PREACHED TO THE
REFORMED PRESBYTERIAN CONGREGATION, WISHAWTOWN,
NOVEMBER 27, 1831:
THE SABBATH AFTER THE FUNERAL
THEIR LATE PASTOR.
PUBLISHED BY ALEX. GARDNER:
W. WHYTE & Co., W. OLIPHANT, AND WAUGH & INNES,
EDINBURGH; M. OGLE, G. GALLIE, AND W. COLLINS, GLASGOW;
D. HALLIDAY, DUMFRIES; G. TODD, STRANRAER;
AND HAMILTON, ADAMS, & CO. LONDON.
DANIEL XII. 13.
“But go thou thy way till the end be: for thou shalt rest, and stand in thy lot at the end of the days.”
THESE words, which close this remarkable prophetical book, close also the account of the prophet. The name of Daniel stands conspicuous among the “holy men of God who spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost;” and he is to be viewed not only in the character of a devoted saint of the most High, but in that of an eminent public servant. Some saints live and die in comparative obscurity: they retire from public notice, and “walking humbly with God,” they grow in holiness, and are at last removed, as from the privacy of the closet, where they maintained converse with God, to the throne which they were accustomed to address. Others, again, are ordained, by their station, gifts, office, labours, and peculiar circumstances, to move in greater publicity; and their departure is of course an event of more general observation and remark. Daniel was of this latter description. Preserved amidst the desolations of his country, he was carried, in his youth, a captive to Babylon, and educated there in the learning of the Chaldaeans. He was raised and fitted, by the providence and Spirit of God, for acting a conspicuous part, in relation to the captive church, and to those who had led her captive. He lived near to God, received and communicated prophetical revelations of singular perspicuity and comfort; thus furnishing to the captives light in darkness; maintaining, during the seventy years’ captivity, an astonishing witness for the God of the Hebrews; and uttering and recording predictions extending far beyond his own day, and whose fulfilment has furnished a strong argument for Divine Revelation—predictions which are still throwing light upon futurity, and unfolding the vast designs of Providence in its magnificent advances to the consummation of all things.
It is not the manner of God to give to his servants an immediate translation to heaven, as he did to Enoch and Elias. They must take their course to the celestial rest through the “valley of the shadow of death,” leaving their “flesh to rest in hope,” and their memory to be blessed. The holy character of Daniel, his eminent labours, and his advanced years, will not exempt him from the law of mortality. He must die. And besides the admonition from his years, he appears to have received special intimation, that he “must shortly put off this tabernacle;” it having been showed to him by the Lord Jesus, as was done to Peter, at a future day.
We cannot restrict the signification of the text to an intimation to Daniel that prophetic revelation to him would now cease, that he would prophesy no more, and must henceforth betake to other duties, till his change come. The resemblance between our text and verse 9th, might suggest this interpretation; yet the obvious contrast between ‘going away’ and ‘waiting’ and ‘coming’ to the 1335 days, in the verse immediately preceding; and the connection in the text between ‘going away’ and ‘resting;’ and the fact that Daniel was now about to die, all lead us to view the words as containing an intimation to the prophet of his leaving this world; a dismission, not from office and official labour only, but from life. In this view they contain three things; dismission, rest, and future honour. The first signifying a removal from the present scene; the second, the new state into which he was to enter; the third, a blessed prospect at the day of Christ. The words, you observe, contain a precept, “Go thou thy way;” and two promises, “Thou shalt rest,” and “Thou shalt stand in thy lot in the end of the days;” the former to receive an immediate fulfilment, the latter to be accomplished at a future era. With a view to Some improvement of the mournful circumstances in which we are this day assembled, I shall, in dependence upon the Holy Spirit, direct your attention to a few things respecting the dismission, rest, and future glory of the saints and servants of Christ.
I. I shall speak of the dismission of the saints and Servants of Christ.
1. This dismission is the authoritative act of Jesus Christ. It was he that said to Daniel, “But go thou thy way.” By looking to verse 5th of chapter x. and to verse 6th of this chapter, we learn who the glorious personage is, with whom the “man beloved” is in converse. “Behold a certain man, clothed in linen, whose loins were girded with fine gold of Uphaz. His body also was like the beryl, and his face as the appearance of lightning, and his eyes as lamps of fire, and his arms and his feet like in colour to polished brass, and the voice of his words like the voice of a multitude. And I heard the man clothed in linen, who was upon the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand, and his left hand unto heaven, and sware by Him that liveth for ever, that it should be for a time, times, and a half.” By comparing these words with corresponding visions recorded in the Apocalypse, and reflecting on the language of Daniel, “O my Lord, what shall be the end of these wonders?” we have evidence that there was a manifestation of a Divine person, and that this person was the Son of God, the one mediator of revelation in every age. We know that the prophets “neither heard the voice of the Father at any time, nor saw his shape.” But Jesus has all things put into his hands. In providence he “puts down one, and sets another up.” He says to this one, “Go, and he goeth, and to this other, Come, and he cometh.” “Our times are in his hands.” He is the Lord of the servants, and it pertains to him to say, Thou mayest be no longer steward. He appoints the bounds that men cannot pass. Death takes place according to the counsel of his will, and by the operation of his providence. And precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints. Every thing connected with the life and death of his servants is ordered by him. He calls them, continues them, and removes them. He commands, Go work in the vineyard: and he dismisses, “Go your way.” It pertains to him, by right of redemption and by trust committed to him, to order every thing connected with his saints. He is the Lord of the dead and of the living. When we see the servants of God removed from us, we must revere the appointment and the hand of Jesus.
2. The Saviour exercises this prerogative in sovereignty. We do not mean by this that he acts capriciously and arbitrarily, that he acts without reason: for he does every thing in infinite wisdom. But he does not unfold to us the reasons of his procedure; reasons which we have no right to ask of him; reasons which we may be unable to discern, or which it would not presently be our advantage to know. We must bow before him. The saints, like Isaac, “know not the day of their death.” It is the divine will that it should be so. It becomes the servant to wait on the master, and it is every way worthy of the master to say to one and all of the servants, “Watch.” We must not curiously inquire into, much less challenge, the grounds of his holy pleasure. How peremptorily did he assert his sovereignty, when he rebuked the inquiries of Peter respecting John? “If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? Follow thou me.” John xxi. 22. He dismisses some in youth; some in the midst of their days; some in old age; some by sudden visitation, others by protracted disease; some by violent pain, others by slow and almost imperceptible sinking; some at the commencement of labours, others in the midst of their activity and usefulness, and others after long and valuable services. In some cases of dismission, we may read chastisement or rebuke; in others special mercy. But in every instance the design has been accomplished, and the appointed day completed. We are called reverentially to observe what Christ does, and to adore his indisputable sovereignty in doing as it seems to him good, not asking him, “What doest thou?”
3. This dismission is in its nature a discharge from present service. As there is a removal from the present scene, “Go thy way,” so there is a release from present duties. The saints and ministers of God are servants occupying till Christ come, in various, laborious, and painful duty. They have a trust committed to them that is solemn and responsible. Of their souls and bodies, of their time and talents, of their relations and offices, of their gifts, and substance, and influence, they have a charge, which requires the greatest diligence and vigilance; a charge which they must retain with “fear and trembling,” and which they may not, cannot, relinquish till the Lord command. They are servants, not for a fixed term, but for life; and they must accomplish their unknown day. They are watchmen, and must keep their post amidst fears by night, till they are released. They are soldiers, still among enemies, and must remain in armour and on the field, fighting the good fight of faith, till they are discharged. They are pilgrims, and though weary, must not lay down their staff and recline, till their Lord bring them to the city of rest. They must labour to enter in. They must run with patience the race, set before them, keeping the faith, till they receive the end of their faith, the salvation of their souls, the incorruptible crown. They have pleasure in the service of Christ; but still there are labours, solicitudes, trials, and pains in this service, which make it desirable to depart, and which connect with honourable dismission from the present life, the idea of a joyful deliverance. Yes, the servants of Jesus, when sometimes fainting and pressed in spirit, and tempted to wish for themselves “in the wilderness a lodging place of way-faring men,” or the “wings of a dove to wander far off,” while they rebuke their own impatience, have consolation in the assurance that their Master shall yet command: “Go your way.”
4. This dismission implies transition into another state. This is indeed expressed in the very terms of it, “Go thy way.” Death is a going away, a departure. The body dies, the soul lives and departs, it goes away. In this very simple manner do we find the immortality of the soul recognised in the language of Scripture. “Behold this day I am going the way of all the earth.” “I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.” “When a few years are come, I shall go the way whence I shall not return.” The same language is employed by Christ on different occasions. “Jesus knew that his hour was come, that he should depart out of this world unto the Father. Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said I go unto the Father.” And similar is the language of the apostle. “Having a desire to depart and to be with Christ. The time of my departure is at hand.” Death is aptly compared to taking down a tent preparatory to removal: “Mine age is departed from me, and is removed from me as a shepherd’s tent. We know if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, (unloosed.) Knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle.” The taking down of a tent does not imply the destruction, but the removal of the inhabitant. “The dust shall return unto the earth as it was, and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.” This is the grand distinctive excellence of man. “That which befalleth the sons of men, befalleth beasts, even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath no pre-eminence above a beast: for all is vanity. All go unto one place, all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again. Who knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast that goeth downward to the earth?”
