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Judge of all the earth, when they depart hence, Ezek. xxxiii. 7. 8. 2 Tim. iv. I, 2. So you, that are the people, should hence learn how much it concerns you to endeavour, through grace, to get as much good as you can, from gospel ministers, while they live ; for, when once they are entered within the gloomy shades of death, they can be no further beneficial to you, by their warnings, entreaties, counsels, comforts, or prayers. As death fiops the ear of the hearer, so it lays the tongue of the speaker. The offers they make of Christ, and salvation through him, should be speedily embraced; for you know not how soon the feet of those, who bring these glad tidings, may go down to the grave, and you be left only to lament and bewail your mifimprovement of them. Yea, as ministers must die, and appear before the divine bar, to give an account of their ministry; fo you must also appear there, to give an account of your proficiency: and therefore, · 5. Study to improve your minister's death, as a mean of preparation for your own; that fo you may extract ineat out of this eater, and gain out of this loss : which you would do, if this mournful death should subserve the good purpose of stirring you up to consider your latter end, so as to be restless till you be ready for it, by a readiness both of state and frame. By a readiness of state, I mean, a being brought out of a state of nature into a state of grace, or a getting in to Christ, and being found in hiv. By a readiness of frame, I mean, an habitual walking in Christ, and living by faith upon him, bath for righteousness and strength. In this case, as the death of your minister was his gain, while he hath'exclianged the cross for the crown, the pulpit for the throne, a militant for a triumphant flate; fo his death now, and your own death afterwards, will also be your gain. You will go but the same way that the most emi. nent servants of God have gone, and must go to the glorious fociety of Jesus, and of all his holy prophets and apostles, that are made perfect in holiness, and shall eternally reign with him. "Could they, who are rejoicing above, speak to yolu who are mourning below, they would say to you, as Christ said to the women that fol
lowed him to the cross, Weep not for me, but weep for yourselves;” weep not for us, who are happily come to our journey's end, but weep for yourselves, who are travelling yet through a waste and howling wilderness ; weep not for us, who have arrived at the happy haven of relt; for, "Blessed are the dead that die in the Lord; they rest from their labour;” but weep for yourselves, who are yet tuffed to and fro upon a tempeltuous sea, and are still labouring and toiling; weep not for us, who stand upon the mount of triumph, and have obtained a complete victory in Christ Jelus over all our enemies; but weep for yourselves, who are still on a field of baca tle, wreitling not only with flesh and blood, but with principalities and powers: but yet a little while, and yo who are prepared, as I have faid, for your own change, and who have reaped spiritual profit and gain, by your minister's doctrine and death; yet a little while and you thall meet with him again, never to be separated from him, and enjoy his fociety in another manner, and in a more glorious place, where you, who joined with him in worship here, shall join with him in a triumphant song of praise, “ To hiin that fits upon the throne, and to the Lamb for ever and ever;" and where you will see the great minister of the sanctuary, our Lord Jefus Chrilt, fitting on his majestic throne ; and all the other mini. sters of Jefus, like so many bright stars, surrounding the Sun of righteousness for evermore. And, that you may be the more prepared for that happy ftate, to which your minister is, by death, removed, I add another advice.
6. Study to imitate your departed minister in all these things that were good and commendable in him. It is true, the best of ministers, even these that are gone, have had their failings and imperfections ; Moses and Elias were men fubject to like paflions as we are. The moft eminent faints are to be followed by us no further than they followed Christ; but when they are gone, all their failings should be buried with them, and their ex. cellencies fhould be kept alive in our memory, in order to our imitation of thein. And, indeed, there were few veral things of this nature very evident in your late pa
stor, wherein you would do well to fullow his example;
(1.) His blameless and circumspect walk, wherein he endeavoured (though finless perfection is unattainable in a. mortal'state) to have a conscience void of offence toward God and toward man. Such was his caution herein, that his greatest enemies had nothing against him, except only in the matter of God, as it is said, Dan. vi. 5.
(2.). His meekness and humility. He never appeared to be of a proud and lofty tenper, notwithstanding of his eminent gitts, and the great popular applause he had, which he seemed rather to be ashamed of, than to af. fect; but like hiş Malter whom he férved, was meek and lowly, stooping and condescending to all men, and paffing by these injuries, he received from any of them.
