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instruct us in all our difficulties, and to guide our steps through the rugged paths of an earthly pilgrimage, to the land of promise? These, and many more advantages, the devouring grave has swallowed up with our friend, and we are left to force our way through life, as well as we are able, exposed to the insults of fortune, and the treachery of enemies, feebie and unsupported, void of counsel, and with all the anguish of adivided affection and wounded heart,
Yet let not the child of sorrow, on such occasions, lie down in despair, or yield to the impulses of an unavailing regret. In the language of the Gospel, let him be sorry, “but not as
men without hope.” He has lost indeed, perhaps, an invaluable treasure, which it would be a brutal insensibility not to bewail. Yet let him remember, that he has still a friend in heaven, superior, in power and ability, to all the united strength of earthly connections. He has there a Father, ever ready to hear his cry; a Son, ever disposed to intercede for his infirmities; and a Holy Spirit, ever at hand to support him in his distresses, and guide him in his difficulties, Thither, therefore, let him fly for comfort: let him “acquaint himself with God, and be at
2dly, Let the loss of our friends teach us this important lesson, not to set our affections on things below. The great and irreversible law of nature is this: “ Man that is born of a woman “ hath but a short time to live, and is full of misery: he cometh up, and is cut down like
a flower, he fleeth as it were a shadow, and “ never continueth in one stay.” Whatever, therefore, may be our most valuable enjoyments in life, let us never forget, that mortality is inscribed
them in the most legible characters. Our affections, therefore, should be taught to aspire to something more fixed and permanent: they should rise from this vale of change and chance, to a serener and better climate, from the vain and mortal creature, to the great and immortal Creator.
3dly, Let us not sorrow for our departed friends as men without hope."
Melancholy must have been the situation of the poor heathen, who beheld the dear objects of his affection successively torn from him by death, and committed to that dust, from which he could have no certain hope of ever seeing them return. But the religion we profess, as it teaches the noblest lessons of friendship, so it also gives us the surest comfort under the loss of it; by teaching us, that “as in Adam all die,
even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” For surely, when we reflect that the friends we have lost are gone before us but a little way;--that their sun is set, only to rise again with increased splendor;-and that the hour is coming, when it is in our power to meet again, never to feel a second separation : we must acknowledge, that these are thoughts sufficient to disarm death of its sting, and sorrow of its pain.
But lastly, let us remember, that, though we must meet again, yet there is but one way, by which we can meet again with comfort.
The momentary separation of a mortal body, at the hour of death, we well know, is sufficiently painful to the breast of friendship. But alas ! what is it, when compared to the everlasting separation of soul from soul, at the day of judgment! And yet this is a separation which must take place, if we are not careful to follow the good examples of those who have gone
before us in the christian race. Whenever, therefore, our devotion flags, or, our virtue is in danger, let these considerations have their due weight upon our minds : Have I a wish to be united to the parent, the child, the friend, the husband I loved? Can I stand the shocking
thought thought of having all my crimes and follies laid open to their view, before men and angels ? Can I sustain the idea of being torn from them for ever and ever? Can I support the horrors of being sentenced, in their presence, to a state of endless torments ? And, if these weighty considerations have the happy effect of keeping us stedfast in our duty, or add even a little force to the various arguments in favour of a virtuous life, then the friends we lament will not have died in vain. We shall mourn over their ashes with a decent and pious sorrow; we shall catch the flame of virtue from a recollection of their departed excellencies; we shall labour, like them, to stand foremost in the christian race, and to excel in the discharge of every moral and christian duty, being fully assured, that, though we have been, for a few short moments, divided from them by death, yet we shall, by thus copying their good examples, be united to them again for ever, by a joyful resurrection to life eternal.