On Death
Ecclesiastes 12:5
Also when they shall be afraid of that which is high, and fears shall be in the way, and the almond tree shall flourish…

I. CONSIDER THE DEATH OF INDIFFERENT PERSONS; if any can be called indifferent to whom we are so nearly allied as brethren by nature, and brethren in mortality. When we observe the funerals that pass along the streets, or when we walk along the monuments of death, the first thing that naturally strikes us is the undistinguishing blow with which that common enemy levels all. One day, we see carried along the coffin of the smiling infant; the flower just nipped as it began to blossom in the parents' view; and the next day, we behold a young man, or young woman, of blooming form and promising hopes, laid in an untimely grave. While the funeral is attended by a numerous, unconcerned company, who are discoursing to one another about the news of the day, or the ordinary affairs of life, let our thoughts rather follow to the house of mourning, and represent to themselves what is going on there. There, we should see a disconsolats family, sitting in silent grief, thinking of the sad breach that is made in their little society; and, with tears in their eyes, looking to the chamber that is now left vacant, and to every memorial that presents itself of their departed friend. By such attention to the woes of others, the selfish hardness of our hearts will be gradually softened, and melted down into humanity.

II. CONSIDER THE DEATH OF OUR FRIENDS. Then, indeed, is the time to weep. Let not; a false idea of fortitude, or mistaken conceptions of religious duty, be employed to restrain the bursting emotion. Let the heart seek its relief in the free effusion of just and natural sorrow. It is becoming in every one to show, on such occasions, that he feels as a man ought to feel. At the same time, let moderation temper the grief of a good man and a Christian. He must not sorrow like those who have no hope. They whom we have loved still live, though not present to us. They are only removed into a different mansion in the house of the common Father. In due time, we hope to be associated with them in these blissful habitations. Until this season of reunion arrive, no principle of religion discourages our holding correspondence of affection with them by means of faith and hope. Meanwhile, let us respect the virtues and cherish the memory of the deceased. Let their little failings be now forgotten. Let us dwell on what was amiable in their character, imitate their worth, and trace their steps. Moreover, let the remembrance of the friends whom we have lest strengthen our affection to those that remain. The narrower the circle becomes of those we love, let us draw the closer together. But they are not only our friends who die. Our enemies also must go to their long home.

III. CONSIDER HOW WE OUGHT TO BE AFFECTED, WHEN THEY FROM WHOM SUSPICIONS HAVE ALIENATED, OR RIVALRY HAS DIVIDED US; they with whom we have long contended, or by whom we imagine ourselves to have suffered wrong, ARE LAID, OR ABOUT TO BE LAID, IN THE GRAVE. How inconsiderable then appear those broils in which we have been long involved, those contests and feuds which we thought were to last for ever! The awful moment that now terminals them makes us feel their vanity. Let the anticipation of such sentiments serve now to correct the inveteracy of prejudice, to cool the heat of anger, to allay the fierceness of resentment. When a few suns more have rolled over our heads, friends and foes shall have retreated together; and their love and their hatred be equally buried. Let our few days, then, be spent in peace. While we are all journeying onwards to death, let us rather bear one another's burdens, than harass one another by the way. Let us smooth and cheer the road as much as we can, rather than fill the valley of our pilgrimage with the hateful monuments of our contention and strife.

(H. Blair, D. D.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: Also when they shall be afraid of that which is high, and fears shall be in the way, and the almond tree shall flourish, and the grasshopper shall be a burden, and desire shall fail: because man goeth to his long home, and the mourners go about the streets:

WEB: yes, they shall be afraid of heights, and terrors will be in the way; and the almond tree shall blossom, and the grasshopper shall be a burden, and desire shall fail; because man goes to his everlasting home, and the mourners go about the streets:

Man's Long Home
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