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most dreary parts of our moral wilder- through a term of years, useless to ness, were such dispositions prominent others, and unprofitable to himself, in professing Christians! How much, and then being resolved into the gross especially in such a neighbourhood and sordid element whence he was as this, might be effected by such a taken. If it were not designed that congregation! If, instead of inces- our conduct, both personally and santly trimming the balance between towards others, should exercise some conscience and convenience, we would influence over eternity; that we throw the love of Christ into the scale ; should toil to lay up riches that canif, instead of offering to God as little as not corrupt, and pursue after pleawe dare, we would do for man as much sures that perish not in the using, but as we can, how might our thanks- are coeval with a spiritual existence, givings ascend to heaven with a sweet it would seem hard to acquit the allodour of converted souls--a sacrifice wise Creator of folly in having comgrateful, most grateful to Him, who pounded to so little purpose, so noble shrunk not even from the sacrifice of a creature as man, majestic even in himself, that he might bring us to God! his ruin, with the spark of his celestial
Here, then we arrive at the Third origin shining gloriously through the and last point proposed for our con- cloud of his depravity—and we might sideration, namely, the duty to be ask, with one of old, “Wherefore hast PERFORMED.
thou made all men for nought?"All human excellence, we know, is But the revelation of Divine Wisdom, concentred in the reflection of the as we might well expect, grinds this image of God. To adopt, so far as presumptuous notion of the sceptic and we can, similar principles of action, the infidel to powder; and in so doing, and to exhibit similar results, though it opens a field to us far more ample, on a scale diminutive as our ability, and immeasurably more sublime, than and with an alloy inseparable as our the utmost range of that which we corruption, is practically the one great mistakenly call wisdom; and in the point. Nothing is required of man economy of the Christian church, the which man shall be unable to accom- meanest and the lowliest, the most plish; not, indeed, of his own unaided ignorant and the most untaught, the energies, but by the agency of an most scantily gifted by nature and Auxiliary, who is ever within call; the most slightly improved by cultiand he, therefore, who will not render vation, may, by a right use of means, what is required, may be pronounced, and a judicious improvement of opwithout risk of error, to be not duly portunities, aid and cooperate in a grateful for what has been received; mighty work, a work which human and if not duly grateful, surely not imagination could no more have conadequately sensible of its value-forceived, than human power could have
sense literally necessitates constructed a world. Yes; the poorgratitude, and the gratitude of action est of the poor, the lowest of the low, too. To a thinking man, much more may lay a living stone upon the great to a serious Christian, it is altogether spiritual temple-may cast an invaan unworthy and an untenable idea, luable offering into the treasury of that he is only placed in this world the Lord ; for who may not, through for the ignoble and temporary pur- grace, save a soul from death, and pose of eating and drinking, and hide a multitude of sins, if he labours sleeping and waking, and making mo- in God's way, and by God's means, ney and spending it, and vegetating and.is at once a worker with God, and a worker under God! That eter-much talent, or much eloquence, or nity, which alone can reveal with pre- much power of argument, or much prucision to the believer what his own dence, or much courage. We would portion will be, will alone give to his only plead for much trath and much view the full extent and amount of humility, much obedience, and much what he had been enabled by grace love. Remember, it is the Lord's work to do for God.
which we would you to do--we sumYet let none, when invited and sti- mon you to the help of the Lord against mulated to cooperate actively, in a the mighty-and you will not wrestle task of Christian duty, and thus to against flesh and blood, but against offer the most acceptable and abiding the rulers of the darkness of the sacrifice of gratitude in works of cha- world. It is nothing to you, that rity and mercy, delude himself with God does not need your help--it is the vain imagination, that wherever he everything to you--that he honours goes, and whatever he does, he shall you by requiring and accepting it. sprinkle all around the healing water, And I would humbly bear in mind, and impart to each the bread of life and intreat you to do the same, that that souls may as easily be reaped as it is not because we may here conthe harvest from the whitening fields, centrate in some measure the eneror the fruit of the bending tree. No, gies of a wealthy and influential there is much need, even in the most neighbourhood, and raise considerable zealous, faithful, able, and assiduous sums for the amelioration of human labourers, for unwearied patience, wretchedness, and provide the poor and unexhausted perseverance—they with means of spiritual instruction, must be prepared to encounter, on a and speak to them the words of divine smaller scale, all the anxieties of the wisdom, and embody in our personal Christian minister, who bears in his intercourse with them the godlike bosom the rebukes of many people, spirit of the gospel love—it is not those of whom they hoped most fondly for this we hope to attain our mighty will go back — and those of whom end, in bringing to Messiah of the they augured most favourably will travail of his soul, and dispensing what deceive and disappoint,--and they may God hath of his goodness prepared labour for years, without any visible for the poor-no—but because He or enduring fruit, and when they hath said it, and because He will do have tried again and again, without it, and because His love is so great, effecting the purpose of their mind, that rather than not work at all, He and realizing the desire of their heart will work even by us—and therefore -they may be apt to say, of the bar- even if He may not prosper our enren fig tree still more of that which deavours as we desire, yet his promise beareth only thorns and briars, which standeth sure that the liberal soul shall is nigh unto cursing, and whose end be made fat, and he that watereth shall is to be burned — “ Cut it down be watered also himself. Only come -why cumbereth it the ground ?" to the work as humble followers of But, dear brethren, you who purpose Him, who went about doing good, thus by God's blessing to acknowledge leaving us an example that we should your own mercies, and verify your follow his steps ;-only come to do own thanksgivings, by co-operating ac- the work of the Spirit through the tively, in our projected work of mercy grace of the Spirit, and there is no to others; we do not ask you to bring doubt as to the effect upon yourselves, to our assistance much learning, or and little, if any, as to the effect upon others. For, be present appearances / tain degree trodden, and have you not what they may, we have said, and we found it a way of pleasantness? Have repeat that the amount, the aggregate not your souls profited in it-has not of what is done by such an Institution the Spirit met and refreshed you by as we contemplate, and of course by the way-are not some, who were once the individual members of it can be but almost persuaded to be Christians, disclosed in eternity alone!
