« PrécédentContinuer »
we should “remember the name of the Lord our God !” We should put our trust in His providence; and while we sorrow for the loss we have sustained, mingle with our sorrow fervent prayers for the Queen, that she may be sustained in her afflictions by a Divine hand, and may not in her hour of sorrow be utterly desolate !
BY THE REV. JOHN HYDE, DERBY. Write, Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord."-Rev. xiv. 13. Life is the most marvellous gift of God. It is the foundation-mystery of all mysteries. The brother mystery to life is death. Death is the inheritance of all living beings. So long as there has been life in the world there has been death as its fellow and its consequent. The records that geology reads are not the records of life, but the silent almanacks of death. We walk over the tombs of extinct races. The very crusts of the earth are but the conformations of death, and our most solid rocks are vast mausoleums of once active existences. Death of natural bodies is not a curse but a necessity. Where space is limited in extent, and matter limited in quantity, death must ensue upon life, or increase, or even the continuance of life itself becomes impossible. Adam in the garden of Eden beheld death in the vegetation that was consumed and that mouldered away, to be replaced by the products of "seed after its kind." The death of the curse was not natural death or the death of the body. Yet we sorrow at death. The extent of the sorrow was as wide as the influence of the individual who departs. Into the circle that his influence filled sorrow comes on his removal. A small circle filled, and a small circle grieved; a large circle filled, and a large circle was gloomed. Men were knitted together by other men. It was inevitable that some fill larger space in the public mind, because objects of thought and affection to a larger number, and their decease must spread a broader circle of gloom. On the death of one who has filled the largest sphere of influence, who was an object of contemplation to the largest number, and whose removal seems to have caused the largest gap and widest grief, it is appropriate that we consider his character and example, and also that we meditate upon the nature of our common existence, our common subjection to death, and the grounds of our common hope of immortality. We see in the decease of his Royal Highness, that exalted station cannot snatch men from the grip of death and the grasp of the grave. He was but the participator of our common humanity, a possessor of our common inheritance, and has shared in our common destiny. For the meditation of these things the occasion was appropriate, and the subject was fitting. Believed to be the sad consequence
“Of man's first disobedience, and the fruit
Brought death into the world, and all our woe,”– the decease of the natural body had been regarded as a calamity. A Bishop had gone farther, and had proclaimed the death of his Royal Highness a judgment inflicted by God for the sins of England; which was an aspersion of the Deity, and as false as it was cruel. When fitted most to live, and therefore fitted best to die, the death of the body was a blessing, not a curse. " Precious in the eyes of Jehovah is the death of His saints.” “ Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord.” "And the beggar died, and was carried by angels into Abraham's bosom." No curse to such to die! The mother weeping for her departed babe would not recall it to this scène of mingled good and this stage of care and pain, that clay house whose inheritance was the anxieties of life, the toil, the sorrow, the agony, the peril, and the hazard. To her bruised and wounded soul the balm came "Blessed are the dead that die in the Lord,” not cursed, and she would not call it back from the blessings of that other and higher life.
We must observe the distinction drawn in the Bible between the death of the body and spiritual death. This latter was the curse. To those spiritually alive death can never come. According to the oftrepeated promise of the Lord Jesus they “never die.” The body may decay and perish, but the man lives on. We do not say the man is dead; all that constituted his manhood still lives, and lives for ever. The body becomes a needless accessory to that real manhood, and it perishes, and we bury it out of our sight. Death of the body is only a reality to the survivors. To the freed spirit it was only emancipation. “Absent from the body, present with the Lord.” The limitations of time and the repressions of clay, the mutations of earth and all its obstructions are swept away as the emancipated spirit steps from the earthly threshold of his being into the everlasting corridors of eternity. Death to them is liberty and not a calamity, a blessing and not a curse. In His Almighty hands were the issues of death and life, and as he believed that each man came into existence at the time best suited to him, so he believed each man left this state of being at the best time too. It was the infinite and ever active love that called “come”-it was the infinite and ever active wisdom that called " come,”-it was the universal and ever active Providence that called “come;" and the prayer, be done,” was, therefore, the highest expression of philosophy, as it was the sobbing accents of resignation, for His will was the wisest and the best.
From the parable of Dives and Lazarus, we learn three important particulars. First, that the spirits of the departed are in the human form.
“ Angels are men in lighter habit clad,
And men are angels loaded for an hour.” Moses and Elias were in the human, their own form, on the mountain of Transfiguration. So also was the prophet who appeared to John ; (Rev. xxii. 9.) so were all the angels ever seen by man. Second, that the spirits of the departed can recognize each other in the other world. Third, that the departed can have thought and anxiety for those who remain. From these particulars how much consolation springs ! We can know our loved ones on the other side of death, and though separated from them for a season, their memories can still retain the once fond and eve beloved images, and their affections still cluster round and cling to them. Let this thought, so worthy of God and so consolatory to man, comfort our beloved Queen in her
Thy will affliction ! “ Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord” -Die in the Lord ! In that other world, such a question will never be asked as, “What has been the ism of his creed, or what the formularies of his faith? What were the modes of his expression or the technology of his sect?” The stupendous questions will be, What hath he DONE? What hath his LIFE been? The greeting will not be, “Well believed, thou true and faithful servant,” but “WELL DONE !” The saying of the Spirit is not—" Their faiths shall follow them,” but—"Their WORKS do follow them.” Religion meant goodness, and on the tremendous issues of goodness and of evil “are the destinies of mankind dependent.” Those who have done GOOD shall receive life eternal, and those who have done EVIL, everlasting condemnation. With such a view of man's future, so declared by the Scriptures, so demonstrable to reason, let us consider the individual whose death we are called to lament.
