« AnteriorContinuar »
This is the key note of Hood's “ Bridge of Sighs.”
To take texts or themes for such occasions after the fashion of the old divines (see Mather's “Magnalia") is
neither wise nor right. Is. xlvii. 7, 8. “And thou saidst, I shall be a lady. forever : so that thou didst not lay these things to thy heart, neither didst remember the latter end of it. Therefore hear now this, thou that art given to pleasures, that dwellest carelessly, that sayest in thine heart, I am, and none else besides
I shall not sit as a widow, neither shall I know the loss of children.'
The “social evil" involves the serious fact that many are elevated by it from poveriy and loneliness, into a transient wealth and to the centre of admiration. They say, (1) “We shall be ladies always.” They forget (2) the "latter end" of it all. They sometimes (3) refuse wifehood and motherhood. But (4) there is an end to it all. (5) That end comes very soon, ordinarily within three or five years. John viii. 7. “So when they continued asking him, he listed up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her."
“ John vii. 53 to viii. 11 is the second and most extended omission (in the Revised New Testament] from John's Gospel. It is omitted by the Sinaitic, the Alexandrine, the Vatican, the older Parisian, and four later uncials, and by cursive 33; but in the Alexandrine and older Parisian and two of the later uncials—that is, in half of the uncials which omit the passage-there is a blank space, indicating that something is omitted ; the text being erased or its copying deferred. It is found in the Cambridge, D, and other uncials, in the cursives generally, in the Lat. Vu.gate, as it is in the ‘Koine Ekdosis' of the Greek Church ; while Greek and Latin fathers, cited by Poole
and Tregelles, refer to the omitted narrative as found in John's Gospel. It is omitted as spurious by Tregelles ; and it is put in brackets by the English revisers.”—Dr. G. W. Samson : “ Revisers' Text Unauthorized.”
Shall the servant of Christ avoid the responsibility of a sermon to men on such an occasion ? John viii. 11. “And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee : go, and sin no more.
This, for one who has died repentant. Compare Jos. vi. 17 (with Heb. xi. 31 and Jas. ii. 25); Matt. xxi. 31, 32;
Luke vii. 37 3. Cases of long sickness, pain, and weariness.
Job iii. 22. “Which rejoice exceedingly, and are glad, when they can find the grave.”
Death long desired and welcome. “I go out of life,” said Cicero, as from an inn and not from a home.” Job iii. 17. “There the wicked cease from troubling ; and there the weary be at rest.”
Rest: 1. From the perplexities and trials of life. 2. From its burden and its toil. 3. From its longing and
its fatigue. Is. xxxiii. 24.
“And the inhabitant shall not say, I am sick : the people that dwell therein shall be forgiven their iniquity.
What a land ! No sickness; no sorrow; no sin. The "inhabitant”: Heb.“ neighbour.” The neighbourliness of
the other world. 4. Death by casualties. 2. Sam. ii. 23.
Howbeit he refused to turn aside : wherefore Abner with the hinder end of the spear smote him under the fifth rib, that the spear came out behind him ; and he fell down there, and died in the same place :
Lev. x. 5.
and it came to pass, that as many as came to the place where Asahel fell down and died stood still.”
The unexpected “hinder end” of the spear smote Asahel. Cf. 2 Kings ix. 24.
Also i Kings xxii. 34 (with 2 Chron. xviii. 33), the bow “ drawn at a venture.” Judges ix. 53. And a certain woman cast a piece of a millstone upon Abimelech's head, and all to brake his skull.” “ All to" is an abbreviated form of" altogether.”
“So they went near, and carried them in their coats out of the camp; as Moses had said.”'
These were Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron. They were burned to ashes and gathered up from the flame. Luke xiii. 4. 'Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower of Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem ? (Cf. 1 Kings xx. 30; Job i. 19.)
Men cannot be too careful how they undertake to interpret“ judgments,” lest one day they be measured out of
their own bushel and fall short. 2 Sam. xx. 12, 13.
“And Amasa wallowed in blood in the midst of the highway. And when the man saw that all the people stood still, he removed Amasa out of the highway into the field, and cast a cloth upon him, when he saw that every one that came by him stood still. When he was removed out of the highway, all the people went on after Joab, to pursue after Sheba the son of Bichri.”
“So strong in human hearts the thoug of death,” and therefore the wisdom of connecting with every death some gospel truth.
5. Sudden Death.
1 Sam. xx. 3. “And David sware moreover, and said, Thy father certainly knoweth that I have found grace in thine eyes; and he saith, Let not Jonathan know this, lest he be grieved: but truly, as the Lord liveth, and as thy soul liveth, there is but a step between me and death."
Nearness of death.
“We term sleep a death, and yet it is waking that kills us and destroys those spirits that are the house of life.”— Sir Thomas Browne. 1 Sam. iv. 15, 18. “Now Eli was ninety and eight years old ; and his eyes were dim, that he could not see.
And it came to pass, when he made mention of - the ark of God, that he fell from off the seat backward by the side of the gate, and his neck brake, and he died : for he was an old man, and heavy.”
Death from a broken heart.
“The good old man, after ninety and eight years, sits in the gate, as one that never thought himself too aged to do God's service. . . . No sword of a Philistine could have slain him more painfully, neither know I whether his
neck or his heart were first broken."-Bp. Hall. Prov. xxvii. 1. “ Boast not thyself of to-morrow ; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.”
“O that we had spent but one day in this world thoroughly well !”—Thomas à Kempis. (Cf. Jas. iv. 13, 14 ; Ecc. ix. 10, 12; Ps. xxxix. 4 and xc. 12 ; Heb. ii. 15.)
2 Cor. v. 10. “We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.”
Death a summons to judgment.
“If I am not for me, who shall ?--If I am only for me, what am I ?-And if not now, when ?"-Attributed to R. Hillel.
Ecc. xii. 13, 14.
“Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter : Fear God, and keep his commandments : for this is the whole duty of man.
For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.”'
The expression in the original—This is the whole of man,'-has not, that I am aware of, any parallels by which it might be illustrated. The supplement of the word duty destroys its evidently designed comprehensiveness. It is not only the whole duty, but the whole honor, and interest,
and happiness of man."—Wardlaw. 6. For those who have been much afflicted.
Ps. lxxi. 20. “Thou which hast showed me great and sore troubles, shalt quicken me again and shalt bring me up again from the depths of the earth."
Rev. vii. 14. “ These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.”
Matt. xi. 6. · Blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.”
7. Death in child-bed.
Rachel. Gen. xxxv. 16. Phinehas' wife. 1 Sam. iv. 19.
8. A sailor's death.
Ps. lv. 8. “I would hasten my escape from the windy storm and tempest. Ps. cvii. 29, 30.
• He maketh the storm a calm, so