The words of Daniel’s dismission proceed upon the immortality of the soul, and indeed they express it with the greatest simplicity and obviousness. Immortality is truly the grandest argument on which we can employ our mental powers; but revelation alone leads us to satisfactory conclusions. The reasonings of the schools are ingenious and amusing; they are plausible to minds capable of understanding and pursuing them; but they have not that obviousness and certainty which the necessities of the felt approach of the dying hour require. We may justly say, that as death does not imply the annihilation of one particle of which the human frame is composed, neither can it imply the destruction of that principle within it, which reasoned, feared, and hoped. We are persuaded that body and mind are substances, which have properties entirely distinct, properties that cannot be predicated of them in common, without the most manifest absurdity. We perceive that the human spirit stands at the very summit of terrestrial being; and while matter and inferior creatures serve a purpose in ministering unto the interests of intelligent and moral beings, shall the soul of man be supposed to cease to exist without serving any object? We may reason on the capabilities of progressive improvement which the mind discovers, and on its fears and hopes, and on its moral judgments; but we can never reach more than a strong moral probability on the subject of its future destiny. The Scripture alone gives certainty to our views.
“Man dieth, and wasteth away, and giveth up the ghost, and where is he?” Tell it reason. Tell it conscience. Answer it, oracles of ancient learning, or schools of modern science, profiting by the accumulating knowledge of ages. Ah! the responses are dubious and unsatisfactory. We appeal to the “oracles of God.” There we learn of a place, an appropriate place, into which Judas went, when he fell by transgression—of a hell, in which the rich man lifted up his eyes immediately after his death, and while his body remained buried—of a prison in which those spirits which were disobedient in the days of Noah are reserved unto judgment, along with rebel angels. And there we also learn of the saints having an entrance ministered unto them abundantly into “the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ”—of their “being with Christ”—of their being “present with the Lord”—of their “spirits being made perfect”—of their “inheriting the promises”—of their “being before the throne of God and serving him in his temple.” The places which once knew them, know them no more. Our senses say they are not. Our reason cannot go far beyond our senses: but faith in the divine testimony supplies perfect assurance concerning their separate existence in the presence of Christ in the heavens. They have gone away to “a better country, that is an heavenly,” and to a “city that hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.”
5. The saints and servants of God are sometimes dismissed in peculiarly affecting junctures. God’s time is always good, always best; and our reason is insufficient to judge of his procedure. Nor must we exact of him an account. Without indulging this spirit, we are required reverentially to observe the times and seasons, as well as other circumstances of the divine appointments. We may frequently remark the occurrence of the death of the saints, at times of peculiar interest to themselves, and to the Church of God; and in circumstances in which we are ready to think the prolongation of their lives would have been much to be desired. Often are they removed in the midst of projections and efforts for the interests of the kingdom of Christ, and without seeing the accomplishment of great things, for which they had prayed and laboured. When we reflect on Daniel’s prayers, labours, prophecies, age, and the near approach of Zion’s deliverance, we are ready to think it desirable that he should have joined the captives in their return to the place of their fathers sepulchres, and lifted up his voice with those who shouted aloud for joy, while others wept, when the foundation of the temple was laid before their eyes. But things are ordered otherwise. Although the events of Providence, after a long trial to the church, are on the point of a favourable issue, Daniel must die. And God often acts in this way. Abraham had the promise of the land of Canaan, yet God gave him none inheritance in it, no not so much as to set his foot on. Moses and Aaron were laboriously and honourably connected with the church in the wilderness, and must die before she obtains an entrance into the land of promise. Long had Moses been engaged about this people, from the time he refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. Forty years had he lived in retirement with God, after he had shown a promptitude to deliver his brethren; and he had been other forty years with them in their journeyings and temptations. The time for their entrance into Canaan is come; they are on the borders of God’s sanctuary; yet Moses must die, obtaining only a view of the good land in the distance. David had made great preparations to erect a house for the name of his God, and must leave the work to be finished by his son. The Baptist prepared the way of the Lord, and preached Solemnly and earnestly of the increase of Him that came after him, and of the kingdom of God which was at hand; and yet he was taken away before the death and resurrection of Christ, and the wonders of Pentecost. And in more ordinary circumstances we find many things in the Divine dispensations which disappoint our fondest wishes, and declare our thoughts to be vanity.
There are wise reasons for this feature in the Divine administrations. The great plans of God respecting his church extend far beyond the appointed bounds of human life, and without an alteration of this law, the grand eras of Providence cannot be witnessed by the individuals of the preceding generations. By bringing a variety of instruments into operation, we are prevented from fixing our exclusive attention upon one, and the eye is directed to the supreme Agency, more than to the instruments which it raises and sustains. By the removal of one instrument, space is given for another, and one generation passeth away, that another may arise, as the autumnal leaves are shed by the buds which are to expand in the approaching spring. And God, by this part of his procedure, teaches his servants at all times, to give a supreme preference in their affections unto himself; the enjoyment of God in heaven being always better than the most prosperous circumstances on earth. To be with Christ is far better. While praying, and labouring, and looking, for the coming of happy days in the Church, we cannot, with propriety, prefer a lot even in those days, to the “inheritance of the saints in light.”
Nor are we to view the departed saints and servants of Christ, when removed into another world, as altogether disconnected from the interests in which they so ardently engaged their affections on earth. From a supposition of this nature, we have a mournful feeling when we think of Daniel’s dismission, on the near approach of the church’s deliverance. Must we not consider that, in the lights of heaven, his views were extended far beyond any thing of which his mind, even under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, was susceptible on earth; and that in the better state, he participated in that very deliverance more highly, than any saint on the earth? What if thisbe intimated in the expression “till the end;” referring, not to the end of his life, but to the end of the grand prophetical period of which the Redeemer had just spoken? The servants of Christ, when removed from earth, are not disconnected from the kingdom of Christ, nor withdrawn from all knowledge of events on earth regarding it. No. They are near to Christ the Living Head and Ruler, and they compass that throne which is the centre of the universe, and of all the providential dispensations. To them the book is not shut up nor sealed. May we not say with holy reverence, that now when that which is perfect is come, they behold, loosed in the hands of the Lamb, the seven sealed book, comprehensive of the whole purposes and plan of the grand administration which he now conducts? In the light of heaven, they perceive the vast scheme of redeeming Providence, in its rise, prospective design, centre, extent, magnificent operations, progress, and consummation; and they no longer know in part, and prophesy in part. And participating the most perfect interest in the Divine dispensations, with which they are completely conversant, may we not suppose that the grand eras of these dispensations, so bright with glory to God, and replete with felicity to man, form points of their concentrated and rapturous anticipations?
6. Ere I close this part of the subject, it may be proper to remark, that the Saviour’s dismission of his saints and servants requires, of themselves and others, the most cordial submission.
On the part of the saints of God, there should be a constant patient waiting for Christ, and an entire submission to his holy will in all things; and surely, respecting the time and the circumstances of their dismission from life. And when they have intimations of it, by the death of others, by advancing years, by felt infirmities, by disease, or by strong presentiments on their spirits, it is their duty to acquiesce in the will of the Lord. “To be with Christ is far better,” and under this view the faithful apostle felt himself in a strait between two. The feelings of nature may be strong; darkness may obscure our views and our christian assurance; affections, natural and sanctified, may attach us to their proper objects on earth; we may feel that we have done little for Christ in the world; these, and other considerations allied to them, may produce a desire to abide in the flesh. But all these views and feelings should be subdued into submission to the will of Christ. We should live and die to the will of Christ. It is said that Aaron went up into mount Hor, at the commandment of the Lord, and died there. Daniel received a commandment to go his way. In entire submission to the will of God, and waiting upon Christ, there should be a special voluntariness in the death of the saints. In many cases we find this beautifully exemplified by them, particularly towards their end. They are not driven away in their wickedness, but they go away, in obedience to the call and commandment of the Saviour.
And, surely, on the part of those who survive the saints, there should be a cordial acquiescence in the divine will. “If ye loved me,’ said Christ, ‘ye would rejoice because I said, I go unto the Father. When the saints have received an honourable dismission, on their account there should be gladness, while the survivors may weep for themselves. They may respectfully mourn for the dead, and deeply deplore the loss which themselves, the church, and society sustain; still they must not repine, nor sorrow like those who have no hope. Remembering them and the end of their conversation, imitating their example, praying for a double portion of their spirit, and helping forward the work of God in which they were engaged, let survivors acquiesce in the divine will, in the removal of the saints, and of public servants, and “let every one show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope to the end; not slothful, but following them who through faith and patience are inheriting the promises,” and waiting, like them, the dismission, “Go your way.”
Such, my brethren, is the first and most simple view to be taken of the death of the saints. They are away. They have not been chased away. Nor have they run away. But they have gone their way, because they have been called and sent by Him that redeemed them. And indeed we see them no more. This view of the matter presses on our spirits. It affects us in anticipation. “I shall not see the Lord, even the Lord, in the land of the living: I shall behold man no more with the inhabitants of the world.” It strikes us in observation, for “as the cloud is consumed and vanisheth away, so he that goeth down to the grave shall come up no more. He shall return no more to his house, neither shall his place know him any more.” And this view often overwhelms us in remembrance. Counsel, and fellowship, and sympathy, and offices, often not appreciated as they should have been, we no longer enjoy. “Lover and friend hast thou put far from me, and mine acquaintance into darkness.” “And now, behold, I know that ye all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, shall see my face no more. And they wept sore, sorrowing most of all for the words which he spake, that they should see his face no more.” Is this your and our sorrow to-day? Yes. We see the face of the venerable man of God no more. While giving indulgence to the natural feelings of sorrow, let us rise above them. Blessed be God, we are warranted to take another view of the subject, and to consider the departed saints not merely as gone away, but as entered into rest.
