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concern; yet you do not consider it as absolutely disregarded, nor as in its final abode; but as under the care of Providence, and as in a temporary lodging, till the sound of the archangel's trumpet be heard through all the regions of the dead. Then, you doubt not, but what is now sown in weakness, dishonour, and deformity; shall be raised from the dust in immortal vigour, glory, and beauty.–And though your minister is gone, yet bis doctrine remains; for it is the everlasting gospel. Though your pastor is dead, yet Jesus lives, as the great Shepherd; as King in Sion; and as Lord of the whole creation. Regard, then, the doctrines which my deceased senior taught: practise the duties that he urged: and look to the great Head of the church for another pastor, that shall feed you with knowledge and understanding. Make it your mutual endeavour, to maintain the truth, in its purity and importance; to observe the ordinances of divine worship, according to the primitive pattern; to live in love; and then the God of love and peace shall be with you.
It is to be feared, that there are individuals in this assembly, who have often heard the gospel from the lips of the dear deceased to very little purpose. Some of you, perhaps, have had your consciences, now and then, aroused by his faithful addresses, and your passions moved by his tender expostulations; yet have soon returned to folly, and been as carnal and careless as ever. Your minister has preached and prayed, with a view to your happi
Your minister, having finished his work, is released from the toils of his office, and has received, we trust, the approbation of his divine Master;
while ye— I tremble to think it-while ye are yet in your sins. Alas, alas, for you! Let me charge you, then, by the vast importance of those divine truths you have so often heard and so much neglected; by the immense worth of your iminortal souls, of which you have thought so little—by all the solemnities of death, by the terrors of eternal judgment, would I charge you, To take heed lest your departed minister should be a swift witness against you, at the great day of the Lord.
On such an occasion as this, it is proper that we, who bear the ministerial character, should feel with redoubled force, our obligations to diligence in the faithful discharge of that sacred trust which is reposed in us. Our great business is, as my brethren well know, to preach the gospel of God, and to watch for the souls of men. We are bound, so to preach, as to commend onrselves to the enlightened and impartial conscience; and so to watch, as those that must give an account of their whole conduct. To entertain and to please, are the design of an actor on the stage; not of a minister in his pulpit. Our parts and learning, our spiritual gifts and sacred office, answer the great end of the christian ministry no further, than they are the means of promoting true virtue and real piety. Nor, in any other view, can the exercise of them afford peaceful reflections, when we come to die. It is possible for us to gain the applause of a multitude, while the principles on which we act, and the end at which we aim, are detestable in the sight of God; and such as our own consciences, if awake, must abhor, in the near views of eternity. Of this our venerable deceased Friend was well aware, as I learnt from frequent conversation with him. This event should also excite us to greater circumspection in our general conduct. For it is the voice of our sovereign Lord to us; and its language is, Ere long, and ye also must give an account of your stewardship. We should, therefore, often examine the state of our souls, and the tenour of our conversation. We should be more concerned than ever, to express, in our own tempers and lives, the genius and tendency of that gospel we peach to others, so as to be a pattern of godliness to them. For though our hearers live under the same system of divine laws with ourselves; and though they are equally bound to observe those laws; yet our separation from secular employments, and our station in the church of God, must be considered as additional motives to an exemplary conversation. And as providence has made a breach, both in the church to which the Deceased stood related, and in our own connection, as ministers; we should be careful to cultivate the most friendly regard to that community, in its pre, sent circumstances, and the warmest affection one to another, as not knowing how soon we may be separated by repeated strokes of the same sovereign hand.
And what shall I say to you, in general, that are giddy, and thoughtless, and unconverted? Some of you came hither, it may be, with no more devotion or seriousness, than if you had been going to the playhouse; and have heard, perhaps, with as little regard to your own dissolution, as if not a word had been said relating to it. Your state commands my pity; but the temper of your hearts deserves abhorrence. What, will you treat the admonitions of Providence and the solemnities of death, the
truths of God and the welfare of your own souls, as if they were trifling things! Blessed God! that ever thy creatures should thus despise thee! that rational beings should thus forget themselves! What if Jehovah should swear in his wrath, Ye shall never enter into my rest? What if God should retaliate upon you, and have as little regard to your happiness, as you have to his honour? What, if the favour he shew to your souls, should be exactly proportioned to the delight which you take in his worship? What, then, would become of you ? Must you not sink and perish for ever, as the despisers of Christ, as enemies of God, and as inimical to your own felicity? Remember, sinners, that ye are in the hands of an offended Sovereign, and quite uncertain how he will dispose of you. May the God of all grace enlighten your minds and awaken your consciences. May he convert your hearts, and manifest his infinite mercy
your salvation. Or else, when death approaches, it will not be, as it is often falsely represented, to exact a debt that is due to nature; much less will it come, as a messenger of peace: but as a minister of divine justice, to arrest your persons and compel your appearance at the bar of God; there to answer for all
your unhallowed tempers and criminal conduct. Then, being intirely deserted by divine goodness, your present disaffection to the government and grace of God, will ripen into rage and become perpetual: and, as the desert of sin, as a righteous punishment, you must suffer the vengeance of eternal fire. I feel, I tremble for you. Nor can I forbear an ardent petition, that omnipotent grace may prevent such a state of everlasting wickedness, and such an immense ruin. Amen.