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this becomes more conspicuously the spirit of his being and his life in the nature of things as well as by the appointment of God, must his confidence become more serene,-his consolation more copious and more pure. In order, then, that your peace and joy in God, as your Almighty and Immortal Shepherd, may abound more and more, see that ye growing day by day in faith and holiness. And, oh ! let those in whom the very elements of Christian faith and Christian character are still awanting, let them bethink themselves in time how sad and perilous their case is,--scattered on the mountains and deserts of this world, “ as sheep having no shepherd.” Alas! alas ! for those on whom the days of darkness are already fallen, or to whom they are fast approaching, who must plunge without guide or guardian into the gloom, and struggle through its horrors as they can,—to whom the shadow of death is deepened into “ the blackness of darkness" by the overshadowings of vengeance,--to whom the valley of shades opens out upon a wilderness of wo, a waste of boundless

oppresses the eye with its huge monotony of gloom. . “Give glory,” then, “ to the Lord your God, before he cause darkness, and your feet stumble upon the gloomy mountains, and, while ye look for light, he turn it into the valley of the shadow of death, and make it gross darkness.”

agony, that


Philippians, i. 23.-—“To depart and to be with Christ-is far better.”

ONE sentiment, my brethren, with which we are apt to contemplate the death even of our Christian friends, is that of pity. While the act of dissolution invests the idea of the departed with a sacredness and solemnity which makes any thing approaching to contempt impossible, still there does dimly mix with our feelings, in regard to them, a certain sense of superiority of condition in the circumstance of our surviving them. The sorrows of our hearts, the lamentations of our lips, spontaneously assume the character and tone of compassion,—that peculiar sentiment of tenderness which implies advantage and superiority on the part of him who feels it to them who are its objects. We add to the names of our departed friends some epithet,—we mix with our recollections of them some parenthesis,-we describe their fate by some characteristic full of fondness, yet expressive of humiliation, which, strictly interpreted, signifies that they, not we, are the principal losers and the principal sufferers. That this is very much the style of feeling, very much the tone of expression, with which even Christians surviving speak of Christians dead, observation and experience both will prove sufficiently; and the reason is plain,— that even Christians, while here, are still apt to live so much by sense, and so imperfectly by faith. All the impressions derived from the former source in regard to death are such as strongly to excite the ideas of unmingled loss, and suffering, and humiliation. That event, as contemplated by sense, seems well fitted to call forth the sentiments of pity and compassion in the strictest meaning, which divides those who endure it from so much that to sense is glorious, and beautiful, and dear,—which inflicts on them so much that to sense is dread, and distasteful, and degrading. They cannot but appear to suffer loss, and to deserve compassion, who are torn away at once and utterly from all this goodly scene of things, with all its sources of real though too highly-esteemed enjoyment,—whose eyes are closed for ever to the light of yonder glorious sun,-whose ear shall never drink again the melodies which float upon this genial and elastic air,—whose step shall print the green earth no more,—the earth which yields, as of old, its odours and its abundance, but all in vain for them, to whom there is no fragrance of flowers, nor sweetness of pleasant fruits. They cannot but appear to suffer loss, and to deserve compassion, who, by the same dissevering stroke, are hurried away from their own familiar home,-a home hallowed, it may be, by many memories and long associations, or perhaps a home but lately decked and prepared for their reception, even theirs for whom the graves were ready. They who are severed thus, not only from the circle of inanimate but familiar and beloved things among which it had been their wont to move, but from the living fellowship, the warm embrace, of friends and relatives who fondly hope that their love and communion used to impart pleasure to the hearts of the departed, as well as to their own,-cut off from all possibility of renewing that sweet communion,-of interchanging the tokens of that delightful affection any more

upon the earth,-cast out of the sphere of human sympathies, and human charities, and all the enjoyment,-earth's sweetest,-of which these are the source. And then, how does the impression of their case as one worthy of compassionate feeling grow upon our minds, when we contemplate, not simply the fact, but the circumstances, as these appear to sense, of their separation from this valued and beloved scene of things,-the circumstances by which it is preceded and introduced, the circumstances by which it is followed and sealed; when we think of the languors, the decays, the agonies of the deathbed-when we think of the chilness, the silence, the darkness, the confinement, the dishonour of the tomb ! For, as every human heart bears witness, and as moralists have with no ordinary power of touching eloquence described, the mind, in the hour of bereavement, can with difficulty be persuaded to make the effort of thinking that the lifeless dust is not indeed the being we deplore, but fondly dwells on it as something that has yet about it some deep-lodged principle of consciousness and sense,--something with which it is possible to sympathize, feeling as if all the changes endured by it were endured by those to whom it once pertained, and so enhancing by fictitious and fantastic circumstances the sentiment, not merely of sorrow for ourselves, but of pity towards them. But who art thou, O man, who darest to feel or to express compassion for the departed Christian,--the exalted, the glorified, the blest ? They ask not pity, but congratulation ; they count their new condition worthy to be desired, not to be lamented, and justly esteem the case of those whom they have left behind amidst the toils, and trials, and temptations of the wilderness, far more deserva ing of compassion, in the exchange of affectionate feeling, than theirs who, delivered from the burden of the flesh, are now in rest, having finished their course, and won the crown, and taken their place for ever before the throne of God and of the Lamb. To them,—to their souls, which are themselves, the change has been cne of blessedness and glory which no words can truly express. To them “to die

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