JOY, the Duty of Survivors, on the Death of PIOUS Friends and Relatives.

A Funeral Discourse On the Death of Mrs. Lucy Waldo, The amiable Consort of Mr. Samuel Waldo, Merchant in BOSTON; Who departed this Life August 7th 1741, in the 38th Year of her Age.

By Charles Chauncy, A. M. Pastor of the first Church of CHRIST in BOSTON.

Eccles 7.1.

A good Name is better than precious Ointment; and the Day of Death, than the Day of ones Birth.

BOSTON: Printed by S. Kneeland and T. Green, in Queen Street. 1741.

[Page 1]

A Funeral Sermon.

JOHN xiv. 28.

— If ye loved me, ye would rejoyce, because I said, I go to the FATHER.—

THEY are the Words of our blessed SA­VIOUR; and he spake them to his Dis­ciples, at a Time, when their Hearts were troubled.

The Case was this: The Hour being just come, in which he knew, he should depart out of the World, he tho't proper to acquaint his Dis­ciples with it. Yet a little while, says he, I am with you. And again, Whither I go ye cannot come *. At this sad, and unexpected News, they were filled with Grief. They could not bear the Tho't of parting with so dear a Friend, so good a Master and Lord.

Upon which, that they might not be swallowed up of overmuch Sorrow, our compassionate SAVIOUR proceeds to say that, which might have a tendency [Page 2] to ease their Minds, and make them calm and quiet. He assures them, in his FATHER's House were many Mansions; and that he was only going to prepare a Place, where he and they might be together for ever. I go, says he, Context, ver. 2, to prepare a Place for you. And if I go, and prepare a Place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto my self, that where I am, there ye may be also As if he had said, "Tho' I am going from you, 'tis only for a Time; and this, in order to your Happiness, to prepare Mansions of Glory for you: Nor will it be long before I shall see you again, and admit you into my FATHER's House; when there shall never more be a Seperation between us. A most refreshing Consideration this! enough to compose their Spirits, and make them chearful at parting with their dearest SAVIOUR.

He then, after some other Disswasives from too much Grief, fetches Consolation for them, in the Words of the Text, from that which was the Source of all their Sorrow on his Account, even their Love to him. If ye loved me, says he, ye would rejoyce, because I said, I go to the FATHER. 'Tis as if he had spoken in such Language as this, "I have already told you, where I am going when I leave you; that I am going to the FATHER, to receive at his Hands, in Reward of my Services and Sufferings for the good of Men, a Name that is above every Name, at which, every Knee shall bow, that is in Heaven, and that is on Earth: And shall not this be Matter of Joy to you? If you love me, as I [Page 3] see you do by the Tears you drop, at the Prospect of my Departure from you, you cannot but rejoyce. There will, with your Sorrow, be a mixture of Joy. 'Tis fitting you should rejoyce for me, if you mourn for your selves. Yea, your Regards to me will make you to rejoyce".

The Subject fairly offering it self to Considera­tion, as suited to the present Occasion, is this,

Love to our deceased, pious Friends, and Relatives, should influence us to rejoyce, in Consideration they are gone to the FATHER.

Sorrow, perhaps, we may imagine to be the most proper Expression of Love, upon the departure of our pious Friends: And it may appear strange, to hear it said, we ought to rejoyce. Joy, we may think unnatural; at least, very unbecoming at so mourn­ful a Time. But we are herein greatly mistaken. There is no Occasion more proper for the exercise of religious Joy, than when our pious Relatives, tho' dear to us as our very Lives, are called out of the World: Nor is there a more generous Expression of our Love towards them. This our blessed SA­VIOUR has taught us, by saying to his Disciples, if ye loved me, ye would rejoyce, because I said, I go to the FATHER.

In prosecuting this Subject, I shall,

I. Say some Things tending to limit and explain the Truth of it.

[Page 4]II. Illustrate the Force of our SAVIOUR's Argument, by showing what there is in the Consideration, that our pious, departed Friends, and Relatives are gone to the FATHER, that should influence us to rejoyce.

The whole will then be followed with the APPLICATION that is proper.