II. I am now to speak of the rest of the saints and servants of God.
You are aware that the term rest is employed in Scripture to express the state into which the departed righteous have gone. “He shall enter into peace, they shall rest on their beds.” “Let us labour, therefore, to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.” “Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours.” The present world is not the rest of man. It was not so, even in his state of innocence. Much less in his state of guilt and alienation from God. And although the gospel presents a rest to the soul, and Jesus confers it, still the ultimate repose is in another state, it is with Christ himself. The wicked know nothing of rest, either here or hereafter. And it is worthy of your notice, that in two of the chapters from which we have just quoted, in illustration of the rest of the righteous, the contrary state of the wicked is exhibited also: “But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waves cast up mire and dirt. There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked.” “And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever, and they have no rest day nor night.” Is. lvii. 20. Rev. xiv. 10. But I am now to speak, not of the contrast between the state of the righteous and the wicked here or hereafter, but of that between the present and the future state of the righteous. “Thou shalt rest.” Compared with the state they have left, the righteous that have gone away have entered into rest.
This rest does not refer merely to the state of the body. It is true, the wearied body is laid in bed, is taking rest in sleep; and united unto the Saviour, like his flesh it rests in hope, and shall awake, from its sleep in the dust, to everlasting life.
Nor does this rest imply the unconsciousness or inactivity of the mind. It is the sentiment of some who deny the atonement, and who manifest no particular relish for communion with God, nor longing to be with Christ, that the soul at death sinks into sleep. But this is at variance with every just view that we can take of the spiritual and active nature of the soul; and in vain do we speak of the immortality of the soul at all, if it hath no pre-eminence over the body in this respect: for the body is not annihilated; it shall yet awake to life. The general intimations in the Scriptures of the immortality of the spirit imply its transition at death into a state in which it is altogether unaffected by the catastrophe of the body. “Then shall the spirit return to God that gave it.” “They who kill the body, are not able to kill the soul.” How can we think of the soul as sleeping in the dust, or as killed with the body? The hopes of the children of God are in opposition to this gloomy view. The patriarchs desired “a better country, that is an heavenly.” Asaph hoped to be “received to glory;” David to “dwell in the house of the Lord for ever;” Paul, to be “absent from the body, and present with the Lord,” “to be with Christ.” Besides, what shall we think of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, who are not dead, but living, living to God; or of the penitent malefactor with Christ in paradise; or of Lazarus in the bosom of Abraham; or of Moses, Enoch, and Elias at the mount of transfiguration; or of the spirit of Stephen received by Christ; or of the spirits of just men made perfect; or of the souls under the altar, if the spirit of man sinks after death into insensibility? What gain is there in dying; what preference in being with Christ; what blessedness in the state of them that have died in the Lord, if the spirit sleep with the body? Ah, my friends, this is a dark view of the subject, not more inconsistent with our consolation, than opposed to that revelation from which it is all derived. The rest of the departed righteous is of another description.
1. They rest from painful labours. While it may be said generally of the state of the dead, “there the weary are at rest;” we know that it pertains to the blessedness of those who die in the Lord, to “rest from their labours.” Job iii. 17. Rev. xiv. 18.
Activity was a source of enjoyment to innocent man; but when he sinned, he was doomed to sweat and to sorrow. His work became “labour and sorrow,” he prosecuted it under the curse. The saints are not exempted from toil and anxiety in the present state. - They experience lassitude, they require the refreshment of sleep, they labour under infirmity of the flesh, the mind is incapable of protracted and intense application; and such is the sympathy between the two parts of their nature, that the body clogs the efforts of the mind, and the efforts of the mind overpower the body. What cares, and watchings, and faintings, and weariness, and anxiety, are connected with present labours? “Through infirmity of the flesh I preached the gospel unto you.” “We were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life. In journeyings often, in weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.” From all these things the saints are delivered at death. They serve now without weariness, and rest from all the weakness, the sickness, the pains and the faintings of the former state. Blessed are they who thus rest from their painful labours, and who serve God without languor and without intermission, in those activities which befit the enlarged and sanctified powers of the mind, and the celestial state into which it has entered; having their faculties braced with immortal strength, and their souls replenished to their utmost capacity With the purest enjoyment!
2. The saints also rest from suffering. “Many are the afflictions of the righteous.” “In the world ye shall have tribulation.” It is so appointed to exercise the faith and patience of the saints, to prove, to humble, to correct them, and to wean them from the present life, and to serve other wise and holy ends. The body is subject to pain, and to various disease. The mind is liable to distress and anguish. The faithful servant of God is open to envy, hatred, malice and persecution. He may feel the evils of poverty, the loss of friends; and he is liable to the temptations of satan and of the world, and to a loss of spiritual consolation. Yes, in this present state, the saints of God may walk in great darkness, because he hideth his face, and they cannot behold him. And witnessing the commission of iniquity, and sympathizing with the afflictions of Zion, their “eyes trickle down, and cease not without any intermission, till the Lord look down and behold from heaven.” But the righteous are taken from evil. “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” Rev. xxi. 4. Tears do not then bedim the eye, furrow the cheek, deject the countenance, and bedew the pillow. No mourners go about the streets of the heavenly city, nor mingle in the assembly around the throne. There the garments are always white, and the head lacks no ointment.
The departed saints, it may be remarked, ere we close this observation, are also happily removed from the public calamities which, from time to time, agitate the world, and try the church. God, often in a singular manner, proves a hiding-place to his people in troublous times. “They abide under the shadow of the Almighty, and a thousand fall at their side, and ten thousand at their right hand, while only with their eyes they behold and see the reward of the wicked.” But oh! how safe are those who are gathered home to heaven, and dwell in the presence of Christ? Daniel had predicted “a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation,” “and many shall be purified and made white and tried, but the wicked shall do wickedly.” In these times, “some of them of understanding shall fall to try them, and to purge, and to make them white, even to the time of the end.” But Daniel was to rest from these trials. May not a prophet, predicting judgments, tremble within himself that he may rest in the day of trouble, and hear, with joy, the promise, “thou shalt rest?” The evil day is not to be desired. It was promised to Josias, “I will gather thee unto thy fathers, and thou shalt be gathered into thy grave in peace, and thine eyes shall not see all the evil which I will bring upon this place.” And God may, in great mercy, give his people rest with himself from the evil day. Times may become such that though Daniel, Noah and Job were alive, they could only save their souls by their righteousness. We have little doubt that it will yet be so before the end of the days spoken of by Daniel, and when the Lord doeth terrible things in righteousness, who shall live? Happy are they who are taken from the evil; and we may praise the dead that are already dead, more than the living that are yet alive.
3. The departed righteous rest from sin. I might have mentioned this first, for sin is the cause of all painful labour, and of all suffering. To a Christian mind, exercised unto godliness, deliverance from sin will form no inconsiderable ingredient in the rest into which the saints enter at death. For sin, as a principle, maintains a constant conflict in the heart, and breaks its peace. In its unceasing movements, it disturbs the rest of the soul. Its desires and workings fill the heart with uneasiness and distress, and its temptations are a source of much painful feeling. Paul, who was a man of great fortitude, and could meet dangers and deaths unappalled, under experience of the operation of indwelling iniquity, exclaims, “O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” It does not enter into the designs of God, upon conferring pardon on the sinner, at once to destroy and annihilate sin. To manifest more its turpitude and deceits, to humble the mind, to produce habitual vigilance and dependence upon the grace of the Saviour, to magnify the grace of God, and to withdraw the affections from this present world, the saints must conflict for a time with sin and satan. Sin, indeed, shall not have dominion over them; and although it should, in some instances, overcome them, they will overcome at last, and be more than conquerors. In the moment of death the soul shall be made perfect in holiness, and the spirits of the just “made perfect” shall have no more experience of sin. The grace of God, in its forgiveness and in its destruction, shall be remembered and celebrated for ever; but there shall be no more sense or accusation of sin in the conscience—no loathing consciousness of its actual pollution—no trembling apprehension of its power—no easily besetting sin—no evil propensity—no sinful affection or passion—no rebellious thought. How exceedingly are the saints depressed in the service of their God here from indwelling sin and temptation: But in the rest into which they enter there shall be no deceitful unbelief, no sluggish languor, no cold heart, nor any thing to distract, divide and unsettle the mind in the contemplation and service of God.
4. The departed saints rest from imperfect enjoyment. The satisfactions which the children of God have in his service, in the sense of his favour, and in his communion here, however adapted to the soul in kind, and sweet in the experience, are imperfect in degree. They leave the mind hungering and thirsting. There is still remaining dissatisfaction, and the soul presses after a secret something in the knowledge and fruition of God, which it has not yet attained. Its views have obscurity, its joys are mingled with sorrow, and its holiness is still connected with remaining impurity. But in the future state it shall rest from imperfect enjoyment, and be filled with all the fulness of God. Then shall the soul, after its wanderings and weariness, find itself returned to its rest, and in a sense in which it could not before, it will “rest in God.” It shall rest in its views of God, for these views shall be face to face; it will rest in its purity, for it shall be holy as God is holy; and in its joys, for they shall be full, the soul drinking from rivers of pleasures. Its joys will be those of deliverance, of victory, of possession, of fruition. In the place into which it finds itself entered, in the presence in which it dwells, in the views it obtains of Christ as he is, and of God in him, in the fellowship with which it is associated, and in the employment in which it is unweariedly occupied, the soul shall rest. That which was in part is done away, and that which is perfect is come. Formerly it drew water with joy from the wells, now it is led to the living fountain. We must not, therefore, satisfy ourselves with a negative view of this rest, but connect with it the idea of blessed activity and of high positive enjoyment.
