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Wilson, Robert, sen. Indian Town,
of the United States, Williamsburgh, Witherspoon, Gavin
ditto Witherspoon, Mrs. Elizabeth, sen. ditto Witherspoon, Thomas
ditto Witherspoon, Robert P.
ditto Witherspoon, Robert Sidney ditto Witherspoon, Robert Franklin Witherspoon, John, sen. Salem, Witherspoon, John M. ditto Witherspoon, James Harvey, Lancaster, Witherspoon, William, member of the Senate of
s. c. St. Mathews, Witherspoon, Samuel, Duck-River, Tennessee, Wilson, David
A FUNERAL DISCOURSE,
THE REV. DANIEL M‘CALLA, D. ).
LATE PASTOR OF
THE INDEPENDENT OR CONGREGATIONAL CHURCA,
, PARISH OF CHRIST'S CHURCH, (S.CA DELIVERED ON THE TWENTY-EIGHTH DAY OF MAY, 1809.
BY THE Rev. WILLIAM HOLLINSHEAD, D.D. One of the Pastors of the Independent or Congregational Church in Charleston
ZECHARIAH, i. 5.
« Your Fathers, where tore they? And the Prophets, do they live forever an.
THE fashion of this world passeth away: Like a yast theatre, its scenery is perpetually changing-One generation of men cometh on the stage after another: Every individual performs his part and makes his exit, and is seen no more. Melancholy reflection! We look back upon the years that are past, with regret, for those who filled their station with propriety; who were among the virtuous, the honorable, and the good in their day. They are gone down to the chambers of the dead; they have ceased from their labors and their prayers, from their works of piety and benevolence, and from all their schemes of usefulness in the world. We have lost the benefit of their influence, their living example, and their personal instruction. “Your Fathers, where are they? And the Prophets, do they live forever?
On such subjects as these, the mind naturally dwells, in the awful crisis of bereavement, when a holy Providence demands the surren. der of our friends to his wise determinations. There is a propriety in considering them with attention, especially in the hour consecrated to the remembrance of departed excellence. If we improve them as we ought, we may derive from them, many useful lessons of instruca tion,
others, who will either perfect the schemes we are engaged in, or disapprove and abandon them forever.
Wherefore then do we think highly of ourselves or of the little we can accomplish, in so precarious a condition, of so short a date! Boast not, O man! of thy works, or thy prospects; of thy possessions, or thy fame. Boast not even of to-morrow, which may never arrive to thee, or if it doth, may come to blast thine expectations, and disappoini thy most favorite wishes; to displace thee from the earth, and bestow thine honors and advantages on another. i
Secondly.-In another view of the subject, it urges the importance of sedulously employing the short period of our existence in the present world, in humble obedience to the will of God.
The longest life of man on earth is comparatively transient and momentary. But this short, evanescent period, is appointed for duties of infinite importance. It is emphatically styled a day; and an everlasting night succeeds it, in which no unfinished undertaking can be resumed, no errors persisted in till then, can be rectified, no pardons for unrepented disobedience can be obtained. Considering man. kind as a race of moral accountable beings, this is the only season of probation and preparation for a better state hereafter. Viewing human nature as involved in apostacy, depravity, and guilt, it is the only opportunity for repentance and amendment, for recovering the lost image of our Maker, for attaining and improving in the virtues which alone can refine and dignify our nature.
And all this must necessarily be accomplished, and that speedily, if we would enjoy the hope of divine approbation and a blissful immortality.
Many arguments conspire to enforce the importance of attending seasonably to this consideration. We learn it from the irreversible law of our condition as the creatures of God. Every faculty of our nature preaches a strong obligation to improve our existence for his glory in whom we live and move and have our being; reason and conscience inculcate the duty with great emphasis: the influence of a general prevalence of virtue in promoting the order and happiness of society, and the genuine satisfactions of a life of piety and goodness place it in a most impressive and interesting point of light. The sacred Scriptures also abound with arguments to the same purpose; and demand our attention to them in the most peremptory manner; they direct the consecration of our souls to the service of God, and enjoin
an explicit unreserved submission of heart to his will; they require a purity and rectitude of character which must be maintained with steadfast activity to the end, and a fervent energetic piety which must be supported by unabating exertion, if we would live to answer the end of our being, or enjoy the hope of a happy future state.