I. In order to limit, and explain the Truth in the Text, which is the first Thing, let it be said as fol­lows,

1. That it must not be understood, as if they did not love their Friends and Relatives, who mourn their decease. Oar SAVIOUR does not charge his Disciples with want of Love to him, because they were in Tears at the foretho't of his Death. He knew they had a tender Affection for him; and indeed, this is suppos'd as the Cause of all their Sorrow, in the Argument, he here uses with them. Nor may our lamenting the Decease of our Christian Friends, be look'd upon as an Instance of want of Love to them. So far from this, that the very Rea­son why we mourn for them is, because we love them. Love is the Spring from whence all our Tears flow: Nor, if we did not love them, should we be affected with Grief at their departure from us.

2. Nor, yet, is our SAVIOUR to be understood, as tho' he meant to prohibit our sorrowing, at the Death of our dear Relatives. He does not find Fault with his Disciples for expressing their Grief at the News of his approaching Departure. We may rather [Page 5] suppose, he was pleased to think they were so much his Friends, and that he was like to die lamented by them. He takes Care indeed to restrain their Grief within due Bounds. And immoderate Sorrow is always a Fault, let the Friend or Relative, we are called to part with, be ever so dear. But as to the Thing it self, 'tis not to be condemned. We may lawfully mourn, if we don't mourn too much; yea, all the natural Expressions of Sorrow, are but a decent Respect to the Memory of our departed Friends. 'Tis Stupidity, not true Greatness of Mind, to be unmoved at their Death. Our SAVIOUR him­self wept over the Grave of his dead Friend Lazarus. And that is the Remark made upon it * Behold, how he loved him! And if Tears were a proper Expres­sion of Love from our blessed SAVIOUR, they cannot be an unsuitable one from us. He who was once toucht with the feeling of our Infirmities, and knows our Frame, and the Weakness of it, will indulge us in a few Tears, on the Death of a beloved Friend; yea, he would take it ill, if we should suffer them to die unlamented by us. To go on,

3. When we are bid to rejoyce on Occasion of the Death of pious Friends and Relations, the Mean­ing is, we should, at least, mix some Joy with our Sorrow. Sorrow there will be, and there ought to be Joy also: Nor will these Passions destroy each other. They may both subsist in the same Breast; [Page 6] and indeed, there is just Reason, upon the Death of every valuable and pious Friend, for the Excite­ment of both these different Affections. For in all such Dispensations, there is "a dark and a bright Side"; there is "our Loss, and their Gain": And while we mourn the one, we should rejoyce at the other. When we consider their Death in Respect of our selves, the Pleasure and Happiness we are deprived of, as well as the Inconveniencies, Diffi­culties and Troubles, we are become exposed to, we have Reason to be grieved, and ought to be so: But when we turn our Thoughts, and take a View of their Death, in Respect of themselves, the Mise­ries they are freed from, and the Blessedness they are gone to partake of, there is proper Occasion for Joy, and we ought, in Love to them, to rejoyce. But there may be a further Meaning in the Words. Wherefore,

4. When Love to our departed Friends is spoken of as that which should influence us to rejoyce, the Sense is, we should rather rejoyce than mourn; our Joy should be greater than our Sorrow. If ye loved me, ye would rejoyce. The Words are compa­rative; "Ye would be in a Frame of Mind dis­posing you to the exercise rather of Joy than Grief; ye would nor so much mourn, as be glad and triumph." Not that an outward Joy, expressed in Merriment and Laughter, is here at all encoura­ged; so far from it, that it would be a monstrous Incongruity, 'Tis an inward, rational Satisfaction, that our SAVIOUR would recommend; a Joy arising [Page 7] from the Principles of Religion: And such a Joy does most become us, upon Occasion of the Death of pious, tho' the dearest Relatives: And we should chiefly be in the Exercise of it, as being the most noble, and truly Christian Expression of our Love to them. ‘'Tis a poor, ordinary Frame to mourn for our Dead, as arising from meer sensitive Na­ture. One needs no Improvement of Mind in order to this. There needs neither Philosophy nor Christianity, Vertue nor Religion, to teach us this low Lesson; but to rejoyce in their happy Change, to be glad that they are laid in a Bed of ever­lasting Rest, while we suffer the Loss of their pleasant Society; this is generous and truly no­ble Love! This is such an ingenuous greatness of Mind, as is only the product of divine Faith, and christian Hope; which regulates our Love, and raises it to such a Pitch, as nothing below the Grace of GOD, and the Light of the Gospel, can advance it to.’

