The memory of the just is blessed: but the name of the wicked shall rot.
It is a fact that the name of the good man is fragrant, and that long after his departure there lingers in the memories and hearts of men a sense of loss, a feeling
"Which is but akin to pain And resembles sorrow only As the mist resembles the rain;" a feeling of tender regret not unmingled with sacred joy and reverent gratitude, This fact is -
I. A STRENGTH TO THE JUST MAN WHILE HE LIVES. "What has posterity done for us?" asks the cynic. "The idea of posterity has done great things for us," replies the moralist. That idea and the hope to which it gives birth have done much to fortify virtue, to establish character, to enlarge and ennoble the good man's life. That thought has been fruitful of earnest work, and has helped men to gird themselves for heroic suffering. Good men have been better, noble lives have been nobler, because we care to be tenderly remembered and kindly spoken of when we are no longer among the living.
II. A COMFORT TO THOSE WHO MOURN HIM.
1. It is true that the more admirable and loving a man is, the greater is our loss when he is taken from us.
2. But it is also true that they are blessed who lose the worthiest and the best.
3. For the sorrow we feel at such loss is a very sacred thing; it comes from God himself; it can be borne with simple and pure resignation; it is unembittered with the most painful regrets; it works for the renewal and purification of our spirit and character.
4. And it is attended with a very precious mitigation; we have a pure and holy joy in the recollection of what the departed one was, what he did, how he laboured and triumphed, how many hearts he comforted, how many lives he brightened, what he was to ourselves. And these remembrances bring sunshine over the shadowed fields; they sweeten the bitter cup; they give "the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness."
III. AN INSPIRATION TO ALL WHO KNEW HIM. For the completion of a true and godly life is an inspiration.
1. It is another proof that goodness can triumph over every obstacle and persevere to the end.
2. It is an unspoken, but not inaudible summons, saying, "Follow me."
3. It is a thing of beauty as well as worth; and it attracts all who have an eye to see as well as a heart to feel.
(1) Resolve that, whatever else you leave (or fail to leave) behind, you will bequeath the memory of a just man; that is the best legacy to leave.
(2) Be drawn, as by a Powerful fascination, toward the character and the destiny of the good and wise who have gone before you. - C.
Parallel VersesKJV: The memory of the just is blessed: but the name of the wicked shall rot.