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Full text of "The mature Christian, ripe for heaven : a discourse delivered at the funeral of Mrs. Sarah Lord Danielson, who died in West Killingly, April 24, 1852, aged 83 years"

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THE MATURE CHRISTIAN, RIPE FOR HE A VEX. ^ 



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DISCOUESE 

DELIVERED AT THE FUNERAL 









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OP 



MRS. SARAH LORD DANIELSOE 



WHO 



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DIED IN VTEST KILLINGLY, APRIL 24, 1852, 



BY 



REV. THOMAS O. RICE, 

PASTOR GF THE FiRS? GONGREGATiOML CHURCH, 



PUBLISHED BY REQUEST. 



fe&-«- 



DAXIELSOxWILLE : 
FRANCIS E. HARRISON. 



ISSl »».U5A? •^A»^A? -wA? TA'^Af °A<^Af^ 



THE :\IATURE CHRISTIAN, E.IPE FOR HEAVEX. 



DISCO 




DELIVERED AT THE FUNERAL 



OF 



MRS. SARAH LORD DAIIELSOl 



WHO 



DIED IN WEST KILLINGLY, APRIL 24, 1852, 



BY 



REV. THOMAS O. RICE, 

7i3T0R m THE FIRST CGNGREGATfOML mMS, 



PUBLISHED BY REQUEST. 



DANIELSONVILLE : 
FRANCIS E. HARRISOX. 



The following discourse is respectfully dedicated to the children and othei 
urn erous relatives aud friends of the deceased, by the author. 



DISCOURSE 



Thou shalt come to thy grave in a full age, like as a shock of 
corn cometh in in his season. job v. 26. 

In what immediately precedes these words, Eliphaz is re- 
minding Job of the happy consequences of making God his 
friend. Though afflicted, he should be a happy man : God 
would befriend, suppport and deliver him in trouble ; in a time 
of famine and desolating judgments, he should be the object of 
special di\dne protection ; even the beasts and stones of the Held 
should enter into a covenant of friendship with him, and be trib- 
utary to his comfort ; his family should be a source of haT)pi- 
ness to him ; and, finally, in a good old age, having passed through 
the Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter of Life, ho should 
come to his grave in peace and honor, mature for heaven as a 
sheaf of grain is harvested when it is fully ripe. Amono- the 
list of temporal blessings promised in ancient times, long life 
held a conspicuous place, Nor was this a premise to be valued 
only by a rude people and carnal minds. Who would not de- 
light to reckon the following among those precious promises un- 
der the christian dispensation which are neither few nor small ; 
" Ye shall build houses and inhabit them; and ye shall plant 
vineyards and eat the fruit of them. Ye shall not build and an- 
other inhabit ; ye shall not plant and another eat ; for as the 
days of a tree are the days of my people, and Diine elect shall 
long enjoy the work of their hands." What devout christian can- 
not with feeling, and may not with reason, pray with the Psalm- 
ist, "01 my God, take me not away in in the midst of my davs,' 
befo.e my plans are matured, the work thou gavest me to do, 



is done, and the fruits of righteousness are ripened in my life. 
If, however, the providence of God do not permit us to live to 
old age, yet if the grace of Grod enable us to fill ud our lives 
with duty and usefulness, to do the needful work assigned us and 
to be satisfied with the time allotted us, we may be said to come 
to a full age. When, through divine assistance, men accomplisb 
the great end of their being, the child dies a hundred years old. 

" That life is long which answers life's great endj 
The man of wisdom is the man of years ; 
In hoary youth, Metheusalems may die ; 
Oh ! how misdated on their flatt'ring tombs I 

Coming to the grave in full age, then, while it primarily con. 
templates length of days, implies evidently what a long life fur- 
nishes the means of acquiring, namely, full growth in the di 
vine life, or manhood of christian character. The text, then, 
as well as the occasion, suggests for our contemplation this 
topic : 

The mature christian ripe for heaven, as the yel- 
low GRAIN FOR HARVEST. 

By maturity of christian character, we are not to understand 
that perfection which implies the absence of all sin. This in- 
deed is the standard to which we are to aim, and to the attain- 
rient of which we are to bend all our energies. But that per- 
fection will not be attained till we cease to say, "Forgive us cur 
debts as we forgive our debtors," and all our prayers are chang- 
ed to praise. 

But the ripeness of which we now speak, consists rather of 
the presence and full growth of all the essential constituents of 
the christian character. Some scriptural statements will place 
this subject clearly before us. We have one in the prayer of 
tlie apostle for his Ephesian brethren ; " For this cause, I bow 
my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom 
the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that he would 
giant you according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthen- 
ed with might by his Spirit in the inner man : that Christ may 
dwell in your hearts by faith ; that ye, being rooted and ground- 
ed in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is 



tlie breadtli, and length, and depth and height, and to know the 
love of Christ, which passeth knowledge ; that ye might be fill- 
ed with all the fullness of God." An embodying in one's re- 
ligious state of all the spiritual ideas contained in the different 
expressions of this sublime prayer, constitutes maturity of re- 
ligious character, the fullness of the Christian, the earthly per- 
fected state of the good man. We say that vegetable produce 
tions are ripe when they have reached their full size, and possess 
all their cfaalities in a perfect state. We speak also of the ma- 
turity and ripeness of manhood, by which we jnean that the 
bodily members have attained their full growth and strength, 
that the mind is enriched with varied knowledge, nnd the under- 
standing and judgment, the imagination and memory, have all 
been chastened and strengthened to a high degree by exercise. 
So when we speak of the mature Christian, we mean the poss- 
ession and full development of those traits which are essential 
and ornamental to, the life of faith in the human soul. 

