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dividual to whom they were applied, the powers of their oratory, and all have been brought with peculiar the interests of their wealth, for her vividness to my mind by the removal aggrandisement. And though through from the midst of us, even in the pa- a selfish, sordid, groveling ambition, rish in which we dwell, since we last the very name of patriot has, in our worshipped in this place, one who, days, been rendered a by-word and a when in this neighbourhood, was in laughing stock, yet, we trust, there the habit of worshipping with us--one may be many such—it would be the of the best and greatest men the pre- extreme of uncharitableness to supBut where sent generation hath ever looked pose there are none. upon; I need scarcely mention the shall we find the men who love their name of WILBERFORCE. It is not too country as the church and handmaid much to say, that the sun in its diur- of their GoD-men who, as politicians, nal course visits no region, shines on will devote themselves to their GOD as he of whom I speak so nobly did no country of civilized men, where that name is unknown; and we might in years gone by, in rescuing their further add, none where many do not country from those foul taints which hang around her? Some such, no rise up and call him blessed. doubt there are, who prepare themselves for their public efforts for their country's welfare by their private prayers, by their devotedness to GOD; who are not ashamed to assert the honor of his day, and the necessity of acting in strict accordance with Christian principle, and of recognising the hand of Divine Providence in all things, even in the certainty of being met with the scorn and ridicule of an unbelieving world.
The house of GOD is, I am well aware, no place for eulogy upon the poor worms of earth: but if the Spirit of God does not fail to record so striking an example of departed greatness as the words of the text conveyif that same unerring Spirit has not hesitated to declare of men of like passions with ourselves, that the world was not worthy of them, and to place them before us for our ensamples, on whom the ends of the world are come-I feel no scruple, in the evil times on which our lot has been cast, in endeavouring to recall to your recollection some of the features in the character of this holy man of GOD, before the gushing tide of passing events shall have swept them from our minds for ever.
The character, then, in which I would wish to present the memory of the departed is that of a Christian patriot-words, alas, we fear, so seldom truly united; and yet, when united, forming unquestionably "the highest style of man." There may be many who love their country for her own sake, for her high historical recollections, for her past and present glories; and who would devote all the energies of their mind, and all
It forms one of the chief grounds for the continued welfare of our country, in the mind of the Christian, that we possess some such, although they may be but few, and that such men may be found in the great councils of the nation. But when he of whom I speak commenced his great career, the way in which he was constrained to walk, might almost bo called in that generation, an untrodden way. Giving himself wholly to the great, and good, and blessed cause of delivering from bondage all them that are bound-thus removing one of the darkest stains that disgraced our country (and this not at a time when such exertions were become part and parcel of the liberalism of the day) we find a man so far in advance of
his species as to labour incessantly in this great work, unabashed by the world's ridicule and contempt, rising only the stronger and more determined from his repeated failures; not indeed, like him of old, gathering fresh strength from every fall to the earth to which he was struck down but drawing his renewed energy and unflinching perseverance from the heavens, to which alone he looked for his aid and his reward. All his powerful efforts occurred amidst the contumely and the execrations of all but that little band of Christians who were united in this great and glorious work-a work which will bequeath the names of Clarkson, and Sharp, and Stephen, and Wilberforce, to an admiring posterity, when many of the conquerors of the world, and the rulers of the world, shall be forgotten-a work which will be remembered in the prayers and thanksgivings of Christians so long as humanity to our fellow creatures, founded on a grateful love to God in Christ, shall rank among the virtues of the man, or the graces of the Christian.
