Page images
PDF
EPUB

In the first volume of Poems, which my brother published in 1811, there is a piece entitled, “ My Mother.” The scenery, borrowed from the ocean, leads us naturally to some of the circumstances of his departure. His language is in fact prophetic of his closing scene. The fol. lowing is an extract

He observes—"The hope of meeting friends after death is, to me, the sweetest solace of this earthly pilgrimage."

MY MOTHER.

But no

“Come to my bosom, blissful thought,

For thou hast now explored the scene,
Whence are our comforts daily brought-

The scene where dwells my mother.
“Oh, might you yet appear again,
To him whose tears your grave have steep’d,

-I'll waiting, here remain,
And meet upon the eternal deep.
There sailing, when my

little bark,
Shall gladly, happy, glide along,
Do thou the coming vessel mark,

And swiftly fly to meet your son.
"Come then, oh Death, and aid my flight,

When God shall bid you hasten on;
"Till then, I'd calmly, calmly wait,

A parent lov'd, to meet her son.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

512

MEMOIR OF REV. BENJAMIN ALLEN.

“Throughout the length'ning arches shone,

Millions of hosts in order due,
One name, their voices prais'd, alone,

As thro' the vast they joyful flew.

“ Your mother, then, again I saw,

She knew me, and with smile so sweet 'Twas such as all around me wore

She said, 'Go tell him here we meet.'”

May we not confidently hope that the lively images of his early fancy were more than realized in the joyful meeting of Mother and Son,” on the banks of that river which maketh glad the holy city of our God?

I close this scene of mingled sorrow, and joy, of death, and victorious life, with the following grateful reflections which occupied my brother's mind. I found them among his papers of 1801 ; but probably they were written not long since

“ Time, then, will hurry on his flight,

And Death still whisper, · Dust to dust;'
But, rob'd in undecaying light,
The sainted spirits of the just,

Shall mount on wings of faith, sublime,
And triumph over Death and Time.”

I also add the transporting notes given by a voice from Heaven

6 BLESSED ARE THE DEAD WHICH DIE IN THE LORD, FROM HENCEFORTH : Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours;

and their works do follow them.

Rev. xiv. 13.

FUNERAL SERMON.

The following Sermon was delivered by the Rev. GREGORY

T. BEDELL, D. D., Rector of St. Andrew's Church, on Sabbath, March 22, 1829, in St. Paul's Church, Philadelphia, for the Improvement of the Death of the late Rec. tor of that Church, the Rev. BENJAMIN ALLEN.

PROVERBS, XIV. 32. The Righteous hath hope in his Death.I Am called before you this morning, my friends, to perform a very melancholy duty; and a duty, from which, I would most gladly have shrunk, had I not been convinced, that, under all the circumstances, Providence seemed to point me out for the performance. The close intimacy and friendship which existed between our dear deceased brother and myself-more so than between him and any other of his brethren of the clergy, now within reach—this, together with the wishes of his family, early expressed, constitute a call which I feel no liberty to decline. Would to God that I could discharge the duty with an ability more meet for the occasion.

There are two striking reasons, why I have chosen the present text. It, at once, leads us to the one great topic of the Gospel, upon which, our brother ever delighted to enlarge: And it describes both his character and end. « The righteous hath hope in his death."

Give me your attention, then, my brethren, while I consider, as briefly as the case will allow, the following topics

I. Who are the righteous of whom such glorious things are said. II. The declaration, that they have hope in their death.

III. I shall follow this discussion with an application to the present occasion.

I. In order to bring this all-important subject down to the level of our comprehension, theologians have been wont to state it in a form, somewhat like the following:-Legally, there are none righteous, that is, tested by the law of God, there are none righteous. For as every thing which is repugnant to the law of God is unrighteousness, and as every thing which is commensurate with the sacred requisitions of that law, is righteousness; so no man can strictly be denominated righteous, whose life is not a literal transcript of the law of God.

From these considerations, it is evident, even without a resort to the Scriptures, that there are none legally righteous. Scrip ture most fully confirms this testimony in a great variety of striking passages, unnecessary now to mention.

