Abbildungen der Seite
PDF

seasons, obscure to us but known to "he Almighty, his concludino days were exposed to the incoherences and however the fact may be explained, delirium is frequently accompanied : in every more rational hour the internal faith, the internal holy principle, was breaking forth. Though cloudsovershadowed his evening sky, the gleams by which they were penetrated shewed that the sun was behind.” And again. “This humble and retired servant of the Lord Jesus was unnoticed and and overlooked by the busy and the splendid world. Numbers little removed from his vicinity might probably disregard his piety and his labours, or never might know them until he was dead. But the eye of God rested upon him. When worldly rank, and worldly wealth, and worldly wisdom, and worldly power, shall all be proved emptiness, and have come to an end; when rank and wealth and wisdom and power, if they have not been dedicated to the glory of God in Christ Jesus, shall have opened sources of anguish for eternity: this man, having honoured God, shall be honoured of Him. This man, having been ‘stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord,” shall find his labour not in vain in the Lord.’ This man, having been truly “wise, shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; having turned many to righteousness, as the stars for o: xx In perfect accordance with Mr. Gisborne's testimony is that of Mr. Cooper. Indeed, to transcribe it would be only to repeat in different words what has already been somewhat more fully expressed. Mr. Cooper thus closes his affecting delineation. - - - “For himself then we lament not, we weep not. We rather try to rejoice in his triumphs, and to share in his happiness. We bless Sod for the grace vouchsafed unto his, servant, through which he has endured and overcome. But for

inconsistencies, with which, ,

ourselves, for the church of God, and for you in particular, we deeply grieve. We, his brethren in the ministry, have lost in him a beloved friend, an instructive pattern of ministerial faithfulness, a fellowlabourer, whose zeal quickened us, and whose exertions made us ashamed. The church of God has been deprived of a faithful witness, of a bright ornament, of a powerful intercessor. And you, you whom he loved as his own soul, you have to deplore the loss of one, who was in truth the minister and servant of you all; whose life was devoted to your service ; whose constant aim, whose earnest desire was to bring you to an acquaintance with that peace of God which passeth all understanding. to be made instrumental in forming Christ in your hearts,’ in filling you with the fruits of righteousness, and with the hope of glory. Would God there were reason to believe, that all of you had profited, as largely as you might have done, by his faithful labours annong you! Would God there were not reason to fear, that some of you at least have continued unreclaimed by his exertions, and notwithstanding the privilege conferred upon you, are still strangers to Christ, the hope of glory. My brethren, who can tell but that one part of the Lord's design in this mysterious dispensation of his providence may be to speak to such among you in a louder and more solemn tone, and to awaken them to a consideration of their deep guilt and awful danger.” “There may be some, who have been inwardly convinced of the faithfulness and excellency of their deceased pastor; who impressed with a consciousness of his integrity and worth have treated him with courtesy, and listened to him with seeming respect. But while thus honour. ing the messenger, they have not received the message. They have not closed with the terms which he proposed to them. They have not, according to the tenor of his commission, been 'reconciled unto God.”

Now let me entreat all you, who may answer this description, seriously to reflect on the Lord's dealings with you. He has vouchsafed to you for several years a minister of whom, without any disparagement to his brethren, it may be truly said, that you would with difficulty find in all respects his equal: a minister, sound in doctrine, faithful in his exposition and application of scriptural truth, irreproachable in his life, indefatigable in his labours: a minister, whose exertions at the same time were tempered with such soberness of mind, & confined within such regular and authorised limits, as to afford no reasonable ground for the charge of enthusiasm, with which religious zeal is oftentimes so unjustly branded.—And now consider, to what end did the Lord vouchsafe to you such a minister Was it not that through his means you might be saved Was it not that through his ministry you might be reclaimed from the ways of sin and death, and o be brought to the full faith and practice of the Gospel? But this end has not been answered. With respect to you to whom I now speak, the efforts and instructions of your faithful pastor have been to no good purpose. So far as you are concerned, he has preached and laboured in vain. Let me then further entreat you to reflect on the immense responsiblility which lies upon your souls. You may perhaps account it a light thing to have received this grace in vain: and thus to have * rejected the counsel of God against yourselves.” But God does not so account it. He has expressly taught us that those who disregard the warnings of his servants, shall assuredly find in the end that they have not doue t with impunity. When the prelicted judgment “cometh to pass lo, it will come) then they shall now, that there hath been a prohet among them.” Christ himself ath no less expressly assured us, hat it shall be more tolerable for