What then are the essential constituents or elements of a 
completed christian character ? We say that water is composed 
two elements, Hydrogen and Oxygen ; that vegetables are com- 
posed of seventeen principal ingredients, or proximate princi- 
ples ; that the rocks are mainly composed ol silex, lime, alumi- 
na, and magnesia. In like manner, there are elements that 
make up, or constitute the mature or ripe Christian. What 
are they ? 

One is Knowledge. Hence we are exhorted to grow in knowl- 
edge ; and to leave the first principles of the doctrine of Christ 
and go on unto perfection, or a perfect acquaintance with the 
whole christian scheme. The doctrine of Christ, like other sci- 
ences, has its first principles, its alphabet. Would we make 
progress, and arrive at a full stature of christian men and women, 
we must not always dvfell on the alphabet of ChrL^t. When the 
child has learned the letters, he proceeds to put letters into syl- 
lables, and syllables into words, and words into sentences. From 
simple sentences, he advances to what is more difiioult, till he 
can understand the truths of abstruse science. Do we enter on 



6 

tiie study of mattiematics ? We first learii a few axioms. But 
we must not linger here. We must leave these first principles, 
iiot in the sense of denying or abandoning them, but keeping 
them in mind, we must go on to what is more difficult. 

So in religion. We can do nothing without first principles : 
but when these are mastered, we must go on to subsequent at- 
tainments in religious knowledge ; for while knowledge is not 
piety, yet piety cannot be in advance of knowledge. The su- 
perstructure of a well developed religious character has its 
ground work in religious knowledge. Our present attainments, 
then, should be mere stepping-stones to future attainments, for 
religious knowledge is not only a constituent element of a com- 
pleted christian character, but an indispensable means of obtain- 
ing it. God has always employed knowledge as a means of pro- 
moting holiness in the hearts of his people. He has given them 
iiis word, and appointed men to instruct them and to feed them 
with knowledge and understanding, to the intent that they may 
attain a high degree of moral excellence. Accordingly we read, 
" He gave some. Apostles; and some, Prophets; and some, Evan- 
gelists; and some, Pastors and Teachers; for the perfecting of 
the Saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the 
body of Christ : till we all come in the unity of the faith, and 
cf the knowledge of the Son of God unto a perfect man, unto 
the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.'' He who aims 
at the attainment of a high degree of moral excellence, must forget 
the things that are behind, and reach forth to those that are before. 
His motto must be, " Not as though I had already attained, eith- 
er were already perfect : but I follow after, if that I may appre- 
hend that for which I am apprehended of Christ Jesus." It is 
said of that wonderful man, the elder Edwards, that he studied the 
Bible more than ail other books together. The scheme of re- 
demption is to be not only a theme of song, but the subject of 
study through eternity, for the redeemed in heaven. The angels 
desire to look into these things. 

Another, element essential to maturity of christian character is 
experience; deep, thorough experience. The truths of religion are 



tiot simply to be studied aild understood like the wonders of 
Astronomy, or problems in Mathematics, or facts in Natural 
History, but they are to be felt. Religion is a subject to be ex- 
perimentally understood from beginning to end, and it is wor- 
thy of being remembered, that the clearness of our intellectual 
conceptions of religious truth, depend much on the depth and 
thoroughness of our experience. This explains a fact which is 
often witnessed, and to some may appear unaccountable; a gift- 
ed mind not unfrequently perceives divine things like him who 
saw 'men like trees walking,' or even more dimly; while the un- 
lettered peasant apprehends them with the clearness of noonday. 
Sometimes the rural laborer or poor domestic has a clearer in- 
sight into the meaning of a portion of scripture and finds in it 
irresistible power and inexhaustible comfort, while the very 
same passage is given up as an inexplicable mystery, or over^ 
looked as unimportant by some lettered champion of a merely 
scholastic Theology. "Oftentimes our rustic divines, the patri- 
archs of our valleys, will travel farther into the depths of a divine 
mystery than those whose minds are disciphned by study, and 
enriched by learning." Why is this? What is the solution 
of this curious fact ? Simply this ; the one has an experiment- 
al acquaintance with the Bible, the other has not. Let a young 
Christian read Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress, and in the Pil- 
grim's setting out, and in the difficulties encountered in the 
early part of his "progress," he faels a particular interest. — 
"How natural!" he exclaims. He knows it is true, because 
he has felt it; but soon the description becomes less intelligible, 
if not less interesting ; he sees things more dimly. Now let 
him close the book and go on his way rejoicing in the divine life, 
constantly advancing toward a ripeness of character and meetness 
for Heaven, for five, eight or ten years, and read it again. 
He now follows the " Pilgrim" with peculiar interest much far- 
ther in his "progress" than he did before, and listens to his 
conversation with the feelings of Samaria's daughter who said, 
" Come, and see a man who told me all things that ever I did." 
Once more, let him read this book when he has lived and walk- 



8 

ed witli God, till gray hairs are upon him, and he can say, " I 
have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have 
kept the faith," and with the peculiar interest which arises from 
recounting the joys and sorrows which one has known by 
experience, he follows the Pilgrim to the "land of Beulah," 
where " the celestial city is fail in his view/' and even to that 
river which has no bridge, and which flows between that heav- 
enly land and ours. 

