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in his faith and fear; since for us, too, it , not less real but more real--not less great, is true, that, whenever we go to an open but more great-not less full or intense, but grave, sorrowing for those that we love, or more full and intense-than the mingled life oppressed with the burden of mortality in which, lived here on earth, was a centre of any shape, if our eyes are anointed we life surrounded with a crust and circumcan see there sitting the quiet angel forms ; ference of mortality. The dead are the and if our ears be purged from the noise of living: they lived whilst they died; and after earth, we can hear them saying to us, in they die they live on for ever! regard to all that have gone away, “ Why The history of Christ's death and refur. seek ye the living in these graves ? They rection ; his dying words, “ To-day shalt are not here, they are risen, as He said.” thou be with me in paradise;" the fact of The thoughts are very old, brethren. God his rising again, and the full identity of be thanked they are old ! Perhaps to some being with which he came up from death of you they may come to-day with and the grave; the continuance, during new power, because they come with new those forty days which passed before his application to your own present condition ; ascension, of all his old tenderness, of all perhaps to some of you they may sound very the essentials of his old intercourse with weak, because “words weaker than your his disciples; these are the things which
grief will make grief more;" but, such as teach us what sense could never teach, and ; they are, let us look at them for a moment what men's thoughts have never grappled by į or two together.
themselves -- that death affects but the The first thought, then, that these words circumference of the life; and that death is of the any i messengers, and the scene in but a transitory thing, the affair of a moment. which we find them, suggests, is this : THE But after we are convinced of that, conDEAD ARE THE LIVING. Language, which vinced as we can only be from the fact of is more accustomed and more adapted to Christ's own experience, and the specimen express the appearances of things than the that we get there of how little the power of realities of things, leads us astray very the grave can touch the heart and the soul much when we use the phrase "the dead” of him that is laid in it-after we are once as if it expressed the continuance of the convinced of this, there are many things that condition into which men pass in the act of come in to help us to believe it. Reason dissolution. It misleads us no less when and experience may say something, but very we use it as if it expressed in itself the little : no man has passed through the phewhole truth as to the condition of those to nomenon for himself. Consciousness tells whom it is applied. “The dead” and “the us nothing about it. It looks as if it were living” are not names of two classes which a complete and final end ; it looks as if it exclude each other ; much rather, there are finished everything; it looks as if it were none who are dead. The dead are the living “ for good and all;" but there is not one who have died. Whilst they were dying particle of reason — even from what we see they lived, and after they were dead they passing before our eyes in the fact of death, lived more fully. All live unto God. “God there is no reason, to believe that it, with alí is not the God of the dead, but of the its pitifulness and all its pain, has any power living." Oh! how solemnly sometimes that at all upon the soul. True, the spirit thought comes up before us, that all those | gathers itself into itself, and, poising itself past generations that have stormed across for its flight, becomes oblivious of what is this earth of ours, and then have fallen into passing round about it. True, the soul oblivion and still forgetfulness, live yet. | that is about to depart from the house that Somewhere at this very instant they now it dwelt in so long, closes the window before verily are! We say, they were, they have it goes, and is little capable either of giving been. There are no have beens! Life is forth expressions or of receiving impressions. life for ever : to be is eternal being. Every But what is there in all that—what is soul that has ever come forth from the there in the cessation of the power of comhand of God, somewhere and somehow at munication with an outer world-what is this instant is in the full possession of all its there in the fact that you clasp the nerveless faculties, in the intensest exercise of all its hand, and it returns no pressure; that you capacities, standing somewhere in God's whisper gentle words that you think might great universe, ringed with the sense of | kindle a soul under the dull, cold ribs of God's presence, and feeling in every fibre of death itself, and get no answer ; that you its being that life which comes after death is | look with straining eyes to catch the response of affection from out of the poor, depth: the death of the mortal for the eman. filmy, closing lids there, and look in vain | cipation and the life of the immortal! And what is there in all that to lead to the con. so, brethren, we may go with the words of niy viction that the spirit is participant of that text, and look upon every green hillock impotence