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final adieus, the parting embraces, which you have beheld, and in which you have borne a part! Remember that husband who possessed your affections, torn for ever from your embraces; that wife, whom you loved, uttering her last sigh in your arms; that child dragged from your agonized bosom; that parent in trembling accents giving you his dying blessing; that friend, to whom your soul was knit, straining upon you his closing eyes! Recall the melancholy dissolution of those ties which had united you to others, and which had been cementing for years. Let these recollections be your preachers; their voice will be impressive, while echoing the accents of the dead they cry, "The days of man are short and uncertain."
And now, my brethren, what effects shall these truths have upon us? Let them inspire us with a resolution instantly to attend to the concerns of our souls: since we must soon die, since we may die every hour, let us instantly seek to acquire that faith, that repentance, that holiness of heart and life, without which our deaths must be full of terror, and our eternity spent in the regions of despair. We have had during the last week solemn and affecting warnings; let us not neglect to profit by them. We know not what a day or an hour may bring forth. In so dreadful an uncertainty, shall we continue careless and indifferent? In so perilous a situation ought we to rest satisfied without the favour of God, and an interest in the Redeemer? Let us all, therefore, devote ourselves to God, and then, however suddenly death shall come, we shall speak to our surviving friends in accents of consolation and joy: we shall say to them, Mourn not for me, I have only exchanged earth for heaven; I have entered
upon a felicity unspeakable and boundless: be ye followers of me as I also followed the Saviour; and then you shall again be united to me, never to be separated more.'
God grant that we may all so live, that these accents may be heard from our tombs, for Christ's sake. Amen.
1 THES. iv. 13, 14.
But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them which sleep in Jesus shall God bring with him.
In looking around upon you, my brethren, I see many memorials of the triumphs of death, and of the painful breaches that he has made in this flock for some months past. The mourning garments and the
* This discourse was preached in the month of November, in the cities of Charleston and Savannah, after a season of unusual sickness and mortality.
dejected looks of the bereaved, those vacant seats which lately were occupied by our acquaintance or connexions who are now in the eternal world, are silent, but most eloquent preachers to us. And whose heart does not melt as he contemplates those children of affliction who remain, while their bosoms have been rifled of their dearest earthly treasures? Here sits a widowed mourner, who recalls the tender husband who has expired in her arms; and there a solitary partner, who has seen the wife of his youth, the desire of his eyes, in the convulsive throes and agonies of dissolution! Here a child, who weeps as he recollects the ardent but tremulous benedictions of an expiring parent, which proceeded from the centre of a heart which, though already chilled by the frost of death, still retained its tenderness for him! There a parent, who shudders with involuntary emotion, while there still vibrates on his ear that final groan, at uttering which the soul of his child found itself at the tribunal of God! Here a brother or a sister, who have seen such dear relatives straining upon them their eyes, already overspread by the shades of death! There a friend, who has received for the last time the pressure of affection from the hand of him whom he loved as his own soul! Such afflictive scenes have been too frequent to be disregarded; too recent to be forgotten; and to those persons who have experienced them, this discourse is peculiarly addressed. Pardon me, my dear friends, if for a moment I appear to re-open those wounds of your soul, which have
scarcely ceased to bleed. Far from the feelings of my heart is the desire to add to the grief of those who have already been bruised by the rod of the Almighty. But it is my warm wish, my ardent prayer,
that, by these trials and this converse. with death in your families, you may be prepared for your own dissolution; that, by seeing the grave thus opened for your relatives, you may be made to die to the world; that, while your heart is made more susceptible of impression, you may direct that love which was engrossed by departed friends, to the blessed God and the compassionate Saviour. I adjure you, then, by the cherished memory of those for whom you weep; by the cold corpses that their bodies now present; by the joyful, tremendous eternity into which they have entered, and to which you are hastening; to listen with solemnity, and with sincere desires that your bereavements may be sanctified.
And you, whose families have been preserved by the good providence of God, who have not been forced to taste that bitter cup of which others have so deeply drunk, do you also listen, that your hearts may expand with gratitude while you press to your bosoms these dear objects of affection, whose society you still enjoy; and that you may prepare for that time which will certainly and soon arrive, when you must bid farewell to them, or they to you.
Three points will claim our attention:
I. What is that sorrow which Christians may lawfully indulge for departed friends?
II. What is that "sorrow without hope," which they are forbidden to exercise? And,
III. What are those considerations which should diminish their sorrow, and mitigate their grief?
I. Feel then your griefs, desolate and bereaved believers; you are permitted to sorrow. Away with the sentiments of those who teach, that, under our afflictions, we should evidence an utter insensibility,
stupid unconcern! Such is not the command of
that God" who knoweth our frame, and remembereth that we are dust; nor of that Redeemer, who "in all the afflictions of his people was afflicted." Look at your scriptures, ye who cruelly chide those tears that relieve the wounded heart, and that are accompanied by resignation and submission. Did Abraham violate his duty when he came to Kirjatharba, "to mourn for Sarah, and to weep there?" Was the lustre of Joseph's character obscured, when he grieved for his father at the threshing-floor of Atad, "with great and sore lamentation ?” Was Jeremiah forgetful of his elevated office, when his prophetical harp breathed such mournful tones over the corpse of the good Josiah? Do we feel less attached to the Christians of Asia, when they wept sore at separating from Paul, "most of all, because they should see his face no more?" Do we not sympathize with the pious widows who stood by the body of Dorcas weeping, and "showing the coats and garments which she made for the poor, while she was yet with them?" Were those "devout men" less devout when they carried Stephen to the grave, and made great lamentation?" Is there any thing inconsistent with the high character of that Mary who sat at the feet of Jesus, in the tears which she poured over the grave of her brother? But why do I mention inferior instances? Behold Jesus, our lawgiver and our model, authorizing a submissive grief by his emotion and his tears at the tomb of Lazarus !.
Hear the Lord representing an unlamented death as a judgment, a curse, and a severe proof of his anger: "Thus saith the Lord, Enter not into the house of mourning, neither go to lament nor bemoan them: for I have taken away my peace from this