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of death. Enter churchyards: measure graves: | also plead her cause, and become her protecs read inscriptions:
tor and her refuge. But-such is no longer
the condition of this poor widow. None is What pathos in the date!
now left to support her totlering age; her - Few doctors preach so well!"
last leaf is shaken down; her "last coal in He was the “only son of his mother.” Israel is quenched.” And she is now, it is There is an ocean of love in the hearts of probable, going to bury her only son, in the parents towards their children. Witness the same grave with his father. The opening reluctance and exclamation of Jacob—"Me of a husband's tomb would make her wounds
have ye bereaved of my children. Joseph is bleed afresh-What would be her agony, · not, Simeon is not, and ye will take Benja- when she would turn round, and leave the
min away!-All these things are against sepulchrem" There have I buried all my me.” Witness the mourning of David, even earthly happiness and hope for the day over a bad, a rebellious son. "The king was when I shall come hither too-and be gathermuch moved, and went up to the chambered to my kindred dust!” over the gate, and wept: and as he went, Sorrowful as the occasion was, she attend. thus he said: O my son Absalom, my son, ed the funeral herself. And we commend my son Absalom! would God I had died for her. It was following her only son as far as thee, O Absalom, my son, my son!" But she could go; it was deriving from the scene this parental affection is stronger on the side all the instruction it could attord, and all the of the female, than of the male. Not only impression it could produce. But in our age has the mother more natural sensibility and of improvement, and refinement, and feeling, tenderness than the father, but the child, if friends and relations seldom accompany the I may so express it, is much more hers than funeral of their connexions. A minister often his; it is hers by months of anxiety, and buries a child, when he has no other audience pangs of anguish; it is hers by a thousand to address than the few individuals who carry nightly watchings and daily cares; it is hers it to the grave! Yea, we are told-and we by numberless pleasures given and received, only wish to know some things by hearsayin which neither stranger nor friend inter- that in genteel life, as soon as the patient meddles with her joy. Thus the performance has expired, they withdraw from the very of duty is secured and sweetened. But that house, and leave the dead to mercenaries which renders duty a privilege, in the very so that the minister can only meet the unsame proportion increases the fear of loss, dertaker and his company, whose profit is and the anguish of separation. What then entirely of another kind! Whither are these were the feelings of this mother-deprived things tending? And have people now, more of her only son! Had he been one of many, sensibility than formerly? No-but they the loss would have been partial, and the af- have more affectation; they have more love fliction more easily endured—but he was the to the world; they have more aversion to only pledge of virtuous affection, the only every thing serious! But are men deterhope of future years her life was entirely mined to banish and to keep from their minds bound up in his. Mourning for an only son every intimation of their mortality? With is mentioned in the Scripture as the extreme what surprise and horror will death come of grief. “O daughter of my people, gird upon those who never think of it! Are perthee with sackcloth, and wallow thyself in sons afraid of sorrow? “It is better to go to ashes: make thee mourning, as for an only the house of mourning than to the house of son, most bitter lamentation : for the spoiler mirth. By the sadness of the countenance shall suddenly come upon us."
the heart is made better.” What advantages But what closes the melancholy tale of did this widow derive from her personal atthis woman is—that she was a widow ! A tendance in such trying circumstances ! widow is always an affecting character, as -She was not alone" Much people of she is liable to injustice and oppression, from the city was with her." This showed the those fiends who take advantage of weakness esteem in which the family was held. But and distress; as she is deprived of the com- though numbers of the friends and neighpanion of her journey, and compelled to travel bours of the widow attended her on this alone; as her anxieties are doubled, and there mournful occasion, sympathising with her is none to share them with her. In this under the heavy affliction and wishing to state, a child may seem an addition to her comfort her, little relief could they afford. difficulties—but if he excites care, he diverts They kindly commiserate her case, but cangrief: he is some company in her solitary not restore her son. Submission and patience hours; in him something of the husband re- were the only lessons they could preach or mains; in his face the father's image is ad- she could learn. But here comes advancing mired. He will render himself serviceable towards them another company, the Leader by dutiful attentions; he will place on her of which can “save to the uttermost.” The the regard which he owed the deceased, and two parties join in the suburbs of the city. -love her with a double affection. He will | Observe our Lord and Saviour.
