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drowning man clinging to the buoy. Morning after the storm. Who must
die. The twins. Beautiful poetry. Who can die happy? My sister's
grave — and the two little boys. Reflections in a grave-yard. The soul
lives after the body dies. The humming-bird. The island. The adven-
turer — his return — his tidings — ^his death. Meaning of the story. The
Christian's death. Angels' conversation. Beautiful description of heaven.
Conclusion of the Lectures.

The Bible, my dear children, talks a great
deal about the shortness of our lives. Did you
ever get up in some October morning, and see a
thick vapor or fog hanging over the wide mead-
ows and fields ? You could not see a man, or
even a great tree, at a little distance, the fog was
so thick. But go out a few hours afterwards,
when the sun is up, and where is all this vapor
gone ? It is all melted away, and has left no

Lect. 12.] THE GRAVE. 201

Garden flowers.

mark on any thing. Such, the Bible says, is
the life of man. You may look upon a great
congregation to-day, and see the street full of
people, and in a few short years they are all gone
— and forgotten, like the vapor.

Did you ever w^alk along the street, and stop
and look into a garden, and admire the beautiful
flow^ers which were waving in rows each side of
the alley ? I presume you have. What colors !
How many kinds ! See that tulip — that pink —
that rose ! How beautiful ! But wait a few
short months, and then stop there again. Where
now are those flowers ? All faded and gone ; all
dead and passed away. Just so, says the Bible,
do we all, even the fairest among men, die and
pass away as the flower.

Now, why do men all die ? Do they wish to
die ? No, far from it. Let any man be sick, and
be in danger of dying, and what will he not do,
rather than die ? Why, he will swallow as much

202 THE GRAVE. [Lect. 12.

What is a buoy ?

bitter, disgusting medicine as the doctor wishes
him to. He will let him cut off his arm or his
leg, or cut out his eye, — or do any thing, if he
may only live. Men had rather do any thing than
die. For the most part, they are unwilling even
to think of death, and contrive to think of ten
thousand things rather than that.

Do you know what a huoy is ? 1 will tell you.
When a river runs into the sea, the bed in which
it runs along is called the channel ; and at the
place where it goes into the sea, the water is
deeper in the channel than any Avhere else; so
that, when vessels would go up a river from the
great sea, they try to keep in the channel, so as
to be in deep water. But how shall they know
where the channel is ? In this way. The peo-
ple who know where the channel is, take a great
stone, and tie a rope to it, and let it sink just in
the middle of the channel. At the other end of
the rope is a large, round, pine stick, or log, tied.

Lect. 12.] THE GRAVE. 203

The drowning- man cling-ing to the buoy.

This log floats upon the water, and is held in its
place by the stone at the bottom. Well, this log
is called a huoy^ and the sailors steer just along-
side of the buoys, when they would go safe.

During an awfully stormy day, a vessel was
seen coming towards the shore. The men could
not manage her. The people on shore saw her,
but could do nothing. There were some great
rocks out from the shore, a mile or two ; and on-
ward she drove towards those rocks. Soon she
was on them — dash — and was split all in pieces.
The people on shore could see it all, but had no
life-boat, nor any means by which to help them.
Were the poor sailors all drowned ? No, — there
was one poor fellow who floated awhile. They
watch him. All the rest are gone. Now he tries
to swim a little. There ! he has caught hold of
a huoij^ and clings to it for life. O, if they could
only get to him ! but they cannot. There he
hangs, and rises and falls on each wave — still

204 THE GRAVE. [Lect. 12.

Morning- after the storm.

clinging to the buoy. Is he willing to die ? No,
he would hang there years, if he could, rather
than to die. And now it is night ; the sun goes
down ; the darkness begins to come over the dark
waters ; and the people sigh, and begin to go home,
leaving the poor sailor still holding on to the buoy
for his life. One by one they go away, and then
turn, and turn round again, to see if they can see
him. The last man now goes : it is dark, and
he turns and looks. Can he see the buoy and the
man ? No ! — ^yes, yes, he is still there ! They
go to their homes ; they pray for that poor sailor ;
they dream about him ; they think much of him.
The morning comes. The sun rises fair, and the
people had hastened down as soon as the light
broke in the east, to see if the poor man was
there. The storm had gone past, and the buoy
was still floating there. But where was the sail-
or ? Ah, he was gone, gone to the bottom, and
will be seen no more till the resurrection day.

Lect. 12 J THE GRAVE. 205

Who must die ?

