« PoprzedniaDalej »
needed for comfort and health, let all, who have at heart sincere re kigion and the honour of God, unite their endeavours in disseminating sentiments like these, and in time a reformation will be effect. ed; and we shall see our churches enclosed, and decently ornamented. Thus would comfort and convenience be purchased at a small espence, and the cause of religion promoted.
MR. GARDINER'S SERMON.
[Concluded from page 176.] AFTER the decease of Bishop Bass, he was unanimously chosen to succeed to the Episcopal office; and it was not until many months after his election, that his reluctant consent was obtained. There was no affectation in this ; his hesitation was conscientious and sincere. It arose from the humble opinion he entertained of his own merit; for he was the only man living, who thought that he possessed not the necessary qualifications. Having received consecration, he returned to his family and parish, and ere he had discharged a single duty of his new dignity, was seized with his last fatal disorder.
The loss to this Church is, I fear, irreparable, as it will be difficult, if not impossible, to find another, so well qualified to perform the important duties of a parish minister. He was, indeed, my brethren, " a man, take him all in all, you ne'er will look upon his like again.”* But that Being, whose judgments we cannot fathom, and to whose dispensations it behoves us to submit, has thought proper to take him from you in the midst of his usefulness, when, according to the course of nature, you might have enjoyed his soci. ety and instructions many years. To the decrees of that Being, we must yield, with uncomplaining resignation, for he is wise in all his works, and holy in all his ways. He made, preserves, governs, and best knows how to dispose of his creatures. Father of mercies, thy will be done! Could that sainted spirit, whose loss we so deeply deplore, look down from heaven, and once more address you in person, what, my brethren, would be his language? Would he not say, weep not for me but for yourselves? Remeinber my instructions, imitate the example of our Saviour, and hereafter you will par. take of my happiness. Cherish then, my brethren, the memory of those virtues, and strive to imitate them in your lives. Let the ardour of his piety, the goodness of his disposition, the soundness of his principles, the benevolence of his heart, and the usefulness of his life, be ever present to your minds.
And here I could expatiate on the private virtues of the deceased, on his conjugal affection and parental tenderness, in the endearing relations of husband and father: But the widowed mourner, and fatherless children need no monitor, but their own feelings, to re. mind them of their loss. But though they mourn, they will not “ mourn as those who have no hope," but repose their u ust in that
Being, who is a father to the fatherless," the protector of the or. phan and widow. The respectable lady, left with eleven children, will remember the important duties imposed on her. Deprived of one protector and guide, they will look up to her for advice, instruc. tion and consolation. She must supply the place of her deceased consort, and perform the offices devolved on her with fidelity. The task is indeed arduous, but it is noble, and great will be her reward. She will recollect that those, whom God loveth, he chasteneth ; that wholesome, though unpalatable, is the bitter medicine of adversity. She will call to mind the frailty and uncertainty of human life, the diseases that torment, and the vexations that harrass man, during his short pilgrimage on earth, that he is born to trouble, that he is destined to affliction and sorrow, that he has a short time to live and is full of misery, that he cometh up like a flower and is cut down. She will call to mind, that her calamity is not peculiar and uncommon, that many noble instances of passive courage have been displayed by her sex, which as far surpasses ours in true fortitude, as in numerous other virtues. Above all, she will remember the prom. ises and consolations of her religion, and feel assured, that the righteous widow's barrel of meal will not waste, nor her cruise of oil fail; that the righteous woman will not be forsaken, nor her seed be left to beg bread. Next to her heavenly Father, she will repose confidence on her numerous and respectable connections, and the count. less multitude of her friends. Every support and consolation which they can afford, she may be assured of receiving; and while thus sustained and consoled, she will exclaim in the language of Christian resignation, the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away ; blessed be the name of the Lord.
And you, ye youthful mourners, who have lost the best of fathers, transfer your duty and attentions to your surviving parentBreak the violence of the blow she has just received, by your endear. ing assiduities; and by the cultivation of good principles and virtuous conduct, endeavour to make her less sensible of the affliction she has experienced.
