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song upon the shepherds of Bethlehem. Anon I have seen him clothe himself with terrible majesty, as when a prophet proclaimed the vengeance of the Almighty, and then the thunder of the violated law pealed from his lips like the trump of doom, and the pallid, awestruck assembly told that the preacher had power with God and prevailed with men. For the mourner in Zion, the grief-stricken, the bowed, the desolate, he had the tongue of the learned and the heart of a seraph. Oh! the pathos of his sympathy-how touching and tender! It was a healing oil, a soothing balsam: beneath its magic charm, desolation bloomed and tears were turned to rapture. Many a wayworn pilgrim, weary with life's heavy burdens, faint, yet pursuing with faltering steps, felt his hopes revive and his courage grow strong while this "old man eloquent" discoursed of providence, and grace, and heaven-of the cross, the mercy-seat, and the crown of life. These were the themes on which he loved to dwell: they were the rejoicing of his heart, and the staple of his ministry. But the harp is broken, and all its music gone. The pleasant voice is hushed, and he who played so well upon that wondrous instrument, the human tongue, lies low in cold obstruction and dumb forgetfulness. Bishop Capers is no more. His place at the council-board of the Church he loved is empty. The pulpit shall know him no more for ever. The grave's dark eclipse rests upon that beaming face, and that venerable form, that moved among us but a little while ago-shrouded, coffined, buried, sleeps in death-thank God, in Jesus too-awaiting the descent of the judgment angel and the revelation of the Son of man. The circumstances of his decease have been so widely publishedare so generally known-that I need not detail them now. Suffice it to say, that having finished his last episcopal tour, visited his children, he returned to his quiet home, to rest for a season in the bosom of his family. Oh' the sober bliss, the grateful joy, of such a meeting! It mercy that allowed him this last interview. Death found the soldier in his tent, recruiting for another campaign. At midnight the spoiler came. The sleeping household were roused by the trembling cry of the wife, the mother, in the agony of her alarm. They rushed to the good man's chamber, and found him sitting up, but writhing in pain. "Make my blood circulate," he said. They essayed the task, but failed. Seeing their alarm, and feeling that his end was nigh, he said, "I am already cold, and now, my precious children, give me up to God. Oh that more of you were here! but
I bless God that I have so lately seen you all." But see how principle, and duty, and devotion to the Church, worked at the last and to the last. Bathed in the dew of mortality, enduring untold agony, longing for the faces of those he loved, gasping in death, he said, "Mary, I want you to finish my minutes to-morrow, and send them off.” Duty was his law in life-his watchword at the gate of death. Partially relieved by the physician's skill and the power of medicine, he asked the hour. When told, he exclaimed, "What! only three hours since I have been suffering such torture! Only three hours! What must be the voice of the bird that cries Eternity! Eternity! Three hours have taken away all but my religion." Health gone, strength gone, hope gone, life almost gone; but religion abides steadfast and stronger. Retreating from the shore where stand wife, children, and friends, waving their last adieu, but my religion goes with me. All the foundations of earth are failing me, but my religion still towers amid the general wreck, securely firm, indissolubly Glory to God for such a testimony from such a man!
For a little while nature seemed to rally-the king of terrors to relent. His children retired to rest at his urgent entreaty. On the morning of the 29th of January, he proposed to rise and dress himself, and insisted that his devoted wife should seek repose. She reminded him of the doctor's prescription, and besought him to keep his bed. He took the medicine, drank freely of water, pillowed his head upon his arm, and breathed his last.
"So fades a summer cloud away,
So sinks the gale when storms are o'er,
So gently shuts the eye of day,
So dies a wave along the shore.
