads is Christ. Paul knew of no place of purgation. Wherever and whatever the place of saved spirits, one thing is certain — Christ is there. Christians need not care for more. Christ's presence is needed for human happiness. Heaven would not be heaven, however otherwise glorious, without a human Christ to fasten the affections upon.

2. To abide in the flesh.(1) It is a natural and lawful desire. God has placed and visited us here, and given us something to do. This is a point of great importance. Some rebelliously cling to life without respect to God's will; others are troubled because in illness they discover a desire for longer days. Let the love of life remain, only get it so sanctified that at the appointed time it may cease.

II. THE CHRISTIAN BALANCED EVENLY BETWEEN THE TWO DESIRES.

1. To depart was far better.

2. To stay was more needful.

3. The desire to be with Christ does not make life unhappy, because it is balanced by the pleasure of working for Christ; the desire to work for Christ does not make the approach of dissolution painful, because it is balanced by the expectation of being soon ever with the Lord.

4. These two constitute the spiritual man. They are the right and left sides of the new creature in Christ Jesus. Where both grow equally, there is no halting; where both have grown well, the step is steady and the progress great.

III. PRACTICAL LESSONS.

1. This text is sufficient to destroy the whole fabric of Romish prayer to departed saints.

2. The chief use of a Christian in the world is to do good.

3. You cannot be effectively useful to those who are in need on earth unless you hold by faith and hope to Christ on high.

4. Living hope of going to be with Christ is the only anodyne which can neutralize the pain of parting with those who are dear to us in the body.

(W. Arnot, D. D.)

I. HAVING A DESIRE TO DEPART. A disciple of Christ may have a desire to depart.

1. For the sake of having the departing over. This is more terrible in prospect than in realization or in retrospect. We shrink from the strangeness of a new habitation however glorious; from the dark valley, however bright the yonder light.

2. For the sake of heaven's attractions as —(1) A place. It is Paradise regained. Beauty smiles there, life reigns there, the blessing of God is enshrined there. There is no night, no withering cold or scorching heat.(2) A state, sorrowless, deathless, curseless, sinless.

3. For the sake of the objects of our holiest affections — our Father, our glorified Saviour, unfallen spirits, redeemed souls.

4. For the sake of the realization of our highest hopes. The weary look for rest, the hindered worker for unfettered action, the sad for gladness, the solitary for congenial society, the fearful for safety, the doubtful for certainty.

II. THERE WERE CLAIMS WHICH HELD PAUL TO EARTH.

1. Had Paul been a husband and a father he could have turned to his household and said, "for you." But his only tie to earth was God's Church. There is a peculiar connection between the man who has been the means of another's conversion or spiritual progress which can never be dissolved and which no other can take up. Paul, therefore, desired to live to instruct and comfort his converts, guide the whole Church, and win souls for Christ.

2. This double attraction perplexed, him and it was a good sign, a sign of life and high sensibility. Those whose religious life is monotonous have not much life in them.(1) A man of the world is in no such strait. He is drawn but in one direction; by many things it may be, gold, honour, treasures, but only earthward.(2) The hypocrite is in no such strait. His straits are connected with keeping on his mask and his cloak.(3) The lukewarm and declining Christian has no such straits.

3. This perplexity only existed until the will of God was expressed to him. As soon as he knew that he said, "I am ready; the time of my departure is at hand." Conclusion: The right state is to be attracted by Christ, wherever Christ is, in His Church on earth or His Church in heaven; and to the place in which we can most glorify Him.

(S. Martin.)

Nothing is more unpleasant than uncertainty and indecision. Shall I take a journey or not? Sometimes the ease is very important; marriage, e.g. What a strait was Jacob in between starvation and letting Benjamin go to Egypt, and David with his three things to choose. Paul was now in a strait not between two evil but between two good things. It was the strait of a man in a garden between a peach and a nectarine; a rose and a lily. He was between living and dying; but Christ was connected with both; whether he should enjoy Christ in heaven or serve Him on earth.

I. HIS REPRESENTATION OF DEATH. Consider —

1. Its nature — departure.(1) The idea may be exemplified by the traveller's departure from the inn, a prisoner's from his dungeon.(2) By so calling it Paul showed that man is a compound being. Cowper does not inscribe on the tomb of his dog, "Here lies the body," but "Here lies poor Dansy." There is a spirit in man.(3) This departure was the inlet to future blessedness. "To be with Christ." So heaven will be a social state. If Socrates could feel pleasure at the thought of being with Musaeus, and other worthies who had lived before him, what must be the attraction of the believer in Jesus.

