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employed in honourable and public spirited efforts, and servent prayers, for its welfare; in promoting peace and good order; in encouraging useful knowledge; and in ditlusing, as far as in him lies, undefiled religion. From his country it spreads also over the world ; in unceasing supplications for the deliverance of his fellow-men from the bondage of corruption, and their translation into the glorious liberty of the sons of God. From this world it makes excursions also at times into the distant regions of the Universe, on the wings of ardent good-will; with delightful premonitions of that happy period, when his own mind shall be actively and eternally engaged in producing and communicating blessings throughout the immeasurable kingdom of virtue. Like the slothful man, he seeks for daily ease; but it is the ease, which flows from the efforts of a diligent mind, and rewards the labours of an industrious life. Like the prodigal he scatters abundantly; but he scatters blessings, and not curses, to himself and to others. Like the ambitious man, he seeks for honour and distinction; but it is for the honour of immortality, and the distinction attached to the sons of God. Like the avaricious man, he continually hoards up; but it is treasure in the heavens. Like the man of Science, he applies eagerly to the attainment of knowledge ; but it is the knowledge of God, of Christ, and of Heaven; the knowledge of his duty, of his soul, and of his end. Like the accomplished man, he aims at grace and elegance ; but it is elegance of mind, and the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which in the sight of God is of great price. Like the man of moderation and decency, he aims at being safe and comfortable, peaceful and beloved; but it is the peace of forgiven sin; the comfort of an approving conscience; the safety which is found in Christ; and the love of Christians, of Angels, and of God.
To him it is of little import, in what station of life he is found; if it be the most useful station, for which he is qualified. If it be humble, he is satisfied; because it is appointed by Him, who knows and chooses far better than he himself can choose. If more elevated; he only becomes more careful to fill the station with usefulness and duty. Hence the cares and fears, the disappointments and mortifications, which harass his companions, are removed far from him. Troubles he must unquestionably find. Of
Defects he will undoubtedly be the subject. His disposition to
Thus he passes through life, not in a dull stagnation, but in an
While this man lives, he is a blessing to all around him. It is good for the world that he was born, and that he has sojourned here below. Throughout eternity, governed by the same spirit, he will prove an accession to the universe; a blessing to the great kingdom of Jehovah.
Like the rest of mankind, he must however die. From this vale of tears he must be released; and Death is the method of release appointed by his Maker. As a release he regards it from
pain and fear, from sin and sorrow. Familiar to his eye by daily contemplation, and disarmed by the Mediation of Christ. Death, to him, has ceased ..) be the king of terrors. On the contrary, he is considered as a messenger from Heaven, rude indeed, and rough, and forbidding; but sent on a benevolent errand, and bring. ing merely the summons to call him home. With the
peace, , which Christ left as a rich legacy to all his faithful followers, he closes his eyes in sleep, and calmly resigns up his Spirit into the hands of his heavenly Father.
This man, in my view, has so run in the race of life, as to obtain THE Prize.
MINISTERS AND THEIR COVVERTS A MUTUAL REJOIC.
ING IN THE DAY OF CHRIST.
PREACHED TO THE CANDIDATES FOR THE BACCALAUREATE
IN 1803 AND 1813.
1 THESSALONIANS ii. 19.
For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even
ye, in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ, at his coming ?
Paul, with his fellow-labourers, Silas and Timothy, being directed by the Holy Ghost to go from Asia into Macedonia, passed over to Philippi, and gathered a church in that city. Hence they went to Thessalonica; and gathered another. Here, however, they were persecuted by the Jews. Paul, the chief object of their hatred, departed, therefore, to Berea. His persecutors followed him thither; and forced him to betake himself to Athens. From that city he proceeded to Corinth. Thus for a long time he was absent from Thessalonica ; and, although exceedingly desirous to revisit the church, which he had founded there, was prevented by certain hindrances, which he has alluded to, but not described.
During his absence various objections, which he has specified in this Epistle, were by the Jews, and Greeks, of Thessalonica raised up against the Divine origin and authority of the Gospel. Among these were his flight, and the length of his absence. From these facts his adversaries argued, and endeavoured to persuade his converts, that he was an impostor; and not a messenger of God nor a friend to them. His flight they seem to have urged as a proof of his cowardice, and his absence, as satisfactory evidence, that he was regardless of the Thessalonian Christians.
The efforts of these malignant men appear to have alarmed the fears of the Apostle. To prevent their effect on the minds of his followers, he replied in this Epistle to the objections, made against him, and against the Gospel. Among the answers to those, made against him, the text contains one, remarkable for the extraordinary sentiment expressed in it, and for the affectionate manner in which it is communicated. “For what is my hope, or my joy, or my crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye, in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ, at his coming ?? Look at my life; and behold it made up of labours, and sufferings. What hope can I propose; what joy can I find, but in your conversion, and eternal life? This world is only hostile to me; and yields me neither rest nor safety. If, therefore, I am disposed to indulge any hope, or to expect any reward; it must lie beyond the grave. It must be furnished by you, my own converts ; turned by my preaching from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God. In you, of course, my affections must centre with a sincerity and strength, which distance cannot change, nor time impair. Vain, therefore, and groundless, are the allegations of your enemies, and mine ; when they insinuate, that I do not regard you with the tenderness of a parent, and the fidelity of an Apostle.
It is not to be supposed, that the Thessalonian converts were dearer to St. Paul than others, who had become Christians under his ministry. Unquestionably, he, who addressed the Romans, whom he had never seen, in terms so affectionate, could not but regard his own converts, universally, with the strongest attachment. Accordingly, he addresses the very sentiment, contained in the text, to the Corinthians : “ As also ye have acknowledged us in part, that we are your rejoicing, even as ye are ours, in the day of the Lord Jesus.” To the Philippians he addresses it again. - Among whom ye shine as lights in the world; holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain. Yea, and if I be offered upon the sacrifice, and service of your faith; I joy, and rejoice, with you all.” Indeed, the text itself very obviously holds out to us the same truth. “For what is our hope, or joy? Are not xos veis, ye also ?" ye, as well as others, “who elsewhere under my preaching become followers of the Redeemer?" This