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Dying Honorably

Our Daily Bread, January 28, 1995

Robert Louis Dabney was an outstanding Presbyterian theologian during the mid-19th century. He served as a minister, as a chaplain, as chief of staff to General Stonewall Jackson, and as a seminary professor. He also helped establish a seminary in Austin, Texas.

As he aged, Dabney began to worry about his impending death, and he expressed his fears in a letter to a former student and theologian, C.R. Vaughan. Dabney wondered about his ability to die honorably and to hold on to his Christian faith.

Vaughan replied: "Dear friend, let me advise you now as you often have me. If you were about to cross a deep chasm, and there were a bridge over it, would you stand there looking in at yourself, wondering if you trusted enough in bridges to be able to cross? Or would you not rather go and examine the beams and timbers of the bridge and the quality of its construction, and determine whether the bridge were trustworthy, and then pass over it in confidence? Our faith is in Christ; spend yourself focusing on Him and His sufficiency, rather than on yourself."