Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Death Is Life

       Then familiarize your mind with the inevitable event of death. Think of it, as life! Gloomy though the portal seems, death is the gate of life to a good and pious man. Think of it therefore, not as death, but as glory - going to heaven and to your father. Regard it in the same light as the good man who said when I expressed my sorrow to see him sinking into the grave, "I am going home." If you think of it as death, then let it be as the death of sin; the death of pain; the death of fear; the death of care; the death of Death. Regard its pangs and struggles as the battle that goes before victory; its troubles as the swell of the sea on heaven's happy shore; and yon gloomy passage as the cypress-shaded avenue that shall conduct your steps to heaven. It is life through Christ, and life in Christ; life most blissful, and life evermore, How much happier and holier we should be if we could look on death in that light. I have heard people say, that we should think each morning that we may be dead before night; and each night that we may be dead before morning! True: yet how much better to think every morning, I may be in heaven before night; and every night that the head is laid on the pillow, and the eyes are closed for sleep, to think, next time I open them it may be to look on Jesus, and the land where there is no night, nor morning; nor sunset, nor cloud; nor grave nor grief; nor sin, nor death, nor sorrow; nor toil, nor trouble; where "they rest from their labors, and their works do follow them."

Rev. Dr. Guthrie.

Death An Angel of Light

       Are we then immortal? Oh! then, we are "blessed" indeed! Death is not the frightful monster which he is so constantly represented to be; he is an angel of light and mercy, veiling his resplendent glories under the shadowy drapery of the tomb, lest the saints should become so much enamored with his loveliness, as to hasten at once to leave this erring, darkened world, to dwell in his radiant dominion, and thus deprive the earth of the salt which has so long preserved it from destruction His exit, through the frowning portals of the grave, is but to prevent those who are "in the Lord," from crowding, with hasty, willing steps, the pathway to his mysterious dwelling place, so delightful and glorious, as soon as the gloomy exterior is passed! Can it be, that this body, soon to become inanimate, and waste to dust, can, and will, revive and live ? that the eye, though dimmed with the film of death, will rebrighten, and sparkle with looks of recognition and love? That this lifeless body, once so loved, and embraced with the fondest affection and delight, but now so loathsome that it is looked upon with horror, and we bear it from our sight, and conceal it from view in the dark earth, will come forth more perfect and glorious than ever? Yea, saith the Spirit; from henceforth, "Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord;" for "It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality." Then shall death be swallowed up in victory. Oh! are they not "blessed" who die only to live forever, in a state so infinitely above the most perfect condition of humanity, that it is " not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us."

Rev. Sidney Dyer, D. D.

" What is the soul? The seminal principle from the loins of destiny,
This world is the womb: the body, its enveloping membrane :
The bitterness of dissolution, dame Fortune's pangs of childbirth.
What is death? To be born again, an angel of eternity."
Buzurgi. {The Persian Poet)

Right and Wrong Views of Death

The following reflection by Prof. A. P. Peabody, D. D.

       We employ with regard to death a great deal of pagan imagery, which can hardly fail to let low and unworthy ideas into our minds. We talk of the blighting of early promise, of the premature death of the young and the beautiful. We too often speak of the pure and the good that have gone from us, as if they were objects of pity. We regret for them the brief pleasures, the withering joys of the passing day. And then our thoughts revert, oftener than a high Christian culture should permit, to the sad accompaniments of dissolution and the last lonely home of the frail tenement of clay, even as the caterpillar might look upon the torn covering of the chrysalis as all that remained of his fellow-worm, ignorant that the rent and forsaken tabernacle marked the higher birth of its tenant. But our faith tells us that to those to whom it was Christ to live, it is gain to die. Let our thoughts, then, linger not about the grave, but seek our kindred in the nearer presence of their Father and their Savior, in the home where every holy wish is met and every pure desire fulfilled, where suffering and sorrow are no more, and life clothes itself in eternal youth and unfading beauty. What would our brief joys be to those to whom all the avenues of divine wisdom are free, the riches of infinite love unfolded, and a boundless sphere of duty and of happiness laid open? In the language of Moore:

How happy
The holy spirits who wander there,
'Mid flowers that shall never fade or fall !
Though mine were the gardens of earth and sea,
Though the stars themselves had flowers for me,
One blossom of heaven outblooms them all.
Go, wing thy flight from star to star,
From world to luminous world, as far
As the universe spreads its flaming wall ;
Take all the pleasures of all the spheres,
And multiply each through endless years,
One minute of heaven is worth them all.

