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When a friend said to him, You have had in your time many sweet interviews with your Lord,'--"Yes, yes; he is the high and lofty One, who' inhabits eternity, and yet, be in habits the praises of Israel !” Do you recollect what text or sermon was first attended with a divine blessing to your soul?' * I am not able to speak to you now; but I am the resurrection and the life,' was a text of Mr. Fisher's. They were grand gospel-days ! - it was attended with a blessing then! Aye, aye, the word without the blessing would do nothing!” He was now quite exhausted: I therefore left him to rest. The sermon of Mr. Fisher, late of Glasgow, to which he here refers, I bave often heard him mention with the liveliest ernotions of joy. It seems that during the preaching of that sermon, if sinners did not experience the life-giving power of Christ, saints felt its re. viving efficacy: for lic used to say, “ Hundreds were engaged all night in praying over that sermon in the church-yard and the adjoining fields; it being preached on the Sabbath evening immediately after the dispensation of the Lord's Supper.'
Thus he gave increasing evidence of the power of religion being felt by him ; and his mind at length arrived at a state of quietness and assurance. To be in his company was to be in a manner in Heaven upon earth. His countenance ever wore a pleasing aspect ; every feature was soft and mild. The tranquillity and joy he felt within might be read in the expression of his face. His discourse made it manifest that Heaven was in his heart : seldom did he utter a word, but it was in commendation of Jesus and his sacred religion; or in addressing the throne of mercy, imploring grace to glorify God in his present condition, and, with becoming resignation to the will of God, expressing a desire to depart and to be with Christ.'
He has sometimes passed the whole night without enjoying sleep. On one such occasion, when asked in the morning how he did, - be made this reply : “ Though I have not slept a wink to-night, my God has been kind to me, in bearing in upon my mind the precious passages of his word, and in enabling me to take comfort from them. That portion of Scripture, : Whom having not seen, ye love,'&c. has been a sweet passage to me: I have been thinking on it all the night,' &c.
However surprizing it may seem, it is notwithstanding true, that he has often broke out, during a profound sleep, into the most fervent prayer. At other times, ihe strains of praise, in honour of his God, have in sleep dwelt upon his tongue. Pains were taken to ascertain the state in which he was when thus em: ployed; and the result was, an assurance of his being fast asleep! The degree of intenseness with which his mind was fixed on spiritual objects, was, we must conclude, uncommonly great; and that his affections were set on things above.
It is impossible to relate all the precious words he spoke, all the fervent prayers he put up, all the important exhortations , ho gave to those about him, - all his soliloquies on the riches
the freedom, and sovereignty of grace, that are worth y of being noticed. Every day was spent as if it were to be the last :prayer, praise, and devout meditation occupied the greatest portion of the day. Often, during his meditations, he expressed aloud, in strains of rapture, his admiration of redeeming love, celebrating, in a flow of the purest eloquence, the astonishing achievements of divine mercy, wisdom, and power! The precious thoughts of God toward sinful man, filled his breast with gratitude, and moved his tongue to sing!
His last moments were peculiarly interesting. While his strength enabled him to speak, he was frequently engaged in extolling the riches of grace. · Ardent supplications were put up by him in behalf of all men, especially his children and grand. children. Again and again he gave thanks to God for having preserved in life his daughter, with whom he lived, in order, as he expressed himself, to take care of him when he was unfit to take care of himself. Then addressing her, he would say,' You have been a kind daughter to me: the Lord reward and bless you for your kindness ! yea, you shall be blessed! He often expressed an ardent wish for seeing his grandson. A letter was dispatched to him ; but had he waited its arrival, he would have been too late to have witnessed the abundant peace of his muchloved dying friend. On the Wednesday evening before his death, he arrived.
Hearing that he was come, he said, 'I am glad J -n is here: l hope he will stay and see me laid in the dust.' Next day his young friend repeating several promises, which he con .. ceived to be adapted to Christians in his situation, he lifted up his hand, in his visual solemn manner, and replied, “ And he is faithful that has promised ; and he will perform,' with an em. phasis peculiar only to such as have an interest in the faithful word of God. After this, he endeavoured to speak again ; and he was heard to say, - Sleep, sleep.' He was asked if he was inclined to “take rest in sleep.' Then collecting his strengih, he made a last cffort, when he distinctly uttered these words, 'Sleep in Jesus will God bring ~ ;' but more could not be heard. It was then replied, “ Yes; those who sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. Thus he exhibited the faith he had of a resurrection, and of his own resurrection to immortal glory and honour. These were the last words of Scripture he was heard to utter : indeed, these were the last words (except cold water, when he wished to drink) that he distinctly articulated, though he made frequent efforts during, the 36 hours he survived this display of his victory over death and the grave; but, from the mo. tion of his lips, it was easy to perceive that he was, carrying on a correspondence with his heavenly Father. He thus coniimed gradually becoming weaker and weaker, till a little after the commencement of Saturday morning, when his soul winged its way XVII.
to the celestial regions, to enjoy, thro' eternal ages, uninterrupted communion and fellowship with a triune Jehovah, reconciled in Christ Jesus, after he had passed a life of 88 years, 3 months, and 19 days, in this world of sin and sorrow. - May we all follow the steps of his who that are now living the life of the righteous! and may our last end be like his, - in peace, joy, and comfort of the Holy Ghost, and to be ever with the Lord! Amen.
19 days, in this who that are hories, - in peaceordt? Amer
. · ON MINISTERS’ SALARIES.
