OCCASIONED BY THE DEATH
REV. ALEXANDER H. CROSBY, A.M.
PREACHED TO THE PEOPLE OF HIS LATE CHARGE,
ST. JOHN'S CHURCH, YONKERS,
SUNDAY, March 10, 1839.
Transcribed by Wayne Kempton
Archivist and Historiographer of the Diocese of New York, 2014
To the Alumni of the General Theological Seminary of the Protestant Episcopal Church,
This Humble Tribute, to the Memory of Our Departed Brother is Inscribed.
"A BELOVED BROTHER AND FAITHFUL MINISTER IN THE LORD."
Ephesians, vi. 21.
THE circumstances, under which, dearly beloved, I address you this day, seem fitted rather to close my lips in silence, than to afford utterance to my thoughts. More congenial would it be with my feelings, to mingle with the group of mourners, and shed the silent tear, wrapped in the solemn meditations which a scene like this awakens, than, to unbosom my own grief, and touch those melancholy notes, which shall find their sad response in every breast.
But, there is something in the request of a dying friend, which forbids us to think of self, when asked to perform such a duty as this. Love emboldens diffidence, and bids emotion subside, that we may discharge the last sad office of interrupted--but, oh! not for ever, severed--friendship.
For, it is to the friend, and the brother, my hearers, that the dead look, for the care of their fading memory, for the just representation of their earthly career, and, for the becoming sepulture [5/6] of their lifeless remains. We are here assembled, to pay our last tribute of respect to your late Pastor, in the very house of God, in which he was wont to minister. He left you for a little season, in the faint hope of repairing his shattered frame in a more genial clime, and, with the prayer, that if it were the will of his Heavenly Father, he might return, to labor once more, among you. But he hath been removed from the winter of life, to a summer of never-ending mildness and glory. Wafted to the haven of eternal rest in a better country, he hath entered a temple not made with hands, in the which, he shall chant, in richer melody than when on earth, the blissful praises of Jehovah Jesus.
We had fondly entertained the hope, that a kind Providence would so have ordered that his body should be here deposited by us this day, in the very scene of his labors; where sleeps already one, who hath been over you in the Lord. It was our fear, lest it might find its burial place in the mighty deep. God hath not granted our hopes; but he hath allayed our fears; and we have the mournful consolation to be assured, that his remains have been consigned to a tomb among Christian Brethren, though in a strange land. [* Mr. Crosby died at St. Croix, on the evening of the 4th January, 1839, in the thirty-fourth year of his age. It was his request, that his remains [6/7] should be conveyed to Yonkers, and interred in the cemetery, belonging to that parish--near the parsonage. Arrangements were kindly made, to accomplish this very natural desire, but owing to an unexpected difficulty, were not successful--and he was buried on the Island.]
How solemn, then, this occasion! How important to improve it wisely! How difficult, at once, to meet the wishes of the deceased, the expectations of the living, and the approval of God.
O Thou! who alone canst unseal the stammering lips, give freedom to the faltering tongue, or guide the thinking mind, direct me to speak as in thy presence, and with a single eye to thy glory, for my Savior's sake.
I. It is proper, That we honor the departed, by the recall of those living features, which endeared him to us all, as a beloved Brother, and faithful Minister in the Lord.
II. It is wise to consider, with what sentiments and feelings, we should contemplate his distant grave.
1. It is natural and just to speak, of those qualities of heart, and those Christian graces, which entwine the memory of the deceased around our hearts; and, if a long intimacy, with free interchange of thought, in all the confidence of fraternal affection, be calculated to develope the inward character to another, I speak under these advantages with regard to him:--We took sweet counsel together, and walked in the house of God as friends.
 Yet his virtues were not so concealed, as to be discovered only by a few. They were such, as might be seen and read of all men; and in naming
Sincerity of character, as the foundation of all rest, I am sure, that I mention what you must all have remarked, in our beloved Brother. There was in his words, no disguise, either of sentiment, or of feeling. His lips betrayed not his heart, but always disclosed what was passing within;--even at the risk of censure, and at the cost of giving undesigned offence. He felt it a duty, to speak with plainness, and, never to dissemble, or even conceal, his real sentiments on any subject. Hypocrisy, was abhorrent from his nature, and he at once, lamented and despised it in others. Openness and frankness, he honored above all other virtues, and loved most the society of those to whom he could disclose his whole heart. Hence, there are few among his acquaintance who do not know what his opinions were, and, he had no practices, to hide from public view. As he appeared before all men, so did you find him, in the bosom of his family and in every walk of private life.
