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his prophet. He is about to destroy them by the most tremendous of his judgınents; but not a cloud is permitted to gather over Sodom ; ro thunder is permitted to mutter, nor baieful lightning to gleam, till godly and faithful Lot is removed. Then the clouds gather, the tempest thickens, the thunders roll, the lightnings blaze, sulphureous torrenis descend, and the smoke of Sodom goes up as the smoke of a furnace ! Ah, my country ! if the gathering home of the Lord's people, and the recalling of bis ambassadors, in thick succession, are evidences of his controversy with thee, and the kindlings of his wrath against thee, it is now I tremble for thy destinies ! How rapidly are these doves of Jesus gathering home to their windows! How are the ways of Zion mourning, and the paths which lead to Jerusalem becoming solitary! This leads me to remark in the
4th and last place, That the removal, by death, of men, eminent for their piety and usefulness, is a sore calamity, because the barriers, which prevent the torrents of vengeance from sweeping a guilty land, have thereby been weakened. Ah! what a barrier do the prayers of the righteous present to avert the floods of inpending wrath! “ The effectual fervent prayer of the righteous man availeth much.” Upon the prayers of his faithful ones, the Lord has placed the highest estimate. It was in a desperate case, that admitted of no remedy, that God pronounced the tremendous declaration, “ Though Moses and Samuel stood before me, yet my mind could not be towards this people ; cast them out of my sight, and let them go.” The declaration itself, implies the almost omnipotence of prayer. “ Let me alone,” says God to an exalted favourite, wrestling with him for an idolatrous people, " let me alone, that my wrath may wax hot against them, and that I may consume them."
How strong is this language! Even the arm of incensed Omnipotence, which wields the vengeful thunder, seems to be held in arrest !! The man of prayer prevails, and Israel is saved ! “ Therefore, says the Psalmist, he said he would destroy them, had not Moses, his chosen, stood before him in the breach, to turn away his wrath.” What a shield do the prayers of the upright spread before a people, trembling at the approach of divine vengeance ! “ Let the earth be removed ; let the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea ; let the waters thereof roar, and be troubled, and the mountains shake with the swellings thereof;" let nation rise against nation, and kingdom dash against kingdom ; let the storm gather, and the tempest thicken ; so long as I see Moses on his knees, wrestling in prayer, with Aaron and Hur supporting his arms; while I hear him cry,“ Spare thy people, O Lord, and give not thine heritage to reproach ;" so long as I see Abraham on his face, urging his suit, that the righteous perish not with the wicked ; so long as I hear Daniel, clothed with sackcloth, and covered with ashes, crying, “Let thine anger and thy fury be turned away from tby city Jerusalem, and thy holy Mountain," I will not be afraid. But, ah! when I see Moses ascending the heights of Nebo ; when I see Abraham gathered to his fathers, and Daniel removed to the land of silence, “my flesh shivers," and my heart faints with me. When, from the watch tower, I behold the Almighty, “rising, to shake terribly the earth ;" when I hear him “attering his voice in
the Heavens," and commanding"
scourge to follow scourge, and vengeance to press on vengeance," my soul meditates terror; I am ready to exclaim, in an agony of grief, who shall now stand up for us, and plead for the arrest of the destroying angel !
My brethren, the age in which we live, is an age darkened with the judgments of God. “A noise has come up to the ends of the earth : the Lord has a controversy with the nations, and is pleading with all flesh.” He is deepening our afflictions, and increasing our alarms, by gathering home his people, and recalling bis ambassadors. Of this melancholy truth, the funeral solemnities of this day furnish us with painful evidence. They tell us that a lamp has gone out in the sanctuary of God; that “a burning and shining light" has been extinguished in Israel ; that a watchman has descended from the walls of Zion, to return no more for ever. Embosomed, as we are, in the darkness which has succeeded, and saddened by the long desolations which are spread around us, let us now approach the solitary mansion where, silent, and cold, lies the man of God, whose sudden departure from us has awakened our sympathies, and filled our hearts with sorrow. Let us cheer the glooms, as
we pass to his tomb, by singing this song, “ Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord ; yea, saith the Spirit, they rest from their labours, and their works do follow them." Ab, me! it is now I feel my entire inadequacy to the task, which you have devolved upon me. You have commanded me to lead you to that tomb; to lift the mantle of death ; to pluck from the grave its covering, and to hold up before you this venerable servant of Jesus Christ, in the intrinsic excellence of his character ; but this would require powers equal to his own. In attempting to discharge this interesting duty, “ too imposing to be declined,” I shall endeavour cautiously to avoid, on the one hand, that fulsome adulation into which funeral eulogies are too apt to degenerate ; and, on the other, that blind partiality, to which strong affection naturally leans. Standing, as I do, before " the remains of departed greatness,” and in view of the judgment seat of Christ, I shall hold myself bound to speak the truth, so far as I know, or believe. And, indeed, why should I do otherwise ? The character of my departed brother, needs no laboured effort of mine to preserve it ; it is, embalwed in the affections of a thousand hearts !. His immortal part is not susceptible of flattery ; it is before the throne, joining in praises of another order.
With the parentage, and early character of the Rev. Dr. Isaac Stockton Keith, I bave not been able to make myself sufficiently acquainted, to do justice to this part of the subject before me; nor is it very important that I should. It matters but little from whom he was descended, or what favoured spot of country gave him birth. In general, I have learned, that he sprung from reputable parents, in the county of Bucks, in the State of Pennsylvania ; and, that while in the pursuits of science, in the College of New Jersey, he was assailed by the terrors of the Lord, and brought to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. But it was not until after his Lord, baving counted him faithful, had put him into the ministry, that he was introduced to our personal knowledge. With his “manner of coming in, and going out” among us, we have been long acquainted. As a man, as a christian, and as a minister of the
Lord Jesus, he has been known to us all ; and we also know, that in each of these characters, he was deservedly revered, respected, and beloved ; that he reflected honor upon his generation, adorned the doctrines of christianity, and was an ornament to the gospel ministry. As a man, formed for society, Dr. Keith was calculated both to receive and impart happiness in the social circle. In him shone that bright assemblage of dispositions and virtues, which never fail to constitute the agreeable and useful companion. Venerable and grave in his aspect, his presence forbade the rude approach of impertinence. To a stranger, bis first appearance seemed rather distant and austere : but, upon a nearer approach, that stranger soon discovered his mistake ; he soon found, that, though in the pres. ence of dignity, it was dignity, softened and embellished with every benign and generous affection. Affable, but not assuming ; cheerful, but not trifling ; never descending from the dignity of the man, while his ipnocent anecdote lighted up a smile on every countenance around him ; his company was sought and loved by his friends. Naturally warm and generous in his feelings, he loved his friend with an ardent affection. Had he a weakness? Perhaps it sometimes appeared here. Loving his friend with uncommon ardor, and placing upon the affection of that friend, in 'return, the highest estimate, he was sensibly alive to every suspicion of change in that affection. Perhaps this ardor of feeling might, sometimes, have led him to mistake appearance for reality. If you call this a weakness, it is one of those weaknesses which it is difficult to censure. all the relations of life, in which he was placed, as a man and a citizen, he reflected honor. An affectionate