And let us all, my brethren, from the continued instances of mortality which we see before our eyes, learn to be wise, and consider our latter end. Every moment brings us nigher to eternity. It is surely our interest to make that eternity a blessed one. We glide down the stream of time with imperceptible rapidity, and shall soon be carried into the ocean of fururity, whence we shall return no more. We all, says Isaiah, do fade as a leaf. Some are blown from the tree of life, early in the spring, others drop off withered by the heat of summer, few survive the chilling blasts of autumn, and those few are shrunk and scattered by the deadly breath of winter. The hand of death shakes it, and we mningle with our kindred dust, In that sable tenament, lie the remains of your much loved pastor, which will shortly be consigned to the peaceful grave. His immortal part, we trust, has already ascended to the mansions of peace, and will there rest, in partial bliss, till the trumpet shall sound, and we shall all appear before the judgment scat of Christ ; for every man
shall give an account of himself to God. Then, if you have duly profited by his instruction and example, you will meet him once more, never again to separate, and with the souls of just men made perfect, enjoy everlasting happiness. In the mean time, remember them which had the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation..
REMARKS ON 2 TIMOTHY iv, 13. ST. PAUL in writing to Timothy desires him to bring with him, when he should come, the cloak which he had left at Troas with Carpus, and the books, but especially the parchments. However unimportant these directions may seem to us, yet a little attention will make it manifest, that with regard to the cloak and the parchments, at least, they might have been of singular benefit to the Apostle. By looking at the conclusion of this epistle to Timothy, we find it was written from Rome, where he was a second time a prisoner in bonds, and was soon to make his defence before Nero the Emperor. On his trial it would be a matter of the utmost impor-tance to prove that he was a Roman citizen; because this would entitle him to privileges which by law he could not otherwise enjoy : and if he should be condemned it would exempt him from cruel and ignominious punishments, such as crucifixion, or being devoured by wild beasts, punishments very commonly inflicted by the Romans on slaves, and those who were not citizens. St. Paul we know once saved himself from a scourging by pleading his privilege, and we cannot doubt but that on another so much more important occasion, he would avail himself of the same advantage. These circumstances considered, it becomes, in the highest degree probable if not certain, that the parchments for which he wrote were the evidences of his citizenship, the diplomas or certificates from public authority, shewing him to be a citizen ; such as are now customarily given to foreigners, when admitted to like privileges. Of this in. deed we have no other proof than what the nature of the case seems to point out. That such certificates were customary among the Romans, is a known fact; and that the Apostle would avail him. self of their benefit, if in his power, cannot be doubted: And have ing left them by mistake, or possibly through necessity, when suddenly taken up and hurried away as a prisoner, he wrote for them to be used when occasion should require.
As to the cloak, the same satisfactory account may be given, by remarking that among the Romans, the law prescribed a particular kind of dress for citizens, and which none but citizens were allowed to wear. The cloak therefore, in addition to the parchments, might be a material evidence in his favour when he should come upon trial. If these conjectures are well founded, we have a natural account of the passage in question : And though it inculcate no doctrine or precept, it yet evinces how much wisdom and prudence the Apostle exercised in a critical situation.
THE HOLY SCRIPTURES.
