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Full text of "A Sermon Occasioned by the Death of Mrs. Jane R. Adams"

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SERMON 



OCCASIOIfED BY THE DEATH 



OF 



MRS. JANE R. ADAMS, 



WHO DIED AT CASTINE, M*, 



January Ith^ 1834. 



By WOOSTER PARKER, 

Taster of the Trinitarian Church in Castings 



PUBLISHED BY REdUEST, 



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1st Cor. 15: 57. 
^^But'tJianksbe to God, which giveth us the victory through otof 

Lord Jesus Christ,*^ 

Shortsighted as we are, and little else as we know of scenes 
through which futurity will carry us, the certainty and universal- 
ity of temporal death are truths which we have not yet to learn* 
These are truths, written out in the epitaphs of all the buried 
sons of time — proclaimed by the death of all past generations— ( 
by the tomb-stones in our grave-yards — ^and by the sighs of dearest 
friends, left sorrowing behind. 

The unexpected and much lamei^ted death of a dear neighbor 
and friend, an affectionate wife and devoted mother, echoes 
back to us from her silent resting place the fearful truth, "Death 
bath passed upon all men for that all have sinned." Neither the 
cares of a family, nor the strong attachment of friends always 
happy in her society, nor the tenderest and strongest ties of a& 
fection which bound her to her partner, not the love, strong 
idmost as of life, which she bore to her children, conld. retain her 
spirit longer on earth. God called her away. She nursed her 
helples9 infant, yet unconscious of its loss, and turned (iway bet 
bead and died. 

By nature's dim light, we can trace a fellow mortal only to that 
grave. To unaided reason, all beyond is darkness, uncertainty 
and gloom. Here we stand, in dread and wonder, but cannot 
tell the destiny of the soul. But by the revelation which God 
bfts given us, and especially by the Gospel of his Son, bringing 
life aud immortality more clearly to light, its moral eharactef 
may be known, and its eternal existence traced. The soul of 
man is too noble to sink back into oblivion with the frail bodyi 
to which it has given usefulness and dignity. The narrow houfo 
of the dead cannot bold the immortal spirit; death camiot bind 



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iie kneels wiih^ broken hftart to praj, wUI witnera faiaisonscioiMi 
riotory oyer sin, his confident faith, his triumphant hope. 

And when de^th shall set him free from this vile world, vtcton* 
ous over death and sin^ he will rise to a mansion eternal in the 
skies. His victory is now complete. ** Thanks be to God, wko 
giveth this victory/' It is all of God. 

Victory over death and the grave may b« given, while thepow* 
er of sin is not destroyed. An immortality of sin and ipisQry maj 
be given ; for some shall he raised '* to shame and everlasting 
contempt ;" raised to go away *^ into everlasting punishment." 
But some shall rise " to everlasting life ;" to complete an everlast-' 
ing victory over sin. On such the second death hath no po^er* 
Their's is victory over all the powers of darkness. The Body is 
now raised, a spiritual body, in power and glory. It is made like 
unto Christ's glorious body* All its faculties are purified and 
quickened. Its corruption is changed to incerruption. Neither 
death nor sin has any more dominion over it. The soul is te* 
deemed from all its adversaries ; its clogs are taken off; its fet-» 
ters are broken ; and now It rises in eternal triumph at God's 
dght hand, to shine and sing before the throne forever* 

II. How is this victory given I 

It is not gained by man himself. He cannot add a moment ta 
bis life. He cannot enter into covenant or contend with death* 
He cannot stay the resistless blow. As well may he think to si* 
lence the thunder or chain the lightning of heaven, as to stay, for 
a moment, death's awfiil summons. The bounds of bis life are 
set, that he cannot pass them. 

Nor has he power, when 4eatb has laid bim in the dust, to 
bring to life his mortal body, and clothe it with glorj and immor*^ 
tality. This power belongeth unto God. 

