Meditating on death
John Bradford's A Meditation on Death, and the Advantages It Brings:
What else do we daily in this present life, than heap sin to sin, and hoard up trespass upon trespass? So that this day always is worse than yesterday, by increasing our sins as our days, and therefore thy indignation, good Lord, is against us. But when we shall be suffered to go out of the body, and are taken into thy blessed company, then shall we be in the fullest safety of immortality and salvation; then shall come unto us no sickness, no need, no pain, no kind of evil to soul or body; but whatsoever good we can wish, that shall we have, and whatsoever we loath shall be far from us. Oh dear Father, that we had faith to behold these things accordingly! Oh that our hearts were persuaded thereof, and our affections inflamed with the desire of them! Then should we live in longing for that which now we most loath. Oh help us, and grant that we, being ignorant of things to come, and of the time of our death, which to thee is certain, may so live and finish our journey here, that we may be ready, and then depart, when our departing may make most to thy glory and our comfort through Christ!Been thinking about death and dying more frequently these days—October, being the month of Tatay's death. Two emails in my inbox reported news of my patients' passing. And it has been raining in the afternoons. There's nothing else quite like the pouring rain on a quiet afternoon, when the tropical sun is temporarily shielded from view, the living room is quiet, the house is almost empty, and one is left with his own thoughts.
The Puritans knew so much about death and, in a way, looked forward to it as departure from the sinful world and a reunion with their Creator. John Bradford prays, "Oh dear Father, that we had faith to behold these things accordingly! Oh that our hearts were persuaded therefor, and our affections inflamed with the desire of them!"
Bradford writes to believers:
Thereto remember the good things that shall ensue after this life, and without wavering, in certainty of faith so shall the passage of death be more desired. It is like sailing over the sea to thy home and country; it is like a medicine to the health of soul and body; it is the best physician; it is like to a woman's travail, for so thy soul, being delivered out of the body, comes into a much more large and fair plate, even into heaven!