Job 14:10
If the tree be cut down, it springs again; but if man dieth, he wasteth away. Certainly, then, man's hope is not in this life. The dismal views given in these few verses demand the full assurance of the resurrection. This is a feature of the Book of Job. It presents a negative view of human life. There is always a demand to be met. Only the fuller teachings of the New Testament meet it. Consider this aspect of human life with its demand for supplementary views in order to completeness and satisfaction. The complementary character of subsequent revelations.

I. THE PRESENT LIFE OF MAN PRESENTS CHARACTERISTICS OF IMPERFECTNESS WHICH INDICATE THAT THIS CANNOT BE THE COMPLETE VIEW OF LIFE.

II. THE MORAL, SPIRITUAL, AND INTELLECTUAL CAPABILITIES WHICH ARE OBVIOUSLY BUT PARTIALLY CALLED INTO PLAY DEMAND OTHER CIRCUMSTANCES FOR THEIR FULL DEVELOPMENT, AND INDICATE THE INCOMPLETENESS OF THE VIEW OF LIFE WHEN. CONFINED TO THE PRESENT ONLY.

III. THE ASPIRATIONS OF MEN TOWARDS CONDITIONS THAT CANNOT BE ATTAINED IN THIS LIFE ARE A TESTIMONY TO ITS INCOMPLETENESS.

IV. THE IDEALS OF LIFE ARE SO FAR SUPERIOR TO THE REALIZATIONS, THAT THEY BECOME A CONSTANT PROPHECY OF SOMETHING BETTER AND HIGHER THAN THE PRESENT LIFE.

V. THE HOPE OF HIGHER CONDITIONS THAN THE PRESENT IS STRONGEST IN THE BEST AND PUREST SOULS.

VI. THE PAINFULNESS OF THE PRESENT WITH THE CONSCIOUSNESS OF CAPACITY FOR GREAT AND PURE ENJOYMENT A FURTHER EVIDENCE OF THE INCOMPLETENESS OF LIFE IF THE VIEW BE RESTRICTED TO THE PRESENT.

VII. ALL IS SATISFIED IN' THE SUBSEQUENT REVELATIONS, AND IN THE CALM ASSURANCE THEY GIVE OF THE RESURRECTION OF THE DEAD AND THE LIFE OF THE WORLD TO COME. - R.G.







But man dieth...and where is he?
? —

I. THE BELIEF INDICATED THAT MAN'S NATURE IS TWO FOLD. There are two distinct processes ever going on within our frame. We may lose our physical organs, but the soul may think, wish, or purpose, as energetically as ever. The brain is the organ of the mind; but this does not warrant our saying that the brain and the mind are of the same material, or that they are only different sides of that material thing. If there are manifestations in our constitution which matter cannot give account of, it would be absurd to follow that up by saying that man goes out of life altogether when he dies and wastes away. We should rather believe that as our nature is two fold, that part which is spiritual may survive that which is material.

II. A DOUBT EXPRESSED AS TO WHAT BECOMES OF THE MAN WHEN HE DIES. Death tells us nothing. There is no evidence in it of what becomes of the man. Death fails to prove anything as to the survival of the soul. Yet the belief has been general, that those who have passed away are still somewhere. Why should men have believed that the soul still had a place? Every sense was against it.

III. THE GROUNDS ON WHICH THE CONVICTION IS BUILT THAT MAN LIVES AFTER DEATH. I go behind the Bible, and look at the action of our own nature.

1. The indestructibility of force or energy. When once a force has begun to be in operation that force continues. It is never blotted out.

2. The incompleteness of man's life here. God is a teacher who sets us a task which we cannot prepare in school.

3. The best affections which distinguish this life speak of continuance beyond this present state.

4. When man dieth, we forecast a judgment for the deeds done in the body. It may be, indeed, it will be, that the judgment shall not be such as we pass upon one another. We look upon the outward appearance, God looks on the heart. We are to be judged. What are we to be judged for?

