Friday, January 23, 2015

A Voice from the Past - Martin of Tours

(At the time of his death, when those who he was in charge of pleaded for him to stay for their sakes.)

Terrible, indeed, Lord, is the struggle of bodily warfare, and surely it is now enough that I have continued the fight till now; but, if thou dost command me still to persevere in the same toil for the defense of thy flock, I do not refuse, nor do I plead against such an appointment my declining years. Wholly given to thee, I will fulfill whatever duties thou dost assign me, and I will serve under thy standard as long as thou shalt prescribe. Yea, although release is sweet to an old man after lengthened toil, yet my mind is a conqueror over my years, and I have no desire to yield to old age. But if now thou art merciful to my many years, good, O Lord, is thy will to me; and thou thyself wilt guard over those for whose safety I fear.

Martin of Tours, 316-397 AD, as recorded by Sulpitius Serverus, 363 - 425 AD, Letter III to Bassula, His Mother-in-Law (translated by Rev. Alexander Roberts, Nicene and Post Nicene Fathers, Philip Schaff and Henry Wace, T & T Clark and Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 1997, Second Series, Vol. IX)

How should the Christian think of death? How can we maintain this perspective?

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