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cause it is added, their works do follow them. The works of their life are not forgotten; an account is taken of them all: they are noted in God's book. Their works follow with the fruits of them, and they shall reap as they have sowed. None of their labours shall be in vain in the Lord; but all shall be repaid in their kind; as the husbandman who hath sowed wheat receives a crop of the same grain, and that with an abundant increase.
For their labours of mercy, they shall find mercy, even the forgiveness of their sins, in that great day, when all shall stand in need of it. What they gave in faith to the
brethren of Christ on earth, shall be repaid in treasure from the stores of heaven.
What they gave up in this world, through an uncoveting poverty of spirit, they shall possess in the kingdom of God. What they gave up was temporal; what they shall receive will be eternal.
If they delighted in peace, and laboured to promote it, they shall be reckoned among the children of God; and be heirs together with Jesus Christ, who came to make peace
between heaven and earth. By enduring persecution for righteousness
sake, they shall be received as friends by the blessed company of heaven. Angels will welcome into their society those whom wicked and envious men defamed, as if they were not worthy to live; when in fact, the world was not worthy of them.
For these and other of their labours, great shall be their reward in heaven; they shall be numbered with prophets, martyrs, and saints, in glory everlasting.
The admonition arising from all this doctrine is expressed for us in few words by the Apostle -let us labour, therefore, to enter into that Rest; the plain interpretation is, let us study to enter into that Rest; which none will find, but they who make it their study to obtain it: labouring with this assurance, that as certainly as the six days of work are followed by the Sabbath, so surely will the labours of faith be followed by that Sabbatism (that State of Rest signified by the Sabbath) which remaineth for the people of God. And as you see that all men have not a share in the Sabbath here, but either neglect the use, or despise the blessings of it; so it will be hereafter. Many are following their own vain pleasures on the Lord's day; many are absent from the church; and some sotting away their time in public houses;
many are drudging at the accounts of their worldly occupations, rather preferring incessant labour for themselves, and the poor unfortunate beasts which serve them, than partaking thankfully of that holy relaxation which God hath given them in great goodness, for the ease of their bodies, and the edification of their minds. Such poor
mistaken souls were found among the Israelites, who were led out of Egypt by Moses: they had no taste for that Rest which was before them, but thought scorn of the pleasant land, and lusted after the ways of Egypt; where they had been in bondage, under that idle people, who kept them constantly to hard labour. Yet thither did those besotted people wish to go again, rather than follow God into a land of liberty. So they fell short in the wilderness, and never saw the blessings of Canaan. Their example is followed by thousands of perverse people, who are enemies to themselves, and lust after their own misery: leading a life of more labour and sorrow than God ever imposed upon any of his servants, and finding no rest in death. Their example is proposed to us, that we may not follow it. Let us therefore labour to enter into that rest, that we may not fall after the same example of unbelief : then
shall we rest from our labours, and our works will follow us.
Your minds will now be naturally asking the question, how far the things which have been spoken are applicable to the present occasion? You will expect I should make that application: and I should be unkind to you, and unjust to the departed, if I were to avoid it.
To speak of those who are gone, is often dangerous; because, perhaps, we cannot speak well, and humanity and decency forbid us to speak ill. To say the truth, I verily believe, it is partly owing to the decay of Christian piety, and the increasing corruption of the times, that funeral sermons are gone so much out of fashion: because so few are now found who are fit for them. However, we are under no difficulties of that kind in the instance now before us: had I thought so, I should by no means have made it my own choice, as I have done, to appear in the pulpit on this occasion.
Of our dear sister here departed, nothing can be said but what is good, and may edify the hearers. Such indeed was her own meekness and lowliness of mind, that she would have taken all praise for flattery; and I dare not have spoken it: but we may speak now without offence. How many useful, humble, exemplary characters there are in private life, who are never spoken of in public, to the end that their virtues may be applauded and imitated: who pass off the stage of life unknown and unnoticed : like the flowers which blow in a pathless wilderness, and fall to the ground in secret!
Nothing was more distinguishable in her character, than that persevering quietness and mildness of spirit, which seemed never to have been moved to speak evil of any one. What a peaceable, and what a happy world would this be, if all were of that mind! It is very remarkable, that one of the last good offices of her life, was an affectionate attempt to restore the disturbed mind of a neighbour to the comforts of peace and reconciliation. By which we may judge, that, among her other good gifts, she would have bequeathed to us all, if it had been in her power, that blessed spirit of peace which regulated and adorned her own life. If she could have done this, I hope there are none here present who would not have been ready to receive it and cultivate it; because it would make them happy, as it did her, and bring them nearer to that kingdom of peace, to which she is translated.