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at that time rendered me incapable of judging; but I have been informed that he was made useful there to many. I can at least speak with certainty of one, to whom his public ministry and private conversation have proved a benefit, for which he bumbly trusts he shall continue to praise the great Author of his being for ever. Yes, I reckon it among the happiest circumstances of my life that I ever saw Mr. R.; and even now, while telling you 80, I feel my heart glowing with gratitude to the great Ruler of all, that in his kind Providence he brought him to Brecon. Oh Sir, while I had the happiness of being acquainted with hiin, I respected him; his memory is still dear to me; and I now look forward with inexpressible joy tɔ that time, when I bope I shall have the pleasure of standing up to call him blessed in a better world.”
The CONFERENCE of 1814 removed him from Brecon to the Swansea Circuit. The following extract of a letter from a gentleman at Swansea will afford some information respecting his labours during that year.
“ MR. RUSHFORTH travelled in this Circuit only one year; and it was to him a year of labour, for the much greater portion of the work fell to his share; but he laboured in the word and doctrine of his Master with cheerful satisfaction and delight. How much he valued the work in which he was engaged, was seen in the faithful discharge of all his ministerial duties I have often witnessed the solicitude which he manifested for the spiritual welfare of those to whom he ministered in holy things; and I have accompanied him, when this holy principle conducted his feet to the hovel and the cot where the humble followers of JESUS had their habitation. In these visits of mercy, he administered admonition, exhortation, and comfort; and he never retired without commending the family by prayer to the God of all grace. For some time previous to his arrival in our Circuit, the work of God had experienced a declension as to its general character; and this falling away' could only be traced to a decay of vital piety in the hearts and conduct of professors. He saw the fatal influence of lukewarmness making its way in the Church ; and to stem the torrent, or check its progress, he employed all the energies of his mind, and the influence of his situation. It is too observable that when a Christian Society has gradually sunk below the proper point of moral excellence and spiritual character, the mischief takes so wide a range, that it is generally long before it again rises to its natural situation. To what extent he succeeded in raising the standard of christian purity among the people, I cannot tell; but this I know, that in some instances he was necessitated to sit down a grieved spectator of evils over which he mourned, but which he could not prevent. To use his own words to me, in a letter written afterwards, he says, I could only look on, and Jament.' There were parts of the Circuit, however, where he found that the work of Gon had retained its original simplicity, and where persons could be found who, by the tenour of their lives, continued to adorn the doctrine of God their Saviour in all things. To these he would gladly retire, and hailed the return those seasons when, in the course of regular or occasional visitation, he administered to them the words of life. It will afford one testimony to his usefulness in this Circuit, to say, that he was loved by the people; and this to him counterbalanced much of what was painful and disagreeable. My dear friend manifested a deep interest in the welfare of our Society, and continued to make earnest enquiry after their spiritual prosperity.”
When this year of weariness to body and mind was ended, he removed from Swansea to the Frome Circuit, in Somersetshire, by direction of the Conference in 1815. But no outward change was accompanied by an alteration of principle or purpose. He continued to pursue the great object of his life, and unweariedly prosecuted the work of the Christian Ministry. The following extract of a letter to his valued friend in Swansea, will illustrate this assertion. It was written from Frome, 220 April, 1816."I ardently indulge the pleasing hope that our friendship will not only be permanent through time, but of endless duration. I feel much gratification in the anticipation that we shall, through grace, be permitted to associate together in the heavenly world. 0! how animating the prospect. I am conscious of possessing a fixed resolution, grounded on the sufficiency of the Lord Jesus, to make it the chief business of my earthly life to prepare for a future state. My sole dependence is on the glorious Re
Faith in him affords, not only a basis for the hope of future felicity, but also a present realization of spiritual enjoyment. The sure prospect of happiness after our dissolution, sheds a superior glory on all our present terrestrial enjoyments. How rational and ennobling is the employment of tracing the Divine agency
in the works of creation and providence; but the benignity and glory of God appear most transcendent in the gospel of his Son. Here the perfections of Deity blaze forth with refulgent and transforming influence on the soul of man, especially of the man who is in audience with the Deity.' The gospel of Jesus is compared to a mirror: in which we may behold the glory of the Lord; and whilst we are engaged in contemplating the interesting object, we are changed into its image. It surely must be dignifying and felicitating to human nature to be brought, not only under the Divine influence, but into a real conformity to the Supreme Excellence. You will recollect, my dear friend, that the example of the blessed SAVIOUR is the proper model by which we are to form our conduct. On the most
narrow investigation of this model, we discover nothing repelling, nothing improper, nothing defective; but all is super-excellent; the more you contemplate it, the more engaging and lovely it appears. Rousseau himself, the antagonist of the Christian system
of doctrine, was constrained to bear evidence to the supe rior character of the adorable REDEEMER.--You certainly have correct views of the utility of decision of character : indeed, nothing of importance to individual or public welfare can be effected without it. What many persons plead for on the ground of candour and liberality, is nothing but indecision or cowardice in disguise. How pregnant with event will be the period, when human characters shall be publicly and fully developed, when human destinies shall be finally and eternally settled. That awfully important era must eventually arrive.”
To be concluded in our next.)
pates of boch.
THE CENSURE OF THE LUKEWARM:
A SERMON ON REV. 111. 15;
(Concluded from page 265.)
