Imágenes de páginas

2. A more particular and equally just character of him, has appeared in one of the English papers. It may not be disagreeable to you, to add the substance of this likewise :

“ The character of this truly pious person must be deeply impressed on the heart of every friend to vital religion. In spite of a tender and delicate constitution, he continued, to the Jast day of his life, preaching with a frequency and fervour that seemed to exceed the natural strength of the most robust. Being called to the exercise of his function at an age when most young men are only beginning to qualify themselves for it, he had not time to make a very considerable progress in the learned languages. But this defect was amply supplied by a lively and fertile genius, by fervent zeal, and by a forcible and most persuasive delivery. And though in the pulpit he often found it needful by “ the terrors of the Lord” to “persuade men,” he had nothing gloomy in his nature; being singularly chccrful, as well as charitable and tender-hearted. He iras as ready to relieve the bodily as the spiritual necessities of those that applied to bim. It ought also to be observed, that he constantly enforced upon bis audience crery moral duty, particularly industry in their several callings, and obedience to their superiors. He endeavoured, by the most extraordinary efforts of preaching in different places, and even in the open fields, to rouse the lower class of people, from the last degree of inaltention and ignorance, to a sense of religion. For this, and his other labours, the name of GEORGE WETTEFIEL1) will long be remembered with esteem and reneration.”

3. That both these accounts are just and impartial, will readily be allowed; that is, as far as they go.

But they go little farther than the outside of his character. They show you the Preacher, but not the Man, the Christian, the Saint of God. May I be permitted to add a little on this head, from a personal knowledge of near forty years? Indeed I am thoroughly sensible how difficult it is to speak on so delicate a subject ;---what prudence is required to avoid both extremes, to say neither too little, nor too much! Nay, I know it is impossible to speak at all, to say either less or more, without incurring from some the former, from others the latter censure. Some will seriously think, that too little is said ; and others, that it is too much. But without attending to this, I will speak just what I know', before Ilim to whom we are all to give an account. 4, Mention has already been made of his unparalleled Zeal, kis indefatigable Activity, his Tender-heartedness to the afflicted, and Charitableness toward the poor. But should we not like. wise mention, his deep Gratitude, to all whom God had used as instruments of good to him ?-of whom he did not cease to speak in the most respectful manner, even to his dying day. Should we not mention, that he had a heart susceptible of the most generous and the most tender Friendship? I have frequently thought, that this, of all others, was the distinguishing part of his character. How few have we known of so kind a temper, of such large and flowing affections ? Was it not principally by this, that the hearts of others were so strangely drawn and knit to him ? Can any thing but love beget love? This shone in his very countenance, and continually breathed in all his words, whether in public or private. Was it not this, which, quick and penetrating as lightning, flew from heart to heart? Which gave that life to his Sermons, his Conversations, his Letters? Ye are witnesses !

5. But away with the vile misconstruction of men of corrupt minds, who know of no love but what is earthly and sensual ! Be it remembered, at the same time, that he was endued with the most nice and unblemished Modesty. His office called him to converse very frequently and largely with women as well as men; and those of every age and condition. But his whole bebaviour toward them was a practical comment on that advice of St. Paul to Timothy: “Entreat the elder women as mothers, the younger as sisters, with all purity."

6. Meantime how suitable to the friendliness of his spirit was the Frankness and Openness of his conversation ?-although it was as far removed from rudeness on the one hand, as from guile and disguise on the other. Was not this frankness at once a fruit and a proof of his Courage and Intrepidity? Armed with these, he feared not the faces of men, but “ used great plainness of speech” to persons of every rank and condition, high and low, rich and poor; endeavouring only, “ by manifestation of the truth, to commend himself to every man's conscience in the sight of God.”

7. Neither was he afraid of labour or pain, any more than of " what man could do unto him ;” being equally

Patient in bearing ill and doing well." And this appeared in the Steadiness wherewith he pursued whatever he undertook for his Master's sake. Witness one instance for all, the Orphan-house in Georgia ; which he began


and perfected, in spite of all discouragements. Indeed, iu whatever concerned himself, he was pliant and flexible. In this case he was casy to be entreated ;” easy to be either convinced or persuaded. But he was immoveable in the things of God, or wherever his conscience was concerned. None could persuade, any more than aflright him, to vary, in the least point, from that Integrity which was inseparable from his whole character, and regulated all his words and actions. Herein he did

Stand as an iron pillar strong,
And steadfast as a wall of brass."

8. If it be inquired, What was the foundation of this integrity; or of his sincerity, courage, patience, and every other valuable and amiable quality; it is easy to give the answer : It was not the excellence of his natural temper; not the strength of his understanding ; it was not the force of education; no, nor the advice of his friends : it was no other than Faith in a bleeding Lord; “ Faith of the operation of God.” It was “a lively hope of an inheritance incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away.” It was “the love of God shed abroad in his heart by the Holy Ghost which was given unto him,” filling his soul with tender, disinterested love to every child of man. From this source arose that torrent of Eloquence, which frequently bore down all before it; from this, that astonishing force of Persuasion, which the most hardened sinners could not resist. This it was, which often made his “head as waters, and his eyes a fountain of tears." This it was, which enabled him to pour out his soul in Prayer, in a manner peculiar to himself, with such fulness and case united together, with such strength and variety both of sentiment and expression.