(D. G. Watt, M. A.)

The certainty of the general truth referred to in our text, "Man dieth and wasteth away; yea, man giveth up the ghost." And then we shall take up the concluding inquiry, "And where is he?" Now, the words translated "man" are different. There are two different words to express man in the original. The first properly means a mighty man: the second is Adam, man of the earth; implying that the mighty man dieth and wasteth away, — yea, man because he is of earth giveth up the ghost. It is quite unnecessary to attempt any proof of the solemn truth that man dieth. You all know that you must die. Yet how often does a man's conduct give a denial to his conviction. Hence it is needful for the ministers of the Gospel frequently to bring forward truths which are familiar to our minds, but which on that very account are apt to be little regarded. We are not unwilling to feel that others must die, but we are indisposed to bring the same conclusion home to ourselves; and yet it is the law of our being. "It is appointed unto men once to die." The first breath we draw contains the germ of life and of destruction. The stem of human nature has never yet put forth a flower without a canker at the bud, or a worm at its heart. Why is this? "By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned." It is of the greatest importance for us all to know that through the infinite merits of our gracious Redeemer the power of death has been broken and subdued, and the sting of death which is sin has been extracted, and thus may death become not an enemy but a welcome friend to introduce us to new, to holy, to immortal life. There are a thousand different ways by which mortals are hurried hence the lingering disease, the rapid fever, the devouring flames, the devastating tempest. But now our text suggests to us an important inquiry, "And where is he?" You must at once see that this is a question of the last importance to you and to me. We ought to be able to answer it. What has become of him? A short time since he was here in health and vigour, but where is he now? Where shall we seek for information on this interesting point? Shall we turn to some of our modern philosophers? Alas, they will afford but poor comfort! They will probably answer, "Why, he is no more; he is as though he had never been." And do all the boasted discoveries of the present age which refuse to believe in the annihilation of matter, tend to raise our hopes no higher than annihilation for the soul? Shall we ask the Romanist, "Where is he?" We shall be told he is in a state of purgatory, from whence, after having endured a sufficient degree of fiery punishment and after a sufficient number of masses have been said on his behalf, he will be delivered and received into heaven. Truly it may be said of all such, "miserable comforters are ye all." Revelation alone can cherish and support in us a hope of glory hereafter. It replies to our inquiry thus, "The dust shall return to the earth as it was, and the spirit shall return to God who gave it." Accordingly we are exhorted to "fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell." Now these passages are sufficient to show that the body and soul in man are distinct, the one from the other, and that while the one is in the grave mingling its dust with the clods of the valley, the other is in eternity, in happiness or misery. We therefore now ask your attention to the Word of God for an answer to the inquiry, "Where is he?" And here we must observe that however different individuals may appear to their fellow men, yet the Scriptures divide all mankind into two classes only, those who serve God, and those who serve Him not. Hence the reply given to the inquiry will have distinct reference to one or other of these classes. With respect to the question as relating to the righteous, "Where is he?" the Bible comforts us with the cheering answer, that absent from the body he is present with the Lord. "For we know," says the apostle, "that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. Therefore we are always confident, knowing that whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord." In accordance with this representation was our Lord's promise to the penitent thief, "Today shalt thou be with Me in paradise." "Where are the righteous?" In that happy place with the spirits of just men made perfect, waiting for the glorious time when