Imatges de pÓgina

dence, the hope, and the peace of real Christians, even in a dying hour.

With these incomparable truths and blessings, our deceased Brother was well acquainted. Having as a guilty creature, fled for refuge to the hope set before him in the gracious gospel; having believed in Jesus Christ, as the justifier of the ungodly, he made them, for a course of years, the capital subject of his public ministry; and on them he delighted to converse, in his private intercourse with christian friends. By these evangelical truths his hope was firmly supported in the near prospect of dissolution. These truths, warm on his heart, rendered him superior to the fears of death, and to the painful apprehensions of eternal judgment. To the admirable excellence of these truths he bore the most explicit and unequivocal testimony, when on the bed of death; by which his relatives, domestics, and christian friends, were encouraged, comforted, and edified.

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Of Socinian sentiments he, on the contrary, avowed his detestation; as of principles which must, in that situation, have abandoned him to keen distress, and to the horrors of dark despair. Nor can it be otherwise, when on a death-bed, with any one. that knows the purity of God, and the intrinsic evil of sin. For, then, feeling himself to be guilty, polluted, and worthless, he must either depend on sovereign grace, as manifested in the redemption of Christ, or sink in despondency. Then, how useful soever his life may have been; and though, as to the general course of his conduct, he possess the testimony of a good conscience; yet, knowing himself to be guilty before God, he will have recourse to

sovereign mercy; he will plead the blood of atonement; and ascribe his whole salvation to that grace which reigns through righteousness to eternal life, by Jesus Christ our Lord.

Now, as a deliberate reflection on the foregoing facts, cannot but greatly alleviate the sorrow of the children, the relatives, and the church, of our departed Brother; so they, being all deprived of his public ministry and private advice, of his ardent prayers and his affectionate care for their happiness; are bound to consider the solemn event as a call from God to self-examination, to an improvement of time, and to spiritual mindedness.

As to you, my Brother, and your affectionate Sister, the son and the daughter of our dear. departed friend; your filial feelings, on this occasion, must be strong. But, though deprived of both your honoured and affectionate parents in the course of a few months, the workings of your tender passions do not, I trust, exceed the bounds of dutiful submission to the divine will. Be thankful for the reasons you have to conclude that each of them sleeps in Jesus: and, so far as they followed Christ, diligently imitate their example. Make it your principal care to glorify God, by living devoted to Him whom your parents loved; whom your father preached; and in the faith of whom he was rendered so comfortable in the near prospect of dissolution.— You, I trust, my junior Brother, have learned something from your Father's death-bed, that will be of advantage to you in future life, not only as a Christian, but also as a Minister. Having heard from his lips of what incomparable worth Jesus Christ is to a dying believer, and of what vast importance an

experimental knowledge of evangelical truth is to a departing saint; you have an additional motive, as grace may enable and providence give opportunity, to live by faith on Christ, as your atoning sacrifice: to preach Christ, as the great subject of evangelical truth; and to be his devoted servant, as the Lord of conscience-the Lord of the world-and the Object of supreme affection. Thus living upon Christ, and being thus devoted to him, there is reason to expect, that your own death-bed shall be calm and peaceful, as was that of your honoured Father. May a double portion of his gifts and graces rest upon you!

To you, the members of that christian church of which our deceased friend had the pastoral care, I would say, Study to shew the improvement which, through a divine blessing, you have derived from his ministry. This improvement must be manifested, not by loud encomiums on his gifts and graces, his learning and respectability; but, by your steady adherence to the truths he preached, to purity of divine worship, and to regular discipline-By each conscientiously filling up his place in seasons of public devotion-By watching over one another with prudent christian affection-By walking together in love and peace-By zeal for God, benevolence to man, and heavenly-mindedness. These, Brethren, are the evidences by which you must prove, that the labours of your deceased Pastor have been really useful for it is by these, and similar virtues, that any of us adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour. To us, also, who bear the ministerial character, this event is big with important admonition. At this tomb we are loudly admonished, to pay a

special regard to the state of our own hearts, respecting evangelical truth, religious duty, and heavenly things-To cultivate a growing acquaintance with Christ; with the characters he bears, the work he performs, the blessings he bestows, and the laws of his kingdom-Earnestly to seek spiritual mindedness, and the anticipations of heavenly bliss -And to converse much with our own approaching decease. For we also must die; we also must come to judgment: and though our appearance, when performing public service, were ever so respectable in the eyes of men; yet, if we deceive our own souls, if we be damned, our case will be shocking indeed! Were such the dreadful issue of our ministerial course, we might, perhaps, among all the miserable millions, be classed with the most wretched characters in hell.-Frequently, my Brethren, have selfreflection and observation caused me to suspect, that no professors of the real gospel have more need to guard against self-deception, than those who preach it. For there is extreme danger of our not being careful to exercise devout affections as Christians, while we employ our gifts as Ministers-Of our praying, preaching, and administering positive institutes, merely as an official employment; without feeling our own interest in these means of religious improvement, and without savouring the edifying truths exhibited to others. This being habitually the case, we are, in the estimate of Christ, not pillars in his temple; nor living stones in the spiritual edifice; but the mere scaffolding of his house; having only an exterior and temporary connection with it. Or, in the language of Paul, Sounding brass, and tinkling cymbals. Often, when meditating

on this important subject, have the following apostolic sayings occurred to my recollection: All seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ's. My brethren, be not many teachers,* knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation. Except our hearts be right with God; except they have an heavenly turn: of whatever use, through a divine blessing, our ministry may be to others, our own profession is vain. The longer I live, the more certain I am, that all pretences to piety, without spiritual-mindedness, are of no worth; and the more am I convinced how little of that holy affection possess.


By this event we are further admonished to diligence in our professional studies and labours: not that we may shine as orators and as critics; not that, by learning and eloquence, we may obtain the applause of men: but that by manifestation of the truth, we may commend ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God-That we may, in a scriptural manner, warn our fellow-creatures to flee from the wrath to come-beseech them to be reconciled to God-exhibit the all-sufficiency of Jesus Christ, and the superabundance of divine grace, to the chief of sinners-endeavour to edify believers on their most holy faith-to the utmost of our ability declare the whole counsel of God-that we may finish our course with joy-and, finally, receive the approbation of our divine Lord.

To conclude: As many, in this large assembly, it is highly probable, are yet in their sins-many, in whom their hateful depravity reigns, and on whom their enormous guilt abides; I would, at the * Aidacnaλo, James iii 1.

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