First, he knew all the particulars of the cacy-what shall I call it-of the miracle: case. Those who were with him could only and “ he delivered him to his mother!" He see, as they were passing by, a funeral-but did not say, Go, preach the Gospel; or, Come, he knew the corpse stretched upon the bier; follow me. It was a prodigy of “ lovinghe knew that it was a young man ; that it kindness ;" of " tender mercy.” He would was the only son of his mother; and that she comfort her, and therefore he prefers her sawas a widow!
tisfaction to the honour he would have gained Secondly. He did not wait to be implored. by the attendance of such a disciple on himSome of his miracles were wrought in answer self. What a present was here! “ He deto the supplications of the individuals them- livered him to his mother!" selves; for he never refused any who applied How striking the whole scene! To see to him—and this should teach us to pray for a man instantly called back-from the invisiourselves. Some of his miracles also were ble world! What awe would it produce; performed in consequence of the intercession what wonder would it excite! Some would of others: thus we find neighbours and re- be ready to flee from him—but the motherlations were more than once honoured by she would embrace him after this second obtaining a cure for their connexions--and birth, and “ remember no more again her this should encourage us to pray for others, anguish, for joy that a man is born again into But of several he could say, “I am found the world." But would the son engross all of them that sought me not.” Sometimes, be- her attention ? Would she not think of Jesus? fore we call he answers : such a very present this friend in trouble ; this restorer of her help is he in trouble. In the case before us, happiness? I see her kneel and adore. the relief was entirely spontaneous and self- Let us conclude by three general reflecmoved.
tions. Thirdly. When he saw her, he had l I. WHAT A VALE OF TEARS IS THIS WORLD! * compassion on her.”. By nothing was our How various and numerous are the evils to Saviour more distinguished than by pity and which human life is exposed!“ Man that tenderness-He was “ touched with the is born of a woman, is of few days and full feeling of our infirmities." His eye affected of trouble !” “ Surely every man walketh his heart. He made all the miseries he be in a vain show, surely they are disquieted in held his own, under the influence of this vain! he heapeth up riches, and cannot tell compassion.
who shall gather them.” His pains are great, Fourthly, he “ said unto her, Weep not." his disappointments frequent, his cares corrodHow unavailing, not to say impertinent, would ing. His possessions generate alarms: and this have been from any other lips! Were in proportion to his affections are his afflicyou officiously to advance, and breaking the tions : his roses grow on thorns, and his honey silence of the funeral train, to say to the chief wears a sting. Here we see a fellow-creamourner, « Woman, be happy; weep no ture pining with sickness. There we hear more;" would it not be deemed equally sin- & voice saying, “I sit, and am alone as a gular and vain? And it is more than proba- sparrow upon the house-top. Lover and friend ble that, in the case before us, the language hast thou put far from me, and mine acquaintof our Saviour would excite surprise, espe- ance into darkness." It is impossible to walk cially in the widow herself. Holding back the street, or pass along the road, without her veil-she would look to see what stran- being assailed by sights and sounds of distress. ger passing by thus interested himself in her And how peculiarly lamentable are some of grief, and gave her advice so easy to offer, these !-But and so impossible to take. When lo!
II. LET THE AFFLICTED REMEMBER THAT Fifthly, Jesus, without any ostentatious THEY ARE NOT LEFT WITHOUT RESOURCE. Let ceremony, “ went and touched the bier- them learn where to flee in the day of trouand they that bare it stood still ;" all amaze-ble. It is to the Friend of sinners. Why, ment and expectation. Every eye is fixed is the Saviour any longer on earth that we upon him. What a moment of suspense and may apply to him?. Unquestionably-how eagerness! At length, in a tone of uncon- else could he fulfil his promise, “Where two trolable authority, " he said to the young or three are gathered together in my name, man, I say unto thee, Arise!" He does this there am I in the midst of them?" His in his own name. He claims a power which bodily presence was not necessary to his ascontrols even the dead. And the event jus-sistance " in the days of his flesh :" he could tifies the pretension. He never spake in vain. speak a cure at a distance. He is now esIn a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, the sentially and spiritually near-near enough blood begins to liquefy and flow through the to hear all your complaints, and to afford you veins and arteries; the lungs heave again ; succour. He knows and observes all your the eyes open-he " that was dead sat up distresses, and he has the same tenderness, and began to speak”-my soul, what did he and the same power as of old. Is your consay?