5. The saints rest from all fear. Formerly they had fightings without, and fears within. Now there is nothing to hurt or annoy; they lie down and shall not be afraid. Many of the saints are all their lifetime subject to bondage through fear. They have fears about themselves, about temptation, about duty. They have fears about temporal things; solicitudes about relatives; disquietudes about the church; tremblings for the ark of God; and they are troubled at the public calamities among the nations. But the departed saints have entered into peace. The distress of nations, with perplexity, “the sea and the waves roaring,” rumours of wars, the trumpet, the conflict, the field of blood, pestilences, and famines, and earthquakes, revolutions, and shakings of the heaven and the earth, do not disquiet their rest. While in this present state they had always before them that solemn step by which they were to make their transition into eternity; the thought of which filled them at times, with fear and trembling, and made them to bless those who have passed the Jordan, and stand on the opposite shore. This step is past. There is no more death, nor bondage through fear of it; and no more fear, lest a promise being left of entering into rest, they should seem to come short of it. Those former things are passed away.
6. They also rest from change. The former was a state of constant fluctuation. This, one of abiding stability. The saints now “go no more out.” They had experienced vicissitudes of health and sickness, of vigour and infirmities, of fulness and want, of fiendship and alienation, of comfort and grief, of darkness and light, of strong consolation and sorrow of heart; changes that were various, great, and often sudden and overwhelming. The aged had experience of change in the different periods of life, passing from youth to manhood, and from manhood to advanced years. That event has now come and is past, which is emphatically and comprehensively called man’s ‘change;’ and now the Saints rest in God, who changeth not, and changes are no more against them. Nor are we to view their advancement in knowledge, as the plans . of God unfold, nor their prospect of an accession of glory at the resurrection of the just, to be inconsistent with their permanent rest from all those changes which formerly affected their felicity.
Such is a second view of the death of the righteous, death in its relation to the spirit. They are gone, they are away. But whither gone, and where are they? Entered into peace. In the moment of death, the disengaged spirit is conducted to the bosom of Abraham. In the twinkling of an eye it rests in the bosom of God. “Well done, good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.” The rest into which it enters is most peaceful, most sweet, most glorious, and it is inviolable. We may speak of it, in a negative view, as a removal from every thing that caused disquietude and sorrow in the present world, but we can form very imperfect conceptions of its high positive import. This one thing let us do, “forgetting those things that are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before;” “let us labour to enter into rest, and press toward the mark, for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”
Before proceeding to the remaining branch of the subject, let us pause to make a reflection or two.
And we are naturally led, first, to contemplate the character of that illustrious servant of God to whom the words of the text were originally addressed. Daniel was, indeed, a person of great excellence and eminence. Ezekiel, a cotemporary prophet, makes repeated honourable reference to him. “Though these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they should deliver but their own souls by their righteousness, saith the Lord God.” xiv. 14, 20. And he was commanded to say unto the haughty prince of Tyre, “Behold, thou art wiser than Daniel; there is no secret that they can hide from thee,” xxviii. 3. The blessed Saviour mentions Daniel by name, in connection with his prophecies, Mat. xxiv. 15. And Paul refers especially to him when, in summing up the wonders that were effected by faith, he says, “stopped the mouths of lions.” Daniel must be viewed as a believer in the Messiah, and precious faith lay at the foundation of all his excellence. Without this faith he had been comparatively nothing. How clearly did he speak of Christ, of his death, and of the designs of that death; experiencing, we cannot doubt, the blessed effects of it in his conscience and heart, through the Holy Spirit dwelling in him. And with what precision and beauty does he prophesy of the glory of the Redeemer’s kingdom? He was a man of an excellent spirit, and in his example we have all that is amiable, gracious, and good, as well as great. Let young persons reflect on it. Daniel was a fearer of God from his youth, and distinguished himself by early self-denial. “He purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat, nor with the wine which he drank,” afraid of temptation to sin, and sympathizing with the low condition of Zion. He was distinguished in all things by wisdom and prudence, and by a decisive practical piety. He was, my friends, a youth of prayer, and you know how, by faith and prayer, he and his companions were delivered, when in jeopardy from the unreasonable mandate of a lawless and sanguinary despot. With what humility did he make known the dream and the interpretation to the king of Babylon, and sustain the honours to which he was exalted: And when called to it, with what intrepid fidelity did he speak to the proud monarchs, the fear of God absorbing all ensnaring fear of man: “Break off thy sins by righteousness, and thine iniquities by showing mercy to the poor, if it may be a lengthening of thy tranquillity.” “And thou, O Belshazzar, hast not humbled thine heart, but hast lifted up thyself against God; and the God, in whose hand thy breath is, and whose are all thy ways, thou hast not glorified.” With what wisdom did he conduct himself, while his envious enemies were seeking occasion against him, and could find none, excepting concerning the law of his God? And when this law was concerned, he manifested a noble decisive nonconformity to the sinful commandment of men. Let those who omit prayer, in closet or in family, or who are ashamed to call upon God, remember Daniel. The Lord delivered him, and honoured him, and from the time that he had been in the den of lions, he would be greatly confirmed and emboldened in the service of his God. He was distinguished as a reader and student of the Holy Scriptures, “understanding by books the number of the years whereof the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah.” ix. 2. And he was honoured of God to receive, deliver, and record most remarkable predictions, concerning the Messiah, his death, his kingdom, and the times of that kingdom; predictions whose completion has often confounded the enemy, edified the believer, and instructed, and comforted the church of God. Contrary to the most authentic historical documents, it has been asserted that his prophecies were written posterior to the events which they declare; an assertion which admits of easy and full confutation. His character stood high among the Jews, till the days of the Messiah; and since, for an obvious reason, they have affected to disparage it. Among other excellencies of character, our prophet gave evidence of the deepest attachment to the people of God, avowing them as his people, and identifying himself with the captive church, and interceding with God on her behalf. It is impossible to read the ninth chapter of this book, without being strongly impressed with the fervent devotion, the holy zeal, and the ardent patriotism of Daniel. His character indeed presents a rare combination of excellence. ‘We perceive in him faith, humility, uprightness, wisdom, decision, and unquenchable love to Zion, and zeal for the divine glory. And all these are consecrated by decisive piety, sustained in private and public life, and in exalted station, and in the most critical circumstances, with unimpeachable probity and irreproachable sanctity; and adorned with eminent piety; and maintained to extreme old age, making his hoary head a crown of glory. While we have so much to admire, let us ascribe the glory to that grace which formed a character so excellent; acknowledge that goodness which gifted it to the church of God; and let us declare our approbation and gratitude by practical imitation, one great end why such characters are exhibited in the sacred record.
But Daniel must die. He is now full of days, of labours, and of honours, having long served his generation by the will of God. Calculating from the time of his being carried to Babylon in the fourth year of Jehoiakim, to the third year of Cyrus, the date of his last vision, we have a period of upwards of seventy years. Daniel must, therefore, have been now very old, and ripe for the grave, like the shock of corn. He must be gathered to his fathers. As we hear no more of him, his death, probably, soon followed; either in Babylon, or, as many think, in Shushan on the Tigris, a residence of the kings of Persia. He must follow to the better country, that is an heavenly, Noah, and Job, and Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and Moses, and Joshua, and Samuel, and David, and the prophets who obtained a good report through faith. Your fathers, where are they? and the prophets, do they live for ever? No. They continue not by reason of death. The most eminent and honoured of the saints and servants of God must die, though the church should have to lament their loss: “we see not our signs; there is no more any prophet, neither is there among us any that knoweth how long.” But while taken away, they may live as Daniel does, in their labours; and God is able to raise up and endow others to advance his work.
And while we mourn over the death of the saints and servants of God, let us bless his name for the prospects to them and ourselves of life and immortality. On the deeply-mysterious subject of our future destiny, we are not thrown upon the resources of our own benighted minds, nor upon the doubting, varying, ambiguous sentiments of human wisdom. Upon this subject there rests more than a natural darkness, from the mental difficulty of contemplating it; a deep, penal gloom broods upon the conscience from its sense of sin. But this gloom is dispelled by the light of revelation, and the reflections of the cross of Christ. Life, and incorruption, are now brought to light by the death of Christ; the cross has abolished death; and its radiance now throws a sure and a steady light upon our futurity. But long before the day of Christ’s manifestation, immortality was the object of faith and hope to the saints. They are not lost though gone from us. They rest with God, and are blessed in the enjoyment of him. The language of dismission, “Go thy way, has a reference to the state which they leave; but in respect of that into which they are to enter by death, the language of their God is, ‘Come away. On this subject we have not only abstract testimony, but we have facts which speak volumes. The ancient believers knew of an Enoch and Elias, to carry their thoughts to a state of future bliss; and we have now, blessed be God, the God-Man, arisen from the dead and gone to heaven. “Believing that he died and rose again, we are not ignorant concerning those who have fallen asleep to sorrow as those who have no hope.” The saints and servants of God who have left us are not lost. No; they live—they are entered into peace—they rest—they are present with the Lord. And what is said of Daniel in our text is, in substance, the privilege of every believer in Christ. “Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright; for the end of that man is peace.”
DANIEL XII. 13.
But go thou thy way till the end be: for thou shalt rest, and stand in thy lot at the end of the days.”