he land of Sodom and of Gomorrah

in the day of judgment, than for such as shall not receive his ministers, nor hear their words.” Read here your doom. See the awful sentence to which you have exposed yourselves. What could the Lord have done for you more than He has done? How could He more clearly have shewn his favourable disposition towards you than by providing you with such a minister How can he more plainly testify his displeasure at your impenitence and hardness of heart, than by thus depriving you of the pastor, whose labours you have undervalued and whose instructions you would not follow. If the former expression of the love of God to your souls has failed of working its proper effect upon you, O let not the present indication of his wrath go unimproved Be warned now at least in this your day. Flee from the wrath to come. Flee to that Saviour whose invitation, whose counsel, whose commands you have hitherto disregarded. Close with his gracious offers. Give Him yeur hearts. Delay no longer: lest he swear in his wrath that you shall never enter into his rest. “Possibly there may be others, (I trust that at the most their numbers are but few) who, ashamed to avow even to themselves the real sentinents of their hearts, yet feel on this occasion a sort of conscious complacency at the thought that they are no longer subject to the ministry of one, whose presence and preaching were a continual restraint upon them. They were not indeed prevented by his faithful admonitions,from stillpersisting in their sinful ways, but they were made uneasy and uncomfortable in them. His practice and doctrine decidedly condemned them, so that they conceived a secret dislike of him in their hearts: and regarded him in the light in which A. regarded the Prophet of the Lord, as one who never prophesied good concerning them, but evil. Freed then, as they now feel themselves to be, from all further apprehension of his reproofs, they inwardly congratulate themselves on their deliverance, and hope henceforth to pursue their guilty courses without interruption and restraint.—Such persons I would briefly admonish thus. True it is that you will be no more disturbed by hearing the faithful admonitions of him, who notwithstanding your illfounded prejudices against him, was in fact vour best and truest friend:but think not that you have therefore got rid of the admonitions themselves. You may have disregarded and forgotten them: but they are recorded against you in the court of heaven, andyou will one day be called to give a fearful account of your disregard and forgetfulness of them. True it is, that you will né more be alarmed by the voice of him, who so plainly set before you the terrors of the Lord. Butremember, that “being dead, he yet speaketh.’ He calls upon you in a manner far more awful and impressive than he hath ever yet done, to look at his death and to consider your own. He calls upon you to think, if you like him should be unexpectedly cast upon the bed of pain and sickness, what in that scene of trial will be your comfort and support. He calls upon you to reflect, if like him you should be suddenly seized by fever and delirium, what will be the preparation of your soul for entering on an eternal state, when deprived even of the last soli

tary refuge, which the wretched.

hope of a death-bed repentance offers. He calls upon you to remember, that though separated for a a time, you must yet meet him again. You must meet him at the bar of God; not in the character in which you have been accustomed to meet him, as your kind friend, your considerate counsellor, your affectionate minister; but as a faithful, however reluctant, witness against you, to testify that he is pure from your blood; that you have not perished through lack of instruction or 9f warning: but because you “hated knowledge, and did not chuse the

fear of the Lord.’ Think of the coafusion and horror of this meeting Think how soon, how suddenly may take place; and trembke at the precipice on which you stand.” We should with pleasure have extracted much more largely, if our limits would permit: but it a now necessary to close this long account. We are unwilling, however, te do it before we have strongly recommended a perusal of these two sermous to all the clerical readers of our work. They are direct. ly adapted for their improvement. God grant that they may all im. prove an event which, to use the words of one of the pious preachers, “ loudly cries to every minister of the Gospel, Work while it is day; preach the Gospel; warn the sinner; encourage the penitent; be instant in season, out of season; save thyself, and them that hear thee. Thy faithful brother was summoned as in the twinkling of an eye. Soon shall it be said unto thee, Give an account of thy stew.

[ocr errors]

WILLIAM SHARP, ESQ.

Mr. SHARP, the elder brother of the well known and justly esteemed Mr. Granville Sharp, finished his earthly pilgrimage at Fulham in the month of March last, at the age of eightyone. His funeral sermon was preached by the Rev. John Owen, in Fulham church, on Sunday the 25th March, and has since been published. It is distinguished by the same eloquence of style, and the same strength and usefulness of application, which we have so frequently had occasion to commendin the former writings of this geutleman. Our present object, however, being to give our readers as concise a view as we can of the character of the amiable and excellent person who is the subject of his discourse, we shall confine ourselves to such extracts from it, tending to illustrate this point, as our limits will conveniently receive.

[blocks in formation]

into the different circles, both literary and convivial, of the British metropolis. The change which he experienced, in being thus suddenly transferred, from the comparative solitude and sobriety of the North, to the overflowing festivities of a populous city, was great; and, in every view of it, ensnaring.

to #. to whatever dangers his situation exposed him, as well fron the nature of his professional studies, as from the seductive tendency of fashionable amusements, he was providentially and effectually preserved. It was matter of grateful reflection, on which he would often expatiate, ascribing it as often to the blessing of God upon him, that in the ardour of youth, and in the vortex of temptation, he was restrained from indulging in those sensual impurities, which debauch both soul and body; and poison the stream of moral and physical health, at their verv source.

