AFTER this Sermon was preached, it was suggested to me that I should print it for the sake of friends in Africa. Perhaps the occasion may be thought to have justified my compliance with the suggestion, especially if I combine with the publication some further particulars of the youth, whose early loss we deplore, and some information of the course which, notwithstanding this sad event, the College is ready to pursue.
JEREMIAH LIBUPUOA MOSHUESHUE (Anglicè, Moshesh) was one of the sons of the famous chief Moshesh, of Basuto Land, in South Africa, whose contributions to the Exhibition of 1862 in the Natal Court will be remembered. Jeremiah was, as I believe, first brought to the knowledge of the Truth by French Missionaries. After his baptism by them he was transferred to the Bishop of Capetown's Kafir College at Zohnebloem. He remained there for a year or two, and approved himself to his teachers by his good sense and industry, and especially by his persevering efforts, by God's help, to overcome his natural sensitiveness and other faults of character. At the end of 1860, he was nominated, at the special desire of Governor Sir George Grey, as one of four to be sent over to St. Augustine's. All of them were confirmed by the Bishop of Capetown, and received their first communion in February, 1861; and they arrived in England early in June of that year.
 Though Jeremiah's general health had been very good up to last Midsummer, he had never been able to bear much physical fatigue, from a certain delicacy of constitution; so that he was the less able to withstand the attack of gastric fever, which fell on him about August 10th of the present year, and ended in his death on the 26th.
I need not repeat here what has been said in the College Occasional Paper, No. 72. Nor would I attempt a minute analysis of Jeremiah's character beyond what may be collected from the subjoined Sermon, lest I should err on the side of excess or of defect. But I may say in general, that he invariably commended himself to us, and to the numerous friends whom he secured, by his genuine politeness, his remarkable considerateness, his good common sense, his intelligence and persevering industry, his reverential demeanour, his steady pursuit of all kinds of knowledge, particularly of the Holy Scripture, and what he thought would be useful to him in future life. And whatever might have been his influence over his own countrymen in future years, the glad experience of which, doubtless for wise reasons, has been denied us, we may humbly but surely trust that in his own person at least the Christian training which he received was blest to the saving of his soul.
His three companions, addressed in the latter part of the Sermon, still remain to us, and, God willing, leave us for their native land next summer. It is necessary, therefore, at once to determine the question whether the interesting experiment shall be renewed, in order to give time for communication with our friends in Capetown. The blessing of the Lord has [4/5] rested so evidently upon this first effort thus far, and there seems such a fair prospect of things going on well in the future, that it would be faithless indeed to stop short, because of one melancholy dispensation, which very trial, for anything we can tell, may be the occasion of unlooked-for blessings. The College, then, is ready, in dependence on Divine help, and with the concurrence of others, to repeat the invitation for foreign youths to be trained within its walls. The Bishop of Capetown is waiting, we believe, to send another company, who will be more advanced in knowledge of English and general attainments, than the first. The Missionary Studentship Association of the Archdeaconry of Hereford, which has acted so generously in this cause already, has expressed its willingness to maintain two youths at £60 a-year each. Probably the Archdeaconry of Salop will maintain a third. The College hopes that other Associations will offer to maintain three more, so that an invitation may be sent for six to come over to England, without delay. We have ample encouragement in God's own promises; and without denying the probability of occasional failures, or even deprecating the trials, hazard, and delays inherent in these measures, we are sure that a large measure of the Divine blessing will rest upon all who take part in them, whether in the way of giving or receiving, and may commend both to doubters and workers the careful perusal of such Scriptures as the following:--Isaiah xlix. 7-12, 20-23; lx.; lxvi. 18-23; Zech. viii. 20-23; Ps. lxviii. 31.
St. Augustine's College,
Oct. 8, 1863.
1 THESS. v. 9-11.
"For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him. Therefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do."
Before discussing and applying the doctrine contained in these verses, let me take you to two scenes; one in heathen Africa, the other in Christian England.
