« VorigeDoorgaan »
The Gift of William Welloor
PROVERBS X:VII.—“THE MEMORY OF THE JUST IS BLESSED."
The good man is long remembered. His memory is most precious. As the light of the sun lingers on the mountain side, bathing in gold the cloud and sky long after he sinks below the horizon, making the approach of night even more beautiful than the brightness of the noon, so the memory of the just lingers long after the living form retires from the scenes of active life.
Indeed, the good man's character seems to enhance in dignity when seen through the shadows of the grave. They become a prism through which the life is more perfect,the name is as "ointment poured forth"; defects are rendered less obvious, virtues more prominent, and the whole man, clothed in the garments of christian charity, walks forth winning the confidence of men and awakening praise to Almighty God.
The usefulness of the wise and good is often increased by the event of death. "Being dead they yet speak," and they speak in a louder, tenderer and more convincing voice than before. Paul did much for Christ while present with the churches-but more since he has entered the presence of the Father. The memory of his name has done more than his example-his epistles more than his preaching.
The poor widow who cast two mites into the treasury of the Lord, did little for her Savior while living. But that self-sacrificing deed has been told in all ages, by all tongues, "for a memorial of her."
Such men as Luther, Knox, Bunyan, did much while living to extend the name of Christ, but far more since the dark shadows of the grave closed upon them. They are yet, with hundreds of others like them, laboring to extend the gospel-promote virtue-defend the principles of civil and religious liberty, and upbuild the kingdom of Christ in the earth.
We often speak of the "dead past" as something to be left behind in the world's progress. But that "dead past is often possessed of a vitality which refuses oblivion. It is written on leaves more enduring than brass. If sanctified by the grace of God, it is held in everlasting remembrance.
Infinite wisdom alone can adjust the balances of human influence. It may, however, be seen in that day when God shall review the deeds of earth, and unfold those secret forces which have controlled the destinies of men, that memory was even more potent than the precept or example of the living. Thus the good man who spends his threescore and ten years in the earth really lives centuries.
No vegetable matter is lost. It falls, decays, but it passes into new forms of life, more beautiful than before. So the memory of the past is interwoven with the living present. The good man lives in those who come after him.
It is well, therefore, to embalm the memory of the just in such forms as will best prevent decay. Most carefully should these rich jewels of the church be enshrined. If the christian may do more for the church and the world after death than before, then the work of truthful biography is most sacred and solemn. Not for the honor of the departed is this pious work performed, but for the sake of the living, the good of the yet unborn, for the glory of God in the triumphs of his grace.
With this purpose I will call attention to the memory of the late beloved pastor and teacher of this church and people.
During the period of forty years he dwelt among you. He gave you the vigor of his youth, the strength of his manhood, the wisdom of his years.
He finished his life-work on the field where he commenced it. With a fitness in which we must recognize the hand of Providence, he completed his long pastorate and laid down to rest, near the same time. It was a singularly appropriate close to a life remarkable for symmetry and beauty. His three-score years and ten were passed. His work was done. His vigorous constitution had begun to yield to the incipient approach of disease. His successor, a man in whom he had the fullest confidence, had been installed. Now, while all was fresh about him-while his age had not passed beyond the sallow leaf, and the hearts of his people had not been withdrawn from one who had served them so long, "The voice at midnight came.'
When devout men, on that calm and sunny day, took up that way-worn body and with many tears, yea, with smiles through their tears, laid the pastor in his grave beside kindred dust, with those around him, a great company to whom he had preached the gospel of the grace of God, we all felt the harmony of those words
"Soldier of Christ, well done,
Rev. Thomas Savage was born September 2d, 1794, in Boston, Mass. His father's family emigrated from London, England, in 1635, and settled in Boston, where all the succeeding generations have had their birth, and most of them their residence. Thomas was the son of Ezekiel. His