Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

put some lights into a drawing which I had Day beginning to dawn, he looked out of the finished some months before, and even so late as window; and I remarked half past six o'clock he told me to put up his own “What a glorious day is dawning on you, my drawing of Staffa, in order that he might look at dearest !" it.

He assented with a look of joy. At half past eleven at night, the thermometer I said, “ There will be no sun and no moon baving fallen considerably, I shut the window, there ; for the Lamb will be the light thereof." and told him my reason. In a minute he called Looking fixedly, before him, he murmured, me to his bedside, told me to keep a good fire for Christ, “angels," “ beautiful,” “magnifimyself, but to open all the windows and doorz as cent,” “ delightful; and then turning to me, much as I could bear. He then complained of with a look as if re-assuring me, “Indeed it is." great embarrassment in his respiration, and ex- At one time he said, “This suffering is little to pressed a doubt whether he should get through what Christ suffered on the cross." the night.

I quoted, “But our light affliction, which is I nade some parting observations. He re- but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exjoined, “I will not make speeches; but I have ceeding and eternal weight of glory; while we two things to say."

look not at the things which are seen, but at The first was an affectionate farewell to myself. the things which are not seen ; for the things which In reply, I reminded him of the superior satisfac- are seen are temporal, but the things which are tion be possessed of having promoted my happi- not seen are eternal." ness, not only in this world, but also, as I trusted, A few minutes afterwards he said, “I thank in the world to come.

God!" And these were the last connected words He answered meekly, “ It was not I.”

which he spoke. Here he was interrupted by coughing. When I also read several texts, to which he assented he was again quiet I reminded him that he had either by word or sign. I continued to do so at another thing to say, and begged him to take intervals so long as he breathed; but he soon the earliest opportunity of doing so. He then ceased to respond, though he must have heard added, “The second is soon said. Christ is all them, as he gave the following sign of consciousin all to me. I have no hope but in him. He ness. is indeed all in all.”

At ten minutes past four, being tired of standI quoted “Though I walk through the valley ing, I removed to the opposite side, and sat down of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil ; for on the bed. He missed me immediately, and, folthou art with me: thy rod and thy staff they lowing the sound of my voice as I continued recomfort me.” He said, “ They do comfort me. peating texts, turned his head with great effort There is no darkness. I see Jordan, and the hea- towards me, and, grasping my hand, gave me a venly Joshua passing over dry shod.”

dying look. Throughout the night, when awake, he was His hold relaxed immediately; and he gave no perfectly calm and collected. At his request I further sign of consciousness, except occasionally read the fifteenth chapter of the 1st Corinthians ; turning his eyes to me.

He continued to breathe and at a later period he begged me to repeat till twenty-three minutes past four, when he slept texts, which I did from time to time. He fre- in Jesus. guently asked whether I was cold or tired; made What a peaceful close to an active and faithful inquiries as to whether I was adequately clothed, life! How completely the fear of death was taken and proved, in various ways, that he retained his away! How thoroughly all regrets at his early faculties, and his characteristic solicitude for doom, at prospects so bright and so suddenly overothers. He also directed me what medicines to cast, at so abrupt and final a termination to all his give him, how to prepare them, altering the quan- labours, and studies, and projects for the benefit of tities, and making medical observations from time his fellow-creatures, were quenched in the anticito time on his state.

pation of approaching glory* ! At ten minutes to two he said, “You see it Does it not prove the justice of his favourite will not do;" and repeatedly urged me to go to position, that, " if religion was any thing, it must rest, “as I must be tired," promising to waken be every thing”? and bear out the conclusion of me when he came to the last !

the celebrated William Grimshaw, addressed to At ten minutes past three he left a parting mes- Mr. Romaine, in the year 1763,"When I die, sage for Theodore, directing him always to pray I shall then have my greatest grief and my greatto God. He then begged me not to make him est joy; my greatest grief that I have done so speak, as it would cause him to go sooner. A little for Jesus; and my greatest joy, that Jesus minute after, he suid in a quick, lively tone, and has done so much for me?" with a smile of joy: “ I am going now: I shall soon sleep."