and silence ? Is not the soul where any that are dear to us are lying, and only self-centring itself-retiring, as it were, say to ourselves, "Not here (God be thanked, from the outposts, but not touched in the no !), not here : living, and not dead : citadel ? Is it not only that as the long yonder, with the Master!" Oh, we think sleep of life begins to end, and the waking far too much of the grave, and far too little eye of the soul begins to open itself on the of the throne and the glory! We are far realities, the sights and sounds of the dream too much the creatures of sense; and all the begin to pass away? Is it not but that the man, paraphernalia of dissolution and departure in dying, begins to be what he fully is when fills up our hearts and fills up our eyes. Think he is dead, “dead unto sin," dead unto the it all away, believe it all away, Jove it all world, that he may "live unto God,” that away; and stand in the light of Christ's life, he may live with God, that he may live and Christ's death, and Christ's rising, till really? And so we can look upon that you feel, “ Thou art a shadow, not a subs. ending of life and say, “It is a very small tance--no real thing at all.” Yes, a shadow; thing; it only cuts off the fringes of my and where a shadow falls, there must be sunlife': it does not touch me at all," It only light above to east it. Look up, then, above plays round about the husk, and does not the shadow Death, above the sin and separa: get at the fruit. It only strips off the cir. tion from Gud, of which it is the shadow! cumferent mortality ; but the soul rises up Look up to the unsetting light of the Eternal untouched by it, and shakes its oppression Life on the throne of the universe, and see from off its immortal arms, and futters off its bathed in it the living dead in Christ! darkness from its budding wings, and rises God has taken them unto himself; and fuller of life because of death, and mightier | we ought not to think (if we would think as in its vitality in the very act of submitting the Bible speaks) of death as being anything the body to the law, "Dust thou art, and else than the transitory thing which breaks unto dust shalt thou return,"
down the brazen walls, and lets us into Touching but a part of the being, and | liberty. For, indeed, if you will examine touching what it does touch but for a the New Testament on this subject, I think moment, death is no state, it is an act; it you will be surprised to find how very seldom is not a condition, it is a transition. Men | mscarcely ever---the word " death” is emspeak about life as “a narrow neck of land ployed to express the mere fact of the dissobetwixt two unbounded seas ;' they had bet. lution of the connection between soul and ter speak about death as that-an isthmus, body. It is strange, but significant, that the narrow and almost impalpable, on which, for apostles, and Christ himself, scarcely ever one brief instant, the soul poises itself ; (once or twice only) use the word to express whilst behind it there lies the eternity of past that thing which we alone mean by it. They being, and before it the shoreless ocean of use all manner of other expressions, as if future life, all lighted with the glory of God, they felt, the fact remains, but all that made and making music as it breaks even upon it death has gone away; and so, in a real the dark, rough rocks of that craggy pas. / sense, and all the more real because the out: sage. Death is but a passage; not a house, / ward marks seem to continue, Christ hall only a vestibule. The graye has a door on “abolished death.” Two men may go down its inner side ; and when we have put the into the grave together: of one this may be stone down, and said, “We have left them the epitaph, “He that believeth in Christ there till the resurrection morn," let us not shall never die ;” and of the other--passing forget that before we had closed up the through precisely the same physical expe. “narrow house appointed for all living," rience and appearance, the dissolution of God's angels had opened the door on the soul and body-we may say, “There, that 16 further side, and said to the child, “ Come, death-death as God sent it, to be the punishe enter into this pavilion, and rest until these ment of man's sin.” The outward fact recalamities be overpast”! A superficial | mains the same—the whole character of it is thing, and a transitory thing; a darkness | altered. As to them that believe, thouge, that is caused by the light, and a darkness they have passed through the experience of that ends in the light; a trifle, if you measure | painful separation-slow, languishing, linger it by duration ; a trifle, if you measure it by 1 ing departuremor suddenly been caught up in some chariot of fire-not only are they a dragger-down of all the aspiring tendencies living now, but they never died at all! Have of the soul, as a source of sin, as a source "you understood " death in the full, pregnant of pain ; they are delivered from all the sense of the expression, which means not necessity of labour which is agony, of labour only that shadow, the separation of the body which is disproportionate to strength, of from the soul, but that reality, the separation labour which often ends in disappointment, of the soul from life, because of the separa of labour which is wasted so often in mere tion of the soul from God ?
