14 July 2009

The Inevitability of Death

In an undated though early sermon, Jonathan Edwards looked from several angles at the one truth of Ps 10:6, in which the wicked "says in his heart, 'I shall not be moved for I shall never be in adversity,'" and reflected on the way in which "the stupefying nature of sin" lulls us to false security and a blindness to the way hardship is coming to all people in this life, and ultimate hardship is coming in death and hell to the unrepentant.

Early on Edwards describes the inevitability of death. It is hard to imagine listening to this single sentence and going on as undisturbed about the surety of death as before.

[The wicked] are not wont to dwell in their thoughts upon death, the sinking of nature under the oppressing weight of dying pains, the gradual creeping of cold death upon them, their breaths becoming shorter and shorter, the increasing of the oppression of their vitals together with the decay of their strength, till they can fetch their breath no longer, the struggling for life under the last agonies, till nature is even forced to yield, and the lungs cease to perform their office, the pulse of the heart ceases, and the blood stops and no longer continues to circulate, and the frame of the body dissolves, and the union between body and soul is broken . . . while pale ghostly death sits upon the face of their corpse and they are laid in the dark and silent grave, and begin to corrupt, and the worms begin to take them till they turn to dust and rise not again till the heavens be no more.

--The Glory and honor of God: Vol 2 of the Previously Unpublished Sermons of Jonathan Edwards, ed. M. D. McMullen (B&H 2004), 69

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