Imatges de pÓgina
PDF
EPUB

XII.

which no future commerce with the world SERM. can renew or repay.

We shall have to look back upon scenes of happiness and tranquillity, which can never now be restored to us but in the realms above, where we shall possibly again meet with those we have lost, to part no more! He, therefore, who gave us this direction, to “ weep

for the dead," knew much of the condition and circumstances of human nature; for, indeed, there can be no greater trial put in our way than that very one of supporting, as we should do, the loss of those whose friendship, and whose presence, were above all things in the world essential to our happiness. But let us consider the reason of this injunction, Weep for the dead,

for they have lost the light.This is, in fact, a consideration that perhaps affects us more than them. They have lost the light of this world, but then possibly they have gained the light of that which is above. However, as the wise man gives it as a reason“ for weeping for them,” let us consider it as such. And first, they have certainly lost the light; their eyes are closed

in

XII.

SERM. in darkness. The sun no more risés upon

them; they are “ gone to the grave, and shall come up no more.If, indeed, they have passed through this life becomingly and well, it is rather for ourselves that we should weep; but yet, at all events, we should feel an awe about their future condition, which should throw a solemnity over our sorrows. They are now, as it were, on the way to their judge. All opportunity of setting aright what has been amiss, is past and gone; and such as they have been here, such must they appear at the tribunal of Christ. Thus have they lost the light as to themselves ; as to us, they are taken away from our sight and our acquaintance; we shall know no more about them till the great day of the Lord. The body we have with us, but the soul is with its Creator. If we have been befriend. ed by their kindness, soothed by their care, comforted by their help, or cheered by their society, surely gratitude will move us to weep for their loss, and to lament that such should be the condition of our mortal nature, that friends must separate, the dear

est

[ocr errors]

XII.

est connections be dissolved, the closest ties SERM. broken, and that no hopes or wishes, no request or prayers, can arrest the hand of death. But if there is so much occasion, and so much reason for “ weeping for the

dead,surely the other injunction of my text is the more worth attending to; for weeping and grieving are very painful and distressing; and as they bring no remedy in this case for the evil that is the subject of them, should be moderated in every way possible. And therefore it is desirable that we should learn, that if it is ever reasonable to weep for the dead,it is yet as reasonable to “ make but little weeping for

them.Now the reason given for this precept is most important and most worthy of our consideration—" Make little weeping "for the dead, for be is at rest :certainly, upon the dissolution of this earthly tabernacle, the dead are immediately at rest, as to all the troubles and disquietudes of this mortal life. But, generally speaking, we have no right to conclude that the dead are indiscriminately at rest. Those that “ die " in the Lordare so; we know upon the

word

SERM. word of God himself; they rest from their 11. labours here, and their good works follow

them to the judgment seat of Christ. Not so with the wicked ; and therefore this precept must be received with limitations, and perhaps the remainder of the text may admirably serve us to point out this distinction ; but let us rather dwell now upon the hope of the righteous. They, when they die, are indeed at rest; all their earthly cares and sorrows at an end for ever; they are, to apply a figure of speech peculiar to the Scriptures, in Abraham's bosom,carried thither perhaps unseen to us, by the angels and ministers of God. We do not know this from reason, but we know it from the word of God. Reason cannot in fact tell us more than we see; that the dissolution of this our earthly tabernacle ends our existence here; but through the Gospel of our blessed Saviour Jesus Christ, the immortality of the soul has been brought to light; and we now are assured, upon the promise of God,himself, exemplified in the resurrection of our blessed Lord, that at the end of the world

o the

XII.

the dead shall be raised incorruptible," and SERM. all they that have done good shall come forth," from the dark and dreary grave, to the resurrection of life,-of life eternal, in the realms above, in the presence of God; where there shall be fulness of joy, and pleasures for evermore. We ought in reason then to moderate our grief for those that die in the Lord,assured that, in regard to them, death has no sting, nor over them shall the grave obtain a victory. We should not “ sorrow, as those without hope," but rather rejoice that they are removed from this scene of care and anxiety, and have found rest to their souls. Having thus briefly treated of those two leading precepts of the text, that have respect to the sorrow we ought to express for those that are removed from us by death, I shall proceed to the remainder of my text, which no doubt is pregnant with instruction. Weep for the dead, for be bath lost the light, and weep for the fool,

for he wanteth understanding.The dead is out of the way of all opportunity of repairing what is amiss; the fool is so un

« AnteriorContinua »