« AnteriorContinuar »
"' One of the natural advantages of religion is longevity. The dispositions and con* duct of those who are truly religious, pre-. serve them from many things that are injurious to health and old age.- They are free from the havock which passion, strise, and care, make on the constitution. They live and walk in love, in temperance, in purityand peace. Wisdom hokls length of days in her right hand, God, in his all-ruling providence, in a thousand various ways, nath rescued his people from disease, and danger, and death; hath, in a,remarkable. manner, preserved alive the souls-of his ser- vants. This promise and description have often been justisied and realized.
"Thou shalt come to thy grave in a full age, like as a shock of corn cometh in, in his season.
"What man is there that does not wish to see many days? Yes, days of enjoyment are universally desired. Life is endeared to those who perceive and enjoy the effects o£ their own plans and counsels and exertions 'who sind they are useful to the world, and dear to their friends and to their families,. and that their children arise and call them, and thus truly render - them, blessed. Life
continues precious while the faculties remain, the graces and virtues- of the divine lise increase, and the work \)f righteousness is peace, and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance, and the hoary head is a crown of glory. An aged faint is well compared to a shock of corn that cometh in, in his season: full of days, of peace, and of honour; respected of men, beloved and honoured of God, he is gathered to his fathers. As a shock of corn, he is ripened in goodness and in worth: As a shock of corn, lodged in sasety, he is out of the reach of injury: As a mock of corn, he is added to the precious collection in the celestial granary, to which at length will be joined the complete harvest of the saints, with Him who is the resurrection and the lise, with Christ the sirst fruits, at the great day of the Lord.
"I question not, my brethren, that the words we have been considering, occasion much searching of heart among you, at this time. A recent, an affecting, a most interesting event, rushes into your thoughts. You fay, Yes, the words of Eliphaz are fulfilled. Did not he come to his grave as a sliock of corn cometh in, in his season.?— I sind I must check myself. previewing that event, in considering and discoursing of the mature worth, the character, the happiness of your highly respected and much beloved pastor, I mould be unsitted for continuing the service; and you, many of you, from attending to it with that composure it re* quires. I only fay, then, in one view, what an enviable event! respect, usefulness, enjoyment entire to the very last! In another, the event is most affecting. I need not fay, to whom: I need not fay, in what.—Yet, I must add, and do not you allow, my friends —yes, you must allow, the most afflicted of you must consess, that comfort predominates :—For, do not we all exclaim, " Blef"sed are the dead that die in the Lord: "They rest from their labours, and their "works follow them."
"The death of a faithful minister of religion is peculiarly interesting and affecting.
"Yes, fay many, the memory of whatever is most interesting and affecting, is connected with the remembrance of our worthy pastor: For, under his ministry, and by the blessing of God on his labours, we were sirst made to think serioufly of our condition; his prayers were heard; his counsels were received; we were convinced, and changed, and edisied, and comforted. His example directed and animated us : in the hour of distress and sorrow, his consolations, and prayers relieved and restored our fouls.
"Though a faithful minister is desirous to be useful to all his congregation, according to the variety of their situations and characters, as he is able to discover them, and has opportunities of contributing to the best interests of his people; there are some who are more interested in him, and to whom he can be more useful than to others, to whom, therefore, his departure must be peculiarlyaffecting.
"Friendship results from more intimate acquaintance, and frequency of intercourse; from similarity of dispositions, and opportunities of good offices; from tried affection, and from tried worth. Friendship binds men closely together. Jonathan loved David as his own soul. "If a friend is as thine
own soul —if so dear a friend, a friend dear because of affection and worth, is removed,—separation must be severely selt, efpecially after the enjoyment of the advantages and endearments of amity for many years. You have lost a minister, fay they to their neighbours; we have lost a minister and «. friend, who shared in our joys and our sorrows, and in whose advice and affection we could always conside.
"I descend into a deeper vale of affliction and of sorrow, when I describe the loss, and therefore the distresses, of nearer relations. I will not renew their exquisite sufferings. It is perhaps too much, to have opened the tender scene: though, who can pass it without attention? who can open it without emotion, and without advantage?
** It will serve to relieve us from the effects of this tender subject, to observe, that a striking and interesting circumstance ia the death of a faithful minister is, his character and usefulness remaining entire to the end of lise.
. ** Such honour have not all men: such honour have not all the faints. Old age, alas 1 often presents us with that which excites our pity, rather than our veneration. 'When debility appears in the mind as well as in the body; when the mind decays before the body, and the faculties are much impaired; when disease of body is added to the sadder affliction of an enseebled, exhausted, distempered mind, a mind of peevishness and complaining, of anxiety and sear, a lengthened existence cannot be desirable; and death is rather to be chosen than lise. But the man of piety, of usefulness, of respectability, moving onwards, to the very end of lise, in the uninterrupted course of duty, and possessing all that duty and worth secures, we contemplate as peculiarly favoured of God. Our sincere regret and lamentation are mingled and softened, and almost lost, in our admiration of the enviable lot of the friend of heaven. Our hearcs are composed in regarding the contrast that forces itself on our observation. What a difference betwixt them and their surviving friends, and those who have dragged on lise, long after the days 'ef strength of body, and vigour of mind*