« AnteriorContinuar »
J. lion's Faithful Priest. A Sermon occasioned by the death of the late Rev. Robert Hawker, D. D. Vicar of Charles, Plymouth: delivered on Sunday Evening, April 22, 1327, at the Broadway Church, St. Margaret's, Westminster. By the Rev. George Mutter, A.M. Minister of Broadway Church, and Rector of Chillendon, Kent. Palmer.
II. A Tribute of Respect to Departed Greatness: being the substance of a Sermon, delivered on occasion of the decease of the Rev. Robert Hawker, D. D. Vicar of Charles, Plymouth, at Soho Chapel, Oxford Street, London, Lord's day Evening, April 15, 1827. By George Comb, Minister of the Chapel. Palmer.
III. The Riches of God's Grace Displayed, in the Life, Death, and Ministry of the late Rev. Robert Hawker, D. D. being the substance of a Discourse preached at Mount Zion Chapel, Devonport, on Lord's day Evening, April 15, 1827. By Henry Dowling, of Colchester, Essex, supplying at the above Chapel at the period of the Doctor's decease. Palmer.
Were we to devote ourselves to the composition of a panegyric worthy the name, the writings, and the ministry of the great Dr. Hawker, we might exhaust the means of which we are possessed in giving expression to the warm effusions of a devoted heart, and the reader would be left to exclaim of the deceased saint, as did the queen of Sheba in the case of king Solomon, " Behold the one half of thy greatness was not told me; for thou exceedest the fame that I have heard." His fidelity in discharging the solemn duties of the gospel ministry, was unequalled by the most assiduous of his cotemporanes. His knowledge, in the mysteries of the kingdom, left the attainments of others at an incalculable remove, and was only exceeded by the extent of his fellowship " in the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ." His good works praise him in the gate; they are read and known of all men ; for all men took knowledge of him that he had been with Jesus ;—and " they do follow him."
We decline enlargement, that the honourable testimonies contained in the funeral sermons before us may obtain the notice they merit.
The Rev. Mr. Mutter's is founded on Malachi ii. 5, 6. on opening which we regret to find the author, with unqualified decision, affirming that the words of the text were not spoken of Christ. With him we acknowledge the danger, and often revert to and lament the consequences of departing from that sober interpretation of scripture, which seeks all that is necessarily designed in a text, and nothing more: but the spiritual mind will observe that this contains assertions that cannot by possibility be fully applied to the Lord's servants— whether of the Levitical or the christian priesthood. Levi himself— and, from personal knowledge we are assured, our Hawker would never subscribe to the statement, that the passage bears the exclusive application our author maintains. Vol. IV.—No. 38. E
To whom but the Great High Priest can be referred such a declaration as this ?—" Iniquity was not found in his lips." And, in the more exalted appropriation of the divine language,—of whom but the Mediator of the covenant, can it be in truth affirmed, "For the fear wherewith he feared me, my covenant was with him of life and peace?" Many arguments recur to us in corroboration of this view of the subject, which we pass by to notice the otherwise admirable Sermon.
Proceeding with the introduction, Mr. M. presents the following respectful notice, of the ministry and writings of " Zion's faithful Priest."
"Thus much I thought it necessary to observe, in order to bring before you our venerable departed brother, in connection with that spiritual covenant priesthood of which I have just spoken. I doubt not but I shall fully establish that he dealt but the covenant truths committed to him, in their height, their depth, their length, and breadth; and that he conld appeal to the conscience of his hearers, and say with Paul, "I have not shunned to declare unto you the whole counsel of God." Acts xx. 27. I shall speak of him as I have heard him within these walls; when, with a presentiment of his speedy departure, he preached as it were, at the threshold of God's heavenly kingdom. His words here spoken, have died npon the walls, but they live to God, and I trust live in many a heart, as the heralds of life and peace. I shall speak also from those works of his which I have read, recording what his mind received. I confess I have not examined his works, great both in number and in worth, with that fastidious criticism which looks for straws while it overlooks the wheat; nor through that darkened medhinvwhich obscures the sun's brightness, to search for spots on his disc. The prominent feature of his ministry and writings. wa& to direct all to behold, admire, and adore the brightness of that Sun of Righteousness, by whose light he shone; and the manner in which he exalted the great Head of the church, forcibly spoke for him, "I preach not myself, but Christ Jesus the Lord."
The preacher proposes to consider:—I. The covenant of life and peace" committed to his charge, and the manner in which he executed that commission. II. The success of his covenant ministration. lit. The covenant of life and peace as made with him personally; and \ts evidence in bis character, life, and death. Contemplating the covenant he enlarges with peculiar felicity on its commencement, the certainty of its application, and its perpetuity; and illustrates each particular by quotations from the invaluable Commentary of his « venerable, departed brother.' .-
Under the second head occurs an able defence of the deceased Divine from the accusation, that " he never addressed sinners."
