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LXVIII. To A CHRISTIAN BROTHER, on the death of his daughter

REVEREND AND BELOVED IN THE LORD, — It may be that I have been too long silent, but I hope that ye will not impute it to forgetfulness of you.

As I have heard of the death of your daughter with heaviness of mind on your behalf, so am I much comforted that she has evidenced to yourself and other witnesses the hope of the resurrection of the dead. As sown corn is not lost (for there is more hope of that which is sown than of that which is eaten) (I Cor. 15.42, 43), so also is it in the resurrection of the dead: the body ‘is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory’. I hope that ye wait for the crop and harvest; ‘for if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so also them which sleep in Jesus, will God bring with him.’ Then they are not lost who are gathered into that congregation of the first-born, and the general assembly of the saints. Though we cannot outrun nor overtake them that are gone before, yet we shall quickly follow them: and the difference is, that she has the advantage of some months or years of the crown, before you and her mother. And we do not take it ill, if our children outrun us in the life of grace; why then are we sad, if they outstrip us in the attainment of the life of glory? It would seem, that there is more reason to grieve that children live behind us, than that they are glorified and die before. All the difference is in some poor hungry accidents of time, less or more, sooner or later. So the godly child, though young, died a hundred years old; and you could not now have bestowed her better, though the choice was Christ’s, not yours.

The King and Prince of ages can keep them better than you can do. While she was alive, you could intrust her to Christ, and recommend her to His keeping: now, by an after-faith, you have resigned her unto Him, in whose bosom do sleep all that are dead in the Lord: you would have lent her to glorify the Lord upon earth, and He has borrowed her, with promise to restore her again, to be an organ of the immediate glorifying of himself in heaven. Sinless glorifying of God is better than sinful glorifying of Him. And sure your prayers concerning her are fulfilled.

If the fountain be the love of God, as I hope it is, ye are enriched with losses. You know all I can say better, before I was in Christ, than I can express it. Grace be with you.

LONDON, Jan. 6, 1646

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