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Mrs Hunter's Happy Death

John Fanestil
Mrs Hunters Happy Death
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Mrs Hunter's Happy Death

John Fanestil

$33.99

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What is the secret of people who die contented and fulfilled? What makes it possible for them to attain such spiritual heights as they approach their physical demise? What enables them to make death a completion of life, rather than a tragic end? And what can they teach us about life and death, love and loss, grief and spiritual growth? ^The way we die, like the way we live, makes a difference--in our lives and the lives of others. ^From time to time during his work as a pastor, John Fanestil has witnessed someone dying with remarkable and uplifting grace. Fanestil was moved yet puzzled by the spirit of happiness and holiness he observed. Contemporary literature on dying, filled with talk of anger, acceptance, and forgiveness, provided little to explain it. But the chance discovery of articles about the ritual of the "happy death" in religious magazines from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries brought Fanestil the answers he sought. ^"Mrs. Hunter's Happy Death blends the

- Publisher All quoted passaged by J. Wood are taken from "An Account of Mrs. Hunter's Holy LIfe and Happy Death." 1 Whatever degree of grace: sharing god's greatest gift Whatever degree of Grace is communicated by the Lord Jesus Christ, the Head of the Church, to any individual, is not intended for the good of that person only, but that he might shine as a light in the family, the church and the world. --J. Wood I have known a few people who died with a spirit of apparent nonchalance, but for most the approach of death raises -gut--level questions about the true meaning of life. Is there a God? What kind of God? And what are we, as human beings, that God should care about us? Can we really hope to know God in this life? . . . in the next? The world's great religious traditions answer these questions by asserting that the fundamental nature of God is characterized by grace. The Hebrew word hesed, or "mercy," appears over two hundred times in the Old Testament, and the Greek equivalent, charis--translated as "grace"--over one hundred times in the much shorter New Testament. As a friend of mine once explained it to me, "Grace means there's nothing you can do to make God love you more, and there's nothing you can do to make God love you less. God loves you. That's the beginning and the ending of your story and mine." The story of Mrs. Hunter's holy life and happy death is rooted firmly in this biblical tradition. J. Wood tips his hand in the very first words of his account: he is about to introduce a woman who was determined to communicate in her living and dying the grace made known to her in her -twenty--six years of life. Mary Hunter's death at the age of -twenty--six may strike us as premature, but her fate was entirely common among people living in England and America in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Death in infancy and early childhood was a matter of course, as is made clear by the experience of Cotton Mather, the Massachusetts clergyman famous for his role in the Salem witch trials of 1692: Mather fathered fourteen children, but seven died as infants and another at age two. Or consider the case of John and Charles Wesley, the brothers who in -eighteenth--century England founded the religious movement known as Methodism. John and Charles were two of nineteen children born to Samuel and Susanna Wesley, but only ten reached adolescence and John was given names--John and Benjamin--of older siblings who had died soon after birth. Neither did surviving childhood guarantee longevity in Mrs. Hunter's day. Women were especially vulnerable during their childbearing years, and with the industrial revolution advancing rapidly, living and working conditions in England's cities were notorious. Disease ran rampant and popular folk remedies were widely practiced, often with devastating consequences: bleeding was still a common treatment for routine infections; drinking lye was believed to help cleanse the body of ulcers and tumors; smoking tobacco was common for easing the pains of toothaches and the like. Hospitals offered little help--not yet institutionalized as establishments for the study and cure of illness, they were run, in the historian Jacques Barzun's estimation, as "indiscriminate refuges for the poor and the sick." Mary Hunter lived more than one hundred years after Thomas Hobbes had issued his famous indictment of life in the modern era: "No arts, no letters, no society, and which is worst of all, continual fear and danger of violent death, and the life of man solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short." Hobbes's words would remain famous for generations, however, because they seemed so entirely apt. Against this backdrop it made sense that even vibrant young men and women would choose to cast their lives in the light of the prospect of death. S

- Publisher
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About "Mrs Hunter's Happy Death"