OUR plan of discourse, you remember, was to speak of the dismission, rest, and future glory of the saints and servants of God. On the first of these things we have remarked, that this dismission is the authoritative act of Jesus Christ—is sovereign—is a discharge from present services—implies transition into another state —often occurs in affecting junctures—and should receive the cordial acquiescence of all concerned. And on the second, we have observed, that the departed saints rest from painful labour—from suffering—from sin—that they rest from imperfect enjoyment, and from the fears, and the changes, of the former State.
III. It remains now to speak of the future glory of the saints and servants of God. And that I may reserve to myself a portion of your time for the special improvement of the subject, I must not extend the illustration. In allusion to the distribution of the land of Canaan, we speak of the condition of people in this world as their lot. The saints have an inheritance incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for them. This is the antitype of the inheritance which was divided by lot to the children of Israel, the better country, the heavenly. To stand in it is to have it in sure possession. And although the context speaks of the thousand, three hundred and five and thirty days, we are under no necessity to restrict ‘the end of the days to this period. Though we were to restrict them in this application, it might be shown that, in respect of the fulfilment of his predictions, Daniel will stand at that time with great honour, as the man greatly beloved, as a distinguished prophet of the Most High God, as one of the servants whose word he has confirmed, and as one of his messengers whose counsel he has performed, to the conviction and joy of all those happy ones who shall wait and come to that happy era. But this is not the exclusive meaning of the phrase. If ‘the end in the first part of the verse have a reference to the prophetical days, may not ‘the end of the days,’ in the conclusion, in correspondence with other parts of scripture, express that grand ultimate era to which the faith and hope of the saints are directed: indeed, the end of the days, the end of the world, the last day, the day of the Lord, the day of judgment, the judgment of the great day? This forms the consummation of glory and honour; and we are sure that Daniel will have an honourable portion in it. After speaking of the present rest of the departed righteous, let us consider their future glory.
1. This implies a glorious resurrection of the body. The soul is gone, and we know whither. It is entered into rest. The body is left behind. We lay it in its shroud. It presents indeed a changed face, and we cover it up. We unveil it now, and then, in solitude, or in company with friends, to take another mournful look—the mortal remains are laid in the coffin—the farewell view is taken of the fast-changing countenance-the sable repository is closed up—the hour appointed arrives—friends assemble in befitting attire—the body is removed from the house it inhabited, and carried, with composed look and slow pace, to burial—the grave is ready for it—it is lowered down—the earth covers it from our view—and we leave it in darkness. “If I wait, the grave is mine house: I have made my bed in the darkness, I have said to corruption, thou art my father: to the worm, thou art my mother and my sister.” This, brethren, is humbling. But that dust shall live again. Given though the bodies of the saints be, because of sin, to see corruption, they are in union to the living Saviour, and are more precious than gold, or the rarest gem that ever sparkled in imperial diadem. The precious redeemed clay, though now disorganised, shall yet be gathered, and fashioned anew, and the body that dwells in the dust shall yet awake and sing.
This is matter of faith. Our hope rests on the Scriptures, and the power of God. It were absurd to question the possibility of the resurrection. With God there can be no deficiency of power, nor lack of knowledge and wisdom, to accomplish it, if it imply no reflection on his moral excellence, and consist with his purpose. “And why should it be thought a thing incredible that God should raise the dead? Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened except it die.” The analogies of nature show that the resurrection is no physical impossibility. And if we reflect on the body being an essential element in the human constitution, and on the part which it sustains in the actions of man, there is a strong moral presumption that it will participate in the account which awaits moral subjects. But we are not left, blessed be God, to conjectures on the physical possibilities of things, or on moral probabilities. We have the word of God as our sure ground of hope. “Marvel not at this; for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice and shall come forth; they that have done good unto the resurrection of life, and they that have done evil unto the resurrection of damnation.” “And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.” John v. 28, 29. vi. 89. “But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which 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 which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.” 1 Thess. iv. 13, 14. “Now, if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead. Now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first fruits of them that slept. It is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption. It is sown in dishonour, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. 1 Cor. xv. 12, 20, 42. Our conversation is in heaven, from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body.” Phil. iii. 20. Then shall the body be delivered from all the infirmities and the vileness of its present state, and bear the image of the Lord from heaven.
Let me not doubt respecting the resurrection of the body. What was that beautiful flower that opens its tints to the summer’s morn, in the months of the previous winter? An unsightly root beneath the clod. What was that beautiful insect, a little time ago, which so briskly sports its brilliant wing in the solar rays? An insignificant maggot. And shall it be thought an incredible thing that God should raise the dead, and invest them with immortality and glory? Of this, Daniel himself spake. “Many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt,” Dan. xii. 2. We can trace this doctrine in the faith , of the saints from the earliest ages. Long before the days of Daniel, a servant of God anticipated to stand in his lot at the end of the days. “I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: and though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.”
2. An honourable acquittal in the day of judgment pertains to the future glory of the saints.
“God hath appointed a day in which he will judge the world in righteousness by Jesus Christ.” All must appear before the judgment-seat of Christ. Every eye shall see him, and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. But the saints who have abode in Christ, when he shall appear, shall have confidence in him, and shall not be ashamed before him at his coming. “For he cometh; for he cometh to judge the earth: he shall judge the world with righteousness, and the people with his truth.” The righteous, separated from the wicked, shall occupy the place of acquittal and honour, the right hand of Jesus. He will not be ashamed to call them brethren. That state of full acceptance with God into which they passed when they first believed, shall then be openly declared, and they shall “stand in the judgment, and in the congregation of the righteous.” Who shall then lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? All their sin shall be declared forgiven, and every calumny for ever wiped away. They shall stand without fault and spot, in the righteousness of their Saviour, and in the perfection of holiness. Jesus who kept them from falling, will “present them faultless before the presence of his glory, with exceeding joy.” The church shall then be “presented a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle, or any such thing, and holy and without blemish.” There will be found no tongue to rise up against the saints in judgment. While the face of the Lamb will inspire shame and terror in the countenances and hearts of the wicked, to whom he will say, “Depart from me, I never knew ye,” the righteous shall stand ‘openly acknowledged and acquitted in the day of judgment,’ and shall be welcomed to their lot, “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.”
3. But the saints and servants of God shall be specially confessed by Christ in the end of the days. He will not only acknowledge them generally as a body, but we have reason to believe that he will acknowledge them individually. This is not only reasonable in itself, but is suggested from the fact that the judgment will proceed according unto works, “and every man will receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done.” Works do not constitute the principle upon which the righteous are accepted with God. “For by grace ye are saved, through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God. Not of works, lest any man should boast.” The righteousness of the Saviour is the exclusive meritorious consideration, on account of which sinners are pardoned and accepted with God. “Blessed is the man to whom the Lord imputeth righteousness without works.” But works are evidences of faith and gracious character; and there is a mighty difference between men being justified for or by their works, and “judged according to their works.” The specifications made on this very subject, lead us to the same conclusion. “I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat; I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink,” &c. The cup of cold water given in the name of a disciple, shall in no wise lose its reward. Particular kindness to the poor shall be recompensed at the resurrection of the just And we are conducted to the same conclusion by the awful reverse, “Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me or of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”
And shall not the faithful public servant be specially acknowledged in the day of Christ? The intrepid confessor of the name of Christ shall be honourably acknowledged when he shall come in his glory. “Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess before my Father which is in heaven.” Matth. x. 32. And the faithful minister shall receive a special crown in that day. “For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing; are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming?” 1 Thess. ii. 19. Such was the expectation of the great apostle of the Gentiles; not of a crown of gold, nor of a sceptre in an earthly kingdom, but of immortal souls saved from death, the Lord having wrought mightily by the preaching of the gospel. “Henceforth,” says the same apostle, “there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me at that day.” 2 Tim. iv. 8. “And,” says Peter to the willing, disinterested, meek, and exemplary servants of Christ, “when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.” 1 Pet. v. 4. These, my friends, are the true and faithful sayings of God, and they shall receive their accomplishment. Some special and honourable distinction awaits the faithful servants, for “they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament, and they that turn many to righteousness, as the stars for ever and ever.” It is not for us to speculate on the nature, variety, and degrees of that honour which shall be awarded the good ministers of Jesus Christ; but we can have no doubt that they shall stand in a high and honourable lot in the end of the days.
4. The saints and servants of God shall participate in the glory of Christ, in the end of the days. They shall be glorified together with him. “When Christ, who is our life shall appear, then shall we also appear with him in glory.” “When he shall appear, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.” They shall resemble him in the spirituality, vigour, and glory of their bodies, and in the knowledge, purity, and joy of their spirits; while in all things he will have the pre-eminence, and be the first-born among many brethren. When their Lord shall be revealed from heaven, they shall be caught up together to meet him in the air, and being honourably acquitted, and openly acknowledged, shall sit with Christ in the judgment, and judge the world and angels. 1 Cor. vi. 2, 3. They are now partakers of the sufferings of Christ; they shall be partakers of the glory. The glory of salvation will not be divided between Christ and them. It must shine exclusively on the head of Jesus. And it shall most unequivocally, most cheerfully, and most harmoniously be ascribed unto him, when he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired of all them that believe. But they shall derive a communicated glory from Christ, in which they shall greatly resemble him. Without eclipsing or diminishing the glory of Christ, but magnifying it exceedingly, they shall shine, in borrowed rays, as the sun in the kingdom of God. “And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them, that they may be one, even as we are one.” John xvi. 22. How glorious the lot of the saints in the end of the days! “But it doth not yet appear what we shall be.” But blessed is he who can say, “As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied when I awake with thy likeness.”
