« EelmineJätka »
cut, the soul is disengaged from the cumbrous clod of earth in which it was imprisoned, flies to regions above, and towers on the wings of Cherubim, to that celestial city whither it had often fled before on the wings of faith, and hope, and strong desire. A convoy of angels attended till the happy spirit was released from its prison, after which, the heavenly escort conducts it to the promised rest. The gates of the New Jerusalem are thrown open wide, to admit the blessed stranger, whom Immanuel waits to introduce to His kingdom, and to clasp to his heart. Then the righteous, who had hope in his death, enters into glory, amidst the congratulatory salutations of kindred spirits, enters through the infinite merit of the blood of atonement: enters like the weary traveller arriving joyfully, though fatigued, at his journey's end : enters like an exile returning from a long captivity, to his native home: enters triumphant, as a victor loaded with spoils, and crowned with conquest, after a severe campaign : enters like some richly laden vessel with all its sails crowded to the wind. Thus the righteous enters, while every golden harp is new strung to shout him welcome to the celestial city, and every voice is exerted in singing, Open ye the gates that the righteous may enter in !
What a glorious exchange of sickness and pain for everlasting rest and peace-of a ruinous tabernacle, for a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens-of a howling wilderness, for the Heavenly Canaan, the palace of angels, the city of God-of the groanings of corruption and sin, for the songs of the redeemed -of the cross for the crown-of the earth with all its distractions, vanities and vicissitudes and woes, for the beatitude of Heaven, and the rapturous enjoyment of the vision of God."
—“Happy day! that breaks our chain;
Of elder brothers, to our Father's throne !"
III. Claims our attention: An application of these principles to the melancholy occurrence which has called us together. I stand before you, brethren, not to make a hasty or unmeaning panegyric; but it is due to you, to the bereaved family of our dear brother, to the Church, and to myself, to offer some particular appropriate remarks; and lest I should run the risk both of wearying your patience by unnecessary prolixity, and of carrying the subject beyond the measure of my own strength, I propose to take some leading points, and confine both my own, and your attention, to their consideration.
1. Our deceased brother was a man whose early years corresponded with the exhortation of the wise man, Remember thy Creator in the days of thy youth.”.
Our brother was early impressed with the importance of eternal things. At the age of thirteen years, he was made experimentally acquainted with the saving truths of religion, and brought, in no inconsiderable degree, to the enjoyment of its comforts. It was his habitual practice to retire for the purpose of reading the Bible, and meditating o'er its sacred pages, and of pouring out his soul to God in prayer and supplication.
I cannot forbear to mention, that like the late lamented Legh Richmond, and multitudes of others, who are now numbered with the saints in glory everlasting, our brother traced his serious impressions, under the mighty hand of God, to the prayers and the instruction of a pious mother. Mothers in Israel! what a responsibility rests upon you, that you bring up your children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Our deceased brother, and that tender mother who taught him the way of God in truth, are now together in glory.
2. Our brother early devoted his attention to the ministry of the everlasting Gospel
. A monument of divine grace himself, in its converting and sanctifying influences, he became deeply interested in the welfare of other immortal souls. But like many others, struggling with difficulties of a pecuniary description, he devoted a considerable time to the preparation and publication of some volumes, by the proceeds of which, he was enabled to prosecute his studies. At the time of which I am now speaking, he was not connected with the Episcopal Church. He pursued his studies sometime in the Theological Seminary in New-York, under the direction of the celebrated Scotch Presbyterian Divine, Dr. John M. Mason, then in the height of his well-deserved intellectual celebrity. But even at this time, the health of our brother was so much impaired, that he was almost brought to abandon the subject of the ministry. In the year 1814, a remarkable change took place in his views, in relation to some interesting points of speculative Theology. In the course of study, at this period, the subject of Church government came before him, and on a careful and prayerful examination, he determined to embrace that form which is adopted by the Protestant Episcopal Church; and let this one fact answer to the ungenerous remarks sometimes circulated against him, as well as the class of ministers with whom he was connected. He embraced the Episcopal Church, on examination, and from principle, while multitudes, who make larger pretensions, have no better reason than the force of education. Having made known his determination, he removed to Virginia, under the direction of Bishop Moore, by whom he was, at Richmond, ordained Deacon in December, 1816, and at Winchester, Priest, in May, 1818.
3. Our brother was a most zealous and indefatigable servant of
his Master. His disposition to labour was exemplified in a very large degree, even before his admission to the ministry.
Immediately on his removal to Virginia, that state being then grievously dtesitute of ministers, he was licensed as a Lay Reader, and as such, officiated in the region, embracing Jefferson and part of Berkeley counties. His regular congregations were in Charlestown and Shepherdstown, but he went out in all directions, regarding no labour or difficulty: raising up new congregations in very many places, and inducing them to settle ministers. This was while he was only a Lay-Reader, and when he was ordained, he carried on the same zealous and laborious course. In this respect, I have frequently heard him spoken of by Bishop Moore, as one of the most active and laborious clergymen in the Diocese of Virginia, sparing no pains, and appalled by no labours or difficulties in the cause of his Divine Master. By this excessive labour, his health was somewhat affected; but looking forward to scenes of greater usefulness, in October, 1821, he took the charge of the parish of St. Paul's Church, in this city.