now not only almost, but altogether Since, therefore, in a time of much such! Are not others in the very act peril and of greater apprehension, you of awaking and arising from the dead, that did cleave unto the Lord are who were then dead in trespasses and alive every one of you this day ;-since sins, and to whom death spiritual would not a hair hath fallen, by this scourge then have led to death eternal ? Are at least, from the head of any one of there not even some who are, I trust, you, and you close the yearin praise and as much fitter for heaven, through thanksgiving, which you commenced grace, as in the course of nature they with humiliation and prayer, 0, let are nearer to the grave ? O examine it be seen that the destroyer has not yourselves, dear brethren-this has only past harmlessly by, but has left been a year of mercy-but so look a blessing behind him. Twelve months within and so watch without, that ago I expressed this hope, in these should the next be a year of judgwords, and I concluded, by observing, ment, it may not take you by surprise “The future is wrapt in darkness—but —that neither benefits may leave you the task of duty, national, congre- unthankful, nor judgment find you gational, individual, is plain as the unprepared.—You are all alive before sun's course through the unclouded God this day-may you live before heavens"-in this have you to a cer- him for ever!
a Funeral Serinon
DELIVERED BY THE HON. AND REV. BAPTIST NOEL.
(TO THE CONGREGATION OF THE LATE REV. W. HOWELS,) AT THE
EPISCOPAL CHAPEL, LONG ACRE, NOV. 25, 1832.
Hebrews, xiii. 7, 8.—" Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto
you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation : Jesus
Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever. It has pleased God to take from you, | flow wide and deep through eternity, my beloved brethren, the minister to you will find its beginning on earth whose pastoral labors the minds of connected with his exposition of the many among you must have clung Gospel. Others owe him a debt of with no ordinary attachment. To gratitude, because, after having heard some, he has been, I doubt not, the other ministers in this city with less means of conveying that greatest of advantage, from his ministrations they all blessings, the renewal of the heart; have derived that invigoration of reand as you trace back to its source ligious principle in their Sabbath that river of your joys which will hours, by which they have been, through grace, enabled to maintain, their faithful pastors, and it was these amidst the labors of a busy life in whom they were now summoned by this great city, spirituality of mind; the Apostle to remember. Not, howwhile all have felt their affections ever, with a vain regret to weep over quickened towards one whose faith their patience, their wisdom, their and patience could so often throw off kindness, their mighty argumentation, the load of bodily infirmities, and illus- their fervid eloquence, and their trate, amidst them all, not so much the apostolic entreaties; but to meditate saperiority of a masculine understand deeply on their end-on the manner ing as the power of the grace of God. of life which led to it-to think of the Many, therefore, here, may feel that faith which was the main spring of the loss sustained by his dissolution that life—and then to imitate that will not easily be repaired. There faith, in recollection, that Jesus Christ are, however, considerations con- was immutably the same to guide, to nected with this loss, not less calcu- console, and to sustain them to the lated to improve than to console you. end. Some of these are suggested by the First, my brethren, GOD CALLS YOU text; and if foreseeing your bereave- HERE, TO REFLECT ON YOUR MINISTER'S ment he could have addressed to you, END. To this, indeed, you need not what was not permitted, one final ex- much exhortation, since it probably bortation, I doubt not, he would have occupies you at this moment to the exemployed the latest energy of his clusion of almost every other thought. powerful spirit to suggest them to But it is possible that you may dwell you. Your sorrow will not be wasted more on the fact of his departure if your sorrow leads to deeper seri- than on its character-more on your cusness, and to more earnest piety. loss than on his triumph—more on It will not be wasted like rain upon the fatal strength of the disorder than the desert, but will bring forth through on the peaceful victory of his faith ; this deep night a fresh and fragrant yet it is the latter points, dear brethvegetation and balm through all your ren, which chiefly demand your attencoming hours of joy.
