Изображения страниц

volence, their long bearing with the malice of the envious and the scorn of the proud—all well-rewarded ; for they shall find Rest. Wise then and happy they who prepare to die in the Lord, by living to the Lord ! whose life, passed among men, but as before God, is open to his heart-searching eye; and being regulated by his word and Spirit, is ordered with a view to please Him, both in will and deed. Whoso thus lives by faith in Christ, may humbly trust to die with hope in Christ, and fail not of his blessing. O what a change for the righteous dead! All struggle ended; all anguish passed away; a world gained, where care and crime and withering never come ; their home in heaven reached; their’s is perfect, unclouded, everlasting rest'! .. Thus too the righteous dead are twice blessed! blessed in their own bliss; blessed also in the consolation they bequeath to survivors! The fountain of tears may well cease on earth for those who find every tear wiped away in heaven. The inexorable past, indeed, will raise up scenes of virtue and of love, gone for

they be faithful. Blessed they who shall endure unto the end ! The sufferings of the faithful, like the triumph of their enemies, must be short and transitory—their reward eternal.

It were well if the cruel-hearted persecutor would look to this end of his success. His victims are dead-out of his reach now, But what fruits of his triumph are left to himself? What now does he feel of enmity? rather what remorse does not the recollection of his enmity inflict upon him! O, what would he not give to recall the dead, that if only one kind word might pass between him and his victims—if the forgiving and forgiven might say farewell in peace ! Nay, if among the attendant mourners, there be one who hath enmity in his heart against any of his fellow-creatures, now is the time for him to root it out. Soon thou shalt be consigned to thine own narrow home in the grave. Thou knowest how little thine enmity profiteth thee now- Ask thine heart, what will it profit thee then !

1 Surely it is no vain thought, that a foretaste of this rest in heaven is granted the righteous in their death, 'ere they leave their earthly tabernacle. As the soul hovers between the two worlds, and, like a bird poised high in air ere it speeds its flight, they may see unveiled the bright glories of their home, and though to your voice of sympathy and lamentation, the failing senses respond not, other voices, all unheard by you, may give assurance of that peace which they have—whose “ souls are in the hands of God.” Thus let us hope that in the awful passage from time to eternity-from a world of sense to a world of spirit-strength, and consolation, and even bliss may be the portion of the righteous ; till freed at length, they spring to the liberty of unencumbered spirits, are hailed by the spirits of the just already made perfect, and share with them their joy. You mourn the friend, dead. He rejoices. Your lamentations tell your grief. His hallelujahs proclaim his joy.

ever ; scenes, in which parents and children and relations and friends joyfully mingled their hearts with all the fulness of approving affection—but the past is of earth. The future still rises ascendant, and unveils scenes of virtue made perfect, and love made immortal, where those you mourn shall have angels for their companions, and find their God their glory. Mourner, henceforth weep; but not for the dead. Tears are left for survivors. The dead in the Lord are blessed.

To scenes like this, how dreadful the contrast presented by the death-bed of the impenitent. Suppose a wicked man to feel the heavy sleep of death overpowering him, in a state of sin unrepented. - what must be his pangs of agony! Remorse, hitherto driven away from time to time, and allowed no entrance into his mind, now asserts its sway; and all the sinfulness of his sin casts its dark shadow around him, with a power irresistible as it is dreadful. Well does the prophet, speaking of impenitence, in one word picture the dreadful scene :

“ There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked !” Is, lvii. 21.


Lord, have mercy upon us.
Christ, have mercy upon us.

Lord, have mercy upon us.” Art the righteous dead thus blessed ? Who of us would not for himself share that blessing ?— Our Church, knowing that such must be the secret heartfelt desire of every soul, leads the congregation to invoke God, the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, that He would be pleased to pour upon them the abundance of his mercy: so sure is the conviction that to his

mercy must we all look for grace so to live to the Lord, that we may die in the Lord. We implore the Father to behold us his children; and to have mercy upon his own.

We implore the Saviour to look upon his redeemed; and not withhold his mercy from them, in love to whom He died. We implore the Holy Ghost, the Lord and Giver of life, mercifully to shed abroad in our hearts his holy influence; so to sanctify us in life, that at death we be meet for our bliss in heaven. How considerately has our Church framed this part of the service ! Aware that immediately upon the entombment of the dear departed, the thoughts of the assembled mourners would be too deeply absorbed in their grief, at once to gather strength for continuous prayer, she takes care that the first supplications at such a moment should be in harmony with their agitated feelings—concise, yet awakening, and bearing them to their God. For to whom else can they flee at such a moment? That heart must indeed be hard and worldly which then is not fixed on God and heaven. Then too, if ever, is felt in


all its force, this truth—that mercy is the sinner's plea. 0“ Lord, have mercy upon us,” for Thou art our Father! O “Christ, have mercy upon us,” for Thou art our Lord, and our Redeemer! O “ Lord, have

mercy upon us," for Thou art our Sanctifier, and our Comforter!

Leading us on, like a sympathising parent; even as you, a mother, would lead your sorrowing child, by a gentle restraint upon any grief which had overpowered him, to proper exertion and a gradual return to those active habits which grief had suspended ; having moreover by these short ejaculations for mercy brought the mourners to the footstool of God's throne, and placed them spiritually in the presence of their heavenly Father who dwelleth there -- the Church directs and encourages them still further to pour forth their hearts to Him in that form of words, with which we may justly encourage ourselves in trusting that He is well-pleased, for the sake of the gracious Being who taught them to us.

THE LORD'S PRAYER. “ Our Father, which art in heaven,

from evil. Amen." Lo! the comforting words, “ Our Father which art in heaven!” Perhaps you are a son, mourning a parent. Be it so; and weep. But, remember, you are not orphaned. You have a Father still: and He is " in heaven," and there, with Him, as your hope is, the dead you mourn, now lives. Is it then mocking thy grief to bid thee be comforted? Perhaps you are a parent at the grave of your child. Did you glory in the character of a son, high in christian honour, firm in christian truth, noble in christian virtue! or did

you delight in the fair christian graces of a duteous daughter; all in all to thee? her radiant smiles gilding the evening of your life, soothing you amid sorrows, ever studying your comfort, and winning your esteem as she riveted your affection ? and is she gone? cut down like a flower ? Did you love these children?Start not at the hard question. You did love and love well! witness a mother's tearful sobbing at their grave; witness a father's deep, still agony! Yet listen to the voice of consolation. Your children have still a Father's love; a love, filling their souls with a measure of happiness, of which the fondest imagination dreameth not, and which the tenderest parental heart cannot conceive. Theirs is now the love of One, whose power

to bless is not more above your power, than his love is greater than yours; even the love of a heavenly Father. Where He loves, there is Heaven ; and there rest your children. The privilege indeed of thus addressing Almighty God, in this hour of wretchedness, as our Father, is every way full of consolation. Do you mourn a husband? The Almighty reminds you that you are under his more immediate care. He is the God of all; the Preserver of all ; but He is declared to be, in an especial manner, " the God of the widow !.” The more unprotected you are in a world of strife, the more surely will He be with you ; your guard and guide amid your difficulties: a Father to your fatherless children, and your own sure refuge and defence. In his gracious and tender lovingkindness, his promises fail not, but are most full to those who most need, and his aid most ready to those who have none else to help them--from the fatherless in

i Ps. lxvüi. 5. and cxlvi. 9.


« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »