A Royal Love
'Live still to die, that by death you may purchase eternal life...'
'Forasmuch as you have desired so simple a woman to write in so worthy a book, good Master Lieutenant, therefore I shall as a friend desire you, and as a Christian require you, to call upon God to incline your heart to His laws, to quicken you in His ways, and not to take the word of truth utterly out of your mouth. Live still to die, that by death you may purchase eternal life: and remember how the end of Methusael who shall read in Scripture was the longest liver that was of man, died at last: for, as the preacher says, that there a time to be born and a time to die; and the day of death is better than the day of our birth.'
Yours, as the Lord knoweth as a friend,
Jane Duddeley. (1)
While reading these words written by Lady Jane Grey to Sir John Brydges, I cannot help but marvel at the love and compassion she had for others right before her death. We do not read of her crying, or complaining about her fate, but instead we see her comforting, and encouraging another! We also see the implicit trust she had in the Lord Jesus Christ as she humbly accepted her fate to die by execution even though she was an innocent woman.
Dear friends, do you pray to have such a heart as this, and such a Royal Love as she, that even though you cannot see with your physical eyes as to what it is the LORD is doing in your life, you will see with eyes of faith, placing your trust in His perfect will for your life? Then let us determine within our hearts, and through public declaration, to take Heaven by storm, and in doing so, "live still to die," that by death we may purchase eternal life.
How, you may ask, can we live to the glory of Christ?
The Puritan, Rev. Thomas Watson, wrote an exposition on the Scripture: "The kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force" (Matthew 11:12 KJV) called Heaven Taken By Storm: Showing the Holy Violence A Christian is to Put Forth in the Pursuit After Glory" [Reprinted by Soli Deo Gloria Publications, 1992](2).
In his exposition, we find that the violence we are to take is a holy violence:
"This kingdom suffereth violence. It is a metaphor from a town or castle that holds out in war and is not taken but by storm. So the kingdom of heaven will not be taken without violence. "The violent take it by force." The earth is inherited by the meek (Matt. 5:5). Heaven is inherited by the violent. Our life is military. Christ is our Captain, the gospel is the banner, the graces are our spiritual artillery, and heaven is only taken in a forcible way. (3)
"What is implied in this holy violence? It implies these three things: 1. resolution of the will, 2. vigor of affection, 3. strength of endeavor... The Christian is resolved; come what will, he will have heaven...I will have heaven whatever it costs me, and this resolution must be in the strength of Christ. (4)"
Rev. Watson then goes on to give us directions on how to promote this holy violence (5):
- Keep up daily prayer... Prayer fetches in strength from Christ.
- Get under lively preaching. The Word is quick and powerful ... It puts life into a dead heart.
- Get your hearts filled with love to religion... You will count those the best hours, which are spent with God.
- Be vigilant... When Christians neglect their spiritual watch and grow secure, then their motion to heaven is retarded and Satan's motions to sin are renewed. Our sleeping time is Satan's tempting time.
- Bind your heart to God by sacred vows.
- Be sure you make going to heaven your business.
- Have heaven continually in your eye...Set the crown ever before you, and that will provoke endeavor.
- Often be among the godly...Good company quickens... The saints never go so fast to heaven as when they go in company. One Christian helps another forward.
- Never leave till you have the Spirit...When God's Spirit blows upon us, then we go full sail to heaven.
To help spur us on in our quest to “live still to die," let us take to heart this truth that the LORD has given us for encouragement:
"Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,
Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God." (Hebrews 12: 1, 2 KJV)
I pray each of you reading this essay will seek the LORD with all your heart, and while doing so will come to know Him as your Royal Love. Amen.
1. Taken from Lady Jane Grey's letter to Sir John Brydges as written in her prayer book before her execution on February12, 1554.
2. Soli Deo Gloria Publications, 717 Liberty Avenue, Suite 2311, Pittsburgh, PA 15222 Phone: (412) 232-0866
3. Thomas Watson, Heaven Taken By Storm Page 3
4. Ibid. Page 7
5. Ibid. Pages 95 - 98