« EdellinenJatka »
fatigued by her increased attention to him, and advised her to retire to rest. On the day before his death he repeated, evidently with great delight, these (his favourite) lines,
“ This God is the God we adore,
Our faithful unchangeable friend ;
And neither knows measure nor end.
“ 'Tis Jesus the first and the last,
Whose spirit shall guide us safe home;
And trust him for all that's to come." A short time before his spirit departed, he was asked by one of his daughters if he still felt happy, to which he replied, “Yes : happy in Christ, but weak in myself.” These were the last words that he uttered so as to be understood; and on Saturday, September 26th, 1840, in the seventy-fifth year of his age, this holy man of God finished his course and entered into rest. Ridgmount.
J. H. B. P.S. His funeral sermon, with extracts from his journal, will be published immediately, in compliance with the request of his numerous friends.
THE MOURNING IN THE FLOOR OF ATAD.-JACOB'S FUNERAL
To the Editor of the General Baptist Repository. DEAR SIR.-In the Repository for last November is a beautifully written article on the choice of a burying-place by Jacob. The following reflections, suggested by perusing the Scripture narrative of the same patriarch's funeral, and intended as a sequel to the above paper, though with no pretensions to equality with it in the execution, is forward. ed for insertion at your convenience.
32, Pickering place, Paddington.
When Jacob had blessed his sons, and given them commandment concerning his bones, “he gathered up his feet into the bed, and yielded up the ghost, and was gathered unto his people.” Then followed the preparations for his interment. And who superintended them? Joseph, the son of his old age. The elevated and advantageous station which Joseph occupied, and his strong filial affection for the departed, rendered him singularly suitable for the management of these mournful obsequies. No one of his brethren would conduct them more decently and more devoutly, and none of them had the means of doing it on so large a scale. Whether Jacob considered these things is unknown, but it was his dying request that Joseph would bury him. He called his son and said, “ If now I have found grace in thy sight, put, I pray thee, thy hand under my thigh and deal kindly and truly with me: bury me not, I pray thee, in Egypt, but I will be with my fathers, and thou shalt carry me out of Egypt, and bury me in their burying-place." Joseph, therefore, when his father was dead, and after his first paroxysm of grief was over, commanded his own servants, the physicians, to embalm his father. Thirty days his body was laid in nitre, that its superfluous and noxious moisture might be dried up; and forty more were occupied in anointing it with gums and spices. During these seventy days the Egyptians performed the customary mourning for him.
These days being past, Joseph sought permission from Pharoah to go
into the land of Canaan, and there perform the oath which he had sworn unto his dying parent. The monarch indulged his trustworthy and now bereaved minister, and shewed his royal favor by allowing to accompany him into Canaan “all the servants of Pharoah, the elders of his house, and all the elders of the land of Egypt. And there went with him both chariots and horsemen, and it was a very great company. And they came to the threshing-floor of Atad, and there they mourned with a great and very sore lamentation. And when the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites, saw the mourning in the floor of Atad, they said, This is a grievous mourning to the Egyptians !"
Here let us pause, and, in our imaginations, let us look and linger upon this scene.
A funeral! And what sight is so sentimental, so solemn, so subduing, as that of a vast and well-conducted funeral ? The slow march of the mourners, their saddened countenances, and their sorrowing hearts; the coffin which encloses the deceased, and “the black pall” which is spread over it; the place whither the procession is moving, and whence the mourned one will not return; all these have an effect on minds that are duly sensitive which should not be concealed, but which cannot be fully told. Even when the person who is being borne to his “long home," and “the mourners who go about the streets,” are alike strangers to us, and when we can only gather from the nature of the scene itself that this is a grievous mourning to the bereaved parties, the effect is felt, our sympathy is stirred, and we are somewhat disposed to accompany them to the grave “that we might weep there." But à peculiar interest is awakened, and a feeling of deeper melancholy pervades and possesses the soul, when it is an acquaintance that is removed far from us ; a “lover and a friend” that is "put into darkness." “ In that day doth the Lord of hosts call to weep. ing, and to mourning, and to baldness, and to girding with sackcloth." Then "all the merry-hearted do sigh, the mirth of the tabrets ceaseth, the noise of them that rejoice endeth, the joy of the barp ceaseth.” We need no artificial and adventitious helps to sadness, no tolling of the heavy and doleful bell, no “calling of such as are skilful of lamentation to wailing," no sublime " Miserere," or solemn “ De Profundis."
