Sunday, February 25, 2007


S.M. Hutchens, reacting to a eulogy:
... The two great desires on such occasions are to say either more or less than we should, and only the well-disciplined pastor says what he ought and no more.

If I were to draw up rules for the occasion the first and greatest would be to remember that we do not know the present state much less the eternal destiny of the deceased, for we do not know men's hearts; only God does. This does not mean that those who have lived what appear as holy lives cannot be used as examples of blessedness, or praised for their virtues - since every good man is a type of the Christ whom we are called to preach - or that examples of human evil cannot be forthrightly condemned as sin that brings men to hell. What it does mean is that we may not, unless we are given special prophetic insight (all claims to which I doubt), speak as though we know things we do not, give assurances of blessedness or condolences of its opposite we are not qualified to deliver, no matter how desperately people wish to have them. The righteous need to understand at such a time that all their righteousness is as filthy rags, and be put in fear, and sinners need to understand that no life, however wicked, is beyond God's saving, and be given hope in him. When the minister, on the basis of what can be seen of a life from the outside, seems to know where the dead have gone, life is reduced to an equation in which God is no longer a factor, men have no hidden life known only to God, and at the price of some immediate but ephemeral comfort, the Source of all true and legitimate comfort has been covertly and unwittingly disposed of. [more]
Source: Mere Comments: The Great Story and the Little Fables

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