By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous…
Those who spend their days on earth usefully and well, live after death by their example. A father's worth, and a mother's care, and a neighbour's kindness, will be remembered long, and, in many cases, be imitated by those who come after. The upright live after death by their precepts. They may have been wholly disregarded by those to whom they were first addressed; but the good seed will take root, and, sooner or later, yield fruits of increase. On the other hand, we are told that "the name of the wicked shall rot" (Proverbs 10:7). Their influence may have been exceedingly great, but it shall become less and less, until it wholly dies away. If any one desires, then, that his name shall be remembered after death with feelings of gratitude and satisfaction, let him strive to be good.
I. A MOTHER'S influence after death. "When I was a little child," says one, "my mother used to bid me kneel beside her, and place her hand upon my head while she prayed. Before I was old enough to know her worth, she died, and I was left too much to my own guidance. In the midst of temptations, whether at home or abroad, I have felt myself, again and again, irresistibly drawn back by the pressure of that same soft hand. A voice in my heart seemed to say: ' Oh, do not this wickedness, my child, nor sin against God! ' I did not dare to disregard the call." Who has not heard of reprobate sons, after years of vice, stopped short in their course by remembrances of scenes of innocence and peace, in which a mother's anxious concern, a mother's reproving look, and a mother's gentle voice, speaking from the dead, exerted an influence more powerful than she could possibly have possessed while sitting under her own roof, and by her own fireside? Let Christian parents use this influence well, and the effect of their instructions shall never die.
II. TEACHER'S influence after death. The instructor's office is seldom estimated aright. How many difficulties to be overcome! How much discretion to be used! The tear of fond regret will glisten in the eye as the scholars, grown to adult age, make mention of their old teacher — the teacher in his grave. "He, being dead, yet speaketh." Have not instructors a high incentive to prove themselves faithful?
III. The PHILANTHROPIST'S influence after death. Kind and compassionate ones, go on in your useful ways. You are purchasing for yourselves immortality.
IV. An AUTHOR'S influence after death. "Books," says Addison, "are the legacies that a great genius leaves to mankind." The author dies. Not so his works. He still speaks through many lands by many tongues. Though already entered into his rest, he is, in reality, vigorously at work. He is moulding the minds, and influencing the hearts of untold thousands.
V. The CLERGYMAN'S influence after death. His life may have passed noiselessly away. His spirit — the fragrant memory of his life — lingers with his flock, and "He, being dead, yet speaketh."
VI. The influence of every GOOD PERSON after death.
(J. N. Norton, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh.
WEB: By faith, Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he had testimony given to him that he was righteous, God testifying with respect to his gifts; and through it he, being dead, still speaks.