“ Our dearest friends depart and die,
Their absence makes us grieve.” At this patriarchal funeral the attendants were many in number, and high in rank. What were the particular rites performed—whether any oration was pronounced, or any plaintive elegy was sung over Jacob's grave, we know not-it is quite clear that the occasion was one of unusual sorrow, and that an extraordinary impression was produced by it on the inhabitants who witnessed it, for they said, " This is a grievous mourning to the Egyptians. Wherefore the name of it was called Abel-mizraim; i.e., the mourning of the Egyptians."
But there was one chief mourner on the occasion. It might be expected that as Joseph had the chief care of the funeral, a special record would be given of his feelings and behaviour. How his brethren deported themselves we are not informed; but it is distinctly stated concerning him, that “he made a mourning for his father seven days.” While Jacob was lying a breathless corpse, Joseph fell upon his father's face, and wept upon him, and kissed him," And when he had returned into Egypt, with his brethren, and all that went up with him, after he had buried his father, his sorrow continued. His unnatural brethren feared that now their parent was dead Joseph would hate them, “and requite all the evil which they did to him;" but they deceived themselves, and wronged their brother, by these suspicions, his heart was too full of sorrow for bis, and their loss, to harbour any revenge. “Joseph wept when they spake unto him," and he said, “Fear ye not, I will nourish you
And he comforted them, and spake kindly to them.”
We may view Joseph through the medium of the sacred history in many different lights, and in each we find much to interest and instruct us. Here we see him in a state of bereavement-a filial mourner. The Egyptians mourned for him as a friend and acquaintance; he mourned for him as a father. They were mourners by courtesy, or from sympathy: he from natural affection. “Tears were lent us, not only to declare our compunction but to express commisseration.” And what tears have been wept over human mortality! “Weep for the dead, for they see not the light.” When Lazarus died it might be supposed that Martha and Mary would weep. They wept for a brother. When Stephen died, devout men carried him to bis burial, and made great lamentation over him. They mourned for a martyr. When Dorcas departed “they called in Peter, and all the widows stood round him weeping, and shewing the coats and garments which she made while she was with them.” They wept for a benefactress. But Joseph made a mourning for his father. And hard indeed must that heart be which does not melt
and mourn when a father is no more; when the instrument of his existence is destroyed; when the stock of which he is a branch has withered and perished! The breast that never sighed at the sickness of another will surely be troubled when a parent sickens! The eye that never wept, and the voice that never wailed, at the funeral of a more distant relative, will surely become the one a fountain of tears, and the other an organ of woe—when a father is interred! “That is a false persuasion of adoption,” says an old writer, “which teaches us so far to become the sons of God as to forget that we are the sons of men.” Joseph stood high in the esteem of his sovereign, and high in the favour of his God, but he did not forget bis filial relation, por the duties which arose out of it. He made a mourning for bis father.
He mourned for a father who had evinced peculiar affection for him. Jacob had many children, and doubtless loved them all, but he did not love them all alike. “Israel loved Joseph more than all his children.” Nor is it difficult to account for this preference. He was “ the son of his old age;" he was the offspring of Rachel, whom Jacob “ loved more than Leab;" he inherited his father's virtues. Not that grace, like worldly substance and earthly titles, is hereditary. The offspring of the pious, as well as those of the profane, are depraved; yet, “the seed of the righteous shall be blessed.” The Lord was with Joseph, and he refused, when solicited and threatened, to do wickedness and sin against God. It is reasonable to suppose that Jacob would love him all the more because of his being “the beloved of the Lord.” And Joseph, reciprocating this special affection, would mourn the more bitterly bis parent's departure.
He mourned for a father who had specially blessed him. The power to bless rests primarily with God, and happy indeed are they who are " blessed of the Lord which made heaven and earth.” “Such as are blessed of him sball inherit the earth.” His blessing is upon his people. But God delegated to his ancient priests the power of blessing. He separated the tribe of Levi to bless in his name. “These shall stand upon Mount Gerizim to bless the people.” It was also usual for the patriarchs to pronounce frequent benedictions on their offspring. Isaac blessed Jacob, and said, " he shall be blessed. And when Esau heard these words, he cried with a great and exceeding bitter cry, and said, Bless me, even me also, O my father.” The patriarch David returned to bless his household.” And when Jacob ** was a dying” he blessed all his children, and " both the sons of Joseph” too. But the blessings that “rested on the head of Joseph, and on the crown of the head of him that was separate from his brethren, prevailed above the blessings of his progenitors unto the utmost bounds of the everlasting bills.” Could Joseph forget this when his father's tongue could bless no more? and was he not likely, at the remembrance of his rich and eloquent benediction, to make a "mourning for his father.”