Nor being in the habit of writing for publication, I feel reluctant to communicate my thoughts on the above subject; but a humble hope, that what I offer may possibly be the occasion of some worthy ministers and their families being better provided for, induces me to step out of my usual line. - I apprehend, that the evil complained of arises from various causes; and that if these could be ascertained, a remedy might, in many cases, be applied. One cause, which I do not remember to have seen pointed out, I shall mention : -The want of proper attention in those persons whose particular business it is to attend to these concerns ; I mean the deacons of the church, whose duty is not only to see that the wants of the poor are relieved, but also to take care that a suitable provision be made for the minister and his family.
As example is more impressive than precept, and as actual experiment is often more convincing than a long train of argu. ments, I shall relate the circumstances of a case which took place within the last 10 years, in one of our churches of the Baptist denomination:
At a private meeting of the deacons, for the purpose of settling the mode of collecting the outstanding subscriptions to the pastor, one of them observed, that he thought the money raised for the
ininister was too little in these expensive times ; nor was it what · might reasonably be expected from such a congregation as usually attended; and although the, pastor had neither directly nor indirectly made any complaint, yet it was as much the duty of the deacons to attend to this matter, as if an application had actually been made. After canvassing the matter, some proposed to double, others to increase, their subscription : at the same time they agreed, that (previously to private application being made to individuals) one of their number should address the members of the church, and reqnest their assistance in this business. Accordingly, one of the officers waited on the minister the day the church-meeting was to be held, and informed him, That he would be requested to withdraw, as soon as tbe usual
was finished, lary.
The subject, as he
business of the church was finished, in order that the members might by spoken to respecting his salary. The good man modestly desired that nothing might be said on this subject, as he had no complaint to make, and was satisfied with what the people raised for him. He was answered, That as the matter was taken up from a sense of duty, it must proceed. I do not remember all that was said after the minister retired; but thus much occurs to my recollection : - The speaker, after stating that the deacons were of opinion that the income raised for the minister was not sufficient, observed how reasonable it was that the man who gave the whole of his time and talents to promote the best interest of a people, should have an adequate provision for the supply of all his wants: he, therefore, trusted the members wonld consider the case, and cheerfully give their assistance. He concluded by saying, he hoped none would consider what had been said as an exhortation to benevolence; but as a call upon them to do justice ; ' for even so hath the Lord ordained, that they who preach the gospel should live of the gospel. ---Suflice it to say, that the subscriptions were increased to upwards of 501. more than in any former year; and have gradually been increasing ever since; for the people esteem it not only their duty, but their privilege, to do any thing that may shew their respect to, and promote the comfort of that man whom God has sent among them, and made a blessing to themselves and families.
. A DEACON.
• ILLUSTRATION OF JOHN VIII. 10–12.3" Jesus said to her (i. e. to the woman taken in adultery) Hath no man condemned thee? She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do į eondemn thee; go, and sin no more.
Some persons have falsely concluded from these words, that our holy Lord seemed to connive at the woman's crime, when he said. Neither do I condemn thee;' but it should be remarked, that he uses the same term in reference to her accusers : Hath no man condemned thee?' Now it is certain, that, in the ordinary sense of the word, they had condemned her,--they had expressed their abhorrence of her sin ; but no man had passed a judicial sentence upon her; nor would our Lord do it, for it was not his office. If the words, therefore, were rendered, by a phrasis which exactly hits the meaning of the Greek word xatarpurw, Hath nobody passed sentence on thee? Neither do I pass sentence on thee, the meaning would be much clearer, and the danger of mistaking the sense would be avoided. - See Campbell in loc.
ILLUSTRATION OF LUKE II. 7. And she brought forth'her first-born Son, and wrapped him in
swaddling clothes, and laid him in a MANGER, because there was no room for them in the inn (or, house allotted to strangers.) :
We are not to conceive of the inn spoken of by the evangelist, as a house of entertainment, as in England, where every suitable accommodation was provided for travellers, and paid for by them. The inn of the artients, and in the east (Katanunc, diversorium) was a large open building, where, under one roof or dome, without partitions, travellers and their cattle were ad. mitted promiscuously. The only division was an area in the middle, for the cattle, separated by a low wall. Around this place, each party had a space allotted, which served for kitchen, parlour, and bed-chamber. Their provisions were such as they brought with them, or purchased on the spot; their own upper garments, &c. served them for bed-clothes, and the saddle for a pillow. The public supplied them only with lodging. Some Travellers formed a kind of partition between themselves and the next company, by curtains from their tents.
It was necessary that there should be a large number of these at Jerusalem, to accommodate the vast multitude of persons who visited it at the great festivals: but in such a small village as Bethlehem, it should seem there was only one: The Inn, (xaraduma); and when Joseph and Mary came thither, it was already full: there was no room for them in the inn.' They were therefore obliged to resort to a still more homely place; for when Jesus was born, his mother laid him in a manger (Ev in patin); which supposes that the place in which the manger was formed was a stable, - a place distinct from the house allotted to strangers,' and still meaner. Tradition says it was a cave; and it seems very probable ; for Justin Martyr, who wrote about the middle of the second century, says, that when Joseph could find no place in the village of Bethlehem to lodge in, he betook him. self to a cave near it; and that when they were there, Mary bore the Messiah, and laid him in a manger :' Ev palm. Such natural cayes as could, in a strait, afford shelter both to men and cattle, were not uncommon in that country (we have such about Nottingham, &c. in our own country); and the hospitality of the people might induce them to take some pains to render them tolerably commodious; at least to furnish them with mangers for the cattle. Origen, who wrote in the third century, confirms the tradition, by saying, That at Bethlehem, they showed the cave wherein Jesus was born, and the manger in which he was swathed.' The place was not properly a stable, in our sense of the word,-a house only for catile, and attached to an inn ; but
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