This desirable simplicity of character, gained him the affections of many hearts, and commanded the inward respect even of those, from whom he differed in sentiment. Upon the foundation of integrity, when laid so deep and broad, we always behold a [8/9] structure, too well secured to be shaken by any assaults either of malice or of envy. The character, which hath this basis, can never be overthrown. The more it is studied, and the better it is understood, the brighter will it appear. It will live in the remembrance of children's children, when the dissembling hypocrite shall be forgotten, and his memory not. Notwithstanding, often do we find this gem of which we speak, obscured by the incrustations of severity of feeling and repulsive manners. The sincerity of our lamented friend, was not, however, thus marred. It was accompanied by
Kindness of heart, as all at once perceived; nor was this last an acquired quality, the product of culture, attained from principle. In him, it was an innate disposition, beaming from his eye, and evidenced by his benevolent smile. It was apparent, in all the various circumstances in which he was placed. There was in his course, no seasons, in which he was wrapped in moodish austerity, to be exchanged for the opposite temper of extreme animation, when the clouds of melancholy, should have been chased away by some bright day of hope; but equable was the tenor of his way, and uniform the cheerfulness, which even in time of real trouble, told you that his heart was gentle, and his disposition kind. Susceptible as was his nature, injuries could not but make a deep impression; but they [9/10] were not treasured up in an unforgiving mind. If they produced the tear in secret, it was the tear of sorrow, not the emotion of anger.
There was no office of friendship, which, if within his power, our deceased friend would not cheerfully, discharge. Nay, you might calculate on its performance, though it cost him the sacrifice of personal feelings, occasioned him the loss of precious time, or even exposed him groundlessly, to the tongue of reproach. Were there any sorrow in your heart? He stood ready to cheer you with his sympathy, to aid you with prudent counsel, and, as far as he might, to share your griefs. Was anyone unjustly censured? He feared not to espouse their cause, and vindicate the reputation of an absent friend. Indeed, nothing could be farther from his heart, than any desire to contribute to the mortification, or pain of others. He was ready to allow for the infirmities of his fellow-men, and was disposed to walk peaceably and charitably with all men;--so far as this can be done while correct principle and unyielding integrity are maintained.
I need not tell you, who knew him so well, that he possessed the true politeness of a Christian, as far removed on the one hand from the foppery of the world, as it was distant on the other from the coarseness of untutored nature. He could mingle with men of every circle, with affability, because, [10/11] he had that, which is essential to refinement of manners--a benevolent heart.
But we lament the deceased, as "a beloved Brother in the Lord." Let us observe, therefore, more closely the most interesting part of his character--his piety towards God. I am not informed, as to the commencement of his religious course. Trained, however, he was by pious parents, though of a different communion from that, to which he afterward attached himself, from deliberate preference. The seeds of piety thus early implanted, sprang up and yielded abundant fruit. It did not show itself in many professions, but like a well-fed, quiet stream, flowed evenly along within its appropriate channel, fertilizing its borders, and never failing to gladden the eye, with its pure and tranquil waters. Such is the piety, which meandering through her retired borders, adorns the Church of God. This, ascending continually, from her altars, a grateful incense to heaven, demonstrates the truth of our holy faith; and to it she points with exultation, when accused of fanaticism, or charged with formality.
True religion is not outward chiefly; but it is inwrought in the soul, pervading all the passions, and desires, and habits of the man. The piety of our Christian Brother had thus become a nature. Approach him, however occupied, in whatever company, [11/12] or at any season; you would discover, that reverence for sacred things, that sense of the divine presence, that feeling of accountability to God, which hallowed his hours of relaxation, and checked his natural mirth. In social life, his piety was constantly brought to view, by the casual remark, the merited rebuke, or the needed exhortation;--and one seldom left his company without the conviction, that religion was with him the chief concern--that he had not only chosen, but loved that good part, on which all his thoughts were occupied. While liberal to all who differed from him, our deceased brother was, by no means, indifferent to the Truth itself; or to the manner, in which it was displayed. I know no one who entered more into the spirit of our peculiar institutions as a religious denomination than himself; and I have heard again and again from his own lips, the expression of his warm admiration of the numerous excellencies of his own Church. Still, the great doctrines of the cross, were his chief delight, and esteemed of prime importance. In these, he saw the substance of Christianity, and, as such, he clung to them with all the power of a firm faith. On the merits of Jesus for acceptance with God; he assured me all his reliance was placed. When I saw him, with but little prospect of life, he declared--"I commit myself to God through my Gracious Savior."
