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such a public character, the like judgment and solidity in your compositions, the like grave, serious, unaffected, and experi. mental strain, the same solicitude to do good both to the bodies and souls of men, which made his work his pleasure. You see, how short his career of service here has been: Yours may perhaps be as short, and yet shorter. However that be, I pray God, that you may fulfil it as worthily as he did ! And then, should I also see your early deaths, I should congratulate rather than condole you; and esteem such a speedy removal, as a peculiar token of your Lord's favour to you, however, I might lament it as an awful stroke on those of us who should survive.
I trust, that his dear-aged relatives have that better world in too near a prospect to stand in need of much condolence. May God sanctify every dark dispensation of his providence to them, and to us, and give us faith and patience to wait that day, when the last veil shall be taken off, and the terms on which we shall be restored to each other shall leave us no room to mourn, that we have been for a while separated, with whatever circumstances of surprise and distress that separation may have been attended! Amen.
TEARS OF JESUS OVER THE GRAVE OF LAZARUS:
A Funeral Sermon preached at St. Albans, Dec. 16, 1750. On occasion of the
much lamented Death of the late Reo. Samuel Clark, D. D. who died the 4th of December, in the 66th Year of his Age.
THE WORTHY RÉLICT
THO' INCONSIDERABLE TOKEN
AND OF INDELIBLE VENERATION
FOR THE EXEMPLARY CHARACTER OF THE
BY HER MOST OBLIGED
AND FAITHFUL HUMBLE SERVANT,
Northampton, Jan. 7, 1750-1.
John xi. 35. Jesus wept.
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| HE only begotten Son of God, while he sojourned in hu. man flesh, passed through a sad variety of calamities, and on the whole bore all that a human heart, untainted with guilt, and untouched with remorse of conscience, could suffer ; that he might learn to pity us more affectionately under the like sorrows; that he might lay in for us a stock of divine consolations ; and especially, that he might teach us by his sacred example to avoid the opposite and fatal extremes, of Despising the chastening of the Lord, and fainting when we are rebuked by him *. Let us learn of him ; and while we feel our afflictions like men, we shall bear them as the children of God, and the heirs of glory.
We here view our blessed Redeemer in a circumstance, in which most of us have frequently, and alas ! very lately been ; and in which, should our lives be prolonged, we may again and again be; a circumstance, which is the common lot of mortality, and must of course be the most frequent affliction of those who are richest in dear and valuable friends, and which will be most tenderly felt by those who best deserve to enjoy them. It is the sad tribute, and I had almost said, the sad equivalent, which in these regions of death we pay for loving and being beloved. We see Jesus approaching the new grave of a friend; of such a friend, as providence and grace had concurred to render, in some measure, worthy of those precious and honourable tears, which were now dropped upon bis tomb. It was Lazarus of Bethany. We know the tender story too well, to need a large rehearsal of it in moments so precious as these. We know, that when Jesus drew near to Bethany soon after the interment of his deceased friend, and was going with his sisters and a train of other mourners to his grave, he wept. We shall enquire into the cause of these tears, shall consider the useful lessons-we may naturally learn from them, and then shall give the few
remaining moments of our time to what is peculiar to the sad occasion of our present assembly, the death of the truly reverend, pious, and amiable Doctor Clark ; concerning whom I think I may justly say, and your consciences will attest how justly, that we have personally known few, over whose tomb Christ would more probably have wept, had he stood near it in mortal flesh. May this seasonable review of his tears over Lazarus, regulate and sanctify those, which so naturally flow from our eyes in the present circumstance, where almost every object we behold calls them up afresh! .
I. Let us consider on what accounts we may probably suppose that our blessed Redeemer now wept.
All we can do to answer this enquiry is, to take an attentive survey of the circumstances of the case, so far as our information reaches ; that we may observe what occurred in them, proper to have impressed a wise and benevolent mind. For though we pretend not to limit the infinitely more capacious views of our divine Master, yet we may assure ourselves that nothing material and important was passed over by him without due regard.
On these principles we may naturally observe,—that our Lord was now near a grave,-the grave of a pious and amiable friend,--surrounded with a train of affectionate mourners, and with some obstinate sinners in his view, who were bringing upon themselves dreadful and final destruction.
1. Our Lord was now going to visit a grave; and that might awaken some meltings of compassion.
He was coming to a place, where the king of terrors had lately erected a new trophy, and given a specimen of his "universal triumph. Now had Christ been a stranger to the person of Lazarus, it might have touched him to think of his untimely fate, for untimely it seems to have been; to have seen the sad monuments of mortality before his eyes, and to have thought, “ This is the sepulchre of Lazarus: He, who but a little while ago was in the prime and vigour of his days, and in the ample enjoyment of what earth could afford to make him happy *, is now the prisoner of the grave. The residue of his
* I have here taken it for granted, that Lazarus was a young man, and in prosperous circumstances of life. We may probably conclude the former, as we only read of his sisters, but of no wife or children, and from his living so long after this, as tradition tells us he did. The latter seems very evident, not only from their numerous acquaintance at Jerusalem, John xi, 19. But also from the splendid catertainment afterwards mentioned, John xii. 2,3. Compare Luke x. 38, and seq.