E. J. (Edward Jewitt) Wheeler.

Pulpit and grave; a volume of funeral sermons and addresses from leading pulpits of America, England, Germany and France online

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Online LibraryE. J. (Edward Jewitt) WheelerPulpit and grave; a volume of funeral sermons and addresses from leading pulpits of America, England, Germany and France → online text (page 1 of 33)
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Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year iboij

an Me Office of the Librarian of Congress at Washington, D. C,


IN no department of his work is the minister of the Gospel
called upon to perform duties more onerous, to meet claims more
exacting, than in the conducting of luneral services. The de-
mands upon the time of a popular pastor in a large community
are enormous, while the preacher in rural districts, who is called
upon to traverse miles of muddy road in the most inclement
weather, rarely fares better and often fares worse. Yet still more
taxing is the drain upon the vital energies of -a sympathetic pastor,
who, both as man and as minister, weeps with those that weep,
and is filled with solicitude that they mourn not as those who have
no hope. In addition to this, if his heart has bled over its own
personal losses, how are the wounds opened afresh as he is sum-
moned again and again to the house of mourning and to the side
of the open grave 1

Moreover, the responsibilities of his position are at such a time
so awful that no minister who appreciates them can feel other than
a sense of insufficiency, and an instinctive shrinking which no
length of experience can entirely remove. Life is full of crises,
but what one is fraught with more consequence than that which
overtakes the parent at the grave of a loved child, the child at the
grave of a parent ? None pass through it without change ; no
change carries with it vaster issues for weal or woe. Upon the



preacher, often to an extent terrible to contemplate, depends the
outcome. One earnest word from him at such a time may mean
a useful life saved to God and to the world ; one opportunity
slighted may cost a life lost to all eternity.

Upon young ministers these duties and responsibilities rest at
times with an almost crushing weight. Upon none should they
rest lightly. If by this volume they may be guided in the per-
formance of the one, and better prepared for the bearing of the
other, its purpose is accomplished, and an apology for its existence
is needless. In the effort to compass this, resort has been had to
a wide variety of the richest sermonic literature, from which the
compiler has gleaned with a view to satisfying the practical needs
of the preacher rather than to furnishing mere specimens of
eloquence. Many of the sermons given have never before been
published, having been supplied, upon request, by their authors,
to whom hearty thanks are hereby tendered. It is fitting also to
express my obligations to Dr. J. M. Sherwood for the rare judg-
ment with which he has aided both in the selection and arrange-
ment of material.

Upon the list of classified texts much care and labor have been
expended to render it a valuable aid to the preacher in the saving
of time. Many clergymen have adopted the custom of omitting
the text altogether and delivering what are known as obituary
addresses. The custom has its advantages, but it has not yet
obtained such favor either among clergymen or people as greatly
to impair the usefulness of a list of texts arranged for ready

In conclusion, while the object sought has been chiefly the
assistance of pastors in their ministrations among the dying and
the bereaved, it is believed that no volume but the Book of books
will be found fuller of consolation for the mourning. There are
here gathered thoughts from many minds, lessons from many
experiences, promptings from many hearts ; but they all teach


the one lesson of hope, trust, submission to an all-loving Father.
The reader will be led by many paths, but he will find them all
converging to the same point the Cross of Christ.