dition very trying and alarming? You have Finally, observe the application, the deli- no cause for despair. “ At even-tide it may
be light.” Little did this poor woman expect body, and inform his ignorant mind; go and to meet with such a glorious change in her endeavour to snatch him from ruin, and rencircumstances at the funeral of her last com- der him the staff of his poor widowed mother's fort. “ When the Lord turned again her age. Go-go, and enjoy all the luxury of captivity, she was like them that dream!" doing good. “When the ear heard me, then But he was pleased to bring her thus low | it blessed me; and when the eye saw me, it before he helped her, to teach us never to gave witness to me: because I delivered the think our case desperate, or to suppose that poor that cried, and the fatherless, and him his interference can come too late.
that had none to help him. The blessing of But he does not deliver me! The time him that was ready to perish came upon me: and the manner of relief are his own. There and I caused the widow's heart to sing for are cases in which he can do us more good by jov." the continuance than by the speedy removal of our sorrows. But of this we may be assured, that he will not suffer us to call upon
DISCOURSE XVII. him in vain.
Let us apply this to a particular case. You say_“I share in this woman's affliction,
FEARS REMOVED. but not in her joy. My child is dead-but And Manoah said unto his wife, We shall surew no Jesus says to me, Weep not.” Yes, Ra- ly die, because we have seen God. But his chel_“ Thus saith the Lord; refrain thy wife said unto him, If the Lord were pleased voice from weeping, and thine eyes from tears: to kill us, he would not have received a burntfor thy work shall be rewarded; and they
offering and a meat-offering at our hands, shall come again from the land of the enemy. neither would he have showed us all these And there is hope in thine end, saith the Lord, things, nor would as at this time have told 29 that thy children shall come again to their
such things as these.-Judges xiii. 22, 23. own border.” But he will not raise my child SAMSON is the last of the Israelitish Deto this fond embrace? Yes-He who said liverers recorded in this book. He differs to the young man, “ Arise !" is “ the resur- very much from all his predecessors; for we rection and the life." Thy child shall rise never find him presiding over the council, or again, and be delivered unto thee all over commanding in the army; but he was a treglorious; and no fear of separation shall damp mendous scourge to the enemies of his counthe joy of your re-union.
try in his own person. III. WHAT THINK YOU OF CHRIST? Does | His history is full of wonders. An angel not his character combine every excellency ushers him into the world. This angel first and attraction? And is the relation of all this appeared to his mother, and foretold his birth. given us merely to gratify our curiosity? Are He soon after discovered himself also to his we to peruse the life of our Lord and Saviour father, in company with his mother. His as we would read the history of a Cyrus or father immediately provided an entertainment Alexander ? No-it is not written for our for him—but the angel commanded him to amusement, but for our profit. And then we offer it in sacrifice to the Lord. He did so peruse it properly, when we admire him— the angel ascended in the fame, and they love him above all-depend wholly upon him saw him no more. By this they knew that -and feel the transforming efficacy of every he was a divine messenger, and in conseview we take of his character, “changing us quence of this apprehension, “ Manoah said into the same image, from glory to glory, as unto his wife, We shall surely die, because by the Spirit of the Lord."
we have seen God. But his wife said unto Let us therefore “ be followers of him as him, If the Lord were pleased to kill us, he dear children." Let us cultivate benevolence, would not have received a burnt-offering and and do all the good we can, especially to the meat-offering at our hands, neither would be fatherless and widows. These he has peco-have showed us all these things, nor would liarly recommended to our attention, not only as at this time have told us such things as by his example, but by his word. «Ye shall these." not afflict any widow, or fatherless child. If And what does this passage teach us? I. thou afflict them in any wise, and they cry at WHAT PECULIAR IMPRESSIONS DIVINE MANIall unto me, I will surely hear their cry; and FESTATIONS MAKE UPON THE MIND. II. THE my wrath shall wax hot, and I will kill you DIFFERENCE THERE IS IN THE KNOWLEDGE with the sword; and your wives shall be AND EXPERIENCE OF THE LORD'S PEOPLE. III. widows, and your children fatherless." We | THE PROFIT THAT IS TO BE DERIVED FROM know you cannot work miracles—but you can A PJOUS COMPANION. IV. How MUCH THERE show mercy. Go—"visit the widow in her IS IN THE LORD'S DEALINGS WITH HIS PEOPLE affliction.” We know you cannot raise her TO ENCOURAGE THEM AT ALL TIMES IF THEY dead