THIS sacred volume presents to us a glorious display of the perfections of Almighty God. It exhibits him sitting on a throne of infinite majesty ; the maker and framer of all things; existing from eternity to eternity; before whom the universe is but, as the highest part of the dust of the earth; yet though thus exalted, condescend, ing to behold the things that are done on the earth. Let us then adore and tremble before his power. He is a pure spirit, and of purer eyes than to behold iniquity. Let us then purify our hearts in his sight, and take heed to our ways that we offend not in thought, word, or deed. The dictates of his spirit unfold to our view a wonderful account of his mercy and goodness in redeeming fallen man from misery and ruin, through the merits of his Son Jesus Christ ;-let us thank and adore him for that inestimable gift; let us flee into that ark of safety from the evils with which we are surrounded in this temporal scene of things. He has promised to save all who come unto him by a lively faith. Let us rely on his promise, nor any longer risk that flood which is coming on the world; not a flood of water as once, but a flood of fire to destroy the ungodly. His word is a guide to our ways, a light to our feet and a lantern to our paths ; it shews us how he will be worshipped and served. Let us follow it sincerely, and it will lead us to our peace ; it will guide us through pleasant ways while here, and hereafter to eternal triumph. It contains the most exalted precepts.' Let them not be taught in vain ; but let them sink deep into our hearts, and abide by our souls unto the hour of death. It affords the best and wisest instruction ; let us be willing and obedient scholars. It exhorts us by every win. ning consideration to serve the Lord with fear and perfect holiness in his sight; let not its exhortations be fruitless. By the power of God, by his goodness and mercy, by a regard to ourown eternal peace, it entreats us to live ; let it not plead in vain ; let it not speak as to senseless stocks and stones; but let us bow our hearts in obedience to its kind instructions; and whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are right, lovely and of good report, if there be any virtue, if there be any praise, let us think of these things.
God's sure word 'opens to our view a world beyond the grave. The cheering prospect is before us, that another and an infinitely better state awaits all who avail themselves of the favour of God, through a merciful redeemer; a state where pain, and sorrow, and sighing shall be no more; but eternal light and joy, and bliss unfading shall shine perpetual; where God's own right hand shall be visible, pouring forth his bounties in a ceaseless stream, from whence his serVants shall drink their fill of joys, without fear of falling into a worse estate; but continually progressing towards somewhat more glorious and exalted within the gift of an infinite and eternal God. Shall we pot then hold us fast by this anchor of our souls sure and steadfast? Tossed by the tempests of this changing scene here below; baffled in our hopes, cut off from our prospects, plunged in sorrow and af fiction, exposed to pains and cruel agonies of body and mind ; Today in prosperity, to-morrow in adversity ; to-day at ease, to-morrow groaning with anguish ; to-day in hope, to-morrow in despair; in the morning flourishing as the grass of the field, in the evening cut down, dried up, and withered ; this hour alive, the next dead.----Such being our true condition, what infinite cause of joy have we that God has pointed out the way, and invited us to those peaceful shores, that blessed land of eternal rest, reserved in the heavens, where evils cannot come, allictions cannot invade.
In the midst of worldly prosperity, it may be difficult to form a just estimate of the infinite importance of these glorious hopes ; but cultivate the society of the wretched; ask him who is worn out with calamities, on whom the storms of adversity have severely beaten, and what will he say? If he has done his duty to himself he will exclaim with holy Job, I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth, and though after my skin, worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God, whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another. Go near to the sick bed, where there is one approaching the last awful scene of mortality; and what will be his language? Not surely that a view of future things is an uninteresting subject, but of infinite moment, more than millions of worlds could afford. Let not then these prospects be jostled out of mind by the poor trifles of time; but let us pray the same Holy Spirit, which hath set open this door of hope in God's word, to fortify our souls in the hour of temptation, and give us grace to stand fast, and fight the good fight of faith unto the end, that we may come off conquerors and more than conquerors through him that loved us, and be welcomed into the joy of our Lord. Let us be steadfasi, immoveable always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that our labour shall not be in vain ; but that a crown of everlasting triumph, a world of infinite rejoicing, in the presence of him who liveth forever and ever, awaits all who run well the race set before them. Let us go on and be valiant in faith, putting to flight the enemies of our peace, the temptations with which we are surrounded; then when our Lord shall come, he will say to us, well done good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.
FOR THE CHURCHMAN'S MAGAZINE.
EXTRACT FROM A SERMON, DELIVERED AT THE TIME OF TAKING CHARGE OF AN EPISCOPAL
CONGREGATION. COMING to you brethren, as a messenger of the Lord of Hosts, whose divine commission has been duly conferred upon me, and undertaking the discharge of solemn and important duties, I feel an earnest solicitude that pure and evangelical love may be preserved among us. Without this, all my exertions to profit you will not avail. I shall only endanger my own soul and embarrass yours. Much, much indeed might be said on the important duties attached