Every rational reflecting mind will perceive from these considerations, how infinitely interesting and important the duties of the present day of our existence must be! A boundless field of usefulness opens to our view—A scene of activity invites our exertion which has respect to all our obligations to God, to our neighbor, and to ourselves Not a chasm remains in all the years of our mortality that is not occupied by some important circumstance, that demands our immediate attention-Not a moment escapes from the days of our life that is not charged with some interesting duty that enhances its value.
But all these considerations acquire additional force when viewed in connection with the frail and scanty date of our time on earth, or joined with the recollection of the venerable dead. Let us learn the lesson, my Brethren, at the cemetery of our fathers. These breathless bodies, these disjointed bones, these putrid fragments, this dust and ashes, are not spread before you to open afresh the springs of sorrow which time was beginning to dry up: not to expose the vanity of our glory and excellency in our vigor and prime; but to remind you of the duties which time demands of you, and of the importance of seasotiably applying to them.
Lo! a voice is addressing you from the tomb! It seems to say in awful accents, “ We, our friends, were once as ye are, when we enjoyed the light, were employed in duty, and looked forth to flattering prospects of futurity-Our day is past--The night of death has closed the scene till the morning of the resurrection. Consider-O conşider how shortly you may expect to lie down with us in these mansions of corruption! Address yourselves with diligence to the great important duties of your day! Whatsoever your hand findeth to do, do it with your might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave to which you are hastening. Your oppor. tunity,—your only opportunity for making your calling and eleco tion sure; for doing good to others, or acquiring improvement to yourselves, is hourly drawing nearer to a close. Watch then and be sober, Be ye therefore ready also, for at such an hour as ye think not, the Son of Man cometh."
Thirdly. The question, “ Your fathers, where are they?" leads back our thoughts, to retrace the steps of those who have gone before us, through the duties and warfare, in which we are still to be en. gaged.
It is painful, in reviewing the scenes of human life, to witness how many rational creatures spend an useless existence on earth; whose history may be summed up in this, that they were born, and breathed, and died. It is mortifying to know what inultitudes pervert the ends of life, to the abuse of reason and the disgrace of being; in scenes of folly and intemperance; in acts of violence and fraud, and riot and sensuality.
The infatuation, pride, and wickedness that reign in the courts of Avarice, and Pleasure, and Ambition, present an affecting and degrading view of human nature, from which we turn with pity, with humi. liation and disgust.
But the men we contemplate, were among the excellent of the earth; the ornaments and the strength of society in their day. Your
fathers (I mean the founders and the patrons of this church) were ge,nerally the sons of piety and religion. From their earliest settlement
in this country, before the wilderness was subdued, or the ruthless sa. vage had retired from these shores, it was their care to provide for. the public social worship of God, and to transmit the doctrines of truth in one pure stream to their posterity, from generation to generation.
The grand impression they had of the power of the gospel, on their own hearts, taught them the importance of preserving it pure and entire to their children, and inspired them with fortitude to encounter many difficulties for its sake. Animated by the sentiments of pure and undefiled religion, correct in their manners, useful in society, and exemplary in piety and goodness, they shone as lights in the world, and in the midst of temporal inconveniences and discouragements, maintained a zeal for God, which did honor to the integrity of their hearts, and the sincerity of their profession. To their firmness and perseverance you are indebted for your prosperity in your temporal interests and in your spiritual; for your standing amongst the churches of Christ, and the correctness of your religious sentiments. They fought a good fight, they have finished their course; they have left you an example worthy of attention and imita. tion. Your blessings and your privileges are the fruit of their exer. tions. They cheerfully encountered the severities of a noxious cli