* This was no passing or evanescent feeling. One day he “And you will wake again ?”

met Dr. Chambers in consultation at the house of a patient; 6 Yes."

and, having alluded to his approaching death, Dr. Chambers I quoted “Those that sleep in Jesus will God kindly answered that he ought not to despond, for that he

would be quite well yet.” Dr. Hope stopped him with an bring with him."

assurance that he needed not to be thus cheered, for that he “ He will."

was well aware of his condition; that, besides, the nature of Thinking he was going immediately, I said, Dr. Chambers

' communication was not cheering, for he should “Lord Jesus, receive his spirit.”

be sorry to be detained long from his heavenly inheritance, This he repeated after me three or four times, and to exchange its prospect for the toils of his profession. and also some other things, of which I only caught the words “God," i Christ,” “triumph.”.

[ocr errors]

upon him

THE CHRISTIAN MINISTRY :

no light matter; but there is an especial sense

in which the minister of God is * chosen to a Sermon,

serve him." He is outwardly “chosen and

called to this work by men who have public BY THE REV. F. B. ASHLEY,

authority given unto them" in the church : Vicar of Wooburn, Bucks.

he is inwardly brought to it; for he declares

that he “thinks in his heart that he is truly 2 CHRON. xxix. 11.

called;" that he “trusts that he is inwardly

moved by the Holy Ghost to take “ Be not now negligent; for the Lord hath chosen this office and ministration.' Thus is he you to stand before him, to serve him, and that ye peculiarly“ not his own :” he is set apart by

the church to the service of the temple, that HEZEKIAH lamented the desolations that ex- he may give himself wholly to this office," isted, and directed this pathetic address and “and draw all his cares and studies this exhortation to the priests and Levites. He way." He is not only called to be a saint, would have them stirred up to increased exer- but to be a messenger and “servant of Jesus tions in cleansing and adorning God's tem- Christ;' “separated unto the gospel of ple. There was filthiness to be taken away, God,” by him who “counted him faithful, incense to be burned, and burnt offerings to putting him into the ministry.” Such is the be made unto the God of Israel. Now we real minister. He must be one under the inare called together to-day from our respective fluence of God the Holy Spirit. External spheres of labour, where we have a spiritual work may be done by the natural man; but temple to serve, by holding forth the word of spiritual work must be effected by living life, by pointing to the “one oblation once principles. If spiritually dead, he does not offered," and by the incense of prayer burn- feel the weight of responsibility: if spiritually ing in our hearts : so the subject of the blind, he does not see the danger in which Christian ministry generally may furnish us unconverted souls are: he must have felt his with profitable matter for contemplation. own need, and experienced the grace of

Each of us, I doubt not, must be painfully Christ, and thence long to tell others of him. Beusible that much remains to be done : He must have tasted of the love of Jesus, much corruption cleaves to ourselves; and we to have a yearning love for his fellow-sinners' are ever liable to lose a sense-a deep and souls. He must have an experimental acdue sense-of our great responsibility, while quaintance with the faithfulness, power, and multitudes of precious souls in our parishes transcendent grace, and all-sufficiency of need to be converted to God, and cleansed Christ, ere he can speak with feeling, with from the filthiness of the flesh and spirit, that power, or with truth, of his Redeemer's unthey may be as “polished stones” in Christ's searchable riches to others. Without this he temple. Therefore every stirring call in the is but a blind guide, a sign-post without arms. word of God to ministerial diligence and duty O, my brethren, are we not in a position of may well fall on our hearts as from the lips which we need well ponder the solemnity of our divine Master : “ Be not now negli and responsibility ? Are we not apt to think gent; for the Lord hath chosen you to stand too lightly of our post, “ chosen to stand bebefore him, to serve him, and that ye should fore God and serve him?" And, when we think minister unto him, and burn incense.' of the awful consequences to ourselves and

The pulpit is an awful place on usual oc- others, if we are ignorant, faithless, or indocasions, and I feel it not to be less so now ; lent, and miscarry, can we too seriously, too but, though under a deep sense of my own deeply, too anxiously bethink ourselves of the unworthiness, I would in all humility and peculiarity of our office, and our solemnly simplicity seek to speak every word to the affecting situation? It is, I think, a good honour of our Lord. May he be present, and plan, and one I have no doubt adopted by bless the consideration of the subject to us, so many, to read over, to study prayerfully, the that we may partake more of his Spirit, and ordination-service at least once in every year, give ourselves more fully to that blessed and in order to sustain and deepen our appreglorious work, in which we are labourers to- hension of our station, duties, and responsigether with God.

bility. “The Lord hath chosen you to stand Our position, or calling, leads us next to before him, to serve him." All God's chil consider its object. The object of our office dren are called “ to serve him ;” and this is is the glory of God in the salvation of sin