“By a train of circumstances, in which, while others saw only the casualties of fortune, he discerned the movements of an overruling Providence, an opening was made for his entrance, at a very early age and under very favourable auspices, on an extensive and reputable practice.

"See Review of Mr. Owen's Sericon on the death of Mrs. Prowse, Number for August, p. 494.

His principles and his conduct were now put to no ordinary trial: but the grace which had secured him from youthful lusts, saved him also from the snares of another sort b which they were succeeded. For it is worthy of remark, that his faith in Christianity was in no degree shaken, by the scientific inquiries to which he was called; nor his respect for its ordinances at all diminished, by the various avocations which unavoidably interrupted them. “It is a common persuasion, and, I presume therefore, not wholly without foundation; that a considerable degree' of scepticism has found its way among the modern practitioners in that most useful profession, whose alliance with religion, as well as with literature, has been so frequently and honourably exemplified, in the history of our own and of other countries. It is strange indeed, and well worthy to excite both our wonder and regret, that those whose researches and practice bring them so nearly and habitually into contact with the most cogent proofs both of a God and a providence, should be so little impressed with these great truths, as to be tempted, in many cases, to overlook, and in some, even to dispute, and to deny them. Not so the excellent man whom we are commemorating. He saw God in every thing, acknowledged him in every thing, admired and adored him in every thing: and in nothing more, than in those subjects of physical inquiry, wherein he was in danger of losing sight of him altogether. No— be could neither operate nor discourse on that being who is fearfully and wonderfully made, without ascribing, under emotions of more than philosophical conviction, both the production and the preservation of this complicated machine, to Him who is wonderful in counse!, and excellent in working.’ “He was enabled to maintain, with no less determination and constancy, an adherence to the offices of public worship, and even to the peculiar ordinances of the Christian ritual. The sense which he entertained of this branch of duty and the resolution which he had formed in its favour, were very strikingly manifested, by the steps which he took to secure, in his own example, the regular performance of it. For, aware of the impediments which the uncertain calls of his profession might throw on the way of his attenddance on these holy solemnities at the customary hour of their celebration, he would avail himself of an early service, and not unfrequently, of an early sacrament, at St. Paul's Cathedral, or at such other church as afforded this pious and opportune accommodation. “And here it will be proper to pause, and admire the happy operation of those first impressions, which had been made on the behalf of religion; and that under circumstauces which appeared so likely to stifle and even to extinguish them. It was, as we have seen, the privilege of our excellent friend, to have been initiated from his earliest years in those principles and observances, which, under the

grace of God, form the soul to

piety; and which, however depreciated in too many of our modern systems, do in fact compose the vital and essential parts of a Christian education. The blessing of God, that invariable attendant upon all honest efforts, appears to have sanctified, in no common degree, the virtuous discipline in which he was trained; and to have rendered it the instrument of fastening upon him those holy habits, which, to men immersed in worldly business, are the most effectual preservatives against speculative and practical infidelity. Let parents and guardians; let preceptors and pastors, take encouragement from this and similar instances, to prosecute their labours of love upon the minds and hearts of the rising generation. The task may be irksome, but it is not hopeless—the seed which they scatter may disappear, as though

it were lost : but in the mean time it occupies the soil into which it was dropped; , and a gerun may shoot from it which, sooner or later, will become a tree of righteousness and yield those fruits that are acceptable in the sight both of God and man.” “ With a mind subdued by devotion, and a heart exquisitely alive to all the feelings of humanity, he performed the duties of an arduous and embarrassing profession, in such a manner, as to manifest, that, to approve himself as the servant of God and the friend of man, was the prevailing object of all his anxieties and all his exertions. Actuated by these motives, he laboured with indefatigable industry, and almost equal success, in an extensive sphere, combining the strictest integrity with the most exact professional skill; and making the welfare of his patient the first subject of his concern, his own personal emolument decidedly the last. It resulted from the principles and feelings which have already been adverted to, that, in the treatment of cases to which the most summary measures are usually applied, he employed himself in superseding, by easy and circuitous steps, the necessity of extreme and hazardous experiments; and, in reducing the pain and inconvenience of the sufferer, as much as was consistent with the security and success of the operation. To him, nothing was little, nothing insignificant, that could minister, in however humble a degree, to the comfort or the relief of suffering humanity. He loved his fellow-creatures" with a pure heart servently;” and was content to be reprobated by the rash, or despised by the supercilious, might he but save that limb which he could not restore, and render that anguish supportable which he could not prevent.” “His piety was pure, warm, and constant; uniting the deepest humility with the most fervent devotion; and exercising a steady and discernible influence over his thoughts, his words, and his actions. His senti

« ZurückWeiter »