I am lucky enough to have in my personal library a book entitled ‘The Mourner’s Friend or Sighs of Sympathy For Those Who Sorrow’. It is a collection of prose and verse compiled to give comfort to the grieving. Edited by J.B. Syme, published in 1852 by S.A. Howland in Worcester, Mass, USA; its contents are by American and European authors and some surprising famous names. My copy of the book has some water damage, ageing paper, and precarious binding, so before it deteriorates my project to preserve the words of the authors will find its way here on the MOLAM blog.
This is an excerpt from Reverend Robert Hall’s A Funeral Sermon for the Rev. Dr. Ryland who was born in January 29 1753. It appears in the publication The Works of the Reverend Robert Hall, A.M. published in London and also in New York in the same year 1832. A very popular theologian, philosopher, moralist and public preacher Rev. Robert Hall appears to have been a prolific and popular religious figure. Although, he lived and worked in England with the publication of his works in the US he was obviously a noteworthy inclusion here.
Reverend Robert Hall was born in 1764 and died in 1831. An English Baptist preacher from Arnesby, Leicestershire, he was known for his academic achievements at a young age. He spent 15 years in Cambridge, then in 1807 he became Minister of Harvey Lane Chapel.
UNION OF GOOD MEN IN HEAVEN. By Rev. R. Hall.
IF the mere conception of the reunion of good men in a future state, infused a momentary rapture into the mind of Tully ; if an airy speculation, for there is reason to fear it had little hold on his convictions, could inspire him with such delight, what may we be expected to feel, who are assured of such an event by the true sayings of God ! How should we rejoice in the prospect, the certainty, rather, of spending a blissful eternity with those whom we loved on earth ; of seeing them emerge from the ruins of the tomb, and the deeper ruins of the fall, not only uninjured, but refined and perfected, with every tear wiped from their eyes, standing before the throne of God and the Lamb in white robes, and palms in their hands, crying with a loud voice, Salvation to God, that sitteth upon the throne, and to the Lamb, forever and ever ! what delight will it afford to renew the sweet counsel we have taken together, to recount the toils of combat, and the labor of the way, and to approach not the house but the throne of God, in company, in order to join in the symphonies of heavenly voices and lose ourselves amid the splendors and fruitions of the beatific vision !
To that state all the pious on earth are tending ; and if there is a law from whose operation none are exempt, which irresistibly conveys their bodies to darkness and to dust, there is another, not less certain or less powerful, which conducts their spirits to the abodes of bliss, to the bosom of their Father and their God. The wheels of nature are not made to roll backward ; everything presses on towards eternity ; from the birth of time on impetuous current has set in, which bears all the sons of men towards that interminable ocean. Meanwhile, heaven is attracting to itself whatever is congenial to its nature, is enriching itself by the spoils of earth, and collecting within its capacious bosom whatever is pure, permanent, and divine ; leaving nothing for the last fire to consume but the objects and the slaves of concupiscence ; while everything which grace has prepared and beautified shall be gathered and selected from the ruins of the world, to adorn that eternal city, “which hath no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it ; for the glory of God doth enlighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.”