A Christian Bishop, in the course of his work of love and mercy, was seized with low fever on the island Malo, at the mouth of the river Ruo in Central Africa. His illness increased in consequence of the confinement and unhealthiness of the place, and the want of every kind of medicine. So debilitated was he, that sometimes, in going out of his hut, he would fall forward on his face, and lie there, without being able to move. Three days more elapsed, and he ruptured a [7/8] blood-vessel; nor could he be stirred without the bleeding being renewed. A week after, on the morning of the day which proved to be the Christian's last, the chief, in whose hut he had been hitherto lying, requested the clergyman that was with him, himself in a weak and dying state, to move the Bishop from the hut which they occupied into another, as he wanted to store corn in it. Foreseeing the result of his illness, he did not wish the death to take place in his hut, since from the native superstition about the spirits of dead persons haunting the places where they die, it would thenceforth be uninhabitable. The clergyman protested that the Bishop was very ill, and ought not to be moved; but the chief said that so too were many of his people, and insisted upon his removal at once. In order therefore to avoid giving offence, and fearing that the chief might order them off the island altogether, he consented at last, and the Bishop was carefully taken to another hut. In the act of moving the blood began to flow from his nose and mouth afresh. In another hour and a half he breathed his last. As soon as it was known, the chief ordered the body to be removed at once; he would not even allow it to remain on the island until the following day; nor would he lend them any men to help in the burial. The body was therefore taken by his friend and three attendants that had come with him across the river in the canoe, and there in a secluded spot under a large tree, Bishop Mackenzie was buried by his sick and dying Christian friend. [These details are gathered from the Occasional Paper of the Universities' Mission to Central Africa.]
Now turn to the other scene. A son of an African chief was allowed by his father to come over to Christian England to complete his education, and prepare himself, with his own consent, for such a profession and course of life after his return home, as should be most for the benefit of his countrymen. At the house of one of those numerous Christians [8/9] who showed hospitality to the young stranger, he was unexpectedly taken with gastric fever: at once the best medical skill was called in; the kind host supplied from day to day whatever was likely to relieve his sickness and conduce to his recovery; his faithful servant offered himself to watch day and night by his sick bed. The disease however assumed a fatal character; yet the nurse kept his place by his bed side. The patient died, and was buried;--but it was in peace, in the quiet village churchyard, followed by mourners, preceded by friends, committed to the grave with psalmody and prayers, and sad but submissive acknowledgment of Him who had been pleased to take unto Himself the soul of their dear brother just departed.
Look now, my brethren, on the other picture and on this. What a contrast in every respect! There, we behold first the sick man, and then the dead man, treated with hardhearted neglect, and turned off by a fellow creature who is past all feeling except that of superstition and selfishness: here, in sickness and death, the stranger is nursed with the tenderest care, and the last sad offices are performed with all reverence and thoughtful regard.
Wherefore is all this difference? what has brought it to pass? "For we ourselves were sometimes living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another." Truly, my brethren, it is nothing less than the knowledge, the conviction, the happy experience of the blessed truths of the text, that has wrought the mighty change.
Observe the feelings and conduct of the chief who had never heard of them: he interprets the approach of sickness to his abode as the sign of a wrathful Deity, and the fatal stroke of death as the avenging punishment. He is shut up into hardheartedness and superstition; he shudders at the thought of bodily suffering for himself, and has no bowels of compassion for that of others. The sick and the dead are rudely thrust away from his doors, through his ignorant dread [9/10] of the common Maker, and the common Redeemer of himself and them.
Listen on the other hand to the gracious revelation vouchsafed to mankind from heaven. "God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for as, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him." What have we here? Surely it is the pearl of great price upon which we have come in this rich tract of Scripture. Let us examine this treasury of consoling truth, in the first place; then observe the employment of it by the Apostle among the Thessalonians; and lastly make special use of it for ourselves in our present need.
Every word of the Apostle's teaching in these verses is supernatural: the truths are every one of them beyond man's power to have discovered, and reach beyond natural religion too. For what are they? "God hath not appointed us to wrath." Full as this world is of evil, miserable as is the state of man, multiform as are the pains and sicknesses of the body, the anxieties of the mind, the troubles of the heart, certain as is death to come upon every child of man sooner or later, God did not appoint us to wrath: He did not create us to be the objects of its punitive action, or to be devoted as a prey, body, soul, and spirit, to vindictive tyranny. Whatever gloomy fatalism was taught and held amongst the heathen, and however much proof it seemed to derive from the cruelties and wars of a distracted world, it never had an element of truth in it. God never created any one of the sons of men for the purpose of tormenting and destroying him; nor did He create any one for destruction by any other instrumentality. The evil fire into which the wicked will finally be cast was not "prepared" for them, but "for the devil and his angels." Even this larger sense of the word now under our consideration is absolutely true; how much more then the closer and more particular sense of them, in which the Apostle uses them. "God did not appoint us to [10/11] wrath," whom he took into covenant with Himself on the terms of His revealed will. Sorrows, trials, and disappointments may come upon us like waves one after another, and beat upon our tossed and troubled heads, but they are not signs of Divine wrath, still less of an appointment to wrath. The truth of the text is specially for the consolation of mourners, for to them it is that the thought of wrath occurs, when they are stricken themselves with sickness, or their beloved ones are taken out of their sight.
