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“Now, Granny Bender!” said I, “it isn't possible that you believe that bread came from heaven! Why, you old sinner you, I threw it down the chimney.”
By this time the old woman's countenance was turned fully toward me, and by the dim light of the feeble fire, I could see that there were tears of thankfulness upon her faded and withered face. pression of that face did not in the least change, though there was a deep rebuke in the tones of her voice, as well as in the words she
uttered, as she said_"The Lord sent it, if the devil brought it !”
You may be sure that I vanished instanter, while Tom clapped his hands, and shouted,
“Good ! good! too good ! oh dear but the old lady was too much for you that time !” with sundry other expressions of like tenor.
I tried to laugh with him as he went home, and did laugh, perhaps
, as loud as he did, but somehow or other, the laugh didn't appear to do me any good. After that I left Granny Bender alone.
GOSPEL WORDS FOR CHRISTIAN MOURNERS.
BY THE REV. E. THOMAS.
"That ye sorrow not even as others which have no hope.”—1 Thess. iv. 13. OUR text is old and familiar. We have been accustomed to hear its truth preached and applied amid the shadows of the tomb,—to see its cheerful face and listen to its condoling voice amid the sobs and sighs of the weeping ones of the earth. Familiarity should not breed contempt. The rising sun is not less beautiful because it has been rising for thousands of years. These old words are still new and fresh to the heart of the mourner seeking rest. Why should we change the balm as long as it heals our wounds ? Why should we change the fountain as long as it yields us the cooling waters of life? When the old
truths of the gospel fail to render consolation to the afflicted, from their refreshing fountains becoming dry; when their vines of spiritual wealth are exhausted, and their cordial fails to revive the broken drooping heart; when their fruitful trees of precious promises
, shaken by the winds of adversity, drop no sweet and mellow fruit to the mourner who sits under their shadow,-then lay them aside as the worn-out truths of Christianity; look elsewhere for something new to console you ; listen no more to the voice of the Spirit concerning the blessedness of the dead in Jesus, neither let the tender hand of Christianity intrude on your sorrow, nor wipe away the tears of your grief. But as long as the healing virtue of the gospel remains, give ear to its cheering words, let your bruised heart be bound and your contrite spirit revived. The gospel does not deny us sorrow after our beloved ones.
“Sorrow not as those which have no hope." But sorrow you must. It would be unnatural not to grieve after those
so near and dear to our hearts
, There is nothing unnatural in the gospel. It goes beyond nature, not
intrary to it. We find a kind of sorrow an instinct in the irrational eation. Have we not heard it in the melancholy bleating of the ocks, the moaning of the herds, and in the wailing notes of the timid ird that flutters around its broken home? In man it is a higher and lobler feeling. One being asked for the shortest definition of man, nswered, « À creature that can weep.” Think not that religion reezes up the fountains of natural feeling, that it chills the warm blood of the heart and quenches the flame of natural affection. hristianity does not make us less human in making us more Chrisian. Remember those teardrops falling in the graveyard of Bethany. Iis
pure human feeling could be restrained no longer, His tears lowed : “Jesus wept.'
We would not have this one short verse blotted out of the Bible for the wealth of worlds.
" Jesus wept: that tear of sorrow
Is a legacy of love.
He the same doth ever prove.
Weeping One of Bethany." Men you that you must not grieve. Jesus asks you not to restrain your tears. It is as natural for you to shed tears as it is for the clouds to shed raindrops. Seeing that once beautiful and lovely flower that bloomed in the garden of your affections, now withering in death's cold hands; to have that young life which entwined itself so tenderly around your heart torn away so suddenly; to see the river of death directing its course through your * once happy home, and in so short a period dividing it in two, leaving a father and daughter this side, a mother and daughter the other side ; to see its dark waters rolling in melancholy stillness between them,--we ask you not to restrain from sorrow.