Now what is the explanation of this increase of interest and 
clearness of vision in tracing the steps of the "Pilgrim" from the 
City of Destruction to the New Jerusalem? Simply this; his ex- 
perimental knowledge of religious truth has been constantly wide- 
ning and deepening, till his heart has become like the crucible 
of the laboratory, into which one ingredient afcer another has 
been thrown, till the whole of religion has been subjected to the 
test of experience. A traveller gives us a delightful but truth- 
ful description of the surrounding scenery from the top of some 
high mountain, steep and difi&cult of ascent. Yv^hen we have 
toiled part way up, we may, perhaps, catch a glimpse of the 
opening prospect, and have some imperfect idea of its beauty 
and magnificence; but we do not fully realize the truthfulness 
of the description till we have reached the summit, and our eye 
sweeps over, and takes in the whole prospect which that summit 
gives us. So if we would possess clear views of religious truth, 
and attain a religious manhood, we must toil up the mount of 
experience. 

The third essential element which goes to make up the ma- 
ture Christian, is the proportionate or symmetrical develope- 
ment and fall growth of the christian graces. 

The more prominent of these are enumerated by the Apos- 
tle in the following sisterhood; "love, joy, peace, long-suifer- 
iug, gentleness, goodness, fuith, meekness, temperance," We 
must take care not to make a practical, but fatal synecdochy in 
religion by puting a part for the whole — one visible grace for 
the entire chiistian character. Having believed on the Lord 
Jesus Christ, giving all diligence, we should "add to our faith, 



^ 9 

virtue ; and to virtue, knowledge ; and to knowledge, tem- 
perance ; and to temperance, patience ; and to patience, god- 
liness ; and to godliness, brotherly-kindness ; and to brother- 
ly-kindness, charity." If a man has faith only — if in the last 
hour or moment of life, he believes on the Lord Jesus Christ, 
he has a saving grace — a grace that secures his vital union to 
Jesus, and his final, everlasting salvation ; and yet he has not a 
completed christian character ; his spiritual life is not complet- 
ed till his faith is attended by the whole train of graces, and 
crowned with the constant influence of that one which is greater 
than all the rest, charity. 

All the graces must unite to compose so excellent a charac- 
ter as a full grown Christian ; no one must be wanting, for this 
would demonstrate a radical defect in all the rest ; '-'whoso of- 
fends in one point is guilty of all." These graces should coex- 
ist or be grouped together like the different parts of a painting 
upon a canvass, each having its appropriate place and strength 
of coloring. True, there are diversities of operations, though it 
is the same God who worketh all in all. There are diversities 
of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of ad- 
ministrations, but the same Lord. "For to one is given by the 
Spirit the word of wisdom ; to another, the word of know!" 
edge by the same Spirit : to another, faith by the same Spirits 
to another, the gift ol healing by the same Spirit ; to another, 
the working of miracles ; to another, prophesy ; to another, 
discerning of spirits ; to another, divers kinds of tongues. 
But all these worketh that one and the self-same Spirit divid- 
ing to every man severally as he will," Hence we see some be- 
lievers remarkable for the strength of their faith and endur- 
ance in trial, even unto death ; others for their prudence and 
wisdom in spiritual things ; for their knowledge of the mysteries 
of the truth ; for their liveliness and activity in duty ; for their 
patience, meekness and gentleness ; for their s-ubmission to the 
will of God ; for their inward spiritual life, or outward useful- 
ness to the Church and the world. These graces are distribu- 
ted to Christians according to their circumstances^ Heace too.. 



10 

he who is endowed with one grace to a remarkable degree, is 
not to undervalue him who has another, since the Giver of both 
is the same. He may have graces not less pleasing to God, 
and useful to men, than those we possess. Do we possess a 
warm and zealous temperament ? We may not despise him 
'whose endowments are more calm and placid than our own. — 
He who creeps as a snail in humble silence, may by one lift of 
divine power, get into Heaven before us, and perhaps be rais- 
ed to a higher seat than we. Our present endowments would 
not qualify us to grapple with the spiritual despotism and outra- 
ges in Europe two hundred and fifty years ago, neither were the 
Reformers altogether adapted to the work to be done now. — • 
Plough saws and ponderous axes will not polish and smooth, 
neither will knives and razors cut down forests. There is a 
beautiful and useful variety alike in the productions of Nature 
and the works of Grace. 