Life's duty done, as sinks the clay,
Light from its load, the spirit flies,
In the history of our honored, beloved brother, there is no vice to deplore and no error to lament. I say not that he was perfect; but I do say, a world of such men would liken earth to heaven. I say not that he had no infirmities, no human frailties; but I do say that his self-sacrificing spirit, his humble, holy, useful labors, his unwearied zeal, and his spotless example, are to his descendants a noble patrimony, and to the Church a priceless heritage. Alive, he was a dem
onstration of the power and truth of Christianity; being dead, he yet speaketh, proclaiming to all that God is faithful. He left all and followed Christ, but never lacked any good thing. Counting all things but loss that he might win Christ, God gave him friends and fame, honor and usefulness. A messenger of God, his visits were blessings. The country admired him, and the Church loved him. His death fell like a shadow upon many a hearthstone, and his native State became a valley of weeping. Cities struggled for the honor of his burial, and Methodism, in mourning, repeats his funeral, to prolong her grief and consecrate his memory. Oh, brethren! we have lost a friend, a brother, an advocate, an example, a benefactor. Earth is growing poorer. There is now less faith, less zeal, less love in the world. The righteous are perishing; the good are taken away. Oh, ye venerable fathers of the Church, contemporaries and fellowlaborers of the ascended Capers, your ranks are broken. The friends of your youth are gone, and, relics of a generation well-nigh past, ye still linger among us. God bless you: we love you much, but we cannot keep you much longer. Your sands are running low, your change is at hand. You, venerable sir,* are almost the only bond that binds the preacher and his congregation to the pioneers of Methodism in this broad country. That bond, fretted and worn by more than threescore years and ten, is well-nigh threadless, attenuated, and ready to break. But God is with you. The raven hair, the ruddy check, the vigorous arm, the enduring strength, are gone -all gone; but your religion, too, thank God, is left you. Leaning upon that staff, you are waiting your summons. Heaven bless you with a smiling sunset, a pleasing night, and a glorious morn. And you, hoary veterans of the cross—one and all-heroes of a glorious strife, remnants of an army slain and yet victorious, if we survive when ye are gone, how bereaved and solitary our lot! But ye are going the wrinkled brow, the furrowed cheek, the halting step respond, Yes, we are going. Pray for us while you live, and bless us when you die.
And you, brethren, middle-aged and young, let us imitate the example, catch the spirit, of our glorified brother and fellow-laborer. He felt himself a debtor to the wise and the unwise. The white man, the Indian, and the negro, all shared his counsel, his labors, his
sympathy, and his prayers. The white fields are yet ungathered, and the strongest reapers are falling. The mournful event we commemorate cries, Go work to-day in the Lord's vineyard. This is our duty, and ought to be our only business. We are here, as officers and ministers of our branch of the Church, to inaugurate our great missionary and publishing interests under new auspices. But the cold shadow of death falls darkly upon our council-chamber. Its presence is a warning. We have home-interests we may not live to supervise ; there are plans of usefulness we may not help to execute; for we too are passing away. What we do must be done quickly. Let us live anto the Lord; let us live unto the Lord more than ever; let us be more prompt, self-denying and laborious. Let us be steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as we know that our labor is not in vain in the Lord. What we lay out he will repay. Amid our toil, inconveniences, and trials, be this our consolation-"We are the Lord's." If we live till our physical powers decay, the dim eye may still read our title clear; on Jesus' bosom we may lean the hoary head, and in death's sad struggle feel our kind Preserver near. God will not love us less because "the strong men bow themselves," and "the keepers of the house tremble.” His love endureth forever. His claim is undeniable-his title indisputable. The grave's effacing fingers cannot mutilate the handwriting. Time's ponderous wheel, as it grinds the world to dust on its march to judgment, cannot destroy the record. "A book of remembrance is written before Him" safe beyond the desolations of earth, and the triumphs of the sepulchre. Heeding, then, the solemn providence which bids us weep a brother deceased, let us go forth bearing precious seed, sowing beside all waters,—we shall rest, and stand in our lot at the end of the days. "Whether we live, therefore, or die, we are the Lord's." Living and dying, dead and buried, we are HisHis when we rise, His when heaven and earth are fled and gone, His in the New Jerusalem, for ever and forever.
"Servant of God, well done!
Rest from thy loved employ;
A mortal arrow pierced his frame,
He fell, but felt no fear.
Tranquil amid alarms,
It found him on the field,
A vet'ran slumb'ring on his arms,
Still warm with recent fight,
At midnight came the cry,
"To meet thy God prepare!"
He woke, and caught his Captain's eye; Then, strong in faith and prayer,
His spirit, with a bound,
Left its encumb'ring clay :
His tent, at sunrise, on the ground,
The pains of death are past,
Labor and sorrow cease;
And life's long warfare closed at last,