Surely, we would not wish them back again!
(J.C. Ryle, "Christ's Greatest Trophy!" 1879)
"I tell you the truth, today you will be with Me in paradise!" Luke 23:43
The very moment that believers die, they are in paradise. Their battle is fought; their strife is over. They have passed through that gloomy valley which we must one day tread; they have gone over that dark river which we must one day cross. They have drunk that last bitter cup which sin has mingled for man; they have reached that place where sorrow and sighing are no more! Surely, we would not wish them back again! We should not weep for them — but for ourselves!
We are still warring — but they are at peace!
We are laboring — but they are at rest!
We are watching — but they are sleeping!
We are wearing our spiritual armor — but they have forever put it off!
We are at sea — but they are safe in harbor!
We have tears — but they have joy!
We are strangers and pilgrims — but they are at home!
Surely, better are the "dead in Christ" — than the living! Surely the very hour the poor saint dies — he is at once higher and happier than the happiest upon earth!