J. Jackson - First Speaker at Funeral Service for Willie Gill - West Hanney, England - Tuesday, June 5, 1951

Somehow when we speak, we speak about our feelings, and if I would express my feelings now, I would say that I feel some other than I could do what I am trying to do, but perhaps there are one or two things, perhaps I had better say thoughts, that came into my mind since Saturday that I might try and pass on to you. Some of us who are here now were on Saturday at Dockray Hall and it was at the beginning of the first meeting when we received the wire of the departure of our brother and I just heard what the wire said and then some one passed me the paper and I read it and I passed it back to them and when I did that, there were a few words of Solomon that immediately came into my mind where he said, "A good name is better than precious ointment; and the day of death than the day of one's birth." (Ecclesiastes 7:1)

 

We went on with the meeting, and naturally, I did not think any more of those words at the time. Afterwards I found the words coming into my mind again and then later on they returned, especially the latter part of that verse, "The day of death better than the day of one's birth." I found, for some reason or other, the question arise in my mind, "Why?" and I asked myself the reason. Then my mind went to Moses, but before that, it occurred to me that there were more reasons than one, there were two reasons:  one was something that can happen this side of the grave and the other was something that can happen on the other side of the grave. Then with those thoughts in my mind, I thought of Moses. I remembered the choice he made when in Egypt when he chose to suffer affliction with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of Egypt for a season. After those thoughts came to my mind I thought, "Well, that was a good day for Moses and a good day for many others that lived in Moses' day."

 

Then my thoughts went to the mountain of Nebo and at the top of Pisgah where Moses died and it occurred to me that what Solomon said was true in Moses' case that that was a better day, that if what happened in Egypt was a good day, what happened at Nebo was a better day and that which happened in Egypt helped to make what happened at Pisgah a better day. The day at Nebo was when Moses - if you will allow me to use an expression or reference to something we heard at the meetings here - when he reached his desired haven and when he stepped out of his little boat and entered into the rest that John speaks of when he said, "Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.” He entered into rest, his works followed, and his words and influence still live.

 

Later on, I found Paul coming into my mind in the same connection and the thought occurred to me that it was a very good day for Paul and for many others when that day on the road to Damascus he said, "Lord, what wilt Thou have me do?" and it was a much better day on that day in Rome years afterwards when in writing to Timothy of his departure he said, “I am ready to depart and the time of my departure is at hand," and he went on to say, "I have fought a good fight" - that was a better day. Why a better day? Because of what happened, of what he himself had referred to on more than one occasion. Once when writing a letter previously he spoke of, "Absent from the body, present with the Lord," and on another occasion in writing another letter he said, "I am in a strait betwixt two, having the desire to depart and be with Christ which is far better." No, I think this would help us all to understand what Solomon said, "The day of one's death is better than the day of one's birth."

 

Afterwards, my mind turned to the departure of our brother last Saturday, and my mind went back 53 years and about 8 months, if I am right in my calculations, when he with some others, shall I say, chose as Moses chose, or shall I say, spoke at least in his heart as Paul spoke when he said, "Lord what wilt Thou have me do?" That was in Rathmolyon, as many of you know a good day and a very good day, but it was a better day in Malverley. Why? because it was the day when he left the little boat that he had journeyed in for 80 odd years, when he left the house of clay that was about to dissolve, and what? and went to be with Christ which is far better, or if you wish it, entered into rest. We could say that the same was true in Moses' and Paul's case as in our brother's case, that his works will follow him - the influence will still live. That is a little in connection with the beginning that I would say was a good day, the end, that was a bettor day,

 

It is customary, I think, to refer to some of the things in connection with those days, but I am going to leave that, there are others here that had mingled with him much more during the years than I had the opportunity of doing, but I will say this that perhaps a better way for everyone is saying in life, and if we say it in life it is not necessary when we have left the body of clay for any other to say much. If it is said in life, it is written in a way that is not said today and forgotten tomorrow, or ten years after tomorrow, it is remembered. We are still journeying, we do not know when that better day may come for us, but I will say I would like for myself, and I think I can say for all of us, that God would help us to write a chapter in our little day so that when we step out of our little boat or leave the house of clay that chapter that we are writing today may be worthy of being read as was Moses’, as was the chapter Paul wrote, and as the chapter that our brother has written.