the whole redeemed family shall be gathered in to celebrate the marriage supper of the Lamb. "I go to prepare a place for you," said the Saviour, "and I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am there ye may be also." "So shall we ever be with the Lord." But then there is another class — the wicked, the impenitent. Where is he? The Scriptures afford a sad, though not less faithful answer. They inform us that "the wicked is driven away in his wickedness," — that "their condemnation slumbereth not." In order that we may bring the subject practically home to ourselves, let me put the question in a slightly altered form. Where are you now? What is your relation to God, and what preparation are you making for the period of death and judgment? We ask those who have never broken off their sins by true repentance and faith in Christ, where are you? Why, you are simply exposed to the vengeance of God's law, which you know you have broken a thousand times. If you die as you have lived, God's enemies — you must be condemned. You know that the Word of God says, "The soul that sinneth, it shall die." "The wages of sin is death." The Judge says, "Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish." But I put the question, next, to those who seem to have got a step in advance, — who have heard the call to repentance, and are striving to forsake those sins which before had dominion over them. Where are you? It is a common deceit of Satan, when he sees that the sinner is really alarmed at his state and begins to cry to God for mercy, to persuade him that his altered life must needs be pleasing to God, and that his good deeds will certainly merit heaven for him. This is a delusion which I believe to be far more common than is supposed. People seem to think that by a moral life they are doing God service, forgetting that repentance is not the condition of our salvation, but faith. "He that believeth not the Son shall not see life," said our blessed Lord. "The wrath of God abideth on him." "He that believeth not is condemned already." "Oh, but," says one, "are we not to repent?" Assuredly! Repentance and a life of piety will be sure to be the necessary result of faith in Jesus as our Saviour. But, then, repentance can never undo a single sin you have committed, or pay the penalty of God's broken law. But come with me to a death bed or two, and we will put the question there, "Where is he?" A death bed is a detector of the heart. "Men may live fools, but fools they cannot die." No; the scene is then changed. The infidel then drops his mask. The hypocrite who through life has deceived himself and his fellow creatures, trembles as he draws near the valley of the shadow of death. Now, behold that pale emaciated wretch. That is the notorious infidel Thomas Paine. Where is he? He is dying, a victim of profligacy and of brandy. He is horrorstruck to be left alone for a minute. He dares not let those who are waiting upon him be out of his sight. He exclaims incessantly so as to alarm all in the house, "O Lord, help me. Lord Jesus, help me." He confesses to one who had burned his infidel Age of Reason, that he wished that all who had read it had been as wise; and he added, "If ever the devil had an agent on earth, I have been that one." And when the terror of death came over this most unhappy man, he exclaimed, "I think I can say what they make Jesus Christ to have said, 'My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?'" In that state of mind he died, a stranger to penitence, in all the horrors of an accusing conscience. Infidelity has no support for its deluded followers on a death bed. The apostle when contemplating his end said, "I have a desire to depart, and to be with Christ, which is far better. I have fought the good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me; and not to me only, but unto all them that love His appearing." This blessed experience is as much the inheritance of Christians now as it was in the apostle's time, for there is the same Saviour, and the same sure word of promise on which to rely. The Rev. Holden Stuart when smitten with a sickness unto death, said to his medical attendant, "Doctor, don't be afraid to tell me the truth, for the day of my death will be the happiest day of my life." Someone who had great experience of human nature, once remarked, "Tell me how a man has lived, and I will tell you how he will die."

