Page images

the grave.

he departs from the body, to hear joy and gladness. Overcome the assaults of the great enemy, and deliver from the fear of death the soul of thy servant, who through such distressing fear is brought into great bondage. Shine thou by thy Spirit into his mind; witness to his adoption into thy family, that he may die not only safe but happy; shew him that thou hast loved him with an everlasting love, and wilt not forsake the work of thine own hands but perfect that which concerneth him; inspire his soul with courage, hope, and joy, and lead him to a stronger reliance on him, who hath on behalf of his people triumphed over death and

If consciousness of sin beclouds the mind and excites alarm, O may he, as he has often done before, apply to that fountain which has been opened for all sin and uncleanness. Grant in thy mercy, that he may realize an interest in the justifying righteousness of Christ. While the outward man so rapidly decays and sinks, may the inward man be renewed, invigorated, and comforted. Atevening time

may it be light; may the sun of his peace and joy which has been darkened, set clearly and calmly. By thy gracious presence, scatter all the dreaded evils of dying, and all the fears of its consequences ; may he know assuredly whom he has believed, and feel persuaded that he is able to keep what he has committed unto him against that day. 0


he be enabled to call to mind thy past loving-kindness, in giving him experience of divine things and

time may

enabling him to delight in thy service. Assure him of his safety for another world, that his gloom may be turned to gladness, his fear to triumph. O may the messenger of death be viewed as a ministering angel to conduct him to the regions of glory, and may he find the valley of death, the gate of heaven; and in thy


appear before thee, where no fear shall distress, no foe disturb, and no sin obscure the soul.

Grant these blessings to thy servant, and to all in his circumstances, through the infinite merits of the Redeemer. Amen.

O God of love, with cheering ray,
Gild my expiring streak of day;
Thy love through each revolving year
Has wip'd away “affliction's " tear.
Free me from death's terrific gloom,
And all the guilt which shrouds the tomb.
Heighten my joys, support my head,
Before I sink among the dead.
May death conclude my toils and tears,
May death destroy my sins and fears,
May death through Jesus be my friend,
May death be life when life shall end.
Crown my last moment with thy pow'r-
The latest in my latest hour;
Then to the raptur'd heights I soar,
Where fears and death are known no more.

CHAPTER IX. Death the appointment of God, though the

time is not always known to us.

SCRIPTURE PORTION. Is there not an appointed time to man upon earth? Are not his days also like the days of an hireling? As the servant earnestly desireth the shadow, and as an hireling looketh for the reward of his work, so am I made to possess months of vanity, and wearisome nights are appointed to me, Job vii, 1–3. And he said, Behold I am old, I know not the day of my death, Gen. xxvii. 2.

There is a time to every purpose under heaven; a time to be born and a time to die, Eccl. iii 1, 2. And when thy days shall be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, 2 Sam. vii. 12. And Elisha came to Damascus, and Benhadad king of Syria, was sick, and it was told him, saying, The man of God is come hither. And the king said unto Hazael, Take a present in thy hand, and go meet the man of God, and inquire of the Lord by him, saying, Shall I recover of this disease. So Hazael went to meet him and took a present with him, even of every good thing of Damascus ; forty camels' burden ; and came and stood before him, and said, Thy son Benhadad, king of Syria, hath sent me unto thee, saying, Shall I recover of this disease. And Elisha said unto him, Go, say unto him, thou mayest certainly recover (of this disease ;) howbeit the Lord hath showed me that he shall die (a violent death,) 2 Kings viii. 7–10. Verily, verily I say unto thee, when thou wast young thou girdest thyself and walkedst whither thou wouldest, but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not. This spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God, John xxi. 18, 19. Seeing that his days are determined, the number of his months are with thee. Thou hast appointed the bounds that he cannot pass. Turn from him that he may rest, and accomplish as a hireling his day. All the days of my appointed time will I wait, until my change come, Job xiv. 5, 6, 14.

ADDRESS. It is the righteous determination of God that all mankind shall die. The sentence, “ Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return;" has been executed upon all the human race, with only two exceptions. This appointment of the Almighty is not the result of any arbitrary feeling, the sentence, while it is divinely decreed, is righteously inflicted. Death came into the world by sin ; “and we must needs die and become as water spilled upon the ground.” But not only is the dissolution of the body the results of the divine appointment and the consequence of sin, but the time when, the place where, and the manner how we are to die, are equally determined by God; whether in the morning, or the cock-crowing, or at mid-day, or the evening, or the midnight hour, is not left to chance. Sometimes the flower is nipped in the bud, or perhaps the flower begins to expand, fresh, fragrant, and beautiful, exciting the admiration and hopes of all around. In other cases, a rich maturity is attained, and in some instances the flower is left to wither on the stem, and to fall leaf by leaf into the soil. But whatever be the time, it is unalterably fixed by him, with whom are the issues of death : there is a time and purpose for all things—a time to die as well as a time to be horn.

• Plagues and death around us fly,
Till he bids we cannot die;
Not a single shaft can hit,

Till the God of love sees fit." While in all cases the period of man's departure is appointed, there have been but few instances where the time has been made known to the individual. God instructed his prophets occasionally, to make the time known when death should take pace. Ahijah told the wife of Jeroboam, who went to inquire about the sick child, that as soon as her feet entered the city on her return, the child should die.

« PreviousContinue »