« PreviousContinue »
Providence, it must continue, until the resurrection at the last day. But his immortal spirit, we doubt not, is now in the bosom of eternal bliss : and, with cheerful expectation we look forward to that grand period, when this corruptible shall put on incorruption; and when this mortal shall put on immortality: when all the dishonours of this grave shall be wiped away; when the separate spirit of our departed Brother shall be united to his new-raised body; and when, in his whole person, he shall be for ever with the Lord.
These considerations are big with consolation to the weeping widow, and the sorrowful relatives; to the destitute congregation, and surviving friends. What remains, then, but that each, under these different characters, be careful to improve the solemn event, by living more to God, and by endeavouring to be more useful in their different stations? Ye relatives of the deceased, and ye that were the objects of his pastoral care, should consider yourselves as, in a more particular manner, addressed by Providence in this event. Ye have had his private converse, his public instructions, and his edifying example. For you, more especially, he studied; for you he laboured; for you he prayed; and for you he lived.
he lived. You have statedly heard him proclaim the excellency of Jesus Christ, the unsearchable riches of his grace, and the all-sufficiency of his work, for the salvation of those who are most guilty. You have heard him describe the sacred pleasures of true godliness, and the sublime delights which are to be enjoyed in communion with God. You have heard, from time to time, his cau. tions, his warnings, and his reproofs. Watch and
pray, therefore, that the salutary impressions made on your minds under his ministry, may not wear off; but, rather, that they may be increased, by a consideration of his decease, and of your seeing his face no more,
To you, my ministering brethren, and to me, this event is pregnant with admonition, and replete with motives to diligence and faithfulness; to circumspection and spiritual-mindedness, in the course of our ministry, and of our lives. Let us, then, in the language of Jesus, work while it is day; while we have capacities, time, and opportunities, for being useful to our fellow-mortals. Is it our sincere desire, in the course of a public ministry, to be the honoured instruments of instructing the ignorant and of alarming the careless; of converting sinners to Jesus, of edifying believers, and of glorifying the Lord Redeemer? I trust it is; for wo to us, if it be not so! Let us, then, be habitually mindful of our own immortal concerns. Because it cannot be justly expected, that holy zeal for God, and genuine love to man; that ministerial wisdom, diligence, and fidelity, should appear in our pastoral character; if, as private individuals, we neglect our own souls. He who preaches evangelical truths to others, and is not habitually careful to live under their influence in a daily walk with God, is ripening apace for aggravated ruin. I have long thought, that one of the most comprehensive, useful, and important admonitions which can be given to any minister, is that of Paul: Take heed to thyself. Cultivate the spirit of true godliness in thy own heart. For no pastor who pays a wise regard to the affairs of his own soul, can be habitually negligent of the flock of God which is committed to his care. As you and I, my brethren, are loudly reminded by this grave, that Providence will quickly summon us to give an account of our ministry, and of the manner in which we have employed the talents intrusted to us; we should earnestly endeavour to improve our time, and to be followers of those who, through faith and patience, inherit the promises.
To you, also, with whom our deceased Brother had no connection; to you I say, that were, either his merely occasional hearers, or not at all acquainted with his ministry and conversation, this event speaks. It admonishes to a serious consideration of your latter end; to think of your final state. You have, it may be, thought little about it; have put far from you the evil day; and have habitually neglected the things which belong to your peace. Some of you, it is probable, are dreaming of long life, and with rapture anticipate the pleasures of many years to come.
Infatuated and unhappy creatures ! your lives are wasting, and fatal disease awaits you. Death is at hand, and the graves are ready for you.
Your immortal souls must quickly enter the invisible state, and to you eternity will soon disclose its awful secrets. An everlasting heaven, or an eternal hell, may have received your separate spirits before to-morrow's dawn. It is high time, therefore, to awake out of sleep, and to cry for mercy. Do ye call yourselves Christians, and rest in the mere name? Did the Son of God become incarnate, and expire on a cross, merely to lay the foundation of a new religious denomination in the world, and to become the subject of occasional conversation? Or was it that he might be the
hope of the guilty, and the Saviour of sinners-the object of their confidence, of their love, and of their unreserved obedience? Are your immortal souls of no value, or is there no danger of damnation ? If Christ be not yours; if your hearts be not de voted to him; and if you die in that condition, you had better never have been born. May the Lord save you from the wrath to come, and prepare you for the heavenly state! Amen.