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people : when will he die land his name perish? We reply, NEVER. For, at length, the JUDGE HIMSELF rises up, and pronounces, Blessed is that servant--yea, blessed are those servants, whom the Lord when he cometh shall find watching!...
The righteous porisheth, and no man layėth it to heart; 'and merciful men are taken away, none considering that the righteous is taken away from the evil to come. He SHALL ENTER INTO PEACE. The change of your late Minister is but a change of preferment: it is but the call of his Master to come up higher to take his harp, his palm, his crown, and bid an eternal farewell to all his cares and sorrows. Blessed are those servants; for God shall wipe all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, weither. sorrow nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain, for the
former things are passed away.
Having attempted to drop a few general hints on the CHARACTER and COMMENDATION of a faithful Minister, and having shewn their application to your late Pastor, permit me to address a word.
1. To HIS STATED CONGREGATION.
Your vigilant and prepared Servant is now called off his post : your faithful and wise Steward is gone to deliver his account. He doubtless will do it with joy, having made it the grand object of his life. But let us consider, my Dear Hearers, the account which we also have to give. If special benefits involve special obligations, where are the people that have enjoyed your privileges ? Some of you are his spiritual children, born and brought up in this House of Prayer. Many of you have been nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, as by a nursing-father. Others have been warned to flee from the wrath tò come, as by a faithful monitor; and others cautioned by a guide who seemed in his experience to have explored the very depths of Satan. The afflicted have been comforted: the doubtful have been relieved: and ministers (among whom I stand as a witness) have been enlarged and confirmed, as by a father in Christ.
Let us admire and adore the grace, which plucked such a brand from the burning, and marvellously formed him afterwards to be that vessel of honour which he became. Let us recollect to WHOM we are indebted for such a Steward; who, with wisdom and faithfulness, apportioned our meat in due season. And, if the remark of one of our divines be just, that “a faithful minister being taken away before the age of threescore is taken in judgment,” let us stand encouraged, that the departed lived far beyond the age of man before he was removed ; and let us earnestly pray to the Lord of the Harvest, that this Church, which had been favoured with eminent Pastors long before the coming of your late Minister, may
enjoy a continuance of them till time shall be no more.
But infallible authority lays a ground for the comfort of every mourner in Zion when it enjoins, Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation*, or as the word is, the blessed departure which they made;, and more especially considering that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and today, and for ever. He ever lives! He, the great Shepherd and Bishop of souls, will still provide for his flock; that where he is, they may be also.
Mr. Newton gradually sunk as the setting sun, shedding to the last those déclining rays, which gilded and gladdened the dark valley. In the latter conversations which I had with him, he expressed an unshaken faith in eternal realities; and, when he could scarcely utter words, he remained a firm witness to the truths which he had preached. In so very gradual a declension, interesting particulars can scarcely be expected: should any be gathered, they will appear in the Memoirs of his Life, which I have collected under his direction; and which will further tend to prove the force of truth, the blessedness of its service, and the greatness of its present as well as future reward. The word ex@avis, here rendered, the end of their contersation, is
ent, 1 Cor, iii, 10, where it is justly rendered escape. VOL. III.
used but once more in the New Test
My honoured Brethren in the Ministry Servants, Stewards, Watchmen! how much have we to learn on this occasion! What need to cry, My Father, my Father, the chariots of Israel and the horsemen thereof! Let a double portion of thy spirit rest upon us ! For our hour is also hastening: our account is soon to be given in: our Master is coming: our character will be proclaimed: our state will be fixed!' Think on these momentous things. Think of your Lord's words, Be ye ready also: for the Son of Man cometh at an hour when ye think not.
II. To his PARISHIONERS, also, I would address the feelings of my
heart. I speak more especially to such as have not duly appreciated the Ministry of their late worthy Pastor. The worne-out body of him who long intreated you to be mindful of the day of your visitation, now is a mass of inanimate clay under that Communion-Table—his lamp broken--his tongue silent
“ Disarm'd, disabled, like a wretch that's gagg’d,
And cannot tell his ills to passers by," while he borrows my tongue to address you on the occasion.
And what can I say to you that he has not said a thousand times? I can only say, Lay the day of your visitation to heart, for God has spoken to you again and again by the mouth of his
Servant. If he were to return from the dead, he could only repeat the same message; and then sigh and say with one of old, Oh that they were wise! that they understood this! that they would consider their latter end!
Some of his parishioners have, I hope, felt the truth of his character; and are now convinced that he was that very man, who kept his eye on his sacred rule, inquiring what sort of man the Minister of a Parish ought to be. Since his death, perhaps, you have been ready to say, Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his: for the true Minister is seldom fully known till he is gone. But let us allow something to imagination-Let us suppose your late Minister to rise like SAMUEL from the dead. Suppose him to learn that some of you, his Parishioners, had begun to recollect yourselves; had resolved to pray, to turn to God, to embrace his Son, and to obey the Gospel ;-- nay, that some of you were supposing that you even do serve God, because you begin to pay a formal attention to the externals of religion, and admit the general truths which he preached.
I ask, would he not say to such, like SAMUEL, on another occasion, “ Ye serve God! What meaneth then this bleating of the sheep in mine ears, and this lowing of the oxen that I hear? What meaneth this frequent breaking of the Sabbath, by business or pleasure? What meaneth this