(3.) His laborious concern for the spiritual profit of imunortal fouls. Such was his love to the fouls of men, , that he loved to spend and be spent for them; having little pity upon his own body, in comparison of the pity he fhewed to their souls. And hence it may be said of him, especially after his mouth was opened to preach the gofpel, that he was not weary in well-doing, but went about doing good. He not only wasted his bodily firength in this spiritual work; but when his flesh and heart seemed to fail, and his body so weak, that he could hardly bear to stand in a pulpit or tent, yet his affections were so nuch engaged in his work, that he was very unwilling to leave it.
(4.) His love to the saints. He especially embraced these, in the arms of his love upon earth, with whom he thought he should join in singing the song of the Lainb in heaven. His love of benevolence extended un. to all, as appears in the foresaid concern he had for the salvation of finners :. but his complacence was with the faints, the excellent ones of the earth, in them was his delight.
(5.) His readiness to suffer for his Master, and for the gospel's sake, and his willingness to take up his cross, and follow. Christ, in the thorny road of tribulation, perfecution, contempt, and repreach for the name of
Christ, of which sometimes he had his share, even in some of the idle public prints; which yet he never resented, but generously difregarded, as one that rejoiced to be counted worthy to suffer frame for the name of Jesus, whom he preached.
(6.) His zeal for his Master's honour, cause, and intereit, which made him to witness, even in his private station, before ever he entered upon the public ministry, againīt the corruptions and defections of the times; and induced him to come out to the field of battle, and join himself with the Associate Presbytery, as a fociety which he judged to be contending for the faith of the gospel, for the liberties of God's people in Scotland, and for a covenanted work of Reformation, which he saw the judicatories, by their: proceedings, were razing: Thus he appeared, we may say, and died in the wars ; and herein also he ought to be imitated by all these that desire to come forth to the help of the Lord, to the help of the Lord against the mighty, Judges v. 23
This likewise should be matter of encouragenient to you, that were under his actual ministry before his death. I read of Xenophon, who having a crown upon his head, the news came to him that his child was dead, and he
prefently puts off his crown in token of forrow; but then enquiring how he died, answer was made, that he died in the wars; then he called for his crown again : even fo, your dear minister is dead; and therefore you have caft perhaps the crown of joy off your heads ; and are under discouragement; but if you consider how he died, in the spiritual wars, and is now a conqueror, you may put on your crown'of joy again, and study to take courage, and to follow his example, in fighting the good fight of faith against all inward and outward enemies, which he did to the last, and then died in the faith he preached, witirefling a good confeffion to the end of his life. Though the particulars of his death have not, as yet so fully reached me ; yet, I am informed, that among his dying words, fome dropped from him to this purpose, “I have had many adversaries, both " within and without, to wrestle against ; but now mine head is lifted up above all mine enemies; and
“ I would not change my lot for the heaviest crown of
In a word, as your minister commended his Master, Christ Jefus, to you, and set life and death before you ; so now, his Master hath set your minister's life and death before you, that, by all thefe means, you may be compelled to come in, that his bouse may be filled.
Though such as have enjoyed a nearer, and longer intimacy with your worthy minister, who is now with the Lord, may perhaps find the account I have given of his character, to be but lame and defective, and might readily be in case to make a more full reprefentation of these glorious virtues that adorned him, and ought to be imitate by you ; yet, I hope, what is here, according to knowledge, laid before you, will be the more acceptable to, and regarded by you, that it is not with. out some special unforeseen providence, that he who was particularly employed, first in licenfing, and then in ordaining him, fhould also, after all, be brought under a providential necessity of doing this last office to his memory: wherein I fhall not reckon my poor labour vain, if it do any justice to his character, or to vice to your fouls,
EPITAPH on the Rev. Mr. JOHN HUNTER, late
minister of the gospel at Gateshall.
Ipfe Petrus, quamvis bominum Pifcator, obivit:
This mighty HUNTER well employ'd,
between the distant poles, His mortal body foon deftroy'd,
to fave immortal fouls,