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The Living Go to the Dead.

The Living Go to the Dead.

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Published by GLENN DALE PEASE
BY NATHANAEL EMMONS, D. D.


II. SAMUEL, XII. 23.

I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.
BY NATHANAEL EMMONS, D. D.


II. SAMUEL, XII. 23.

I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Aug 29, 2013
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02/15/2014

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THE LIVIG GO TO THE DEAD.BY ATHAAEL EMMOS, D. D.II. SAMUEL, XII. 23.I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.While David's child was sick, he put on sackcloth,lay in the dust, fasted, and besought the Lord to sparehis life. But as soon as he perceived the child wasdead, he arose from the earth, and washed and anoint-ed himself, and changed his apparel, and came intothe house of the Lord, and worshipped : then he cameto his own house ; and when he required, they setbread before him, and he did eat. This sudden changein his appearance and conduct, was surprising to hisservants, who expected that the death of his childwould increase, rather than abate the anguish of hisheart. They accordingly said unto him, " What thingis this that thou hast done ? thou didst fast and weepfor the child while it was alive ; but when thechild was dead thou didst rise and eat bread. Andhe said, while the child was yet alive I fasted andwept ; for I said, who can tell whether God will begracious to me, that the child may live ? But now heis dead, wherefore should I fast ? can I bring him back again. '•^ I shall go to him, but he shall not return^ to me.'''Such a reflection as this, ought to strike the minds of the living, whenever they see any of their relatives,friends, or acquaintance, called out of this into anotherworld. We are much more apt to realize, that our de-parted friends will not return to this world, than that56442 sERMoir xxvii.
 
we shall follow them into another. The truth, there-fore, which lies upon the very face of the text, deservesa very serious consideration :That the dead will not return to the living, but theliving will go to the dead.The subject naturally divides itself into two branch-es, which I shall distinctly consider.1. Let us consider, that the dead will not return tothe living.We know there is often a strong desire in the living,that the dead might return to them in this world. Theywant to see them and converse with them about bothtemporal and eternal things. This is more frequentlythe case, when any have lost their friends at a dis-tance, and had no opportunity of making or receivingcommunications of serious and weighty importance.And there is another more common motive for desir-ing the deceased to return, which is, to know theirfinal condition. Many, who would not wish to go intothe eternal world to see their departed friends, wouldyet be highly gratified to sec them once more in thislife. And it is very probable, on the other hand, thatmany or all the deceased would be very glad to returnto the living, either to say or do something, that theydid not or could not say or do before they left theworld. But such mutual desires of the living and of the dead to meet again in this world, will not be in-dulged, because the dead will not be allowed to revis-it the earth, where they finished their course, andperformed the last act on the stage of life. " As thecloud is consumed, and vahisheth away : so he thatgoeth down to the grave shall come up no more. Heshall return no more to his house, neither shall hisplace know him any more." God has placed a bar-rier between this and the other world ; but what thatbarrier is we know not : we only know that it is com-
 
pletely sufficient to prevent all intercourse betweenthe living and the dead. The living have sometimesrequested the dead before they left the world, to break over this barrier and appear to them again ; and theySERMO XXVII. 443have engaged to do it, if it should be in their power.But there has been no well authenticated instance of the dead's returning from the world of spirits. In thiscase, as well as in many others, God confirms by hisprovidence what he has declared in his word. Hesays the dead shall not return, and he does not allowthem to return. It is true, in several instances he hasraised the dead miraculously to answer some import-ant purposes. But such instances serve to confirm thegeneral truth, that the dead shall not return to thisworld again. Why God will not suffer the dead to re-turn, we can only conjecture. It may be, as the apos-tle Paul suggests, because neither the happy nor themiserable can communicate to the living what they haveseen, or known among the dead ; or it may be be-cause, as Christ intimates, no communications thateither the happy or the miserable could make, wouldbe of any real service to confirm the living. It is cer-tain, however, that for wise and good reasons, God hasabsolutely determined, that the dead shall not returnto this world after their spirits are absent from theirbodies. They have gone to their long home, wherethey must abide forever; and where the living cannever see them, without going to them. And this,II. They must all sooner or later do.Immediately after the apostacy of Adam, Godtold him, and through him every one of his posterity,'• Dust thou art, and unto dust thou shalt return."This sentence of mortality assures all the living that

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