E. J. W.





The Fall of Hamilton Eliphalet Nott, D.D., LL.D 13

Consolation in Christ Christian E. Luthardt, D.D 31

Christ the Destroyer of Death Rev. C. H. Spurgeon 37

Confessions of Dying Men Joel Hawes, D.D 52

A Mother's Death Rev. Albert Barnes 66

An Overcoming Faith .Richard Fuller, D.D 79

The National Bereavement Rev. Henry Ward Beecher 94

Sorrow for Death of Friends I. S. Spencer, D.D 102

The Purpose of Divine Chastise-
ments Arthur T. Pierson, D.D 113

God's Voice to the Nation Tryon Edwards, D.D 123

The Funeral of the Soul H. B. Hooker, D.D 133


Responsibilities of the Living C. F. Deems, D.D 141

Life's Review Theodor Christlieb, D.D 147

Death of an Only Daughter .William M. Taylor, D.D 153

A Mother's Removal John Hall, D.D 158

Living After Death J. M. Sherwood, D.D 161

A Time to Die Anonymous 164

The Master's Shepherd Dog Justin D. Fulton, D.D 167

Infidelity and the Grave Robert G. Ingersoll 170

Funeral Oration for the Prince of

Conde (peroration) James Benigne Bossuet 172

Funeral Oration on Louis the Great

(peroration) Jean Baptiste Massillon 174




Sorrow for the Death of Friends. . . . Rev. James Saurin 176

Victory over Death Rev. Frederick W. Robertson. . 181

The Christian's Final Triumph George W. Bethune, D.D 186

Character and Death of Washington

Irving John A. Todd, D.D 190

The Speed of Life Impressing Pro-
bation Try on Edwards, D.D 194

The Darkness of Providence B. M. Palmer, D.D 198

Thoughts on Immortality Rt. Rev. Samuel Fallows, D.D.. 202

Lessons from Life's Brevity W. W. Ramsay, D.D 207

Transition to the Life Beyond Lyman Abbott, D.D 211

The Christian's Gain by Death Rev. Zephaniah Meek 215

Preparing for Death William Ives Budipgton, D.D. . . 218

Abiding and Departing .Alexander McKenzie, D.D . ... 221

Afflictions not Accidental Rev. John Burton 223

Death of Believers B. M. Palmer, D.D 226

The Christian's Victory over Death. Rev. John Logan 228

The Master's Call in Affliction Rev. William Cochrane 230

Ripe for the Harvest Rev. W. P. Tiddy 232

The Approach of Death Erskine Mason, D.D 234

Words of Comfort for Afflicted Par-
ents Rev. Lewis O. Thompson 235

The Tent Home and the Eternal

Home T. L. Cuyler, D.D 237

No Night in Heaven J. M. Sherwood, D.D 239

Glad Home-going Rev. John Lobb 244

The Death of a Mother Rev. J. M. Johnson 245

Preparations for Meeting God R. S. Storrs, D.D 247

Human Life Transitory Edward N. Kirk, D.D 248

Emotion of a Saint in Heaven Rev. A. S. Gardner 251

The Blessed Dead Rev. William Lloyd 252

The Hidings of God's Providence... M. W. Hamma, D.D 254

How Christ Takes away Fear of

Death Rev. R. S. S. Dickinson 255

Christ's Resurrection the Promise

and Prophecy of our Own T. DeWitt Talmage, D.D. ..*... 256

Christ and the Immortal Life W. J. Tucker, D.D . 257

The Death of Lazarus Rev. Henry Blunt 259

The Years Fleeting and Heaven

Nearing C. L. Goodell, D.D 260

The Life and Death of a Child Rev. Wm. Veenschoten. . . 262



Preparation for Eternity Justin Edwards, D.D 263

Death in the Midst of Life Jabez Burns, D. D 264

Death-bed Repentance Most Rev. John MacHale, D.D., 265

The Changing and the Changeless. .Jabez Burns, D.D 265

Not Here, but Risen Rev. John Lobb 266

Sudden Death Rev. E. C. Cure 267

The Web of Life Rev. Edward Blencowe 268

The Secret of a Successful Ministry. Thomas Armitage, D.D 268

The Death of the Righteous David Thomas, D.D 269



Thoughts on Life 281

Thoughts on Death 283

Thoughts on Heaven 289

Thoughts on Affliction 290


At the Funeral of Cornelius Vanderbilt. By C. F. Deems, D.D. ... 292
Before a Sermon on " The Rest of God." By Rev. H. W. Beecher. 294
At the Funeral of President Lincoln. By Rev. Dr. Grey 296