Is it not plain, that we know that every body
dreads to die ? Why, then, must every body die ?
The Bible tells us, " Death hath passed upc all
men, in that all have sinned." Yes, all are sin-
ners, and must therefore die. The old, gray-
headed man must soon go. Death will not re-
spect his silver locks. He will put him in the
grave. The man in middle-life is cut down, too,
though wife and children may weep and }>ray
against it. The fair youth and the sweet child
are not spared ; and I think I have never had my
heart more affected, than when called to attend
the funeral of children. I have seen them in the
coffin, when they looked so fair and beautiful, that
it seemed hard to bury them up in the ground.
The beautiful lines which I am now about to
read you, very accurately describe what ministers
must often see. They describe two little twin
babes, dead, and in the coffin, and the mother
bending over it, and looking upon them through
her tears.

206 THE GRAVE. [Lect, 12.

The twins. Beautiful poetry.

• 1 ■'

" 'Twas summer, and a Sabbath eve,

And balmy was the air :
I saw a sight which made me grieve —

And yet the sight was fair —
Within a little coffin lay
Two lifeless babes, as sweet as May.

Like waxen dolls, which infants dress.

Their little bodies were ;
A look of placid happiness

Did on each face appear.
And in the coffin, short and wide,
They lay together, side by side.

A rose-bud, nearly closed, I found

Each little hand within.
And many a pink was strewed around,

With sprigs of jessamine ;
And yet the flowers that round them lay
Were not to me more fair than they.

Their mother, as a lily pale,

Sat by them on a bed.
And, bending o'er them, told her tale,

And many a tear she shed ;
Yet oft she cried, amidst her pain,
* My habes and I shall meet again ! ' "

Lect. 12.] THE GRAVE- 207

Who can die happy ?

Do jou know what it was that gave comfort
to this weeping mother, as she saw her dear twin
babes in the coffin ? It was the hope of the gos-
pel ;— hope, that Jesus Christ would watch over
them in the grave, and at last raise them from the
long sleep of death, and that she would be allowed
to meet them again in heaven, to part from them
no more. Yes, the gospel of Christ gives us that
blessed hope. '^ I heard a voice from heaven
saying. Write, Blessed are the dead who die in the
Lord ; yea, saith the Spirit, from henceforth, for
they rest from their labors, and their works do
follow them." For this reason, we cannot go and
stand by the grave of a Christian, without having
hope spring up in the breast. It may be the
grave of some dear friend ; but if he died a Chris-
tian, we feel that Christ will one day come to
that grave, and awake his sleeping disciple.

A short time since, just at sunset, on a sum-
mer's day, 1 went to the grave of a dear sister of

208 THE GRAVE. [Lect. 12.

My sister's grave— and the two little boys.

mine. Her two little boys went with me. When
we had arrived there, I saw four little rose-bushes
standing, two at the head and two at the foot of
the grave, bending over, as if to meet and hang
over the grave.

" That is her grave — our mother's grave," said
one of the boys.

*' And those rose-bushes" — said I, as the tears
started in my eyes, —

"Those," said the eldest, ''brother and I, and
father, set out soon after she was laid tliere.
Those two at the head she planted in the garden
herself, and we took them up, and set them there,
and call them " mother's bushes."

" And what do you remember about your
dear mother, my boys ? "

''Oh, everything."

"What, in particular.^"

" Oh, this, uncle, that there never was a day since
I can remember, in which she did not take us to her

Lect. 12.] THE GRAVE. 209

Reflections in a grave-yard.

closet^ and pray with us, unless she was sick on
the bed!''

Never did that sister seem so dear to me as at
that moment ; and never did my heart feel so full
a hope in the words which were engraved on the
tomb-stone —

" No mortal woes
Can reach the peaceful sleeper here,
While angels watch her soft repose."

Dear children, you and I must die, because we
are sinners. And every grave that is dug and
filled up, is a new monument to show that men
are all sinners. Men sometimes are so foolish as
to deny that there ever was a flood, which drown-
ed all the world in a few days; but they cannot
deny that death now sweeps off the whole world
once in about thirty years. Go to that grave-
yard yonder. How full of graves ! You tread
on some sleeper at every step. " Who slew all
these ? " Suppose you should go to a great pris-

210 THE GRAVE. [Lect. 12.

Reflections in a grave-yard.

on, full of little cells, and every cell had a pris-
oner chained in it, and the number was as great
as the number of graves in that grave-yard.
Would you not think to yourself, "Here must be
a great deal of guilt and sin, in order to fill all
these cells ? " And the grave-yard is the prison-
house where God has confined so many prisoners.
There is no grave in heaven, and there never
would have been one on earth, had it not been
for sin.