THIRD PART. Between the two opposite extremes of cold and heat, which have now been described, there is a middle state, which partici
This is the LUKEWARMNESS which Jesus CHRIST attributes to the angel and people of Laodicea ; and for which he threatens them with the most severe vengeance. In this there appears to be some difficulty. For what is lukewarmness, but the commencement of heat? And will Gon condemn in men the beginnings of the heavenly fire, kindled by his word and Spirir? What is grace, even in the truly regenerate, in the most holy, but, comparatively, only the commencement of what is good ?--for we are never sufficiently ardent in the service of God; there are always in us some defects, which render our piety incomplete. The FATHER of Mercies, who is goodness and benignity in the abstract, so far from rejecting with severity those who have only experienced as yet the beginnings of sanctification, will, on the contrary, mercifully support them in their weakness. Does he not declare that he will not break a bruised reed; nor quench the smoaking flax, in which there is only a small and dying spark of light and heat ?. Yes, ny Brethren! God is merciful and indulgent to such beyond ex pression; and neither towards the mere beginnings, nor the smallest degrees, of genuine piety shall you cver find him
rigorous : for even in the great and terrible day, in which he will examine the lives of men with the righteous severity of a JUDGE, and will inflict on the ungodly the heaviest punishments, he shall, nevertheless, express his approbation of the smallest degrees of good, according to the manner in which that sentence is expressed in the gospel : “ Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things; I will make thee ruler over many things; enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.” It is not, therefore, the weak or imperfeci, whom Jesus Christ here intends by the lukewarm. But in order that we may properly understand him, we must observe, that
, by lukewarmness, is not meant a progress from cold to heat. For, strictly speaking, a progress cannot be called a settled stale. On the contrary, it is a passage from one state to another ; a motion; an advancement; which urges a thing forward, and causes it every moment to change its present position, in order that it may acquire one which is different. Such is the nature of the piety of the faithful. It is a progress by which they every day advance in sanctification. It is true, that it is yet defective; it is but an imperfect heat. But it is an heat which increases more and more, like the light of the sun, who ascends and increases in splendour, till he attains his meridian, and appears on a high throne of glory in the midst of the heavens. Therefore God loves true pietý, becausė, although it is imperfect, it nevertheless aspires to a higher state, and is, without ceasing, making new efforts to attain unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of CHRIST." By lukewarmness, therefore, is not meant a progress, but a fixed state, as when water which is only half-heated remains in that state, and does not acquire any additional beat.
This may take place in two ways: either when water, which is naturally cold, is warmed but a little, and left in that state without acquiring any more heat; or when water, which had been made hot, has become cooler, and lost a part of its heat, and is so left, without being re-instated in its former degree of it. Thus it is that we must conceive of the lukewarmness which the Son of God abhors. For he means by it, the state of those whose devotion is habitually feeble and languishing. This also takes place in two ways : either when men, who are naturally cold and insensible, acquire some degree of spiritual heat, by reading the word of God, by hearing the gospel, or by intercourse and frequent conversation with pious people, bat yet remain in a state of mediocrity, without going on to perfection, or endeavotring to advance beyond that imperfect condition in which they already find themselves :-or, when they who were once hot and ardent, suffer their zeal miserably to abate, fall into a criminal lukewarmness, and therein rest, without regaining their former ardour. It appears that this was, in reality, the crime of the church of Laodicea : because Jesus Christ does not place the lukewarm between the cold and the hot, as order appears to require,—but he places them after the hot ones; as though he wished to designate men who had lost their former fervour, and who had fallen from a state of piety, once active and ardent, into a shameful remissness. The lukewarm, therefore, are they who remain in a censurable medium between good and evil; who are not inclined to be altogether for JESUS CHRIST, nor yet wholly for Satan, but are divided between them; endeavouring to accommodate themselves to, and espouse the cause of, both. They live neither like avowed enemies, nor like faithful subjects of the LORD, but as neutrals. They are not wholly cold; for they know God and the truths of the gospel. Neither are they altogether hot; for they have not the true Christian zeal in their hearts, nor the ardent love of the religion they profess. Therefore they are lukewarm, because, with all their light and knowledge, they remain in a state of abominable negligence and indifference. But that we may the better discern who are these lukewarm ones, so offensive to our LORD, I shall divide them into five classes; which will enable you to comprehend more distinctly their spirit and dispositions.
1. In the first class I find those who are usually termed Nicodemites; who know the truth, but hold it in unrighteousness, without openly professing it, lest it should injure their temporal interests;-false Israelites, full of fraud, who “halt between two opinions;"-mongrels, or rather monsters, in religion, since they are of two parties, which are diametrically opposite. For example ; they have, with the sentiments of a Christian, the body of a Mahometan :-or, with an orthodox soul they have an infidel tongue. They deny Jesus Christ, and his gospel
, in order to accommodate themselves to Mussulmen, when they are found in their country, and under their government. Such Christ anathematizes, in the following remarkable and terrible words: “ Whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my FATHER which is in heaven. Whosoever shall be ashamed of me and my words, in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him also shall the Son Of Man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.” O lukewarm and cowardly Christians ! Your crime is really most inexcusable. For did not the same God, who created the soul, create the body? Did not the same SAVIOUR, who redeemed the one, redeem the other? And ought we not, therefore, to glorify him in our bodies, as well as in our spirits, since both, according to the reasoning of the holy Apostle, so justly appertain to him? " What therefore God hath joined iogether, let not man put asunder.” If the maxim be applicable, in reference to the union of the husband and wife,