Brethren, who are enabled to appreciate such men and such exertions as they deserve to be appreciated? We live too near to them, our eyes are dazzled by their splendour; and it will require time and distance to mellow down the tints of glory which stand around them, before men will be able rightly to estimate the shape and magnitude of deeds like these. One thing we know, however, and can appreciate; and, but for that one, that blessed fact, no reference should have been made from this place to-day to mere worldly greatness: we know the motive that impelled this truly great and eminent man-I believe I may say, of each of those honoured names I have mentioned we know the one, the only
motive which could have induced him to throw all his powers, his talents, and his labours into the scale against that weight of human suffering and of a nation's sins. It was this that it had pleased GoD of his goodness to teach this holy man, by the inspiration of his good Spirit, those eternal truths, which, although existing in the revealed word, and beaming from all the ordinances of our church, had become so lamentably and so disgracefully forgotten. He was led to search the Scriptures for himself, and by that search to discover that the religion of the world was in fearful opposition to the religion of Jesus. He was led to search his own heart, and to find, too, the extent of its corruption, its utter waywardness and helplessness, and spiritual death; and from the survey of his own dead heart, he was lead to the cross of a living Saviour. This was the secret of all his abundant labours in the cause of suffering humanity. This was the mainspring of the philanthropy of Wilberforce: he loved GOD because GOD first loved him; and he loved men, all men, men of all climes and of all countries, because he loved Gop. It was from this great source of love in his heart that he learned to estimate every suffering fellow creature, however degraded, as a man and a brotherremembering that the free grace of GOD, and that alone, had made him to differ from the vilest African who bled beneath the lash of the inexorable slave driver; while this great source of love enabled him, at the same time, to look with an eye of pity and compassion on the thousand hireling libellers who carried on the warfare against his opinions, his character, and his happiness, with a recklessness of truth and bitterness of persecution which would be almost remarkable even at the present day.
How wonderful are the ways of GOD that such a man, with a frame so feeble, that forty years ago the most eminent medical men considered his existence to hang on a thread-that such a man should have been spared to survive all his enemies and all their accusations, and, after living almost beyond the limits of the days of man, should have descended to the grave like a shock of corn in its season, attended by a nation's representatives, and followed by a nation's tears! To the credit of our country, men of all parties and all opinions, of the highest and noblest rank, united to testify their respect to him, and to verify the never-broken declaration of our GOD-" Them that honour me, I will honour."
There is a testimony to the truth of this assertion so striking and so interesting to all, while it is so honourable to the memory of him of whom we speak, that I shall not hesitate to bring it before you-forming a very affecting incident in the life of an able minister of GOD not long since taken to his rest.-We are told in the life of the late Mr. Legh Richmond, that though he had been two years in holy orders, and still unimpressed with the great duties to which he had been called, and himself unenlightened in those truths he was commissioned to declare to others—a college friend to whom this work of Mr. Wilberforce had been sent, having no desire to read it himself, forwarded it to Mr. Legh Richmond, requesting him to read it, and inform him what he ought to say respecting its contents. Now observe the mysterious working of God's good providence. This book, sent from so unworthy a motive, and, we might almost add, read with so unworthy a mo
But there is yet another character under which I would call your attention to him whose loss we this day record. Engaged as he unceasingly was in the great measure to which his life was given, in the midst of those labours which must necessarily devolve upon the active representative, was blessed by God to the total tive of the largest county in England, he determined to address his countrymen on a subject which lay nearer to his soul than even the liberation of wronged and tortured Africans-even on the duties which each individual owed to his GOD, and upon the saving doctrines of the religion of Christ. It was this determination which led to the production of that work, the "Practical View of Real Christianity”—a work, the effect of which at the time was perhaps unequalled by any merely human composition which has ever appeared in this country—a work which, although its place may in some degree now be occupied by later, but not more able compositions, continues by GoD's grace, to be a most remarkable instrument in his hand in turning many to righteousness.
change of heart, and life, and ministerial exertions, and therefore the ministerial usefulness, of him who read it. “He began to read the book, says his biographer, and found himself so deeply interested in its contents, that the volume was not laid down until the perusal of it was completed. The night was spent in reading and reflecting upon the important truths contained in this valuable and impressive work. In the course of his employment the soul of the reader was penetrated to its inmost recesses; and the effect produced in innumerable instances by the book of GOD was, in his case, accomplished by means of a human composition." In his own language he says, "I feel it to be a debt of gratitude, which I owe to GoD and to man, to take this affecting opportunity of stating, that, to the unsought
as was every public feature in the life of the departed, it was in the unblemished walks of private life that
and unexpected introduction of Mr. Wilberforce's book on Practical Christianity,' I owe through God's mercy, the first sacred impressions his Christian character was most dewhich I ever received as to the spirit-veloped: it was thus, as it ever will ual nature of the Gospel system, the vital character of personal religion, the corruption of the human heart, and the way of salvation by Jesus Christ." "The scriptural principles stated in the Practical View' convinced me of my error; led me to the study of the Scriptures with an earnestness to which I had hitherto been a stranger; humbled my heart, and brought me to seek the love and blessing of that Saviour, who alone can afford a peace which the world cannot give." "May I not then call the honoured author of that book my spiritual father? And, if my spiritual father, therefore, my best earthly friend?"