Fallen men are utterly depraved and * Preached in Wycombe church, on Wednesday, May 31, 1848, at the visitation of the venerable the archdeacon of lost, slaves to the world and the prince of Bucks.

this world, unable to do or even think what is

ners.

right from good and acceptable motives; and Father, was accomplished in the life and the object of the ministry is to restore such sufferings of the Eternal Son, and is applied to the favour and image of God, to direct with power and energy by God the Holly them to the ark of Christ's church, to bring Ghost. It is divine in counsel, divine in the them into the fold of the chief Shepherd and justice which it exacts, divine in the mercy Bishop of souls, that in him they may be which it proclaims, and divine in its saving children of God and heirs of heaven. It is and sanctifying effects. It is “the gospel of not only to “bring them into the fold, but to the grace of God," the free, rich, sovereign feed them in the fold, and to lead them on- grace and unmerited love, which you and I ward to the heavenly fold." It is "to teach, are commissioned to declare faithfully, boldly, premonish, to feed, and provide for the Lord's and affectionately to our fellow-sinners. We family,” and “ to seek for his sheep that are are to declare it faithfully; for we are stewards dispersed abroad, that they may be saved of the mysteries of God, and will be called to through Christ for ever." So great, so an account. We are to preach it with all blessed, so glorious an end, that the choice boldness; for many “ will not endure sound it as the object of our lifc is the highest doctrine,” and “the fear of man bringeth a and holiest end for which we could live, and snare. We are to deliver it affectionately ; may I not add, the wisest? for “he who win- for we are but frail, weak, earthen vessels neth souls is wise."

ourselves, and may well have feeling, symBut what is the means whereby this won- pathy, and tenderness for souls in that snare, derful result is to be effected? The effectua- out of which we profess to believe we have, tion of it rests solely with the Supreme; for, by the grace of God, been recovered, and, as “ he who made the world can alone maké while we are faithful to their eternal interests, a minister,” so it is God only who can con- we must “ speak the truth in love;" while we vert a sinner. But, in his infinite condescen- seek that the word may be as an arrow to the sion, he employs man-unworthy vile earth soul, are energetic and earnest, and close and -on this stupendous errand of mercy. Yes, wrestle with the doubts and difficulties of the brethren, upon us devolves the delightful mind and conscience, we must not be wanting labour of carrying a message of mercy to our in persuasive arguments, fervent beseechings, fellow-sinners ; not to speak our own words, and affecting addresses to the heart. not to devise any human methods, but to de- What an example we have of the ministerial liver our commission as faithful ambassadors, character in 1 Thess. ii. “We were bold in to take God's charter of salvation, and our God to speak unto you the gospel of God “preach the word.”. Leaving human sys- with much contention:"" As we were allowed tems, we are to speak all that the scripture of God to be put in trust with the gospel, speaks, and as the scripture speaks, in the even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but same unqualified way, not as though we were God which trieth the hearts :” “Nor of men wiser than its Author. There we find the sought we glory;" “but we were gentle way whereby God can be just, and yet justify among you, even as a nurse cherisheth her him that believeth in Jesus. While man children :” “ For:ye remember, brethren, our would in part or in whole have the justifying labour and travail.” Here we see the aposof himself, God has propounded a plan, which, tle's faithfulness, and his manner, uniting the while it exalts the Saviour alone, humbles, boldness of the lion with the most tender feelsanctifies, and saves the sinner. “God so ing—the tenderness of woman.

And we loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten must seek to follow him, as he followed Son, that whosoever believeth in him should Christ, in self - sacrifice, long-suffering, not perish, but have everlasting life” (John patience, gentleness, compassion, and holy m. 16). This is the gospel. It proclaims love firmness, with meekness of wisdom. Again : from heaven, that it may produce love on what an example we have of his doctrine earth, grateful love from man; and here is the when he says, “I count all things but loss principle of all acceptable obedience. The for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ love of God has provided an all-sufficient Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered atonement for sin in the sufferings and death the loss of all things, and do count them but of Jesus, and an all-perfect righteousness for dung, that I may win Christ, and be found in the justification of the believer in the life of him; not having my own righteousness which bis dear Son. The justice of God exacted on is of the law, but that which is through the the cross of the Holy One the penalty due to faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of us; so that a channel is opened for his mercy God by faith :" “ I determined not to know to mankind, and “the kingdom of heaven anything among you, save Jesus Christ and opened to all believers.” Here is a scheme him crucified;" " for we preach not ourwhich originated in the love of the Almighty selves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and our