 Here, he had found his comfort in health, and thence, in the languor of sickness, and at the near approach of death, did he draw all his consolations. There was always with him, a perfect renunciation of personal merit, and a full admission of his lost condition, but for the grace of God in Jesus Christ. Towards the last, however, as worldly hope passed away, and all things here began to fail him, a Saviour seemed more than ever precious.
To the disciple of Jesus, whose meat and drink it is to do the will of his Father in heaven, no dispensation of Providence, appears either unkind or unjust. Nevertheless, if there be one more painful than another to endure, it is that, which bids us leave, in the height of our usefulness, and in the vigor of our manhood, our sweet homes and dear children, and go down to the gates of the grave--to be deprived of the residue of our years, to behold man no more, with the inhabitants of the world. Oh! what a bitterness of affliction is this; and what faith does it require to reconcile thereto the heart of man! Under such a woe, the psalmist prayed, O my God, take me not away in the midst of my days, and truly the light is sweet and a pleasant thing it is for the eyes to behold the sun. It is natural for man, particularly when the light of God shineth upon his tabernacle, to love life and to desire to see good days. There is something delightful in the thought, of being [13/14] gathered unto our fathers in a good old age, surrounded by our household--whom we have brought up in the fear of God--upon whom we may leave a patriarch's blessing;--a hoary head is indeed a crown of glory if it be found in the way of righteousness. But alas! few are thus blessed. The many do not live out half their days; and Jesus hath commanded his disciples to stand ever watching, their loins girded about and their lamps burning, waiting for the coming of their Lord.
Thus, waiting, did Jesus find his devoted follower, our beloved brother in the Lord. He had the best preparation, which can be made for death, the testimony of his conscience, that in simplicity, and godly sincerity, by the grace of God, he had had his conversation in the world; and more abundantly to you-ward. He was not alarmed, therefore, when told that his disease was that merciless malady, which hurries so many victims to an untimely grave. He received the sad, but not unexpected message, with the fortitude becoming a Christian, full of faith. He bowed in resignation, and like one of old, exclaimed in spirit, it is the Lord, let him do what seemeth to him good. True, there fell the frequent tear, as he looked on friend after friend, who came to offer him Christian sympathy, and condole with him in his affliction. As he beheld those dear ones, who are left without a father's guidance, in the midst of an [14/15] evil world, he wept;--and how can the tender heart do otherwise?--Jesus himself, offered strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death. And, that man can scarcely be said to be softened by Christian principles, who, unmoved, could take the last embrace of those, who are bone of his bone, and flesh of his flesh.
Yet in these tears, there were no murmurs of complaint. Convinced it was God's will, he ceased, saying, the will of the Lord be done. He viewed with holy calmness, the great change. He had none of that fear of death, which subjects in bondage, the worldly--ah! may we not say, even sometimes, the Christian spirit. "I would wish to live," said he to me, several months since, "if it be my heavenly Father's will, to care for my family, and do a little more good to the souls of men; but for no other reasons. I shall do what I can to prolong my life, esteeming it a duty to do so, and leave the event with God." How much was his the apostle's temper:--It is my earnest expectation and my hope that in nothing I shall be ashamed but that Christ shall be magnified in my body whether it be by life or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
Thus far, I have spoken of the deceased only as a brother, beloved in the Lord. Let us view him, now, in a new light;--as a minister of Jesus. [15/16] A good man, and full of the Holy Ghost, and of faith, cannot fail to take heed, to the ministry, which he receives in the Lord, to fulfil it. It is thus, he evinces, that he is indeed "inwardly moved by the Holy Ghost, to take upon him this office."
Your deceased pastor, my hearers, did not rush to the altar, unprepared, to assume the solemn vows, which consecrated him unto the Lord, in this great work. He felt his insufficiency for these things, and, while he looked unto Jesus to strengthen him, he wisely availed himself of all the means, within his reach; which, thanks be to God, are now extended by the church, to all her candidates for the ministry, to qualify him, "to serve God for the promotion of his glory and the edifying of his church." Having completed, with credit, his preparatory studies in that school of the Prophets, our General Theological Seminary,--at once the pride and glory of the Church,--he was admitted, with two of his associates from the same institution, to holy orders, by the late Bishop Hobart, in the summer of 1826.