That here he was zealous and indefatigable in the service of his Master, there will be none, I trust, to question. Indeed, were I to be the judge, I should say, from what I personally knew of his labours, that they were really beyond human endurance for any length of time. Societies for the advancement of the cause of religion: societies for the amelioration of human suffering: the faithful discharge of parochial duties; almost daily efforts for the advancement of the young in the knowledge of religion; Bibleclasses; lectures by the use of the magic lantern-preaching three times a day in this enormous Church, besides weekly lectures: taking all these together, I have no doubt to him might safely be applied the language, “ in labours more abundant,” and that he did not count his life dear unto himself. I have oftened reasoned with him on the magnitude of his labours, and I feel no hesitation in believing, and in recording that belief, that, by his labours while here, for the spiritual welfare of this flock, and for the cause of humanity in general, he prepared himself more completely for the ravages of that pulmonary disease, which at last led him to the grave.
4. Our brother was a man of remarkable disinterestedness. Here, my brethren, as on most of the points which I have, and on which I shall yet touch, I can say, I speak that which I do know, and I testify that which I have seen. I feel not the least hesitation in saying, that I have never yet beheld the individual of more pure and perfect disinterestedness. The question, how will such a thing affect me personally, never entered into his mind, and never passed his lips. How will it affect the cause of Christ, was his only question; and though he might and did sometimes judge erroneously, his motive was always good. I can prove his disinterestedness by a fact, in which I am personally concerned. He knew that he himself might be called upon to suffer reproach, and even the deprivation of some valuable friends of his own, and of this Church, by encouraging an effort first suggested by himself of my settlement in this city. But time and again have I heard him declare, that the cause of Christ was his object; that his reproaches and his disquiet were not to be put in competition with a great design. And when he saw the large and flourishing congregation gathered in the Church, whose success he pushed on with such animated zeal and unwearied effort, I never heard from him one word but that of gratulation and thanksgiving. His disinterestedness was a most noble, shining trait in his character, and it will endear his memory to mine, so long as it shall be capable of retention. But this same trait was visible in a thousand instances. His whole life was one continued self-sacrifice for the salvation of souls. And though I stand not here to justify all the measures which he thought right to pursue—it would be false friendship for me to attempt it-yet let this my testimony, stand as long as I have breath to utter it-for real disinterested desire to do good, I know not his equal.
5. Our brother was a man of faith and prayer.
J believe it to be the lot of few, even of the true disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ, to have a more steady and realizing faith in the promises of God. In the darkest seasons of temporal distress; in the most boisterous and perilous periods through which the Church has of late years been compelled to pass; amidst all the evil surmisings, and unkind and ungenerous treatment which our brother has been called upon to endure, an unhesitating trust in the fulfilment of the promises of God never forsook him for a moment. There was no season so dark, but that his eye, illumed by faith, saw the light which was beyond; and this faith, it sustained him. If you ask how it was that with him this faith was always in such high and lively exercise, it can only be answered by the fact, that he was a man of prayer. His communication with the Father of spirits, through his Son Jesus Christ, were steady: and in every thing, by prayer and supplication, his own spiritual need—his temporal exigencies and the welfare of his own Church, and the Church at large, were made known unto God. Prayer, which the poet beautifully calls “the Christian's vital air," was that which kept alive in his bosom all the fire of faith, and hope, and love. I can appeal to multitudes in the house of God, this morning, who can testify to his fervency in the Church; at the meetings for special supplication; at their firesides, and at the beds of sickness; you know, my friends, that these things are so. God, who seeth in secret, only knows how much, and how often he poured out his soul in ardent supplication that you might be saved.
In declaring to you, my brethren, as I have done, that our brother was early converted ; early directed his attention to the ministry—that he was a zealous and indefatigable servant of his Master--that he was a man of distinguished disinterestedness and that he was a man of faith and prayer, I have given him an high eulogium. I have done so, because I believe it was his due, and because I believe, that few in this city could so well appreciate his character as myself. If I am asked, whether I could not observe his failings ? I answer. His failings were as apparent to my observation as they could have been to the observation of others; but I looked at them with the eye of friendship: many others with an eye, to say the least, much prejudiced on the opposite extreme. But I am willing to risk the correctness of my judgment upon this single point, that his failings were the failings of a man of sanguine temperament—that by constitutional tendencies, he was bold and energetic, hazarding much, because the zeal of the house of God consumed him. Errors of the judg. ment, he often committed—not the most partial friendship would wish to conceal it: but errors, never of the heart. The milk of human kindness never flowed more purely than from his bosom. Who, who is there exempt from faults ? Blessed be God, that in his eye, it is the purpose of the heart which constitutes the prevailing character of the action. The frailties, the mistakes of our brother, let them be buried in the depths of the ocean, where his mortal body now finds its resting place. His virtues, let them alone be remembered, for they were the triumphs of grace over the infirmities of nature—the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified. Safe be the sleep of his mortal remains, till the Archangel's trump shall summon the mighty sea to give up her dead.
The task of friendship done to the memory of our deceased brother, I now turn to the subject as it forces itself on our immediate personal consideration. And, 1st. To the friends and relatives of our deceased brother. My duty, as it regards you, my afflicted friends, involves me in no difficulties; for let it be a source of abundant consolation, that we sorrow not as those who have no hope; for we know, that “ blessed are the dead which die in the Lord." The Church to which we are attached, has on such occasions put a song into our mouths, even a thanksgiving to our God
" Why lament departed friends,
Or shake at Death's alarms?
To call us to his arms."
You have your comforts, and richer ones you need not desire. I know how much more abundant would have been your consolations, could your hands have administered to the last necessities of decaying nature; could you have been permitted to stand round his bed-side, and watched the last gleam of light upon his eye of faith. But one who doeth all things well, willed it otherwise. The deepest feelings of our hearts must be subdued into the