But having said, what may be tho't sufficient to limit, and explain the Truth in the Text, I now go on,

II. To illustrate the Force of our SAVIOUR's Argument, by showing what there is, in the Conside­ration that our pious, deceased Friends are gone to the FATHER, that should influence us to rejoyce.

Now this includes in it several Things, all which are so many just Reasons for rejoycing.

[Page 8]1. Their being gone to the FATHER obviously sup­poses, that they are still alive. Tho' they are dead, their Being is not extinct; they are not fallen from their Existence. Their Bodies, 'tis true, are rendred senseless and inactive, but not so their Souls. Death has had no Effect upon these, but to translate them to the other World; where they still live, & act more perfectly than ever. ‘'Tis with them as with the Sun; at Evening it leaves our Horizon under disconsolate Darkness, and some weak Persons may think it's Glory buried and extinguished; but 'tis only gone to the o­ther Hemisphere, and there shines with as much Beauty and Brightness as ever.’ A most re­viving Tho't this! And should fill our Souls with Joy and Gladness. If, at Death, the Friends whom we loved like our selves, went out of Being; if there was now an End put to their Existence, we might well refuse to be comforted, because they are not. But the Case is far otherwise. Tho' they are dead, they are yet alive: They are only gone to the FA­THER. And shall we not rejoyce at this? We may break forth in the Language of good old Jacob, upon the News of his Son Joseph's Welfare, It is enough, be is alive. Our dead Friends are alive; they are alive with GOD in another and better World, as truly so as ever they were in this.

2. Their being gone to the FATHER plainly in­tends that they are gone to be rewarded by him, Their full Reward they won't indeed receive, till the Day of the appearing of the Son of Man, when [Page 9] he shall say to them in those Words, Come ye blessed of my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from before the Foundation of the World. But they are no sooner dead, but they begin to be happy. The Day of their Death is the Day of their En­trance upon the future Blessedness. So the holy Apostle John heard it declared by a Voice from Heaven. I heard, says he, a Voice from Heaven, saying unto me, write, Blessed are the Dead which die in the LORD from HENCEFORTH: yea, saith the SPI­RIT, that they may rest from their Labours, and their Works do follow them.

But what is this Reward, our pious Friends and Relatives receive by going to the FATHER? To which I would say,

1. They hereby obtain Deliverance from Sorrow and Trouble of every Kind. While here they were subjected to Grief and Pain, and often groaned un­der the uneasy Burdens that were laid upon them; but being gone to the FATHER, they are forever set free from those innumerable Distresses & Sorrows, which imbitter the present Life, and render it so uncomfortable, even under the most advantageous Circumstances.

They have now nothing to disquiet them; no Cares, nor Fears; no Losses, Crosses, nor Disap­pointments; no painful Diseases, nor pining Sick­ness; no weariness, nor faintness; neither Hun­ger, [Page 10] nor Thirst. These Occasions of Grief are all past; they are eternally at rest from them all.

Nor are they now expos'd to those spiritual Griefs, which once pained their pious Minds. They have no Doubts of the Love of GOD, for they are in the actual Enjoyment of it; they have no Fears least they are not interested in the great SAVIOUR, for they are with him in PARADISE; they have no Suspicion of their own Uprightness, for they have been approv'd of their Judge, and are entred into the Joy of their Lord; they have no Complaints to make of their Frailties and Imperfections, the want of Love, and Zeal, and Activity, in the Service of GOD, for they are now in his Presence without Spot or Wrinkle, and do his Will, with like Perfection, as do the holy Angels.

