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Let us then see that we be holy, as he who hath called us is holy; and that the lives we live in the Aesh, we live by faith in the Son of God; as ever we would hope to die the death of the righteous, and that our last end may be like his.
2. Our subject, and the hope herein set before us, may well support believers under the heaviest temporal bereavements, and other tribulations. The end of all things, and certainly the end of all the afflictions of the righteous, is at hand.
“ Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” The life of man, however full of trouble, is of few days. If, by reason of strength, it be more than four-score years, yet it is soon cut off. The apostle reckoned that the sufferings of this present time, were not worthy to be compared with the glo. ry which shall be revealed in us. And we know,” says he, “ that all things work together for good, to them that love God.” Again he says, affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal."
“ Our light
3. We may hence learn how the present mournful solemnity ought to be improved.
The decease of a neighbor and friend, in some views, ought ever to be considered as an event, for the present, not joyous, but grievous. Attending a funeral is called, going to the house of mourning. And if we consider how death entered into the world, why it passes upon all men, and what are often its terrible consequences, sober sadness evidently be. comes us whenever we see a fellow-mortal thus turned to destruction. Nor can we well refuse the
tribute of a tear to the memory of those who have labored for our good, or who have done worthily in their day; when they can labor for us no longer, and when they have no more a portion for ever in any thing under the sun. At the grave of his kind and beloved friend Lazarus, “ Jesus wept.” And when Peter was brought into the chamber where Dorcas lay dead, a woman full of good works and almsdeeds, we are told, “ all the widows stood weeping; and showing the coats and garments which had been made by her while she was with them.”
And should not we, my hearers, be affected in a similar manner, on the present occasion of mourning ? The venerable man whose cold remains are inclosed in that coffin, now to be laid low in the dust, has performed many laborious and important services, for a long time, of a public as well as private nature : and, to many of us, he has been one of the kindest, firmest, and most able friends, we have ever had in this world. Not only in the relations of a husband, parent, neighbor, and parishioner, have his kind attentions and faithful exertions been singular; but of this society he has been very much the father, from the beginning. In its first formation, he had a principal hand; and for more than forty years, he has been more active, and had more influence, than almost any other man, in building it up, and promoting its prosperity. In the church also, and in the town and state, he has sustained, and well executed important offices. And as, in life, he has been much honored and beloved, it cannot reasonably be other. wise than that, in death, he should be respectfully lamented.
There are considerations, however, which may well moderate our grief. He goes to the grave full of days, as a shock of corn that cometh in, in its
He had little more of comfort to expect in this life. He may be taken away from great public evils to come, of which he was anxiously apprehensive. And, we have reason to hope and trust, he is entered into peace, where the wicked cease from troubling. He early made a profession of religion ; and has given good evidence ever since, of the sincerity of his profession. For constancy in attending upon the public worship of God, and a very close attention to the ministry of his word, he has had few equals. Even to old age, he was rarely ever absent from the solemn assembly. No inclemency of weather, or slight indisposition of body, would detain him from the sanctuary, on appointed seasons. Equally constant was he likewise, in the more private duties of devotion. Nor was he one of those who seem to be religious, while very deficient in morality, and the social virtues. In his public, civil capacity, he exerted himself with more than common zeal, for the suppression of vice, the support of justice, and the preservation of peace.
And in his private intercourse and dealings with mankind, his character was unimpeachable. It is true, he escaped the woe of our Saviour, unto them whom all men speak well of. In him was verified the proverb of Solomon, “ He that is upright in the way, is abomination to the wicked.” There were not wanting those who reviled him, and said evil of him. Nor can it be denied that he was subject to like passions as others; but I know of nothing ever plausibly alledged against him, which ought to shake our charity for him as an honest and good man.
Yet, before God, he abhorred himself as a vile sinner, and often repented, as in dust and ashes. Near the closing scene, he expressed a deep sense of his utter unworthiness of divine mercy : and of the impossibility of his being saved from wrath, otherwise than of free grace, through the infinite atonement of Jesus Christ.
Upon the whole, his mourning friends have the comfort of a confident hope, that he was one of the just, who live by faith : that he died in the Lord ; that his soul is with the spirits of just men made perfect; and that his decayed body, which we must now leave to sleep in the grave, will awake to everlasting life. I shall conclude with the consolation to mourners, 1 Thes. iv. 13, 14, 18, “ But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them that are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died, and rose again, even so them also who sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.-Wherefore, comfort one another with these words."