1. Death in the Prime of Life 298

2. Death of an Obscure Worker 298

3. Death of a Parent 299

4. Death of the Unrepentant 299

5. End of an Unhappy Life 300

6. Consolation for the Bereaved 301

7. Sudden or Accidental Death 303

8. Death of a Young Man or Woman 304

9. Death of an Aged Christian 305

10. Death of Children 306

11. Death of a Prominent Person. ..., 308

12. Admonition and Exhortation 310

13. Transiency of Life 312

14. Death of the Righteous 317

1 5. Heaven and Immortality 323

16. Miscellaneous 329




About Funeral Addresses. By Pastor Rudolph Muller 332

Points of Etiquette in Funerals 337

Words from the Dying 347

Curious Facts concerning Funeral Rites , . . 349

Appropriate Hymns for Funeral Services 352

Scripture Readings 354

Practical Hints 354

List of Appropriate Poems for Quotation and Reading 355

The Carnage of War 356

Textual Index 359

Index of Subjects .....,,., 363


Abbott, Lyman, D.D., 211.
Armitage, Thos., D.D., 268.
Aurelius, Marcus, 281.
Barnes, Rev. Albert, 66.
Beecher, Rev. H. W., 94, 294.
Behringer, Rev. G. F., 332, 338.
Bethune, G. W., D.D., 186.
Blunt, Rev. Henry, 259.
Blencowe, Rev. Edward, 268.
Bossuet, J. B., 172.
Brooks, Thomas, D.D., 284.
Budington, W. I., D.D., 218.
Burns, Jabez, D.D., 264, 265.
Burton, Rev. John, 223.
Chapman, J. A. M., D.D., 290.
Christlieb, Theodor, D.D., 147.
Cochrane, Rev. Wm., 230.
Cook, Joseph, 283.
Cure, Rev. E. C., 267.
Cuyler, T. L., D.D., 237, 338.
Davis, Rev. W. R., 250.
Deems, C. F., D.D., 141, 292, 339.
Dickinson, Rev. R. S. S., 255.
Drelincourt, 288.
Edwards, Justin, D.D., 263.
Edwards, Tryon, D.D., 123, 194.
Fallows, Rt. Rev. Samuel, 202.
Fuller, Richard, D.D., 79.
Fulton, J. D., D.D., 167.
Gardner, Rev. A. S., 251.
Goethe, 281.

Goodell, C. L., D.D., 260.
Grey, Rev. Dr., 296.
Hall, John, D.D., 158.
Hamma, M. W., D.D., 254.
Hawes, Joel, D.D., 52.
Haynes, E. J., D.D., 340,
Hooker, H. B., D.D., 133.
*flgersoll, R. G., 170,

Johnson, Rev. J. M., 245.

Kirke, E. N., D.D., 248.

Lobb, Rev. John, 244, 266.

Logan, Rev. John, 228.

Lloyd, Rev. William, 252.

Luthardt, Chr. E., D.D., 31.

MacHale, Most Rev. John, D.D., 265.

Mason, Erskine, D.D., 234.

Massillon, J. B., 174, 284.

McKenzie, Alexander, D.D., 221.

Meek, Rev. Zephaniah, 215.

Montaigne, 284.

Miiller, Pastor Rudolph, 332.

Nott, Eliphalet, D.D., LL.D., 13.

Palmer, B. M., D.D., 198, 226.

Park, Prof., 282.

Peck, J. O., D.D., 341.

Pierson, A. T., D.D., 113.

Ramsay, W. W., D.D., 207.

Richter, 287.

Robertson, Rev. F. W., 181.

Saurin, Rev. James, 175.

Sherwood, J. M., D.D., 161, 239, 342.

Spencer, I. S., D.D., 102.

Spurgeon, Rev. C. H., 37.

Sterne, 283.

Storrs, R. S., D.D., 247, 283, 286.

