1. “My sheep hear my voice;
2. And I know them;
3. And they follow me;
4. And I give unto them eternal life;
5. And they shall never perish;
6. Neither shall any pluck them out of my hand.”
Here we find directions to duty, as well as promises of future good.
Since it is more important how we live than how we die, and since death is merely the arrival at the end of a journey, the beginning, progress, and history of the journey determining what the arrival is to be, we shall do well to dismiss our borrowed trouble with regard to the manner of our departure out of the world, and be solicitous only with regard to the right discharge of present duty. We read, “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.” The death of every child of his is, with God, an object of unspeakable interest; his own honor is concerned in it; its influence on survivors is of great importance; it will be among the means by which God accomplishes several, it may be many, purposes of providence, but especially of his grace. “No man dieth to himself.” Great interests are involved in his death, beyond his own personal welfare. Now, if we have lived for God, he will make our death the object of his especial care, and will honor it by its being the means of promoting his glory. Instead, therefore, of gloomy apprehensions as to dying, we should cherish the noble wish and aim that Christ may be magnified in our body, whether it be by life or by death. If our life has been a walking with God, “Thou art with me” will be a perfect warrant, now, and in death, to “Fear no evil.”
The search for the departed.
No bliss mid worldly crowds
Like musing on the sainted dead.
We seek in vain, on earth, for one who has gone to heaven. Though better informed as to the objects of our love than they who lingered about the deserted tomb of the Saviour, and were asked, “Why seek ye the living among the dead,” we nevertheless find ourselves, in our thoughts, searching for them; so difficult is it at once to feel that they are wholly and forever departed. There is an affecting and beautifully simple illustration of our thoughts and feelings, in this respect, in the search which was made for Elijah after his translation. Fifty men of the sons of the prophets went and stood to view afar off, when Elijah and Elisha stood by the Jordan. Elisha returned alone, and these men could not feel reconciled to the loss of their great master. They were not persuaded that he had gone to heaven, no more to return; they sought leave to seek him, and to recover him: “Peradventure,” they said, “the Spirit of the Lord hath taken him up and cast him upon some mountain, or into some