9. I may close this head with observing, What an honour it pleased God to put upon his faithful servant, by allowing him to declare lis everlasting Gospel in so many various countries, to such numbers of people, and with so great an effect on so many of their precious souls! Have we read or heard of any person since the Apostles, who testified the Gospel of the grace of God through so widely extended a space, through so large a part of the habitable world? Have we read or heard of any person, who called so many thousands, so many myriads of sinners to repentance ? Above all, have we read or heard of any, who has been a blessed instrument in his hand of bringing so many siuners from “ darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to Gud?" li is truc, vere we to talk thus to the gay world, we should be judged to speak as barbarians. But. you understand the language of the country to which you are going, and whither our dear friend is gone a little before us.

III. But how shall we Improve this awful Providence ? This is the Third thing which we bave to consider. And the answer to this important question is easy: (May God write it in all our hearts !) By keeping close to the grand Doctrines which he delivered; and by drinking into his Spirit.

1. And first, let us keep close to the grand scriptural Doctrines which he every where delivered. There are many doctrines of a less essential nature, with regard to which, even the sincere children of God (such is the present weakness of human understanding) are and have been divided for many ages. In these we may think and let think; we may agree to disagree. But meantime let us hold fast the essentials of “ the faith which was once delivered to the saints ;” and which this champion of God so strongly insisted on, at all times, and in all places !

2. His fundamental point was, Give God all the glory of whatever is good in man;' and, 'In the business of salvation, set Christ as high and man as low as possible. With this point, he and his friends at Oxford, the original Methodists, so called, set out. Their grand principle was, There is no power, by nature, and no merit, in man. They insisted, All power to think, speak, or act aright, is in and from the Spirit of Christ; and all merit is (not in man, how high soever in grace, but merely) in the Blood of Christ. So he and they taught : There is no power in man, till it is given bim from above, to do one good work, to speak one good word, or to form one good desire. For it is not enough to say, all men are sick of sin : no, we are all “dead in trespasses and sins.” It follows, that all the children of men are, “ by nature, children of wrath.” We are all “guilly before God,” liable to death temporal and eternal.

3. And we are all Helpless, both with regard to the power and to the guilt of sin. For “who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean ? ” None less than the Almighty. Who can raise those that are dead, spiritually dead in sin ? None but He who raised us from the dust of the earth. But on what consideration will he do this ? “Not for works of righteousness that we have done." " “ The dead cannot praise thee, O Lord;” nor do any thing for the sake of which they should bc raised to life. Whatever therefore God does, he does it merely for the sake of his wellbeloved Son: “He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities." He himself “bore [all] our sins in his own body upon the tree." “He was delivered for our offenees, and was raised again for our justification.” Here then is the sole ineritorious cause of every blessing we do or can enjoy ;-in particular of our pardon and acceptance with God, of our full and free justification. But by wbat means do we become interested in what Christ has done and suffered ? “Not by works, lest any man should boast; ” but by faith alone. “We conclude," says the Apostle, “that a man is justified by faith, without the works of the law.” And “to as many as [thus) receive Him, giveth he power to become the sons of God, cven to those that believe in his name: who are born, not of the will of man, but of God." 1. And “

except a man be [thus] born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”' But all who are thus “born of the Spirit," barc “the kingdom of God within them.” Christ sets up his kingdom in their hearts; "righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost." That “mind is in them, which was in Christ Jesus," enabling them to “ walk as Christ also walked." His indwelliny Spirit makes them both holy in heart, and “holy in all mauver of conversation.” But still, seeing all this is a free gift, througl: the righteousness and blood of Christ, there is eternally the same reason to remenber, “ He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.”

5. You are not iguorast, that these are the fundamental doctrines which he every where insisted on. And may they not be summed up, as it were, in two words, The New Birth, and Justification by Faith? These let us insist upon with all boldness, at all times, and in all places ;-in public, (those of us who are called thereto,) and at all opportunities, in private. Keep close to these good, old, unfashionable doctrines, how many soever contradict and blaspbeme. Go on, my brethren, in the “name of the Lord, and in the power of his might." With all care and diligence, “kecp that safe which is committed to your trust;" knowing that “heaven and carth shall pass away, but this truth shall not pass away."

6. But will it be sufficient to keep close to his Doctrines, how pure soever they are? Is there not a point of still greater importance than this, namely, to drink into his Spirit? Herein to be a follower of him, even as he was of Christ? Without this, tie purity of our doctrines would only increase

« AnteriorContinuar »