"1 have, in my ministerial duties in London, met with several walking humbly with their God, in the light and power of a divine faith, who have attributed, under God, all their divine knowledge to the preaching of Dr. Hawker; and I have good authority from his own neighbourhood to assert, that his preaching was a very fruitful ministration, as a means, in the hand of God, " of turning many from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God," who are living witnesses; and that many, blessed through his ministry, have now an " inheritance among them that are sanctified, by faith that is in Jesus Christ." But it is said, he never addressed sinners. Is not the doctrine of redemption a doctrine for enslaved sinners? Is not the finished work pf Christ a doctrine for them who have no work of their own to plead? Is not Christ, being all in all to his people, a ground and motive for poor sinnersto trust in him for life and salvation? Does not the emptying of men Of all spiritual good, power, and will, lead the.convinced sinner to Him who has all spiritual good, power, and will to ljestow? Are not the high.and elevated descriptions of Christian character a means of shewing the sinner what'he is not; and therefore preaching to him? Are not such sentiments as the following calculated for sinners ?" The trans"gressions of Adam the sinner would never hjve hurt you or'me, had we "not been born from him, and his blood run through our veins; neither "will the righteousness of Christ the Saviour benefit us, unless we are found \" newborn in him, and his Holy Spirit^foundin our hearts." (Vol. VIII. p. 277.) Dr. Hawker's remarks on Paul's sermon, Acts xiii. shew his deliberately written opinion, that the gospel "must be preached to all men;" thus the Lord commanded the gospel to be preached to every creature. But let not the reader fail to observe at the same time, that while it was the province of Paul thus to preach, and all the truly ordained ministers of the word, like Paul, to do the same; for, neither he nor they can do more, unless the word of this salvation is sent, that is, directed by the power and grace of God the Spirit; all who have heard him preach must bear testimony, that its obvious tendency was to abase the sinner, to exalt the Saviour, and to promote holiness of heart and life, by a vital union of that life-giving Head of the church, our glorious Redeemer, without which not one soul can live to God. Of this we are well assured, that the election of grace only will receive the word spoken; to them only "it is savingly sent: it niay civilize and polish others; it will be the savour of death unto'them, but never will it be the power of God unto their salvation. "He that is of God (saith Christ) heareth God's words: ye therefore hear them hot, because ye are not of God." John viii. 47. --.."'
Appended to the above, by way of note, are several most judicious observations on the same point, to which the reader is referred, as we must not extend our quotations. This section is closed with an earnest and solemn appeal to his brethren in the ministry, on the importance of decision and faithfulness in the discharge of their daties; also interspersed with a variety of instances in which the Doctor was eminently conspicuous as an example—" in doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, charity."
One other quotation must close our notice of this excellent Sermon.
"We now come to the walk: he " walked with me in peace and equity." There is a sacred and inseparable union between peace and equity: here again, the reward is the companion of the duty. It has ever been the character of God's people, that they "walk with him." Where faith has its life, it will have its walk. Thus Enoch walked with God: "As many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them." "We are his workmanship, cteated in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them." Eph. ii. 10. "As ye have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him." Col. ii. 6. Thus, our venerable father in Israel walked with God, " for before his-translation he had this testimony that he pleased God." No enemy, and many.he had who watched him narrowly, could say, he walked not by the light of the faith he preaches: but if we saw more of the walk of faith in his life than we heard of from his lips, it was because, absorbed in the principle which directed his tyalk, he was constrained to speak to the praise and glory of the grace that made him to differ. Let us, brethren, be careful of our walk; for there are many who take upon their lips a Hawker's creed, without a Hawker's practice: "Many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, they are the enemies of the Cross of Christ: whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things." Phil. iii. 18, 19."
The text chosen by Mr. Comb, is 2 Sam. iii. 38. from which he considers:—I. The testimony of David as applicable to the departed minister: "A prince and a great man is fallen in Israel." II. The fall of such a man a great loss to the Israel of God. III. As a voice to the people of God; and the necessary use of it. The respectful mention of the lamented deceased, particularly relative to the doctrines he maintained—his great usefulness —his holy life and triumphant departure—is worthy the regard, and will obtain the approbation of our readers. Mr. Comb's closing address is energetic and truly seasonable: we copy the following paragraph—
"Let none of the dear children of God be surprised at the opprobrious epithets so frequently thrown out against the true servant of Jesus, and their ministrations. Remember it has ever been their fare to suffer reproach; that the children of the bond-woman persecute those that are born of the free: this enmity is rooted in the heart; and let those that really and experimentally enter into the great truths of salvation by sovereign grace, be careful to maintain in all their lives a correspondent conversation; so shall the enemies be ashamed—the cause of God promoted—God honoured—and Christ exalted. We have seen the blessed effects of the gospel of the grace of God in the life and death of the venerable Vicar of Charles; and, I may add, as he glorified God in his life, both as a christian and a minister, so he died like a patriarch :—it was not death, it was only a change from mortality to immortality. May it be our's to live the life of faith, and glorify our God in life and in death! Amen."