I have been thus particular, in mentioning his ordination from the remarkable circumstance, that, with their lamented Bishop, these three clergymen, have been all called home, by the Lord of the vineyard. First, fell one [* Rev. E. D. Griffin. Died 1830, aged twenty-six years] in the beginning of his strength, ere yet he had well proven his armor [16/17] on the field, in his Master's service. His Lord came suddenly. In a few months, afterward, our spiritual Father was summoned. Well clad in the panoply of righteousness, wielding the sword of the Spirit, and fighting manfully under the banner of the cross, he sank, consumed by his own zeal. Next, [* Rev. William L. Keese, died in the Island of Cuba. Feb. 19 1836, in the thirty-second year of his age] a faithful servant, enfeebled by disease; contracted by his abundant labors, sought relief abroad, and obtained rest, but, it was the rest of the desired grave. Your pastor, hath, after an interval of less than three short years, trodden in the steps of that much esteemed brother, and made his history his own.
Oh! how terrible, are death's doings! How glorious the day when death shall be cast into the bottomless pit, and "we, with the faithful who have departed hence in the Lord, shall have our perfect consummation and bliss both in body and soul!" Lord make us worthy to obtain a part in that glorious resurrection.
But, to return from this digression, for which I think I need make no excuse;--the ministry of our deceased brother, though of brief duration, afforded abundant testimony, that he was faithful in the Lord.
Is a prevailing desire to do good, essential to [17/18] faithfulness in the care of souls? Must the minister of Jesus burn with the love of men, and long after their souls, that he may win them to Christ? Who does not know, that your pastor, had this desire always predominant? What else occupied him from day-to-day, than the concerns of his spiritual charge, whom he had ever in his heart? How many plans of usefulness did he devise, push forward, and bring to a successful issue, while he was among you? Into what house did he enter where he did not endeavour to say something beneficial to the souls of the household? Even, when his errand was of temporal things, it was apparent, that his chief business was with things eternal. I have not been a witness, to such efforts among you, but having succeeded to a charge, in which he was dearly-loved, and where he is now lamented, I can say, that, 'I speak and testify that which I have seen.' How much more, then, can ye confirm my words, respecting him? When the great day declares the work of every many I doubt not it will appear, that there is not one dwelling of his people, in which he did not use efforts to do good, to its inmates; however his labors may have been received. Yes! He went about doing good--reproving, rebuking, exhorting, with all long-suffering and doctrine--in season and out of season;--for he was of ready speech and [18/19] could make a deep impression, with a few words fitly spoken.
Is patient labor, in his appointed station, characteristic of a faithful pastor? In what did the deceased spare himself? By constitution, energetic in mind, though not robust in bodily frame, a sense of high responsibility, quickened his exertions, and forbade him to shrink from any duty. Consequently, he ventured too far. He saw not, what was apparent to others, that he should spare himself; for, the man who is well at heart, and loves to be occupied, is the last to acknowledge that there is a limit to human strength--that the cord of life may be snapped, if strained too far--that a bright mind, may illumine a frail tenement, which can be crushed before the moth. His sphere of labor, like those of every pastor, had its peculiar trials and difficulties. He met them, in a right spirit. He was not to be terrified by the representations of the timid, nor to be deterred in the path of duty, by the fear of man. It was, a small thing to him to be judged of man's judgment knowing that to his own Master, he should at last stand or fall, according as he had displayed courage or fear. He well weighed the meaning of those words--Be not afraid of them which kill the body and after that have no more that they can do: but I will forewarn you whom you shall fear; fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. Yea, I say unto you, fear Him.
Discouragements, therefore, though they oppressed his spirits, never induced him to remit his efforts, until he had attained the object, which he had in view. His reasoning, with regard to all matters of duty, was simple but conclusive;--"The thing is right, it should be done, and if God prosper me, I will accomplish it." Such energy, and unshaken resolution, could not but succeed; and it was with pleasure, that he saw, after encountering many difficulties, that the work of the Lord was prospering in his hands.
The labors of your Pastor were not, however, confined exclusively to his own charge. He took great interest, in the spread of the Gospel in other places, and throughout the world; and the receipts of the Missionary Society from this parish were greatly increased during his residence in it.
In this county espcially, of which he was a native, he longed to see the Church prosper; and lent his presence, his influence, and his private means, to forward its interests. He did more. In the borders of his own parish, there has been erected a monument to his memory--the noblest monument that can stand on earth to the honor of a minister--I speak of a beautiful temple, where prayer is wont to be made, and Christ is preached on the Sabbath days. [20/21] This was not only built under his auspices, but with usual energy, he undertook by personal solicitation to procure, no small portion of the funds with which the cost was defrayed. And, his acts of painful self-denial, in a work at once so proper and yet so repulsive, as that of asking money, were at last successful. But it was done, as he told me, at the sacrifice of health.