When the ancient Egyptian departed, judges tried his life, and their verdict was the estimation of their country.
The estimation of mankind gave still their human verdict on the memory of the departed. Powerless as it might be before that high tribunal that trieth the secret thoughts and the real motives of man's life, the verdict of their kind was the estimation of their kind. Before that human bar did the Royal man come, and the verdict had need only to be just to be applauding. We do not lament, we ought only to rejoice that the Great Father has said to him—"Son, come up hither;" we only mourn England's loss. An alien and a foreigner, he adopted England as his country, and for the land of his adoption he toiled right nobly. He strove to help his countrymen, not by mingling in the intrigues of party and the squabbles of politics, but by promoting broad measures of universal benefit. He comes—not as a warrior comes, mantled with the blood of battle, and pursued by a whirlwind of sobs and groans, to earn which the inscription on his cenotaph has plunged other nations in gloom and devastated vast regions with ruin-he comes as a warrior whose sword has been the ploughshare, whose aim has been industry, and whose strategy has been the arts of peace. To improve the taste, to ameliorate the condition, to increase the importance, to consolidate the comfort, to extend the influence, and to augment the resources of his countrymen, has been his effort and his toil. To establish ragged schools, and to promote reformatories, has been his care. To lend to remedial measures the weight of his vast influence, the dignity of his noble character, the assistance of his purse, and the support of his advocacy, has been his study; and, standing the first man in the nation, by his position as the Consort of our beloved Queen, to stand also the first and foremost in promoting the welfare of his people. He has laboured for the good of England, and Englishmen owe him gratitude.
With every temptation to immorality, and every opportunity,—with the fascinations of power and the seductions of example,—he has maintained himself pure. A pattern father, sacrificing himself to train and educate his family and England's future King, every parent owes him gratitude for his example. A model husband, every wife
and every husband owe him gratitude. They can see in him how exalted station was compatible with domestic virtues, and Christian morality with Christian profession; how earthly grandeur was ennobled by uprightness, and how the characteristics that most extort our sympathy and veneration spring from and grow out of the practice of Christian purity. Reformers owe him gratitude, for he has ever sought to elevate and reform. Ministers of every denomination owe him gratitude, for he has helped them to root out the weeds from the garden of existence, and to render human beings accessible to the higher influences of spiritual Christianity, heralding all ministers to greater effort and to sublimer exertion. And now that he has been taken from us, and we are called to deplore his loss, sorrow not as without hope.” His removal may still be a blessing to us all ;—to the country in the example be has left and the emulation that will be felt to imitate it, and in the very fact of his death having knitted the hearts of Englishmen together, in their common sympathy for a common loss,—to the Prince of Wales, in affording him an opportunity to exert the powers so carefully fostered, and exhibit the virtues so fondly nourished by his lato royal father,—to our beloved Queen herself, in the tender memories of the absent one, which, like silent voices from the other side, may still call to her, and " though dead, still speak,” nerving her to the discharge of her high duties, -a spirit-hand beckoning her upwards, heavenwards, homewards,-a silent monitor, yet a monitor,-a guide, although invisible !
To have a child, a parent, a husband in heaven is no slight blessing. It is a golden cord bound round our hearts, that is gently and ceaselessly drawing us to goodness and to holiness, tugging mightily at our most sensitive heart-strings, and leading us God-wards; implanting a new motive, and bestowing a mighty stay. And this, thus absent, may her beloved Consort be, breathing into her wonnded and afflicted soul the balmy promise of a re-union that no further separation can disruptma re-union that shall become more holy and more perfect, rich with a felicity disturbed by no pain, that shall widen and deepen to eternity, and know no end. Prince Albert has been called to put off the appearances of an earthly sovereign, but the Queen can hope to join her Consort among those throngs who are consecrated kings to God by a more enduring ordinance,-ordained priests by an everlasting imposition,--and there, with peace like a river, adown which she can for ever sail, with peace like an atmosphere that shall enwrap her, with peace like a firmament shining down upon her for ever-peace, the inchoation of which may be experienced here, and its consummation be increasingly realised through eternity,—she can feel the full force of the consolation, and learn the full value of the hope inspired and infused in—"Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord !"
The Intellectual Repository, February 1, 1862.
LET US BE THANKFUL!
Let us be thankful! Though this be affliction,
How many blessings still it leaves behind !
Of chastening Love, to all its beams be blind ?
So wide and rich, whereunto soared our hope,
Of faithfulness within our humbler scope ?
At God's right hand, for all who serve and pray;
Our wishes fade, His gifts know no decay.
How stern the task ’mid trial to rejoice!
Murmuring-“His will be done!" with broken voice.
Let us be trustful! Unto all who seek it,
His Love shall yet lend strength beyond their own,
M. C. H.
sight and power reach much farther than [Communicated.]
ours, and, therefore, he would not preFather Passaglia, in Italy, and Dr. sume to set limits to the Divine wisdom Döllinger, in Vienna, both reputed Ultra- and power, and to exclaim_"Thus, and montanists, have undertaken to prove in no other way;" that, if the threatened that the possession of temporal dominion events take place, it is certain that one by the Pope is not a genuine doctrine of of the three following eventualities will the Catholic Church. Dr. Döllinger says occur :"(1) Either this loss of the temthat he sees no means at present of avert- poral kingdom will be merely temporary, ing the fall of the Pope's temporal power, and the territory will return, in whole or though he thinks the retention of this in part, after a time, to its lawful sovepower is necessary to the freedom and reign; or (2) Providence, by a way unindependence of the Popes. The loss known to us, is producing some condition of it, therefore, he is inclined to think, of the Papal See by which the same freewill be only temporary; that God's in- dom may be obtained without the tem