Neither are our departed pious Friends liable to Grief, on Account of those Effects of their Death, that are apt to trouble us. We are touch'd with Concern and Pity to see them called away from their earthly Possessions, and worldly Accommoda­tions; we are grieved to behold their Ghastliness and Deformity, and weep bitterly when they are laid in the Grave to be destroyed by Worms; we are moved with Sorrow to think, they are gone from our World, so that we shall see them no more, nor enjoy their Society which was once so pleasant to us. We often speak of such Things as these; or, at least, employ our melancholy Thoughts upon them: But so do not they. It troubles them not, they have left this Earth, with its greatest Advan­tages; [Page 11] it moves them not, their Bodies are laid in the Dust, to return to Dust; yea, 'tis no Matter of Uneasiness to them, they are parted from their Husbands or Wives, once dear to them as their very Souls: Nor are they in Sorrow, they are gone from their desirable Children, who, it may be, are become poor, helpless, destitute Orphans. We are troubled at this, and it once caused great Sorrow of Heart to them. They were grieved at the Tho't of leaving their beloved Children; it bore hard upon their tender Minds; they found it difficult to reconcile themselves to the Will of Heaven in this Matter; it was one of the greatest Trials to their Faith: But they are now above the reach of Sorrow from these, or any Considerations whatever. For being gone to the FATHER, they are in that State, where there shall be no more Death, neither Sorrow, nor Crying; neither shall there be any more Pain. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the Sun light on them, or any Heat: for the LAMB which is in the midst of the Throne, shall feed them, and shall lead them to Fountains of Waters: And GOD shall wipe away all Tears from all their Eyes.

And now, shall we grieve for our departed Friends, who are thus delivered from the Miseries of this evil World? Is it not rather Matter of Joy, that they are redeemed from Sin, and the unhappy Fruits of it, and are possest of eternal Ease and Peace? Their Death is their JUBILEE, the Year of their Release from the Trials and Labours, the Vexations, Fears & Hazards, which attended them [Page 12] in the present State; yea, from all manner of Evil. And shall we not rejoyce? We have just Ground for a holy Joy: And we shall certainly be in the Exercise of it, if we have any religious Love for these our dead Friends. If we mourn, let it be for our selves; as for them, there is no Cause of Sor­row; true Love will rather urge us to rejoyce.

2. By being gone to the FATHER, they are not only delivered from all Manner of Grief and Trou­ble, but have entred upon the Enjoyment of posi­tive Blessedness.

Being gone to the FATHER, they are gone to a blessed Place; called, in Scripture, sometimes Abra­ham's Bosom; sometimes Paradise; sometimes the City, whose Builder and Maker is GOD. And to be sure, 'tis a Place of exceeding great Joy & Delight. For 'tis the Place, where the SUPREAM MAJESTY dwells, and has erected the Throne of his Glory, and makes the brightest Manifestations of Himself to the ineffable Happiness of his Creatures.

Being gone to the FATHER, they are gone to the best and most blessed Company. They are gone to dwell with Patriarchs, Prophets, and Apostles; with their pious departed Friends, and Progenitors; and with all, whom GOD, in all Ages, from the Days of Adam, has been selecting from among Men, and preparing to be Heirs to the future, eternal Inhe­ritance; yea, they are gone to an innumerable Com­pany of Angels, to JESUS the Mediator of the New Covenant, and to GOD the Judge of all.

[Page 13]Being gone to the FATHER, they are gone to the most noble Employment; to worship and serve the GOD that made them, without Interruption, with­out Weariness, without Sin, without the least Frailty or Imperfection: Being ever full of Love, Reve­rence & Obeisance, they are ever in a Disposition to the Work of Praise and Adoration; yea, they cease not Day nor Night, saying, with a loud Voice, Blessing, and Honour, and Glory, and Power, be to HIM THAT SITTETH ON THE THRONE, and to the LAMB for ever and ever.

In a Word, being gone to the FATHER, they are gone to be made perfected Spirits in Glory; perfect in the Love of GOD; perfect in the Service of GOD; perfect in the Enjoyment of GOD, that GOD, in whose Presence is fulness of Joys, and at whose right Hand flow Rivers of Pleasures for ever more.

