Thursday, August 9, 2012

"It Is Not Death to Die"

Last spring I got a copy of a new biography of Hudson Taylor, It Is Not Death to Die, by Jim Cromarty.  I had not yet read it when Mike's sister passed away, but both Mike and I were touched at that time by the title of the book.  I remembered that there was a song of the same name, which was then sung at the funeral by our talented elementary music teacher here at school.

The song has been running through my mind all summer.  It is a beautiful and thoughtful comfort to a Christian.

Apparently the phrase "It is not death to die" originated in Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress (according to the end of the book) and did not actually have anything to do with Hudson Taylor's life.  The original verses are in this poem from the 1800s, which was later modified for the song which is produced by Sovereign Grace (link with more information to follow).

It Is Not Death to Die
by H. A. Cesar Malan, 1787-1864
translated by George W. Bethune, 1805-1862
It is not death to die,
To leave this weary road,
And midst the brotherhood on high
To be at home with God.
It is not death to close
The eye long dimmed by tears
And wake in glorious repose
To spend eternal years.
It is not death to bear
The wrench that sets us free
From dungeon chain, to breathe the air
Of boundless liberty.
It is not death to fling
Aside this sinful dust
And rise, on strong, exulting wing,
To live among the just.
Jesus, Thou Prince of Life,
Thy chosen cannot die;
Like Thee, they conquer in the strife
To reign with Thee on high.
Here is a link to more information about this poem/song, including the old words posted above, as well as the revised lyrics which make up the beautiful song, and audio of the song.

1 comment:

Barbara H. said...

I hadn't heard that song until it came out on the Steve Petit team CD Come Boldly, so at first I had thought the title of the book came from the song. I hadn't realized that it originally came from Pilgrim's Progress til I read the book. The song is beauitful with some tremendous truths.