2. The preference he gives it. "Far better" than what?(1) Than to be stoned in the streets of Corinth; to fight with the beasts of Ephesus, etc.? That would he saying very little.(2) It would also be saying very little if far better than his temporal mercies. There are things now that the believer deems far better.(3) It would be far better than the enjoyment of the best and most spiritual things below.

II. HIS DESIRE AFTER IT.

1. The desire of death can never be natural.

2. The fear of death is as natural as hunger and sleep; and there is no evil in it. If anything can raise us above it it must be supernatural.

3. There may be more who feel this desire than you are aware of.

4. Christians have more of this readiness to die as they approach death.

III. THE COUNTER BALANCE BY WHICH HE WAS WILLING TO REMAIN. The apostle shows the sense he had of his own importance, and the self-denial he was willing to exercise in order to be useful. Humility does not consist in ignorance.

(W. Jay.)

At a private meeting of friends George Whitefield, after adverting to the difficulties attending the gospel ministry, said that he was weary with the burdens of the day, and declared it to be his great consolation that in a short time his work would be done, and he should depart and be with Christ. He then appealed to the ministers present, and asked if they had not entirely similar feelings. They generally assented, with the exception of Mr. Tennent. On seeing this, Mr. Whitefield, tapping him on the knee, said: "Well, Brother Tennent, you are the oldest man among us; do you not rejoice to think that your time is so near at hand when you will be called home?" Mr. Tennent bluntly answered that he had no wish about it. Being pressed for some opinion more definite and decided; he then added: "I have nothing to do with death. My business is to live as long as I can, and as well as I can, and serve my Master as faithfully as I can until He shall think proper to call me home." It proved a word in season to the great evangelist, helping him more calmly and patiently to hold on his way.

(J. L. Nye.)

I. THE SAINTS ARE SOMETIMES IN STRAITS (2 Samuel 24:14).

II. THEY MIND NOT THEIR OWN BUT THE GLORY OF GOD AND GOOD OF OTHERS (chap. Philippians 2:21).

III. THE TRULY PIOUS DESIRE TO DEPART AND BE WITH CHRIST.

1. What is it to depart? (2 Peter 1:14; 2 Corinthians 5:1). To go into the other world.

2. What to be with Christ?

(1)To enjoy His presence (John 12:26; John 17:24).

(2)To behold His glory (John 17:24; 1 Corinthians 13:12).

(3)To have communion with Him.

3. Why do they desire to be with Christ? Because —

(1)They believe His promises (John 14:1-2).

(2)Are convinced of the creature's vanity and Christ's excellency.

(3)Love Christ above all things (Philippians 3:8-9; Psalm 42:1-2).

(4)Long to be eased of their sins (Romans 7:24).

(5)To be out of the devil's reach (1 Peter 5:8).

(6)They have foretastes of heaven already (1 Peter 1:8).

(7)This is the end of all their labours (1 Peter 1:9).

4. It is better to be with Christ than here (Matthew 17:4). We shall have better —

(1)Souls (Hebrews 12:23).

(2)Bodies (Philippians 3:21).

(3)Company (Hebrews 12:22-23; John 17:24).

(4)Employments (Revelation 7:11-12).

(5)Honours (John 12:26).

(6)Riches (Matthew 6:19-20).

(7)Pleasures.

(Bishop Beveridge.)

I. PAUL IS HIS STRAIT. He would be with Christ and yet with the Philippians; he would be dissolved and yet live. He resolved, however, at last against himself.

1. For the glory of God; the prime motive of our Christian obedience. We must neither live nor die but to God's glory.

2. For the good of the brethren, wherein God's glory is greatly manifested (2 Corinthians 12:15).

3. This was only possible to a man already in Christ, and imbued by His Spirit.

4. If the same mind be in us which was in Paul we should look upon our calling as Christians as the most delightful yet most troublesome calling.

II. PAUL'S DESIRE.

1. The desire carries nothing in it that hath any opposition to the will of God. It is not wrought in us by impatience or sense of injuries as is the case of Stoics.

2. This desire is from heaven, heavenly (Hebrews 4:9; 2 Timothy 4:8). We love Christ and would be where His honour dwelleth.

3. This desire —(1) is but for a dissolving of the whole into its parts, that the better part may have the better portion at once and the whole by and by.(2) Brings us to Christ, and is therefore(3) the fittest object for our desire to fasten upon.

(A. Farindon, B. D.)

