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A FUNERAL SERMON *.
ECCLES XXII. 11.
Weep for the dead, for he hath lost the light ; and weep for the fool, for he wanteth understanding: make little weeping for the dead, for he is at rest; but the life of the fool is worse than death.
HERE are two directions, the one li- SERM. miting the other. Weep for the dead:" XII. this is natural, and exceedingly consonant to our most common feelings."Make little weeping for the dead;” this is a direction depending upon circumstances, and requiring some consideration to reconcile us to it. However, the wise author of the book in which these two directions occur has not left us to seek for a reason for his precepts; in both cases he has expressed the
* Preached at the request and in the presence of the surviving widower and family.
"Weep for the dead,"-Why?— for," saith he, "he bath lost the light." "Make little weeping for the dead," and why?" for he is at rest." The text contains more than this, which we shall consider hereafter; at present, let us confine ourselves to the two injunctions already mentioned: first, that we "weep for the "dead;" and, secondly, that we "make "but little weeping for the dead." And first, to " weep for the dead" is very natural indeed, for we are of course left behind to bewail their loss. Whatever is become of them, of this we are certain, that henceforward we shall know no comfort from their society, nor reap any advantage from their aid and assistance. They are gone, and have left this troublesome world; and, alas! have left us to struggle through the difficulties of it, unfriended and alone. Much, perhaps, may we have to look back upon, of affection and endearment, which softened all the sorrows, and smoothed all the troubles of life; much of care and kindness, flowing from friendship and long acquaintance,
which no future commerce with the world SERM. can renew or repay. We shall have to XII. look back upon scenes of happiness and tranquillity, which can never now be restored to us but in the realms above, where we shall possibly again meet with those we have lost, to part no more! He, therefore, who gave us this direction, to " weep
for the dead," knew much of the condition and circumstances of human nature; for, indeed, there can be no greater trial put in our way than that very one of supporting, as we should do, the loss of those whose friendship, and whose presence, were above all things in the world essential to our happiness. But let us consider the reason of this injunction, Weep for the dead, for they have lost the light." This is, in fact, a consideration that perhaps affects us more than them. They have lost the light of this world, but then possibly they have gained the light of that which is above. However, as the wise man gives it as a reason" for weeping for them," let us consider it as such. And first, they have certainly lost the light; their eyes are closed
SERM. in darkness. The sun no more rises upon XII. them; they are gone to the grave, and "shall come up no more. If, indeed, they have passed through this life becomingly and well, it is rather for ourselves that we should weep; but yet, at all events, we should feel an awe about their future condition, which should throw a solemnity over our sorrows. They are now, as it were, on the way to their judge. All opportunity of setting aright what has been amiss, is past and gone; and such as they have been here, such must they appear at the tribunal of Christ. Thus have they lost the light as to themselves; as to us, they are taken away from our sight and our acquaintance; we shall know no more about them till the great day of the Lord. The body we have with us, but the soul is with its Creator. If we have been befriended by their kindness, soothed by their care, comforted by their help, or cheered by their society, surely gratitude will move us to weep for their loss, and to lament that such should be the condition of our mortal nature, that friends must separate, the dear
est connections be dissolved, the closest ties SErm.
"dead," surely the other injunction of my
for the dead, for he is at rest :" certainly, upon the dissolution of this earthly tabernacle, the dead are immediately at rest, as to all the troubles and disquietudes of this mortal life. But, generally speaking, we have no right to conclude that the dead are indiscriminately at rest. Those that " die "in the Lord" are so; we know upon the