Page images

In short; every minister of Christ, who hopes to say with St. Paul, to me to die is gain, must be able to say with truth, and with him, I am clear from the blood of all men.

In order to this he must consider,

That he stands bound and answerable for a certain number of souls committed to his care; to conduct them to eternal happiness, through a very corrupt world, infinite errors, and powerful enemies :

That therefore he is to spare no pains for their good:-That he is to preach by his example, as well as by his sermons:- That he is to reprove the disorderly with an holy boldness; to awaken the consciences of the careless by the terrors of the Lord; and to comfort dejected penitents by the mercies of God in Jesus Christ':- That he is to silence gainsayers by the word of truth : to be the salt of the earth, to keep as much as may be his own people from corruption.

In order to this, a good minister of Jesus Christ will find himself obliged to subdue his own passions in the first place; to lay himself under greater restraints than he would lay others, doing nothing unbecoming the fanctity of his character, left he lead his flock to hell, instead of conducting them to heaven.

In one word; the ministers of the gospel, and the ordinances to them intrusted, and by them administered, are the ordinary means by which God does teach, edify, bless, and save


"Afts xx. 26.

his elect. And most certain it is, that their reward will be proportionable to their faithful endeavours for the salvation of their flock.

You have heard, good Christians, what our duty and business is. You are, or may be, partakers of the blessings of our ministrations. -Do not for your own sakes, as well as for ours, add to our burthen, and to our sorrow, by despising our ministry, or make it useless to yourselves by a profane neglect of the ordinances of God.

Remember, that we are the ministers of Jesus Christ; and at the same time do not forget, that the master is always dishonoured when his servants are evil treated, or despised.

I have particularly insisted upon our own duty, being well assured, that if we fail in our's, you will be tempted to fail in your's.

And being also confident, that if we faithfully discharge our own duty, without any base or bye ends, without fearing the face of man ;-if we perform the offices of religion with a devotion becoming so holy a work; if our lives are answerable to the truths we are bound to preach, and to press upon others ;—if we claim no other power or authority over you but what Christ has commanded for your good;—if we exercise no other discipline but such as we are directed to do by God's word, and by the laws of this church and nation ;-then we may be confident, that God will accept our persons, and bless our labours, to your edification, and to our own eternal advantage.

bless factor

And this, as I have the best reason to know, I do, as in the presence of God, affirm, was what our dead friend and brother ever aimed at, and made his constant practice.

He looked upon himself, by his ordination vows, bound to “ minister the discipline of

Christ as the Lord has commanded, and as " this church and nation have received the

same, according to the commandments of « God.”

He was under the obligation of another folemn oath, “ as one of the council of this

land, to the best of his power to defend and “ maintain the ancient laws, statutes, and

customs, proper, and belonging to the Ille, “ and perogatives due to the heirs thereof."

He folemnly declared before he died, that to the best of his understanding, he made these oaths his rule to act by. That he acted according to the best knowledge God had given him, for the honour of God, and the good of this church and nation.

And they are the worst enemies to themselves, if there are any to be found, who will say that he has not acted with great integrity in every branch of his duty, and state of life; -as a most faithful, painful, tender pastor of the flock committed to his care;—as a most charitable disposer of his own and of the church's incomes ;--as an uncommon bene

for my

factor to his parish, and to his unknown suc. cessors;—as a most dutiful son to his parents, and bountiful friend to his relations ;-as a magistrate, entirely free from the least stain of corruption or partiality;-as a Christian, of irreproachable morals, and exemplary life and conversation ;—as a most hospitable entertainer of strangers and persons in distress;and lastly, as a very sincere friend, and most grateful perfon. Would to God that

every one who attends his funeral, may leave the world with the same fair unstained character! -It is the best


I can put up self, or for those that hear me.

It is an exceeding great comfort to the serious part of the living, when they can commit the bodies of their dead friends to the grave, “in sure and certain hopes of a blessed re“surrection.”

And, blessed be God, this is the case before us; as we have just reason to hope for, not only from the judgment of charity, but from his works that follow him, as witnesses of his good life. And all we must follow him very foon, either with or without these testimonies of our good works.

Preserve in us all, O God, a lively sense of the world to come: And grant that we may so live, as that we may, with this our departed brother, die in peace, and rest in hope, and rise in glory, for the Lord Jesus' sake. To whom, &c.


[blocks in formation]



« PreviousContinue »