tion : for they contain that strong consolation which the Lord has given to all his people under the loss of their Christian friends : namely, the resurrection unto life at his coming. In reply to this gracious promise Martha said, “I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” In this reply we see the weakness of her faith : for instead of connecting our Lord's promise with his Almighty power, as the co-equal and co-eternal Son of God, she referred it to the general belief in the resurrection held by the Lord's ancient people. This resurrection she considered as so distant an event, that it afforded her but little consolation : as if she had said, I know that he shall rise again at the last day ; but his resurrection, at that distant period, very inadequately supplies my present loss. For blessings, however great they are in themselves, lose much of their importance when placed at a distance. This is one reason wherefore the scriptural mode of consoling believers under the loss of their Christian friends has so much fallen into disuse—that the resurrection of the body is con

sidered by many to be so very far off, that the deeply wounded heart, sorrowing under the bereavement of a beloved friend, knows not how to wait for so long an interval, but ardently looks for something nearer at hand. Therefore it is that in modern times believers have been comforted by the hope of joining the spirits of their Christian friends in the separatestate, instead of being strengthened and animated by the true Scripture faith, “ that if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.” This resurrection unto life our Lord does not place at such an apparently interminable distance: for he says, “Behold I come quickly:"“Surely I come quickly :” and he directs his people to be always expecting his advent: “Watch, for ye know not the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.” By this mode of connecting the resurrection of the saints with his own return in glory, our blessed Saviour has given us a most animating hope, inasmuch as whilst He will then bestow such unspeakable blessings, it is a near hope ; a

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hope which we are constantly allowed to exercise. Our church thus views it, when she brings it before us in the Burial Service. These are the words of the


then of. fered: “We give thee hearty thanks for that it hath pleased thee to deliver this our brother out of the miseries of this sinful world, beseeching thee, of thy gracious goodness, shortly to accomplish the number of thine elect, and to hasten thy kingdom : that we, with all those who are departed in the true faith of thy holy name, may have our perfect consummation and bliss, both in body and soul, in thine eternal and everlasting glory, through Jesus Christ our Lord.” You mark these expressive words: Shortly to accomplish the number of thine elect, and to hasten thy kingdom: that we, we who are now surrounding the grave of our deceased friend, with all those who are departed, the whole church of Christ, may have our perfect consummation of bliss, both in Body and soul: not postponing the blessed hope of seeing them to an immeasurable period, but entreatiug the Lord, if it be his blessed will, even in our day to accom

plish the number of his elect, and to hasten his kingdom.

But weakness of faith prevents his people from taking the consolation which this blessed truth affords. For when such words as these, “ Thy brother shall rise again,” are spoken to one whose heart is filled with sorrow for the loss of a dear friend, the reply which Martha made to our Lord is given : “I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day ; ”- refusing to take comfort, under the supposition that the time is so very remote. It is, however, an unspeakable blessing that we have a Saviour who can meet the difficulties which assault our faith ; that He can so connect the general doctrine of the resurrection of the body with himself, as to bring the weak in faith to strong confidence. This he did in his reply to Martha: “Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection and the life.” As if he had said, I have declared that your brother shall rise again; and to shew you how competent I am to fulfil my promise, I make known to you this my true character : and for your more abun

dant consolation, I further declare, that “ he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live; and that he that liveth and believeth in me shall never die.”

Contemplate the majesty of these words. View them with that solemn declaration of St. Paul, “ So death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned." Thus viewed, the earth may be considered as one immense sepulchre, into which, from the days of Abel to the present time, persons of all ages and of all countries have been cast. But whilst sin is the general destroyer, Christ will yet be the general restorer : for, “as in Adam all die ; so in Christ shall all be made alive.” How unsuitable would such an expression have been on the lips of a mere man; but coming from him who is “the Son of God, the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, this declaration is only one among many proving to us his eternal power

and godhead. In further speaking upon these sublime words, let us, first, more particularly consider in what respects our Lord may use them: then

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