I. THE APOSTLE'S DESCRIPTION OF DEATH.

1. Negatively. He does not call it —(1) An arrest. In the death of the wicked the sheriff's officer of justice lays his clay-cold hand upon the man's shoulder and he is a prisoner forever: "but who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect?"(2) A plunge. The wicked stand upon the precipice of a yawning and bottomless gulf and their unwilling spirits must take a desperate leap. The believer climbs upwards.

2. Positively. He calls it —(1) A departure, like a vessel homeward bound.(2) Departure to Christ.

(a)We shall see Him as He is.

(b)We shall commune with Him.

(c)We shall enjoy full fruition of Him.

II. THE APOSTLE'S DESIRE.

1. Some men are seared by it.

2. Others with a seared conscience meet it with an idiot resignation.

3. The apostle panted to be gone: as the captain with his rich freight longs for the harbour, as the conqueror longs for his crown.

III. THE APOSTLE'S REASONS.

1. Others besides he have longed to die.(1) The suicide mad from life's misery leaps from one evil to a myriad.(2) The so called philosopher, sick of mankind. Not so Paul, he was neither coward nor man hater.(3) Those who think that by getting out of the world they will escape their disappointments and suffering.

2. Paul felt this desire because he knew that being with Christ —(1) He would be clean rid of sin.(2) That he would meet his brethren in the faith who had gone before;(3) That he would be with Christ, and these words have all heaven condensed in them.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

I. THE APOSTLE'S CERTAINTY RESPECTING THE DISEMBODIED STATE.

1. Paul was an eminently conscientious man who would not say what he did not believe to be true, and a man of well-balanced reason, logic preponderating among his faculties.

2. Now this Paul was convinced of a future state. He did not believe in purgatory, much less that the soul sleeps until the resurrection.

3. What made this conscientious and collected man come to this conclusion? I suppose he would have replied first that he had been converted by a sight of the Lord Jesus. He was sure he had seen Him, and that He had come from somewhere and gone somewhere; and recollecting the prayer, "I will that they be with me where I am," he was quite certain that as soon as saints died they were with Christ.

4. Remember this judicious and truthful witness had other distinct evidence of the disembodied state. He had been caught up into Paradise. It was, therefore, not merely matter of belief but of observation.

5. Paul had no doubt then, nor need you. If you believe in Him there is no condemnation, and if so, no separation (Romans 8) either in this life or that which is to come.

II. THE APOSTLE'S IDEA OF THAT STATE.

1. It is a one-sided idea and almost a one-worded description: an inclusive idea, for it takes in all the heaven which the largest mind can conceive.

2. Being with Christ is so great a thing that he mentioned it alone.(1) Because his love was so concentrated on Christ that he could think of nothing else in this connection.(2) He was persuaded that heaven could not be heaven if Christ was not there. It would be day without the sun, existence without life, seeing without light, the heavens without their stars. Christ is heaven and heaven is Christ.

3. What is it to be with Christ?(1) It is to be with Him — heaven is not merely what comes out of being with Him, His company itself is heaven.(2) It is to have a clearer vision of Him than is possible now, and this vision will be ravishing.(3) Brighter knowledge. Here we only know in part.(4) More intimate intercourse.(5) Unbroken fellowship.(6) A share of His glory.

III. THE APOSTLE'S ESTIMATE OF THIS DISEMBODIED STATE. "Very far better."

1. St. Paul does not claim for this state that it is the believer's highest condition, because one half of him is left behind. The fulness of our glory is the resurrection. Yet for one half of his manhood to be with Christ is far better than for the whole of his being to be here under the best possible conditions, not merely of worldly wealth, etc. — he had got above all that — but of spiritual excellence and blessing.

2. Concerning our departed friends, then, how can we sorrow?

3. With regard to ourselves what is there to fear?

4. All this points to the fountain of bliss while we are here. The nearer we get to Christ the more we shall participate in what makes the joy of heaven.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

I. WHAT IS IT TO BE WITH CHRIST? It implies —

1. Our being where He is (John 14:2-4).

2. Our enjoying what He enjoys.

(1)Clear knowledge of God (John 17:3; 1 Corinthians 13:12).

(2)Perfect love.

(3)Eternal joy (Philippians 4:1).

II. HOW IS IT BETTER?

1. In its immunities.(1) From sin (1 Corinthians 15:30).

(a)Errors in judgment (1 Corinthians 13:12).

(b)Disorder in affections.

(c)Infirmity in actions.(2) From misery (Revelation 21:4).

2. In its enjoyments, which are better; because —

(1)More real (Proverbs 23:5).

(2)More spiritual (Matthew 11:28-29).