Nor can he wash out the deep stain, of sin from his souly *^ 
gain a spiritual conquest. The law which he has broken, is holy, 
just and good ; its penal^ is righteous and eternal* And if^ 
from a given time to the day. of his death, he should yiald a per* 
feet obedience to that law, still, all his former transgressions must 
lie against bim uncancelled, unpardoned. He owes perfect olfir 
dience in future^ God y^<|uire8 9Y^rj power 9f body a^ ^* 



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mind for tbd futare, and forever. He, then, can do nothing by 
vraj of obedience to make amends for past transgressions. 

And he can make no ofering to atone for his sins. *^ The 
earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof." His body and bis 
Bonl are God's. Neither his tears nor his blood can wash hicr 
guilt away. The demands of the law are holy and just ; his sins 
were guilty violations of that law, and they must stand against 
him. No reason can be urged why they should not rest upon 
bim, or why he should not be held forever responsible and guilty 
for the full amount of his sin. And O, what is the full amount ? 
That law requires him to love God with ctll his heart; to do all 
to his glory; and declares, ^' Cursed is every one that <)ontinueth 
not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do 
them." Now in view of that law, what is the amount of the 
sinner's guilt ? Let him apply it to liimself ; let him trace out 
and number all his sinful thoughts and affections, his vain wordsi 
and wrong acts, for a single hour — and then for a day — and then 
for a week— and then for a month, and a year-*— and then for his 
life ; — and then let him say if his sins are not innumerable ! Let 
him say if his violations of that law are not like the stars of heav- 
en, or the sands on the ocean shore ! 

But this law which condemns him, and binds upon him this 
world of iniquity, must stand. It is righteous — ^it is unchangeable 
and eternal. It is the word of Jehovah. And if, in a single 
instance, it shall fail to be fulfilled and honored, the authority of 
Jehovah is annulled ; his oath is forfeited ; his kingdom is shaken ; 
the pillars of heaven must tremble ; the throne of God must fall. 
Heaven and earth may pass away, but the word of God cannot 
fail. His holy and violated law must stand forever. To what 
then, can the dying sinner^trust ? That law cuts him off from all 
hope, and consigns him to inevitable ruin. Its penalty is right- 
eous and his sentence is just. The last ray of hope is extinguish- 
ed. He stands condemned and doomed, and waits for the ter« 
rors of the law to thunder upon him. 

But stay ; a voice from heaven ! a voice of love ! a Saviour 
•peaks ! From eternity he had dwelt in the bosom of the Father ; 
he knew the stability of his throne — the justice and glory of his 



9 

« 

law ; but he felt for the sinner's woes. « Lo t c^me to do thy will,^ 
O God. I will magnify that law and make it honorable; I will 
sustain its aothorit j, and show its glory, and make it consistent fot 
thee to pardon the penitent ; I will make myself a sacrifice for the 
sins of the world, that whosoever belie veth in me might iiot per-» 
ish, but have everlasting life.* He came. He was the Lord 
from heaven. He took upon him the nature of the sinner, and 
was *' God manifest in the flesh.'* He had no sufferings to en** 
dure for himself; for he was spotless as Jehovah. But he cheer-* 
fully took upon him suAerings which, in view of the divine law^ 
were an equivalent for the merited destruction of sinners. He 
endured the unutterable agonies of Gethsemane, — the hidings of 
his Father's face, and the pangs of death on the cross, — and 
when he died, he cried aloud, *^It is finished^** He rose from the 
dead, and uttered his voice again, ** He that believeth shall 5e 
saved ;^* and ascended to the right hand of the Majesty on high. 
There he ever lives, enthroned in glory, a Mediator, a Prince, u 
Saviour, a God, to give repentance and remission of sins, and to 
give at the last great day, to all his faithful followers, an abundant 
and triumphant entrance into his everlasting kingdom. He rose 
from the dead, and disarmed death of its sting, and the grave of 
its victory. He was made a quickening spirit ; and ^' the hour is 
coming in the which all that are in their graves shall hear his 
voice, and shall come forth ; they that have done good, unto the 
resurrection of life ; and they that have done evil, unto the res- 
urrection of damnation." 