tion, and which will most reward it. Your circumstances, my brethren, I have not, it is true, to unfold to you are like those of the Hebrew Chris- any of those rapturous anticipations tians to whom this passage was ad- of coming glory, by which, to the dressed ; and if it was to them the minds of some of his people, as Gilvoice of God by his Apostle, it is the pin, Baxter, and Fletcher, God has voice of God to you, and precisely been pleased to shed over their last suits your circumstances. “ Re- hours undying and almost unearthly member them that have the rule over glory. He could not say when the hand you ;” or rather as it should be, “Re- of death was upon him as the martyr member your leaders,” not pointing to Stephen said, as he stood among his the living but to the dead, “ who have persecutors, faith being exalted into spoken to the word of God; whose vision, “I see the heavens opened, faith follow, considering the end of and the Son of man sitting at the right their conversation”—not to anticipate hand of God." These triumphs are it, but that which they had already the lot of few, but why should we witnessed ; and this, because, “ Jesus regret their absence? Is it not enough, Christ was the same yesterday, and I ask, for a man to feel himself in the to-day, and for ever.” The Hebrew very grasp of death, upon the brink Christians, like yourselves, had lost of a boundless eternity, and not to shudder at it? Is it not enough to self-he is seen in the noontide'beams anticipate the irreversible sentence of the divine glory which fill his to be in a few hours pronounced at celestial spirit quite full of wisdom, the judgment seat by an infinite God, love, holiness, and joy. “ Mark the and not be appalled? That he could perfect, behold the upright; the end do, and that he did. He was seized of that man is peace. by that fatal malady, which bas torn But the glorious end, my brethren, him from you, and it did not interrupt leads us to THE WAY THAT LEADS TO IT. his peace. To the ordinary terror of His end has been blessed, but what death, and the suffering which pre- led to it? By what steps has he asceded it, there was added the thought cended to that elevation which he that he was so suddenly to leave a now enjoys ? “ Whose faith follow, people so dear to him; yet it did not considering the end of their converinterrupt his peace. That peace was sation.” A Christian end follows only not proud, for he knew well that the a Christian life; and they who are sinner's place is in the dust. That animated by the view of one, must peace was not thoughtless, for the not dissociate it from the other. If way of the sinner's approach to God we consider his end, we shall not bad deeply occupied his mind; yet forget the manner of his life. It was high as were his views of the purity a simple life, one in which few worldly of God, of the extent of his law, of pleasures interrupted his quiet course his claims on sinners, and their guilt, of duty. He lived much secluded his peace in Him continued uninter- from the world; howeyer, it was to rupted still.
be more with God. From that deep Such an end, my brethren, you communion, rather than his books, he may well be called to consider. Con- derived those stores of spiritual wistrast it with the vain regret of the dom by which you have been so often worlding, who must leave all he holds led, in this house, to reappear redear—with the awful terror of a con- freshed. Perhaps he was naturally science stricken sinner who dares proud; but if so, for pride is likely not stand before his Judge—with the to be connected with the possession ignorant self righteousness of the for- of a masculine understanding, it was malist—and with the impatience of subdued, as those who knew him best the sick man who tried out with pre- can testify, into the humility that sent suffering, is reckless of all that becomes a sinner. With this he is to come hereafter. How beautiful could be thankful amid prolonged and how blessed was his aspect! suffering ; and though he suffered Here was a thoughtful, enlightened, many disappointments in life, he was humble, grateful, and religious peace, still content with his lot. His acute which divested death of its terrors to feelings, quickened sometimes by dishim, and may teach survivors also ease into painful sensibility, may have how to die.
occasionally oppressed him; but he But, here, another thought presents could take every trouble to the throne itself. The hour of dissolution—the of grace, and there he could wait for Christian end. That hour is past! his relief. Possibly, by that very What has he now to come? “ Absent experience, he was better qualified from the body,” your pastor is “pre- to console those of you who were in sent with the Lord." A few days trouble, and was led the more fersince he stood where I stand-he vently to intercede on your behalf. spoke where I am speaking-he Nor was he, on the other hand, withthought of death as you think of it-out an amiable, cheerful, I had almost he anticipated heaven as you antici- said, gaiety of spirit when animated pate it-and now angels have wel- by the society of his friends, to whom comed another conqueror to his crown he was as affectionate as he was frank --heaven has received another of its and generous to all. The main feaglorious inmates-his heart is knit tures of his life, however, may be for ever and ever with the hearts of summed up in one sentence they the redeemed-he looks on the coun- were those which he shared in comtenance of the Lord Jesus Christ him- mon with other steadfast disciples of