For those that are taken, and for those that are left, there is the same immoveable consolation--" God hath appointed us to obtain salvation." The Apostle means this: It is the. Lord's supreme and manifested will that we should be saved, or rather that we should obtain salvation as a thing that may be lost, and secure it as our own. And He has not left us in the dark how we may do this; but together with the plan of salvation as completed in His Divine Mind, has also made it known to us. It is "through our Lord Jesus Christ," that is, not through the doctrine delivered to us by Jesus Christ as by a heaven sent Teacher, or through faith in Him, or the exercise of any other grace ourselves; but through His atoning blood, as is expressed in the following clause, "through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us." In that fact resides our certainty of God's purpose. In that fact we have the ground of our deliverance from God's wrath, which not his creation imposed, but our sins deserved; and we have the ground of our assured hope of obtaining salvation. This truth, the Apostle means, is unchangeable truth, unaffected by any appearances whatever to the contrary. Even the extreme stroke of death makes no difference.
And this is what the Apostle next asserts. "He died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him." The sundering of soul and body is the penalty on man for his sin: but even that is done away with by the death of Christ upon the cross. He died, He submitted to [11/12] death, as our voluntary representative, for us, for our benefit, for this benefit in particular to us, "that whether we wake or sleep we might live together with Him." For His death, being the separation of His body from His soul, was followed by their reunion in His resurrection. And having passed through all states of being Himself as the Head, He is present with each one of His members in whatsoever state they are. By virtue of that Presence they live. The benefit is theirs at once, that is, whether they are in a waking state, still living in this world, their life is hid with Christ in God; or whether in a state of sleep, that is, as disembodied spirits, still they live with Him who is in Paradise as well as on earth. The Apostle, however, according to the tenor of the words, speaks of something to take place at a future time, and that is the day of the Lord's appearing. He died for us, that whether at the day of His second coming we are still alive upon earth, or have been sleeping in the dust, we should live altogether, as one body, together with him. This is made plainer in the Greek. "We should live all together, with Him." This interpretation receives support, and the doctrine implied in it receives confirmation from the preceding chapter. "This we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord." We find an allusion to the same grand and consoling doctrine in 2 Thess. ii. 1; "by our gathering together unto Him." This follows from our being one body in Him, and, remember, we "were baptized by one Spirit into one body." "We were buried," says the Apostle, "by baptism into His death," and thereby became partakers of all the benefits of that death, [12/13] one of which is stated in the text: Membership with Him ceases not with our death, but lasts through the period of death till the day of general resurrection, when the life of all will be manifested in union with the common Head of all.
Such is the aspect of Christian doctrine which the Apostle presents in this and the preceding chapter for the Thessalonians: and he seems to have received a special inspiration, as it were, for the occasion. "This we say unto you by the word of the Lord." It is the immediate revelation from God: unmixed truth. The Thessalonians had not as yet grasped the truth of the doctrines of the intermediate state, the second coming of the Lord, and the resurrection of the body. When their fellow Christians were cut off by death, they still partly retained the old heathen notion that there was now an end of them; and in their present stage of Christian knowledge, they feared their much loved brethren were cut off from all hope of sharing in the glories of the second Advent, and the joys of the personal presence of the Redeemer. The bitter thought overwhelmed them; and they sorrowed as men without hope, The Apostle applied just those considerations which were best adapted to relieve their spirits, and enlighten their minds on the true character and purposes of God in Christ. "God hath not appointed us to wrath:" that would be the part of an avenging, destroying Deity, to make away with the creatures of His hand; but our God is love. However contrary appearances may be, the removal of a fellow Christian by early or sudden death is no sign of His wrath, either against him, or against us who survive and mourn over him with saddened hearts. Remove from your own minds then, as it is altogether removed from the thought and purpose of God, the notion that in the death of a true believer there is any infliction of wrath, and destination to destruction. Death has been made the gate of everlasting life; it has been overcome by the death of Christ voluntarily undergone for our sakes. [13/14] "The grace of God that bringeth salvation has appeared." He has said, "This people have I formed for Myself; they shall shew forth My praise." "He is our God, even the God of whom cometh salvation: God is the Lord, by whom we escape death." It was the Divine Love and Wisdom which conceived and executed this wonderful purpose. And "to this end Christ both died and rose again, that He might be the Lord both of dead and living." You therefore my brethren of the Thessalonian Church, and those your brethren who have died in Christ, are alike under His universal Lordship. They are not consigned to perdition; they are not lost, but gone before; and at the last day they shall be brought again from the dead, and "presented together with you before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy," for "them also that sleep in Jesus shall God bring with Him." None shall be wanting; but the whole body shall be complete. "Wherefore comfort yourselves, and edify one another, even as (I acknowlege) ye also do." "Comfort one another with these words" of mine, which I have declared unto you from the mouth of God.
