Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return to God who gave it.
1. As we lay our beloved in the grave, we recognize indeed their mortality; but at the same time we feel that this is not really they. The presence of death assures us afresh that our beloved is really the spirit which has passed out of sight.
2. This recognition of a spiritual nature as well as a material nature gives us a presumption of a higher as well as a lower destiny. We see how the frail body died inevitably: year by year it was always coming nearer to death; and we see how the strong spirit did not waste and decay in like manner, but ought to have survived.
3. We ask where the strong, sweet spirit has gone, and our hearts answer, with the Bible, It has gone to God; recalled to Him who gave it. says, "Thou hast made us for Thyself, and we rest not till we rest in Thee."
4. To one who is not afraid to go to God, death is the triumphant conclusion of this life of trial. Those who pass the veil find hope changed to sight, prayer to praise.
(F. Noble, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.