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I have been contemplating on the period of all human glory among the tombs in Westminster Abbey. Here the most towering ambition finds its limits; insulting death bas fixed the bounds, and and no pronounced the imperial mandate, “Hitherto shalt thou go, farther; and here shall thy proud waves be stayed." The wildest boasts of mortal vanity yield to the dreadful conqueror; the glory of nature, with all the accomplishments of art, are humbled toge Hervey, ther in the dust!

Here lies the great

[But could the pale carcass speak, 'twould soon reply,]
False marble, where?
Nothing but poor and sordid dust lies here!

Here, in one horrid ruin lies

The great, the fair, the young, and wise;
Th' ambitious king, whose boundless mind
Scarce to a world could be confin'd,
Now, content with narrower room,
Lies crowded in this marble tomb;
Death triumphs o'er the boasted state,
The vain distinctions of the great;
Here, in one common heap they lie,
And, eloquent in silence, cry,
Ambition is but vanity!


See yonder maker of the dead man's bed,
The sexton, hoary-headed chronicle,

Of hard unmeaning face, down which ne'er stole
A gentle tear; with mattock in his hand,


I dreamt, that, buried with my fellow clay,
Close by a common beggar's side I lay;
And as so mean an object shock'd my pride,
Thus, like a corpse
I cried:
of consequence,
"Scoundrel! begone, and henceforth touch me not,
More manners learn, and at a distance rot."
"Scoundrel! then with a haughtier tone cried he,
Proud lump of earth! I scorn thy words and thee:
Here all are equal-now thy case is mine,
This is my rotting-place, and that is thine.


Digs thro' whole rows of kindred and acquaintance,
By far his juniors. Scarce a scull's cast up,
But well he knows its owner, and can tell

Some passage of his life. Thus hand in hand
The sot has walked with death twice twenty years;
And yet ne'er yonker on the green laughs louder,
Or clubs a smuttier tale. When drunkards meet,
None sings a merrier catch, or lends a hand
More willing to his cup-poor wretch! he minds not,
That soon some trusty brother of the trade
Shall do for him what he has done for thousands.

On this side, and on that, men see their friends
Drop off, like leaves in autumn; yet launch out
Into fantastic schemes, which the long livers
In the world's hale and undegenerate days
Could scarce have leisure for. Fools that we are,
Never to think of death and of ourselves

At the same time; as if to learn to die
Were no concern of ours. What is this world?
What but a spacious burial-field unwall'd,
Strew'd with death's spoils, the spoils of animals,
Savage and tame, and full of dead men's bones?
The very turf on which we tread once liv'd;
And we that live must lend our carcasses
To cover our own offspring: in their turns,
They, too, must cover theirs. 'Tis here all meet;
The shiv'ring Icelander, and sun-burnt Moor;
Men of all climes, that never met before;

And of all creeds, the Turk, the Jew, the Christian.
Here the proud prince, and favourite yet prouder,
His sovereign's keeper, and the people's scourge,
Are huddled out of sight. Here lie, abash'd,
The great negociators of the earth,
And celebrated masters of the balance,
Deep read in stratagems and wiles of courts;
Now vain their treaty-skill; death scorns to treat.
Here th' o'erloaded slave flings down his burden
From his gall'd shoulders; and when the cruel tyrant,

With all his guards and tools of


about him,

Is meditating new unheard-of hardships,
Mocks his short arm, and quick as thought escapes
Where tyrants vex not, and the weary rest.

Here the warm lover, leaving the cool shade,
The tell-tale echo, and the bubbling stream,
(Time out of mind the favourite seats of love)
Fast by his gentle mistress lays him down,
Unblasted by foul tongue. Here friends and foes
Lie close, unmindful of their former feuds.
The lawn-rob'd prelate and plain presbyter,
Erewhile that stood aloof, as shy to meet,
Familiar mingle here, like sister streams
That some rude interposing rock has split.
Here is the large-limb'd peasant; here the child
Of a span long, that never saw the sun,
Nor prest the nipple, strangled in life's porch.
Here is the mother, with her sons and daughters,
The barren wife and long-demurring maid,
Whose lonely, unappropriated sweets
Smil'd like yon knot of cowslips on the cliff,
Not to be come at by the willing hand.
Here are the prude severe, and gay coquette,
The sober widow, and the young green virgin,
Cropt like a blossom ere 'tis fully blown,
Or half its worth disclos'd. Strange medley here!
Here garrulous old age winds up his tale,
And joyful youth of light some vacant heart,
Whose every day was made of melody,

Hears not the voice of mirth. The shrill-tongu'd shrew,
Meek as the turtle-dove, forgets her chiding,
Here are the wise, the generous, and the brave,
The just, the good, the worthless, the profane,
The downright clown, and perfectly well-bred ;
The fool, the churl, the scoundrel, and the mean,
The supple statesman, and the patriot stern;
The wrecks of nations, and the spoils of time,
With all the lumber of six thousand years.