5. They shall inherit eternal life.
This is the promise which he hath promised, even eternal life. This is the riches of the glory of the inheritance of the saints. This is the ultimate hope of the children of God. It is the uttermost boundary of mental vision, in the regions unseen. Associated with the redeemed in the closest ties, and with elect angels, the saints shall stand in their lot, in a state of everlasting felicity, in the vision and fruition of God. The Lord God shall be their everlasting light, and their God their glory. The saints shall be brought unto the infinite and the eternal God, and in the fulness of God the limited capacities of even the glorified may be for ever expanding.
We know little of this blessed and eternal state. It is a kingdom in which all are kings; a temple in which all are priests; a lot, an inheritance, in which all are heirs. This is the paradise, in the midst of which is the tree of life, ever verdant and fruitful, and where are living fountains of water. This is a city that hath foundations, whose gates are pearls, and streets gold, and which needs not the sun, nor moon, nor temple, but is illuminated by God and the Lamb. “But eye hath not seen, nor ear heard.” Imagination may conceive and combine all that is magnificent and excellent, all that is pure and blissful, but it can never adequately represent the glory of this state. Fancy must lay down her pencil, and acknowledge the subject beyond her powers. For what can represent the 47 glories of the heavenly places—the glory of human nature, when its two constituent parts shall be united, harmonized, and perfected—the bliss of an extended fellowship with the redeemed and with angels—the delights of unwearied unintermitted holy service—the satisfaction of beholding Jesus face to face—and the wonders of an eternal communion with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. “He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.” The end of the days has arrived. The last trump has sounded. The dead are raised—the judgment is set—the books are opened —the Judge proclaims, “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” Lift up your eyes and behold. The righteous shall GO AWAY INTO LIFE ETERNAL. Amen.
“The Lord is the portion of my inheritance, and of my cup; thou maintainest my lot.” “And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together,” Ps. xvi. 5. Rom. viii. 17.
Such are some brief remarks on the future glory of the saints, glory which the departed righteous have not yet attained, inheritance reserved for them when they shall stand in their lot in the end of the days. It is the excellency of the gospel that it conducts our views even beyond the rest into which the spirits of the just have entered, to the grace to be brought to them at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Then the bodies of the saints shall be raised up, and their spirits united to them for ever—then shall the righteous stand in the judgment, acquitted, accepted in the Saviour—then shall the saints and servants of God be individually acknowledged, and openly rewarded—then shall they be glorified together with Christ, and shall fully inherit eternal life. This closes our view of the subject. The mind, even with the aid of revelation and of faith, can go no farther. To saints in heaven and on earth, this is the consummation of vision and of felicity, when in the end of days, all the dispensations of time shall issue in the dispensation of eternity.
Although the text, and the occasion of my preaching from it, suggest particularly the death of the public servants of Christ, in my illustration I have been sparing in this application of the subject. The least in the kingdom of heaven, my friends, have an interest in the rest and glory of which I have been speaking. Every believer is a servant of Christ, and will stand in his lot, and shall inherit a glory that far exceeds our present conceptions; and it is the delight of the ministers of Christ to think of being associated with their people in the heavenly rest, and in the glory that is to be revealed.
I must now crave your indulgence, while I attempt the special application of my subject to our present circumstances. When I first heard of that attack of illness which has issued in the death of our beloved and venerated father, the words from which I have now discoursed occurred to my thoughts. The circumstance of our father having devoted much of his study and labours, to illustrate the prophetic numbers of Daniel and the wonderful providences of God about the church and the nations, you may conceive, was calculated to call up the suggestion, while his long life, his useful labours, his writings, and the near approach of the times of which he had so often preached and prayed, and to which he was still looking with intense interest, irresistibly impressed upon the mind a kind of parallelism between the two cases.
As a Minister of the Gospel, our deceased father has gone out and in among you for these forty-six years, and his doctrine and manner of life must be fully known to you. The matter of his doctrine was richly scriptural and evangelical; and his manner of illustration was brief, lucid, and decisive. He looked closely to the text before him, he analyzed it with acuteness and ingenuity, and illustrated its doctrines with apposite scriptural proof, and short expositions; observing, in the whole, a correct, orderly arrangement. His discourses were always the fruits of mature conscientious study, and of prayer. Were I to fix upon any prevailing characteristics in the ministry of my deceased father, I would say it was the very delight of his soul to preach Christ in the character of Mediator; to exhibit the mystery, excellence, work, and glory of the Mediator Christ; to trace his relations to God and to man; to illustrate the divine attributes as brought to view in the mediation of Christ; to exhibit the divine persons of the Godhead, in their relations to one another in the work of redemption; to point out the benefits resulting from the mediation of Christ; to distinguish between the covenant of works and the covenant of grace; to present the word and ordinances as the appointed means of salvation; to publish the necessity, sufficiency, and glory of the operations of the Holy Spirit, to apply redemption in the hearts of men; to dwell on the precious grace of faith, in its necessity, warrant, nature, influence, and effects; to apply these doctrines to the exercises of the christian life, and particularly to their influence in prayer; to address himself to the experience and various circumstances of believers; and to carry his own views, and those of his hearers, to the glory that is to be revealed. He propounded those truths, in their scriptural evidence, to the understandings of his hearers; and having done so, he made faithful, and solemn, and warm appeals to the conscience and to the heart. After a scriptural demonstration addressed to the judgment, he threw his whole soul into the application of his subject, by the terrors of the law, and the consolations of the gospel. His addresses were correct, earnest, solemn, peremptory, His hearers could not leave him without an impression that he believed and therefore spake. So particular and solemn often were his addresses, that one would think, if men did not hear, the very stones would cry out of the wall, and the beams cry out of the timber against them.
And his devotional exercises were in harmony with his preaching. His prayers manifested rich scriptural knowledge, spirituality, experience, deep impression of heart, and great earnestness. Oh, with what importunity did he, before and after the preaching of the word, invoke the Divine Spirit, and commend himself and his hearers to his all-powerful grace! And with what words in season did he present to the Lord, the concern of his soul about his congregation in the particular dispensations which were occurring in it, and about the church as affected by the aspects and movements of Providence! His prayers were not a form, but the utterance of the heart.
It was chiefly on occasion of the celebration of the Lord’s Supper that the speaker had the opportunity of enjoying the ministrations of the deceased. And he can well testify, with others, to the ability and unction with which Christ crucified was set before the people. A luminous scriptural exhibition of some appropriate doctrine was presented to the judgment and faith, and followed with most searching and solemn applications both to sinners and to saints. In his applications on these occasions, we have witnessed a particularity, a solemnity, and power of address, which seemed to insulate every individual in the audience. By some, we doubt not, they can never be forgotten. How faithful, and solemnly impressive, as well as correct and particular, was our father, in applying the law as a test of christian character, in the services immediately preparatory to the communion. And in the giving of thanks, and subsequent discourse, how often have we seen him impressed and elevated, like one not knowing whether in the body or out of the body! These occasions are fitted to excite, and to call forth an effort on the part of ministers, and to communicate a special interest to the hearers; and may they not sometimes be occasions of the especial visitations of the Holy Spirit to both?
Besides, in his ministry, our father manifested a deep interest in the dispensations of Providence. He viewed the great movements among the kingdoms in the light of prediction, and studied much the prophetical parts of scripture. In the course of his ministry among you, he expounded the book of Revelation. He took a lively interest in public affairs, both at home and abroad, in their connection with the prospects of the kingdom of Christ, and the accomplishment of the divine word. His eye was constantly upon the providence of his Redeemer, he watched to discern the signs of the times; and the exercises of his own mind gave a particular direction to his discourses and his prayers; and this habitually, rather than occasionally. While his patriotism attached him to the interest of his country, and his philanthropy attached him to the liberty and amelioration of his species, his faith in the scriptures, and his piety and his zeal, absorbed him in the interests of the kingdom of Christ; because he was assured that the peace and prosperity of the land and of the nations, could not otherwise be consolidated and advanced. He deplored the ignorance, and immorality, and misery of the multitudes that were under the despotic sway of Popery; he sighed over the blindness and prejudice of the children of Abraham; and he lamented over the condition of the heathen. In the whole tenor of his public administrations, he manifested a deep, enlightened, and holy interest in the moral, political, and spiritual condition of mankind. While he watched over his flock with special solicitude, his care and affections extended to the interests of the kingdom of Christ at large. These were daily on his heart.
He adopted the profession which he so long adorned from diligent examination, and conscientious persuasion. He did not inherit it, he did not light upon it as if by some casualty, nor adopt it from convenience, but embraced it from deliberate choice; and he maintained to the end an unshaken attachment to the principles of the covenanted reformation. And it was his manner always to connect the defence and illustration of the special doctrines of the reformation with vital godliness. And this profession he viewed not merely in its relation to the past, but in its prospective bearings on the future. While he maintained a faithful attachment to the scriptural attainments of the church, he viewed the church as called to activity and exertion in prosecuting the interests of the kingdom of Christ. He cherished a lively interest in the operations of the Bible Society, and other associations connected with the diffusion of the gospel among the heathen, the conversion of the Jews, and the dissemination of knowledge and education, particularly religious knowledge. Even to his old age, he manifested, in these things, all the ardour of youth. Faitfhul to his own convictions, and true and stedfast in the profession he had seen it his duty to make, he cherished love to all the saints of God, and sighed for the peace and prosperity of Zion, and looked and longed for the glory of the latter days.
