« السابقةمتابعة »
and dependence be more vigorously exercised on Him, who is the father of the fatherless, the helper of the helpless, and the widow's God; and who is not bound to the use of creature conveyances for the administration of his strength and consolations.
I cannot conclude without one word to this now destitute congregation.-You have lost a friend who naturally cared for your souls; who longed for you all in the bowels of the Lord Jesus, and had your truest interests always upon his heart. Some proofs of this I have produced already, and his papers furnish me with a great many more: but you need not that any should testify of him, for ye know after what manner he was with you at all seasons, serv ing the Lord with many tears, I find him frequently setting apart days for private fasting and humiliation; in which he laments his being so frequently disabled from public service as one of the greatest burthens of his life; and ceases not to make mention of you always in his prayers; and perhaps was spreading your particular cases before the Lord, and wrestling hard for a blessing upon you and yours, at the very time when you were ready to think yourselves neglected by him. He remarks it with peculiar satisfaction and thankfulness, when he has observed any of you more than ordinarily attentive and affected; and never fails to add his earnest prayer that the impression might be lasting.
. But I hasten to the last observation he ever wrote, which refers to the last sermon he ever preached it was from these words, "And the Lord said unto the servant, Go out into the high
ways and hedges, and compel them to come in." (Luke xiv. 23:) By the account of it which he has left behind him, I find he delivered his last message "with more than common freedom and earnestness. There is something in the conclusion of it so peculiarly solemn, that I know not how to pass it by in silence; and God Almighty grant, that its coming in this manner as it were from the grave, may give it an additional solemnity and success! ..I know not' (says he, and you well remember the fervour with which he spoke it); I know not how I can better improve this subject, than by using my endeavours to compel sinners to accept of the gracious and generous invitations of the 'Gospel. Oh, no longer withstand the kind pro'posals of your Saviour, and the offers of his grace. Lay down your weapons; put away the evil of your doings; cease to do evil, and learn. to do ' well: and, under a deep sense of your guilt, fly to Christ, as your only refuge. I entreat you, in the "name of God, to repent, and forsake your evil ways. I entreat you, in the name of Jesus Christ, to come and partake of that plentiful provision, which, in the Gospel, he has made for perishing 'souls. I conjure you, by all that is solemn and sacred; by the terrible threatenings of the law, and the sweet promises of the Gospel ;-I conjure you, by the terrors of a guilty conscience, by the agonies of death, by the powers of the world to come, by the joys of heaven, and by the terrors of hell;-I beseech you, by the love of God, by the compassions of a Saviour; as you value the peace and welfare of your souls;-I pray you, in Christ's stead, Be ye reconciled to God. Finally,
I call heaven and earth to witness this day, I have 'set before you life and death. Oh that you would 'choose life! Methinks I know not how to part with you without gaining my point.'
And did he, my friends, did he part with you, without gaining his point? Oh, Sirs! how could you withstand such pressing solicitations! How could you find it in your hearts to refuse him? What excuses could you make to put him off? Perhaps the same that Felix made to Paul: "Go thy way for this time; when I have a more convenient season I will send for thee." But, you see, God and salvation are not to be trifled with: you refused to hear him then, and you shall never hear him more! Remember, therefore, I beseech you, how you have received and heard; and hold fast, continuing in those things which ye have learnt; and, now that he must break the bread of life to you no more, gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost pray earnestly for the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, to teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance" whatsoever he hath said unto you. It is remarked of the disciples of John, that, as soon as they heard of his death, they went and told Jesus: shall I recommend their example to you, as worthy your imitation? You cannot apply to a better friend. In the days of his flesh, it is said of him, that "when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad as sheep having no shepherd:" and we are assured that heaven has not abated the tenderness of his nature, or caused him to be less affected with the infirmities of ours. Go, therefore,
and tell Jesus of your loss: tell him what a breach this melancholy providence has made in your church; tell him how your hearts tremble for the ark of God;-and pray to him, as he is Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth a faithful labourer into this part of his vineyard, who shall be "a workman that needeth not to be ashamed;" one who shall "rightly divide the word of truth," and "give to every one his portion in due season."
"Now the God of all patience and consolation grant you to be like minded one towards another, according to Christ Jesus: that ye may with one mind, and with one mouth, glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ." Amen.
PREACHED BEFORE AN ASSEMBLY OF MINISTERS, HELD AT EXETER, MAY, 1755.
HEBREWS Xiii. 17.
For they watch for your souls, as they that must give
THE very mention of a future judgment carries a sacred solemnity with it, gives an air of importance to every subject that is connected with it, and disposes us to receive every intimation of duty with meekness and faith. Should the heavens open, and the transactions of that day immediately commence; should we "see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory," attended by thousands of angels, and ten thousands of his saints; should we see the throne erected, and the judge in awful majesty seated thereon; and should our names be among the first that were called upon to give an account of our stewardship; and should, among other things, the improvement of this opportunity be particularly inquired into (as it certainly will); what account would you wish to give of it? In what manner would you choose to have the proceedings of this day recorded in the book of remembrance?
Under the deep impression of such sentiments as these, I would hope the following discourse will