Aside however from this diversity of graces in believers, given 
to every man to profit withal, there is at the present time,it is be- 
eved, a tendency to exalt some one Grace, almost to the entire 
neglect of the others. This produces one-sidedness of religious- 
character. Som-e make advances in showy graces, others rise 
high in cheap attainments, while they are sadly deficient in the 
more solid graces, which involve self-denial and cost personal 
sacrifices. From the course pursued by others, you would sup- 
pose the whole of Religion consisted in knowledge, or moral 
courage, or almsgiving, or faith, or prayer, or any other sin- 
gle grace. But this is not maturity, or ripeness of christian 
character. 

The manhood of Piety implies a symmetry of character : a 
proportionate development and exhibition of all the graces of 
the Spirit, even the ornamental, as well as the essential — the 
things that are lovely and of good report. When the human 
body lacks some of its members, or exhibits others out of due 
proportion ; if for example, there are no arms, or the arms are 
as big as the body itself, we call it a deformity, a monstrosity.. 
The perfection of the human frame implies the proportionate 



11 

/ 
and full development of all its parts. Our idea of perfected 
fruit embraces a full size, a good form and a high degree of its 
peculiar flavor. So the maturity and perfection of the divine 
life in the soul of man, implies the maturity of love, the matu- 
rity of faith, of zeal, of patience, of liberality, of meekness, of 
every christian grace. Such then is the manhood of piety, the 
ripeness of the christian character and life. Its elements are 
knowledge, experience and a complete and symmetrical devel- 
opment of all the graces of the Spirit. Possessing these, Thou 
shall come to thy grave in a full age, like as a shock of corn 
cometh in in his season. 

Having now pointed out the essential elements which, when 
put together, make a mature Christian ripe for Heaven, as the 
yellow grain for harvest, I remark : 

1st. The attainment of this completeness and maturity will 
afford a beautiful and venerable spectacle. There is a natural 
beauty in the eye, the 

•' Throne of expression, whence the Spirit's ray, 
Pours forth so oft the light of mental day. 
"Where fancy's lire, affection's melting beam, 
Thought, genius, passion, reign in turn supreme. 
And many a feeling, words can ne'er impart, 
Einds its own language to pervade the heart." 

There is a natural beauty in the face, " the human face divine." 
The rosy tint of youth and health, those changing shades that 
speak the passions and emotions of the soul, the blush of mod- 
esty, the paleness of fear, the glow of indignation, the light and 
sparkling expressions of joy, the dark cloud of melancholy and 
grief, — all, all are impressive and beautiful. There is a beau- 
ty in the human frame, its erect form, its fair proportions, the 
fitness for the end for which every part was formed, all these 
are sublimely beautiful ; they are venerable, as they im- 
press us with a sense of a present Deity. There is a beauty 
in the mountain, and in the valley, in the grove and the water- 
fall, in the sunj-hine and the cloud. But what is the beauty of 
matter, animate or inanimate, compared with the beauty of holi- 
ness? Does the eye, the countenance, the form, ennoble and beau- 



12 

tify the body ? Piety adorns and beautifies the soul. It confers a 
sweetness and grace, a purity and elevation infinitely superior 
to all that is lovely in nature. The beauty of perfected graces 
is the perfection of beauty. It is the beauty of Heaven, the 
beauty of God ! Youth adorned with symmetrical and mature 
christian graces, is lovely ; age is venerable and sublime. There 
is not an object on earth more worthy of honor and respect, than 
an old disciple who is a ripe Christian. " Upon such an one 
the eye rests with peculiar satisfaction. His hoary head is a 
crown of glory, being found in the way of righteousness. As he 
draws near the world of light, his countenance gathers bright- 
ness as did that of Moses, when he had been conversing with 
God on the Mount. And though his earthly comforts be torn 
from him by the rude hand of time or the rough blasts of advers- 
ity, his all-sufficient, his ever abiding happiness still remains. 
He still stands like the glory of the forest, stript indeed of sum- 
mer foliage, but showing more clearly to the observing eye, his 
solid strength and substantial texture. Compared with such a 
sight, how does the pride, and pomp, and pageantry of earth, sink 
into insignificance and nothing I" 

But how easily is this moral beauty soiled I A little devia- 
tion from the known rules of proportion mars the symmetry and 
beauty of the human face or form. So with religious char- 
acter. Seek then for symmetry, for maturity ; a religious charac- 
ter, resembling the "body fitly joined together and compacted by 
that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual work- 
ing in the measure of every part, making increase of the body." 
Maturity of knowledge, experience, and graces, rightly tempered 
together, will be like the prismatic colors, all distinct, yet so 
melting into each other, that when blended, they form one per- 
fect ray of light. The grains, the flowers, and other natural 
productions attain not the perfection of their beauty, till they 
reach the maturity of their growth. So with spiritual produc- 
tions. The lovelineFS of the christian character is not fully 
seen till its symmetry and maturity are exhibited. Seek then 
upon him, its breezes fanning him, its odors wafted to him, itsi 



13 

for full growth, for ripeness. In the e^es of the good, such a 
character will have a lustre, a moral sublimity, like the disc of 
the sun, every part refulgent. 