He made a vicarious atonement for sin ; and by him, all who 
believe are justified from all things, from which they could not be 
justified by the law. Through him, God can consistently forgive 
the penitent transgressor : — through him, the offers of life are 
made to all ; through him, the Holy Spirit is sent down from 
heaven to change these vile hearts of ours, to sanctify the soul, 
and fit it for heaven. — ^Thus is the victory given, through our Lord 
Jesus Christ. It is all through him ; victory over death and the 
grave by the power of his resurrection ; victory over the reigning 
power of sin by his atoning blood. 

And he wilLsit on the throne, and in the last great judgment 

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day, will say to bis children, <* Come ye blessed of niy Fatheri in* 
herit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of th« 
world ;" and to his enemies, ** Depart, ye cursed.'* He will sep- 
arate the righteous from among the wicked, and take them to his 
everlasting kingdom. And in heaven, long as Jesus shall live 
and reign the light and glory of the place, so long shall they— - 
plucked as brands from everlasting burnings — ^washed from AM 
their sios in his blood — and justified before the Father and the 
holy angels in his name — shout and siog, " Thanks be unto Gody 
who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." — 
** Worthy is the Lamb that was slain, — for thou wast slain, and 
hast redeemed us to God by thy blood." 
UL To whom is this victory given 1 

Victory over temporal death, or an immortality, is given to all 
*«-for all are immortal. But victory over sin and eternal death ia 
not given to all. It is not given to the immoral, the profane, the 
scoffing, who die with this character ; for sin manifestly gain* 
inore and more victory over them* They wax worse and worse. 
They love sin — they contemn God — ^they neglect his word*-*-tbe7 
turn their feet from the Sanctuary — they never bow th^ kpee in 
prayer,-T*and shall they gain eternal conquest over sin 1 Shall 
they be delivered from the bondage of Satan, while they love hi« 
service ? Is this victory to be gained by yielding the body and 
the soul; the willing servants of sin 1 

Nor is it given to those who trust to any thing for it, but the 
Lord Jesus Christ. What can the law do fpr the condemned ? Can 
that immutable and holy law of God, which sinks the sinner £ot^ 
ever under the weight of his unnumbered transgressiona, give him 
victory oyer its righteous penalty 1 It slays him ; it binds upon 
him all his sins, and weighs him down in darkness and despair ; 
and can he hope front this source 1 Or can any finite being ex- 
piate his guilt, and free him from its tremendous woes 1 What 
finite being could make atonement for a WORLD ? Who but a 
Divine being is adequate to this infinite work ? What being, 
with attributes less than those of the true God, can do the works 
of a Saviour and a Mediator ? Who can raise a buried world 
f^om their graves 1 Who can change these natural bodies to spir- 



ifual ; tb^te ddtrttptible to incorruptible ; tbese mortal to iiKif&or« 
tal ? Wbo can give the forgiveness of sins, and victory over the 
second deatb t Wh<^ cisiiii raise the ^otil redeemed to mansions of 
etei-nal glory in heaven, but the Supreme God ? Are not these 
tfad peculiar prerogatives of Jehovah 1 But these are the offices 
of Jesus Christ. He gives the immortal victory over death and 
sin.' He is the author of eternal salvation unto all them thitt 
obey him. Said the Saviour, " I am the good Shepherd : — my 
sheep hear my voice, and I know them, aiid they follow me ; and 
I give utito them etemaJ life.** 

And What is the testimony of the dying Christian to the char<< 
acter of Christ ? His soul has been trashed in a Saviour's bloodf, 
and sanctified by the Holy Spirit ; and how does he' esteem thd 
Lord that bought him ! Did the dying Stephen*— being full o# 
THE Holy Ghost, and enjoying a bright vision of heaven, when 
he prayed *< Lord Jesus receive my spirit"— or did ever a ransom- 
ed sinner, when he was brought to the last moment of life; esteenl 
the Lord Jesus Christ as less than God t Did ever a dying saint, 
as he entered into a boundless and changeless eternity, look to 
the blood and the loye of Jesus as the foundation of his hope-^ 
did one ever commend his departing spirit into his hands, and 
rfeel a heavenly peace within, and die in holy joy and triumph-^ 
bdieVin^ him to be less than " the true God and eternal life ?"— « 
No, never. The true Christian rejoices in him, in this awful 
hour, as that glorious and infinite Being, who only hath immor- 
tality ; the blessed and only Potentate ; the King of kings and 
Lord of lord»; 

