Lord Lowther's Loss

Between the imposing ruins of Lowther Castle and Lowther Church stands a rather fine mausoleum to one of the Earls of Lonsdale, William Lowther, who died in 1844. It is beautifully constructed and there in its midst sits an effigy of the late Earl. See how lonely he looks: grand, but forlorn; rich yet friendless, the aloofness of the marble reflecting the coldness of the grave.

I cannot vouch for the noble lord’s soul, whether his sins were forgiven or whether he had nothing but dead religion and sentimental faith. Yet his tomb reminds me of hell, not heaven. In the former, there are no friendships, no fellowship, no camaraderie. Though well populated, there is nothing but hatred and discord; isolated sinners resenting the sinful company their unrepentant lives warranted as they each reflect on their ever present condemnation and screaming consciences. Heaven will be a lively and vital gathering of the redeemed, a gigantic and joyful rendezvous of saved sinners. The warmth of the love and sincerity of the laughter will be a great contrast to the nasty echoes down below. 

Death and the grave are doleful themes,
For sinful mortal worms to sing;
Except a Saviour’s brighter beams
Dispel the gloom, and touch the string.

Death! awful sound! the fruit of sin,
And terror of the human race;
Who, except Jesus smiles within,
Can look the monster in the face?

Yet, dearest Lord, when viewed in thee,
The monster loses all his dread;
There all his frightful horrors flee,
And joy surrounds a dying bed.

Jesus, the mighty Saviour, lives,
And he has conquered death and hell:
This truth substantial comfort gives,
And dying saints can sing, “’Tis well.”

-Samuel Medley, No 470, Gadsby's Hymns