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to common apprehension. But there is SERM. another great use to be drawn from the XII. scene before us. Either we are now.committing to the dust the body of a miserable sinner, or of a fellow-creature who perhaps has set us an example, which, if we would wish to be partakers of God's heavenly kingdom, we should do well to follow. It is not a thing becoming the place I am speaking from, to go a step beyond the truth; but yet I think I see reason to speak with some confidence of the virtues of her whose loss we now deplore. There are those present to pay respect to her memory, whose very presence and lamen. tations afford proof enough that in some of the first and highest duties of human life, she so acquitted herself as to merit the esteem, the love, and affection of such as were dependent upon her care and attention, in those most essential points. If we have now to commit to the ground the remains of a faithful and affectionate wife, a fond and careful mother, and, above all, a sober and pious Christian, as appears manifestly to be the case, we need enquire no
SERM. further; these are virtues which will asXII.
cend to heaven as memorials in her behalf, and we may feel already assured that she is in possession of a crown of righteousness, or so well certified that it is in store for her, that her soul is in peace, and full of hope and joy.
In the book of Revelations, a mysterious book in general, yet abounding in such interesting displays of a future state, as that we might well receive it, on this account alone, as a book of divine authority, there are such descriptions of the happiness prepared for the righteous, as may serve both to comfort those who have to deplore the loss of friends, as to animate the most unconcerned toapply their minds to the cultivation of such virtues as may enable them to become partakers of the bliss so pictured forth for their encouragement. Among other descriptions, perhaps the following is as striking as any.--" There shall be no more
“ “ death, nor sorrow, nor crying, nor pain ; for “ the former things are passed away ; they “ shall hunger no more, neither thirst any
But the Lamb which is in the midst SERM.
of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead XII. "them unto living fountains of water, and "God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes." Though here is no great display or parade of the glories of heaven, yet what can be more calculated to sooth and comfort us under any afflictions of life, than to be assured of such a fact, that there is a state attainable by all of us, where sorrow, and pain, and care shall no more disturb us?-that there is a merciful and compassionate Redeemer, always standing ready before the throne of God, to plead for the pardon and forgiveness of the humble and contrite sinner; ready, by the application of his own exalted merits, to blot out all our iniquities, and wipe away all our tears, whether they be those of sorrow or repentance ?
To conclude-The scene before us is awful and solemn. It may seem as if some were more concerned in it than others, but it is not really so. We are all equally concerned in this evidence of the frailty of human
SERM. human life, the manifest dissolution of the XII. body, the hopes and expectations awaiting
the immortal soul. Let each of us apply to ourselves the instruction we stand in need of ; nor let so great and solemn an occasion pass away without its proper impression. While we weep for the dead because they have lost the light, let us bewail the condition of the fool who, refusing to be admonished by the continual instances of mortality that occur, hath not understanding enough to turn away in time from the wickedness that he hath committed, to save his soul alive; while we manifest a confidence in the gracious promises of our crucified Redeemer, by making but little weeping for the dead, in the hope that they are passed on to the rest that is prepared for the people of God, let us reflect, that the life of the fool, (that is, of the inconsiderate and irreligious man) is worse than death : that all the mournful and gloomy appendages of this solemn service for the dead, are nothing in comparison with the land of darkness, and shadow of death, to which the wicked man is
hastening. Let us remember what, though SERM. it is the warning of an Apostle, is so ob- XII. vious to reason, as scarcely to need so sacred an authority; that “all that is in the “ world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust “ of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not “ of the Father, but is of the world—and “the world passeth away, and the lust “thereof; but be that doeth the will of God, “ abideth for ever."-1 John ii. 16, 17.