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TO THE REVEREND
DR. THOMAS WILSON,
Rector of St. Stephen's Walbrook, Prebendary of Westminster,
Chaplain to his Majesty, &c. SIR, IN obedience to your request, I send you the Sermon preached
at the Funeral of your mof worthy Father, our late most excellent Bihop. I am very fenfible of its inequality to the merits of so great and good a man; but for this, all just allowances will be made by the candid and ingenuous, when it is considered what disadvantages we labour under here, so remote from the sources of science and learning. In this view, it is submitted to your favour and indulgence, by, Sir, Your very obedient humble servant,
and sincere friend,
Douglas, March 29, 1755.
N this Psalm we have exemplified the chapious man; as also an account of the rewards which God has promised and annexed to his holiness and virtue.
The first and principal part of his character is, that he fears God; which is the beginning. of all true wisdom, and the sure foundation of all virtue and goodness.
The second, his obedience to the divine commandments. For thus we have it: Blessed is the man that feareth the Lord, that delightet) greatly in his commandments.
The next part of the good man's character is, his beneficence and justice to mankind; according to ver. 4, He is merciful, loving, and righteous.
Another valuable part of his character is, his prudence and good æconomy in the management of his affairs and words; for those he will guide with discretion.
The conclusive part of his character is, his Charity. The good man is merciful, and lendeth. He hath dispersed abroad, and given to
This, I say, is a short sketch of the good man's character, as pointed out as described in this Psalm. Let us next observe and see the rewards promised him.
First, and in general, that he is blessed; blessed with such a competency of wealth and honour as God in his wisdom sees necessary, proper, and convenient, for his rank and station in the world. This is as much as any man can reasonably expect, and much more than the worthiest, and most deserving, can properly merit.
2dly. He is blessed with tranquillity and peace of mind in all stations of life, from a fixed and determined assurance of the divine protection. He enjoys' that peace of God which passeth all understanding,—that peace, which as the world cannot give, fo neither can it take away. His heart is established, and will not shrink: for his heart standeth fast, and confideth in the Lord.
A good man's security for happiness is founded on the promises of God; which never did, nor ever will, fail or disappoint the man that trusted in him. For though many may sometimes be the troubles of the righteous, yet God, in mercy, finally delivers him out of all.
If we take the generality of good, of charitable, and pious men, we shall, on comparifon, find them evermore easier, happier, and more secure in their stations, than wicked and oppressive men, who can have no claim to the divine protection.
That the man who refts fecure on the providence of God, will neither be lightly elated with prosperity, nor much dejected with grief or fear, on a change of his condition:
That neither the assaults of wicked men, nor wicked spirits, can vanquish his integrity; for that will he hold fast, and not let it go; his heart shall not reproach him as long as he lives.
When any calamity or distress befals him, he is not borne down with the sudden shock; but his hopes and spirits are supported by his firm dependance on a good and gracious God; whose dispensations, however seemingly severe, he knows, and is assured, are ultimately intended for his greater good, and in the end will be infinitely more to his advantage, than if left entirely to the direction of his own choice. For, surely, the righteous shall not be moved for ever: For death, instead of removing, fixes him in an eternal state of happiness, glory, and immortality. This is the grand point in view ;--the sole end of all his hopes, all his labours;—the crown and perfection of his personal happiness.
He is not only happy and blessed in his own person, but in every thing else that belongs to him, his relations, his friends, and dependants.
But above, and beyond all these, he is blessed in that happy memorial of a good and excellent name, which he leaves behind him amongst men. For the memory of the just is blessed: and the righteous shall be bad in everlasting remembrance.
And this is just the case and character of this great and good man, our Right Reverend and most worthy Father in God, whofe funeral we are here assembled to folemnize.
I shall not pretend to give you here a history of his life; that will require more confideration than the shortness of the present time will allow me.
It will require a much abler hand to do this subject justice, and better information than I can at present procure.
I shall therefore, bespeak your favour and indulgence, whilft I attempt to lay before you fome considerations, tending to thew how greatly, how eminently, this great and worthy personage was qualified with all the requisites that compose the essential character of a good and excellent man, as described in this Psalm from whence the text is taken.
And in consequence of this, that he is entitled, through the mercy of God in Jesus Christ, to the general reward of that bleffed