Let us reflect again how this father, whom Joseph lamented, had mourned for him. When his brethren “sold bim into Egypt," and sent the coat of many colours to their father, saying, “Know now whether it be thy son's coat or no; he knew it, and said, It is my son's coat, an evil beast bath de.. voured him; without doubt Joseph is torn to pieces. And Jacob rent his clothes, and put sackcloth upon his loins, and mourned for his son many days. All his sons and daughters rose up to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted, and he said, I will go down into the grave unto my son mourning. Thus his father wept for him.” And now the case was reversed. The father had mourned for the son, supposing him to be dead; the son mourned for his father as one that was certainly deceased.
Further. Joseph deplored the death of a father who had come down into Egypt to die with him. When he saw the waggons which his son had sent to carry him, his spirit revived, and he said, " It is enough, Joseph is yet alive, I will go and see him before I die.” He set out for Egypt, and bis son met him, and “fell on his neck, and wept on his neck a good while.” And Israel said unto Joseph, “Now let me die.” But his life was prolonged, and he lived in the land seventeen years. And then the time drew near that he must die. When Joseph was apprized of his mortal sickness, be hastened to his dying bed, nor did he leave him until he yielded up the ghost; and then his grief burst forth-be wept upon his father, and kissed his cold and venerable face.
But why mourn the decease of a parent who had lived so long, and had become so feeble and decrepit? “The whole age of Jacob was a hundred, forty, and seven years :" nor was this extreme longevity exempt from its accustomed infirmities. The eyes of Israel were dim, so that he could not see. Before his vision became defective he had pronounced his days to be “ evil;” but after this they must have been far less happy. "Truly light is sweet, and a pleasant thing it is for the eyes to behold the sun.” So that being deprived of this pleasure, and having become old, infirm, and sightless, Jacob's life could not be very desirable. Some are pleased rather than pained when their aged and infirm parents are called away, because of the irouble or the expense they occasion in their senility. Jacob could no longer be as serviceable to bis family as he had been, and Joseph would doubtless have the chief care of him. But he bad the principles, the affection, the heart of a son; and when the worn and wasted form of his father was entombed, his nature, and not custom, caused him to mourn for him.
May all parents be as holy and useful in their lives, and as peaceful and happy in their deaths, as this aged patriarch. And may they find their children as prompt to surround their dying beds, as willing and able to solace them in their expiring moments, and as ready to shed over their graves the tears of natural affection and filial piety, as Jacob found Joseph, who "made a mourning for his father.” AN ADDRESS TO SUNDAY-SCHOOL TEACHERS,
On communicating Scriptural Instruction. Having, my dear fellow-teachers, said a little towards showing that the Scriptures are of infinite importance and value, you will agree with me, that parents and teachers are under obligation to teach or instruct the rising race in the knowledge of the Bible; and that, too, in the manner best cal. culated to inform their judgments, and to impress their hearts.
That children should be early and efficiently instructed in the knowledge of the Bible, none, I presume, who admit the truth of divine revelation, will deny. We know that children in the course of a few years will have important duties to discharge, involving not only their own present and eternal welfare, but also that of others, for the children of the present generation will be the husbands and the wives, the fathers and the mothers of the next; and the relative duties which they will have to discharge as masters, or servants, or citizens, or friends, or neighbours, or members of christian Churches, or any other relation in which they will stand to their fellowmen, or to the blessed God, will be of such importance as lo require all the precepts, directions, cautions, warnings, advice, encouragement, promises, and whatever other assistance the word of God can give.
God, who gave us the inspired volume, intended it to be used; and he particularly required that children should be instructed therein. He commends Abraham for particularly observing this duty,—“For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord to do justice and judgment."--Gen. xviii. 19. And when divine revelation was first committed to writing, and the foundation of the inspired volume laid, the children of Israel were specially directed to observe the laws, statutes, judgments, &c., which were written therein, and to keep in memory the facts therein recorded, and of which they had been eye witnesses. See Deut. iv. 8—10; vi. 1, 2, 6–9, 20—25. The Psalmist inquires, “Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way," and he answers," By taking heed thereto, according to thy word.” Our Saviour himself recommends obtaining an acquaintance with the Scriptures, by telling the unbelieving Jews to "Search the Scriptures,” and by reproving the Sadducees for their ignorance of them, “Ye do greatly err, not knowing the Scriptures.” The Bereans are commended for searching the Scriptures, to see if the preaching of even inspired apostles was according to the oracles of God; and of Timothy it is recorded to his honour, "And from a child thou hast known the Scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation, through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” If every parent and guardian of youth were to perform their duty as well as the mother and grandmother of Timothy did theirs, there would be much less need for Sunday-schools, to instruct children in the knowledge of the Scriptures; but this is not the case, and I fear that even many christian parents do not feel the importance of the subject as they ought.