What a glorious office, my brethren, was committed to the Apostle Paul, to introduce to his Thessalonian converts such a grand prospect as this, the like of which had never been beheld by them before! And this is the peculiar glory of Christianity, that it is the religion of Him who "hath abolished death, and brought light and immortality to light." And it is a religion whose hopes and promises are ever fresh, and full of comfort and joy to every one that trusts to them; a soothing balm, when all things else fail. Let me exhort you to prove their virtue practically, whenever you have opportunity, by speaking words in season to those who are sorrowing for the loss of their Christian friends; let me exhort you to prove their virtue experimentally, when you are made to sorrow for the loss of your own.
 An occasion the most fitting presents itself at this very time. You, my dear friends, ARTHUR, EDWARD, and SAMUEL, are now in the same circumstances as the Thessalonians were when St. Paul wrote to them. Within the last few years you have been brought to the knowledge of the blessed Gospel of Grist, and the inheritance of the kingdom of heaven. And you, like the Thessalonians, have just gone through the trial of losing by death your beloved companion and brother, and fellow student. In addressing the words which I am about to speak to you, I do it as to the chief mourners in this sad event, for we all and many more desire to be sympathizers and sharers in your grief. And I speak not simply in my own name, but in the name of all those who are present, in the name of all your fellow Christians, in the name of that common Christianity which we all profess, while I draw water from the wells of Gospel consolation, and give you them to drink.
Consider then, first, what the religion of the Lord Jesus did for your brother when he was in health, and see from that how true and merciful a religion it is, such as none other has been, or ever can be. It is only the truth to say, that at one time he was "in darkness and in the shadow of death;" he was without hope, without God in the world, and ignorant of the way of salvation, for he had never heard of that only Name whereby man can be saved. While he was in that state, the compassion of the Lord was exercised towards him, and moved the hearts of some good men, disciples of the Gospel of Christ, to seek him out, to bring him under Christian instruction, and to teach him the way to heaven, and everlasting happiness. He was baptized in the Name of the Lord Jesus. He was then taken into the College at Capetown by other Christians, who fed him, clothed him, taught him, and trained him up in the further knowledge of Christ, and in obedience to His laws, and in other useful knowledge. This they did, as Christians to another Christian, [15/16] not from hope of reward, but for the sake of the Gospel of Christ. It was the love of Christ that constrained them to do it. Take this as a proof of the truth and power of the Gospel, which makes men do these things, and delight in doing them.
Of his being sent over to this country, of his reception here, of the daily and hourly care bestowed on him in his studies and habits of life and religious education, of the readiness of every one around to do him kindnesses, to render him help, to speak good words to him, to give him sound advice, to tell him of things that were, or would be, useful for him to know;--of these things I will not say more on this occasion. But look at them all in one light; as a proof of the Divine power of the Gospel, which inclines its disciples to such conduct towards those who are brought to live in the midst of them.
Then, thirdly, see the working of Christianity in all that was done for your sick and dying friend, of which I drew a faint sketch before, but all which you can picture to yourselves in livelier and fuller details. I am not going to attempt any further description of the watchful and tender care extended towards him till the very last, but would only bid you now look upon it as the fruit of true Christianity, as a signal proof that a religion of such patient loving kindness and tender sympathy must be from God. The religion of the cross of Christ alone can teach men to fulfil offices like these.