And, if, therefore, once more, zeal be needful in a faithful minister, it is evident that our beloved brother possessed it in no ordinary degree. Indeed, were I to select a sentence, which would describe his habitual feelings, I should quote those words of Paul: Neither count I my life dear unto myself; so that I may finish my course with joy, and the ministry which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.
Yet, there was nothing irregular, in this zeal. It led him not to overstep those firm barriers, which the Church has thrown up for the defence of the truth. He loved the order of the gospel, as well as its faith; and he did not sever these, which God himself hath joined in an eternal alliance.
Neither was his zeal offensive, by the glaring want of discretion in regard to its exercise. True, it might be condemned by some, for, with sorrow we say, there are those, who would have a Christian minister, engage in his calling, with all the coldness [21/22] of the man of this world. They stand ready to brand every act of faithfulness to the souls of men, as an act of indiscretion and highly impolitic. But such men know nothing of Christian zeal.
To those, who feel the awful truth, that multitudes are dead in trespasses and sins, and treading the verge, not only of the grave, but of hell, such ardor as the deceased faithful servant of God exhibited, recommends itself, as the spirit of the Master himself, Jesus Christ; and, certain I am, that an example of devotedness like his hath no small influence in stirring up the languid minds, and exciting the drooping courage, of brethen in the ministry. They are, by it, at once, animated and reproved; and thus a holy emulation is excited, beneficial in its results to the souls entrusted to their charge. So, hath the zeal of this our friend, been productive of good, by stimulating others.
There is yet an instance of ministerial faithfulness, which hath not been noticed. I speak of preaching the word;--and, herein also he approved himself to be a workman, that needed not to be ashamed. The subjects, on which he discoursed were those chiefly, which formed the theme of the apostle's testimony, repentance towards God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. You beheld in him, one desirous to save souls, who "preached not himself, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and himself your servant for Jesus' sake."
 To impress your minds with a deep sense of eternal things, to convince you of your need of a Saviour, to lead you to Him, and to build you up in your most holy faith, was the aim of his discourses; and, I doubt not, that his stated hearers will acquit him of all charge, of failing to declare the whole counsel of God. You, are his witnesses, that he opened his mouth boldly, not as pleasing men but God, who trieth the hearts.
"Every day," said he, in a letter which he wrote me about a year since, "I am more and more convinced, that if our preaching, does not come to the hearts of men, it is a tinkling cymbal. But it is difficult, for us to know, at all times how to effect most certainly, our desired end. Let us not be discouraged, if we do not see the fruit of our labors, at once, so abundantly as we could wish; but rely on the promises of God, that his word, shall not return unto him void, and that at some future day, if not now, we may return rejoicing, bringing our sheaves with us."
Indeed, it was evident to all, that he felt in his own soul, the power of that gospel which he delighted to proclaim; and the simple earnestness of manner which a conviction of responsibility imparted, opened an avenue at once, to the hearts of those who [23/24] heard him. If his speech and his preaching, were not with the enticing words of man's wisdom, they had a higher recommendation;--the demonstration of the Spirit. His words were blessed of heaven.
I have thus drawn, what I believe to be a true portraiture, of our beloved brother and your faithful minister in the Lord. I hope he has been brought before your minds as he has been present to my own, as I have described his character.
II. And now, my hearers, with what sentiments and feelings, do we in imagination arrange ourselves around his new-made grave! Who shall analyze the emotions, which alternately agitate and tranquillize the mind, as we approach the place, where hath lately been deposited the revered remains, of the kind husband, the affectionate father, the beloved brother, and faithful minister in the Lord?
1. In the confidence of Christian hope, we exclaim, doth this dust mingle with its kindred dust? Death hath now dominion over the deceased; but at last, shall our friend have dominion over death. Our brother shall rise again. For all that are in their graves shall come forth. He is not then dead, he rather sleepeth;--and, who is he that shall awake him out of sleep?--It will be the same Saviour who was beside the pillow, on which he fell sweetly asleep in Jesus, come again, to receive him to himself. O what a hope is the Christian's! [24/25] He knows in whom he has believed, and is persuaded, that he is able, to keep that, which he hath committed to him against that day. The legacy, bequeathed by the believer, in those simple touching words, Lord Jesus receive my spirit, is indeed preserved with precious care, that soul is never lost, angels conduct it to Abraham's bosom.