You must be witnesses, my friends, of the truth of these things. How faithfully did your pastor expound the oracles of God among you, and warn you from them—connecting divine truths with one another—exhibiting them in their proportions—beseeching you, in Christ’s stead, to be reconciled to God—and inculcating spirituality of mind and universal holiness? His ministrations were always sanctified with the spirit of true religion, and of serious godliness. And when his subject, or the providence of God, required him to speak particularly on the public cause of Christ, you know well with what faithful decision he spoke, and how he grafted zeal upon personal faith in the Saviour. Your privileges, my Christian brethren, have been great, and a special account is awaiting. We believe our departed father enjoyed much respect and affection among you; but this was not confined to you. The other parts of the church where he occasionally laboured bear testimony to the same things. His ministrations were universally acceptable in our congregations, and we hope there will be fruits of his labours with them as well as with you. We felt ourselves encouraged by his presence among us. The very face of our father, venerable from years and labours, kindled agreeable emotions in the hearts of those whom he had solong instructed and comforted. The death of your pastor has produced a deep sensation throughout the church with which he was connected, as well as in the Christian community around; and there is mourning in all our congregations this day, as well as with you. The public servants of Christ are feeling, with no ordinary emotions, that on the death of their father in the church, the “Lord has taken their master from their head.”
Respecting the more private pastoral duties which your minister performed among you, while his ability continued, his care for you in the sight of God must have appeared to yourselves. When his strength was failing, he expressed deep regret that he could not go out and in, as formerly, in visitation and other more private duties. He all along manifested deep impressions of the solemn nature of his charge of you in the Lord; and he was particularly noted for his lively Christian sympathy with the members of his flock, in times of sickness or adversity. He made their case his own, he delivered appropriate counsel, and he bore them on his heart before the Lord. Nor did these things abate with advancing years. To his last, his people were much on his heart to die and live with them. He could not conceal this, even in his ordinary conversation. Could his chamber speak, it would testify to the many prayers which had been offered there in your behalf.
And did not the servant of God preach to you by his life, as well as publicly and from house to house? In his deportment he was an ensample to the flock. He was greatly denied to the world, and lived retired from it in a degree which many have not in their power. You will bear him witness that he sought not yours, but you. His private habits were those of devotion, and of an active bible-student. His conversation was intelligent; and, when occasion admitted, participated of vivacity and cheerfulness. He felt always at home when conversing on spiritual concerns, and on the public interests of the kingdom of Christ; uttering sentiments seasonable, instructive, and often striking. As a friend, we have known him long and well, and could testify, by his correspondence, to the interest which he felt in others, and to his faithful counsels in difficulty, and sympathies in affliction. His occasional goings out and in were always humble and circumspect; no man having it in his power to accuse his good conversation in Christ.
In his family, he was a pattern which you would do well to imitate. He attended most particularly to domestic religion, and manifested a deep interest in the spiritual concerns of his household. In the dispensations of providence he was both tried and comforted. There died before him a son and two daughters, in youth, and a beloved spouse; and in all of them he had the consolation which he has now left to those who survive him. He enjoyed the greatest happiness in his family, and with his house he served the Lord. It was indeed “a little sanctuary.” The secret of the Lord was on his tabernacle, and his habitation was blessed. And earnestly would I inculcate domestic religion, not only in the forms of worship at stated seasons, but in the prevailing spirit of it at all times. Here, as in other things, our father was an example. And the imitation of him, in this respect, would have a blessed influence upon the soul —upon family happiness—upon the interests of the church—and it would prepare consolation for the hour of bereavement and sorrow.
It is time that I notice that the departed servant of Christ was favourably known to the religious world as an author. He preached not only with his lips, and with his life, but with his pen; and, in this respect, he continues yet to speak. He gave evidence of his industry, talents, and zeal in his various writings. He prepared the “Warning against Socinian and Unitarian Errors,” which was published by the authority of the Reformed Presbytery, and which received general approbation. Besides ‘Observations on the Public Covenants,’ and several Miscellaneous Sermons, which had been preached chiefly on public occasions, he published two Volumes on prophetical subjects, which had an extensive circulation, and were deservedly popular. He illustrates at length the happy prospects of the church’s future blessedness, enters minutely into a calculation of the prophetical times, and discusses several interesting topics connected with the Jews. While he speaks with due submission of his calculations, he declares, without hesitancy, his views of the great events themselves; entering deeply, and with ardour, into his subjects, happily avoiding the extravagances of the “modern prophets, and always turning his views to practical Christian improvement. To the last days of his life, he cherished a deep interest in the public events, as connected with the fulfilment of prophecy. His writings extended far beyond the precincts of his own community, having been read by Christians of all denominations in this country, and on the other side of the atlantic. The name of MASON has gone to the utmost corners of our land, and beyond the seas, and has thrown what was excellent and venerable in it into the scale, in favour of that unknown and misapprehended cause of which it has long been, and will longer be, so great an ornament.
It is worthy of especial observation, that the character of the deceased was a tried, a proved character. It was uniform and enduring, having been sustained in private and in public life, for a long period of years. Individuals will sometimes, on the spur of an emergency, make a great effort, and soon relapse into comparative indolence. But for forty-six years, our father was an active, efficient, and most acceptable minister, abounding in useful labours, and sustaining the sanctity of Christian and ministerial character throughout to the end. No minister can ever come more honourably to his grave than he has done, whose loss we deplore. Enemy, if enemy to him I could suppose, never had it in his power to reproach him, or, on his account, the worthy name by which he was called.
He continued to officiate in the labours of the pulpit with his usual correctness and animation till within about a year before his decease, when a slight apoplectic attack suddenly confined him. After a partial recovery, he attempted to return to the duties of the pulpit, but with sensible injury to his health. However much he desired these labours, it was found impracticable to continue them. To the hand of God he bowed with dutiful submission; and during his last months he was able to enjoy the society of his family, and to receive the occasional visits of his friends. His strength was gradually declining. He was much, and almost exclusively occupied in reading his bible, in this way waiting his coming change. He was truly a pleasant object, sitting in his chamber, with his loved bible before him, and speaking, with his accustomed smile, of its excellences. His mind was calm, and if he had no ecstatic raptures, he had no fear, no agitation. His hope was fixed, he looked with desire for the coming of his Lord, which was drawing nigh. Besides the gradual decline, he had another partial attack, and after being confined to bed, for only three days, he fell asleep in Christ.
And is he gone? My father! my father! the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof ! I see him no more. While I stand by the bank of the Jordan, let melook after the Lord God of Elijah. The honoured servant of God, removed from us, is gone his way; he has received the high welcome, “Well done, good and faithful servant;” he now rests from his labours, and waits his lot in the end of the days. Let us bless that God, whose providence raised him up and spared him so long, and whose grace made him so valuable to the church. Let us pray for a double portion of the Spirit that rested on him. Were his spirit now to address us, would it not say? ‘Speak not of me, but of Jesus, by whose grace I am what I am; and tell the people that the great things of Christ which I meditated in my loved study, and preached in my pulpit, at Wishawtown, are true, although the half was not told, could not be told. Urge on them the faith of the gospel, assure them that to live by this faith is Christ, and the happiest of lives; and that to die is gain, and to be with Christ far better. Regrets for leaving earth he has none. Recall him to it for ourselves we cannot, may not. Let us direct our view to the Master whom he loved and served, who EVER LIVETH.
Still, my brethren, there are certain duties which you owe to your beloved pastor, though you see his face and hear his voice no more. Remember him. “Remember them who have spoken unto you the word of God.” Heb. xiii. 7. The memory of the just is blessed. The righteous shall be in everlasting remembrance. Remember the things which he spake to you. “Moreover, I will endeavour that ye may be able, after my decease, to have these things always in remembrance.” 2 Pet. i. 15. By this means his ministry will be perpetuated among you. Feel, and mourn over, your loss. The Lord’s servant was not cut off in the midst of his days, not deprived of the residue of his years. He came to his grave in full age, like the shock of corn. He was full of years and labours. But as we cannot refrain from lamentation, neither are we forbidden it, nor the respectful expression of it, excepting in its excess. “And when all the congregation saw that Aaron was dead, they mourned for Aaron thirty days.” Num. xx. 29. Be ye also followers of him, even as he followed Christ, “whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.” Heb. xiii. 7. Much did our deceased father speak of faith. Follow him in piety, humility, holiness, zeal, activity, constancy, and other fruits of faith. The best respect we can show to the memory of the righteous dead is to imitate their spirit and example. We are not called to canonize them, to assemble at their tombs, to erect shrines, to preserve relics, and institute festivals; things which a degenerate church has substituted for faith and holiness. Anticipate your meeting with him at the judgment, that you may Be his joy and his crown. “Holding forth the word of life, that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.” Phil. ii. 16. The servants of Christ watch for souls, as those that must give account, and death does not close matters between them and their people. They must stand together before the judgment-seat of Christ.
And now, dear brethren, with respect to your duty. Believe in that Saviour whom your beloved minister so long and so faithfully preached. Remember, that without this faith ye can do nothing. Let the closet, and domestic, and social duties, which your pastor inculcated and exemplified, be observed in their letter and in their spirit. Walk in unity and affection to one another, as becomes brethren. Hold fast the cause of truth which your pastor so ably vindicated, and so much adorned. Abound in earnest prayer unto God, and look to him with whom is the residue of the Spirit, that his grace may be exceeding abundant towards you. Let the present mournful occasion not pass with the mere external ceremony of a funeral sermon, or with a little mournful, sentimental excitement; but pray to God that it may be stamped upon your hearts for present and abiding spiritual profit.