son—but you can preserve her living HAVE SKILL ENOUGH TO DISCERN IT. one. Go and administer healing medicines I. See the peculiar impressions which Die and wholesome food; go and clothe his naked I vine manifestations make upon the mind. To a certain degree these impressions are, there are degrees in grace. There is hope, proper. Such manifestations ought to strike and the free assurance of hope. Some have our minds, to humble us, to produce reverence little faith; others are “strong in faith,” “rich and godly fear. If an earthly king were to in faith.” In the Church there are babes ; call upon us, we should be filled with awe as and there are those “ of full age, who by reasoon as he discovered himself-how much son of use have their senses exercised to dis more should this be the case, when he ap-cern both good and evil." proaches us, who is “ King of kings, and And this difference is not always to be Lord of lords." Hence Jacob exclaimed, judged of by the order of nature, or external “How dreadful is this place: this is none advantages. “There are first that shall be other bat the house of God, and this is the last, and there are last that shall be first.” gate of heaven!” Job said, “I have heard We find here the weaker vessel the stronger of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now believer. Nor is this a solitary instance. mine eye seeth thee: wherefore I abhor my. They were women, yea widows, who minisself, and repent in dust and ashes." Isaiah tered to our Lord of their substance. The also, in like manner cries out, “Wo is me! three Marys approached the foot of the cross, for I am undone : because I am a man of un when the disciples forsook him and fled. clean lips, and I dwell among a people of un- These also appeared first at the sepulchre. clean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, Nothing is said of the father of Timothy, the Lord of Hosts." Thus awfully were but the Apostle celebrates the “unfeigned these good men impressed, as soon as they faith of his mother and his grandmother." He apprehended the presence and glory of God. also speaks honourably to the Philippians of
But impressions, good in themselves, may “those women that had laboured with him in become excessive; and the cause producing the Gospel.” them may be misunderstood, and even depre- Neither does this difference in their attaincated. Thus Manoah reasons: “ We shall ments affect the reality of their religion, or surely die, for we have seen God!" This was the safety of their state. The infant is no a common apprehension of old, and it is easy less a ehild than the young man. Our Sato account for it. Ever since man became a viour does not despise “the day of small sinner, an enemy to God, every approach of things.” “ A bruised reed shall he not break. the Deity has awakened in him terror and and smoking flax shall he not quench, till he confusion. Our conseiences naturally tell us send forth judgment unto victory." that we deserve nothing but heavy tidings Nevertheless, it is very desirable to be mafrom the invisible world: we therefore dread tured and established Christians not only to every messenger thence. And even when be alive in religion, but lively; not only to be God comes to us in mercy, the same sentiment fruitful, but to bring forth much fruit; and occurs, and sometimes leads us, like Manoah, to be “ filled with all joy and peace in beto mistake his design, and draw a fearful con- lieving,” that we may not only have hope, clusion from it.
but “abound in hope, through the power of Thus, when he comes to convince us of the Holy Ghost." And this is important, not sin, and to humble the pride of our hearts, only as the glory of God, and the comfort of we imagine that we shall now die–But we your own minds, depend much upon it, but are mistaken; he is only come to prepare us also as it prepares for usefulness, and enables for the proofs of his love. He impresses us you the better to “serve your generation," with a sense of our danger, that we may flee and the more easily to speak a word in sea. for refuge; with a sense of our pollution, that son to him that is weary." we may wash and be clean, in the fountain This leads us to notice, III. The profit which he has provided. “They that be whole that is to be derived from a pious compa. need not a physician, but they that are sick." nion. “Two are better than one; because
Thus, when he comes in providence, and they have a good reward of their labour. For destroys our schemes, and visits us with if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow; breach upon breach; here again we imagine but wo to him that is alone when he falleth: we are going to be undone! But we shall for he hath not another to lift him up.” Man presently see that he came as a friend, though is formed for society, and religion indulges disguised, and only used means to wean us and sanctifies the social principle. And if a from the world, and bring us more entirely to man be concerned for his spiritual welfare, himself as our exceeding joy.