keeping life in, of labour which at the best Then, secondly, this passage of my text, is a curse, though it be a merciful curse too; indeed the whole incident, may set before they are delivered from that “ fear of death” us the other consideration : not only, the which, though it be stripped of its sting, is dead are the living, but SINCE THEY HAVE never extinguished in any soul of man that DIED THEY LIVE A BETTER LIFE THAN lives ; and they can smile at the way in OURS. I am not going to enter here, at any which that narrow and inevitable passage length, or very particularly, into what seem bulked so large before them all their to me to be the irrefragable scriptural days, and, after all, when they came grounds for holding the full, complete, un- to it, was so slight and small! If these interrupted, and even intensified conscious- be parts of the life of them that “sleep in
ness of the soul of man, in the interval | Jesus," oh! then, brethren,-fuller of know-: between death and the resurrection. “Ab. ledge; fuller of wisdom ; fuller of love, and
sent from the body, present with the Lord.” capacity of love, and object of love ; fuller of “ To-day shalt thou be with me in paradise.” holiness ; fuller of energy ; rest from head These words, if there were none other, are, as to foot; all the hot tumult of earthly experiit seems to me, enough, seeing that of all ence stilled and quieted; all the feverthat dark region we know only what it pleases beating of this blood of ours ever at an end; God to tell us in the Bible, and seeing that all the “whips and arrows of outrageous it does not please him to give us more than fortune" done with for ever, and the calm hints and glimpses of any part of it. But I face which we looked upon, and out of putting aside all attempts to elaborate a full which the lines of sorrow, and pain, and doctrine of the intermediate state from the sickness melted away, giving it back a few scripture expressions that bear on it, I nobler nobleness than we had ever seen merely allege in general terms, that the upon it in life, only an image of the far present life of departed saints is fuller and perfecter and more blessed being into which nobler than that which they possessed on they have passed, --if the dead are thus, earth. They are even now, whatever be the then, “Blessed are the dead!” details of their condition, “ the spirits of No wonder that one aspect of that blessedjust men made perfect." As yet the body | ness-the "sleeping in Christ”-has been is not glorified, but the spirits of the per the one that the weary have laid hold of at fected righteous are now parts of that lofty all times ; but do not let us forget what lies society whose head is Christ, whose members even in that figure of sleep, or distort it as are the angels of God, the saints on earth, | if it meant to express a less vivid life than and the equally conscious redeemed who | that here below. I think we sometimes mig"sleep in Jesus.”
understand what the Bible means when it In what particulars is their life now higher speaks about death as a "sleep," and somethan it was? First, they have close fellow. times build upon it an altogether false notion ship with Christ; then, they are separated (as it seems to me), taking it to express the from this present body of weakness, of dis idea that that intermediate state is one of a honour, of corruption ; then, they are with kind of depressed consciousness, and of a drawn from all the trouble, and toil, and care, less full vitality than the present. Not so ; of this present life; and then, and not least sleep is rest—that is one reason for the surely, they have got death behind them, not Scriptural application of the word to death. having that awful figure standing on their Sleep is the cessation of all connection with horizon waiting for them to come up with the external world--that is another reason. it! If one had time, one might easily work “Sleep” is a beautiful way of speaking out these thoughts, and see how we get a about the last enemy;" as we play with far higher, nobler kind of life than that which the names of those that are familiar to us, we here possess. They are closer to Christ; so a loving faith con venture to play, as it they are delivered from the body as a source were, with the awful name of him who is of weakness, as a hinderer of knowledge, as King of Terrors, and minimises it down into
that shadow and reflection of it which we before, only bodies through which the spirit find in the nightly act of going to rest. But shall work conscious of no disproportion : sleep is not unconsciousness, sleep does not bodies which shall be fit servants and equal touch the spirit. Sleep sets us free from re organs of the immortal souls within ; bodies lations to the outer world; but the sonl which shall never break down; bodies which works as hard, though in a different way, shall never hem in nor refuse to obey the when we slumber as when we wake; and spirits that dwell in them, but which shall people, who know what it is to dream, ought add to their power, and deepen their blessednever to fancy that when the Bible talks ness, and draw them closer to the God whom about death as “ sleep,” it means to say to they serve and the Christ after the likeness us that death is unconsciousness. Not so: 1 of whose glorious body they are fashioned strip the man of the disturbance that comes and conformed. “Body, soul, and spirit :* from a fevered body, and he will have a the old combination which was on earth is calmer soul. Strip him of the hindrances to be the perfect humanity of heaven. The that come from a body which is like an spirits that are perfected, that are living in opaque tower around his spirit, with only a blessedness, that are dwelling in God, thr: narrow slit here and a narrow door there are sleeping in Christ, at this moment are five poor senses, with which he can come waiting-waiting-stretching out (I say net into connection with an outer universe; and, longing, but) espectant hands of faith and depend upon it, the soul will have wider | hope: “ for that they would not be the avenues out to God, and larger powers, be clothed, but clothed upon with their house cause it has lost the earthly tabernacle which, which is from heaven, that mortality migá: just in proportion as it brought it into con be swallowed up of life.” nection with the earth to which it belongs, We have nothing to say, now and here, severed its connection with the heavens that about what that bodily condition may be: are above. They who have died in Christ about the differences and the identities live a fuller and a nobler life, by the very between it and our present “ earthly boose dropping away of the body; a fuller and of this tabernacle.” Only this we know,a nobler life, by the very cessation of reverse all the weakness of flesh, and you care, change, strife, and struggle; and, get some faint notion of the spiritual body, above all, a fuller and a nobler life, be “It was sown in dishonour; it is raised in cause they “sleep in Jesus," and are glory: it was sown in weakness; it is raised gathered into his bosom, and wake with him in power : it was sown in corruption; it is yonder beneath the altar, “ clothed in white raised in incorruption :" and then (putting robes, and with palms in their hands," in the crown and corner-stone of the whole “waiting the adoption, to wit, the redemp grand sweep of thought), “it is sown a tion of the body.” For though death be a natural body," a fit servant for the nature progress, a progress to the spiritual exist- | which stands connected with this mater:.. ence; though death be a birth to a higher universe; “it is raised a spiritual body," and nobler state; though it be the gate of fit servant for the spirit that dwells in i, life, fuller and better than any which we that works through it, that is perfected by it! possess; though the present state of the Why, then, "seek the living among the departed in Christ is a state of calm blessed. | dead ? " " God giveth his beloved sleep;" ! ness, a state of perfect communion, a state and in that peaceful sleep, realities, ne of rest and satisfaction; yet it is not the dreams, come round their quiet rest, and finishing and perfect state either.
