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of Jesus, we have hitherto been spared to hear the offer of his mercy renewed. Oh let us redeem our remaining time from the service of sin and the world, and devote it to him who died for us, and rose again. Let us be anxious to make our calling and our election sure. Let us look to the Saviour to grant us repentance for our sins. Let it be our object to live a life of faith upon the Son of God; and let us pray for grace to enable us to obey his blessed will. Thus all will be well with us, whether the period of our life be of a longer or a shorter date. And then, when we are called to give up the ghost, if the inquiry be made respecting any individual among us, "Where is he?" What answer would be made?
If the question be asked in hell—of Satan the adversary of God and man, who goeth about like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour, what reply would be wrung from his disappointed malignity? "He has escaped from our hands; he was made acquainted with our devices; he resisted our temptations; he has been rescued from our society and torments; he has obtained an inheritance in that state of glory from which we miserable have been cast down for ever."
If the inquiry should be made on earth—of a fellow Christian, an heir of the same promises, "He has given up the ghost, and where is he?" might he not with confidence answer, "He is gone to inherit a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens; to enter on the mansions prepared for him by Jesus, who has saved him with an everlasting salvation; to participate in the felicities and glories of that inheritance, where there shall in no wise enter in anything that defileth; but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life.
Should the question be asked in heaven, and one of the innumerable company of angels should be addressed, "where is he?" "He belonged to our society; he was predestinated to be made equal to the angels; he is now come to dwell with us and unite in our songs. 'Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. . . . Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb, for ever and ever.'"
And finally, imagine the question proposed to one of the spirits of just men made perfect, "He hath given up the ghost, and where is he?" "He is come to our Father's house, to rest in the bosom of his Father and his God; to see the Saviour whom he loved and to be made like him; to serve God day and night in his temple; where 'he will hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on him, nor any heat. For the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne shall feed him, and shall lead him unto living fountains of waters, and God shall wipe away all tears from his eyes.'"
ST. PAULS CHARGE TO TIMOTHY.*
2 Timothy iv. 1, 2.
I CHARGE THEE, THEREFORE, BEFORE GOD, AND THE LORD JESUS CHRIST, WHO SHALL JUDGE THE QUICK AND THE DEAD AT HIS APPEARING AND HIS KINGDOM: PREACH THE WORD.
If we consider, my brethren, the high dignity and the awful responsibility of the ministerial office, we shall be constrained to view it as the most important trust with which a human being can be invested. The work in which a minister of the gospel is engaged, is the most honourable, the most benevolent, and the most useful employment in the world. The minister of Jesus Christ possesses a station of far higher honour, and infinitely greater importance, than the prime minister of the most powerful and illustrious monarch. The one is the minister of a prince, who, however exalted, is a mortal like himself. The other is a minister of the "Prince of the kings of the earth, the King of kings, and the Lord of lords." The employment of the one, however important and beneficial to the interests of man, is confined to the welfare of our present state of existence. The labour of the other tends not only to promote the present peace and happiness of his fellow men, but to make them partakers of a felicity which will run parallel with their immortal existence, and endure through the revolutions of eternity. Let the ministers of the gospel then magnify their office; not by assuming an authority which does not belong to it, but by supporting it with a conduct consistent with its real dignity, and by exercising it so as to render it extensively beneficial to mankind. But, my respected and reverend brethren, while we contemplate the importance and dignity of the ministerial office, let us not forget its tremendous responsibility. We are "stewards of the mysteries of God;" but the eyes of our Lord and Master are upon us, and soon must we give an account of our stewardship at the tribunal of Him "who shall judge the quick and dead at his appearing and his kingdom." If we are accounted faithful in the discharge of our office, "when the chief Shepherd shall appear, we shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away." On the other hand, should we be deemed unfaithful, by concealing the truth, by corrupting the word of God, by acting merely as men-pleasers, by saying, "Peace, peace, when God says, There is no peace," it will be at the hazard of our own souls, as well as at the peril of those "over whom the Holy Ghost has made us overseers." The language of God to the prophet Ezekiel is, undoubtedly, applicable to the ministers of his word in every age, and under every dispensation: "Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore, thou shalt hear the word at my mouth, and warn them from me. When I say unto the wicked, O wicked man, thou shalt surely die; if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand."
* This sermon was preached some years ago, at a visitation at Stony Stratford, before the late Rev. Hugh Heslop, D.D., archdeacon of Bucks, and the clergy of the district, and was subsequently published. But as a very limited impression was circulated, the author reprints it, in the hope, from the importance of its subject, it may be generally useful, and more particularly so to his junior brethren of the clergy.
Trusting, my reverend brethren, that you acquiesce in these sentiments respecting the dignity, the importance, and the responsibility, of the ministerial office, I entreat your attention, your candour, and your indulgence, while, in order to stir up your minds and my own "by way of remembrance," I attempt to illustrate some of those truths which appear to arise from the text.
It is not necessary to take up much of your time in particularly examining the occasion and connexion of these words. Let it suffice to say, that, in this epistle from St. Paul to Timothy, his beloved son in the faith of the gospel, the apostle seems to have intended to prepare the mind of the evangelist and bishop* for those sufferings to which he foresaw he would be exposed as a minister of Jesus Christ; to
• See Scott's Note on the terms Evangelist and Bishop, in loco.