And they all wept sore, and fell on Paul's neck, and kissed him,…
Let us consider —
I. ITS SOURCE.
1. The loss of a true friend. Next to the assurance that we have the best friend in heaven is the conviction that we have a true friend on earth. A Christian minister should be this, and felt to be this, by his people. The apostle evidently stood in this relation to these Ephesians.
2. The close of lengthened religious privileges.
3. The recollection of numerous changes which this death suggests.
II. ITS COMFORT.
1. To him it is immeasurable gain. Our departed Christian friends have but entered on a farther voyage than that to which these Ephesians accompanied the apostle; but surely a more favouring one; for death is that ship into which the disciples received their Master, in the gloom of night, that He might scatter their fears, and still the waves for them, and bring them immediately to the land whither they went. They have not died; they have emigrated to the better country.
2. Results may still remain. No man can live and labour for Christ without bequeathing to the world such a legacy, which our eye may not be able to separate from the great whole, but which is still there, increasing the amount and hastening on the grand and glorious close. A man may scatter precious seed, and be called away; but if he has done his work faithfully and well, the green blade shall spring, and the yellow harvest shall wave, though the head of the sower be in the dust beneath.
3. Changes are preparing the way for a world that is immutable. "We look for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God." Every good and perfect gift comes from above; but more, it departs thither also.
III. ITS IMPROVEMENT. Christian sorrow for the departed should lead us —
1. To seek reunion with the object of our affection. This is the instinct of grief, wherever it is genuine — to be where the lost one is. The gospel does not destroy human grief with its natural longings; it comes to consecrate it to the noblest ends, and make a ladder of it that shall reach to heaven.
2. To cultivate what they had most at heart while with us.
(J. Ker, D. D.).
Parallel VersesKJV: And they all wept sore, and fell on Paul's neck, and kissed him,