Service for Arthur Sewall, August 2, 1961, by Louis A Dole

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“Lord, thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations.

“Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, Thou art God.”

“The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy.

“He will not always chide; neither will he keep his anger forever.

“He hath not dealt with us after our sins, nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.

“For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him.

“As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.

“Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him.

“For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.

“As for man, his days are as grass; as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth.

“For the wind passeth over it, and it is gone; and the place thereof shall know it no more.

“But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children’s children.

“To such as keep his covenant, and to those that remember his commandments to do them.”

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“It is the Lord; let him do what seemeth him good.”

“The Lord is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works. The Lord is nigh unto all them that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth. He will fulfill the desire of them that fear him; he also will hear their cry, and will save them.”

“He that is our God is the God of salvation; and unto God the Lord belong the issues from death.”

“He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces; for the Lord hath spoken it.”

“Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine.”

*******

“Jesus said, I am the Resurrection and the Life. He that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever liveth and believeth in me, shall never die.”

“Now, that the dead are raised, even Moses showed at the bush, when he called the Lord the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. For he is not a God of the dead, but of the living: for to him all are living.”

“And I say unto you, my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings? and not one of them is forgotten before God. But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows.”

“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”

“Let not your heart be troubled: believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.”

*******

“And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.”

“And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and death shall be no more; neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain any more; for the former things are passed away. And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. I am Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.”

“And the Spirit and the Bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that thirsteth come. And let him that willeth take water of life freely.”

“He that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still. Behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every one according as his work shall be. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last. Blessed are they that do his commandments; that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.”

*******

“But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken to you by God, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not a God of the dead, but of the living.” – Matthew 22:31-32

The Scriptures begin with the words “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Finally He created man in His own image and likeness, and placed him in the Garden of Eden – the garden of delight – to tend it and keep it. The world was not given to man as an outright gift, but in stewardship, and as he looked to the Lord and sought to do His will, he found life happy and his labors blessed.

In this beautiful, symbolic language with which the Scripture opens the true place of man is clearly described. He is a steward of God. And always those who have sought to know and do His will have found tokens of His presence with them, and they have found their lives happy, and their labors blessed.

The Lord has provided a wonderful world for us to live in for a time, but however pleasant and beautiful life has been here, it falls far short of human possibilities. Each one of us looks forward to a long life on the earth. This is natural and as it should be, for we have many interests and much that we would like to do. But the Lord has His own plans for us which are as much better than ours as His love and wisdom are greater than ours. So at the time which He sees as best He takes us to our eternal homes.

There is nothing that comes closer to our hearts or causes us to think more deeply than that which is concerned with the end of our career in this world and our entrance into the life everlasting.

Death has often been thought of as a calamity, but in reality it is never so. When we begin life our interest is centered in this world, but as we grow older, though our appreciation of this world deepens and our associations with others become richer, yet we develop desires that this world cannot satisfy.

As we read the Bible, new light comes to the mind, and as we learn and keep its precepts, the higher planes of the mind are opened. Then as we grow in years, our prayers are not so much for worldly success, but rather for growth in humility, in wisdom, in the development of the Christian virtues, and trust in the Lord and in His purposes for us.

However long our life in this world may be, it is just the beginning, and what really matters is whether we have used this life to develop in ourselves the life of heaven, which is love to the Lord and to the neighbor. If we love the Lord, we shall go to the Bible to learn of Him; and if we love the neighbor, we shall try to act toward him as the Lord would have us act. It is the mission of the church in the world to lead men to a knowledge of the Lord and to inspire in them the desire to apply that knowledge in their daily life.

Arthur was not only active in the support and management of the church, and attended it regularly, but he read the Word and thought about what he read. He descends from a line of devoted men reaching back well over a hundred years whose belief in God and spiritual realities was responsible for the founding and development of the New Church in Bath. He also took an active part in the life of the city, and was honored by the highest offices that the church and the city could bestow upon him.

Arthur’s sincere belief has been the guiding principle of his life. He has never been a conformist, and that has been his strength. We shall remember him for his genuine democracy, his uniform integrity and gentleness, characteristics which will make his entrance into the other life a natural and happy experience. During the past few years his failing health has strengthened rather than undermined his character. Many of us will soon be following him into the other world and we shall rejoice in seeing him again.

We should think of him now as freed from all the limitations which beset him here. We shall miss him, even more than we now realize, and that is as it should be, but his influence will continue in even greater power, for those who go on before us are not lost to us. He will always hold a place in our hearts and in our memories. We are glad that he has lived among us.

As we turn to the tasks which continue to be ours, let us all keep constantly in mind the Lord’s words: “Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.”

*******

O Lord, our Heavenly Father, who art good to all and whose tender mercies are over all thy works. Help us to have perfect trust in thee. Help us to trust in thine infinite love which is with all thy children at all times. Help us to trust in thine infinite wisdom which can make no mistake, and which at thine own appointed time hast taken our friend to his eternal home. Help us to trust in thine infinite power which is about us and beneath us as the everlasting arms. For “thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee.”

We thank thee for the blessings which thou hast brought to us through the earthly life which is now ended, and grant that we may preserve and increase the good which thou hast planted in the world through him.

And, O Lord, who art a refuge for the oppressed, a very present help in trouble, comfort, we beseech thee, this family and these friends by lifting up their hearts and thoughts to thee, by giving them a new sense of the constancy and tenderness of thy loving care, and of the nearness and reality of the heavenly home.

And grant to all of us, during the years we continue here, that we may take up life with a new purpose, with new hope and confidence, and with new resolution to walk always with thy help in the path that leads to our heavenly home. We ask it for thy mercy’s sake. Amen

*******

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with us all. Amen

Read the original service in PDF format

 

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