This victory is not given to any who have not ei^pefienced ^ 
ehange of heart. *' Except a man be born again, he cannot sed 
the kingdom of God.'* «* They that are in the flesh, cannot pfease 
God." Up to the time when the sinner is born again by the Ho>» 
fy Spirit, he is supremely in love with sin. And if his heart Js 
not changed, the current of his sinful affectfons will beet him' 
downward still. He never is victorious, till his hve of sin is over- 
eome. If he never is born again, be never is forgiven; hir 
sins will forever rest upon him and weigh him dowfl : consciouf 
guilt will burn in his bosom forever. 




12 

This glorious victory over sin and Satan is given to the true 
Christian. 

«' He that believeth shall he saved," said the Saviour ; *^ he that 
belteveth not shall he damned." *' But as many as reedved Atm, 
to them gave he power to hecome the sens of God ;" apd " if 
they are children, then heirs ; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with 
Christ." Paul spoke of his " beloved brethren" when he said, 
<< Thanks he unto God, which giveth us the vietory." It is only 
the true Christian, who has received the forgiveaess of sins. He 
only who has felt his guilt and ruin, and repented of his sin, has 
felt the blood of a Saviour applied to his heart to cleanse it from 
pollution^ He only who has felt that he was justly and utterly 
condemned by the law — -he only who has repented and receiv- ' 
ed Christ by faith, has ever felt a consciousness of pardon. None 
but such as have submitted unreservedly and joyfully to God gain 
a conquest over sin a^d hell. Such submission every true child 
of God has felt. He felt it when his hard heart was brokenr-* 
when he was born from above. Then he beheld the inexpressi- 
ble glories of a Saviour, and the burthen of his sins rolled from 
him. He has felt it oflen in seasons of co|I^Mftnion with God. — 
His closet has witnessed the melting of his heart for his wander«« 
ings, and witnessed often the beaming in of hght and peace from^ 
heaven upon the soul. This holy and joyful resignation to the 
will of God, the Christian feels, when he is laid on his dying bed ; 
and it is this, which enables him to die in peace. It gives him a 
holy and unshaken confidence in God. It makes him victorious 
over aU his enemies. It fills him with most glorious views of 
God and of the Saviour, and gives him a faith , by which he over- 
comes the world, and triumphs over death. He is able to trust 
bis body and his soul— rhis all for eternity, in the hands of God* 
The tenderest ties which bind him to creature objects are now 
sundered, and as he comes nearer and nearer to the hour of his 
departure, he gains more and still more clear and glorious views 
of the Saviour and the upper world. And when the pang of 
death is passed, he is carried into the blissful presence of the Sa* 
viour above. His pains are over — his sufferings are ended — ^his 
sins are washed away — ^his soul is set at liberty, and its capacity 




18 

for knowledge and hippiness inereased-^atid he stands witii all 
the ransomed around the throne in eternal victory through our 
Lord Jesus Christ. And there, the wonders of the Godhead, and 
the boundless mysteries of redemption, will be forerer unfolding 
before him, to swell his joys through a blessed eternity. There, 
the glories of that Saviour, who redeemed his soul from death 
and made him alive in immortal victory, will be unveiled, and with 
all the ransomed hosts that eneircle his throne, he will ascribe his 
salvation to God and the Lamb forever and ever. This is the 
Christian's destiny-— the Christian's victory, through our Lord 
Jesus Christ. 

Such, we trust, is the happy destination of her whose death we 
are called to mourn. She has gone in the midst of life, in the 
midst of cares, in the midst of friends, in the midst of useful- 
ness, to her rest ; and we doubt not, to a glorious resting place in 
heaven. Her character was too well .known to need a delinea- 
tion here. Her uniform cheerfulness, her winning manners, her 
tenderness of sympathy and strength of affection, her kindness 
to her friends, her never failing generosity to the poor, her sleep- 
less attention and uftwearied efforts in relieving and comforting 
the sick and distressed, are too well known by us all to be soon 
ffffgoXien. > Long will these features in her character be treasured 
in our memory. Long after the tears over her grave shall have 
been dried up, will she be held in grateful remembrance. She 
had an enviable and almost unequalled ability to render both ac- 
quaintances and strangers happy in her society, and in her house ; 
her kindness and attention to her guests were unbounded. As a 
wife, she was warm and constant in her affection. As a mother, 
she was tender and devoted, almost to a fault. 

