The Widow Directed to the Widow's God

by John Angell James, 1841


And now, in conclusion, what can I add for your instruction or comfort, except it be a few words on that blessed, though mysterious union, which exists between Christ and his believing people. Looking sorrowfully, as you now do, on the broken bonds of that close and tender union, which was once the source of your chief earthly happiness, and the dissolution of which has left you a lonely pilgrim, in this world's great wilderness, comfort yourself with the thought, that if joined unto the Lord by faith, and made one spirit with him, there is at least one union which even death cannot dissolve, and one tie which nothing can weaken or rupture.

How tender and how beautiful is the representation, which sets forth Christ as the husband of his believing people. You can feel this now, as you never felt it before. He not only loves you with an affection, compared to which even that of your husband was cold—but will ever live to manifest his affection. Death has severed you from your earthly husband—but it can never take from you this heavenly bridegroom. Standing at the grave of all that was most dear to you on earth, and reading in mournful silence, and with many tears, that simple record of mortality upon his tomb, which contains the history and the date of your sorrows—take up the triumphant exultation of the apostle, and exclaim, "No, in all these things we are more than conquerors, through him who has loved us; for I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

Nor is this the language of vain boasting—but of well-founded confidence. No, nothing shall burst the bond, which unites the redeemed soul to its redeeming Savior. This Divine Head will hold in close, vital, and inseparable union, every member that is incorporated into him by faith. And as you cannot be severed by death from Christ, so neither is your departed husband—if he was a true believer. The righteous sleep in Jesus. In death they are still one with him. The spirit has been disunited from its mortal and corruptible body—but not from its immortal and incorruptible head. All the rights and privileges which belong to believers, in virtue of their union with Christ, remain with them in and after death undiminished, unimpaired. Dead they are—but they are dead in Christ—they are as much comprehended in his covenant; summed up in him as their head; represented by him as their advocate, as they possibly could be, while here on earth. Whatever is meant by their being in Christ, is meant of them now they are dead, and shall be made good to them at his appearing. Therefore you are one with him you have lost still—you meet in Christ's spiritual body, and are bound by a mystical tie in the same sacred fellowship.

What is to follow? The heavenly bridegroom will take home his bride to his mansions of glory, which he has gone to prepare for the object of his love. How tender, yet how sacred and how solemn is the adjuration of the apostle, where he says, "Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him." There is now a scattering—but then there is to be a gathering. His chosen, redeemed, regenerated, sanctified people, now severed from each other, though still united in him, shall be then collected into his presence, and gathered around his throne! Not one of its members shall be missing—but the spiritual body will be complete with its Divine Head. Mortality will be swallowed up of life.

Heaven will be a region of vitality—a living world, a world of life. The widow's God shall be there—but not the widow, as a widow. Her tears will be wiped away; her loss will be repaired; her sorrows will be turned into joy, for she will be associated again with the companion of her pilgrimage. Not indeed in the bonds of a fleshly union—but in the ties of a spiritual fellowship; for they shall be as the angels of God, and shall dwell together forever in that glorious state, of which it is said, there shall be no more death!