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

selves your servants for Jesus' sake!” And | Christ the believer is “a new creature," a he tells us what the effect of this course new creation (Kalvn KTLOIS); and from Christ was among the Thessalonians : “The word of does he draw his life, and bring forth the God which ye heard of us, ye received it not fruits of the Spirit. The faith which has as the word of men, but as it is in truth the brought him to the Saviour purifies and word of God, which effectually worketh also sanctifies bim : it leads him to sit at the feet in you that believe.” Here we see the of Jesus, and learn of him; to the sceptre of power of the Christian minister: it is to hold Jesus, to be ruled by him; and to the footsteps up Christ as the alpha and omega, the all and of Jesus, to follow him. Christ is “the Lord in all; and, as Christ lives in the heart, so his Righteousness;" but how came he su? Christ will be the life of our ministry. Because his whole life, from the manger to

But “wherefore then serveth the law”? Calvary, was a fulfilment of every jot and The law has its scriptural and necessary uses. tittle of the law. Therefore, his steps, his And, as our ministry will be dead if we put it holy, faithful, self-denying example, must lead in the place of the gospel, so will a professed all his disciples to track the precepts of the gospel be uninfluential in the life if the law law. Love to his Lord is the Christian,s conbe neglected. The gospel, while it fulfils straining principle: the spirit of bondage is the types and shadows of the ceremonial law, cast away, and he serves in the Spirit of adopbrings out the moral law in all its original tion. His obedience and service is not a servile purity and spiritual extent. Its exceeding task-work to a hard master, but a willing, breadth, reaching to the thoughts and intents grateful, unreserved obedience, and hearty laof the beart, convinces of sin. Its demand of bour of love to a tender Father. He“ delights perfect, entire, unceasing obedience shows in the law after the inner man;" and thus is the the impossibility of by it being justified be- decalogue transferred from tables of stone to fore God. Its condemning power, when the fleshy table of the heart*. But, though manifested to the soul, drives the sinner to love is the principle, our hearts are deceitful; the Saviour. Over each one out of Christ, and this principle is subject to incessant vaevery unrepentant, unconverted sinner, it riations ; therefore the believer needs the law hangs its bitter curse: “Cursed is every one as a standard. By applying it as a rule of that continueth not in all things which are life he is ever kept low in his own eyes : he is written in the book of the law to do them" not only brought to the cross, but kept there: (Gal. iii. 10). Thus, with the accompanying the Saviour becomes increasingly precious to grace of God, is it “the schoolmaster to lead him: he is ever brought nearer and nearer to us to Christ.”

The believer there finds an Jesus, to a closer walk with God, and a infinite expiation for his sin, and a divine growing conformity to his image. Thus, righteousness to clothe him with acceptance though he is accounted righteous by the before God. He offends not the infinite holi- merits of Christ im puted, he walks in holiness of God by pleading the filthy rags of ness by the grace of God in him; and, while his own righteousness: he points to the the righteousness which justifies and saves atonement on Calvary, and pleads a fulfilled him is perfect and imputed, the holiness law, an immaculate, a divine obedience; and which renders him meet for heaven is inthus is the law established, magnified, and ward, and, though imperfect, real, and promade honourable, and God's justice magni- gressive. fied equally with bis mercy : the penalties of Preaching the word, then, is the grand the law are met, and its requirements main- means, in the hands of God, of restortained to the uttermost; so that, while the ing fallen man to holiness and happiness : believingsinner is restored to God's favour and the word is the sword of the Spirit;" the family, all the divine attributes are manifested law humbles, the gospel comforts, and “the in fullest harmony and richest effulgence. truth sanctifies.” The scripture expounded But this is not all: justification ever and applied, unfolded and enforced

not originates sanctification. If it were a mere only the mind instructed, but the heart inlogical matter, it might be otherwise ; but it fluenced; not only doctrine laid down, but has to do with the heart rather than the mind. led to its legitimate result in the character“ Being justified by faith, we have peace is the great means of breaking down the with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” natural man, and building up the new man. It is the work of the Holy Spirit within re- In short, the gospel is the only remedy for conciles the heart to God and to holiness, perishing man: the blood of Jesus, applied sheds abroad the love of God, and gives the by the Holy Ghost can alone give peace, and Spirit of adoption. Where the Holy Ghost reconcile the heart to God. dwells sanctification must proceed: hence

* See "Church and Churches." By the rev. Dr. Mc Neil. saving faith always produces a holy life. In Messrs. Hatchard.

