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melt into weakness—their spirit to depart, and corruption to prey upon the soul's tenement. But, it is not God who causes this, it was not God who brought death into the world, but it was SIN. But it is God who appoints the time for the spirit to depart. And who shall dispute his ways ? He does every thing for the best and for the happiness of his creatures, and though their affliction may appear grievous, to our limited capacities, yet in reality it is for our good. If God has taken away our friends, we may rest assured that he has done so in mercy, and we may entertain the hope that he has taken them into his eternal glory. And we are sure, that they are delivered from the miseries of this world. They might have continued to add sin to sin, or might have been an occasion of sin to others. But we may conclude that God's ways, however dark they may appear to us, are for our good, and that all his paths are peace.
Besides affliction to the living hath oftentimes great and important consequences.
The loss of a friend or relative is but a temporary afflic
tion; but that affliction may be the means that God has taken to save the soul. . “Before I was afflicted,” says the Psalmist, “I went astray, but now have I kept thy word. It is good for me, that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes. I know, O Lord, thy judgments are right, and that thou in faithfulness hast afflicted
After this prayer which we have just noticed, follows the collect that furnishes a collection of many consolatory sentences founded upon God's holy word. It contains a trust that we may rest in the Lord, as our hope is this our friend doth, “and that at the general resurrection in the last day, we may be found acceptable” in the sight of God.
This collect, as well as the whole service, is expressly designed for the living. We meekly beseech thee, O Father, to raise us from the death of sin unto the life of righteousness,” or in other words, we are dead in trespasses and sins; we have naturally no life in us; Adam's nature is about our souls; we are dead in Adam, yet, O
Father, we beseech thee to quicken us to pour thy Holy Spirit into our hearts, that we may become alive, and hold fast the faith that is in Christ Jesus. We entertain a hope that the departed shall arise and be with thee. Give us, O Lord, thy grace, that we also may be partakers in that blessing, which thy well-beloved Son shall pronounce to all that love and fear thee, saying, Come, ye blessed children of my Father, receive the kingdom prepared for you from the beginning of the world. After this wholesome supplication follows the benediction, that concludes the service. Here the Holy Trinity—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spiritmare invoked, and prayed to be with us all for evermore. The blessing from on high is supplicated. The Father as our Creator—the Son as our Redeemer-the Holy Spirit as our Sanctifier, are called upon to be with us all for evermore.
Thus, my brethren, in the service appointed by our Church to be read over the dead, are found the most consolatory portions of Scripture that the inspired writers ever delivered.
Art thou, O disconsolate mourner, sorrowing as one without hope ? hath thy friend been taken from thee in an untimely age, according to thy comprehension of human affairs ? hast thou lost thine only hope—the staff of thine old age—the comfort of thy declining years ?-art thou left in an unfeeling and heedless world, to tread thy passage to the cold and solitary tomb ? Have thy parents been taken from thee—the husband—the wife of thy bosom
-the child of thy love—thy sister—thy brother ? Art thou left alone ? Oh! no, thy God is with thee. If thy relative hath departed—if corruption hath conquered the vigour of life-weakness, strength, dishonour, glory-it shall not remain so for
Oh! no, the departed shall rise again ; though sown in dishonour, he shall rise in glory—though committed to the earth for the worm to prey upon and corruption to moulder into dust, he shall throw off the restraints of the grave-he shall rise and be with Christ for ever
My brethren, this is no idle imagination that we 'urge upon you :-it is a truth
the records of the Almighty. The scattered particles of the dead shall be collected-man shall again live--but not in his natural body-a body liable to sin, and misery, and death—but in a spiritual body fashioned after the Redeemer's own glorious body—an inhabitant of an eternal world—a partaker in the victory that the Saviour gained, and an everlasting inmate of the kingdom of heaven.
The burial service, as we have before observed, is appointed to be read, not for the benefit of the dead, (for they rest from their labours, and their works do follow them, but for the living. And well adapted is it, my brethren, as you have seen, to comfort and relieve the sorrows of those who are distressed. But why ?simply because that office, like the other offices of the Church, is founded upon the express declaration of Scripture. Indeed, at no time does religion fail, if that religion be drawn from the divine doctrines of Jehovah, in easing the troubled mind, whether it be suffering from the loss of relatives, or oppressed by the cares and the