« AnteriorContinuar »
ry to its perfection. This assimilation is the object of the faith and confidence of Christian believers. Our conversation is in heaven ; whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ; who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like to his glorious body, according to the working, whereby be is able to subdue all things unto himself.
What exalted views does the apostle Paul give of the body, after it shall have experienced this change, con. trasted with what it previously was, at the time of its dissolution! 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 ; it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. This corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must. put on immortality. Wonderful change! Glorious to the body, and propitious to the soul. Believing this great truth, we are prepared to believe, what we are expressly taught concerning the future condition of the saints ; God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes ; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor cry,
ing, neither shall there be any more pain ; for the former · things are passed away.
As, in that blissful state, there will be neither pain nor sorrow; so there will be neither labour nor disquietude. Blessed are the dead, who die in the Lord ; yea, saith the Spirit, for they rest from their labours, and their works do follow them.
The honour and felicity, reserved for the soul, will as far surpass those, reserved for the body, as the powers and faculties of the one are superior to those of the other. The image of God, partially restored to the soul, when it is created in Christ Jesus to good works, will hereafter
be completely restored. In heaven the spirits of just men are made perfect. Possessing this perfection, what can be wanted for the completion of their happiness, or glory? Every believer may justly say, I shall be sat, isfied, when I awake with thy likeness..
Long could we dwell with delight on this transporting theme ; but we are constrained to dismiss it. TQ heighten the impression however, let us summarily give the scriptural representation of the dignity and felicity of the saints in light. The hour is coming, in the which, all, who are in the graves, shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and shall come forth , they, who have done. good, to the resurrection of life. In that momentous day, terrible to the wicked, but welcome to the righteous, the wise, separated from the foolish, and placed on the right hand of the Judge, will receive this divine sentence, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inberit the kingdom, prepared for you from the foundation of the world. Into that kingdom entrance shall then be ministered to them abundantly i and so shall they ever. be with the Lord.
That there will be a difference in the degrees of honour and happiness, conferred on the saints, the Scriptures plainly teach us to believe. The text, it has al, ready been remarked, represents distinguished honours, as reserved for those, who, while personally wise, are teachers of heavenly wisdom. The same distinction is intimated by our blessed Lord in his Sermon on the mount. Whosoever shall do and teach the commandments of God, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. A difference in the degrees of future glory seems implied in what Christ said to his disciples, In my Father's house are many mansions, It is expressly affirmed by the apostle Paul : There is one
glory of the sun, another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars ; for one star differeth from another star in glory. So also is the resurrection of the dead.
Our Discourse; my brethren, instructs is, 1. That religion is true wisdom. The oracles of God pronounce good men wise. The same oracles teach us, thiat he is a fool, who hath said in his heart, No God; and that they are fools, who make a mock at sin. Let these disa tinctions be kept in everlasting remembrance. Let not those men, whose intellectual powers are ever so vigorous, or whose acquirements of knowledge are ever so extensive or profound, make the smallest pretensions to wisdom, if they neglect or violate the duties of religion; and live without God in the world. Who is a wise man, and endued with knowledge among you ? Let him show out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom.
2. The doctrine, now contemplated, furnishes the highést possible incitement to a virtuous and holy life. It presents to our view the faithful servants of God, standing before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robess and palms in their hands. We see them distinguished by celestial honours, and replete with unknown bliss. With these examples before us, let us be incited to press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
3. Our Discourse administers the highest consola? tion under afflictions, sustained by the death of good men. It instructs us to consider our loss, as their unspeakable and everlasting gain. It reminds us, that, however grievous to us is their removal, for them it is far better, than to remain here in bodies, liable to disease, and racking pains ; and in a world, where the immortal spirit meets perpetual obstructions to its inprovement and felicity. It exhibits the departing saint, as addressing us in the language of Jesus : Weep not for me ; but weep for yourselves and your children. I as. cend to my Father and your Father, and to my God and your God. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I go to the Father.
This consolation ought to insure our submission and alleviate our sorrows, under the loss of that worthy, respectable, and good man, the PRESIDENT of our UNIVERSITY. The limited period of my acquaintance with him prevents me from giving you that minute view of his life and character, which may be naturally desired, and which might be highly instruct. ive and useful. Thirteen years, however, it has been my favoured lot, to live in his vicinity ; to be conversånt in his family ; to share his confidence; to expe. rience his kindness and friendship ; and to act in conjunction with him in the concerns of the University, and in other offices of trust and importance. As my knowledge of him became extended, my esteem of his person and respect for his worth were proportionally heightened. Although therefore, on this mournful occasion, Days should speak, and multitude of years should teach wisdom, yet you will indulge me, while I also show my opinion.*
Descended from worthy and pious ancestors, President WILLARD possessed a spirit, and acquired a character, worthy of that descent. He was a great grandson of the Reverend Samuel Willard † of Boston, and son of the Reverend Samuel Willard of Biddeford, in the District of Maine ; where he was born on the twenty
* Job xxxii. 7, 10.
† Vice President of Harvard College from September 6, 1701, to September 12, 1707; and Author of “ A. Body of Divinity, in 250 Lectures on the * Assembly's Shorter Catechism.”
ninth of December, 1738. At the age of twenty three years he entered Harvard College ; and in 1765 he received its first honours. In 1766 he was chosen a Tutor of the College, and about six years he performed the duties of that office with ability and fidelity. During his continuance in the tutorship, he derived great advantages for the increase of knowledge, from his access to books and literary society ; and, together with additions to his previous acquirements in science, he now obtained, what experience only can teach, the important knowledge of the art of government.
The Christian ministry was the profession of his choice. To theology therefore he devoted his best. hours, and directed his principal studies. Being invita ed to take the pastoral charge of a very respectable Church and Society in Beverly, he accepte, the invita. tion, and was ordained their Minister in 1772. With what acceptance he discharged the laborious duties of his ministry in that large and populous town, the permanent respect and esteem of the people of his charge toward him, are a pleasing proof.
Soon after the vacancy in the Presidency of Harvard College, occasioned by the resignation of President Langdon, he was elected to the presidential chair ; into which he was inducted on the nineteenth of December 1781.
A sound mind in a sound body, that felicity, which ancient writers considered as constituting the happy man, was eminently his portion. This rare felicity, in alliance with his extensive acquirements in the most solid and useful branches of literature, qualified him to sustain the labours of the Presidency with firmness