And shall we now mourn for these our departed Friends? What is the genuine influence of true Love? Does it not put us upon wishing the Hap­piness of our dear Relatives? And does it not constrain us to rejoyce, when they come to the Possession of it? And shall we not then be glad, when we take a view of them, as gone to the FA­THER, as gone to the Glories of the upper and eter­nal World? However it may appear to an Eye of Sense, 'tis, in the Eye of Faith, a blessed Truth, that our departed, Christian Friends are gone to a Pa­radise of Delight, where they have perfected Spirits, and glorious Angels to converse with; yea, and an [Page 14] infinite GOD to enjoy: And are these fit Persons to be lamented? O no! The greater our Love to them, the more should we exult at their Felicity. Can we find in our Hearts to desire they should leave the Company of Heaven for our's? Would we, were it in our Power, recal them from the Joys of GOD's right Hand? Certainly, our Love to them will nor suffer us to be so unkind: nor should we so much grieve for our selves, as rejoyce for them, that they are blessed in the Kingdom of their FATHER. To go on,

3. The Truth that we are upon, that our pious, departed Friends are gone to the FATHER, suggests this further Ground of Joy, that they are gone to the same Place, whither we our selves, if good Christi­ans, shall go our selves. Our SAVIOUR, not only tells his Disciples, in the Context, that he was going from them; but adds for their Consolation, that where he was, there they should be also; in the same Place, with the same FATHER. This also is our Comfort upon the Death of pious Relatives. Where they are gone, we shall go our selves, if Partakers of the same Faith and Holiness with them. They are not gone where we cannot come, but to the "same Harbour we are bound to, and are upon our Voyage for; Nay, where we our selves have already cast Anchor, by a stedfast Hope, tho' we are not yet landed, as they are". And what a Motive to Joy is this? Whither could we wish our Friends, but where they are gone? They are gone to the very Place, we call our Home; to the [Page 15] very Place, whither we are hastening our selves; yea, to the very Place, which is the great Object of our Desires and Hopes, of our Prayers and En­deavours. O what a joyful Consideration is this! How should it fill our Hearts with Gladness! 'Tis Love to our Friends that makes us grieve, because they are gone from us: and should not the same Principle cause us to rejoyce also? since they are gone, where we shall see them again, and live with them again, and that for ever. If we are our selves truly pious, having good Hope towards God, it will be Matter of Joy to us, upon the Death of christian Relatives, to extend our View to GOD's eternal Kingdom, in expectation of Meeting, and dwelling with them in that blessed Place.

The APPLICATION yet remains. And,

1. How joyful should be the tho't of dying to Christians themselves! To be sure, if they should rejoyce, that their departed pious Friends are gone to the FATHER, they should much more rejoyce at the Tho't of going there themselves. And yet, how far are they, commonly, from being joyful on this Account? How unwelcome, to the gene­rality of Christians, is the Tho't of dying, the one only way of going to the FATHER? When laid up­on a Bed of Sickness, and bro't within View of the Grave, how unwilling to go the Way, whence they shall not return? How earnest in their Requests for a longer Reprieve? But 'tis certainly a Shame for Christians, who are favoured with such blessed [Page 16] Hopes, to be unwilling to die. The Tho't of Death should be pleasant to them; they should reflect upon going out of the World, with a holy triumph of Soul, as knowing they are going to the FATHER, to have all Tears wiped away from their Eyes, and to be crowned with Glory, Honour, & Immortality, in GOD's everlasting Kingdom.

If we were clearly satisfied of this, we may be ready to say, we should be willing rather to be ab­sent from the Body. Our Desire would be to depart, and to be with CHRIST, which is far better.

And it must be acknowledged, 'tis only a good Hope, that we are in the Number of those, who when they die, will go to be with the FATHER, and with his Son JESUS CHRIST, that can make the Tho't of dying set upon our Minds with Ease and Comfort. This therefore we should endeavour af­ter; giving all Diligence, as the Apostle exhorts, to make our Calling & Election sure. And the more watchfull we are over our own Hearts and Lives; the more we keep upon our Guard against Sin, and all the Temptations to it; the more we give our selves to Prayer, and an Attendance on the Insti­tutions of Religion; the more frequently we re­new the Acts of our Repentance towards GOD, and Faith in our LORD JESUS CHRIST; and in a Word, the more we take off our Affections from the Earth, and the more we have our Conversation in Heaven, [Page 17] the more likely we shall be, to come to a fix'd, sa­tisfactory Hope of our good Estate GODWARD: And having this good Hope thro' Grace, we shall have no Cause of Fear upon the Prospect of Death; but may, at any Time, welcome a Message to leave all Things here below; rejoycing in the Tho't, that we are now going to the FATHER: And we shall have the more Reason for this, as so many of our dear Relatives are gone before us. The Departure of every pious, amiable Friend, is a fresh incentive to our Desires to follow after, since we shall go to the FATHER, and to them too: Nor can it be, but that the Tho't of Death should be highly pleasant to us, while we reflect upon it, as that which will tran­slate us to those Friends above, whom we loved so much here below.

2. Such are taught to be in the exercise of reli­gious Joy, whom it has pleased GOD to bereave of pious Friends and Relatives. This, I confess, is no easy Attainment. Our Passions are apt to be soon in a Tumult; and too commonly, our Voice is that of Lamentation and Mourning. But we ought, certainly, at such a Time, to keep our selves under the Restraints of Reason and Religion; and tho' we are allowed to mourn, it should not be as those who have no Hope; yea, having so good a Hope of it's being well with them, in the Kingdom of their FATHER, we should rejoyce: Our Love to them should constrain us to do so. The Tho't, that they are gone to participate of the Pleasures that flow at GOD's right Hand, should be grateful to us. There is Joy among all their Friends in the upper [Page 18] World, upon their arrival at that blessed Place. JESUS their SAVIOUR, and LORD, has welcom'd them to his heavenly FATHER's House; holy Angels, and the Spirits of just Men made perfect, have congratu­lated them on their admission to their Society. And shall we alone be dejected with Sorrow? Let us rather join in a Song of Praise to him, who has loved them, and washed them from their Sins in his own Blood, and hath made them Kings & Priests unto GOD, and his FATHER.

But I would be particular here in recommending this Duty of holy Joy to those, who were the near Friends and Relatives of that amiable Person, whom we followed to the Grave the last Week. Not that I mean to fault you, because your Hearts are trou­bled at her Departure. Nature leads to this, nor does Christianity forbid it. The blessed JESUS did himself weep, on Occasion of the Death of a beloved Friend: And he won't be displeas'd, if you also are in Tears. You have indeed just Cause of Grief; and if you grieve much, 'twill be the more excu­sable, as the lovely Person, whose Decease calls you to lament, had united in her all the Attractives to Esteem and Love while living, as well as the strongest Excitements to a pungent Sense of Sorrow, now the holy GOD has removed her from you.

I am sensible, it will open the Springs of Grief in you, if I bring to Remembrance those Things, in your departed Friend, and dear Relative, which render'd her so much the Delight of all acquainted [Page 19] with her: Yet, in Justice to her Memory, I can't forbear saying, The GOD, who made her, was pleas'd to give her a comely Body, so that none was more praised for Beauty than she; but the Endow­ments of her Soul were far more worthy of Notice, as they were of superior Excellence. She had a good Understanding; a Wit that was sprightly, yet conjoin'd with solidity of Judgment, and a becoming Tho'tfulness; the effect whereof was, her being cheerful and pleasant, yet serious and grave; free and open, yet prudently cautious and reserv'd.

She was singularly sweet in the Temper of her Mind; not soon angry, never pevish, never cla­morous: but on the contrary, calm and placid; possessing a serene Breast her self, and making all easy who were about her.

Her whole Deportment was agreable; and she particularly set a good Example in filling up the several Relations she sustained, with the Virtues proper to them: As a Friend, sincere in her Pro­fessions, true and faithful: As a Wife, engaging in her Carriage, reverent and dutiful: As a Mo­ther, tender and affectionate, yet exercising all due Authority over her Children: As Mistress in the Family, prudent in her Oeconomy, yet generous and noble; a promoter of good Order; mindful of all under her Care; compassionate to her Ser­vants: In her treatment of Visitants, hospitable, courteous, pleasant and obliging.

But what is more than all, she was, in the Judg­ment of those best acquainted with her, a real, [Page 20] serious Christian. She all along, in her Life, behaved as such; and eminently so, under that grievous Trial, it pleased the holy and righteous GOD to bring upon her, in the Sickness whereof she died. Those, who were then most about her, speak high­ly of her patient and quiet Spirit; wondering, she complained no more, discovered no greater Uneasi­ness: when, by Reason of that CANCER, which eat up her Flesh, she might have wearied them out with her groanings.

She often took Occasion, as is certainly proper for such imperfect, sinful Creatures, as the best of us all are; especially, when upon the Confines of another World: I say, she often took Occasion to look back, not only upon her past Life, but Frame of Heart; and wherein she tho't any Thing had been amiss, she was free to judge and condemn her self, and humbly and penitently repaired to the Mercy of GOD, thro' the Merits of the GREAT SAVIOUR: And tho', for a Time, she had a Fear upon her Spirit, respecting her eternal State; yet, her Fear was mixed with Hope: And she was, at length, in a good Measure, raised above Fear. She appeared, upon the near Approaches of Death, to be intirely resigned to the Will of Heaven; and such was the composure of her Mind, that she was able, with all freedom, to speak of her own De­cease, and to give Directions about her Interment: which, when she had done, she set her self to the Work of dying. And as, we trust, she LIVED TO CHRIST, we charitably hope and believe, she DIED IN HIM; and is now gone to the FATHER.

[Page 21]You, her Friends, believe thus concerning her: And while these are your Hopes; while, by an Eye of Faith, you look beyond Death and the Grave, and view your dear Relative, as gone into the Hea­vens, to take Possession of the Inheritance incorrup­tible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away, we may well suppose, you grieve not for her, but rejoyce; rejoyce that she is got beyond the reach of Sin and Sorrow, and is entred upon the Reward of Righte­ousness, which is Joy and Peace, Quietness and Assu­rance for ever: nor can it be tho't, you so much as wish for her back again, into such a World of Va­nity and Vexation, Distress and Trouble, as this is that we live in. Upon her Account, surely, you don't desire such a Thing, tho' upon your own you may; as suffering, in respect of your selves, a great and heavy Loss.

We heartily sympathize with you all; wishing for you, not only the Consolations of GOD, which are not small; but those Influences of divine Grace, whereby you may be enabled so to improve this Affliction, as that GOD may be honoured, your own Holiness promoted, and eternal Weight of Glory inhanced.

We pray GOD to return in safety his Servant most nearly allied to the Person deceased; to pre­pare him for the sorrowful News that waits for him, and to sanctify it to him; teaching him there­from the Vanity and Uncertainty of all earthly Enjoyments, and exciting him to place his Hap­piness, [Page 22] not in this World, nor any of the Comforts or Prospects of it, but in GOD, thro' JESUS CHRIST.

We wish also for the bereaved Children a dou­ble Portion of that good Spirit, which rested on their departed MOTHER. Be ye Followers of her, wherein she followed CHRIST. — Devote your selves to GOD in your early Days; seek and serve him with a perfect Heart and a willing Mind: — So will you, her SONS, appear as beautiful Plants grown up in your Youth; and y [...] her DAUGHTERS, shall shine as Corner Stones, polished after the Simili­tude of a Palace.

And may we all make a suitable Improvement of this Dispensation of Providence! We are here­from presented with a very lively and affecting In­stance of humane Frailty. It should awaken our Consideration, and make us seriously tho'tful of another World. That is the Call of GOD to us all, Be ye also ready. But this is the Voice of Provi­dence, in a particular Manner, to us, who are in the height of our Strength and Vigour. O let us take the Warning GOD is giving us! Let us learn herefrom our liableness to be taken away, by some fatal Stroke, in the midst of our Days: And let us give our selves no Ease, till we have got into such a State, as that it might be happy for us, if so it should please the sovereign Lord of Life.

And let the Daughters of Zion hear the Voice of GOD, yet more particularly directed to them. You [Page 23] are herefrom taught, that, at your best Estate, you are altogether Vanity; that you are in Death, in the midst of Life. And O live, as it is proper such frail, dying Creatures should live! — Let your Behaviour be as becometh Godliness. — Get your selves possess'd of real and substantial Reli­gion; that, as the King's Daughter, you may be all glorious within. — Be sober, discreet, chasts, exemplary for all good Works.— And your adorn­ing, let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the Hair, and of wearing of Gold, or of putting on of Apparrel; but let it be the hidden Man of the Heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the Ornament of a meek and quiet Spirit, which is in the Sight of GOD of great Price. For after this Manner, in old time, the holy Women, who trusted in God, adorned themselves: whose Daughters ye are, as long as ye do well.— But I must hasten,

