Abbildungen der Seite

state of insensibility with his child: For this would be going to nothing, or the thing which is not. Besides, it could be no motive with David to give over his lamentations, that he himself should in like manner cease to exist, but rather the contrary: For, if we can only enjoy those whom we love, whilst we live together in this world, then certainly we have great reason to lament the loss of them by death, because then it is a hopeless and irreparable loss. Whereas, in the other sense of the words, it is a most clear and rational topic of consolation, which David here uses : Wherefore should I weep, and make the rest of my life miserable, for the want of my child, when I know that the time will soon come, when we shall live and meet again, never to be parted any more? If David then consoled himself with this consideration, how much more should we Christians do the same in like circumstances; since life and immortality are so much more clearly revealed to us, than they were to those, who lived under the Mosaic Dispensation ? We are now as certain, as the word of God can make us, that we shall live for ever: Jesus Christ himself is become the first fruits of them that slept, a proof and pledge of our own resurrection. Though therefore we may modestly hope that God, in consideration of the infirmity of our natures, will mercifully overlook the first transports of our grief, upon the death of those whom we tenderly loved, yet, after he has given us a sufficient time to recollect ourselves, he hath a right to expect, that we should patiently submit to his will, and comfort ourselves with the assurances he has given us, in his word, of eternal life and happiness. In a word; though we may sorrow for our deceased friends, yet we must not sorrow, “ without hope: For if we believe that “ Jesus died and rose again, even so them “ also, who slecp in Jesus, will God bring “ with him."

as men

5thly. It may farther be inferred from the words of David, 66 I shall

go to him," that he was persuaded, not only that he should live in the next world with his child, but also, that he should see and

know other

[ocr errors]

know him again in that state ; for otherwise he could not properly be said to go to him ; since to go to any one certainly means in common acceptation, not barely to go where that person is, but to see and be conversant with him. And it is surely yery natural for all of us to wish and hope,' that we may once more meet with those whom we tenderly loved in this world, and for ever continue with them. And it cannot, I think, be doubted, that the knowing our friends, and seeing them in the same blessed state with ourselves, would give a higher relish to our own felicity; as, on the other hand, it would increase the misery of the damned to behold their companions in iniquity, and to be perpetually subject to the reproaches of those, whom they had drawn on to perdition, or any other way injured, in the

present life.

There is likewise some intimation of this, in other parts of Scripture. Thus, in the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus, the several parties are represented by our Saviour as being known to each other in the next life. And in St. Luke it is said, that those who shall be excluded from heaven, and much more those who shall be admitted there, shall see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob, and all the prophets in the kingdom of God. Το which we may add that remarkable expression, so often used in the Old Testament, of Abraham and many others being “ gathered to their fathers and to their “ people:” An expression, from which we may, with the greatest fairness, argue in the same manner, as from the words of David now under consideration, that we shall know, and share in the felicity of our friends in a future life.

.: But then, it will be said perhaps, what will be the case, if the friends. we loved should be in the unhappy number of the condemned, and we should know them to be so, from their absence from the mansions of the blessed ? Would not our knowledge of their misery be some diminution of our own happiness ? Could we bear the thought of their hopeless condition, without feeling, now and then, some


painful emotions of pity and grief? Would not, for example, the idea of a favourite child sentenced to dwell with everlasting burnings, fill us with horror, and throw a gloom over that fulness of joy, which we are taught to expect hereafter ?

Certainly, according to our present feelings and imperfect modes of reasoning, this must be the case. But, to be grieved at what cannot be helped or remedied, and to make ourselves miserable, because others, by their own fault, have made themselves irrecoverably so, is certainly a weakness, and a proof of our present imperfection, and therefore will never be found in the spirits of just men made perfect, who will be delivered from all the infirmities and irregular passions, to which they were subject in the present world.

Besides, one part of our future happiness will consist in our being made like unto God; that is, in resembling him chiefly in the rectitude of our wills, and the perfection of our: understandings. Vol. IV.


: Now, ,

« ZurückWeiter »