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27 June, 2014

Christ in Death

Octavius Winslow

"Surely, I am with you always — even unto the end of the world!" Matthew 28:20

Christ is with you — in the hour and article of death. Never did a believer in Jesus die alone! Alone he may be as to all human aid and Christian sympathy. But he cannot be really and actually alone; for, if ever Christ fulfils this exceeding great and precious promise, "I am with you always" — it is when His blood-bought, ransomed saint enters and passes through the shaded valley. He is with you to speak the promises, to mete out the grace, to stifle fear, to repel the tempter, to apply the blood, to strengthen faith, and to waken the echoes of the silent valley with the music of His voice: "I am with you."

Amid the prostration of earthly hopes, when unable to glance one thought on a dark future, when the stricken spirit, like a wounded bird, lies struggling in the dust, with broken wing and wailing cry, longing for pinions to fly away from a weary world, to the rest and quiet of the grave; in that hour of earthly dissolution, He who has the keys of death at His belt, nay, who has tasted death Himself, and better still, who has conquered it — draws near in touching tenderness, saying: "Surely, I am with you! I am with you to cheer you, to comfort you, to support and sustain you! I, who once wept at a grave, am here to weep with you! I will be at your side in all that trying future; I will make my grace sufficient for you, and my promises precious to you, and my love better than all earthly affection. I am the strength of your heart and your portion forever!"

In summary, Oh! seek much, living and dying — of the sensible presence of Christ! Let this be the grandessential character of your religion: a religion, the essence, the sunshine of which is the ever conscious presence of Jesus. Walk daily at His side. Cultivate confidential transactions with Him. Allow no sin to grieve Him, no distrust to wound Him, no coldness, shyness, or distance of fellowship to lessen one throb, to suppress one desire, to congeal one current, or to prevent one act of your love. As his disciple and follower, separate yourself from the world, and bear His cross after Him boldly and uncompromisingly, yet meekly and heroically. Be happy in all His dealings with you; all that He sends or withholds, gives or removes — for He has said, "I will never leave you, nor ever forsake you!" No! He will be with you until He brings you home to glory! Precious presence of Christ on earth! it is the dawn of glory, the pledge of heaven, the foretaste of celestial bliss, the first-fruits of the golden harvest of eternity!