3. Near Relations should be excited, from what has been discours'd, so to live together, as that when parted by Death, there may be Ground of Joy to those, whose Lot it is to survive. Death will cer­tainly sooner or later dissolve our Relations; sepe­rating between the nearest and dearest Friends. And what will be able to afford Comfort to those who survive, but the Consideration, that their Friends departed, are gone to the FATHER? O how lamentable is the Condition of those, and how much to be pitied, who mourn for wicked, tho' near Relatives, who, they are afraid, are gone to [Page 24] the Place of blackness of Darkness! where the Worm dieth not, and the Fire is not quenched. No wonder, where this is the Case, if pious Minds are bowed down greatly.

Is it the Character of any of us, who are nearly related to each other, that we lead sinful and un­holy Lives? O let it have some Influence upon us, to engage us to repent and turn from our evil Ways, to think, if we should be called to depart hence, what Grief of Heart we should occasion to our surviving Christian Friends. If we are seized with Sickness, they tremble for us, as knowing the hazard of our Souls, as well as Bodies: And if we are smitten with Death, they are filled with Distress and Agony, and can take no Comfort, as fearing we are gone to be made miserable in the Place of future Torment. O let us have Compassion upon our pious Friends, who love us, and wish us well as our own Souls! And let us, for their sakes, be­have after such a manner, as that they may have Joy in us both living and dying.

O let us all, both Husbands and Wives, Parents and Children, Brethren and Sisters, be intreated to live together as Heirs of the Grace of Life! — Let us be sincere and faithful in filling up the Relation we bear to each other, with all that Duty, which, as Christians, is expected from us. — Let us encou­rage one another in every Thing that is serious and godly.— Let us be mutual Helps to each other, by Conversation, by Prayer, by good Example, [Page 25] in the way to GOD's heavenly Kingdom: so shall we have a good Hope as to the good State of each other; and whoever are called out of the World first, they who survive may rejoyce, while by Faith, they behold their departed Friends, as gone to their FATHER, and our FATHER; to their GOD, and our GOD, to be happy, eternally happy in the En­joyment of him.

And now, as the Conclusion of all,

4. Let me call upon you to be thankful to GOD for JESUS CHRIST. For 'tis owing to Him and his blessed Gospel, that we are able to take Comfort in the Tho't of Death, respecting either our selves, or our dear Relatives. If it were not for CHRIST, we had not known, that Death, in regard of good Men, was nothing worse than going to the Father; which Notion of Death carries in it all the Support and Comfort, we can desire. We may now rejoyce in the Expectation of dying our selves, or at the bu­rial of our nearest and most beloved Relatives, if Believers in CHRIST.

And what tho' at Death, the Body is laid in the Dust, and returns to Dust, so long as JESUS the SAVIOUR has assured us, that this is the FATHER's Will, which sent him, that of all which was given him, he should lose nothing; but will raise it up again at the last Day.

Death indeed is a horror of Darkness, to those who can look no farther than the Grave: But to [Page 26] us who are favoured with the Gospel, which has brought Life and Immortality to Light, a glorious and happy Immortality, in respect of all the true Followers of CHRIST, there is Comfort in Death, for that there is Hope beyond the Grave; yea, and of that which is laid in the Grave: For the Time is com­ing, and it hastens apace, when that which is sown in Corruption, shall be raised in Incorruption; when that which is sown in Dishonour, shall be raised in Glory; when that which is sown in Weakness, shall be raised in Power; when that which is sown a natural Body, shall be raised a spiritual Body: So when this corruptible shall have put on Incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on Immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying, that is written, Death is swallowed up in Victory.

Upon which Account, let all who are the faithful Servants of GOD, and sincere Disciples of CHRIST, unite in that Song of Triumph, O Death! where is thy Sting? O Grave! where is thy Victory? The Sting of Death is Sin, and the Strength of Sin is the Law. But Thanks be to GOD, which giveth us the Victory, thro' our LORD JESUS CHRIST.

Therefore, my beloved Brethren, be ye stedfast, un­moveable, always abounding in the Work of the LORD, for as much as ye know, that your Labour is not in vain in the LORD.


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