Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

to weep there? as Jesus wept, and has for ever sanctified our tears for the dead, so he now weeps. But, O heavenly Father! all he ever knew of Thee and of thy love, from perhaps a mother's earliest teaching to his own searching in the treasures of thy word, rushes to his mind quicker than light. He remembers that in thy house are many mansions; and he humbly trusts that there the departed has found a home of rest, and that there the same rest awaits him. In this trust his heart reposes; and in the prospect of it, he throws from him every doubt and every fear all is calm even in his sorrow; all is peaceful, even in his mourning; for what fear can they know whose God is Jehovah, the Lord God omnipotent, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; a God, in whom they find safety, joy, and glory-his fatherly care their everlasting safety; his redeeming love their everlasting joy; and his holy fellowship their everlasting glory?

You leave the grave-How changed your view of death! When the knell summoned you to the scene of mourning, you dreaded the hour in which you looked for a hard struggle between courage and dismay; between resignation and despair; an hour when all around you would be dark, and fearful, and terrible. With trembling steps you moved thither. Behold! the hour is past-the struggle over. You have found light for darkness, you have found courage for fear, and for terror you have found peace-peace, not as the world giveth; but as He giveth, to whom, invisible though He be, faith hath led you. To Him you have been privileged to pray, in Him you have rejoiced to trust, and from Him, though no voice was heard, the Spirit declared the glorious truths, that "the dead,

6

[ocr errors]

6

[ocr errors]

6

who die in the Lord, are blessed;" and that “whosoever liveth and believeth in Him shall not die eternally." These words fell upon your ear; and, happily, not in vain. O, from what a weight of deep, unbearable sorrow did they relieve you! what a happy calm have they brought to you! You ask yourself, Why ' sorrow I for the dead as one without hope? Are they any more in pain, or sorrow, or misery, that they need 'my tears and my sympathy? Let me consider! I am mourning those whom God is blessing! For them, therefore, weep I no more. For myself, indeed, and 'for those dear afflicted ones who share with me the ' loss of a loved guide, and friend, and counsellor-for them and for myself, tears will flow; and whilst 'tears are a relief to me, and a tribute of love and 'honour to the dead, e'en let them flow! Are they not sanctified by the Saviour, who himself wept his 'friend.'-O mourner! in an hour like this, what to you is all the world? Nay, whilst feelings like these occupy the soul, not the saddest hour of woe can tempt to murmur or to fear. What if, for a moment, as you heard the scattered earth meet its kindred dust committed to the ground, a chilling dread thrilled your heart, as though all hope were crushed ! God has enabled you, not perhaps to forget the past, but so to conquer the memory of its terror, that you no more shun to recall the scene of mourning around the grave. Rather, time itself seems to linger, ere God accomplish the number of his elect, and yourself be admitted of the happy number. There to meet your loved one is your ever cheering anticipation, and your ardent prayer. Who knoweth but that, "delivered out of the miseries of this sinful world," and being, as

we humbly trust, in endless felicity, he is even now -so the heart of affection fondly thinks-witnessing at once your earthly sorrow and your heavenly peace; ready and eager with others, the spirits of the just made perfect, to welcome you to their blest company, when, through the atonement of the Saviour in whom you have learned to trust, you also may have passed through the grave and gate of death, to your joyful resurrection, and been found meet for your inheritance in heaven.

True! when you return again to the duties of lifehowever your course may be one of active virtue-who so cold of heart as not to know that sorrow will return, and sadden your thoughts and your dwelling? Those ties which bind us in love and friendship cannot be severed, but that the severing must wound, and wound deeply. And the tenderer the love, the more generous the friendship, the keener will be the pain, the more enduring the misery. Was all bright with you before this day's cloud of sorrow overcast your sky? Did prosperity smile upon you? Was it yours to know health and competence and ease? and were all your other blessings crowned by the presence of the loved one whom you mourn; either husband, or wife, or child, or brother, or sister, or kindred, or friend? Was that presence your delight, and your joy, and your safety? Did you, in the full enjoyment of your numerous blessings, hope for long continuance of them; and was there then seen no sign of change, no gathering cloud in a sky so clear? Alas! this radiant hope is now quenched-sunk in the troubled waters of affliction. Be it so! Yet, like the evening sun in the ocean, sinking to its rest, your hope will

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

rise to a still brighter day. You have heard a voice from heaven; and its sound has given you new life— "Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord!"

And now, my reader, having finished our meditations upon the services provided by our Church for duly observing the more memorable occasions which mark Christian life, from its early dawn to its closehaving shown the excellence of these services, as adapted to their purpose; quickening our repentance, strengthening our faith, confirming our hope, and so regulating our understanding and our affections, that they may be made instrumental, through grace, to a holy and religious life,-what remains but that I enforce upon you the importance of adopting, in the conduct of life, the principles which are there laid down? Resting, as these services do, upon the Gospel of Christ, and deriving their worth and their power from their entire conformity with his word and Spirit, they are so admirably fitted to guide us all, whether our condition be the highest or the lowest, in the appointed way which leadeth to heaven, that whoso well heedeth the doctrines there maintained, following the counsels there supplied, and keeping in view the promises there set forth, may humbly trust to be established in peace as in righteousness, in happiness as in holiness; and so pass through things temporal, that he finally lose not the things eternal; sanctified in life; in death and judgment saved; and, at last, rejoicingly at rest.

Having, however, addressed myself chiefly to the mother, it may be permitted to point out to her espe

cially, the wisdom of fixing in the minds of her children their Christian faith, not only as a profession of belief, to be felt and cherished in the heart with all its glorious hopes of futurity; but as a principle of action; an abiding and active power which shall never be wanting in those seasons of trial to the soul, where duty to God calls one way, and the temptations of the world draw another; where the will of man is opposed to the will of God; where sin would debase to earth, and holiness would raise to heaven; where the fear or the love of the world would deter from duty, and the fear and love of God would fix us in it. In all these cases, unless there be at hand a principle, whose monitions are well heeded, the mind, in youth most chiefly, is ready to be enticed by pleasure from the noblest resolves, and be deceived, even by self-love, into any belief however vague, and into any course however evil; and so exposed to misery and ruin. Nor can it be denied, that even the worldly-learned and the worldlywise, however elevated their views of conduct towards their fellow-creatures, will find their learning profitless, and their wisdom but foolishness before God, if they lack the childlike wisdom, which the word of truth has declared to be beyond price-if they lack the Spirit from on high to give their character its noblest stamp in this world, and fit them, as immortal beings, to change the self-denying obedience of man on earth, into the willing and joyful service of angels in heaven. But when Christian principle is the recognised standard of right and wrong, for the thoughts, the affections, the will, and the conduct-regulating every feeling, and directing every energy of the soul-then, all is well; in youth and age, in health and sickness,

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »