Ah, yes, I am sinful and mortal, grey hairs are here and there, the wrinkles and blemishes all declare the decay of this corruptible tabernacle. I love my body, this house of clay; this is very evident, for I nourish and cherish it (Eph. 5:29), but it waxeth old, I feel its frailty, its aches and pains, its days of languor and sickness all admonish me that some day the earthly house of this tabernacle will be dissolved. O thou precious Jesus, the heavenly one (1 Cor. 15:49), my thoughts are turned to thee. Once thou wast here in the world in the likeness of sinful flesh, thou wast slain, and laid in the tomb, but thou hast triumphed over death and the grave, thou hast risen from the dead, thou hast ascended on high, thou now art glorified, crowned with glory and honor (Heb. 2:9). Hast thou not bought thy people with a price? This hope thou hast wrought in me, that my body and spirit are thine (1 Cor. 6:20). O Savior, Thou art precious, my soul clingeth to thee, and from thy loved doctrine this I know, our “bodies are the members of Christ.” How instructive, how comforting is that word: The body is for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. O Jesus, lovely One, mighty Redeemer, thou knowest the bodies of all thy chosen ones are weak, mortal, corruptible, vile, but thy doctrine speaketh to my heart, they shall sleep in Jesus, (be laid to sleep by Jesus). Blessed sleep!
O, in that moment let me gaze upon Thy charms,
And clasp thee dying, in my fainting arms;
Then gently, leaning on Thy breast,
Sink in soft slumber into sacred rest.
Death’s ghastly form shall have a pleasing air,
And all things smile, while heaven and thou art there;
My soul with thee in paradise shall be,
Where we’ll sing praises forever more to Thee.
Laid to sleep by thee? O sweet, consoling thought, my flesh shall rest in hope. “Laid to sleep by Jesus.” Thine own voice shall us awake, yes, we shall awake with thy likeness (Psalm 17:15), immortal, incorruptible, glorified, fashioned like unto the glorious body of or ascended Redeemer (Phil. 3:21). We shall bear the image of the heavenly. On earth I see all comeliness decay, here pain and sickness, woes and death are ours. O sin doth so mar and taint our mortal life, here we have blight and shadow, bitterness and strife, but there in heaven above, where reigns our dear Redeemer, the shades of evening ever are unknown. There, there is no waning our day, there shall no night be there. Immortal Day, infinite light is there, the Lamb is the light thereof.
O then, when in my dying hour
All nature sinks and fades away,
Support my soul with thy redeeming power;
Thy smile shall be my everlasting day.
FREDERICK W. KEENE,
North Berwick, Maine
SIGNS OF THE TIMES, Page 436