I might address the few aged persons who survive our beloved father. The great number of those who called him to take the oversight of them, were gone before him, and, with many others, we hope, are fruits of his ministry; and it is pleasant to think of the fellowship they may now enjoy in the presence of Christ. Are you soon to follow? Serving your generation as you have opportunity, and urged by the solemnity of approaching dissolution, make God your trust, “and even to your old age, I am he, and to hoary hairs will I carry you.” “Praise him, ye old men.” Now is your salvation nearer than when ye believed.—And as for the young, I exhort you to early piety, from the example of him who is now gone, who could testify that he was “taught of the Lord from his youth.” It is the best preparative for life, for trial, and for change. Few reach the years of our father. It were your wisdom to be ready for an early dismission. This will chasten your views, and infuse a just spirit in all your projects, your labours, and your enjoyments; and it will prepare consolation for the evil days, when ye shall say I have no pleasure in them. O how dreary is the evening of life, without the consolations of religion!—Let the elders of the church take presently a more particular charge of the congregation; and, by their special, affectionate, and prudent attention, watch over and promote its spiritual interest. And I might address those persons on whom devolves the management of the external affairs of the church. Do not relax in your activity to perpetuate for yourselves and for posterity, the benefits which are connected with a visible ecclesiastical organization. There are saints to be edified, youth to be brought forward, truths of Christ to be testified, souls to be converted, and a seed to be prepared for heaven, by this very means. These objects do not die with the ministers of the church, however eminent. And it will be no proper respect to their memories to manifest indifference here. Much will depend on your activity and prudence. It were premature to speak to the congregation of looking for another pastor, and what many of you could not, in your present feelings, well bear. But for this you have been a little prepared by the dispensation which deprived you of the labours of your late pastor. I know, from recent conversation with him, that this was much upon his spirit; and had his days been prolonged, it would have been the joy of his heart to see among you a pious, talented, and faithful minister of Jesus Christ. Let this be matter of united, persevering, and earnest prayer. And if you have profited by the ministry of him that is gone, and justly estimated his character, you will be well prepared to make choice of another to enter into his labours. Let him be your model; and the grace that made him so long a burning and a shining light among you, is sufficient to kindle up another. Many of you may feel as if no successor can fill to you the place of him that is gone; and it is not difficult to account for this feeling. It arises out of the very nature of the case. You cannot, be it remembered, recall the days of youth, nor that state of mind, nor those peculiar circumstances, in which the minis. try of the Lord’s servant was blessed for your instruction and impression. The very nature of things precludes the possibility of any other being altogether to you, what he was by whom you first believed. But be it so. Remember the Lord Jesus, who ever liveth, above all his servants, however honoured; regard the ministry still as his ordinance, with the same promise of blessing for your instruction and comfort; and rejoice in the thought of another generation forming relations to another minister, and having impressions and attachments of the same kind with those you experience. In the case of a faithful ministry, especially in one protracted through a long period of years, it is to be expected that those who have believed and been edified under it, will experience much of your feeling; and that every faithful pastor will have some, more or fewer, who feel in this way towards him, as the instrument of the divine goodness to their souls. The work of the Lord is in this way to be advanced from one generation to another.
Let us all improve the mournful occasion to prepare for our own death. And here I address myself not only to the members of the congregation, but to the numerous individuals whom the occasion has assembled. I feel certainly gratified at the respect shown to the memory of my worthy father by your attendance; and I can well assure you all of the good will he had to your souls. I know not how I can better improve the occasion of his funeral, than by preaching to you the gospel which he preached, and urging it upon your attention by the solemnities of death and eternity. O, my hearers! do you know what you are to do in the swellings of Jordan It is wise to put the question, however shocking to our nature, and confounding to our reason, and appalling to our conscience. And what will you do? Turn the Jordan back you cannot. Ford it, swim it, you cannot. Hide or flee from it you cannot. Is there nothing before you but to plunge into the impetuous swell, and be carried headlong into the dread abyss? All the creatures in heaven and earth cannot avert the fearful consequence. But this Jordan is driven back at the presence of the God of Jacob. The ark of the covenant of God opens a safe passage to the happy shore. Let your eye be directed to Jesus—let your faith be fixed on his all-meritorious death, and on the victory which he has achieved—and let your dependence be placed on the grace of God, which reigns through righteousness unto eternal life, on the power of Him who has the keys of hell and death, and on the grace of the Holy Spirit, which is sufficient to sanctify you and to sustain you. Without faith in Christ, you have no “part in him,” no “part nor lot” in the rest and future glory of the righteous dead. Without repentance, and fruits meet for it, you have no evidence of faith in the Saviour, and no meetness for the inheritance of the saints. O my hearers! our work derives an unspeakable solemnity from its relation to death. “Oh! that they were wise, that they understood this, that they would consider their latter end.” You cannot enjoy an hour, or moment, of rational happiness while you are without Christ, having no hope, and without God in the world. How can you lay your head upon your pillow and sleep soundly, when this night your soul may be required of you, and your eyes be lifted up in “outer darkness?” Happy they, and they only, who, being justified by faith, have peace with God, through Jesus Christ our Lord, and rejoice in the hope of the glory of God! They know how to live, how to suffer and how to die. While the end of the wicked is “death,” the end of the righteous is “everlasting life.” “Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his.”
Let the saints and servants of God be admonished to wait with patience all the days of their appointed time; to work the work of their Lord and Saviour while it is day; as they have opportunity to serve their generation by the will of God; to endure their light affliction, which is but for a moment, looking at the things which are eternal. And let the aged Christian, whose outward man is perishing, lift up his head, because redemption draweth nigh, and soon shall he rest from labour and sorrow. “I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord; thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” How cheering the prospect of rest with Christ in heaven, and of glory with him at his appearing! And let the ministers of Christ pursue their arduous labours, animated by the prospect of rest, and of heaven. Their Master is gracious—his work is honourable—their reward is not here, but in heaven—not now, but in the end of the days. Laying this habitually to their account, would enable them to endure toil, and anxiety, and disappointment in their work, with greater equanimity, and to prosecute their duty with greater decision. Their Master cometh to dismiss them into rest. O that the present mournful event may be greatly blessed to the servants of Christ, who were associated with the deceased in the labours of the gospel, and to all who knew him, to stimulate them in their duty, to impress on their minds the solemnity of death and judgment, and to encourage and animate them to fight the good fight, to keep the course, and to fulfil the ministry which they have received from Jesus Christ!
In conclusion, let it be remarked, that the views which the gospel enables us to take of the state and prospects of the faithful servants of Christ when they die, are very different from those which the world takes of them whom they call great. The philosopher, the statesman, the warrior and the poet die; and the world eulogises their talents, and commemorates their doings. But the account of them is closed. What is said of their present state and what shall be their standing when the marble, the brass, or more durable verse, shall have perished in the wreck of time Alas! on these subjects unassisted reason is silent, and too many in the world speak on them at utter random, or are willing to be mute. But we can go further. Not only do we remember the labours of the faithful servants of Christ, and cherish their memory, but we can say, they now live in blessed rest with God, and immortal honours await them at the day of Christ. And Oh! let us view things in the lights of that great day. When Jesus shall sit upon his great white throne, and the dead, small and great, shall stand before him, and the books shall be opened, what shall it avail any one to have written fascinating works for the drama—to have replenished the repositories of elegance with splendid tomes—and to have occupied the precious hours of thousands with the enchanting works of romance and of song? What will it avail any one to have made the world ring with deeds of heroism and blood, or even to have astounded it with improvements in science and in art? These are the things which the world calls great, and which form the subject of its idolatrous celebration. But Oh! how diminutive, and much worse than diminutive, shall many of them be when Jesus stands at the latter day upon the earth? Then shall the seducers, and oppressors, and murderers of mankind, hide their faces, and be covered with shame and contempt, when the faithful servants of Jesus shall stand in high superiority, to shine as the brightness of the firmament, and as the stars, for ever and ever.
It is our consolation to think of the part which, we trust, through grace, our beloved father has now with Christ, and of the part which he shall have with him in the great day. His labours among us are closed— his spirit has fled to its rest—his body has been laid in the dust—his pulpit is now vacant—and his congregation and the church feel their loss, and shall long cherish his memory. But he is entered into the joy of his Lord, and distinguished honours await him yet in the end of the days.
And now, my afflicted brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace. May the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort, comfort you in your present tribulation: “And now, the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever.” Amen.
 The following is a list of the principal publications of our author.
1. Testimony and Warning against Socinian and Unitarian Errors. 1793.
3. Christ, the Mediatorial Angel, casting the Fire of Divine Judgments into the Earth: Two Sermons. 1800.
4. The Spiritual Illumination of the Gentiles, coeval with the Conversion of the Jews. Sermon before the Wishawtown Bible Society. 1814.
6. Two Essays on Daniel’s Prophetic Number, and the Church’s Duty to inquire. 1821.
7. The Fall of Babylon the Great, by the Agency of Christ, and Instrumentality of his Witnesses. Making, with No. 3, Four Discourses. 1821.
8. A Scriptural View and Practical Improvement of the Divine Mystery concerning the Jews’ Blindness and Rejection, the Coming in of the Gentiles’ Fulness, &c. Sixteen Discourses from Rom. xi. 26, and vi. 27. 1825.
10. Remarks on the Seventh Vial, symbolizing the Fall of Popery and Despotism: A Sermon from Rev. xvi. 17, and xxi. 5, 6, 1827.
These works are equally creditable to the industry, talent, and piety of the author, and are happily illustrative of the cast of his mind, his favourite studies, and his manner of preaching. The esteemed author, I am happy to be able to say, has left behind him materials for a volume of Sacramental Sermons, which, it is hoped, his family will submit to his friends and the religious public.
 On the evening of Saturday, Nov. 19, 1831, at 9 o’clock.