(3)More satisfying (Psalm 16:11; Psalm 17:15).

(4)More certain (Isaiah 55:3).

(5)More lasting (2 Corinthians 5:1).

III. USES. Labour to get to Christ.

1. Means.(1) Repent (Luke 13:3).(2) Believe on Christ (Acts 16:31).(3) Labour after true grace, without which you shall not (Hebrews 12:14), and you cannot enjoy God.(4) Use the means appointed (Romans 10:17).

2. Motives.(1) Labour after it. Consider —

(a)It is possible.

(b)It is desired by God (Ezekiel 33:11).

(c)You will repent ere long unless you do.(2) Seek it first.

(a)It is a thing of the greatest concern (Luke 10:42).

(b)It is the only thing needful (Luke 10:42).(3) Labour after it now (Psalm 95:8-9). Consider —

(a)Your time is short.

(b)The work is great.

(c)You know not when you will be called to account.

(Bishop Beveridge.)

I was lately looking over Voltaire's correspondence with one of his literary female acquaintances, and no less than three times in his letters does he say, "I dread death and hate life." Was it so with the Apostle Paul? Did he dread death? What is his language — "I have a desire to depart and to be with Christ, which is far better." Did he hate life? "Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you, and, having this confidence," etc.

(W. Jay.)

From the word strait employed in our translation we are apt to take up the notion of pain and difficulty. This is not the idea which the apostle intended to express. Literally the word signifies to be between two, and held by both at the same time. In ordinary circumstances, and in the present case especially, this is pleasanter and safer than to be held by only one. This strait is the happiest condition in which a living man can be. It is not a position of distraction from which he would fain escape, but a position of solid repose. To be grasped and drawn by either of these emotions alone would bend and break a man; to be attracted equally by both produces a delicious equilibrium. The spiritual fact may be explained by a material example. Suppose a man is standing aloft upon a pedestal where he finds room to plant his feet and no more. Suppose that one neighbour stands near him on the right hand, and another near him on the left. If one of these grasp and draw him, his posture immediately becomes uneasy and dangerous. Under the strain he does not keep his footing easily, and will not keep it long. But if both should grasp him, either seizing a hand, and draw with equal force in opposite directions, the result would be an erect attitude and an easy position. Such precisely in the spiritual department is the equilibrium of a believer who is held and drawn by both these desires at once. It is the strait betwixt two that makes him easy. Either of these desires wanting the other would distress him in proportion to its strength. On the one hand, a desire to abide in the flesh without a balancing desire to depart and to be with Christ, is a painful condition. The weight hanging on one side racks the person all over. Most men are crushed in this manner all their days. The Redeemer knows this sorrow and provides relief. One specific design of His coming was "to deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage." As soon as one of these tremblers is begotten again into a living hope, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, the balance is restored and deliverance effected. On the other hand, the converse is equally true, although not equally common. To experience a desire to depart, unbalanced by a desire to abide in the flesh, is also a painful experience. Many Christians pass through at least a short period of this unevenness and uneasiness before they are set free. Whatever may be the immediate causes which have made life wearisome to a Christian, whenever the desire to abide dies out, the desire to depart distracts him. It may be that most of us at present would gladly bargain for such a state of mind at the close of life, as being the safest; but it is, notwithstanding, and not the less a painful state of mind.

(W. Arnot, D. D.)

I shall never forget the cry of the late Rev. Dr. De Witt, of New York, as he stood at the grave of his wife. After the body had been lowered to its resting place, that venerable man of God leaned over the open space and said: "Farewell, my honoured, faithful, beloved wife. The bond that bound us is severed, thou art in glory, I am still on earth, but we shall meet again. Farewell, farewell!"

(T. De Witt Talmage.)

As a home the believer delights to think of it. Thus when, lately bending over a dying saint, and expressing our sorrow to see him laid so low, with the radiant countenance rather of one who had just left heaven, than of one about to enter it, he raised and clasped his hands, and exclaimed in ecstasy, "I am going home." Happy the family of which God is the Father, Jesus the elder Brother, and all the "saints in light" are brethren.

(T. Guthrie.)

I have heard a story of the celebrated Mr. William Dawson, who used to call himself "Billy" Dawson, much to the point. On one occasion, when he and some other Methodist friends were spending the evening together, a dear friend of mine happened to be present, and heard what passed. They were praying that Mr. Dawson's life might be spared for many years to come, that such an earnest man might be kept in the Church for the next twenty or thirty years. At last, as they were just in the middle of prayer, William Dawson said, "Lord, don't hear 'em: I want to get my work done, and go home; I don't want to be here any longer than there is needs be;" and the brethren stopped their prayers, thunderstruck as they witnessed his emotion. Now I believe that feeling will often pass over the earnest working Christian. "Oh," saith he, "I am not lazy; I am not idle; but still, I would like to get my work done."

