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AT THE FUNERAL OF MISS MARY LAKE",
TU WHO DIED IN OCTOBER, 1771, AGED THIRTY-ONE.
LUKE XII. 40.
Be ye therefore ready also; for the Son of Man
cometh at an hour when ye think not.
You will better comprehend the meaning and force of the exhortation, if I read you the whole passage, beginning at the 31st verse, where our Lord directs the thoughts and pursuits of his disciples towards heaven; “ But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you.
Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell that ye have, and give alms : provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens, which faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth: for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning, and ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their Lord, when he will return from the wed. ding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may
She died of a mortification in her foot, which seized her, without any previous disorder, in the evening, and crept upward so rapidly that she died at noon the next day,
open to him immediately. Blessed are those ser.yants whom the Lord, when he cometh, shall find watching : Verily I say unto you, he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them. And if he shall come in the second watch, or'come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants. And this know, if the good man of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched, and not have suffered his house to be broken through. Be ye therefore ready also : for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not.”
In this connection with the context, the words are weighty : but perhaps they will appear still more striking, if we consider them in connection with the providence. Imagine them to be the parting counsel of her whose death we mourn. Imagine, that, having leave from Him who hath the keys of death and the invisible world, to spend one hour more in this house, where she had spent so many pleasant ones in her life-time. Suppose that she were now to come in, and addressing herself first to her, afflicted parents,—then to her dear-loved brothers and sisters,—then to her particular friends and acquaintance,-and then to all whom affection or curiosity may have now brought together, she relates the particulars of her own surprising story ;
“ Be ye therefore ready also; for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not. I am sure he did so to me. I little thought of dying when Death first put his clay-cold hand upon my foot. I was sickly, it is true; but I was young, and thought I might rub on for some years
and then says,
at least: but the God of my life had thought others wise. My heavenly Father saw how unfit I was to struggle with bodily infirmities and spiritual wicked. ness, and graciously beckoned me to retire. If Í had not been ready, I had been miserable indeed ; for what could I have done then, when Death was making such a rapid progress from my foot to my heart What would those few hours of confusion and amazement have been, to repent of a life full of rebellion ; to get the heart of stone broken and taken away, and a new and softer heart put in the room of it; to get my filthy soul washed from all its filthiness, and made meet to be a partaker of an inheritance among saints in light ?. If I had had all this to do then, I never could have done it. But, blessed be God, it was not to do then: it was some years ago I chose the Lord for my portion, and gåve myself up to him in a perpetual 'covenant never to be forgotten; and ever since (though with many and great imperfections) I have walked before him in truth and sincerity. I knew in whom I had believed, and was persuaded that he was able to keep what I had committed to him against that day ; and therefore, though when he came to call me I had not that full assurance of faith I have heard other Christians talk of, yet I had a good hope through grace, that God would be ever mindful of his covenant; and with that anchor to my soul I was ready to follow him any where; and actually did (as you saw and heard) walk through the valley of the shadow of death smiling and singing. - Therefore be ye also ready ; for in such an hour as ye think not, the Son of man cometh."
You are affected--I rejoice in it, as a favourable
omen. Your countenances seem to suggest the following general heads, as what you want to be immediately satisfied about: · 1. What is the Son of man coming for?
II. What must we be and do in order to be ready for his coming ?
III. What occasion is there to be in such a hurry about it?
I. What is the Son of man coming for?- What is it to us whether he comes at all or no? Tell us how are we like to be affected by his coming.
Death is only his messenger, whom he sends before, to knock at the door, and bid the soul of that man or woman that sojourns there, to come forth and meet him. We naturally desire life, and love many days: and if it were left to us to fix the time of our departure, we should put the evil day far off. Threescore years and ten, nor fourscore years, no, nor twice fourscore, would satisfy us; nay, we should probably mutter in our hearts, “Why must we die at all? Why mayn't we live here for ever? We don't wish to remove: this is all the heaven we care for. But it is not left to us : our times are in God's hand; and when we have lived long enough for his purpose, however it be as to our own, he sends, and orders us away. And when he cometh and knocketh, out goes the lamp of life, our purposes are broken off, and in that very day our thoughts perish. Perhaps we had been just saying, We will go into “such a city, and continue there 2 years and buy, and sell, and get gain;" or,
Soul, take thine ease; thou hast goods laid up for many years : eat, drink, and be merry."! Perhaps we had been forming schemes of public utility, and were just then beginning to do a little good in the world; or perhaps we were just beginning to think of our souls. We had been alarmed by the death of some of our companions, or by sorpe threatening symptoms in our own constitutions : or we may have been affected by some sermon that we have lately heard : some way or other we are alarmed, and put upon thinking on the way we are in, and whither it leads. We blush to think what wretches we have been ; how many years we have wasted in vanity and sin: we are vexed at our -folly, startled at our danger, and go to bed with a full resolution that we will set about religion in good earnest to-morrow. Alas! alas ! this very night, perhaps, the Son of man cometh, and requireth our souls at our hands; and there's no putting him off with an “ I pray thee have me excused;" no bidding him “ Go thy way for this time, and when I have a more convenient season I will send for thee.” No: if a man would give his house full of gold for a day, or an hour, to set his house or his heart in order, it would not be accepted. ::We must leave our unfinished plans, and perhaps unfurnished souls, and submit to be shrowded, and shut up close prisoners in the grave, where contrivance and labour cease for ever. -- 2. He is coming to summon you to judgment. y. 1. Our situation in this world is only that of servants, or stewards, each of us entrusted with a number of talents—some two, some five, some ten, according to our several abilities-which are to be