A CONCISE ACCOUNT of the LIFE OF MR SAMUEL LAWRENCE (written by Matthew Henry)
He was born in Wem, a little market town in Shropshire, and as appears by the register, was baptized Nov. 5, 1661. He was the only son of Mr William Lawrence, and Sarah his wife. His father was a very eminent Christian, and much respected and valued by all good people who knew him. My father preached his funeral sermon at Wem, Feb. 26, 1694-5, on Luke xxiii. 28. “Weep not for me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children.’ Whence he showed, that when a good man dies, there is no reason we should weep for him, but there is reason we should weep for ourselves. Certainly (said he) this was a good man, and is manifest in the conscience of you all, and of all who knew him, that he was so; Weep not for him therefore, for his death is an outlet to all the evils of this world, and an inlet to all the happiness of the other world. . . .
The bitterness of death is past with me; I have shot the gulf, that last enemy . . . is vanquished, and I am triumphing. ‘O Death, where is thy sting!’ And therefore, weep not for me.
But this is not all; if you consider the happiness I am entered into, that fair palace in which death was but a dark entry, you would not weep for me, but rejoice rather.
“Would you know where I am? I am at home in my Father’s house, in the mansion prepared for me there. I am where I would be, where I have long and often desired to be; no longer on a stormy sea, but in a safe and quiet harbour. My working time is done, and I am resting: my sowing time is done, and I am reaping; my joy is as the joy of harvest.
“Would you know how it is with me? I am made perfect in holiness; grace is swallowed up in glory; the top-stone of the building is brought forth.
“Would you know what I am doing? I see God, I see him as he is, not as through a glass darkly, but face to face; and the sight is transforming, it makes me like him. I am in the sweet enjoyment of my blessed Redeemer, my Head and Husband, whom my soul loved, and for whose sake I was willing to part with all; I am here bathing myself at the springhead of heavenly pleasures and joys unutterable, and therefore weep not for me. I am here keeping a perpetual sabbath; what that is, judge by your short sabbaths; I am here singing Hallelujahs incessantly to him who sits upon the throne, and rest not day or night from praising him.
“Would you know what company I have? Blessed company, better than the best on earth; here are holy angels and the spirits of just men made perfect; I am set down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of God, with blessed Paul, and Peter, and James, and John, and all the saints; and here I meet with many of my old acquaintance, that I fasted and prayed with, who got before me hither.
“And, lastly, will you consider how long this is to continue ; it is a garland that never withers; a crown of glory that fades not away; after millions of millions of ages, it will be as fresh as it is now ; and therefore weep not for me.
Henry, Matthew. The Complete Works of the Rev. Matthew Henry (His Unfinished Commentary Excepted): Being a Collection of All His Treatises, Sermons, and Tracts, as Published by Himself : And a Memoir of His Life. Fullarton, 1853. Page 376-377.