Mr. Dowling enters with greater particularity into the subject of his discourse, and from Eph. i. 6, 12. takes occasion to dwell largely on this all-important proposition:—that Jehovah's acts of grace, freely exercised towards his church in Christ, originated in the divine mind and engaged the sacred Three, Father, Son, and Spirit, in covenant, to save from all the dire consequences of sin's entrance into the world, and death by sin. Hence he contemplates " the praise of the glory of Jehovah's grace," wherein the church is "accepted in the Beloved,"—as to its cause, its medium, and its end; he expatiates with considerable force on each division of the subject; keeping in view throughout the exceeding grace of God exemplified in his faithftil and indefatigable minister, "to the glory of that Lord whom he preached while on earth, and whom he now worships in glory everlasting."
Having room to make but one quotation, we select a passage from Mr. D.'s statement of the Doctor's last blissful moments in the church militant, as it is more explicit than any we have hitherto perused, and will be proportionably estimated by our readers.
"Wishing, notwithstanding his debilitated state, to pay the last parental visit to one of his daughters, then at Totnes, and in hope that change of air might be beneficial to himself, he undertook the journey, which he performed under the good hand of God upon him. And having gratified the feeling of parental concern, he shortly found it necessary to return, that he might breathe his last in his own home; but before he did so, 1 understand that he called up the family, read the 23rd Psalm, and forcibly commented upon the 4th verse, in reference to himself, triumphing in the fact, that death was only a shadow, Christ having by his death taken all the substance, or sting away. After committing them all to God in prayer, he prepared for his return to Plymouth, which place he reached on Friday afternoon; and on the evening of that day read the 1st chapter of the Ephesians, commenting particularly on the 6th and 12th verses, as in reference to his own case: and then engaging in prayer most fervently, when in the midst of his attached and devoted children, his redeemed and sanctified soul departed for its final abode in glory, with the Lamb in the midst of the throne, at the predestinated moment determined by his God, without any sensible pain, exclaiming, "Oh! the riches of grace!" He was " absent from the body and present with the Lord," to wear the crown of righteousness, which the righteous Lord and Judge gives to all that love his appearing.
"Thus lived, through glorious grace, and died triumphing by faith in the love of God, Dr. Robert Hawker, aged seventy-four years, and for fortythree years a faithful witness for God, in the office of Vicar of Charles, Plymouth, Devon; leaving many seals of his ministry to lament his loss, as one whom the Lord graciously blessed in the gospel of truth; and of whom we turn to our text, and say it was truly exemplified,—" To the praise of the glory of his grace, who hath made us accepted in the Beloved."—" That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ."
The Things of Time Contemplated in Subordination to the Arrangement of Eternal Wisdom. A Letter to a Friend. By James Benjamin Thurling, Minister of the Gospel. Palmer.
The fathomless profound of the divine government has engaged the consideration of many, whose speculations, originating in the inventions of the carnal mind, have partaken of the hollow and fruitless character of the source whence they emanated, and have consequently tended more to the praise of men than to the glory of the Most High. In the pamphlet before us, the author has utterly rejected the use of the human line and plummet, and, by the abundant facilities furnished in the word of inspiration, supplied the means of profitable contemplation of a subject whose abstruseness, to the natural intellect, is no less than are the thoughts of Jehovah higher than those of his creatures. Acknowledging the eternal design of the salvation of the church, and the subordination of the things of time in that arrangement of eternal wisdom, he proceeds,—
"But it is necessary to observe, that as God is essentially perfect, the perfection of his nature precludes us from thinking that the creatures he hath formed are not governed by him according to a fixed plan in his own eternal mind. Perfect sapience must know every thing which exists, and Infinite wisdom must arrange it in the very best manner. This is certain, from the immutability of the nature and counsels of God. There is not a single thing in existence but it comes within the divine decree and infinite appointment of God; from the smallest species of animalculae up to the brightest angel wljo stands near the eternal throne. And as all the natures and capabilities of the various creatures existing were eternally appointed, to be what they now are; they are governed according to that settled order which God hath chosen to fulfil his own divine designs. Let it be observed, the present degenerate state of the moral creation was anticipated by God; and the scheme of eternal redemption declares his intention to destroy sin in such a way, that every attribute of his nature may be glorified in its annihilation."
He goes on to descant on the ordinances of providence and grace, as the offspring of di,vine wisdom for the special benefit of the chosen