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going through this chequered vale of life, to any who are the true disciples of Jesus. Not, indeed, to relieve them as she was relieved, by recalling the lamented dead to life again, but by the sweet hope suggested in his mild encouraging lessons bequeathed to us by him, (2 Tim. i. 10.) “who hath abolished death, and brought life and immortality to life through the gospel.”
If, indeed, those whose loss we deplore, have been wicked, have abused their talents, have neglected their season of virtuous improvement, there is no remedy ; for, whoever neglecteth and violateth the sacred laws of God, of truth, and integrity, and repenteth not here, must suffer proportionably in that other world. We must carry our sorrow for such to our grave; although beyond that sorrow will not go with those that love and fear God: but remedies and reliefs unknown and undiscoverable here, may be found hereafter.
But if your departed friends, and the objects of your dear affection, have been the sincere and faithful servants of God, and obedient followers of Christ; free from all habit of wilful offence, though surrounded with many weaknesses and imperfections, against which they are daily striving, and overcoming them ;
then may you adopt that pleasing expectation which the apostle holds forth; (1 Thess. iv. 13, 14.) “I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them that are asleep; that
ye sorrow not even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.”
The apostle would not have been commissioned to bid us not to sorrow as persons quite hopeless, if we were never more to behold our virtuous friends in whom we delighted: for then they would be wholly lost to us. But his bidding us to hope, is allowing us to cherish the grateful thought of seeing them again.
And, indeed, the reason of the thing, and many pleasing intimations dispersed throughout the New Testament, especially in the epistles of St. Paul, authorize us to entertain an undoubting persuasion, that the holy and the good, the approved of God, under
dispensation of religion, shall not only meet again in that future world, but shall retain their knowledge of each other, and virtuous friendships be renewed; though on no such partial confined plan as necessarily takes place here.
What instruction such an assured expectation after death suggests concerning the friendships we contract in this world, and what caution it dictates to avoid all intimate connexions, except with the virtuous and the worthy, I cannot stay now to relate.
Concerning this person here restored to life by our Lord, we are not told what became of him afterwards, or what part he acted in life : nothing whatsoever is said of him, Some, who have endeavoured to bring into discredit our Saviour's miracles, have blamed this utter silence in this and some similar instances, though without cause; whilst others have too eagerly wished to have been told more.
But large volumes must have been composed to satisfy such persons. And surely there was much wisdom as well as goodness, in books written for the use of all, but chiefly of the poor and unlearned, whose numbers are by far the greatest ; to bring the whole of such a momentous event, containing such a variety of facts and instruction, and in which such a vast number of persons were concerned, into as short a compass as might be. And this is ef.
fected in the gospel-history by the four evangelists, and in St. Luke's continuation of his history called The Acts, in such a way that the most learned cannot enough admire their fullness, while the less learned may easily comprehend and retain what is delivered.
It is, moreover, always to be attended to upon this argument,
that the sacred books of the New Testament were not written to gratify our curiosity about persons, or things, or opinions, which we might have wished to be more clearly informed about ; but barely to relate the history of Christ, as the promised prophet and great teacher, and Saviour of the world; and to let us into the success and progress of his gospel in such a plain convincing manner, as to induce all men to become his disciples. As St. John expresses it, to the persons for whom he immediately penned his book of the gospel ; (xx. 31.) written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that, believing, ye might have life through his name.”
This young man may have been a valuable character; and though not distinguished for abilities or rank, (of which, however, we know nothing one way or the other,) may have borne
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a private useful testimony to the truth, by a modest acknowledgement and recital, on all proper occasions, of the miracle wrought for him, and by satisfying serious inquisitive petsons of the reality of it.
And in like sort, other men and women who were miraculously healed of various diseases by our Lord, though we hear no more of them, might, and most probably in their several stations did, help forward and assist in promoting the gospel, by preparing those among their friends and acquaintance who were thoughtful and serious, to believe it, and receive those who afterwards preached it to them.
And although their names are not celebrated or recorded in the annals of history, yet their record is on high ; and their good deeds to the gospel of Christ, to propagate piety and virtue, are known to God, and put down in " the book of remembrance (as the prophet Malachi speaks, iii. 16.) written before him, for them that (in trying times) feared the Lord and thought upon his name.
Be it our labour and study so to lead holy lives, that our names may be found written in this book of God, and then it is of no con