They all wept openly as they embraced Paul and kissed him.
I. THE ACQUAINTANCE OF THE EPHESIANS WITH PAUL HAD BEEN ONE IN WHICH THEY HAD RECEIVED THE NEW AND PRICELESS BLESSING OF HOLY TEACHING.
II. THE ACQUAINTANCE HAD BEEN ONE IN THE SURE BACKGROUND OF WHICH HAD BEEN ALWAYS A HOLY LIVING EXAMPLE.
III. THE ACQUAINTANCE HAD BEEN ONE FAR REMOVED FROM ALL NARROWNESS OR LIMITEDNESS OF AIM: IT HAD BEEN STAMPED WITH USEFULNESS. The behavior of the sabbath and even of the Lord's day is far more easily taught than the behavior of all life's "common days," and to teach this it is abundantly plain Paul did not disdain.
IV. THE ACQUAINTANCE WAS ONE ALL THE MEMORIES OF WHICH WERE MEMORIES OF UNAFFECTED KINDLINESS AND CONDESCENSION. (1 Thessalonians 2:7, 8.) - B.
And they all wept sore...sorrowing most of all...that they should see his face no more.I. THE TEARS OF THE NOBLE SERVANTS OF GOD.
1. A painful tax of human weakness, which even the best have to pay in —(1) External trials.(2) Internal temptations.
2. A precious ornament of holy souls from which shines forth the faithfulness which follows the Lord in suffering, and the love which weeps over the misery of the world.
3. A fruitful seed for the beautiful harvest of joy, which shall ripen to those who weep —(1) Not only in heaven, when those who have sown in tears will reap in joy; but also —(2) Here, on the field of the heart, since their labour is not in vain in the Lord.
II. THE SAYING OF SEPARATING LOVE (cf. John 16:16).
1. With its bitterness — sorrow of orphanage — reproaches of conscience, if we have neglected the hour of our merciful visitation.
2. With its sweet comfort.(1) Continued uniting in the Lord.(2) Reunion with the Lord.
(H. C. Trumbull, D. D.)
I. ITS SOURCE.
1. The loss of a true friend. Next to the assurance that we have the best friend in heaven is the conviction that we have a true friend on earth. A Christian minister should be this, and felt to be this, by his people. The apostle evidently stood in this relation to these Ephesians.
2. The close of lengthened religious privileges.
3. The recollection of numerous changes which this death suggests.
II. ITS COMFORT.
1. To him it is immeasurable gain. Our departed Christian friends have but entered on a farther voyage than that to which these Ephesians accompanied the apostle; but surely a more favouring one; for death is that ship into which the disciples received their Master, in the gloom of night, that He might scatter their fears, and still the waves for them, and bring them immediately to the land whither they went. They have not died; they have emigrated to the better country.
2. Results may still remain. No man can live and labour for Christ without bequeathing to the world such a legacy, which our eye may not be able to separate from the great whole, but which is still there, increasing the amount and hastening on the grand and glorious close. A man may scatter precious seed, and be called away; but if he has done his work faithfully and well, the green blade shall spring, and the yellow harvest shall wave, though the head of the sower be in the dust beneath.
3. Changes are preparing the way for a world that is immutable. "We look for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God." Every good and perfect gift comes from above; but more, it departs thither also.
III. ITS IMPROVEMENT. Christian sorrow for the departed should lead us —
1. To seek reunion with the object of our affection. This is the instinct of grief, wherever it is genuine — to be where the lost one is. The gospel does not destroy human grief with its natural longings; it comes to consecrate it to the noblest ends, and make a ladder of it that shall reach to heaven.
2. To cultivate what they had most at heart while with us.
(J. Ker, D. D.).
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