But I pass on to speak more particularly of the last stage. After your worst fears have come to pass, and your brother has died, and has been committed to the dust from whence he came, has the Christian religion any consolations for you his mourning survivors, and what are they? You daily feel the void, for he walks no more in and out with you, you lament over his loss, you know it is the hand of God, and what shall you say, how shall you be affected in your heart? Now, had you been still heathens, you would have either looked [16/17] carelessly on, through disregard of the loss of a fellow creature, and ignorance of the value of human life, or you would have concluded that God was angry with you, or your brother, in cutting him off out of the land of the living. But now listen to the voice of the holy teacher of the religion of Christ, "God hath not appointed us to wrath." The death of your brother is no sign of the wrath of God upon him, for while he yet lived, He manifested His love towards him by bringing him into the way of salvation, and joining him to His holy. Church; He taught him His holy word, inclined his heart to receive it, fed him with the food of His own ordinances, and with the Body and Blood of Christ, shewed forth by many tokens, increasing to the last, that He was working in him by the power of His holy Spirit, subduing his evil tempers, renewing him day by day, giving him fuller experience of the power of the Gospel of Christ for pardon of his sins and sanctification of his soul and body. And thus we, who know not the heart, humbly but surely trust that He who does know the heart has received him to peace and rest in the Lord Jesus.
And again, if the death of your brother is no sign of the wrath of God upon him, so neither is it such a sign upon you. Our most merciful Father punishes you not on this wise, for you are his redeemed children. His voice to you in this dispensation is one of love and fatherly admonition. All His course towards you is in mercy. He calls you hereby to look up the more constantly and stedfastly to Him, as One who certainly doeth all things well. He saith to each of you, "Thy brother shall rise again." He bids you trust him, who is now taken out of your bodily sight, to His faithful Hands, who will keep that which is committed unto Him until the day of the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ. He draws your heart heavenward. He would have you "look not at things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen." He assures you that "He has appointed you to obtain [17/18] salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, that, whether you wake or sleep, you should live together with Him." And withal he enjoins you to seek and secure that salvation. The time, you see, is very short. In this life only can the work be done, and this life is uncertain. This, too, He teaches by the early removal of your brother. He means to stir up your hearts to seek the "one thing needful," to "work while it is day, because the night cometh when no man can work." Read the practical instruction given to the Thessalonians at the beginning of this chapter, when they were sorrowing over the loss of their friends. It was a call to increased seriousness and watchfulness. "Yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. For they that sleep sleep in the night, and they that be drunken are drunken in the night. But let us who are of the day be sober." If only you hearken to the voice of God as He now speaks to you, even this sad bereavement will be fruitful in blessing to you. It will teach you, as no other instruction can, how great are the blessings, how rich the hopes, how glorious the prospects which our Lord Jesus Christ has to offer. You will learn their value by such experience as you can never forget; you will prove for yourselves, that "the death of His Saints" is "precious in the sight of the Lord."
"Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another." This is the Apostle's word to you. And if, with lively faith in these precious promises of the Gospel, and in heartfelt gratitude for having been brought yourselves to the knowledge of them, you shall in God's providence dwell once more in your own land, you surely cannot help telling the same to your countrymen who now sit in hopeless ignorance of the future. You will point out to them "the Lamb of God who taketh away the sin of the world," you will speak to them, especially in times of sorrow, that "God hath not [18/19] appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation." You will shew them of "the Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him." A heathen once complained that his friend, with all the great, mighty and wise, slept the long, long endless sleep, whence there is no awaking, while the senseless flowers spring up again. How different the doctrine of the Bible! How sweet the description of the present state of those who depart hence in the Lord! They "sleep in Jesus." How glorious the destiny that awaits them!"God will bring them with him." The Gospel alone can interpret for you and for your countrymen the mysteries of the Christian's death.
Man's days are like a shadow; he must soon pass away, and be no more seen. Death is busy in every country, among all ages, with all sorts and conditions, and of whatever religion they be. How unspeakably important is it that a man should have a hope beyond the grave, that as a guilty sinner he should be led to the only Saviour of sinners for pardon, and to the only Spirit of grace for "holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord."
These are thoughts that ought to stimulate all of us here present, to secure our portion in those hopes, and our place in that living Body, of which the Apostle speaks; and they urge us too, by every dispensation of God's Providence, to prepare the way of the Lord, to increase (as His instruments) the number of His elect, and to hasten His kingdom. It is true that He has said, "I the Lord will hasten it in his time;" and "the times and seasons the Father hath put in His own power:" yet are we each of us bidden to be "looking for and hasting unto (that is, hasting, or hastening on) the coming of the day of God." So that when He shall say, "Surely I come quickly," we may answer immediately, "Amen, Even so, come, Lord Jesus."
Printed at St. Augustine's College Press, Canterbury.