What is the secret of people who die contented and fulfilled? What makes it possible for them to attain such spiritual heights as they approach their physical demise? What enables them to make death a completion of life, rather than a tragic end? And what can they teach us about life and death, love and loss, grief and spiritual growth? ^The way we die, like the way we live, makes a difference--in our lives and the lives of others. ^From time to time during his work as a pastor, John Fanestil has witnessed someone dying with remarkable and uplifting grace. Fanestil was moved yet puzzled by the spirit of happiness and holiness he observed. Contemporary literature on dying, filled with talk of anger, acceptance, and forgiveness, provided little to explain it. But the chance discovery of articles about the ritual of the "happy death" in religious magazines from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries brought Fanestil the answers he sought. ^"Mrs. Hunter's Happy Death blends the
- Publisher

All quoted passaged by J. Wood are taken from "An Account of Mrs. Hunter's Holy LIfe and Happy Death." 1 Whatever degree of grace: sharing god's greatest gift Whatever degree of Grace is communicated by the Lord Jesus Christ, the Head of the Church, to any individual, is not intended for the good of that person only, but that he might shine as a light in the family, the church and the world. --J. Wood I have known a few people who died with a spirit of apparent nonchalance, but for most the approach of death raises -gut--level questions about the true meaning of life. Is there a God? What kind of God? And what are we, as human beings, that God should care about us? Can we really hope to know God in this life? . . . in the next? The world's great religious traditions answer these questions by asserting that the fundamental nature of God is characterized by grace. The Hebrew word hesed, or "mercy," appears over two hundred times in the Old Testament, and the Greek equivalent, charis--translated as "grace"--over one hundred times in the much shorter New Testament. As a friend of mine once explained it to me, "Grace means there's nothing you can do to make God love you more, and there's nothing you can do to make God love you less. God loves you. That's the beginning and the ending of your story and mine." The story of Mrs. Hunter's holy life and happy death is rooted firmly in this biblical tradition. J. Wood tips his hand in the very first words of his account: he is about to introduce a woman who was determined to communicate in her living and dying the grace made known to her in her -twenty--six years of life. Mary Hunter's death at the age of -twenty--six may strike us as premature, but her fate was entirely common among people living in England and America in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Death in infancy and early childhood was a matter of course, as is made clear by the experience of Cotton Mather, the Massachusetts clergyman famous for his role in the Salem witch trials of 1692: Mather fathered fourteen children, but seven died as infants and another at age two. Or consider the case of John and Charles Wesley, the brothers who in -eighteenth--century England founded the religious movement known as Methodism. John and Charles were two of nineteen children born to Samuel and Susanna Wesley, but only ten reached adolescence and John was given names--John and Benjamin--of older siblings who had died soon after birth. Neither did surviving childhood guarantee longevity in Mrs. Hunter's day. Women were especially vulnerable during their childbearing years, and with the industrial revolution advancing rapidly, living and working conditions in England's cities were notorious. Disease ran rampant and popular folk remedies were widely practiced, often with devastating consequences: bleeding was still a common treatment for routine infections; drinking lye was believed to help cleanse the body of ulcers and tumors; smoking tobacco was common for easing the pains of toothaches and the like. Hospitals offered little help--not yet institutionalized as establishments for the study and cure of illness, they were run, in the historian Jacques Barzun's estimation, as "indiscriminate refuges for the poor and the sick." Mary Hunter lived more than one hundred years after Thomas Hobbes had issued his famous indictment of life in the modern era: "No arts, no letters, no society, and which is worst of all, continual fear and danger of violent death, and the life of man solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short." Hobbes's words would remain famous for generations, however, because they seemed so entirely apt. Against this backdrop it made sense that even vibrant young men and women would choose to cast their lives in the light of the prospect of death. S
- Publisher

Meet the Author

John Fanestil

JOHN FANESTIL, a native of San Diego, is a graduate of Dartmouth College, Oxford University--where he studied as a Rhodes Scholar--and the Claremont School of Theology. Since 1992 he has worked as a pastor at United Methodist churches in Southern California.

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Product Details

Product Details
  • Catalogue Code 237394
  • Product Code 0385516061
  • EAN 9780385516068
  • Pages 272
  • Department General Books
  • Category Grief, Comfort & Consolation
  • Sub-Category General
  • Publisher Doubleday
  • Publication Date Feb 2006
  • Dimensions 216 x 148 x 22 mm
  • Weight 0.411kg

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