What follows is an interesting example of the value of reading eulogies and funeral sermons. These are a literature often overlooked, though they are also works which can provide some of the very best pastoral wisdom and insight. The example at hand is drawn from In Memoriam: Rev. John B. Spotswood, D.D., a eulogy delivered by the Rev. William P. Patterson, upon the death of Rev. Spotswood in 1885. John Boswell Spotswood, the subject of the memorial, was born Feb. 8th, 1808, in Dinwiddie Co., Va., being the son of Robert and Louisa (Bott) Spotswood.
Yet, while we might, the truths spoken here give us opportunity to reflect on some foundational considerations concerning the value of pulpit ministry and how the Lord has always been faithful in providing for the needs of the Church:—
A Fitting Pause
One of the most significant facts regarding the founding and extension of Christ’s Kingdom, in the world, is the use, on the part of God, of human instrumentalities. Infinitely wise, He never errs in the selection of His laborers. In the call of men to the ministry, and in the sanctification of marked and peculiar gifts, we may, very frequently, behold a wonderful exhibition of divine providence. Through the different periods and exigencies, in the history of the Church, God has never left Himself without faithful witnesses. In each successive period the Saviour has remembered His promise, made to the first disciples, and has been indeed ever present with His Church, raising up and commissioning those qualified, both by nature and by grace, to contend with difficulty, and to triumph in all their efforts to be valiant for the truth. And after the good fight has been entirely fought, and the victory won; when these devoted servants of Christ come to the time when it is the Lord’s will that they shall depart out of this world to enter upon the full enjoyment of their reward in glory, it is altogether fitting that the Church should pause a moment to take, at least, a brief glance at their lives and labors, and to place on record her heartfelt appreciation of, and gratitude for, what they have been permitted to accomplish in the service of the Master.
Hence there is laid upon us the performance of a duty which we can not but meet gladly and gratefully, though our hearts yearn after the departed, and are filled with sincere sorrow because of our bereavement.