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

The most you can do to a good man is to persecute him; and the worst that persecution can do is to kill him. And killing a good man is as bad as it would be to spite a ship by launching it. The soul is built for heaven, and the ship for the ocean, and blessed be the hour that gives both to the true element.

(H. W. Beecher.)

As birds in the hour of transmigration feel the impulse of southern lands, and gladly spread their wings for the realm of light and bloom, so may we, in the death hour, feel the sweet solicitations of the life beyond, and joyfully soar from the chill and shadow of earth to fold our wings and sing in the summer of an eternal heaven!

(H. W. Beecher.)

The Rev. Alexander Fisher, of Dunfermline, an excellent young minister, in the afternoon of the day on which he died, inquired what the hour was, and on being informed, said, "What would you think if I were in heaven tonight?" It was answered, "Then you will be with your Saviour, and see Him face to face." His pale emaciated countenance seemed to beam with delight, and his faltering lips uttered, "Glory, glory, glory!"

A little child was playing with her mother, and they were talking about heaven. The mother had been telling of the joy and glories of that happy world. The matchless beauty of the angels, the golden streets and pearly gates, and the exultant song of redemption. "There is no sickness in those bright realms, no pain, no death, no sorrow, nor sighing, nor tears, no sin; for all will be pure and holy." "Oh, dear mother!" exclaimed the little child, in her amazement and delight, "let us all go now!" "We must wait a little," said the mother, "wait until God shall send for us." "Well, dear mother," responded the child, in a tone of disappointment, "if we can't start now, as any rate, let us pack up and be ready!" There is a whole sermon in that one sentence: "Let us pack up and be ready!" Oh, what a world of difference between being ready and unready!

(J. N. Norton, D. D.)

Being with Christ is so great a thing that he mentioned it alone, because his love was so concentrated upon Christ that he could think of nothing else in connection with heaven. There is a wife here, perhaps, and her husband is in India. He has been long away, and the years of his forced absence have been weary to her. She has had loving messages from him and kind letters, but often has she sighed, and her heart has looked out of the windows towards the east, yearning for his return; but now she has received a letter entreating her to go out to her husband, and without hesitation she has resolved to go. Now, if you ask her what she is going to India for, the reply will be, "I am going to my husband." But she has a brother there, she has many old friends there, her husband has a handsome estate there. Yes, there may be other inducements to make the voyage, but to be with her beloved is the master object of her journey. She is going to the man she loves with all her soul, and she is longing for the country, whatever that country may be, because he is there. It is so with the Christian, only enhanced in a tenfold degree.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

The word "depart" means strictly to take to pieces. The living man is contemplated as a complex machine, and it is intimated that at death its joints are loosed, and the whole is broken up into its constituent elements. This life in the body is like a watch. By food, and drink, and air, it is wound up daily, and so kept going. At last the machinery, by gradual wear and tear, or by some sudden accident, is brought to a stand. Then it is taken down — taken to pieces — in order that it may be purified and perfected, and set agoing again, not to measure then the changing seasons of time, but to move on, without waste or weariness, in a limitless eternity. More immediately, the dissolution or untying probably refers to the separation of soul and body. The band that knit them together is broken at death. The soul escapes, and the body, meantime, returns to dust. In this view the works of the watch never stand still. When life from God was first breathed into that immortal being, it was wound up, once for all, to go for ever. At the shock of death it is severed from its case of flesh. Outer casement, and figured dial, and pointed hands, all remain with us, and all stand still. But these never were the moving springs. These were shells to protect the tender from injury where the road was rough, and indices to make the movements palpable to bodily sense; but the vital motion of the departed spirit continues uninterrupted, unimpeded, in a region where no violence is dreaded, and no sign to the senses is required.

(W. Arnot, D. D.)

Links
Philippians 1:23 NIV
Philippians 1:23 NLT
Philippians 1:23 ESV
Philippians 1:23 NASB
Philippians 1:23 KJV

Philippians 1:23 Bible Apps
Philippians 1:23 Parallel
Philippians 1:23 Biblia Paralela
Philippians 1:23 Chinese Bible
Philippians 1:23 French Bible
Philippians 1:23 German Bible

Philippians 1:23 Commentaries

Bible Hub
Philippians 1:22
Top of Page
Top of Page