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SE R M ON,

DELIVERED AT CAMBRIDGE

30 SEPTEMBER, 1804,

THE FIRST LORD'S DAY AFTER THE INTERMENT

OF THE

Rev. Joseph tulillard, s.T.D.LL.D.

PRESIDENT OF HARVARD COLLEGE,

WHO DIED 25 SEPTEMBER, 1804.

Ætat. LXVI.

BY ABIEL HOLMES, A. M.
PASTOR OF THE FIRST CHURCH IN CAMBRIDGE.

PRINTED AT THE UNIVERSITY PRESS IN CAMBRIDGE

BT WILLIAM HILLIARD.

MDCCCIV.

S E R M ON

: By.
ABIÈL HOLMES, A. M.

[graphic]

DANIEL, XU. 3.
They that be wise shall shine as the brightness

of the firmament. AMONG the unhappy effects of human apostasy, the ignorance of man concerning his future destimy is one of the most deplorable. Darkness hath covered the earth, and gross darkness the people. The nations, not illuminated by the day spring from on high, groped for light in vain. Their wisest teachers were unable to instruct them respecting a future state. These philosophers, with all their boasted wisdom, could not determine for themselves, whether they should exist after death. When a wise, a great, or a good man died, they knew not but that he was extinct forever. The secret horror of annihilation, and the ardent de sire of perpetuated existence, generated indeed the natural hope of a future life. But faint was this hope. It inspired not that high confidence, it imparted not that strong consolation, which every human being desires and seeks. Revelation, only, supplies the deficiency of Reason. The oracles of divine truth partially disclosed, to the ancient people of God, the doctrine of the resurrection of the body, and the endless duration

of the soul. In the fulness of time, life and immora tality were brought clearly to light through the Gospel, Blessed are our eyes, for they see ; and our ears, for they hear. If a man die, we are assured, that he shall live again. If a wise, a good man die, we are assured, that his happiness will be as complete, as his existence will be interminable. When he closes his eyes in death, we sorrow not, as those, who have no hope ; believing, that he will awake to immortal life, and to inconceivable felicity.

Let a firm faith in this sublime and consolatory doctrine of our holy religion, minister to us support and solace. This solace, this support, are now essentially needed by a Family, bereaved of its invaluable Guardian and Guide ; by the University, bereaved of its estimable and respected President, and by the Community, bereaved of a wise and good Man. Having a sure word of prophecy, let us, in this day of darkness and gloominess, take heed to it, as to a light, that shineth in a dark place. What is the language of this prophetical word ? Many of them, who sleep in the dust of the earth, shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. And they who are wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament ; and they who turn many to righteousness, as the stars forever and ever. . As the means of invigorating our faith, lightening our heaviness, disburdening our sorrows, and animating our pursuit of true wisdom ; let us consider the character of the wise, and their future glory and felicity.

I. They, of whom glorious things are here spoken by the inspired prophet, are denominated wise.

Wisdom primarily signifies intellectual capacity. It denotes that property of the mind, which enables it

to form a right judgment of things. What an immense difference does the possession, and the want, of this : property make among the children of men ! Destitute of mental power, a man is incapable of guiding his own affairs with discretion ; much more incapable is he of guiding the complex affairs of others in any public and important station. A wise man's heart discerneth both time and judgment. It takes a comprehensive view of subjects. It sees causes and effects. It perceives the tendency and issue of actions. It enables the man of wisdom therefore to conduct discreetly; to give salutary counsel; and to execute difficult and important offices. It is an essential qualification for rulers, under every form of government ; for military commanders ; for instructors of youth ; for the principals, especially, of every Seminary of learning:

Judicious was the advice, which Jethro gave to Moses : Thou shalt provide out of all the people able men, and place such over them to be rulers. It was a wise petition of Solomon : 0 Lord, my God, thou hast made thy servant king, instead of David my father ; and I am but a little child : I know not how to go out, or come in. And thy servant is in the midst of thy people, which thou hast chosen. Give therefore thy servant an understand: ing heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad ; for who is able to judge this thy so great å people? A wise and an understanding heart was accordingly given him from above ; and his administra. tion was preeminently distinguished for its wisdom. When David was in extreme danger of losing his kingdom, what strength must he have received from the accession of the children of Issachar, who were men, that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do!

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