“What a great sorrow that the good should die! That the righteous should fall! Death, why don’t you cut down the poisonous tree? Why don’t you mow down the poisonous plant? Why do you touch the tree that has provided shade for the weary people? Why do you touch the flower whose perfume has made the earth joyous? Death, why do you snatch away the excellent of the earth, in whom is all of our delight? If you would use your axe, use it on the trees that draw nourishment, but produce no fruit; then we would thank you. But why will you cut down the cedars, why will you fell the godly trees of Lebanon? O Death, why don’t you spare the church? Why must the pulpit be hung in black; why must the missionary outpost be filled with weeping? Why must the godly family lose its spiritual leader, and the house its head? O Death, where are you? Don’t touch the earth’s holy things; your hands are not fit to pollute the Israel of God. Why do you put your hand on the hearts of the elect? Oh, stop, stop; spare the righteous, Death, and take the bad! But no, it must not be; death comes and smiles at the godliest of us all; the most generous, the most prayerful, the most holy, the most devoted must die. Weep, weep, weep, O church, for you have lost your martyrs; weep, O church, for you have lost your preachers, your holy men are fallen.
Weep fir tree, for the cedar has fallen, the godly fail, and the righteous are cut off. But stay awhile; I hear another voice. Say to the daughter of Judah, spare your weeping. Say to the Lord’s flock, Cease, cease your sorrow; your martyrs are dead, but they are glorified; your ministers are gone, but they have ascended up to your Father and to their Father; your brethren are buried in the grave, but the archangel’s trumpet will awaken them, and their spirits are even now with God.”
─Charles Spurgeon (1834-1892)