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by his holy Apostle Saint Paul, not to be sorry, as men without hope, for those who sleep in him ; we humbly beseech thee, O Father, to raise us from the death of sin unto the life of righteousness; that, when we shall depart this life, we may rest in him ; and that, at the general Resurrection in the last day, we may be found acceptable in thy sight ; and receive that blessing which thy well-beloved Son shall then pronounce to all who love and fear thee, saying, Come, ye blessed children of my Father, receive the kingdom prepared for you from the beginning of the world. Grant this, we beseech thee, O merciful Father, through Jesus Christ, our Mediator and Redeem
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Ghost, be with us all evermore. Amen.
WHAT IS DEATH?
“ Birds, beasts, each tree, All that hath growth or breath Have one large language, Death !"
HENRY VAUGHAN: “The Check."
WHAT IS DEATH ?
I. THE EXECUTION OF A SENTENCE.
Gen. iii. 19. “Dust thou art, and unto dust thou shalt return.
“We speak of Death as coming in the course of nature. But in the just and proper sense of the words, this is not true. Death does not come in the course of nature. Nature properly ought to mean the state of things as constituted by God. Man's original state is his natural state. It was a state of sinless purity and sinless joy. And in that state of things Death had no place. Death is al. together out of the true course of nature. It is in the course, it is granted, of fallen nature-of nature as sinful and guilty. But of any moral nature, that state is the most unnatural possible. In one sense only can it be correctly said that the death of man is in the course of nature ; namely, that it is in accordance with the moral require. ments of the divine nature, and consequently with the eternal and immutable nature and fitness of things, that penalty should follow trespass; that sin should infer suffering. In THAT sense Death is in the course of nature-is natural.”
Ecc. xii. 7.
“Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was : and the spirit shall return to God who gave it.
Strictly speaking, the separation of soul and body is the
consequence of Death and not the cause of it.
The body actually moulders down into indistinguishable earth, and only through the Holy Spirit can we track the spirit of man, on its invisible upward way.
Ecc. vii. 2. 6. That is the end of all men,”
We live in a variety of relations ; of occupations ; of pleasures; of sufferings; of possessions; of privileges ; of opportunities. Of all these, and of everything else that pertains to earth and to time, Death is the final close. Every marriage must, soon or late, leave a widower or a widow ; every birth a mourning parent or an orphan child ; every growing family bereaved brothers or bereaved sis. ters; every friendship a solitary friend. "One event hapo peneth alike to all.”
Heb. ix. 27. “It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.
* After this”-an eternal sleep? annihilation ? another period of probation ? No! After Death God has appointed the Judgment. (Acts xvii. 31.)
1 Cor. xv. 42-45. “ It is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption; it is sown in dishonour, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, ii is raised in power ; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body."
What an interest then attaches to the last moment of every man's earthly life !-to the parting breath on which the soul passes away from its mortal tenement! As Death at that solemn moment finds him-believing or not believing on the only Saviour, reconciled to God or still