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of esteem, and which fincere esteem never fails to produce; it is the praise of imitation. With them “ let your light so shine before “ men, that they, seeing your good works, “ may glorify your Father in heaven.”
The praise of the wise and good is highly grateful, and is no inconsiderable part of the present rewards and comforts of piety and duty; it is more than a compensation, so to speak, for the scoffing and reproach they often experience. When the character or memory of those women who fear the LORD are vindicated and celebrated, by the wise and good, the mischiefs of dețraction are prevented, the malice of envy and enmity are detected, new ornaments of virtue are difplayed, new strength accrues to the cause of goodness, new encouragement is held forth to the worthy, and new arguments are addressed to the wicked themselves, who may be won by the excellent conversation they describe and recommend.
But praise, though one of the precious fruits of female piety, is not always or uniformly bestowed, is sometimes rarely tasted.
When it is enjoyed, when honest fame does full justice to merit, and sensibility perceives what delicacy offers, and increasing admirers are delighted and improved, we naturally exclaim, What is all this, brought into comparison with the approbation and favour of the Judge and Rewarder of excellence ? The providence of God has often brought forth the righteousness of a pious woman “ as the “ light,” and her worthy character “ as the “ noon-day,"after being covered by adversity, and depressed and buried by lying and wicked fame. But should her worth remain concealed, from whatever cause, and many are the virtues and worthy deeds which are never published, God shall in the end assuredly justify, in the completest manner, the assertion of our text. At that day, the day of revelation ; that “ day when he maketh up “ his jewels ;” that day, when wealth, and beauty, and power, avail nothing; when many, the highly celebrated, shall be covered with shame and contempt; “the woman that “ feareth the Lord she shall be praised.”
You all know well, my friends, the occafion of this train of meditations, at this time. M 2
Since I last addressed you from this place, a very memorable event to this congregation has, I am persuaded, much occupied your thoughts, as it has mine.
Not to mention this event, to overlook it, or to seem to speak of it with unconcern, were highly blameable, were in direct oppofition to the spirit of the text, and our observation just now made, that excellence ought to be celebrated, when the time requires, and the opportunity naturally offers, for publishing its praise.
But if there are many circumstances that impose the office of embalming HER memory on me, there are others, there are many others, as I find at this moment, before this audience, that render me ill qualified for the task.
Let me, however, repress emotion, and summon up as much composure as to say,
Are not many of you conscious with me, that the preceding delineation of the woman that feareth the Lord applies, so far as the circumstances are the same, to her character who lives in your hearts, endeared by the fullest conviction of her worth, by the experience of her kindness, by the admiration of her eminent piety, with all its native and excellent effects ? By having her in my eye, I have drawn the picture of female piety now set before you. You perceive and feel, I trust, its claim on your esteem and praise. While you and I steadily regard it, which I hope, will not be unfrequently or carelessly, can we but be affected, can we but be improved ?
To God we will lift up our souls, giving him thanks for so precious a blessing to her family, to her friends, to this place, to the church of CHRIST, I may say to the world, so long bestowed. This gratitude to God for his goodness, will mitigate our grief, and mingle resignation with praise.
To God we will lift up our souls, praying that we may be enabled to walk in her steps, and attain her virtues.
To God we will lift up our souls, implor
ing his grace, that, supported under this trial, and suitably exercised under this dispensation, the like excellence may be displayed, the like benignity may be manifested, the like fatisfactions may be experienced, in the same quarter.
To God we will lift up our souls, beseeching him, that “ after the work of faith, and “ labour of love, and patience of hope in “ our LORD JESUS CHRIST,” we all may be blessed with the serenity and peace of the clofing scene of life. “ Mark the perfect, “ behold the upright, their latter end is “ peace!”
What I am fuppofing, let us realize. Suffer the word of exhortation. Let us lift up our souls to God with thankfulness, with refignation and praise, with holy desires, with Christian sympathy, praying that we may “ die the death of the righteous, and " that our last end be theirs."