What the gospel asks of you is, that your sorrow should correspond with your position. Having hope-sorrow not as those that have no hope. To be without hope is utter darkness. Our world without hope would be a world without a sun. Its activity would be paralyzed. Its life would die, and all that is beautiful would wither and fade атау. Can you remember the scene in the steamship London, as it sank beneath the raging' surge with its freight of human life more precious than gold? How the captain left the helm, and descended to the bewildered and terror-stricken passengers ? Immediately all faces anxiously looked towards him, and the very moment the fatal words dropped from his lips, "No hope," death cast its dismal gloom over all, and ere the ship was buried under the foaming billows, hundreds of hearts were buried in the depths of despair. How the Light of hope brightens the chamber of illness! How hope lingers in the bosoms of friends to the very last! How eagerly she listens to tales of recovery in other similar cases !
How watchful of every This sermon was preached at the funeral of Miss M. J. Evans, who died shortly after her mother, the beloved wife of B. Evans, Esq., Cardigan.
word and glance of the physician! Hoping against hope,-thinking the darkest hour may be before dawn. At last the doctor reveals the secret that there is no hope. His words sink like lead into the heart. We do not wonder at the immoderate grief of the heathens who buried their friends without hope. In the houses of the deceased, for days together, their relations set up the most dismal wailings and outeries of grief. They beat their breasts, uttered loud shrieks, rent their garments, sat down in ashes, and upbraided the very dead with ingratitude and cruelty for leaving them. Nor can we easily blaine them if we consider their actual belief. They buried all their hopes in the graves of their beloved ones. To them death was
a fatal calamity-an iron sleep-an eternal night. The termination of life here was, to them, the end of existence. If the venerated and loved were lost beyond recovery, we might justly say, “Speak not to us of consolation, for there is none; our only fate is inconsolable sorrow.” But, thanks be to God, it is not so.
You have a hope that opens before you the future state. What was once dense darkness is now light. What was once probable is now certain. What was once read amid the shadows of doubt is now read in the clear light of revelation. Life and immortality have been brought to light. The Christian's hope rises as a shining orb over the dark tomb. In the glorious light of the Christian's hope, the mourner's tears sparkle like dewdrops in the rays of the rising sun. In reading the 11th chapter of the gospel of St. John, and 15th of 1 Cor., as well as other portions of the New Testament, we feel life everlasting rising and throbbing around us. The patriarch Job, standing as it were on the verge of the river of death, watching one after another of his friends entering its surge, losing sight of them in the thick mists that envelope its horizon, beholding one treasure after another drop into that insatiable waste on whose surface they seem to make a momentary smile of light, and then become lost in the denser darkness of the gulf,—we may well fancy the patriarch wondering if any
of them reached some other shores, or whether they were carried by the dark rolling current to everlasting forgetfulness. He asks, “If a man die, shall he live again ?” Blessed be God, the question is answered. We need not doubt as to the land of pure delight beyond the grave. Fresh gales of Divine revelation have blown away the dark clouds and thick mists of doubt and despair that hung so heavily over the Jordan of death. We now behold the land that is far off. We can sight the bright and sunny shores of the other side, see the everlasting hills, the King in His beauty, and behold those "radiant shores," crowded with the lovely forms of the spirits of the just made perfect. Can we not see the Father's house of many mansions, and the shining lights of the city of our God, with its golden streets reflected on the cold, deep waters of death? On many a calm evening did we not fancy we heard the sweet music of that land of songs wafted across on heavenly breezes? In watching the departure of a trustful Christian, ere we lost sight of the white sails of his bark as it entered the harbours of glory, have we not heard the joyful shouts of angels and the redeemed? Blessed hope ! It has illuminated the dark future: you know where your dear ones are gone.