Such is the manner in which one of the most eminent ministers of our church, one whose labours of love were most abundant, spoke of this valuable book and its now departed author. Who would not rather have been the author of such a book than of all the works of imagination that the world has ever seen. And surely there is scarcely a question even now what will it be on that day when all the productions of men shall be weighed in the scale of unerring justice--when the "wood, hay, stubble," as the Apostle says, shall be burnt with fire, and every man's work shall be judged of what sort it is? Will it not then immeasurably outweigh all the fiction, and all the poetry, and all the science of the world? While if they who turn many to righteousness shall shine as the stars for ever and ever, the author of such a work shall not be missing on that day when the Lord will make up his jewels.
It will be profitable, in conclusion, to consider the private character of him of whom I speak: for truly great
be, that the graces of the Christian fully shone out. His unwearying love for his fellow men, manifested by the labours of a life of love, were all fully concentrated in the smiling charities of home. It was impossible to be in the society, it was impossible almost to look at him, without feeling you were in the presence of one in whose heart love to GOD and good will to men, were ever dwelling. The love of the Saviour to himself was for ever reflecting its ten thousand rays upon every object which he saw, upon every subject which he touched, upon every person he conversed with; while such were the ardours of his love to Gop, that, I have been assured by one of his nearest relations, resignation and entire obedience to the will of God under the most trying dispensations of his providence (and many such there were during the declining years of his eventful life) by no means so fully expressed the Christian graces which he exercised while enduring and suffering all that his heavenly Father was pleased to lay upon him. It was not resignation, said my informant-it was more, far more than that; it was a spirit of the most cheerful thankfulness, of the most heartfelt gratitude and rejoicing in the Lord, under every trying dispensation of his chastening hand. In fact, had he been called to it, there is no doubt, such were his feelings, that he would have fully realized the declaration of the martyr of old, who said, "If I am liberated I shall be thankful; if I am continued in prison I shall be thankful; and if I am burnt I shall be thankful.”
But, for plain and obvious reasons, I may not dwell on these things, which
could not be narrated without draw- | justly offended GOD. When the Most High hath a controversy with his people, we find, from past experience, that he often waits until these shields of the earth have been removed, that the arrows of his wrath may have free course, and do the work of vengeance. May God of his mercy avert the omen! May the mantle of him who is taken descend upon thousands of his followers; and a double portion of his spirit of prayer
ing aside the veil of domestic life: they are written in the hearts of all who knew him; and they shall be recorded, but it will be upon another day, and by another speaker. I will only further add, that his end was peace; that he lived (blessed be GOD!) to see a revival in his own church of that practical Christianity which he had so admirably delineated in his work, and developed in his life; that, by the final triumph of the great cause of suffering humanity, he was permitted, like Moses of old, if not to enter the land to which all his aims and objects throughout life were tending, to see it with his eyes, and, before he departed to the rest awaiting him, to know that his labours had not been in vain in the Lord-that the death song of slavery had been sung-that yet a few short years, and the name of slave would cease to disgrace the vocabulary of England.
Brethren, in losing such a man as this we lose the chariot and the horseman of our country. The prayers of such a man can ill be spared at such a time. It is one of the fearful omens of the days that are passing over us, that there is one less to stand in the gap, and deprecate the anger of a
fulness, and love, his uncompromising boldness and unwearied perseverance, rest upon those who are engaged in the same holy warfare. Then will the Great Council of the nation be indeed Christian, and the advancement of GOD's glory be the object of their consultations. Then, and not until then, will the prayers of the church of GOD be abundantly fulfilled, that "all things may be so ordered and settled by their endeavours, upon the best and surest foundations, that peace and happiness, truth and justice, religion and piety, may be established among us for all generations." These and all other necessaries, for them, for us, and the whole church, we humbly beg in the name and mediation of Jesus Christ our most blessed Lord and Saviour.