« ZurückWeiter »
other; toace out the whese friendly.dis?
his labours while he lived, and his writings, by which being dead, he is still speaking to you, with the most serious and af. fectionate address, and the most insinuating eloquence! And with regard to him and all your brethren, who shall at length meet in our Father's house; how will mutual joy flow from heart to heart, when every enemy is conquered, and the tyranny of death at an end! to be for ever instructing, improving, and entertaining one another; to recount your many struggles, temptations and victories; and trace out the wonderous steps by which you were conducted to this happiness! These friendly dispositions will becarried to the greatest height,conversation will never grow dull, and social entertainments never cloy. Fresh delight will be springing up in his soul, and yours, through eternity; in observing each other's improving knowledge and holiness, and sharing together in the smiles of the Redeemer, and the work and happiness of heaven.
After such comfortable thoughts as these, I have very little heart to renew, and increase your sorrows and my own, by entering into any particulars of the character of that great and good man, wliom God has removed from us. Nor is it necessary I should; as he has been so long among you, and so faithfully and constantly watched over you. I may appeal to you all, that you have Fully known his doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, long-suffering, charity, patience, persecution, and afilictions *, and his Care of the churchest. He has been labouring among you with unexampled diligence, and unwearied zeal, above twenty years, with increasing honour, comfort and suc. cess. Notwithstanding his other most important relations, as a tutor, and the weight of business he continually had ou bis hands, he was, in labours for your souls, abundant; warning, encouraging and comforting, with all the marks of a deep sense of religion upon his own soul, the most tender affection to you and your families, and the utmost solicitude for your everlasting welfare. The same disposition be carried with him in all his visits, and mingled the seriousness and piety of the christian minister with the politeness of the gentleman, and the freedom and cheerfulness of the friend. His great concern for the rising generation, was manifested in his discourses on education from the pulpit and the press, and the most affectionate addresses to your children in his catechetical lectures, and occasional visits. Ye know how heartily and compassionately he entered into your personal and relative afflictions; how many disconsolate hearts he has made to rejoice by his liberality, his counsels, and his prayers. Ye know his faithfulness and gentleness in brotherly reproof, and the exercise of godly discipline. In a word, ye know, that, to his power, and, unhappily for his family, for you and other churches, beyond his power, he went about doing good, piously devising, and with the most resolute application, executing so many generous designs for the public good.Ye are witnesses, and God also, how much his public addresses were illustrated and enforced by his own temper, and conduct, and how holily, and justly, and unblameably he behaved himself among you.--By his writings, the value of which will, I am persuaded, be continually increasing, the world will judge, what a pastor God had favoured you with, and how very well you have been fed and taught for so many years. And they will naturally and justly expect, that you should be wise and judicious christians, and eminent for every branch of the christian temper. And great will be your guilt and your shame if you are not.
* 2 Tim. iji. 10.
+ 1 Tim. iji. 5.
But, Beloved, I am persuaded better things of you; and my persuasion is founded partly on my own knowledge of your temper and character, and partly on the solemn testimony your Jate pastor has borne to the goodness of them, in a passage in his last will, which he desired might be communicated to you on this occasion, and which I mention with pleasure, as it is at once for your honour and your admonition. Speaking of his intention of being interred in the place of your meeting, he says, " where I have spent the most delightful hours of my life, in assisting the devotions of as serious, as grateful, and as deserting a people, as perhaps any minister had ever the honour and happiness to serve; cheerfully persuading myself, that, when I am dead, they will hear me speaking in my writings with all due regard; and making it my last request to them, that those of them who have, or can borrow, my Family Expositor, will read it over in their families once at least, beginning the Lord's-day after my funeral; and that they would also read over in their families, on Lord's-day evenings, all my sermons which they have, or can borrow, especially those on Regeneration, those on tue Glory and Grace of Christ, the sermons to Young Persons, and that on the one thing needful; and I desire that every parent, that can procure them, would read in their retirements, my sermnons on the Education of Children, within one quarter of a year at least after my death. And I make this request from an atfertionate desire of the edification and salvation of souls; and an
humble hope that, in consequence of it, I may glorify God, eren when I am laid in the dust."
I hope, my friends, you will pay a serious and constant regard to this his last request, out of gratitude for his services, and veneration for his memory ; from a concern for your own further credit and comfort, and a desire to increase his joy, and your own, at the day of the Lord.
As to you, my brethren and friends, who were more immcdiately under his eye and care ; God has taken your master from your head: And you will naturally adopt the inournful fords of Elisha, when he had lost his tutor Elijah, My Father, my Father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof * ! He was indeed a Father to you : And I believe there are few of as, who have bad the advantage of being his pupils, have found more real affection and tenderness, and a warmer concern for our welfare, in our natural parents, than we have found in him. You remember his quickness of apprehension, and remarkable felicity in the dispatch of business, and yet his most exemplary improvement and redemption of time. You know, how faithfully he devoted his time and abilities to your service. How freely he communicated to you out of those large stores of knowledge with which God had furnished him: How fairly and candidly he proposed arguments and objections on every topic, on which he lectured. What pains he took to make you eminent
when ne popeyarwunes.and moleculo christians, able ministers of the New Testament, and scribes well instructed unto the kingdom of heaven. You will, I am persuaded, join with me in acknowledging, to the praise of God, that our acquaintance with him, and relation to him, has been our honour and our happiness. May yon and I remember his paternal counsels, prayers, and example, that, through a supply of the Spirit of Jesus, we may be fitted for eminent usefulness in the church, and may do honour to his memory and in. structions!
It is but a just tribute to the worth of eminently wise and useful men, and of great advantage to survivors, to display at large the virtues of their character, and point out the means by which they became so eminent; and I am not without hope, that justice may hereafter be done, in some distinct account, to the distinguished abilities, eminent character, and extensive usefulness of the late reverend and learned Dr. Doddridge, who shone so conspicuously in the relations of a minister and a tutor, and whose writings are in such general esteem. In the mean
* 2 Kings ü. 12.
time what has been said concerning him, may serve to excite you all, to aspire after a temper and behaviour becoming your relation to him, whose removal, in the vigour of his faculties, we so justly, and shall so long lament; and, to add greater weight to the solemn exhortation of St. Paul to the Philippians, which, upon this occasion, I would address to you all : Those things which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in him, do: and the God of peace shall be with you *.
To conclude : God has seen fit to call home his good and faithful servant ; and given him not only a calm, but a joyful dismission from the labours and sufferings of life, and enabled him thereby to triumph over death. And when we recollect the words we have been meditating upon, and this fresh seal to the truth and the comfort of them; and when by faith we look forward to that weight of glory reserved in heaven for us, and our pious friends ; let us even now join in the apostle's triumphant song, and say, Thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ to Amen..
* Phil, iv. 9.
f 1 Cor. xv. 57.