« PreviousContinue »
the celestial glories of immortality, and in the presence of an attending angel, "whose countenance was like lightning and whose raiment was white like snow," broke the spell of death, arose in triumph over the grave, and prepared the way to the blest mansions in his Father's house for those on whose account he had graciously condescended to suffer and die and rise again. It was to conquer the power of death, and open the realms of eternal light to man, that Jesus both "died for our offences and rose again for our justification.”
Here there is a consolation which philosophy could never furnish—a consolation worthy the exalted character of the great “Savior of all men,” and every way satisfactory to the desires and hopes which the Father of our spirits has implanted in the hearts of his intelligent creatures. Let us "rejoice with joy unspeakable," and be grateful beyond expression, that the Almighty “having made peace by the blood of Jesus? cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself,” shall behold his "beloved son,” faithtul "to do the will of him that sent hiin,"_"deliver up the kingdoni to God, even the Father, that he may be all in all!"
These, my brethren, are consolations of which we of, ten stand in need; and they recommend themselves, particularly at this tinie, to your grateful improvement,
Death, regardless of excellence and deaf to all entrea. ties, has levelled with the earth a citizen, in the midst of his usefulness, and deservedly in possession of your confidence and esteem. A good man has fallen among you ; and we may, with no inconsiderable propriety, adopt, in reference to him, the language ot' Isaiah and say: "The Lord, the Lord of hosts, doth take away--the honorablo man, and the counsellur-and the eloquent orator."
As a citizen, a mason, a lawyer and a legislator, Col. WHEELER was distinguished for his unassuming preten
sions, his modest virtue, bis fraternal feeling, and an able and faithful discharge of responsible duties. You, fellow citizens, knew him well; and it is no part of adulation to say, you prized and honored him. Educated in the first literary institution in our country, and improving other important advantages, he was qualified to be, what he truly was, an honorable and a useful member of society. That he was such, the grief, which his death has occasioned to a large circle of friends, is an evidence not to be resisted. As a member of the masonic family, in which he sustained high and important offices, he was worthy and well qualified. Spreading the cement of brotherly love and affection, he had a heart to entertain and a disposition to discharge the benevolent duties of the mystic tie. As a lawyer, he was learned and honorable ; nothing mean entered into the composition of his legal character. As a legislator, Col. WHEELER's character is known to the public. For a number of years he had been a member at the Senate board of this State ; and for the two last, he exercised, with acknowledged ability and impartiality, the arduous duties of President of that branch of our Legislature. By his death, the second office in the State is vacated. Too honest and independent to be the subject of intrigue or the tool of a party, he might have acquired the political enmity of a few; but those who knew him best, will be the first to bear witness to the purity of his motives and the sincerity of his intentions.
It is true he left no relatives in this section of the country to receive his last farewell, or to drop the tear of affection over his peaceful grave. But he wanted pot for friends; and mourners are as numerous as his acquaintances. Virtue makes friends with sympathies as sincere as those of consanguinity. Such friends he had; and such are now willing to frequent bis grave and revive the memory of a brother whose sudden exit has cast a gloom among the circles in which he moved.
He often expressed with becoming gratitude, his hope in a future state of glorious immortality; but, “slave to no sect,” he entertained a commendable charity for all'; believing that,
“Faith, law, morals, all began, All end, in LOVE TO GOD, and LOVE TO MAN.” And while we venerate the memory of a departed friend on account of the attainments and virtues for which he was distinguished, we may prove the sincerity of our veneration by casting, now, the mantle of charity over his errors, and emulating whatever of excellency may have engaged our approbation. Thus shall the remembrance of the dead become instructive and useful to us. It is true he has fallen a prey to the relentless demands of death, at a time perhaps, when expectation and desire were strong; but, since “we mourn not as those who have no hope,” let us rejoice in the belief that, “OUR BROTHER SHALL BE RAISED AGAIN” by the strong hand of the lion of the tribe of Judah, to labor forever in that celestial Temple of glory and praise, whose builder and maker is the supreme Architect above.
As life wastes away, and adverse changes multiply around us, let us, my brethren, "live worthy the vocation wherewith we are called ;" acknowledging the inestimable value of the christian doctrine of "life and immortality," and accepting the consolations which it is eminently calculated to afford.
For the Repository.
REMARKS ON JOHN VI. 49, 50.
"Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead. This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof and not die.”
The sentiments conveyed in these words of the Savior, as well as throughout the context, seem to correspond with those which I have endeavored to maintain in the communications which I have made to the public through the Repository.
* The Israelites who ate manna in the wilderness, and not the true bread which imparteth eternal life to the soul, are dead ; that is, as Lunderstand the subject, they are not now in a state of conscious existence, either in heaven or bell, as is generally supposed. What other meaning can rationally be attached to these words of Christ? Can it be supposed that Christ meant, that altho those Israelites are in a state of individual conscious existence in the invisible world, they are yet dead in sin, or spiritually dead? Tbis must have been his meaning, unless he meant, that they were in a state of unconsciousness. But spiritual death, in order to be entitled to that appellation, must mean moral insepsibility; as natural death means natural insensibility. If those Israelites, therefore, were at the time our Lord delivered the sentiments before us, dead in this sense, it is much the same in amount as if they were not in existence; for while the soul, or mind, is morally insensible, it is incapable either of happiness or misery. In this present state of existence, the mind that is not sensible to right and wrong; that is, morally or spiritually alive, has neither happiness or misery, as a rational and moral being. A person in this predicament is precisely in the condition of any irrational animal. We inay then as well suppose that Christ meant that those Israelites were extinct, as that they were in existence, but spiritually dead. But I confess myself unable to conceive of a spiritual being, in a spiritual world, in a state of spiritual death. Therefore I do not see suffi2 cient reason for believing that those Israelites' were in a state of individual conscious existence, in the invisible spiritual world.
But, on the other hand, thosé whő should receive Christ, would receive spiritual, incor. ruptible, eternal life, and, having such life, would not die, in any 'sense of the word, even at the dissolution of the natural body; but, at that period, rising in spiritual body, made like unto Christ's glorious body, they would continue on, for ought I know, an interminable exist
Now all this is strikingly represented in the jour. neying of the Israelites from Egypt to Canaan. When they arrived at the river Jordan, which, no doubt, partly represents the dividing line between the mortal and immortal state, between time and eternity; the question was not, whether those who had been disobe! dient should be punished on the other side of the 'dividing strean; but whether they should be permitted to pass over. All were safe, as it respected any punishment for past misconduct, provided they could reach the further shore. But alas ! thousands fell and perished on the wilderness side of Jordan. Even so, in respect to a future immortal state, it is no question, in my mind, whether the impenitent here will there receive their punishment, but whether they will ever reach that heavenly land. I have already given my views of the final destiny of such persons, but I beg leave here to introduce a case in further illustration of them. Vol. VII.