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Hark! from the grave a doleful sound;
My ears, attend the cry!

"Ye living men, come, view the ground,
Where you must shortly lie.

Princes, this clay must be your bed,
In spite of all your towers:
The tall, the wise, the reverend head,
Must lie as low as ours."


Let me say then to you, as the Lord spake to Jacob, Gen. xlvi. "Fear not to go down into Egypt, for I will go down with thee, and I will also bring thee up again." So here, fear not to go down to the grave, for God will be with thee there, and will surely bring thee up thence. This consideration, that Jesus Christ has lain in grave himself, gives manifold encouragements to the people of God, against the terrors of the grave.


First, the grave received, but could not destroy, Jesus Christ: death swallowed him, as the whale did Jonah his type, but could not digest him when it had swallowed him, but quickly delivered him up again. Now Christ's lying in the grave, as the common representative of believers, what comfort should this inspire into their hearts for, as it fared with Christ's body personal, so shall it with Christ's body mystical: it could not retain him; it shall not for ever retain them. This resurrection of Christ out of his grave, is the very ground of our hope of a resurrection out of our graves. "Christ is risen from the dead, and become the first-fruits of them that slept." 1 Cor. xv. 20.

Secondly, As the union betwixt the body of Christ and the Divine nature was not dissolved, when that body was laid in the grave, so the union betwixt Christ and belivers is not, cannot be dissolved, when their bodies shall be laid their graves. It is true, the natural union betwixt his soul and body was dissolved for a time; but the hypostatical union was not dissolved, no, not for a moment: that body was the body of the Son of God, when it was in the sepulchre. In like manner, the natural union betwixt our souls and bodies is dissolved by death; but the mystical union be

tween us and Christ, yea, betwixt our very dust and Christ, can never be dissolved.

Thirdly, As Christ's body, when it was in the grave, did there rest in hope, and was assuredly a partaker of that hope; so it shall fare with the dead bodies of the saints, when they lay them down also in the dust: "My flesh also shall rest in hope," saith Christ, Psalm xvi, 9, 10, 11. In like manner the saints commit their bodies to the dust in hope: "The righteous bath hope in his death.” Prov. xiv. 32. And as Christ's hope was not a vain hope, so neither shall their hope be vain.


Lastly, Christ's lying in the grave before us, hath quite changed and altered the nature of the grave; so that it is not what it was: it was once a part of the curse. "Dust thou art, and unto dust thou shalt return," was a part of the threatening and curse for sin. The grave had the nature and use of a prison, to keep the bodies of sinners against the great assizes, and then deliver them into the hands of a great and terrible God; but now it is no prison, but a bed of rest: yea, and a perfumed bed, where Christ lay before Which is a sweet consideration of the grave indeed: "They shall enter into peace, they shall rest in their beds." Isa. Ivii. 2. 0 then let not believers stand in fear of the grave: "Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for thou art with me." Psa. xxiii. 4.


Indeed, the grave is a terrible place to them that are out of Christ; death is the Lord's serjeant to arrest them; the grave is the Lord's prisoner to secure them. When death draws them into the grave, it draws them thither as a lion doth his prey into the den, to devour it. So you read, Psalm xlix. 14. "Death shall feed (or prey) upon them." Death there reigns over them in its full power. Rom. v. 14. And though at last it shall render them again to God, yet it were better for them to lie everlastingly where they were, than to rise to such an end; for they are brought out of their graves, as a condemned prisoner out of the prison, to go to execu tion. But the case of the saints is not so; the grave (thanks be to our Lord Jesus Christ!) is a privileged place to them, whilst they sleep there; and when they awake, it shall be with singing. When they awake, they shall be satisfied with his likeness.

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