Stowe, Mrs. H. B., 291.

Talmage, T. D., D.D., 256, 286 seq., 28

Taylor, W. M., D.D., 153, 284, 290.

Thomas, David, D.D., 269.

Thompson, Rev. L. O., 23S>>

Tiddy, Rev. W. P., 232,

Tiffany, O. H., D.D.. 342.

Todd, John A., D.D., 190.

Tucker, W. J., D.D., 257.

Veenschoten, Rev. Wm., 262.

Wedekind, A. C., D.D., 344.



How are the mighty fallen ! 2 SAMUEL i. 19.

THE occasion explains the choice of my subject a subject on
which I enter in obedience to your request. You have assembled
to express your elegiac sorrows, and sad and solemn weeds cover
you. Before such an audience, and on such an occasion, I enter
on the duty assigned me with trembling. Do not mistake my
meaning. I tremble, indeed not, however, through fear of
failing to merit your applause ; for what have I to do with that,
when addressing the dying and treading on the ashes of the dead ?
not through fear of failing justly to portray the character of that
great man who is at once the theme of my encomium and regret.
He needs not eulogy. His work is finished, and death has re-
moved him beyond my censure, and, I would fondly hope,
through grace, above my praise.

You will ask, then, why I tremble ? I tremble to think that I
am called to attack from this place a crime, the very idea of which
almost freezes one with horror a crime, too, which exists among
the polite and polished orders of society, and which is accompanied
with every aggravation committed with cool deliberation, and
openly in the face of day ! But I have a duty to perform ; and
difficult and awful as that duty is, I will not shrink from it.
Would to God my talents were adequate to the occasion nut
such as they are, I devoutly proffer them to unfold the nature
and counteract the influence of that barbarous custom, which,
like a resistless torrent, is undermining the foundations of civil
government, breaking down the barriers of social happiness, and
sweeping away virtue, talents, and domestic felicity, in its desolat-


ing course. Another and an illustrious character a father, a
general, a statesman the very man who stood on an eminence,
and without a rival among sages and heroes, the future hope of
his country in danger this man, yielding to the influence of a
custom which deserves our eternal reprobation, has been brought
to an untimely end !

That the deaths of great and useful men should be particularly
noticed, is equally the dictate of reason and revelation. The tears
of Israel flowed at the decease of good Josiah, and to his memory
the funeral women chanted the solemn dirge. But neither exam-
ples nor arguments are necessary to wake the sympathies of a grate-
ful people on such occasions. The death of public benefactors
surcharges the heart, and it spontaneously disburdens itself by a
flow of sorrows. Such was the death of Washington, to embalm
whose memory, and perpetuate whose deathless fame, we lent our
feeble but unnecessary services. Such, also, and more peculiarly
so, has been the death of Hamilton. The tidings of the former
moved us mournfully moved us and we wept. The account
of the latter chilled our hopes and curdled our blood. The
former died in a good old age ; the latter was cut off in the midst
of his usefulness. The former was a customary providence : we
saw in it, if I may speak so, the finger of God, and rested in His
sovereignty. The latter is not attended with this soothing circum-

The fall of Hamilton owes its existence to mad deliberation,
and is marked by violence. The time, the place, the circum-
stances, are arranged with barbarous coolness. The instrument
of death is levelled in daylight, and with well-directed skill pointed
at his heart. Alas ! the event has proven that it was but too well
directed. Wounded, mortally wounded, on the very spot which
still smoked with the blood of a favorite son, into the arms of his
indiscreet and cruel friend, the father fell. Ah ! had he fallen in
the course of nature, or jeopardizing his life in defence of his
country ; had he fallen but he did not. He fell in single com-
bat. Pardon my mistake he did not fall in single combat : his
noble nature refused to endanger the life of his antagonist But
he exposed his own life. This was his crime ; and the sacredness
of my office forbids that I should hesitate explicitly to declare it
so. He did not hesitate to declare it so himself : " My religious


and moral principles are strongly opposed to duelling/' These
are his words before he ventured to the field of death. ' ' I view
the, late transaction with sorrow and contrition. " These are his
words after his return. Humiliating end of illustrious greatness !
How are the mighty fallen ! And shall the mighty thus fall ?
Thus shall the noblest lives be sacrificed and the richest blood be
spilt ! Tell it not in Gath ; publish it not in the streets of Askalon.