(W. Windle.)

? — Man was originally formed to be a representative of God's moral perfections — His wisdom, goodness, holiness, and truth. By the apostasy of our first parents the scene is changed, and holiness and happiness must now be sought after "in fairer worlds on high." Death is said to be of three kinds — natural, spiritual, eternal.

I. A MOST SOLEMN AND HUMILIATING DECLARATION. It cannot be questioned. What lessons may be deduced from it?

1. It is a very affecting truth.

2. Here is an instructive lesson — man should be humble.

3. Learn also the value of time.

4. Learn the nature of sin, the infinite evil, and the awful consequences of it.

5. God will most surely execute the judgments which He threatens in His most Holy Word.

II. A MOST MOMENTOUS INQUIRY. It relates not to the body, but to the soul, to the man himself. The soul is still in existence, still thinks and feels. Guided by the light of Scripture, we may safely find an answer to the solemn inquiry, "Where is he?" For the very moment the soul bids farewell to this world he enters the world of spirits, enters upon a state of everlasting happiness or woe.

(John Vaughan, LL. D.)

I. THE SOLEMN SCENE WHICH IS BEFORE US.

1. Man giveth up the ghost, not by an option, but by an obligation; not by a deed at will, but by the stern and just necessity of law. The surrender of life in the blessed Jesus was an option. But man gives up the ghost, and there is a Divine will in that surrender, a surrender which is resistless when that will makes it so. Death is just the absence of life — and what a mysterious thing is life! I do not stop to show that man has a ghost, an immaterial and immortal spirit. One's own consciousness contradicts the materialist, and the Bible is in harmony with what one observes in nature, and human consciousness teaches.

2. The manner of the surrender is uncertain. Though its occurrence is mysterious, its actual occurrence is certain. There is but one mode of entering life, but there are a thousand methods of leaving it.

II. THE INQUIRY OF ANXIOUS AFFECTION WHEN THE SCENE IS OVER. "Where is he?"

1. Death brings a change of condition, never a change of character.

2. Though death is a change of condition, it is not a change of companionship. The same style of company it is a pleasure to him to keep on earth, a man must expect to keep in eternity.

(C. J. P. Eyre, A. M.)

1. This is spoken of man twice in the text. In the original two different words are used, one meaning the strong man, and the other the weak man. In the grave they meet together.(1) Man dies though he be (geber) a mighty man.(2) Man dies because he is a man of the earth (Genesis 2:7; Genesis 3:10).

2. Man is a dying creature. He dies daily, some or other going off every day.(1) Before death, he "wasteth away." He is weakening. Even in health, certainly in sickness and old age, we are wasting away. Inference —

1. See how vain man is.

2. How foolish they are who waste any part of their short lives upon their lusts.(2) In death man giveth up the ghost. Man expires by a sudden stroke. He breathes out his last.(3) After death, where is he? He is not where he was. He is somewhere. Think where the body is. Think where the soul is. It is gone into the world of spirits to which we are so much strangers. It is gone into an unchangeable state; it is gone into eternity. After death the judgment.

( M. Henry..)

The stage of human existence which intervenes between death and the resurrection is naturally regarded by us with great curiosity and solicitude. On this subject nature is silent, and revelation does but whisper faintly and vaguely. We are able to form a much more distinct conception of the heavenly state than of that which immediately precedes it. The final condition of man is much more analogous to his present state than that which intervenes between the two. At death we enter upon a disembodied state of being, a state of life purely spiritual and immaterial. Of this we have no knowledge from experience or observation; and we can form no clear and satisfactory conception of it. We are so accustomed to the use of material organs and instruments, that we cannot understand how we can do without them. Incorporeal life seems to us impotent, cheerless, naked, unreal. The souls of men after death remain conscious, still percipient and active.

1. We seem warranted in regarding the interval between death and the resurrection as a period of repose. It is the sleeping time of humanity. The repose that awaits us there will be all the more welcome and delightful from contrast with the turmoil and vexation of the life that precedes it.

2. The intermediate state will be a condition of progress. Progress is the law of life, and we cannot reasonably suppose that its operation will be suspended during that long period which is to elapse between death and the resurrection.

3. To the clearer vision of spirit, purged from fleshly films and earthly obstructions, will truth unfold itself with increased clearness, certainty, and power.

4. The separate state will be a condition of hope. It is a season of waiting, the vestibule only of a more glorious state to which it is introductory. But there is nothing in this waiting that is wearisome or tedious. I have spoken only of the holy dead, of those who "sleep in Jesus." The subject —

(1)Gives consolation to the bereaved.

(2)In it we find comfort in the prospect of our own approaching departure.

(R. A. Hallam, D. D.)

Men generally live as though they should never die.

I. THE SOLEMN STATEMENT. "Man dieth, and giveth up the ghost."

1. An event peculiarly affecting. The removal of man from society; from all the ties of kindred and friendship. Dissolution of the union between body and soul.