2d. The attainment of a ripe christian character will 
have a happy influence on our closing hours. It was long 
ago remarked that the way of a man is indicative of the 
end of that man. "Mark the perfect man and behold the 
upright, for the end of that man is peace." If a mature chris- 
tian character does not insure to all a triumphant exit from time 
to eternity, it never fails to afford a safe, a peaceful, a happy 
one. The closing scene of many Christians is disturbed ; self- 
reproach, painful fears, distressing doubts, oflen cast a kind of 
gloom over them as they approach the last conflict. But these 
might all be spared, were they in life conscientious and diligent 
in the attainment of a higher degree of moral excellence. The 
Scriptures describe the last hours of some of the eminent ser- 
vants of Grod, and they always represent them as meeting death 
with peace and tranquility of mmd, and coming to their graves 
as a shock of grain cometh in, in his season. The good old Ja- 
cob at the close of his eventful life could say, "I have waited 
for thy Salvation, Lord," and then gently breathing his last, 
he was gathered to his fathers. David having served his gen- 
eration according to the will of God, and become a man after 
Grod's own heart, at length ''fell on sleep," a scripture phrase 
signifying the peaceful and happy death of the righteous, Sim- 
eon, and Stephen, and Paul, and John, had made eminent at- 
tainments in piety, and their end was eminently peaceful and hap- 
py. Every page of the history of the christian church, from the 
apostles down to the present time, contains the record of emi- 
nent saints whose end was peace, and even triumphant joy. — 
" Do not think," said the pious Mr. Hervey "that I am afraid tu 
die. I assure you I am not." Said that holy man, Richard 
Baxter, to one who asked him in his last moments how he did, 
" t am almost well." The triumphant language of Pay son des- 
cribing the celestial city as full in his view, its glories beaming 
upon him, its breezes fmniBg him, its odors wafted to him, its 

B 



w 

sounds striking upon his ear, and its spirit breathed into his 
heart, is too well known to need repeating. Such is the effect 
which mature piety has upon the last days of God's people. 
Being ripe for death, they are ripe for Heaven. Death loses 
its sting, and the grave its terrors. Even before they go down 
into the dark valley, God comes forth and meets them, refresh- 
es them with his presence, and grants them sweet foretastes of 
that rest and joy into which they are so soon to enter. Do you 
desire to have an entrance ministered to you abundantly into 
the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ ? 
Then attend to the words of the Apostle : " giving all dihgence, 
add to your faith, virtue ; and to virtue, knowledge; and to 
knowledge, temperance ; and to temperance, patience ; and to 
patience, godliness ; and to godliness, brotherly kindness ; and 
to brotherly kindness, charity. For if these things be in you 
and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor 
unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ." — 
'■' Wherefjre, the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your 
calling and election sure ; for if ye do these things, ye shall 
never fall ; for so an entrance shall be ministered unto you 
abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Sav- 
ior Jesus Christ." Grow in knowledge, in experience, in 
graces. Seek for completeness and maturity of christian char- 
acter. Then shall you come to your grave in peace. Your 
departure shall be that of a conqueror, and your last note, the 
note of victory. 

3rd. I remark again that we have been furnished with a 
happy example of mature piety, in the life and character of 
our venerated friend and mother in Israel, whose mortal re- 
mains are now before us. She has come to her grave in a good 
old age, as a shock of corn cometh in, in his season. It has 
been well said that the memorials of the good constitute one of 
most sacred and valuable possessions of the church of Christ. — - 
When they die, their character becomes the property of the 
church. AYe admire the wisdom of God in causing the exam- 
ples of ancient worthies to be recorded upon the page of sacred 



15 

and ecclesiastical history, for the spiritual benefit of future gen- 
erations. Men are proverbially imitative creatures. Rules 
and precepts guide to the knowledge of virtue ; good exam - 
pies lead to the practice of it. When the great Apostle to the 
Gentiles would stir up his Hebrew brethren to constancy and 
eminence in the faith, he presents before them the examples of 
Abel, Enoch and Noah; of Abraham, Joseph and Moses. He 
tells them of Gideon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of 
Jephthah, of David also, and of Samuel and of the prophets. — 
It is when we see the beauty of holiness moving before us in a 
loving form, that we are most powerfully drawn to admire and 
imitate. We should do injustice to ourselves, therefore, and to 
the cause of Christ, if we should suffer the present occasion to 
pass without a particular notice of the character of our deceas- 
ed friend. 

Mrs. Sarah Lord Danielson was the widow of General 
James Danielson.=^ She belonged to a family of ten children, 
four of whom did not survive the period of infancy. The re- 
maining six became not less remarkable for their longevity than 
for their equanimity, since their aggregate age amounts to 
about four hundred and seventy five years.t Mrs. Danielson's 

=^Gen. Danielson was a descendant of tlie third genera^on from Mr. 
James Danielson, one of the original settlers in Killingly. The descending- 
genealogy is as follows ; James Danielson, Esq. Samuel Danielson, Col 
William Danielson, and Gen. James Danielson. Gen. Danielson was a 
man of wealth and influence, and was remarkable for integrity of character 
and acquaintance with men. That he was highly respected and esteemed 
by his fellow citizens, is evident from the fact that he was frequently cho- 
sen by them during the first quarter of the present century, to represent the 
interests of the town in the State Legislature. As a christian, his life was 
unexceptionable. He was one of the original members of this Church, and 
in 1813 was chosen to the ofiice of Deacon, which he filled with credit to 
himself, and acceptance to his brethren, till his death in 1827. From him^ 
by common consent, our thriving village has been named. 

