By J. S. Bertram.
Some words spoken at the grave of Helen Hermiston (31/7/42).
Death, the blighter of hopes, the breaker of ties and the bringer of sorrow seems to reign undisturbed, but in the presence of such how blessed it is to possess the Word of God which enlightens us as to man's construction, as to the past, the present, and the future. The Lord God breathed into man the breath of life, and he became a living soul, so man is more than material, but sin has separated him from God bringing in death. The blessed God has now made Himself available to man as Saviour. The one whose remains we now lay in the grave, in her early days was brought to know and love the Lord Jesus, and through her long life knew His loving heart, and guiding hand. Now that hand which was pierced on the cross has loosed the silver chord that bound body and soul together, the golden bowl is broken (Eccles. 12:6, 7), (the casket that held the jewel), the pitcher is broken at the fountain which indicates a continued need; dependence is now no longer required. The wheel is broken at the cistern; all activity for maintenance has now ceased; all is still! "Our earthen vessels break." So we commit the dust to the earth from whence it came, but the spirit returns to God who gave it.
In 2. Cor. 5:8, we see with what confidence the apostle speaks relative to the departed; a divine light resident in the heart imparts such confidence, and God gives it to us through the Scripture, so that we are assured that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord; what security, comfort and bliss there is in the disembodied state, since "present with the Lord!" That is not an inanimate condition, but freed from the suffering and sorrow connected with the body and at home with the Lord. From Phil. 3:20, 21, we learn that our citizenship is in heaven, God's thought for us then is heaven, "the sky, not the grave, is our goal." The One who has vanquished death and saw no corruption is going to wield His mighty power in connection with the bodies of His own, "He shall change our vile bodies that they may be fashioned like unto His body of glory, according to the working of His mighty power whereby He is able to subdue all things unto Himself." What a prospect is this for our hearts!
Christ our precious dust will take, and freshly mould:
He'll give these bodies vile a fashion like His own;
He'll bid the whole creation smile, and hush its groan.