2. An event absolutely and universally certain. The seeds of death are in our nature.

3. It is an event to which we are liable every moment. We live on the borders of the grave, on the margin of eternity.

4. An event irreparable in its effects. Its melancholy results no power can repair.

5. An event which demands our solemn consideration. We should consider its certainty, its possible nearness, its awful nature.

II. THE IMPORTANT INTERROGATION. "Where is he?" Apply the question to —

1. The infidel.

2. The profane.

3. The worldling.

4. The afflicted Christian.Learn —

(1)That death will surely come.

(2)That an interest in Christ can alone prepare us for the event.

(3)That eternal things should have in our hearts the constant preeminence.

(J. Burns, D. D.)

The people of France once wrote over the gates of their burial places, "Death is an eternal sleep," but this was only when the nation had run mad. The ordinary mode of proving the immortality of the soul is simple enough.

1. It is argued from the nature of the soul itself — especially from its immateriality. The nature of God seems also to favour the idea that He who made the soul capable of such vast improvement, and such constant advances towards perfection, would never suffer it to perish.

2. Belief in man's immortality is universal. No race of savages can be found, so debased and blind, as not to have some glimmerings of this truth.

3. We claim immortality as the heritage of man, because, on any other supposition, all the analogies of nature would be violated.

4. Man must be immortal, because this is indispensable to explain certain inequalities of happiness and misery on earth — inequalities which a just God would never allow, unless it was His good pleasure to make them right. Man is generally called a rational being; but he hardly deserves the name, while attempting to undermine our faith in that consoling which alone renders life worth having, and robs death of its terrors.

(John N. Norton.)

This is one of Job's discontented and querulous utterances. It is tinged, too, with all that indistinctness of view which is characteristic of the eider dispensation. Job expresses the general feeling in a somewhat exaggerated form. He speaks as if the hour of dissolution were the hour of extinction. Then he craves for himself that oblivion of anguish which he thinks is only to be obtained in the solitude and silence of the grave. The words of the text express a very natural feeling, of which we have all had more or less experience. "Man giveth up the ghost, and where is he?" "Gone," say some, "into absolute nothingness. The individual perishes." "Gone," say others, "into final felicity. All lives, whatever they have been, lead to one bourne, and that the bourne of happiness." These are daydreams, and dangerous daydreams too. Christianity knows nothing about them. She tells us that when life is over, we pass into a conscious but a fixed and unalterable condition. Gone, we say, to reap what he has sown. The life we are living here below is a seed. Eternity is only the development of this puny, petty life of ours. The Divine laws are immutable. Every seed bringeth forth after its kind. We are all of us gravitating towards a certain centre. We move to join our own companions. Gone to give account of himself before God. Human life is like a stage; there are many actors and many parts. When the play is ended, the question will be about the manner of playing it. Men will be seen, not in their circumstances but in themselves. An hour will come to us when all the world will seem absolutely nothing, and when Christ, and interest in Christ, will seem to be everything.

(Gordon Calthrop, M. A.)