But she was a Christian. In 1819 she hoped she was bom of 
the Spirit of God. Her convictions were deep and pungent, and 
her opposition to the character and purposes of God was strong. 
But when her heart was changed, the character, laws, and pur- 
poses of God appeared holy, just and good ; and the character 
of the Saviour appeared inexpressibly glorious. She was first 
exercised with the most clear and glorious views of the richness 
and sovereignty of God's forgiving grace, the divinity of the Sa- 







i4 

vioof} and the Atonement. From thai day, she never needed to 
be conFinced of the real divinity of Jesus Christ, or of a vicari- 
ous atonemeiit by his death. She believed them as firmly as she 
did ber own existence ; for she was taught by the Spirit. The 
wiiciorie go0pel plan^ and especially the sovereignty of God's pur- 
poBCB and grace, and the richness of redeeming love, displayed 
in the character of the Saviour^ always filled ber with satisfac- 
tion and joy. 

In 1820, she wa« constituted a member of this Chureb, at its 
organization ; and to her death she prayed for it, loved it, and 
adorned it. Except from necessity or duty, her seat in the sanc- 
tuary^ and in the meeting for social worsbip, was never vacant. — 
And well does the Preacher know with what eager attention she 
listened to the word spoken ; she heUrd as if i^ believed the 
Gospel to be the word and bread of eternal lift. 

She was a lover of tvVANOBLicAL doctrines. On tiese great 
triitbs erhe rested with an unshaken confidence. Where tbey 
were not taiight, she could find ho food for her soul-— M firm 
groQod of hope. She loved them iff life|Jtnd slie rejoiced in them 
in death. She could build on nothing «iit „the doctrines of the 
cross ; on nothing but the 'blood of a Sa^our^-a daviour divine 
and hi^ite in his perfeeiions-^the trub ood and kternal life.-h^ 
To such a Saviour she trusted her alh 

For several weeks and months previons to her death, she was 
refreshed in spirit. She mourned over her past unfaithfulness ; 
fthe enjoyed more than usual a spirit of prayer, particularly for 
the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon this Church and people, 
and for the eon version of her children ; and she enjoyed unusual 
comfort and peace in her seasons of devotion* 

Ift ber last sickness, so tfkr as her pains would allow, she was 
ealm and collected. And when she saw that she must die, she 
gave particular directions m relation to her household affairs, and 
called ber famify around her, and took a solemn and affecting 
leave of them. To each of her children she gave a dying charge 
—and may it be written indelibly in their hearts ;— and for each 
of them she put up, with her last breath, the prayer, " May God 
Almighty bless you;*' She conversed faithfully with those who 




15 

vaited at her bcilsiiie, and most earnestly rccommeudcil to ihcm 
the religioD of Christ. 

Speaking of Ijer feelings, elie »aid to a frieod, "I do Iotc 
Jesns — hia people — his word — his worship ; — but I ain a rinwn- 
Ber; my only hope is in hia atoning blood. If I am saTed^fi 
most be in lliis way." 

A few hours before her death, when asked if ber bodily 
distress was not great, she intimated that it was, hut said " It 
is peace within — It is peace within." After prayer bad been 
offered, and a part of the hymn beginntog, " Jesus, torer of 
my soul," bad been sung, and some of the Saviour's last words 
to bis disciples were repeated to her, she said, " Novr I am read; 
tq die." 

Thus she lived, and thus she died. To the bereared husband 
.^to the children left motherless — to the church of which the der 
ceased was a member — and to nit surviving relations and friends, 
may her death be sanctified, so that in this world, and forever in 
heaven, they may be prepared to say, '* Thanhs be to God, whicfa 
givoth us the victory tlir«ueh our Lord Jesus Christ." 



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