There lies his mortal body, moldering into dust—and feeding the worms!
Samuel Davies, "Life and Immortality Revealed in the Gospel"
(A sermon preached at the funeral of a young man, on September 1, 1756)
"It is appointed unto men once to die—but after this, the judgment!" Hebrews 9:27
Do you expect a pleasant eulogy of our deceased young friend? This is not my usual practice—I have things of much greater importance to engage your attention. The dead have received their just and unchangeable doom at a superior tribunal; and besides, our eulogies or censures may be often misapplied. My business is with the living—not to flatter their vanity with compliments, but to awaken them to a sense of their own mortality, and to a preparation for it.
However, if you must have his eulogy—I will draw it for you in the most important and interesting light:
Here was a youth in the bloom of life, in the prime of his strength and health, who seemed as secure from the stroke of death as any of us. Here lies a youth who launched into the world, no doubt, with the usual projects and expectations of a happy old age. But where is he now? Alas! In yonder grave lies the blooming, promising flower—withered in the morning of life! There lies his mortal body, moldering into dust—and feeding the worms!
Come to his grave, you young and mirthful ones, you lively and strong ones, you men of business and bustle; come and learn what you must shortly be! Come and see your own destiny! Thus, shall your limbs stiffen, your blood stagnate, your faces wear the pale and ghastly aspect of death, and your whole frame dissolve into dust and ashes!
Thus shall your all your temporal purposes be broken off, all your schemes vanish like smoke, and all your hopes from this world perish. Death perpetually lurks in ambush for you—ready every moment to spring upon his prey!
"Oh that DEATH!" (said a man of large estate, strong constitution, and cheerful temper,) "I do not like to think of death—he comes in and spoils all."
So he does indeed! He spoils all your thoughtless mirth, all your foolish amusements, and all your great schemes. Methinks it befits you to prepare—for what you cannot avoid! "It is appointed unto men once to die—but after this, the judgment!" Hebrews 9:27
But was our departed friend nothing but an animal, a mere machine of flesh and bones? Is the whole of him putrefying in yonder grave? No! I must draw his character farther. He was an immortal being; and no sooner did he take his last breath—than his soul took wing, and made its flight into the eternal realm. There it now dwells. And what amazing scenes now present themselves to his view! What extraordinary, unknown beings does he now converse with!
There also, my friends, you and I must before long be! We too must be initiated into those grand mysteries of the invisible world, and mingle in this assembly of immortal beings. We must share with angels in their bliss and glory—OR with devils in their agonies and terrors!
And our eternal destiny shall be according to our present character. "The hour is coming, in which all who are in the graves shall hear the voice of the Son of Man, and shall come forth; those who have done good—unto the resurrection of life; and those who have done evil—unto the resurrection of damnation!" John 5:28