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The Death of The Righteous; How We Should Meet Death

This is an excerpt from a sermon of Owen’s where he made mention of a man in his congregation who had recently passed away.

God hath lately taken from this congregation, — a justified man… I was with him the day before he died, and found him in the exercise of faith upon as noble a principle as ever I would desire to live and die in, — that view which God had given him of the glory of his wisdom, of his righteousness, of his grace, and love, and mercy, all manifested in Jesus Christ for the saving of his soul. I know no more glorious act of faith. And they are the substance of the words wherein he expressed himself; as, indeed, he had done oftentimes before, when I had conference with him about his spiritual estate: for he was a person neither afraid of his pastor, nor unfree to communicate his thoughts unto him. And I cannot but give him the other character, — a “merciful man.” I see the faces of sundry in this congregation who have spoken of him to me as one full of kindness, love, benignity, ready to serve every one in all their occasions, inquiring how he might serve the meanest, and any other, with great condescension, meekness, and humility. I account this little that I have said due unto him; and I shall add no more but that it is an instance of God taking away a righteous man, and of God’s gathering in a merciful man. And it is known unto us that the same character, both for faithfulness and usefulness, may be applied in a most eminent manner unto several persons of this congregation who have been taken from us. I pray God we may be “followers of them who through faith and patience are inheriting the promises;” that all of us, who profess that we are justified before God, may take care that we he merciful, — that is, kind, benign, and useful, not selfish, not living to ourselves, but ready to serve one another, ready to serve all the members of the congregation, and all others, as we have opportunity. If we are justified persons, let us take care to be good, to be merciful, kind and benign.

~John Owen

from a sermon entitled The Death of the Righteous, preached on July 1, 1681;volume 16 of Works, page 490

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