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He distils the fructifying showers. The thunder and the lightning obey his voice. Rain and hail, snow and vapour, wind and storm fulfil his word. And his presence, providence, and energy, , are equally manifested in the beneficial effects which are usually produced by the genial influences of the atmosphere in supplying life and breath to the animal, and fertility and beauty to the vegetable creation; or in those fatal consequences which sometimes result from raging hurricanes, from blasting storms, from incessant rains, from long-continued droughts, and from pestilential vapours. If I inake
my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. God is present in the grave.
The grave is the home of man; the house appointed for all the living; the land of darkness, solitude, and silence. Man regards it with disgust. He turns from it as a spectacle of disgrace and horror. He buries his dead out of his sight, and carefully conceals the mouldering clay. The grave excludes all beings but God. He is
present there. The grave is naked before him, and destruction has no covering.
God is there by his essential presence : by that necessity of nature in consequence of which he cannot withdraw from any place, or rather cannot be limited to any. But is always necessarily present, in every part of space, and in every period of duration. Nor does it argue imperfection in him that he cannot limit his own omnipresence. For, if he were not present at all times in all places, he could not every where exert his energy. And therefore to limit the presence of God, would be to limit his knowledge and his
power. Nor is it derogatory from his dignity to be present in places which to us appear polluted and obscene. To dwell in the grave, the land of darkness, disgrace, and horror. He views objects with other eyes than man.
And where man with his gross corporeal organs perceives nothing but the process of dissolution, offensive to the eye, and disgusting to every sense, there, an omniscient, omnipresent spirit discerns the
uniform operation of the wise laws which he has ordained, and sees all terminating in a glorious end. His essence, like a sunbeam, is incapable of contracting pollution or stain; and being himself a pure immaterial spirit, he is perfectly unsusceptible of disagreeable impressions from those circumstances which are most unpleasant to the gross organs of corporeal sense.
God is present in the grave, to behold what passeth there : and is intimately acquainted with all that happens in the dark caverns of the earth. He sees the mass of mortality laid in its earthy bed. And, when sealed up from mortal sight, he beholds all the changes which pass upon it. He sees the graceful human form gradually wasting away, and reduced at length to its original dust. And when in the revolution of ages that dust is scattered in a thousand different places, and appears under a thousand different forms, not a single atom escapes his notice, not a hair of the head is lost in his account.
And as he is present by his inspection, so
also by his influence and power.
He builds and animates the curious fabric at first. He appoints the limits of its existence. And when he saith, return to thine original dust, the almighty fiat is obeyed. No power but that which formed, can dissolve it again. He ordains the law of dissolution, and his co-operating energy gives efficacy to the decree. :.
And that energy shall raise it again. He who first formed and arranged the wonderful and harmonious structure, he that for a time supported it in existence, and who afterwards reduced it to its primitive dust, is able to rebuild it anew. When the great trumpet shall sound, the scattered particles, wherever dispersed, shall hasten, like welldisciplined troops, to their appointed standard, and each shall find his proper place and station. Nor shall this destined period long delay. The voice of prophecy has announced it: the authority of Jesus has confirmed the truth. The sign her dead. What is sown in dishonour, shall be raised in glory.
grave shall re
And surely, my Christian friends, this is a very soothing and delightful view of the grave, and ought, in some degree, to reconcile our minds to the prospect of taking up our abode there. We are ready occasionally to look forward to the grave with dismay, and to shrink from the thought of lying down in the cold and dreary mansions of the dead. But should it not calm and sooth our minds to recollect, that when we make our bed in the grave, as we shortly must, behold, our God is there. That he will take the charge of our sleeping dust, when our surviving friends are necessitated to give up the painful office. That he will watch over us with unremitting care during our long and peaceful slumbers : and tliat in due time he will commission his beloved Son to awaken us to a new and immortal life, and to transform these earthly bodies into the likeness of his own glorious body, by the energy of his mighty power.
And do we not often tremble at the thought of committing the remains of our