Think not that the fatal issue of the late inhuman interview was
fortuitous. No : the hand that guides unseen the arrow of the
archer, steadied and directed the arm of the duellist. And why
did it thus direct it ? As a solemn memento as a loud and awful
warning to a community where justice has slumbered, and slum-
bered, and slumbered while the wife has been robbed of her part-
ner, the mother of her hopes, and life after life rashly, and with
an air of triumph, sported away. And was there, O my God 1
no other sacrifice valuable enough ? Would the cry of no other
blood reach the place of retribution, and wake justice, dozing over
her awful seat ? But though justice should still slumber and ret-
ribution be delayed, we, who are the ministers of that God who
will judge the judges of the world, and whose malediction rests on
him who does his work unfaithfully we will not keep silence.

I feel, my brethren, how incongruous my subject is with the
place I occupy. It is humiliating, it is distressing, in a Christian
country, and in churches consecrated to the religion of Jesus, to
be obliged to attack a crime which outstrips barbarism, and
would even sink the character of a generous savage. But humil-
iating as it is, it is necessary. And must we, then, even for a
moment, forget the elevation on which grace hath placed us, and
the light which the gospel sheds around us ? Must we place our-
selves back in the midst of barbarism ? And instead of hearers
softened to forgiveness by the love of Jesus, filled with noble sen-
timents toward enemies, and waiting for occasions, after the ex-
ample of divinity, to do them good instead of such hearers, must
we suppose ourselves addressing hearts petrified to goodness, in-
capable of mercy, and boiling with revenge ? Must we, O my
God ! instead of exhorting those who hear us to go on unto per-
fection, adding to virtue charity, and to charity brotherly kindness ;
must we, as if surrounded by an auditory just emerging out of
darkness, and still cruel and ferocious, reason to convince them


that revenge is improper, and that to commit deliberate murder is
sin ? Yes, we must do this. Repeated violations of the law, and
the sanctuary which the guilty find in public sentiment, prove that
it is necessary.

Withdraw, therefore, for a moment, ye celestial spirits, ye holy
angels, accustomed to hover around these altars, and listen to those
strains of grace which heretofore have filled this house of God.
Other subjects occupy us. Withdraw, therefore, and leave us ;
leave us to exhort Christian parents to restrain their vengeance, and
at least to keep back their hands from blood to exhort youth
nurtured in Christian families, not rashly to sport with life, nor
lightly to wring the widow's heart with sorrows, and fill the
orphan's eye with tears.

In accomplishing the object which is before me, it will not be
expected, as it is not necessary, that I should give a history of
duelling. You need not be informed that it originated in a dark
and barbarous age. The polished Greek knew nothing of it ; the
noble Roman was above it. Rome held in equal detestation the
man who exposed his life unnecessarily, and him who refused to
expose it when the public good required it* Her heroes were
superior to private contests. They indulged no vengeance, except
against the enemies of their country. Their swords were not
drawn, unless her honor was in danger ; which honor they de-
fended with their swords not only, but shielded with their bosoms
also, and were then prodigal of their blood. But though Greece
and Rome knew nothing of duelling, it exists. It exists among
us ; and it exists at once the most RASH, the most ABSURD, and
GUILTY practice that ever disgraced a Christian nation.

GUILTY because it is a violation of the law. What law ?
The law of God : THOU SHALT NOT KILL. This prohibition was
delivered by God Himself, at Sinai to the Jews. And that it is
of universal and perpetual obligation is manifest, not only from
the nature of the crime prohibited, but also from the express dec-
laration of the Christian lawgiver, who hath recognized its justice
and added to it the sanction of his own authority.