What a beautiful piece of workmanship is de-
stroyed when one of these children die ! The
hands hang motionless ; the bright eye is closed
and dull in darkness ; the fresh cheek is pale and
cold ; the tongue is silent ; and the whole body,
like a broken vessel, is in ruins. But we may re-
joice that the disciple of Christ may go shouting
into the grave, " O grave, where is thy victory ? "
Christ himself has been in it, and sanctified it, and
blessed it. Besides, the grave can only receive

Lect. 12.] THE GRAVE. 211

The soul lives after the body dies. The humming - bird.

and claim the poorer part of us. It only takes
the body ; while the soul, the immortal part, es-
capes its power. You know you can seem to see
things when the eye is shut, and you dream of
things when asleep. And so the soul can live,
and think, and act, when the body is in the grave.
You will sleep in the grave a long, long time, but
not always. God can, and will raise up the body
again. He is able. Do you see that beautiful
little humming-bird dancing from flower to flower,
like a spirit of flowers ? He was once confined
to the little mummy shell ; but God brought him
out. See that looking-glass : how perfectly you
can see your face and form, and every hair on
your forehead in it ! But had you seen the coarse
sand lie on the sea-shore, before the workmen
began, would you think that they could make
such a thing from that sand ? So God will raise
us up from the grave by his wisdom and power.
Oh, how much do we owe to Jesus Christ '

212 THE GRAVE. [Lect. 12

The island.

At the opening of every grave I seem to hear
the angel say, " Come, see the place where the
Lord lay." Let me show you what Christ has
done here for us.

Suppose we lived upon a great island, entirely
surrounded by the great waters. As we looked,
we could see nothing but the waters and the sky.
We had no ships with which to go away ; and
there we all lived. We had farms, and shops,
and stores, and things just as we now have, with
no difference, except we were on an island.
One thing more. Every few days, there came a
great ship to our island, and the men landed and
caught our neighbors and friends, and carried them
to the ship, and sailed away, out of sight ; in a
few days, another ship, and another ; and so con-
tinually they came, and carried off old and young,
friends and neighbors, and we knew nothing
what became of them. We wept, and mourned,
and feared for 3-jrselves, but we knew not what

Lect. 12.] THE GRAVE. 213

The adventurer. His return.

to do. At length, we see a man rush suddenly
down to the shore with a little vessel, which he
has built himself at his own expense. He jumps
into it alone, and spreads his little sails, and goes
off on the great ocean, following those awful
ships, to see what has become of our friends.
We watch the poor, frail boat till it is out of
sight, wondering if he will ever come to us again.
In the mean time, the dark, dreadful ships con-
tinue to come and catch away our friends. We
look out, and wonder what has become of our dear
friend in his boat ; for he told us, that, if he found
our friends who had been carried off, he would
come back to us, with a white flag at the top of
his mast. At length, the boat comes in sight!
Yes, there she comes, and the white flag stream-
ing at mast-head ! Yes, he has found our friends !
The crowds all rush down to the water-edge to
hear his tidings. The little vessel comes to the
shore, and our friend leaps out on the land. We cry

214 THE GRAVE. [Lect. 12.

His tidings.

out, ''What news? What tidmgs of our friends?
Have you found them ? "

''Yes, I have found them."

"Are they alive ? "

"Yes, all alive."

" Are they happy ? What are they doing ? "

" Oh, they are all carried to a distant country,
by the king's ships. When they get there, they
are put to a kind of trial, and those who can bear
that trial well, are made honorable, and happy,
and have most delightful homes, and would not
come back here for a world. While those who
cannot bear the trial, are sent away to the deserts,
and are wretched."

"But w ill the ships come any more ? "

"Yes, they will come again, and again, and
carry you all off. But you may all fit yourselves
for the trial ; and then you will be very happy, and
need not fear to go."

"But what ? How can we fit ourselves ? What

Lect. 11] THE GRAVE. 215

His death. Meaning of the story.

shall we do ? Oh, tell us quickly, for the ships
may be here before we are ready."

" I cannot tell you now. I am dying with
fatigue. Here, do you see this book which I take
out of my bosom ? This tells you all what and
how to do. It is plain, and full of instruction.
Obey it, and you will all be happy. See, because
I could do no other way, I opened my own veins,
and have written it with my own blood, and the
blood came directly from my heart before I had
finished it. Oh, take it, as the last and best
pledge of my love."

