"In Sure and Certain Hope"

[Extract from the account of the burial of H.D.R.Jameson]

"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 which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain to the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which 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 which 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 ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words." (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18)

"A common sorrow has gathered us together in this quiet cemetery today. Hugh Jameson was well beloved by us, and those who knew him best loved him most. But ours is a sorrow that is relieved by a wonderful hope. If I may so say, we have two joys today that more than counterbalance our sorrow: one is the thought of his present portion, the other the supremely blessed prospect that shines before him, and before all of us who believe in Jesus.

"He has received his promotion, he is with his Saviour — 'absent from the body,' he is 'present with the Lord.' It is as though a soldier were called from a distant outpost of the empire to dwell in a palace, and near to the king whom he had faithfully served. Blessed portion this! The greatest joy that our brother might have known on earth is as nothing to his joy this day in the presence of his Lord.

"There is also the prospect which this passage in 1 Thessalonians 4 reveals to us. The Christians of that ancient Macedonian city were waiting for the Son of God from heaven, and they feared that their dead friends would miss the glory of that appearing, so the Apostle wrote to tell them not to sorrow on that behalf, 'for, if we believe that JESUS DIED AND ROSE AGAIN, even so them also that sleep in Jesus will God bring with HIM.' Then follows a special revelation from the Lord Himself as to the manner of His coming for His saints. Every circumstance of triumph will be there. The Lord Himself, the heavenly Bridegroom, with the shout of a Victor on His lips, shall come forth from His glory to receive His bride. The voice of the chief angel shall martial angelic myriads as a retinue for the Lord and His saints, and the trump of God shall call all heaven to witness the home-bringing of 'those that are Christ's at His coming.' And it is the 'dead in Christ,' His saints whose death was precious in His eyes, who shall feel the first touch of that resurrection power, for they shall rise first, then we which 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 ever be WITH THE LORD. 'Wherefore comfort one another with these words.'

"What a day of triumph that will be for us and for our Lord! What glad surprise shall fill our hearts when we behold His face; but who shall tell the joy that our Lord will have as He receives to Himself the church for which He gave Himself, 'without having spot or wrinkle or any such thing?' And the pledge to us that these things shall be infallibly fulfilled is twofold: 'Jesus died and rose again,' and we know it 'BY THE WORD OF THE LORD.'

"We are not a defeated company of people today, nor are we defiant in the presence of death, but we are triumphant. The tears may be upon our faces, but the joy of the Lord's victory is in our hearts. We can say, 'O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? … But thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."

"And our beloved brother, he has not met with defeat. We had not many words from him during those last weeks, for he had lost the power of speech. But there were moments when the thoughts of his soul burst through the iron barrier of weakness and decay; such a moment was that when he exclaimed, 'Welcome, welcome, welcome!' He was asked if he were saying 'Welcome' to the Saviour, and he answered with an emphatic 'Yes.'

"And now he is at home, the fight fought, the faith kept, and the course run; he has received his Saviour's welcome, a welcome the joy of which no human words can tell. And it is but a little while and He who shall come will come, and we too shall be welcomed to the Father's house.

"'O day of wondrous promise
The Bridegroom and the bride
Are seen in glory ever:
And love is satisfied.'

"But I would have you observe the deeply affecting exhortation in the Scripture: 'Wherefore comfort one another with these words.' Why are we told to comfort one another? It is because our God and Father would have us, as His children, manifesting His own nature one towards the other, and He is the God of all comfort. He does not ask us to do or be anything that He is not. And this thought I would specially commend to the dear widow and fatherless boys. You may learn the character of the God under whose wings you trust by the command that He gives to His people here.

"But, further, the Lord knew that the divine love which He has put within our hearts would make us yearn to minister consolation to those who are so sorely bereaved. He knew also that we should feel the utter poverty of the best words that we could command, and so He has put His own words into our mouths that we may repeat them to each other at times like these, and His words soothe the troubled breast and heal the broken heart; they are words of life and everlasting consolation.

"O sorrowing hearts, this God is your God! And until that quickly coming day of the Lord's return He will be your shield; but He is more, He is also 'your exceeding great reward.' Rest sweetly content in the knowledge that He is your shield, and be free from all anxious suspense as to the future, free to exult in the God who places all the resources of His grace at your disposal and who wants you to make Himself your joy and glory. Then shall you be more than conquerors through Him that loved you.

"But are there any in our company today who are still strangers to the Saviour in whom beloved Hugh Jameson rested, who do not know our God, the God of resurrection? To you we appeal. Christ died for sinners, therefore He died for you. We can bear witness to His saving power, and to the fact that His blood cleanses from all sin. He will receive you today, even as He saved our dear brother. We beseech you to turn to Him, here and now, beside this open grave, and be assured that none who come to Him will He cast out."