網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

Or

With Christian patience and fortitude, though at a distance from his family and his nearest relatives and friends, he sustained his short but severe illness. Friends nevertheless closed his eyes-Friends and brethren now accompany him to the grave, mournful as to the flesh, but joyful and thankful to God in soul and spirit for his past usefulness and example.

But I hasten to a conclusion. Funeral addresses are intended only for the benefit of the living. Be, therefore, the virtues and example of our deceased brother long precious amongst us; but let us dry up our tears, and silence every vain complaint. Let us not question the dispensations of Providence; nor murmuring, ask-Whether it were not to be desired, that men endued with eminent talents to serve their country and families, should be long preserved in health of body and vigour of mind; and that the hour of their death should be protracted to the latest period of old age? Say we not so. For the commander of an army best knows when to call the centinel from his post. Every man in this world hath his office and station assigned by Heaven, and continueth therein so long as it pleaseth the supreme Ruler; and he that performeth his part best and liveth well, may be said to live longest.

Seeing, then, my brethren, that, by the faithful discharge of our civil and religious duties, we may overcome death, be prepared for eternity, and leave our names sweet to the world behind us; let us take for our example the virtue and goodness of our departed friends, and be persuaded that there is no honour, no happiness to be acquired here on earth, equal

an

to that which we derive from acting our part with dignity; stedfast in the practice, as well as profession, of our holy religion; zealous for the happiness of our country and mankind, and always delighting in acts of love and goodness. The regard which is paid to such characters as these, will grow with their growing years; and when they come at last to take leave of this world, whether at an earlier or later period of years, as they have lived the life of the righteous, their latter end will be like his.

And as, by the lives of such righteous men*, we are taught how to live and to overcome the world; so by their death we may be instructed how to die, or to subdue death! For, whence comes the fear of death, but (as hath been observed before) “ because we seck to have our portion in this world, and cannot brook to let go our hold;" never considering that Christ hath slain Death on his cross, and hath“ brought life " and immortality to light by his Gospel.”-And, therefore, however abject and little man may appear, viewed as he is in this world, with all the evils of life

—the dross and dregs of his mortality-about him; yet, considered in respect to another world, and as a candidate for eternity, he appears illustriously great, even amidst his sins and sufferings, when he may be thought least, in common apprehension.

It is a grand description which is given of the Angel in the book of Revelation, who came down from

• As some pages have been transferred from the first edition of this Sermon (See the note, page 40;] some additions have also been made to supply their place, beginning page 42 ; on the use of funeral solemnities, and the commemoration of the virtues, and if need be, even the vices, of the dead, for the benefit of the living.

VOL. I.

Heaven to proclaim destruction to time. He had in “ his hand a little book open: and he set his right “ foot upon the sea, and his left foot on the earth, " and cried with a loud voice, as when a lion roareth: " and when he had cried, seven thunders uitered their 66 voices. And when the seven thunders had uttered " their voices, I was about to write; and I heard a "s voice from Heaven saying unto me, Seal up those " things which the seven thunders uitered and write " them not. And the angel, which I saw stand upon " the sea and upon the earth, lifted up his hand to “ Heaven, and sware by him that liveth forever and "ever, who created Heaven, and the things that “ therein are, and the earth, and the things that " therein are, and the sea, and the things which are “ therein, that there should be time no longer.But far greater is the true Christian in the act of death -He sets one foot in the grave, and the oiher in the very porch of Heaven; being enabled, through Christ, to proclaim destruction to death and the grave_"0 “ death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be “ thy destruction-O death, where is now thy sting! “ O grave, where is now thy victory!"

Then, too, can he add, without fear, “ Farewel, my body, my mortal part! Why shouldst thou my soul, be loth to part with thine old companion, to leave thy clay cottage, and to be without a body?

Behold, thy Maker, and the spiritual and heavenly inhabitants, have no gross bodies such as thine! Hast thou ever seen a prisoner, when his jail doors were broke open; and himself manumitted and set loose at liberty?-and have you then heard him complain to take leave of his prison-house, and refuse to forego his fetters? Or, hast thou seen a wave-worn mariner, who has long been tossed and troubled on his stormy voyage, when arrived in sight of his native port, refuse to strike sail and enter in; chusing rather to launch back again into the perilous main ? -_ Why then, my soul shouldst thou be thus fear-stricken and discom. forted, at parting from this mortal bride, thy body? It is but for a time, and such a time as the body shall feel no need of thee, nor thou of her; and thou shalt again receive her back, more goodly and beautiful, purified and perfected by absence; like unto that chrystal, which, after the revolution of some ages, is said to be turned into the purest diamond?

Now, unto Him who, by his apostle, hath assured us that after “our earthly house of this tabernacle « shall be dissolved" and moulder into dust, we have “ a building of God, an house not made with hands, " eternal in the heavens,”-unto Him be glory and dominion and praise forever! Amen.

TO THE READER.

THE following Sermons from 2d Thessalonians, chap. IV. were delivered in Christ-Church and St. Peters, Philadelphia; and begun December 1st, 1793, being the Sunday the Churches were first opened, after the great visITATION, by the epidemical sickness, commonly called the Yellow Fever.

« 上一頁繼續 »