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brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.
But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also who sleep in Jesus, will God bring with Him. For this we say unto you, by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, and remain unto the coming of the Lord, shall not prevent them who are asleep. For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first. Then we who are alive and remain, shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air; and so shall we be ever with the Lord. Wherefore, comfort one another with these words.
If in this, only, we had hope in Christ, we were of all men most miserable; for if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised; and if Christ be not raised, our preaching is vain, and your faith is vain also; ye are yet in your sins. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ, who is the resurrection and the life; in whom he that believeth, though he were dead, yet shall he live. For we know, that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal, in the heavens. We, therefore, that are in this tabernacle, do groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our house which is from heaven. Therefore we are always confident, knowing that whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord. We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.
The righteous hath hope in his death. The day of his death is better than the day of his birth. The righteous is taken away from the evil to come. Whether they live, they live unto the Lord; and whether they die, they die unto the Lord; whether they live, therefore, or die, they are the Lord's. For to this end Christ both died and rose again, and revived, that He might be Lord both of the dead and of the living. Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints. When they walk through the valley of the shadow of death, they fear no evil; for God is with them; His rod and His staff, they comfort them. They are ransomed from the power of the grave. They are redeemed from death. Christ died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should be delivered from death.
And I heard a voice from heaven, saying, Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord, from henceforth; yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors, and their works do follow them. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall we also appear with him, in glory. There is laid up for us a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give unto all them that love his appearing. Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy; and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. Behold, I show you a mystery; we shall not all sleep; but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump; for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death! where is thy sting? O grave! where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law; but thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord; forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord. Lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh. Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning. For eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.
AN ADDRESS FOR THE BURIAL OF A PROFESSOR OF RELIGION.
It is better to go to the house of mourning, than to go to the house of feasting; for that is the end of all men, and the living will lay it to heart. Sorrow is better than laughter; for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better. Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous; nevertheless, afterwards it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness, unto them that are exercised thereby. Wherefore, lift up the hands that hang down, and the feeble knees. Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted. Comfort ye, comfort ye, my people, saith your God. Speak ye comfortably unto them. The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord hath sent me to bind up
the broken-hearted, to comfort all that mourn, to appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, and the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness. For this I say, brethren, the time is short; it remaineth, that both they that have wives be as though they had none; and they that weep, as though they wept not; and they that rejoice, as though they rejoiced not; and they that buy, as though they possessed not; and they that use this world, as not abusing it; for the fashion of this world passeth away. See, then, that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools; redeeming the time, because the days are evil; for here we have no continuing city; but we seek one to come.
*[Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience. Behold, we count them happy who endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord. Be patient, therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandmian waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain. Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts; for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh. These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. Wherefore, seeing we are also compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us; looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who, for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.]
*May be used when christian friends are present, as an exhortation to patient resignation.
But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat; the earth, also, and the works that are therein, shall be burned up. Seeing, then, that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness; looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens, being on fire, shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt away with fervent heat. Nevertheless, we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent, that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless. The time is coming, in which all that are in the 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 resurrection of damnation. When the Son of man shall come in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then shall He sit upon the throne of His glory, and before Him shall be gathered all nations; and He shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth His sheep from the goats. And He shall set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on His right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. Then shall He say unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment; but the righteous into life eternal.
Behold, He cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see Him, and they also who pierced Him. Abide, therefore, in Him, that when He shall appear, ye may have confidence, and not be ashamed before Him, at His coming ; that ye may have boldness in the day of judgment; and that the trial of your faith may be found unto praise, and honor, and glory, at the appearing of Jesus Christ. For we must all stand at the judgment seat of Christ, and give account to Him, who is ready to judge the quick and the dead. The end of all things is at hand. Be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer. The time is come, when judgment must begin at the house of God; and if it begin first at us, what shall the end be of those that obey not the gospel of God? And if the righteous scarcely are saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?
We beseech you, therefore, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye be not soon shaken in mind, or troubled,
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who, according to His abundant mercy, hath begotten us again unto a lively hope, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance, incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven. Wherefore, gird up the loins of your mind; be sober, and hope to the end, for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. For if you believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also who sleep in Jesus will God bring with Him. At the glorious appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, we shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet our Lord in the air; and so shall we be ever with the Lord. Wherefore, comfort one another with these words, looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.