He ceases to speak, and, worn out with fatigue,
he drops down dead on the spot! Oh, what a
friend !— and what a book that must be !

You understand me, do you not ? We are on
the island ; and diseases are the dreadful ships
which come and carry us off; and eternity is that
distant world where we are carried ; and Christ is
that dear friend who went through the grave into

216 THE GRAVE. [Lect. 12.

Meaning of the story.

eternity ; and the Bible is the book which he has
written for us, to prepare us for our trial at the
great judgment ; and he poured out his soul unto
death in thus preparing us to go into eternity and
live in happiness. What a friend do those reject and
despise, who do not love Jesus Christ ! What a
book do those neglect, who live from day to day
without reading or thinking about the Bible !

All will come up from the grave at once, but
not all to share alike. Just so the chief butler
and the chief baker were both let out of the pris-
on at the same time, the one to be honored, and
the other to be hanged. "Marvel not at this;
for the hour is coming in which all that are in
their graves shall hear his voice, and shall come
forth ; they that have done good, unto the resur-
rection of life ; and they that have done evil, unto
the resurrection of damnation." The grave has
been called the dressing-chamber, in which good
people put on their beautiful garments, in which

Lect. 12.] THE GRAVE. 217

The Christian's death.

to arise and meet the Lord in the air. But to the
wicked and the unholy, it is the prisoner's cell, in
which he is shut up, till led forth to execution.

When Christians die, the angels of God come
and lead them up to glory, while the body rests
and is purified in the grave. " There," say they,
" is Mount Zion, the heavenly Jerusalem, the innu-
merable company of angels, and the spirits of just
men made perfect. You are going now," say they,
*' to the Paradise of God, wherein you shall see the
Tree of Life, and eat of the never-fading fruits
thereof; and when you come there, you shall have
white robes given you, and your walk and talk
shall be every day with the King, even all the days
of eternity. There shall you not see again such
things as you saw when you were in the lower
region upon the earth, to wit, sorrow, sickness,
affliction, and death, *for the former things have
passed away.' You are going now to Abraham,
to Isaac, to Jacob, and to the prophets, men that

218 THE GRAVE. [Lect. 12

Angels' conversation.

God hath taken away from the evil to come, and
that are now ' resting upon their beds, each one
walking in his righteousness.'

*' What must we do in the holy place ? "
*« You must there receive the comforts of ali
your toil, and have joy for all your sorrow ; you
must reap what you have sown, even the fruit oi
all your prayers, and tears, and sufferings for the
King, by the way. In that place, you must weai
crowns of gold, and enjoy the perpetual sight and
vision of the Holy One ; for there ' you shall see
him as he is.' There, also, you must serve him
continually with praise, with shouting, and
thanksgiving, whom you desired to serve in the
world, though with much difficulty, because of
the infirmity of your flesh. There your eyes shall
be delighted with seeing, and your ears with
hearing the pleasant •voice of the Almighty One.
There you shall enjoy your friends again, that are
gone thither before you ; and there you shall with

Lect. 12.] THE GRAVE. 219

Beautiful description of heaven.

joy receive even every one that follows into the
holy places after you. There, also, you shall be
clothed with glory and majesty, and put into an
equipage fit to ride out with the King of Glory.
When he shall come with sound of trumpet in the
clouds, as upon the wings of the wind, you shall
come with him ; and when he shall sit upon the
throne of judgment, you shall sit by him: yea,
and when he shall pass sentence upon all the
workers of iniquity, let them be angels or men,
you shall also have a voice in that judgment,
because they were his and your enemies. And
when he shall again return to the city, you shall
go too, with sound of trumpet, and be ever with

Such, my dear children, will be the glory of
every one who obeys God and loves the Redeem-
er ; and such your glory, when you come up from
the grave, if you obey God. I must now take my
leave of you. Many of you, who read these lines,

220 THE GRAVE. [Lect. 12

Conclusion of the Lectures.

I shall never know, and never see, till the great
day of judgment. Oh, if one of you shall be
made wise unto eternal life by these Lectures, I
shall have more joy when we meet, than if I had
been able to give you a kingdom. Do not put oft
religion till you are old. You may die within a
week. Seek the Saviour while he may be found.
Call upon him while he is near. Read his word.
Obey his voice. Commit yourself, each of you,
to his hands. Then the grave will only be a
place to sleep in, while God prepares for you a
house not made with hands, an everlasting man •
sion of glory — eternal in the heavens. Amen.

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Online LibraryJohn ToddLectures to children : familiarly illustrating important truth → online text (page 9 of 9)