Who then is the righteous man Before this is answered, another subject must be briefly touched. How can man, guilty man, stand before a just God, and be constituted righteous in his sight? This question, which is vitally connected with the other, may best be answered by recurring to the article of our Church, which embodies the Scripture doctrine. (Art. 11th.) “We are accounted righteous before God, only for the merit of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, by faith; and not for our own works or deservings.'

Thus speaks our Church, and thus speaks Scripture—“There is none other name under heaven, given among men, whereby we must be saved.” “I will make mention of thy righteousness, even of thine only.” Jesus Christ is called Jehovah, our Righteousness; and St. Paul says, We are made the righteousness of God in him. Who then is righteous ? I answer, it is the manwho, renouncing his own, betakes himself to the righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ, and depends alone on him. He who, through the merits of the Saviour's blood, and the perfection of his obedience to the law, is delivered from curse and condemnation: Who receives this method of justification by faith, and in whose heart the seeds of obedience are implanted, which will bring forth fruit to the glory of God.

II. Of such an one, it is declared that he hath hope in his death. He has hope in his death because

Ist. There is nothing which can really disquiet him. The only sting which death has, is sin—and the only strength which sin has, is the law. But in relation to the believer, the law has been satisfied by the meritorious sacrifice of Christ, and he has hope in his death, because the law has no more demands against him. It is the strong and conclusive declaration of the Scriptures Blessed is the man whose transgression is forgiven and whose sin is covered. Blessed is he, unto whom the Lord imputeth, &c. Being justified by faith, we have peace with God, through our Lord Jesus Christ. The remarkable expression which is connected with this subject is the positive declaration that the righteous hath hope in his death. The truth conveyed, and the one to which I have been especially desirous of directing your attention is, that, under all circumstances, there is hope in the death of the righteous. The righteous may die in all the depths of poverty and humility, or he may die surrounded by all that is comforting and cheering; he may die in his accustomed chamber with all the kind and fond endearments of relatives and friends, or he may die at a distance from home, where these are shut out: He may die and have his eyelids closed by those most near and dear to him, or he may die where these offices are to be performed by the hands of strangers : He may die in the full enjoyment of all his mental faculties, and the very meridian of mental energy; or he may die deprived of these, under what looks like some dark and dismal dipensation : reason's lamp may have gone out before his eyes were closed on the glorious orb of Heaven: He may

die and be buried, where over his grave the tears of syma pathizing friends may fall, where on his coffin may descend the symbols of corruption as the minister of God declares, earth to earth, and ashes to ashes—or he may die while the frail bark which carries him is tossing on the mighty ocean, and he may have the caverns of the sea for his mighty sepulchre : it all matters not-he has hope in his death; and that is sufficient for our faith and for our hopes, that dries our tears to the dispensation, and that moves us to take up the language, It is God, he hath done all things well :

“God moves in a mysterious way,

His wonders to perform:
He plants his footsteps on the sea,

And rides upon the storm."
But what is the hope which the righteous hath in his death?

1st. It is the hope of a glorious resurrection. If in this life only, we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. But, now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first fruits of them that slept, for since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. (also 1 Thessalonians, iv. 13–18.) What a spectacle of unparalleled grandeur will it be, when the living, and the living dead, shall arise to meet the Lord in the air. When the unnumbered millions who have fallen asleep shall be waked by the voice of the Archangel, and the trump of God: When the monumental marble shall be overthrown-when the ancient catacombs and pyramids shall be burst asunder-when the graveyards of Christendom shall send forth their multitudes; and when the mighty sea shall yield up her prey : Then, in this terrific season, will the hope in which the righteons died, be in part realized. He shall be caught up to meet the Lord in the air.

But inadequate and small would be the hope of the righteous in death, if he had no more to look forward to than a glorious resurrection. But he has more, infinitely more. He dies, 2dly, In the hope of rising to glory, and entering into everlasting peace. “What tongue can describe, what heart conceive, the nature of that happiness, upon which the righteous enters, as his hope in death is turned into fruition! The instant the thread of life is

« EelmineJätka »