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"Holiness," which we cannot always fee through. But what then, muft we therefore except against the Oeconomy of Heaven? No, "Who art thou, O Man, who repliest against

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thy Maker? Behold, he taketh away, who "can hinder him? Who will fay unto him, "What doest thou?" Dark and discouraging as fome Appearances may fometimes be in the Conduct of Providence, there is no room to doubt the Wisdom and Equity of them. They are perfectly confiftent with thofe general Laws of Nature which uphold the prefent Conftitution of Things, and provide for that almost infinite Variety which is obfervable in the Works and Ways of God. And, however partial we may be, to the Merits of particular Perfons, good Men, or good Ministers, yet, as they are but Men, formed of the fame brittle Materials with the reft of their Species, they muft fubmit to one common Lot with them. However, as the general Laws of Nature are in the Hands of God, fubfervient to particular Views in the moral Difcipline of his reasonable Offspring, tho' we may not be able to determine certainly what those Views are, yet it is a pretty evident Duty, incumbent upon all to think of, and enquire concerning them, as our Abilities and fpecial Occafions may direct. As a pertinent Application, therefore, of the late awful and affecting Breach made in your Society, I would


propose it to you, my Friends, in the third Place,

3. To confider well, wherefore it is that God has done this, whether in Judgment to you, or in Mercy to your Paftor? The Death of Minifters has been often represented as an Expreffion of God's Displeasure against an infenfible, an ungrateful, and an unprofitable People, who are only to be taught the true Value of their Priviledges by the Want of them. Those who have affronted, neglected, defpifed and even perfecuted their faithful Minifters, when alive, and in the Exercises of their proper Function, will, perhaps, honour their Memories when deceased, and improve by the Prayers, the Sermons, and wellmeant Admonitions which they must hear no more. But this is not the Light in which I would chufe to confider your prefent afflictive Vifitation. I hope there is no juft Foundation for it. I would much rather perfuade you and myself, that, in Reward of his fignal Services, your late worthy Paftor received his Discharge fo much fooner than fome others do, and yet not fo foon, but that you had great Opportunities, I may fay fufficient Opportunities for growing up, under his Care of you, and Concern for you, into a Ripeness for Glory, a Meetness and Fitness for Heaven and Happiness. But as he had ftood his Ground fo well, and acquitted himself fo gallantly;


his great Mafter, who had obferved his Behaviour, was loath, as it were, that fo much Bravery and Fidelity fhould wait any longer for their Reward. He was loath the Chriftian Hero should run any more Hazards, or endure any farther Hardships and Fatigues, and therefore fent him Home to wear his welldeferved Laurels, in Peace. However, whether this was the immediate End and Intention of his Removal, or not, I am fatisfied there was Mercy in the Manner of it. The Circumftances of Time, Place, &c. were fuch as, I may venture to fay, he would have chofe for himself if they had been fubmitted to his Choice. It was on the Lord's Day, in the Lord's Houfe, at the Lord's Work. And furely "Bleffed muft that Servant be whom his Lord when he cometh fhall find fo doing." Perhaps your reverend Friend and Father might not have chofe to have fhocked his Family, and his Church by a fudden Death; but it was no Difadvantage to him, nor, with Submiffion to thofe who have taught us to pray against it, can it be, I think, to any good Man. The only Advantage which any one can propofe from the flow Approaches of the King of Terrors is, Time to prepare for him in; Time to fet their Houfes, and their Souls in order. But this is an Advantage which your late worthy Paftor did not want. He was always ready, and therefore he was inMercy

Mercy excufed from the Formalities of a lingering Disease, which would, probably, have been more dreadful and diftreffing to him, than the shortest Warning. But, in order to form a more reasonable Judgment upon the End of God's prefent Difpenfation towards you, as a fuitable Particular of Application, let me prevail upon you, in the fourth Place,

4. To confider, ferioufly, what Account you can give of the Miniftry you lately fat under? And what Account you think your late faithful Minifter is giving, or can give of you, to the great Shepherd and Bishop of Souls? Confider particularly, Whether the religious Education of your Children, whether the Devotions of your Families and Clofets, whether the Regulation of your Appetites, Paffions and Defires, or, in fewer Words, whether your Preparations for Death and Judgment, for Heaven and Happiness, are carrying on with all thofe Advantages, which it will be expected they fhould be, from the extraordinary Affiftances which your late affectionate Friend and "Servant for Jefus "Sake," and for the Sake of promoting your beft, your eternal Intereft, has fo frequently given you, both from the Pulpit and the Prefs? by which, tho' dead, he yet fpeaketh, and will still speak, as long as you have "Ears to hear what his Spirit faith unto the "Churches;"

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"Churhes;" or, as long as any Senfe of Piety and Gratitude remain in your Breafts. Confider feriously, how much better it would have been for you never to have enjoyed such diftinguishing Priviledges, as you have been favoured with, unless you bring forth Fruit unto Holiness of Life and Converfation, in fome good Proportion to them. How diftreffing is the thought, that "it fhould be your Condemnation hereafter, that fo much Light fhone fo long, in the Midft of you, but that you chofe Darkness rather than Light, because your Deeds were Evil!" but I have better, and I am perfuaded they are wellgrounded Hopes concerning you, my Brethren. Again, as a farther particular Application of the Cafe in View, in the fifth Place,

5. We may obferve from it, that neither Place nor Perfon, neither Age nor Character, neither Time nor Employment, is any Security against the Arrefts of Death. We find, by fad Experience, that the holiest Men of God may die, and muft die. The Prophets do not live for ever, "our Fathers, where are they?" their Duft will tell. If the Day, the House, or Work of God; if any, or all of these together, could have over-awed or restrained the Meffengers of Death, your late worthy Paftor had not been feized by them when and where he was. But," there is no Discharge " in this War." And if fo much Worth muft die,

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