Again, you have a hope of your friends' having arrived in safety the other side. They are present with the Lord, if absent from the body. They are with Christ, which is far better than being with you. Whatever the wealth, the comforts, the tenderness of the home they have left on earth, the home they found in heaven is far better. However anxious and able you were to make them happy, Christ can make them a thousand-times happier. However reluctant you were to part with them, they would sooner part with you, with father, mother, and all that was once dear, than part with their Redeemer. Ask them not to return. Wish them not back again in this world of sorrow, pain, and death. There is a thousand times more attraction to them in heaven than there ever can be on earth. There life, health, and everlasting joy is their portion; "and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither Sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things have passed away." Here deatň’s cold blast withered the flower ere it was out in full bloom, there no winter comes; in everlasting May all shall bloom in immortal youth.
You have a hope of their being with those who were so dear to them on earth. There are many with a larger and dearer circle of friends in heaven than on earth, for heaven often robs earth of its best. It calls the loveliest flowers from its garden. It takes from its heavens the brightest light, and from its crowns the most polished pearl. We have in the spiritual world the nearest and dearest of our friends. The bright spirits that make up that gloribus cloud of witnesses are not all strangers. Among them are those who cared for us, who loved us, who prayed for us, who guided our erring feet into the paths of righteousness, who told us of God's love and the Saviour's faithfulness. Tell us not that we are to lose sight of them for ever, that we are to cease to love those who once loved us with a definite, positive, and special love.
“ But tell us, thou bird of the solemn strain,
Can those whom we love forget ?
Do they love, do they love us yet?
eak not from cave or hill,
But say, do they love us still ?” We may answer the doubting poet, if they live there they love there. Friends on high are united by indissoluble ties, and love each other with a firmer, stronger love than earth ever knew. True, it is love under new conditions, for our terrestrial connections are incompatible with the spiritual world. That which is earthly ceases, that which is heavenly lasts.
True Christian love is heavenly, is immortal. “Nothing human ever dies," nothing Christian ever dies. Our friends landed not alone on the eternal shores. They received a joyful reception from those they knew, a welcome home to their eternal rest. They live with friends.
You have a hope of meeting your loved ones again. You said, when taking the last glance through your tears on the withered form, ere the coffin-lid was closed, "Good-bye for ever! I shall never see my dear one again. Nay, “thy brother shall rise again;" "for if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also that sleep in Jesus will God bring with Him." He arose as the representative and earnest of countless multitudes, who glory in His death as their life, and who exult in His resurrection as the pledge and guarantee of their everlasting safety. You have seen your friends for the last time in a state of corruption, dishonour, and weakness; you shall see them again clothed with everlasting strength, glory, and beauty. That morning your beloved will rise,-he himself, and not another. It is not a new creation, it is a resurrection. In the place of the beloved departed, whose image your heart keeps so faithfully, God will not give you some unknown being. No-God will raise up the one you love. Your hope will not be deceived. Amidst that dust and ashes,-oh, Omnipotence of the Divine compassion !-a germ visible to God alone, encloses the vitality you believed for ever extinct. As a grain of corn buried deep in some furrow, rises as a green fresh blade to cheer your eyes and heart, so, clothed upon with a body, glorious, incorruptible, like to that of Jesus who rose long before, so will the body of your loved one rise. Ye mourners ! the gospel asks you to look onward, not backward, not to the parting hour but to the meeting hour. You shall “meet to part no more. Meet all your dear ones before the throne, when the evening of grief and tears will have passed for ever, and the dawn of an everlasting day of joy has brought its light into your soul. What do these voices say to you that come from that calm spirit-land where your departed friends rest in the bowers of immortal life? They say to you, “Sigh not in despair over the many frustrated expectations of earth ; sorrow not as those who have no hope; bear calmly your lot for a few hours longer, for we shall soon meet you in this land of light, life, and unfading beauty."
In conclusion, how thankful we ought to be for the gospel ! It cheers the present and illumines the future. No gospel, “no valley of Achor for a door of hope.” No gospel, no shining star to light up the dark night of adversity. No gospel, no master voice to still "a sea of trouble." No gospel, no trustworthy guide to take us through the dark windings of the valley of the shadow of death.