Friday, April 18, 2008

What Death Teaches Us

A selection from a letter by Benjamin Morgan Palmer to Sallie Baxter Bird, speaking of the death of his daughter, Marion Louisa, February 19, 1873:

But what does it [death] teach—what great lesson dos our loving Father mean us to gather up and treasure, in this apparent, and unspeakably painful, harshness to us and to her? I will tell you the conviction, which the Holy Spirit seems to be impressing more and more upon my own heart. I have never had before such an overwhelming sense of the testimonial character of human suffering, and of the awful holiness of God as the particular fact to which the witness is borne. Surely it is right—nay, it is supremely right—that God should exhibit, in the very bosom of His grace, His dreadful displeasure against sin. You perceive that I go behind all secondary causes for the origin of suffering. However it may be brought about through fixed and necessary laws, the moral ground of it is to be found in the fact that we are sinners. The curse—the curse—that terrible word which is written as the superscription over a doomed world—rests upon us, and we suffer. When God, therefore, interposes with grace, and turns this curse into discipline, giving us in sorrow and anguish, not the punishment, but the correction of our sin, He is thereby proclaiming His dreadful holiness. He does it, in those whom most conspicuously He saves, that the world may understand that He saves as a holy God. Are we no in danger, while contemplating His infinite compassion and love, or lowering our views?

The Life and Letters of Benjamin Morgan Palmer, by Thomas Cary Johnson, Banner of Truth, p. 397-98.

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