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the providence of God, the wrath of man shall accomplish all the more completely that divine purpose
which nothing can defeat or so much as delay. Our Easter * flowers shall remain in the house of prayer, not because we are glad, we cannot be glad to-day, — but because we are full of the great hope which is the Christian's anchor, and which holds in the stormiest sea. They are providentially here to grace the burial of our Chief Magistrate, honored and well beloved, the best defence of the nation, under God, only yesterday : they shall be eloquent symbols of immortality, shining witnesses of the light that burns behind the darkest clouds, and of the love which is unchanging; of the earth, earthy, and yet fragrant as with the airs of heaven, and telling us of things heavenly, that
“ Sweet fields beyond the swelling flood
Stand dressed in living green.”
I am not sorry that it is Easter-morning; that the sad message has found us at the open tomb of Jesus, thank. ful, with a Christian thankfulness, that death is for ever abolished, and taught, by that look of triumph in the eyes of our risen Lord, how surely and how swiftly sometimes God brings the best things out of the worst, and clothes the heaviest spirits in the most radiant garments of praise. Let us confess his hand; and that known unto him are all the works of man from the foundation of the world; and that this blow also was needed, else it had not been given in the providence of One who never willingly afflicts.
* Easter Sunday, April 16.
· Why seek ye the living among the dead ? He is not here, but is risen.” It is a pious, faithful, and most tender office to go to the graves of our loved ones; and not to weep there were to be less than human. Know ye not, said the apostle, that ye are the temples of God; and that your very bodies are consecrated, fashioned into majesty and beauty by the life within ? And we have all seen how the departing spirit sets upon the lifeless form its own lovely image; and, in proportion as we honor the soul, we deal very tenderly with the soul's wonderful tabernacle. Nevertheless there is need of the question, “Why seek ye the living among the dead ?”
– need that, even here in Christendom, we should again and again be told, “He is not here, but is risen.” They are not the words which man's wisdom teacheth. Science does not announce them amongst her discoveries, old or new. The heart of nature hath no such burden as that to roll forth from its burning core, persistent as is its hope, deep as is its desire of immortality. The voices are the voices of angels; they come to us from that tomb in which Christ and his gospel seemed to be for ever buried; they are the echoes of those early testimonies which declared to all the world, beginning at Jerusalem, that he who “suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried,” rose from the dead on the third day, to be called, ever after, the Lord's Day, to be the Easter of each week,
« Till week-days, following in their train,
The fulness of the blessing gain ;
It is an unspeakable privilege to live in days when the angelic voices are to be heard; and we never hear them more distinctly, and are never more sure that they are from heaven, than when, in our human weakness, we are afraid, and our faces are bowed down to the earth. It would be agony sometimes to look upon the poor stricken body, over which the change may have passed almost in the twinkling of an eye, if the spirit which leads us into all blessed and consoling truths were not waiting for the opportunity to say, “He is not here, but is risen;" for that is what the spirit whispers in the heart of every true believer since the Lord abolished death. The bridegroom has been taken from them, and the children of the bridechamber may well mourn; but it is a holy and hopeful sorrow which moves their hearts, and they are lifted at once into heavenly places with the departed, and he is transfigured before them; and the eyes which were holden before that they could not see are anointed; and, because he lives, we live. Listen now, as you never yet have listened, for the angelic voices. It is a nation's opportunity to grow into a deeper faith in the everlasting life,-a faith that death only sets free, and reveals the bound and hidden soul. It is a faith which we owe to Christ. He changed the philosopher's opinion and the people's hope into a practical and abiding persuasion. The angels did not light up the tomb with their glowing faces and shining garments until he was laid in it. Then words of good cheer were heard, which were not passed by as the idle tales of the superstitious, but were taken up as most authentic gospels, and proclaimed wherever men, from
fear of death, were subject to bondage. It is our blessed heritage from those who were glad because they had seen the Lord. It is a faith which we can have in its power and fulness
we are thoroughly Christian, not merely in the reception of the outward facts, but in a conformity to the very heart and mind of Christianity. It is a faith which must be proportioned to our other faiths, and chiefly to our confidence in truth and goodness and immortal love. Not to all the people is Christ revealed, but to witnesses chosen before of God, who, though like Thomas they might hesitate for a moment, could not scoff like the Athenians when Jesus and the resurrection were named together, since nothing could be more credible than the rising of such a Lord.
Not of us is it to believe; and yet God's gift is also our act, and we must exercise ourselves in this grace ; and a public grief so heavy and so unlooked for, and so suggestive of anxious questionings as this, which presses upon all hearts to-day, may challenge and exalt our faith in things unseen, and help us to taste the powers of the world to come, even more than a private sorrow. Let this be the measure of our Christianity. By this let us know whether we have been the companions and friends of Jesus, whether we look at the things which are seen, or at the things which are not seen, according as we shall be able to look up from the grave, and to seek for the living in their appointed and exalted places. God is not the God of the dead. Truly to confess Him is to confess the life everlasting. No hand of violence can rob you of aught living, or consign you to hopeless sorrowing for the dead, if you
yourself are truly alive. Find the soul in the body whilst the body lives, and you cannot be persuaded, — no, not though an angel from heaven should say it, that, when the body dies, the soul too goes down with the dust into the grave. “ Neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.” Oh, for that strong and ardent faith, which, in losing a visible person, gains an invisible life ! - - a life which is ours no more by virtue of corporal contact or contiguity, but flows in upon us through channels hidden and divine.
It is a blessed faith which enables us, when the man is gone, to rejoice as we never rejoiced before in his high and gracious manhood; and, when the countenance is changed, to walk more gladly and steadfastly than ever before in the pure light which illumined it, and made the hard lines of a plain and often sad face soft and flowing and almost comely. It is a blessed faith which so joins us to the wisdom and goodness, to the honor and gentleness, and all the fair and sweet humanities of our friend, that, when he is taken from us in a moment, we find that what made him justly dear is more ours than ever ; not to be groped for among the dead, but already abroad in this world of the living ; accomplishing still the will of God on earth, and amongst the children of men. It is a blessed faith which suffers us not to linger over our dead beyond the just time of a natural and healthy sorrow, but commits and commends us, as soon as may be, to the paths of our daily life in which he walked ; to the works which he was not permitted to do, and to the greater works which he promised ; which makes him more to us, in the