t Mrs. Danielson's paternal grand father was Rev. Hezekiah Lord, who 
for many years was pastor of the Congregational Church in Griswold, in tbi ^' 
state, where he died in 1751. His children were as follows ; by his first wife' 
Mrs. Sarah Fisk, whom he married in 1725, Hezekiah, Sarah, Elias, Elisha ' 
and by his second wife, Mrs. Zeruiah Backus, whom he married in 17o8' 
Kathaniel, Zeruiah, Lydia, Mary, Elizabeth, and Lydia 2nd. 



16 

descendants have amounted in all, to forty four ; eleven chil- 
dren, thirty grand children, and thre3 great grand children. 

She was hopefully converted when about twenty five years 
of age, and with her husband, united with the church in Brook- 
lyn, under the pastoral care of Kev. Dr. Whitney. When this 
church was organized, fifty years ago last August, she was one 
of the thirteen of which it was composed. Only one"^ of the 
original members survives her. 

In general temper and disposition, nature did a great deal for 
her. She was naturally kind and amiable. This native dispo- 
sition shone with peculiar beauty when, being regulated by the 
spirit of God, it became a christian grace, — the grace of gentle- 
ness. If this trait does not make splendid characters, it makes 

Elislia Lord, the fourth child of the Eev. Hezekiah Lord, and the father 
of Mrs. Danielson, was married in 1759 to Aletheia Ripley, sister to the first 
minister in Abington, in this state. By her, he had one son, Elisha. After 
her death, he married Mrs. Tamarson Coit in 1763. The children by this 
marriage were Experience, (afterwards Mrs. Cleveland, of Topsfield, Mass.,) 
Hezekiah, (who died in infancy,) Aletheia, (afterwarbs Mrs. Huntington, 
also of Topsfield, Mass.,) Sarah, (the subject of this discourse.) Mary, (after- 
wards Mrs. Fuller of Plainfield, Ct.,) Tamarson, (who died in infancy,) Seli- 
na 1st, and Selina 2nd, (both of v/hom died very young,) andPamelia, (now 
]\Irs. Eaton, also of Plainfield, and the only surviving member of the fami- 
ly.) 

Of Rev. Hezekiah Lord, I have learued but little. From a letter which 
he wrote to his son Elisha, on his first marriage, I should judge that he was 
a very pious and good man, but not wealthy. " Had I worldly substance 
to impart to you, in setting up in the world," says he, " I should freely im- 
jiart it, but it hath pleased God so to order my worldly circumstances that 
at present I am not able to do for my children as I would. All that I can 
do at present is to commit my children to God, and the care of that Provi- 
dence which provides for man and beast. Be not desirous of grandeur an^ 
greatness. Worldly greatness makes no man happy. In all things, by pray- 
er and supplication, let your requests be made known unto God, and you 
shall never want what He sees fit you should have. Serve God with your 
house and you will be blessed of Him." 

Dr. Elisha Lord, the father of Mrs. Danielson, was a practicing physician 
in Abington for more than fifty years, and is spoken of by the older inhabi- 
tants as a remarkably pleasant, sociable, and humorous man. He died in 
1809. 

=^Mrs. Mary Stearns. 



17 

amiable and lovely ones. If it does not qualify one to lead in 
bold schemes and enterprises, yet, when quickened by energy 
and force, it is exactly adapted to make home happy. In this 
world of clouds and storms, where shall a man look for the calm 
sunshine of peace and happiness, if not in his own domestic cir- 
cle? And on whom does the character of that circle depend so 
much as the wife and mother ? Mrs. Danielson's domestic cir- 
cle was a pleasant one, because her heart was a perennial foun- 
tain of kindness and gentleness. 

Her interest in the young remained to the last. Old people 
are apt to lose this, and the consequence is unhappy. Youth are 
quick to see who feel an interest in them, and if they do not al- 
ways repay love for love, they are pretty sure to return neglect 
for neglect. If old people bind themselves to the young in sym- 
pathy and affection, the happy effect will be reciprocal ; the 
young will receive from them, the result of their experience and 
observation, and will profit by their wisdom, while they will re- 
ceive from the young somewhat of the freshness, the vivacity, and 
the happiness of youth; and thus to a great degree avoid the 
solitariness, the loneliness, the dryness of old age. Our deceas- 
ed friend cultivated, as we have said, a lively interest in young 
people : hence two results followed, — the young felt an interest 
in her, and she grew old with youthful and vivacious feelings, 
pleasantly, gracefully. 

