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to this is added, that from that time their sources of the necessa-
ries of life are in a great measure dried up, a full cup of affliction
must needs be their portion. At first many feel for them, and
weep with them : but time and a number of similar cases wear
away these impressions ; and being unprotected, it is well if they
be not exposed to oppression : and even where there is no partic-
ular want of kindness towards them, yet, their cases being but
little known, are often but little regarded.

The widows and fatherless children of ministers have peculiar..
claims on the benevolence of the churches. The ministerial pro- .
fession, like that of arms, requires the subjects of it, if possible,
not to entangle themselves with the affairs of this life, that they
may please him who has chosen them to be soldiers. On this ground,
a large proportion of ministers, living entirely on the contributions
of their hearers, have no opportunity of providing for their famie
lies after their decease. You, brethren, by the blessing of God
on your diligent attention to business, are generally enabled to
meet this difficulty. You have business in which to bring up your
children from their early years, but they seldom have ; and when

you have taught them an honourable calling, you can spare somerekple thing to set them up in trade, but it is rarely so with them. The great Yet the post occupied by your ministers is honourable and imof the opportant. Regardless of the sneers of the irreligious, they feel it

to be so. To be chosen and approved by a Christian congrega

tion, next to the choice and approbation of Christ, is their highest near the ambition. This honour, however, involves them in circumstances ith the which require your consideration. You expect them to maintain autherlands a respectable appearance, both in their persons and families : but a test li to do this, and at the same time to pay every one his due, often and the renders it impossible to provide for futurity. ictions Our churches, wben in want of ministers, are solicitous to obtain 100 of 2 men of talent. There may be an excess in this desire, especially

where personal godliness is overlooked ; and it is certain that

great talents are far from being common. But view Christian 20. 5 ministers as a body, and we may appeal to you whether they be

not possessed of talents, which, if employed in business, would, or the 7 with the blessing of God ordinarily bestowed on honest industry,

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have rendered both them and their families equally comfortable with you and yours. And shall their having relinquished these temporal advantages to serve the cause of Christ, and to promote your spiritual welfare, be at the expense of the comfort of their widows and children when they bave finished their course ?

In the persecuting times which preceded the Revolution of 1688, our Protestant dissenting forefatherrs had but little encouragement to provide for futurity, as the fruits of their industry were taken from them : but it is not so with us ; our property is secure ; and we are therefore able to contribute to those benev. olent objects which tend to the good of mankind.

It was an object that attracted the attention of our fathers early in the last century, to provide for the widows of their ministers ; and a noble fund it is which was then established in London for the widows of the three denominations. Besides this, a liberal plan has been pursued within the last two and twenty years to increase the sum, by an addition from the profits of a magazine. It is not to supersede these benevolent means of relief, but to add to them according to the exigencies of the times, and to include not only widows, but superannuated ministers and orphans, that societies like ours have of late been formed in various counties and religious connexions.

The case of superannuated ministers, or ministers who by affliction are permanently laid aside from their work, has a serious influence on the well-being of the churches. Where no provision of this kind is made, every humane and Christian feeling revolts at the idea of dismissing an aged and honourable man, even though his work is done. Yet if the congregation continue to support him, they may be unable to support another. The consequence is, in a few years the congregation is dwindled almost to nothing. To meet these cases, along with those of the fatherless and the widow, is the object of this institution.

Brethren, we feel it an honour to be supported by the free contributions of those whom we serve in the gospel of Christ. To receive our support as an expression of love renders it doubly valuable. And it you view things in a right light, you will esteem it a privilege on your part. If your places of worship were ready

built for you, your ministers supported, and their families provided 'for, would it be better? Would you feel equally interested in them? Would you not feel as David did when Araunah the Jebusite offered his, threshing floor, his oxen, and his wood ? Nay, but I will not offer burnt-offerings unto the Lord my God of that which doth cost me nothing:

Should any object, that ministers ought to set an example of trust in their Heavenly Father, who knoweth what things they need, and of leaving their widows and fatherless children with him ; we answer, when all is done that can be done to alleviate their wants; there will be abundant occasion for these graces. The trust that we are called to place in our Heavenly Father does not however preclude the exercise of prudent foresight, either in ourselves, or in the friends of Christ towards us for his sake.

It is one of the most lovely features of our mission in the East, that while our brethren are disinterestedly giving up all their temporal acquirements to the cause in which they are engaged, they have provided an asylum for their widows and orphans ; so that when a Missionary dies, he has no painful anxiety what is to become of them. They have a home, which some have preferred to their native country. Is it any distrust of the Lord's goodness to be thus tender of those who are flesh of their flesh, and bone of their bone, and who have helped to bear the burden of their cares? Say rather, Is it not a truly Christian conduct? But if 50, why should we not go and do likewise ?

It is one of the most endearing traits in the character of our Lord Jesus Christ, that while the salvation of the world was pending, be did not neglect to provide for his aged mother, Joseph is thought to have been dead for some years, and Mary seems to have followed Jesus, who, while upon earth, discharged every branch of filial duty and affection towards her. But now that he is going to his Father, who shall provide for her ? Looking down from the cross on her, and on his beloved disciple, he saith to the one, Behold thy son ! and to the other, Behold thy mother! What exquisite sensibility do these words convey. To ber it was saying, Consider me as living in my beloved disciple ; and to him, Vol. VIII

60

Consider my mother as your own. It is no wonder that from that time that disciple took her to his own home.

We live in times very eventful ; and it cannot have escaped** your observation that the success of the gospel has kept pace with the mighty changes which have agitated the world. Never, perhaps, were there such great calls on your liberality as of late years, and never were more honourable exertions made. Yet God that giveth us all things richly to enjoy, has not suffered us to want, and has promised to supply all our need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

MISCELLANEOUS ESSAYS,

&c.

TRACTS.

ORATION DELIVERED AT THE GRAVE OF THE REV.

ROBERT HALL, OF ARNSBY.

March, 1791.

DEAR FRIENDS,

You have often assembled with pleasure, in company with your beloved friend and faithful pastor; but that pleasure is over, and you are now met together with very different feelings, to take your last farewell of his remains !

What can I say to you, or wherewith shall I comfort you? The dissolving of the union between near relations, and the breaking up of long and intimate connexions, are matters that must needs affect us. That providence which at one stroke separates a husband from his wife, a father from his children, a pastor from his people, and a great and greatly beloved man of God from all his connexions, cannot do other than make us feel. Indeed we are allowed to feel on such occasions, in moderation ; at the grave of his friend Lazarus, Jesus wept.

But should we exceed the bounds of moderation, should our mourning under the hand of God border upon murmuring against

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