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death will, in a moment or two, lay all on a level. There is but a very little difference between the dead and the living,—only a single step.
We are taught once more by a review of this subject, that all disputes about religion will soon subside. 'Tis vain for men to spend their time in warm and angry contentions about matters that will be decided in a single moment. "The time of our departure is at hand."
How ministers are to preach, and how people are to hear, and how all ought to conduct, in every place and on all occasions, are easily deducible from the preceding discourse, viz., In the constant view of death and the eternal world. The sound should always be in our ears, "The time of my departure is at hand!" and should have a commanding influence on all our behaviour.
We should, by this subject, be led to examine ourselves, and take a review of our past life, since we are soon to leave this world, and our endless happiness or misery depends on the manner in which we improve the present life. Blessed are all those who can adopt the language of the dying apostle, *' I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith," &c.
In a particular manner we ought to be excited to the utmost diligence in religion, since our time is so. short, and since the sentiment is so powerfully inculcated by the deaths of others with whom we yesterday conversed.
The recent instance of mortality speaks with too much energy to be disregarded. Perhaps scarcely ever was there a death in which we were more interested, or one in which God could have manifested equal displeasure against us. If so important and virtuous a character could not be exempted, but must be called away suddenly in the midst of his usefulness, may we not with propriety every day be looking out for death? The situation in which God in his providence had lately placed Dr. Swift, and the remarkable success that attended his ministerial labours among the people where he resided, afforded pleasing prospects, and promised a long continviance; but, in a moment, 'our expectations are frustrated by Him who destroyeth the hope of man. The preacher has not the vanity to suppose that a commendation from him would add much weight to a character so well established among all who were acquainted with him. 1 have often thought, and repeatedly mentioned in private conversation, that I never saw the description of a gospel minister, as given in the word of God, so illustrated and exemplified by any person as in the life and character of Dr. Swift.
Few ever attained a more thorough acquaintance with divinity, or were so capable of opening the mysteries of the gospel. He appeared always ready to solve difficult passages in the Scripture and questions in theology. I believe numbers in the ministry are readyvto acknowledge that many important ideas on this subject they have obtained through his instrumentality. Affability, Christian zeal, and firmness in the fundamental principles of religion, were distinguishing traits in his character. These things I thought shone more conspicuous in him than usual at our last meeting. His benevolence and hospitality often astonished those who came under his roof. Those who had taste for plain, instructive, experimental preaching, greatly admired his public performances. His attachment to, and exertions in, the missionary interest were great: I have often thought to the prejudice of his health, especially of late. About the last conversation I had with him was on the subject of missions. He requested me to go to a place at some distance to preach, as he had given the people previous encouragement. I told him I was pre-engaged—he replied, "It will not do to neglect them, I must go myself." But few churches in this state, on this side of the mountain, but owe much of their present prosperity, under God, to Dr. Swift. Perhaps no man was more approved, and more useful in ecclesiastical councils than he. In our associations, N
where he always presided, he was truly a burning and a shining light. But, however hard to realize the thought, he is gone! Heaven has so decreed! and it becomes blind mortals to submit. Oh! let us be thankful to God that we have enjoyed him so long! Let us call to mind, and rightly improve, the advantages with which we have been favoured, and endeavour to imbibe that temper, and imitate those virtues, that dwelt so richly in him. Oh, that a double portion of his spirit might rest upon all the ministers of Christ! That those, especially in this state, to whom he has been so kind a father and benefactor, would consider how loudly God, by this providence, calls us to engagedness in his cause—knowing that the time of our departure is at hand. Let us learn to put our trust in that God who is able to take care of his church without us, or those who are more eminent in gifts and grace, and who worketh all things according to the counsel of his own will. Amen.
MR. HAYNEs's LABOURS BEYOND THE LIMITS OF HIS PARISH.
It is no easy task to estimate the amount of good effected by the ministers of Christ, especially by those pastors whose labours are abundant beyond the bounds of their respective societies. It is indeed a privilege of inestimable worth to be the instrument of building up a single church, and of witnessing revival after revival, in which many sinners are converted to God and gathered into the church. Mr. Haynes was not an inflated individual, whose influence was limited to parochial bounds. In the early part of his ministry ha had more calls to labour as a preacher at funerals and on special occasions than any other minister in the region.
As his early days were spent in agricultural pursuits, he took much delight in this kind of labour. The expenses of his numerous family and his hospitality required that large portions of time should be employed in manual labour. He was often called from the field to the pulpit. A young man, from the adjoining town of Castleton, calling to engage his services on a funeral occasion, was directed to the field where he was labouring. The young gentleman went accordingly, and meeting Mr. Haynes in his field-dress, and not suspecting him to be the preacher, said to him, "Can you tell me, sir, where I can find Mr. Haynes?" He replied, "My name is Haynes."—" No," said the young man, "I mean Mr. Haynes the preacher."—" I try to preach sometimes," said Mr. Haynes.
He was ready at a moment's notice to exchange his field garments for a clerical but plain attire, and to stand as "the legate of the skies" among deeply-afflicted mourners.
In 1804 he was appointed by the Connecticut Missionary Society to labour in the destitute sections of Vermont. In 1809 he was appointed to a similar service by the Vermont Missionary Society. A minute journal of these missionary tours would furnish materials for the historian, instruction to young missionaries, and improvement to all. In that early period of home missions a wide field was occupied by a single missionary, and the labours of a few weeks were distributed among a number of destitute churches. A single fact, which faithful memory has rescued from oblivion, will illustrate the untiring diligence of Mr. Haynes, as well as his aptness at original and amusing remarks. Travelling in the northern parts of Vermont, at a season when the business of the husbandman was pressing, but the business of the missionary infinitely more so, he sent forward an appointment to preach a sermon on the morning of a week day. On his arrival at the place he was extremely grieved to learn that his lecture had not been properly notified, and that some of the people had come to the conclusion that they could not find time to attend a religious meeting. "Can't find time to go to meeting?" said Mr. Haynes; "do people ever die here in St. Albans? / wonder how they can find time to die.'"
In ecclesiastical councils he was sought by churches near and remote. He attended about fifty ordinations, and in many instances was the appointed preacher. In cases of difficulty and division, his influence, counsel, and prayers were blessed to the restoration of peace in the churches.
In one of the remote churches in Vermont, a painful difficulty originated between two prominent members, which soon destroyed all Christian fellowship, and, divided the church into parties. Neither the measures adopted by the discreet members of the church, nor the advice of several successive councils, had effected a reconciliation. The dissension became more alyming. At length it was resolved to call a council from distant churches. The council convened accordingly, and the Reverend Mr. Haynes was chosen moderator. Having ascertained the facts in the case, the moderator addressed the parties in a plain, conciliatory manner, and in