But, more astonishing still! the tenement which it hath forsaken, is also, safely guarded by the same Almighty Friend. True, it moulders in the tomb, is dissolved, it disappears from human search;--but as God doth quicken the decayed seed, from which springs forth the choicest glories of the vegetable world, so shall this mortal body, also, be quickened by his spirit which dwelleth in us. Though, sown in corruption, it shall be raised in incorruption, though sown in dishonor, it shall be raised in glory, though sown in weakness, it shall be raised in power, though sown a natural body, it shall be raised a spiritual body. Fit habitation for an immortal spirit, the spirit reunited to it, by eternal ties, shall never again forsake that--its immortal partner.
Fashioned in the Saviour's image, both as to a glorious body, and a spotless internal nature, the believer will indeed awake in the divine likeness; and shall be satisfied therewith. For then, shall Jesus, who hath thus changed and beautified the vile body, 'by that mighty waking, whereby he is [25/26] able to subdue all things unto himself,' show his triumphant follower the path of life, and introduce him to those pleasures, which are at God's right hand forevermore.
This is that blessed hope laid up for us in heaven, in which that flesh doth rest and that spirit triumphs, which parted, for a season, by the stroke of death, are now waiting for their redemption from the power of the grave. It is in this assurance, that the saint departs, I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth, and though, after my skin, worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh, shall I see God, whom I shall see for myself and mine eyes shall behold, and not another.
Thus, thanks be to God, shall our beloved brother obtain the victory, through our Lord Jesus Christ. The grave hath no power to retain its charge, much less to consign him to the horrors of the second death. Having fought a good fight and finished his course, and kept the faith, this warrior of the cross, hath but lain him down to rest, in the tomb, that he may come forth, clad in raiment of light, and wearing a crown of righteousness.
2. With feelings of pious resignation, do we linger about the spot, where they have laid him. Severe is the stroke, with which we have been smitten! a family hath lost its head, man hath lost a friend, we a brother beloved in the Lord, you a devoted shepherd, the church another of her faithful ministers, many hearts are bowed down, and not a few are the tears which have been shed. [26/27] For it is the glory of our religion, that it opens our sympathies, melts our icy natures, refines, yet deepens affection, and so compels us to weep with those who weep. Let the tear flow, for so wept Jesus over his friend. Let the bosom heave with emotion, such is the pious testimony of the Christian's love. For, indeed, we do not here sorrow as those who have no hope. We mourn not for the dead, though he shall return no more to his house; though this place which hath seen him so often, shall behold him no more.--But we mourn because tender ties are severed--because fresh wounds are bleeding--because we are willing that men should say--"behold how they loved him." Yet, amidst all our grief we say, The Lord gave and the Lord hath taken away, and blessed be the name of the Lord.
3. Let this beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord live in our remembrance, though the ocean flow between ourselves and his tomb. It is the destiny of man to be forgotten--by all but God, whom man, alas! is prone to forget--time rolls the waves of oblivion over the earth, and washes away the monuments of those, who have been therein entombed. Yet is it not selfish, and unkind for friend to forget the friend? Shall a brother never recall [27/28] the image of a brother? Shall not a Christian people cherish the memory of the man, the friend, the brother, the faithful minister, who hath watched for their souls, and spoken unto them the good word of the Lord?
Methinks, I hear a voice, come forth from the lips of the deceased--a well-known voice--
"Say to my brethren and fellow-laborers in the Lord--Forget me not. Forgive my faults--but remember me as a brother. O be watchful. Be instant! Be ready! Be waiting! I have been cut down at noon-day, and summoned to my account. Pray that you may be faithful unto death, so that for you too there may be a crown of life.
"Say to my people--Remember me;--for you, I have labored, even beyond my strength, may I not say for you I have died. Some have welcomed me in this better world, who are now my joy and my crown. Take ye heed to the things which ye have heard that you too may be counted worthy to enter in through the gates into the glorious city of our God, and join our blissful company. You have had my prayers--my best instructions. Hear once more my voice--even from the grave.--Life is a short dream--Wealth is worthless--The world is vanity--yea, vanity of vanities, all is vanity;--but the soul and eternity. These are dread realities. Therefore, see to it. Oh! see to it, my friends,--one and all--[28/29] that ye do not lose your souls--For what is a man profited if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul, or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?
"But, look continually unto JESUS, the way, the truth, and the life. Believe in him with the heart, obey him with the life, love him with sincere affection; so shall Christ formed in you be your hope of glory;--and Christ found of you, prove your eternal joy."