Her benevolence and tender regard for the welfare of others 
was worthy of imitation. She seldom called attention to what 
related only to herself or her individual interests. True, she 
would sometimes when attempting to walk, very pleasantly re- 
remind you of the words of the wise man : ''The legs of the lame 
are not equal;" but she did not weary you with an account of 
her bodily infirmities and pains. It accorded more with the 
promptings of her benevolent heart to proffer her sympathies to 
you, than to ask yours for her : hence her kind and oft repeated 
inquiries after your health, your family and friends. We will 
not afiirm that in her case self was annihilated. This is true of 

none on earth or in Heaven. But we do say that the wants 

b2 



18 

and welfare of others forbade self to be protoliietit; Her benev' 
olence did not all evaporate in words ; it was manifested in 
deeds of charity. These have been, not like a summer tor- 
rent fitful and noisy ; but like a perennial fountain, flowing si- 
lently, — always flowing — flowing even to death. Many can tes- 
tify that to shake hands with her at parting was often worth a 
bank note."^ Even upon her sick and dying bed, her thoughts 
were not unfrequently occupied about the needy, and portions 
were directed to be sent to them. In the days of her bodily 
vigor, she visited the sick, comforted the afflicted, fed the hun- 
gry and clothed the naked : and in her death, the widow, the 
fatherless, and the poor of the parish, have all lost a kind and 
.sympathising friend. But some may say, 'She had the means.' 
True : but if any one whose means are more limited will use 
them as benevolently and liberally in proportion, as she did, he 
will deserve and shall have the same praise. Let the living im- 
itate her then, in this particular, scattering with a liberal hand 
and doing good to others, thus laying up in store a good found- 
ation against the time to come. Then, when called to an ac- 
count of their stewardship they shall hear the welcome plaudit, 
"Well done, good and faithful servant : thou hast been faithful 
over a few things; I will make thee ruler over many things : en- 
ter thou into the joy of thy Lord." 

Mrs. Danielson was ever a friend and supporter of her pastor. 
Those who know by experience the trials of the pastoral office, 
will be able to appreciate her worth as a parishioner, when we 
say that she was among the first in that class, who stay up the 
hands and encourage the hearts of their spiritual tcdchers by 
kind words and kind deeds. She knew how to speak a word in 
season to her pastor when he was weary and bowed down under 
his burdens, and his heart was sinking with discouragement and 
trouble. At such a time, a word fitly spoken, how good it is I 
By her deeds she showed her approbation of the divine appoint- 

*To those unacquainted with her, this phrase may be obscure, but to very 
many it will have such a significance of meaning as to require no explanation. 



19 

ment, that they who preach the gospel should live of the gospel. 
While her pastor communicated to her, spiritual things, she 
felt it no grievance or harden that he should be a partaker of 
her temporal things. 

Few traits were more remarkably developed in her lovely 
character, than her disposition to thiok favorably of all about her. 
Few indeed are the persons who have heard words of censure 
drop from her lips. Her disposition to put the best construc- 
tion upon the words and actions of men which the case would 
admit and to throw the veil of charity over what was doubtfal, 
is worthy of imitation. When others censured, she would often 
apologize ; when they despised, she would pity. All who knew 
her will concede to her the possession of a large share of that 
charity which, "thinketh no evil," and "hopeth all things." — 
This disposition met with its certain requital according to the 
words of the divine teacher : "Judge not, and ye shall not be 
judged : condemn not and ye shall not be condemned." 

Her piety was of a remarkably cheerful stamp. In this 
respect she was a model. It is common for age to bring 
peevishness, melancholy, and impatience ; a disposition to think 
that things were formerly much better than now, and that all 
the changes that take place in habits and modes of thought, are 
for the worse. But from this and kindred infirmities she was 
mercifully delivered. As she advanced in age, she served God 
and her generation with a cheerful heart, and a patient, content- 
ed mind. 

No one who knew her will dispute that she entered deeply into 
the spirit of our Lord's injunction, "Learn of me, for I am meek 
and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls." Her 
heart seemed to be pervaded with a deep sense of her sinfulness 
in the sight of God : this produced its legitimate fruit — humili- 
ty ; and her humility often found utterance in such unaffected, 
heartfelt expressions as these : "I have been a very unprofit- 
able servant." "I am but a poor unworthy creature, but the 
Lord has been very merciful to me." How far removed was 
she from parade, pomp, and ostentation I Her piety was truly 



20 

an humble piety. Near akin to the grace of humility, is de- 
pendence or trust. Her expectation of final acquittal and sal- 
vation was based wholly upon Christ, as the procuring cause 
and not upon human merit. On one occasion when asked if 
she felt disposed to make a Saviour of her works, with eyes 
'swimminsf in tears and hands raised from the bed, she exclaim- 
ed with an emphasis that made a deep impression, "Oh ! I owe 
my Lord ten thousand talents and have nothing to pay." After 
a moment's pause she added, "But though I have been so great 
a sinner, yet I can trust in the merits of Christ and the mercy 
of my God." 

Her attachment to the sanctuary was strong. In her advanc- 
ing years and declining strength, she made great efforts to ap- 
pear before Grod in Zion : and when at last, by her great infirm- 
ities, she was unable any longer to get to the temple, her fond- 
est recollection still lingered about the place "whither the tribes 
go up, the tribes of the Lord, unto the testimony of Israel, to 
pive thanks unto the name of the Lord;" and the language of 
her heart to the last was, "Peace be within thy walls and pros- 
perity within thy palaces. For my brethren and companion's 
sake I will now say, Peace be within thee." To day, she pays 
her last but unconscious visit to the place she so much loved. 
It is meet that her body be carried from the sanctuary to its fin- 
al resting place, as her soul went from its earthly temple to its 
long home in the presence and bosom of her God. 