The Dead Are The Living

       I have seen one die - the delight of his friends, the pride of his kindred, the hope of his country: but he died! How beautiful was that offering upon the altar of death! The fire of genius kindled in his eye; the generous affections of youth mantled in his cheek; his foot was upon the threshold of life; his studies, bis preparations for honored and useful fife, were completed; his breast was filled with a thousand glowing, and noble, and never yet expressed aspirations; but he died! He died; while another, of a nature dull, coarse and unrefined, of habits low, base, and brutish, of a promise that had nothing in it but shame and misery - such an one, I say was suffered to encumber the earth. Could this be, if there were no other sphere for the gifted, the aspiring, and the approved, to act in? Can we believe that the energy just trained for action, the embryo thought just bursting into expression, the deep and earnest passion of a noble nature, just swelling into the expansion of every beautiful virtue, should never manifest its power, should never speak, should never unfold itself? Can we believe that all this should die; while meanness, corruption, sensuality, and every deformed and dishonored power should five? No, ye goodly and glorious ones ! ye godlike in youthful virtue! - ye die not in vain: ye teach, ye assure us, that ye are gone to some world of nobler life and action.
       I have seen one die; she was beautiful; and beautiful were the ministries of life that were given her to fulfill. Angelic loveliness enrobed her; and a grace as if it were caught from heaven, breathed in every tone, hallowed every affection, shone in every action - invested, as a halo, her whole existence, and made it a light and blessing, a charm and a vision of gladness, to all around her: but she died! Friendship, and love, parental fondness, and infant weakness, stretched out their hand to save her; but they could not save her: and she died! What! did all that loveliness die? Is there no land of the blessed and the lovely ones, for such to live in? Forbid it, reason, religion! - bereaved affection, and undying love! forbid the thought! It cannot be that such die in God's counsel, who live even in frail human memory, forever!

Rev. Orville Dewey, D. D.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Influence Of The Dead...

      Oh, tell me not that they are dead - that generous host, that airy army of invisible heroes! They hover as a cloud of witnesses above this nation. Are they dead that yet speak louder than we can speak, and a more universal language? Are they dead that yet act? Are they dead that yet move upon society, and inspire the people with nobler motives and more heroic patriotism? Every mountain and hill shall have its treasured name, every river shall keep some solemn title, every valley and every lake shall cherish its honored register; and, till the mountains are worn out, and the rivers forget to flow, till the clouds are weary of replenishing springs, and the springs forget to gush, and the rills to sing, shall their names be kept fresh with reverent honors which are inscribed upon the book of national remembrance. Henry Ward Beecher

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Hope Beyond The Grave

Hope Beyond The Grave

This night, and the landscape is lovely no more;
I mourn; but, ye woodlands, I mourn not for you,
For morn is approaching your charms to restore,
Perfumed with fresh fragrance, and glittering with dew,
Nor yet for the ravage of winter I mourn;
Kind nature the embryo blossom will save.
But when shall spring visit the mouldering urn?
Oh! when shall it dawn on the night of the grave?

"Twas thus, by the glare of false science betrayed,
That leads to bewilder, and dazzles to blind,
My thoughts wont to roam, from shade onward to shade,
Destruction before me, and sorrow behind.
"Oh, pity, great Father of Light!" then I cried,
"Thy creature, who fain would not wander from Thee!
Lo! humbled in dust, I relinquish my pride:
From doubt and from darkness Thou only canst free."

And darkness and doubt are now flying away;
No longer I roam in conjecture forlorn:
So breaks on the traveler, faint and astray,
The bright and the balmy effulgence of morn.
See Truth, Love and Mercy, in triumph descending,
And Nature all glowing in Eden's first bloom.
On the cold cheek of Death smiles and roses are blending,
And Beauty immortal awakes from the tomb.

by James Beattie, LL. D.

The Buds Opening in Heaven

      Heaven is greatly made up of little children, sweet buds that have never blown, or which death has plucked from a mother's bosom to lay on his own cold breast, just when they were expanding, flower-like, from the sheath, and opening their engaging beauties in the budding time and spring of life. 'Of such is the kingdom of heaven.' How sweet these words by the cradle of a dying infant! They fall like balm drops on our bleeding heart, when we watch the ebbing of that young life, as wave after wave breaks feebler, and the sinking breath gets lower and lower, till with a gentle sigh, and a passing quiver of the lip, our child now leaves its body, lying like an angel asleep, and ascends to the beatitudes of heaven and the bosom of God. Indeed it may be, that God does with his heavenly garden, as we do with our gardens. He may chiefly stock it from nurseries, and select for transplanting what is yet in its young and tender age--flowers before they have bloomed, and trees ere they begin to bear. Rev Dr. Guthrie

"'Tis sweet to die! The flowers of earthly love,
(Fair, frail spring blossoms) early droop and die;
Upon our spirits evermore to lie
Fanny Forrester.