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How debasing to humanity, how affecting and solemn is death! Death breaks every social connection, dissolves the tenderest ties, and separates the two constituent parts of man. It consigns the body to putrefaction, and transmits the soul into an untried state of existence; while surviving friends lament the loss they have sustained by the awful stroke.
But, however incapable they who are destitute of divine revelation may be, to account for such painful and sorrowful events; yet we who have read the bible and considered its inspired contents, cannot be ignorant of their true cause. We cannot but know, that man is a fallen creature; that he has lost his original rectitude; that he is a transgressor of Jehovah's law; and is, therefore, liable to pain, and sickness, and death. Sin entered into the world, and death by sin; is the language of unerring wisdom. Dust thou art, and to the dust shalt thou return; was the sentence of the supreme Judge, pronounced on our first offending father. Whence appears, that sin is the cause of all our misery. I said, of all our misery. But whose tongue can fully declare, or what pen minutely describe, the vast multitude of human evils included under those general terms? To what a prodigious bulk would T
the history of a man's life be swelled, did it contain a particular detail of his animal weaknesses and mental infirmities; his bodily pains and conscious troubles! Yet what are the pains of the present state? What are the troubles of sixty or seventy years, in comparison with those miseries which the ungodly suffer when they leave the world? Could we follow, in contemplation, the departed spirit of a sinner who died under a charge of guilt; could we form a complete idea of what a lost soul must feel in the limited space of ten thousand ages, or even of a thousand years; we should be shocked at the thought and quite confounded. How awful, then, beyond imagination awful, must be an eternal state of suffering! Yet this, my fellow mortals, even this is the fruit and the unavoidable consequence of sin, where sovereign grace does not interpose its benign agency, to redeem and regenerate, to sanctify and save. For the wages of sin is death; even that death, which stands opposed to life eternal.
And is a transgression of God's law of such awful importance? Are offences against the divine Majesty so terribly destructive? Is it sin that produces all the wretchedness of the present life, and all the misery of a future state? Surely, then, an occasion of this kind-an opportunity of looking into a grave, and of beholding the place of human sculls, should not be treated with indifference. The present event is the voice of God to mortals; is the voice of God to us; and its momentous import is, Be ye ready! For ere long, and you must die. Ere long, and you also must enter the invisible state; there to be exalted on thrones of celestial bliss, or confined in dungeons of infernal woe. Yes,
my fellow sinners, the time is coming, the hour is at hand, when you and I must either ascend, to exult and sing with angels; or sink in the dark profound, to blaspheme and rage with devils. Delightful, dreadful thoughts! They fire the soul with immortal hopes, or freeze the blood with chilling fears.
But though the state of man, considered as an offender against God, is awful beyond conception; yet the gospel opens a door of hope for the guilty and the wretched. Yes, the gospel reveals a Saviour, whose atoning blood is equal to all our guilt; whose grace is equal to all our unworthiness; and whose mediation is equal to all our wants. Interested in his death, our sins are pardoned: invested with his righteousness, our persous are justified: and renewed by his Spirit, we are made fit for the inheritance of the saints in light. Cheering, charming, ravishing truths!
With the salutary nature and sanctifying influence of these truths, our dear deceased Brother, our venerable departed Father, was well acquainted.. They were the joy of his younger days, and the support of his advancing age. Under their benign' influence, he patiently bore the acutest pains, and was calm, composed, and cheerful, in the near prospect of dissolution. That forgiveness which is with God; that pardon which flows in the blood of Immanuel; engaged his thoughts and rejoiced his heart, when he felt himself on the verge of eternity. Oh!—pardon!—rejoicing !-I—were the last articulate sounds from his dying lips, that conveyed a determinate meaning to his attendant and sorrowing friends.
And as, under the character of a Christian, he knew the importance and tasted the sweetness of these evangelical truths; so he did not fail, as a preacher of the word, to make them the grand subject of his public ministry. This, doubtless, the greater part of you that are now present, can witness. Among whom, perhaps, there may be many that have reason to consider themselves as his spiritual children; being born from above, and converted to Jesus Christ, under his ministrations. Such, therefore, cannot but remember his name, and reflect on his labours, with peculiar gratitude to God, who made him an able minister of the New Testament. Nor are there any members, I trust, of that community over which he presided, but have reason to bless the Author of all good, for his public ministry, his private advice, and his christian example. So that while their tender passions are deeply interested, on this very solemn occasion; they are bound to acknowledge the kindness of Providence in sparing their pastor so long; in rendering his work so useful; and in preserving his character free from reproach, for such a series of years.
It is pleasing to reflect, my brethren and friends, that you do not lament the death of your honoured pastor, as those that have no hope; as if you feared, he had either lost his conscious existence, or existed in a state of torment. No, blessed be God! you secretly congratulate his departed spirit on its happy transition into a state of eternal rest. And, as to his body, though now deposited in the gloomy sepulchre, and no longer the object of your tender