Imagens da página
PDF
ePub

DEATH, THE LAST ENEMY, DESTROYED.

A SERMON PREACHED ON THE LAMENTED DEATH

OF PERCIVAL NORTH, ESQ.

1 Cor. xv. 26.

The last enemy that shall be destroyed is Death.

Our mournful attention was lately directed to the case of a young person who was cut off by a sudden and unexpected stroke in the midst of health and activity, and of prospects the most flattering and the most grateful to the human heart; and we were invited to sympathize with a disconsolate parent in committing a most excellent and · only son, the refuge of his gray hairs, and the centre of all his earthly affections and hopes, to an untimely grave.

We are now summoned to a very different scene; to contemplate the removal of a venerable friend, who having enjoyed through a more than ordinary length of

* The Rev. Thomas Broadbent, of Warrington.

*

days, an unusual share of bodily health, and of soundness and cheerfulness of mind, having been engaged in the active, prudent, and successful management of an honourable occupation, and endowed with a heart to value, to enjoy, and to improve the blessings acquired; whose happiness having mainly consisted in seeing others happy, and in contributing thereto by the courtesy of his manners, by the hospitality of his table, by the promptness and wisdom of his advice, by judicious liberality, by kind sympathy, by charity to the deserving, by liberal aid to the prudent and industrious, and by general beneficence in all its various forms, and upon whose tongue was the law of kindness; whose religion having chiefly consisted in a thankful spirit, grateful for mercies received, solicitous to make a proper use of talents intrusted, regular and unaffected in religious duties, resigned under suffering and sorrow, patient under pain and sickness, grateful for every mitigation of disease, and for the attentions and sympathy of surrounding friends, and resolutely

X

guarding against impatience and complaint; having passed with credit through the changing scenes of life's lengthened and eventful day, honoured and beloved by all who knew him, endeared to, I had almost said idolized by, those who were in habits of familiar intercourse with him, is now departed to his long home in full age, as a shock of corn cometh in, in its season; leaving behind him a name of fragrant odour, and a reputation for wisdom and goodness better than that of sons and daughters, which will ever be embalmed in the memory of surviving relatives and friends, and will by them be transmitted with admiration to posterity yet unborn.

Few of those who hear me will be at a loss to understand that the person to whom I refer is Mr. Percival North, who having long been a respectable and highly respected member of this congregation, and whose zeal to promote its interest in the offices which he kindly sustained, is beyond all praise, lately yielded up his honoured life in the eighty-sixth year of his age, and was gathered to his fathers with all those unaffected tokens of tenderness and respect, which naturally and invariably accompany the obsequies of the wise and good.

The two affecting examples which have thus, in the order of divine providence, within the course of a few months, been

presented to our meditations, though both productive of very poignant sensations of sorrow and regret, nevertheless excite emotions of very different kinds.

In the early removal of the lamented youth, we not only deplore the vanity and frailty of human life, we not only condole with those whose hopes of earthly happiness were utterly blasted by the unlooked for calamity, but we in a sort sympathize with the sufferer himself. We seem to lament with him that so much preparation should have been all in vain; that so much labour should have been fruitless; that qualifications so eminent, and attainments so considerable, should be entirely lost; that expectations so reasonable should have been disappointed; that the good in con

templation should be unperformed; that the reward in view should not be earned. We are staggered at the darkness and the mystery of the divine dispensations, and with the bewildered and amazed prophet, we are ready to say, “ Righteous art thou, O Lord, when we plead with thee, yet let us talk with thee of thy judgments.” Our feelings border on the querulous. It requires an effort to bow our will to the will of the Almighty, and to leave to the wise Disposer of all to conduct his own cause, in his own way, at his own time, in his own manner, and by his own instruments.

In the case immediately before us of the venerable Christian dismissed from his labours, and admitted to his reward, after having fulfilled the various duties of a respectable situation with propriety and usefulness through a long and active life, the sentiments we feel in the contemplation of the sad but instructive scene are widely different. Though equally interesting and affecting, they are less tumultuous, they are less at war with the course of events,

« AnteriorContinuar »