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JOHN xi. 11.
“ These things said he : and after that He saith
unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth ; but
I go that I may awake him out of sleep." In the last lecture we left our blessed Sa. viour first inviting his disciples to return to Judea again ; and when they were unwilling to encounter the danger, answering their objections by this weighty reply, “ Are there not twelve hours in the day? If any man walk in the day, he stumbleth not, because he seeth the light of this world; but if a man walk in the night, he stumbleth, because there is no light in him.”
In the verse to which we are now brought, we have our Lord revealing to them the death of Lazarus; but doing this in that gentle manner, which might not only preserve them from over much sorrow, but afford them a very cheering hope of his restoration to life.
“Our friend Lazarus sleepeth ; but I go that I may awake him out of sleep.”
It is now some years since, that I preached a funeral sermon from these words, on the occasion of the death of a young physician, a member of my congregation when in Lon.' don; a peculiarly conscientious and heavenly minded Christian. You may judge, in some measure, of his advanced state, by his conduct in health, and his experience when on the brink of the grave. When asked his sentiments of self-examination, he said : “Since I knew any thing of real religion, I have been in the constant habit, if possible, of bringing every word of the day under review, and comparing it with the word of God, trying its motive and its end." This was his practice in health ; so careful even of his words, not to say of his actions, that not one of them passed his lips without his desiring to bring it under review.
* The late William Moore, Esq.. M.D., of Trinity College, Dublin.
And this was his experience when on the brink of the grave. When informed by one of his medical friends that he would not long survive, he said, “It was good news.” He had been afraid to hope it lest he should desire anything contrary to the will of God; he then lifted up his heart and voice in prayer : “ O Lord, come and take me to thyself. Whom have I, O Lord Jesus, in heaven but thee, and there is none upon earth I desire beside thee?"
It was upon the occasion of the departure of this eminently holy Christian, that I selected for my text the verse of this narrative, to which, in the providence of God, we are now arrived :
arrived : “Our friend Lazarus sleepeth.” The love that I bear to him, and my earnest desire that you may benefit by his bright example, would not allow me to pass by this event—the more particularly, as although you were not personally acquainted with him, there are circumstances connected with him, in which you may take a lively interest. First, he departed this life in the house of those eminent Christians,* the memorial of whose very mournful loss in the Rothsay Castle steamer, is placed in this church ; and the only notes of my discourse are in that dear Christian lady's handwriting, she having copied them, that the original might be given to comfort his bereaved widow.
You have this further interest also in him, that his widow and her only son have been, at different times, worshippers in this church. I say have been; for he, like his father, has been early called to worship in the temple above, leaving this testimony of the grace bestowed upon him. When asked by his mother, during his illness, if there was anything he wished her to pray for, he replied, “ That I may have patience and resignation, and get the good of this affliction.” And, in a subsequent conversation, he said: “It is my wish that God may not remove this illness till he has accomplished the end he has in view, whether it be for life or for death ;" and added, " That is a beautiful text : • Acquaint now thyself with him, and be at peace.'” Early in the night in which he was taken to his rest, he said to the pious nurse who attended him : “ The last conflict is beginning ; not a conflict with death, for the sting of death is gone ; but a conflict with giving up my mother.” The nurse answered, “God is a very present help, He will strengthen you.” He said, “ Thank you, that is a seasonable word.” Some time after, when in the faintness of departing life he felt that he was hastening to his heavenly home, he looked up with the sweetest expression, and said, “Lord Jesus, receive
* The late much lamented Mr. and Mrs. Forster.
my spirit.” He then looked at his mother, and said, “Dear mother, good bye. The prayer I offered for you before, is what I ask for you now, that God will be better to you than v ten sons.'” Shortly after, when, being somewhat revived, he asked if she thought he would depart that night, and the question being returned, What were his own wishes, he made this remarkable answer, “I feel so