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Three Funeral Sermons

Three Funeral Sermons

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Published by glennpease
BY REV. D. MERRILL
BY REV. D. MERRILL

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Published by: glennpease on Jun 23, 2013
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11/29/2013

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THREE FUNERAL SERMONSBY REV. D. MERRILLTHE DEATH OF REV. L. WORCESTER
That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and pa-tience inherit the promises. Hebrews vi. 12.God has never left himself without witness. His mercy andgrace have been manifested in every age, through a hundredgenerations. His people have been scattered along the wholetrack of time. In the darkest season they have been far morenumerous than is generally apprehended. The great mass of themhave "served their generation by the will of God," and diedunknown to the world. Having performed the duties of theirappointed station, they finished their course and slept in peace.Their memorial has perished with them from the earth, buttheir record is on high. Of those whose names are remem-bered, a great portion are known only by the things whichthey endured. They also were passing quietly through life,but persecution and affliction dragged them into fame. Thepeople of God have been placed in every variety of circum-stances, and have endured all conceivable suffering. And the"trial of their faith, being much more precious than of goldthat perisheth, though it were tried with fire, was found untopraise, and honor, and glory." After they had patiently en-* When Mr. Worcester died, Mr. Merrill was absent on a journey to theWest ; and the sermon at the funeral was preached by Kev. David Suther-land, of Bath, X. H. The following discourse and biographical sketch weredelivered on Sunday, June 14, 1846. The facts concerning Mr. W. were com-municated by himself some time before his death, expressly for use in thissermon. T. S. P.11
i-- KEY. D. MERRILL S SERMONS.diired, tliey oLtained the promises. The pathway throughearth to heaven, tlien, is no new or untrodden path. It hasbeen traveled in every age, from the first martyr downward.Numbers without number have in this way ascended to heaven.Christianity presents no new or unattempted enterprise. Weare not allured by hopes which can never be realized, or dazzledby a glory which can never be reached. The appeal is not toimagination or fancy, to draw us on to a desperate enterprise.On the contrary, it appeals to facts, — what man has done, —and from what has been done to what may be done. It pre-sents us not merely the enemies, the difficulties and the glory ;but the enemies overcome, the difficulties surmounted, theglory attained. It requires of us only what millions of ourrace have done before us. It points to the saints who haveobtained the prize. You see what they were, how they over-came, what they are now, how glorious their elevation, how
 
high their enjoyment. Be ye followers of them.Yet their example too often fails of its proper influence.We look upon them as a kind of superior beings. We standat a reverent distance and admire, but feel that it would bealmost presumption to think of imitating. We class ourselveswith prophets, and apostles, and ancient saints, — we tread intheir footsteps and aspire to a participation of their glory ! Whatare we, miserable mortals, that ever such thoughts should enterour hearts ? We can hardly persuade ourselves that they weremere human beings, just as we are. And while, in fancy, we ex-alt them to a superior rank, we lose the benefit of their example ;for it seems no longer the example of mere men, and so no longera specimen or an evidence of what man can be, or do, or reach.We thus, by a false modesty, deprive ourselves of the encour-agement which their example is recorded on purpose to give,ON THE DEATH OF REV. L. AVORCESTER. 123and perhaps excuse ourselves from ever seeking the elevationand glory which they have reached. Freed from the frailtiesof humanity, and with a kind of angelic nature, well mightthey aspire high, and reach the object of their high aspiring,too. If their characters had been drawn in angelic colors,there might have been some foundation for all this. But thewriters of their history never adopted the old motto, and as ab-surd as it is old, " speak nothing of the dead but good."Their history is so written as to identify them with humanity.For it was well understood that just in proportion as theyseemed not to be human, just in that proportion would humanbeings find an excuse for being unlike them. Their examplewould benefit and attract human beings, only as they were de-scribed and felt to be human. This, by the way, is one greatreason why their frailties and sins as well as their holiness anddevotion are put on record ; — to show us that they were humanbeings, and nothing more. Their conflict and final triumphwas the conflict and triumph of human nature — of men, not of superior beings in human shape.This matter is worthy of more particular attention, as, afterall, we can hardly persuade ourselves that they had not greatlythe advantage of us. Let us make the examination, and wecan hardly fail to see that the advantages are with us, ratherthan with them.I. They were partakers of the same nature with us.Their bodies and their souls were constituted like ours. Theywere by nature, as well as we, children of wrath, being chil-dren of disobedience — born in sin and shapcn in iniquity.Their natural perverseness in many cases was strengthened byyears of evil practice. Of Elijah it was said, he was " subjectto like passions as we are," — that is, just a man, as we are.124
 
RET. D.The apostles claimed to be nothing more. " We also arc menof like passions with you." They had not merely the shapesof men, but the feelings, the sympathies, the infirmities, theweaknesses of men. In this respect they stand upon the samelevel with us — no higher nature — no nobler faculties — encom-passed with the same body of sin and death.II. They were exposed to the same temptations, — theworld, the flesh, the Devil. These three beset them in everyform, and they were tried in all points as we are. The worldspread its charms to allure them from God. Its pleasurescourted them as they do us. The Mammon of unrighteousnessshowed his hoards of wealth, and the distinctions of earth ap-pealed to their affections and ambition as they do now to ours.In the service of God they went against the current, they cameout and were separate from the world. They contended "notagainst flesh and blood" merely, but "against principalities,against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world,against spiritual wickedness in high places." All that hasbeen brought to bear against our religion in these latter days,their enemies understood and employed against theirs. Therehath no temptation taken us, but such as was common to them.On the contrary, we are happily free from much that was -com-mon to them, — " mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover,bonds and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawnasunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword : they wan-dered about in sheep-skins and goat-skins, being destitute, af-flicted, tormented." But we dwell in quiet habitations, withnone to molest or make us afraid.Then frequently how solitary was their religion. AVe comewith the multitude that keep holy day, and hand joins hand inthe service of God. We are encouraged by the example of ON TUE DEATH OF REV. L. WORCESTER. 125others, and their presence keeps us in countenance. ButAbraham built his altar alone, and worshipped in solitude, withnone to sustain him beyond the range of his own family. Thecountry where he dwelt a stranger, was full of people. Butthere was none to join with his worship, or sympathize with hisreligion. How solitary the worship and how desolate the feel-ing of Elijah, when he said, "I, even I only, am left; andthey seek my life to take it away." We arc made for society.We rejoice in the company of men of like sentiments and feel-ings — and the more, the higher our enjoyment. How severethe trial of solitude — how difficult to be faithful among thefaithless. We are sometimes- tried severely. We feel that" our feet are almost gone, our steps have well nigh slipped."

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