Such, in brief, was her piety ; intelligent, experimental^ 
practical, symmetrical. It bad been deepened by affliction, 
advanced by effort, and matured by age. In short, she was a 
rare illustration of the subject of the present discourse : the ma- 
ture christian ripe for heaven, as the full grown corn in the 
ear for harvest. But she rests from her labors and her works 
do follow her. She has come to her grave, full of years, and 
adorned with many graces. In an important sense, she was 
great; but her greatness was that of matured moral qualities, — 
a greatness of heart. She was not pre-eminently talented, but 
pre-eminently good. 



21 

How could the time of licr death bavo bceu appointed more 
wisely? Had she di^d sooner, her active efforts conducive to 
some useful end, would apparently have been curtailed. Hfiti 
she lived longer, she v.^ould soon have survived her usefuincs, 
sunk into a second childhood, and become a burden. As it i>, 
she died at a time opportune for her and for us. By her deatii 
her virtues are brought out afresh, and she, in a sense, now be- 
gins to live her life over again. Her second life will in k-H!!; 
respects be better tlian her first ; for the excellences of her 
character will be cherished with veneration and affection, whil;- 
her defects, like small objects in the distance, or little incidenr^ 
that took place a great while ago, will soon be lost sight of. or 
forgotten. Her name wil! be cherished as a frafrrant mv- 
morial for a great while to come. The corner of the nunu 
she occupied. — the chair in which she sat, always wuikiuir" 
with her hands — and even the bellows and the fire fnimv 
made to contribute to her convenience, by holding her larg-o 
Testament, or some book on practical piety — will long have 
pleasant associations from their relation to her. But we can- 
not doubt that her influence for good, will outlive even her 
name. It will be felt tor generations to come, when the fea- 
tures of her pleasant countenance shall have faded from tlie 
memory and the canvass, and her v^ry name shall have been 
forgotten. 

There are funeral occasions at which we cannot repress n 
flood of tears. There is such a sundering of tender ties, such a 
destruction of earthl}^ hopes and perhaps of everlasting hapjii- 
ness that we can only bury our faces in our hands and weep. 

Not so to day. Here we behold one, with plans all matured 
and active labors all done, like the weary laborer at the close ui" 
a well .spent day, lying down to rest, 

"Calmly as to a night's repose, 
Like flowers at set of sun." 

"Why weep ye then for her, who. havinn^ won 
The l)onnd of iiian"s appointed years — at hist 

Jjife's blessings al! enjoyed, life's labors donC; 
Serenely to her final rest has passed : 



22 



While the soft memory of her virtues, yet 

Lingers like twilight hues when the bright sun is set ^ 

Her youth was innocent : her riper age 
Marked with some act of goodness every day : 

And watched by eyes that loved her, calm and sage, 
Faded her late declining years away. 

Cheerful she gave her being up, and went 
To share the holy rest that waits a life well spent. 

This sister of the deceased has occasion for gratitude that the 
pleasant relationship has been vouchsafed so long, and she is 
now admonished, that the messenoer will call for her next. 

These children have lost a mother to whom, under God, they 
owe everything. In the critical period of childhood, she dis- 
suaded you from the wrong, and won you to the right, by mild- 
ness and love. Your youth and mature years have been ren- 
dered happy by her pleasant countenance, her winning voice, 
her complaisant and courteous demeanor. But these will be no 
more. The staple is broken to which these six family cords 
were fa.'^tened, binding you together. Your coiLmon centre of 
attraction is gone, and that pleasant thought of mother and home 
can be enjoyed no more. Cherish the counsels of your mother 
and practice her virtues ; and then shall go down a stream of 
covenant blessings to succeeding generations. 

In this way, these grandchildren of the deceased shall come in 
possession of that inheritance, which the wise king of Israel 
tells us a good man leaves to children's children. 

To all those who compose this large circle of mourners, whether 
more or less nearly related to the deceased, the occasion says — 
J3e thoughtful : be instructed how to live for God and eternity. 

This church is called to witness the removal of another of its 
pillars. Numerically, we have lost only one ; but in moral 
power, our loss is not to be estimated by numbers A consist- 
ent devoted, mature christian is often a host. Lord, for the one 
t-iou hast taken, raise us up many who shall be like Barnabas, 
good men, full of faith and of the Holy Ghost, and like Dorcas, 
full of good works and alms deeds which they shall do. 

Ye aged men and women, your heads are whitened, and your 
faces furrowed and wrinkled with age. Soon will the great 



reaper put in the sickle, because the time of harvest is come, — 
Soon must you die, and your bodies be laid in the grave. See 
to it that the fruits of righteousness are perfected in your lives, 
end that your souls are prepared for the mansions of bliss. Oh ! 
give diligence to improve the remainder of your time in works 
uf piety, if you would come to your grave in a full age as a 
shock of corn comeVn in in his secscrn. 



Ep.MATVM.-^tn reaclmg, omit (he last line on page 12*