[ocr errors][merged small]

But we are called not only to teach the gently entered into, and also impressively “ doctrine according to godliness,” but to ad- administered, such become admirable helps minister the sacraments ordained by Christ. to connect the people with the sanctuary, spiThese are precious means of grace, not to be ritualize their minds, and lead them to look lightly esteemed. In neither does the mere to God in every thing. Preparation for the oatward sign become necessarily the chan- rite of confirmation, as also for partaking of nel of grace, but in both, by faith and prayer, the holy sacrament of the Lord's supper, the richest blessing may be confidently ex. form especial and precious reasons for seekpected. In the one we dedicate the lambs ing to sow the word in the hearts of our of the flock to the chief Shepherd for his charge, and endeavouring to melt and win blessing, and admit them into the fold to them to the Saviour. figat under his banner. In the other we The messenger of Jesus Christ, whose efhave the most significant emblems of Christ ficiency is of such everlasting consequence to crucified set before our eyes for a continual the souls of men, has need, and is called to remembrance of redeeming love, and feast at use all means for touching the hearts of his his table in repentance, faith, charity, and people, for awaking the dead in sin, consoling praise. It is the place where the minister the penitent, directing the inquirer, raising loves to meet his people; but it were a pro- the fallen, and“ for the perfecting the saints” fanation of the sacrament if we urged any to (Eph. iv. 12), that they may wax stronger in the table without the work of grace in their faith, and ripen in fruitfulness. And, though hearts. Here is manifested the disciples' this spiritual result is the object of our miniscontinuance in the faith, and we see the num- try, external means which conduce to this ber of faithful members of Christ; and, alas! end are not to be neglected. As a building who can look to his speculum gregis, and needs scaffolding, so a church needs ordiwithout weeping compare his list of commu- nances and discipline. And methinks the nicants with the number of never-dying souls discipline of the established church might be in his parish, of whom he must give an ac- more applied with advantage. As we are count.

not to over-magnify the ecclesiastical polity of Our admirable liturgy, too, should not be the church, and place it in the stead of Christ passed over; for there our people are led to for salvation, or substitute the external form pour out their hearts in devotion. None can for the inward principle, or the fulfilment of enter cordially into its language without feel the ordinance for the devotion of the heart ; ing how deeply it is imbued with the spirit of so we should not run into the opposite ex. scripture; how low it lays the sinner; how treme of undervaluing the sacraments, and high it exalts the Saviour, pleading his the anthority of an apostolical episcopacy, blessed name as our only and all-sufficient and of leaving all rules and order to be hope, and how earnestly it implores the grace utterly disregarded. A sound mind sees of God's Spirit for newness of life. As has beauty in order and regularity; and loose been said by one, and he not of our own churchmanship will never make matured church,“ the evangelical purity of its senti- and established Christians. Parochial disments, the chastened fervour of its devotion, cipline, too, if kindly, gently, and judiand the majestic simplicity of its language ciously brought into action, will be a happy combine to place it in the very front rank of means, tending to make each individual feel uninspired compositions*.” So that as our bis position in the church, the high and holy articles ought to be the standard of our doc- profession he makes, his duties and responsitrine, and our homilies the standard of our bilities, his blessed privileges, if faithful, and teaching, we may well take our liturgy as the his awful danger, if with a name to live he standard of our devotion.

is dead.” Again : the various offices in our church, Bat, besides the regular official duties of baptism, marriage, churching, and burial, the minister, much depends upon his perall form so many links between thé sonal intercourse with his flock. He is to minister and his flock. If lightly per- be instant in season and out of season ; to formed, they weaken the ties of religion, and, testify not only publicly, but “from house to with the poor and ignorant degenerate into house,” “repentance towards God, and faith little better than a mere superstition; and, towards the Lord Jesus Christ;" not to conif the party subsequently becomes a subject fine his visits to those in ease and comfort, of grace, that church is disesteemed in which but go bible in hand amid scenes of wretchedthey were suffered to enter on solemn duties ress and degradation, where only Christian as a mere form. But, when the office is love can carry him ; forget_self, “and go previously explained, and the service intelli- after that which is lost.” He must go in * Robert Hall.

and out among his people, know them and

[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »