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the excellences of revealed truth. Providence has adopted another mode of instruction: and now invites us to learn from his life, and from his death, the lessons we are no longer permitted to hear from his lips. He, being dead, yet speaketh ;he speaks in his writings, he speaks from his tomb, and points to that volume which it is the object of this assembly to circulate, as the source of all his virtues, and of all his greatness. After exhibiting, for our imitation, the lives of the holy men recorded in scripture,-men of whom the world was not worthy, it has pleased God to present to our attention his own, formed on the same model, and replete with the same spirit. The reader of the
Scripture Characters" will be powerfully impelled to copy their example, by the reflection that there are few of their excellences which their Biographer did not attain; that they were shewn in his life with no less advantage than in his writings; and that, in his most popular work, he did nothing more than inculcate by his pen, what he was incessantly enforcing by his practice.
The loss which the church of Christ has sustained by the extinction of such a luminary is great; the loss to this populous town and neighbourhood irreparable. Ages may revolve ere a similar calamity occurs. The shepherd is torn from his flock; the spiritual father from his children; the sage counsellor, the patron of the poor and the destitute, and the great example of the power of religion, whose very countenance could not be
beheld without tender veneration, is no more. The name of Robinson will long combine with the mention of this place a train of solemn emotions, and the stranger will indulge a pious curiosity in inspecting the spot where he dwelt, and the church where he exercised his ministry.
We knew the precarious tenure by which we possessed him, in common with all other blessings; we knew he was mortal; but, notwithstanding we received repeated warnings by a succession of attacks, few had sufficient fortitude steadily to realize the approaching event. When the intelligence was circulated through the town-" Mr. Robinson is dead!" "Mr. Robinson is dead!" it was a thunderclap: it produced a sensation of dismay and astonishment, as though we scarcely believed to be possible, what we knew to be certain; and such an air of desolation and sorrow was impressed upon the countenance of the inhabitants, that a stranger must have perceived they had sustained no ordinary calamity. It was such as no event could have produced, but the removal of a saint and a prophet. Whoever wishes to learn how much piety dignifies a character, how much sainted worth, in its power over the heart, preponderates over every other species of eminence, let him turn to this scene, and compare the tears of a populous neighbourhood with the unmeaning decorations of funereal grandeur. None spoke of his virtues, none was eloquent in his praise; every heart was oppressed with a sense of its loss.
I cannot close this address without remarking that the possession of such a man as Mr. Robinson incurs a proportionable weight of responsibility; and that the time is approaching when it will be inquired what improvement we have derived from the exercise of such talents, and the exhibition of such an example.
It is incumbent on his hearers especially to reflect, that he who watched for souls is gone to give an account, not only of the principles on which he conducted, but of the reception they gave to his embassy, and, that against the impenitent and unbelieving, he is compelled to be "a swift witness before God." His warning voice, his pathetic appeals and expostulations, will be heard no more, but his record is on high, and the ministry he so long exercised amongst us, will infallibly be a savour of life unto life, or of death. unto death. His life was not so properly employed, as consumed, in the incessant labour to bring sinners to repentance; and awful will be the doom of those who persist in rejecting the overtures of mercy, the word of reconciliation, dispensed with such admirable zeal, ability, and address.
To the pastoral cares, studies, and instructions, of this most eminent servant of God, death has put a final termination; but the enjoyment of such a ministry, and even the opportunity of witnessing such an example, will form a conspicuous feature in our probation, and be replete with consequences which stretch into eternity.
Permit me to indulge one more reflection: the life and ministry of this great man of God affords a demonstration of the futility of the clamour which is raised against the doctrine of salvation by grace through faith; as though it tended to relax the obligations to virtue, and to annul the commands of God. Who ever insisted on this doctrine more constantly, or urged its importance more earnestly, than he? and where, amongst its opponents, shall we discover indications of similar usefulness? Through a period of more than forty years, he employed himself in beating down the arrogance of a self-justifying spirit, in evincing the impossibility of being accepted on the footing of our own works, and in directing men of every description to seek for pardon in the blood of the cross. If there were any one topic on which he delighted to dwell more than others, this was unquestionably the topic.
To his manly and unsophisticated understanding, it was evident to a demonstration, that repentance must be grafted on humility; and that there was no room to apprehend his hearers would be tempted to contemn the authority, in consequence of being abased before the majesty, of God. He was also perfectly convinced that the blood of Christ, sprinkled by faith, was the only effectual balm for afflicted consciences. On these principles he conducted his ministry for near half a century, and we may challenge his enemies, (if there be any remaining,) to deny that its fruits were most
salutary. If the apostolic doctrine, which affirms that we are justified by faith without the deeds of the law, possess the tendency to licentiousness which its opponents ascribe to it, that tendency could not have failed to operate under a course of instruction so long continued, and of which the tenet in question formed so distinguishing a feature. By their fruits ye shall know them: men do not gather grapes of thorns, nor figs of thistles." To conclude the fittest improvement we can make of the melancholy event we are now deploring, will be a serious attention to the exhortation of St. Paul, addressed to primitive christians on the loss of eminent pastors :-"Remember them which have had the rule over you; and, considering the end of their conversation, imitate their faith."