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Singing at the grave.
of an aged and deceased Christian. The coffin had been let down into the grave, and they were standing over it. They were away from any human habitation but the habitation of the dead. Their heads were uncovered, and the white locks of many a way-worn pilgrim showed that Elizabeth M.Ellen would soon be followed by some that were standing in that crowd. They were now in the act of praising God, and pouring out the pious emotions of their soul in the language of one of Zion's sacred songs.
There is something peculiarly tender in the strains of vocal music, breathed forth in the open air, and among the graves of the dead. And on the present occasion a gentle gust of wind every now and then swept by, and seemed to float the sweet and mellow voices of the singers up to heaven.
The following verses, from one of our hymns, were then read and sung:
Thy children, panting to be gone,
To sleep in death, and rest with God. As soon as the service at the grave was completed, and the procession began to march back in the same order that it had left the house, my aged friend again joined me, and renewed the former conversation.
Return from the burial ground.
“How solemn," said he, “ is this service; it always affects me more than the best funeral sermon.
As I was saying to you, that departed saint, Elizabeth M Ellen, has done much for us. She was a pattern of all that was excellent.
“For more than sixty years she had been a pious servant of God, and worthy member of the church of Christ. But she placed no confidence in all she had done. She was the most humble woman I ever saw. Often have I heard her say, that every year she lived, she saw more and more need of a Saviour. Every part of the Prayer Book was familiar to her, and her knowledge of the evil of sin, and of the proneness of human nature to err, made her often turn to dwell upon this part of the general confession:
" • I have left undone those things which I ought to have done ; and I have done those things which I ought not to have done, and there is no health in me.'
“ In the latter part of her life, she spent much of her time in prayer; and, as I have been told by her son, when alone, she would often repeat aloud this petition from the burial service:
“.O holy and merciful Saviour, thou most worthy Judge eternal, suffer me not, at my last hour, for
any pains of death, to fall from thee.' Her prayer was granted, and she has gone home to glory.”
The distance, as I have already remarked, from the burial ground to Robert M‘Ellen's house was about a quarter of a mile. The procession returned to the house with the same slow pace that they had observed in going to the place of the dead. The bearers on our return walked immediately in our rear.
At length one of them, a silver-headed and venerable looking inan, who had evidently been listening with deep interest to the conversation, we had had in going to, and from, the grave, parts of which only he had caught, stepped forward, and walking abreast with the other aged friend and myself, remarked
“No one has more reason to remember this aged saint than I."
Conversion of an aged sinner.
“I believe that she proved a blessing to all who canie within the range of her influence,” I replied.
“Yes, she did—she did,” he responded, with emphasis; —“I lived to be an aged and gray-headed sinner, before my hard and impenitent heart was opened to receive the truth,” he continued ; and as he spoke emotion was visible upon every line of his countenance :-“I prided myself upon my honesty, and was vainly expecting to go to heaven on the ground of my good works. I seldom used to attend public worship; for the fact was, I did not enjoy myself there. The prayers and preaching always seemed very dull and tedious to me. One day, about four years ago, hearing Elizabeth M‘Ellen was ill, I called to see her. I found her better than I expected. She received me with her usual kindness and affection. In the course of the conversation she complained of her eyes being affected, so that she could hardly read. She asked me if I would not read a few verses for her. Among others was the commencement of the 14th chapter of Revelation And I looked, and lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Zion, and with him an hundred and forty and four thousand, having his father's nume written in their foreheads. And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder : And I heard the voice of harpers, harping with their harps: And they sung as it were a new song before the throne.'—Here Elizabeth suddenly interrupted my reading, and fixing her eyes upon me with an expression I shall never forget, said, 66. Mr. B- tell
think you could be happy with that company on mount Zion? Do you love to pray and praise God? I believe you seldom go to church, though you have health and strength to do so. Now if we have no relish for praising God here, how can this employment make us happy in heaven ??
“ This question was like a dagger to my heart. I went home, and thought much about it. I could not rest-I could not sleep. The more I looked into my own heart,
the more I saw I had no qualifications to fit me for the society, or the enjoyments of heaven. I cried unto the Lord, and he had mercy on me even in my old age. I now know what it is to love to pray. I hope one day to join in that new song which they sing before the throne.'
We had now reached the house, and I was obliged to take an immediate departure.
As I turned from this funeral scene, and hastened on my way to a station where I had an appointment to preach the same evening, the remarks of an eminent servant of God occurred to me, which he offered just after describing the interment of the mortal part of one of God's people :
“We committed our dear sister's body to the earth, in hope of a joyful resạrrection from the dead. Thus was the veil of separation drawn for a season. She is departed and no more seen. But she will be seen on the right hand of her Redeemer at the last day; and will again appear, to his glory, a miracle of grace, and monument of mercy.
And I may now with propriety add, transcribing from the same page—“My reader, shall you and I appear there likewise ? Are we clothed with humility,' and arrayed in the wedding garment of a Redeemer's righteousness ? Are we turned from idols to serve the living God? Are we sensible of our own emptiness, and therefore flying to a Saviour's fulness to obtain grace and strength ? Do we indeed live in Christ, and on him, and by him, and with him? Is he over all, and in all ? Are we lost and found'dead and alive again? If, through grace, thou dost love and serve the Redeemer that saved Elizabeth M Ellen, grace, peace, and mercy be with thee! The lines are fallen unto thee in pleasant places; thou hast a goodly heritage. Press forward in duty and wait upon the Lord, possessing thy soul in holy patience. Thou hast just been with me to the grave of a departed believer. Now go thy way till the end be; for thou shalt rest, and stand in thy lot at the end of the days.?”
* Legh Richmond. In the tract entitled “The Dairyman's Daughter."
Though ye have lien among the pots, yet shall ye be as the wings of a dove, covered with silver, and her feathers with yellow gold.
From the 68th Psalm. AMONG all the unerring declarations contained in the volume of sacred truth, I know of none in stricter unison with the principles of eternal verity, than that “ the wisdom of the world is foolishness with God." Upon the principles of worldly wisdom, that which is most desirable and most essential to human happiness, is ease of circumstances, and exemption from calamity of every sort. If the evils of life did not flow unavoidably as effects from human conduct—if men were left with the power of deciding, by the mere efforts of their will, what should be their lot from day to day, I suppose there would be no sickness, sorrow, suffering, disappointment, nor calamity in this world, however much sin there might be. This attempt to throw off the present effects of moral evil, while the cause is still retained and cherished, is a fair specimen and striking illustration of the wisdom of this world.
And were it possible to give reality to this great desideratum in human life, what would be the consequence ? Unquestionably, total forgetfulness of God, entire estrangement from him, increased attachment to the world, and