fill their conscious spirits and their hapsT And therefore, in the last place (and hearts with blessedness and fellowsbir but one word) THE BETTER LIFE WHICH Then, when thus lulled asleep in the ares THE DEAD IN CHRIST ARE LIVING NOW of Christ, they have rested until LEADS ON TO A FULL AND COMPLETE ONE please him to accomplish the number when they get back their glorified bodies. of his elect," then he says, “Now * The perfection of man is body, soul, and the day dawn, and the sun arise, and the spirit. That is the man, as God made him. shadows—aye, the shadows-of that blessed The spirit perfected, the soul perfected, but imperfect state wherein they now are. without the bodily life, is but part of a man. | flee away;" and the arm that kept them For the future world, in all its glory, we in their sleep touches them into wake. have the firm basis laid, that it too is to be in and, when they stand up, clothes to a real sense a material world, where men with the likeness of his own body once more are to possess bodies as they did ) and they, looking into his face, and fast
ing back the love, and light, and beauty , night; “let us not then sleep as do others ;" that are there, say, “ I am satisfied : I have but let us reckon that Christ hath died for awoke in thy likeness.” “ Therefore, com- | us, that whether we wake on earth, or fort one another with these words,” and re- sleep in the grave, or wake in heaven, we member that we are of the day, not of the shall live together with him!
THE INFLUENCE OF THE PRESENT DISTRESS ON
BY THE REV. W. LANDELS. We need to be on our guard against substituting sentiment for principle. Discernment and approval of the right are very different from its practice. Convictions of duty, and generous impulses, if they be not faithfully and promptly responded to, tend to moral deterioration. It is not enough, e.g., that we should recognise the duty of looking with loving and kindly feelings on all, and that emotions of pity and generosity should be excited in us : it is also necessary that these emotions should promptly be expressed in deeds. Nor is it enough that we should recognise, as a theory, the supremacy of conscience, and learn how to discern between right and wrong: it is also necessary that we should cultivate the habit of doing, without delay, whatsoever conscience dictates. The power of both, as springs of conduct, depends very much on their being practically exercised ; activity strengthening them, while they are invariably weakened by disuse. Kindly feelings which lead to no action degenerate into sentimentalism; as when Sterne, to use another's illustration, shed tears over a dead donkey, and left his mother to starve; or, as when the novel-reader sobs hysterically over a fictitious tale of distress, and does nothing to ameliorate the wretchedness of the real men and women who are starving and dying for want in hovels that stand within sight of her own chamber window. An acknowledgment of the supremacy of conscience, and discernment between right and wrong, if conscience be not at once obeyed, renders a man morally weak, albeit he be not morally blind; a man whose will fails in the duty which the moral sense recognises, and who is, therefore, a wretched waverer between right and wrong, knowing the right and approving it, yet leaving it undone ; his conscience serving no better end than that of torturing him with remorse because of his neglected duty. You have a fair representation of such men in the picture which Mrs. Stowe has drawn of St. Clair. He could give utterance, it will be remembered, to the loftiest principles ; had a sincere admiration for them ; loved them for what they were in themselves, and because he had heard them from the lips, and associated them with the memory, of his sainted mother. He had generous impulses and instincts, to which he gave a certain degree of scope in his own easy, Languid fashion. But though surrounded with a gigantic evil, which in his soul he abhorred, he could not brace himself to do battle with it, and to labour for its destruction, because the circumstances amidst which he grew up fostered his easy, listless, self-indulgent tendencies, and he had never accustomed bimself to obey promptly and practically the dictates of conscience and the impulses of generous affection, in contending earnestly with wrong, and practising those habits of self-denial and determination which are necessary to the maintenance of the strife. He is a specimen, as we have said, though a very favourable speci. men, of a man who neither wants conscience nor affection, but who fails in life's duties because he is slow to exercise them. Others of bis class have not only