After all, this is a question. Reason and revelation leave it such. The speculations of the ancients, where Catholic sentiments prevailed and the voice of poetry, which is but the plaint of philosophy, leave it a question. It is obscure, spectral, vaporous and ghostly as an apparition, the figure of a restless, undeveloped being, beyond our knowledge, crude, cloudy, vague. "Where is he?" There runs a yearning through our nature, as the autumn breeze steals through the trees. It is the question. Its intensity is proportioned to its obscurity. "Where is he?" Other data are needed. We may ask, as we do in reference to a stranger of stately form or commanding voice, whom we meet on the sidewalk, "Who is he?" The question may be of eager interest and concern, of sympathy or of opposition. Or we may say of man, "What is he?" and institute a metaphysical analysis into the nature of matter and mind; then push the query, What is man, and what am I?" All these problems depend on the disclosure of the ultimate destiny of man. "Where is he at last?" Now we may mistake the shadow for the substance, a ship in the distance for a cloud, a meteor for a star. Walking in the edge of a wood, looking out upon the water, I may see a forest of masts, and for an instant take them for dry trees, until I see those tall, quivering masts move and the vessels floated out upon the bosom of the bay. Human life cannot be distinctly defined until we find out all there is of a man. We want facts. Oftentimes we answer one question by asking another. So let us turn to history and seek a famous or infamous man, a Cyrus or a Caligula, a Washington or a Robespierre. Each may now be but a heap of ashes, but what was the real distinction all the way through the careers of these men? What is love, and what is honour? We cannot answer until we get the data. Notice, then, two things, the unsettled element, and the point of solution where light breaks in.

1. The unsolved question, "Where is he?" You have lost a child. Whither has he gone? You do not say that you have lost a treasure until you have gone to the place where you feel sure it is, and do not find it. You are bereaved because you are bewildered. You were talking to a friend by your side. Unexpectedly he vanished without your knowledge, and you find yourself talking to vacancy. The mother bends over and peers into the vacant cradle, takes up a little shoe, a toy, a treasure, and says, "He was here, he ought to be here, he must be here! Where is he?" "Not here," is all the answer that nature gives her. She is bewildered. The same query touches scepticism. Though there be an intellectual, logical assent to the doctrine of immortality, there is a difficulty in entertaining the idea. We cannot see the spirit or its passage upwards. We enter the chamber of death. We see that still body, white and limp; the garments it wore, the medicines administered, and the objects it once beheld. We look out and see that the sky is just as blue as ever, and the tramp of hunting feet is heard, as usual, in the street. We cry aloud, "Ho! have ye seen a spirit pass?" "Not here," comes back again. Where, where is he? This is the unsettled element.

2. Here is the point where light breaks in upon the bewildered soul. It is found in the revelation of a flesh form and a spirit form revealed in Christ, the risen one. Science tells us of material elements, unseen by natural vision, globules of ether, and crystals of light to be detected by instruments prepared by the optician. The microscope reveals atoms that the unaided eye never could find. So the New Testament reveals what nature and science cannot make manifest. Dissolution is not annihilation. We read, "In Him was life." He came, He descended, and ascended again. When a candle goes out, where goes the light? Christ went out and back, to and fro, as you show a child the way by going into and out of a door. He came forth from God, and His first life was a glorious disclosure; but we must not forget His second life after His death, burial, and resurrection. He gave up the ghost, and He lay in the tomb; then stood up, walked and talked with the disciples, a human being. He showed the fact that because He lives we shall live also. "I will that they whom Thou hast given Me be with Me, where I am. Let not your heart be troubled. I go to prepare a place for you." Now light, refluent and radiant, breaks upon our way. He is not here, but risen, and "this same Jesus" shall return again. I may ask a mother, "Where are your children?" She may say that they are at school, or at play, or somewhere on the premises. They are not lost, though she may not exactly locate them. Or, "Where is your husband? He went out awhile ago," or, "The children went out with him; their father took them from home early." So with our dear departed. Out of sight they are not out of mind; not out of your mind, of course, and,, you are not out of their mind, nor out of their sight, I think. They are "somewhere about the premises," the many-mansioned universe of God, expanding, radiant everywhere. It is one abode.

(Hugh S. Carpenter, D. D.)

This interrogatory has Sounded down all the centuries, and thrills today every thoughtful heart. Hence, if Job uttered these words in a moment of doubt, it was because he sat in the twilight hour of revelation. Hence, also, we must seek our answer to the question from Jesus, rather than from Job, from the full and final revelation of the New Testament, rather than from the types and shadows of the Old.

