the Puritans in their day were second to none. Their works still speak for them on the shelves of every well-furnished theological library. Their commentaries, their expositions, their treatises on practical, casuistical, and experimental divinity, are immeasurably superior to those of their adversaries in the seventeenth century. In short, those who hold up the Puritans to scorn as shallow, illiterate men, are only exposing their own lamentable shallowness, their own ignorance of historical facts, and the extremely superficial character of their own reading.1
1. Sixteenth king of the southern kingdom of Judah (640–609 B.C.). A godly man, he stood in marked contrast to his grandfather, Manasseh, and his father, Amon. In fact, Scripture declares there was no king either before or after him that was as obedient to the Law of Moses (2 Kgs 23:25).2
"Behold, I will gather you to your fathers, and you shall be gathered to your grave in peace, and your eyes shall not see all the disaster that I will bring upon this place and its inhabitants.’ ” And they brought back word to the king."
Listen to what Sibbes had to say:
Therefore it is that the Holy Ghost sweetens death with a phrase of ‘gathering.’ Instead of saying, Thou shalt die, he saith, ‘Thou shalt be gathered.’ How many phrases have we in Scripture that have comfort wrapped in them, as there is in this phrase, ‘Thou shalt be gathered to thy grave in peace.’ . . .
Only observe, it is a very sweet word, and imports unto us, that death is nothing but a gathering, and presupposeth that God’s children are all scattered in this world amongst wicked men, in a forlorn place, where they are used untowardly, as pilgrims use to be in a strange land. Therefore we had need be gathered, and it is a comfort to be gathered. But from whence shall he be gathered? He shall be gathered from a wicked, confused world; and to whom shall he go? To his Father. His soul shall go to their souls, his body shall be laid in the grave with theirs. As if he had said, Thou shalt leave some company, but go to better; thou shalt leave a kingly estate, but thou shalt go to a better kingdom. . . .
So every Christian is dearly bought, with the blood of Christ. Therefore God will not suffer him to perish, but will gather him before the evil days come.3
So often we view death as the end. However, death does not really end anything. Death is simply a separation of body from soul, and the soul truly lives on. Where does the soul go? Well for those "dearly bought, with the blood of Christ," the soul, the true consciousness and essence of every believer is gathered to their Father. He will unite them again with their bodies on the last day, but truly with Paul, we may say that "to live is Christ, and to die is gain." - Philippians 1:21.
1 Thomas Manton, The Complete Works of Thomas Manton, vol. 2 (London: James Nisbet & Co., 1871), xi.
2 Walter A. Elwell and Barry J. Beitzel, Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1988), 1222.
3 Richard Sibbes, The Complete Works of Richard Sibbes, ed. Alexander Balloch Grosart, vol. 6 (Edinburgh; London; Dublin: James Nichol; James Nisbet and Co.; W. Robertson, 1863), 78.