"Thou shalt not kill." Who? Thou, creature. I, the
Creator, have given life, and thou shalt not take it away 1 When,

*Sallust, de Bell. Catil., ix.


and under what circumstances, may I not take away life ? Never,
and under no circumstances, without my permission. It is ob-
vious that no discretion whatever is here given. The prohibition
is addressed to every individual where the law of GOD is promul-
gated, and the terms made use of are express and unequivocal.
So that life cannot be taken under any pretext, without incurring
guilt, unless by a permission sanctioned by the same authority
which sanctions the general law prohibiting it. From this law, it
is granted, there are exceptions. These exceptions, however, do
not result from any sovereignty which one creature has over the
existence of another, but from the positive appointment of that
Eternal Being, whose " is the world and the fulness thereof. In
whose hand is the soul of every living creature, and the breath of
all mankind." Even the authority which we claim over the
lives of animals is not founded on a natural right, but on a posi-
tive grant made by the Deity Himself, to Noah and his sons.
This grant contains our warrant for taking the life of animals.
But if we may not take the life of animals without permission from
God, much less may we the life of man made in His image.

In what cases, then, has the sovereign of life given this permis-

NECESSARY SELF-DEFENCE. Besides^ these, I do not hesitate to de-
clare, that in the oracles of God there are no other.

He, therefore, who takes life in any other case, under whatever
pretext, takes it unwarrantably is guilty of what the Scriptures call
murder, and exposes himself to the malediction of that God who
is an avenger of blood, and who hath said, ' ' At the hand of every
man's brother will I require the life of man. Whoso sheddeth
man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed." The duellist con-
travenes the law of God not only, but the law of man also. To the
prohibition of the former have been added the sanctions of the
latter. Life taken in a duel by the common law is murder.
And where this is not the case, the giving and receiving of a chal-
lenge only is by statute considered a high misdemeanor, for
which the principal and his second are declared infamous and dis-
franchised for twenty years.

Under what accumulated circumstances of aggravation does the
duellist jeopardize his own life, or take the life of his antagonist !
I am sensible that in a licentious age, and when laws are made


to yield to the vices of those who move in the higher circles, this
crime is called by I know not what mild and accommodating name.
But, before these altars in this house of God what is it ? It is
MURDER deliberate, aggravated murder ! If the duellist deny this,
let him produce his warrant from the author of life for taking
away from his creature the life which had been sovereignly given.
If he cannot do this, beyond all controversy he is a murderer ;
f:>r murder consists in taking away life without the permission,
and contrary to the prohibition, of Him who gave it

Who is it, then, that calls the duellist to the dangerous and
deadly combat ? Is it God ? No : on the contrary, He forbids
it. Is it, then, his country ? No : she also utters her prohibi-
tory voice. Who is it, then ? A man of honor ! And who is the
man of honor ? A man, perhaps, whose honor is a name ; who
prates with polluted lips about the sacredness of character, when
his own is stained with crimes, and needs but the single shade of
murder to complete the dismal and sickly picture. Every trans-
gression of the divine law implies great guilt, because it is the
transgression of infinite authority. But the crime of deliberately
and lightly taking life has peculiar aggravations. It is a crime
committed against written law not only, but also against the dic-
tates of reason, the remonstrances of conscience, and every tender
and amiable feeling of the heart. To the unfortunate sufferer it
is the wanton violation of his most sacred rights. It snatches
him from his friends and his comforts ; terminates his state of
trial, and precipitates him, uncalled for, and perhaps unprepared,
into the presence of his Judge.

Online LibraryE. J. (Edward Jewitt) WheelerPulpit and grave; a volume of funeral sermons and addresses from leading pulpits of America, England, Germany and France → online text (page 1 of 33)