I. HE IS SOMEWHERE. Death is not annihilation.

1. Jesus taught man's existence after death so often and in such emphatic terms that it became an essential in Christian doctrine. In His words to the Sadducees, in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, when speaking to Mary and Martha, when comforting His disciples who were mourning His near departure, in His last prayer with and for them — everywhere He clearly implied that man continues to exist somewhere after death.

2. To this revelation of life and immortality our hearts gladly assent.

3. Reason, likewise, adds its sanction. Thus we believe the dead are somewhere, they have not ceased to be.

II. BUT WHERE? This is the emphatic word.

1. Where surroundings correspond with character. In this life man finds the earth prepared for his occupancy, as a house that has been erected, furnished, heated, lighted. Believing in the universality and continuity of law, we expect the same provision and adaptation hereafter. It is the "law of environment" of the scientist, the "Divine providence" of the Christian. Revelation makes this expectation a certainty, The righteous enter a kingdom "prepared for them from the foundation of the world"; the wicked depart to a place "prepared for the devil and his angels."

2. Where the law of spiritual gravitation carries him. In the United States Mint are scales constructed with an ingenuity and delicacy that are wonderful. In them all coins are finally tested. Each one is weighed by itself. From the balance every coin glides into one of several openings, according to its weight; if it is too light, into this one; if too heavy, into that; if it is right, into the third.

III. WHERE JUSTICE AND MERCY UNITE TO PLACE HIM. Justice and mercy unite to determine the destinies of both wicked and righteous. Redemption manifests both; so does retribution. Conclusion — It is not so much "where," as "what"; for the "what" determines the "where." We are ourselves determining the "what," in our acceptance or rejection of Christ.

(Byron A. Woods.)

1. Man is still on earth, as to his influence. The full amount of good or evil which anyone effects will not be ascertained till the end of the world.

2. Man is in the grave, as to his body. In this respect, all things come alike to all. As the saint, so is the sinner.

3. He is in eternity, as to his soul. Man consists of two parts-of soul and of body. At death these for a season separate. The body returns to its native dust; the soul returns to God, who gave it.

4. He is in heaven or hell, as to his state. What a solemn thought is this!

(C. Clayton, M. A.)

1. Man is subject to decay, though he suffer neither outward violence nor internal injury. In the midst of life we are in death.

2. Numbers die by accident — suicide, violence, intemperance.

3. The mortality of the human race is universal.

4. Human life is so short and uncertain that it is invariably compared to those things that are most subject to change.

5. What a specimen we have of the ravages of death since the time of Adam.

6. Death is attended with painful circumstances. "He giveth up the ghost."

1. This expression implies that after man has died and wasted away, the soul still remains in a separate state. This is one of those truths that even reason itself teaches.

2. That the soul remains in a separate state is certain, from Scripture passages and facts. Such as Samuel's appearance to Saul. Moses and Elias at the Transfiguration.At the resurrection of Christ many of the dead arose and appeared. "And where is he?"

1. This is a question very frequently and very naturally asked, when those are missing whom we constantly saw or heard speak of, or with whom we were wont to converse.

2. The affecting answer is, "They have died and wasted away — they have given up the ghost." What is become of the soul? We only know that the final destiny of man depends upon his state and character at the hour of death, It is true that neither the righteous nor the wicked enjoy or suffer their happiness or misery until after the resurrection. The intermediate space affords ample time for reflection.

3. But what will be the subject of their reflection?(1) Things present: the good; the blessings, the enjoyments, the company of paradise. The bad the horrors, the sorrows, the companions of the dark pit.(2) Things absent: the godly, the departure of all evil; the ungodly, the absence of all good.(3) Things past: the righteous, a long and perilous pilgrimage; the wicked, a useless and wicked life.(4) Things to come: the saved, the glories of the last great day, the acquittal of the Judge, the union with the body, the prospect of never-ending felicity; the lost, the terrors of the great day, the presence and sentence of the Judge, the consciousness of having to endure eternal torments.

(B. Bailey.)

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