he will be glad to meet with those who are Let us, II. Remark the difference there is traveling the same road, and are partakers in the knowledge and experience of the of the same hopes and fears: he will be thank Lord's people. What surprises and terrifies ful to have one near him who will watch over one, is both plain and pleasing to another. him, and admonish him; who by seasonable What opposite conclusions do Manoah and counsel will fix him when wavering, embolhis wife draw from the same event! He in-den him when timid, and comfort him when fers wrath; she mercy. The former looks for cast down. And it is to be observed, that in destruction; the latter for salvation. Thus, I spiritual distress we are often suspicious of
our own reasonings and conclusions: we offering he had not respect." Secondly, the know the deceitfulness of our own hearts, secrets with which he had favoured themand are afraid lest while they encourage " Neither would he have shown us all these they should ensnare. We can depend with things, nor would as at this time have told more confidence upon the declarations of our us such things as these." This regards the fellow-Christians. Only let them relate their birth of their son, his education, his deliverown experience, recall to our minds some for- ance of their country-If the accomplishgotten truth, apply some promise, or give a ment of this be certain, our destruction is new turn to a particular circumstance—and impossible. we are relieved and delivered.
| Let us leave Manoah and his wife, and And happy is the man who has such a think of ourselves. It is a dreadful thing for friend and helper in the desire of his eyes." God to kill us. What is the loss of property, In various instances, the importance of the of health, or even of life, to the loss of the female character to the welfare of man ap- soul! Men can“ kill the body," but there pears. She will aid Manoah in bringing up" is no more that they can do; but God is their children: and the earlier parts of edu- able to destroy both body and soul in hell." cation devolve almost exclusively upon her. / “ It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of She will assist him in the management of his the living God." estate: “the heart of her husband doth safely Hence it becomes unspeakably important trust in her, so that he shall have no need of to know how he means to deal with us. And, spoil. She will do him good and not evil all blessed be his name, there are satisfactory the days of his life. She looketh well to the evidences that he is not our enemy, but our ways of her household, and eateth not the friend, and concerned for our welfare. Some bread of idleness.” “No man ever prospered of these are more general; others are more in the world without the consent and co- peculiar. operation of his wife.” She will also help! He has not left himself without witness him in the preservation of his character, of " in that he has done us good, and given us his health, of his peace of mind. Her sooth- rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling ing voice can charm away “the evil spirit;" | our hearts with food and gladness." her soft hand can smooth the wrinkles of an He has borne with our provocations; and anxious brow, and wipe off the mildew of an though he could easily and righteously have unwholesome evening. But she is found, in destroyed us, we are still in the land of the the noblest sense, “a help-meet for him," in living, and we ought to “account that aiding his piety; in adding flame to his devo the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation. tion; in furnishing motive to his zeal, By The goodness of God leadeth to repentance." prayer, by example, by conyersation, she can Had he desired the death of the sinner, encourage his resolutions, disperse his doubts, would he have provided and accepted the and "help his unbelief." Such was the hap 1 grand sacrifice which Jesus made upon the piness of Manoah: he had one who was an cross for us?-But we know he provided it; “heir with him of the grace of life.” “But we know he accepted it; we know that it was his wife said unto him, If the Lord were an “offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetpleased to kill us, he would not have re- smelling savour." ceived a burnt-offering and a meat-offering If he were pleased to kill us, would he at our hands, neither would be have showed (have given us such exceeding great and preus all these things, nor would as at this time cious promises promises so rich, so general, have told us such things as these."
so free? Would he have said, “ Seek ye the Whence, IV. We take occasion to ob-Lord while he may be found; call ye upon serve, that there is always enough in the him while he is near. Let the wicked forLord's dealings with his people to encou- sake his way, and the unrighteous man his rage them, if they have wisdom enough to thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, discern it. How well did this woman rea- and he will have mercy upon him; and to son! How naturally, yet how forcibly! our God, for he will abundantly pardon." “ Nay-let us not turn that against us, “Him that cometh unto me, I will in no wise which is really for us. We shall not die, un-cast out." less God be pleased to kill us; and surely the Resolved on your destruction, would he tokens of his favour are not the pledges of have favoured you with such affecting discohis wrath."
veries? Like the man in the Gospel, though Her conclusion is drawn from two things. unable to tell every circumstance attending First, the acceptance of their sacrifice: "If the operation, cannot you say, “ One thing I the Lord were pleased to kill us, he would know, that whereas I was blind, now I see?" not have received a burnt-offering and a Has he not "called you out of darkness into meat-offering at our hands.” It is not his his marvellous light ?" Are you not filled manner to accept the offering, and reject the with wonder-does not every thing appear person: “ And the Lord had respect unto | new? Have you not seen an evil in sin Abel and his offering; but unto Cain and his which has rendered it odious and burdensome