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and means as may bring them into the right way, conform them to his mind, produce contrition in the heart, and pull down the strong-holds of pride and vain imaginations, and root out the carnal idolatry which is apt to creep into the heart of every Christian.
Remember, then, “the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children.' Pray for the increase of faith. This will bring the invisible things of God before you, and show
you the narrow path in which he has been used to lead his children. Give him unlimited confidence, and beseech the Holy Spirit to enable you to trust God in the darkest night into which he can possibly bring you. Consider past times and experience; and what is recorded in Scripture of those who have been thus led before you.
Consider the remarkable language of Job: Oh, that I knew where I might find him! that I might come even to his seat! that is, I wish to understand the cause: but, while 'I would fill my mouth with arguments' upon it, yet, says he, “behold! I go forward,
' but he is not there; and backward, but I cannot per
; ceive him : on the left-hand where he doth work, but I cannot behold him: he hideth himself on the righthand, that I cannot see him.' What is to be done in such a case?-give him unlimited confidence; and say, as Job says in the next verse, “He knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold :' he is a refiner, that sitteth to purify the sons of Levi; and the end will be, that though I cannot find out what he is doing as to the particulars, yet I know the end will be, that, when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.
Wherefore,' says the Apostle, “ seeing we are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses who have left an express testimony, and have weathered the difficulties they had to meet with ; who have borne the burden and heat of the day, have endured and have not fainted-' let us lay aside every weight,
and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith :' he followed the same path; and, ' for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right-hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself—ye have not resisted unto blood, striving against sin, as Jesus did, and his disciples after him. And ye have forgotten the exhortation, which speaketh unto you as unto children; and declares plainly, that the danger is not only despising the chastening of the Lord, but fainting under it, and not recollecting that'whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.'
That you and I may lay these words to heart, may God, of his infinite mercy, grant, through Jesus Christ our Lord.
REMEMBRANCE OF CHRISTIAN MINISTERS.
Preached January 3, 1808, on Occasion of the Death of the Rer.
HEB. XIII, 7, 8.
Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken
unto you the word of God : whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation. Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to-day, and for ever. I have been absent from you this morning, to improve the departure of that venerable servant of Christ, the Rev. John Newton. His conversion to God was singular: his services have been eminent; and his spirit so entirely what we are taught to consider as characteristic of a Christian,-so mild so gentle, so bent on glorifying God and recovering his fallen creatures—that I could not but still dwell in my mind on the deceased, after I had done the work appointed me. This has led me to the present subject.
Let us endeavour, 1. TO EXPLAIN these words. 2. TO IMPRESS them on your hearts and consciences.
1. We are to EXPLAIN these words.
St. Paul, the wise master-builder,' had been laying the foundation. He had been setting forth Christ as the glory of the Gospel. In this chapter he gives some general rules, and one of them is the passage before us : 'Remember them which have the rule over
you. It might be more exactly rendered, “Remember your guides :' remember your leaders : remember whom God has appointed, as your particular shepherds; for God employs men to assist men ; God employs men to recover men. 'I will make you,' Christ said, “fishers of men.'
* Remember them,' says the Apostle, 'which have the rule over you,' which have been your guides and leaders, ' which have spoken unto you the word of God.' As though he had said, " Visionaries may come among you, who will say, “I have dreamed, I have dreamed:' I call you not to remember them. Yea, .There shall be grievous wolves,' and perhaps in sheeps' clothing; who shall have a design to devour and destroy the flock: keep clear of them: take care of yourselves : no greater frauds and iniquities have been practised than in the religious world. Others will bring you Traditions, and try to set up something in the stead of Christianity, as the dead image of a living thing: I do not say, Remember them. Some will think of nothing but their Party : for, 'All seek their own, and not the things which are Jesus Christ's.' Others will come among you in the form of ministers, who are mere hypocrites, and see nothing but the morsel of bread : Put me, I pray thee, into the priest's office, that I may eat a morsel of bread.' I call you
, not to remember such as these: but remember them that have spoken unto you the word of God;' who have themselves understood it and felt its influence, and are appointed to minister it to others. Do not forget their labours, their zeal, their affection. Remember them as your best friends : if they have reproved you, it is a proof of friendship: if they have borne with your infirmities, it is because they know their own, and were called to be nursing-fathers : if they have tried to entice you, to draw you with the cords of a man and the bonds of love, esteem them very highly for their work's sake;' and if they have
maintained their Christian profession, though at the risk of being called fools and enthusiasts, remember that they are such as God commends, having found those servants with their loins girded, and their lamps burning.”
But they are gone!—" And, therefore,” say some, "what more have we to do with them? what can they profit us?”! In one view, indeed, they are gone: they are called away; they are taken home; they have fought the good fight, and finished their course, and kept the faith. But, in another sense, though they are dead, yet they speak : they will retain a hold on the consciences of those who heard them, while any tenderness remains therein. Of some it may be said, that they never die : they yet live: they yet speak : they have been the instruments of more good after their death, than they were throughout their lives.
But the apostle adds, Follow their Faith.”. As though he had said, “Follow not their peculiarities,their infirmities. Say, “This is a man,
-a poor creature at the best.' But follow their Faith."
Follow the DOCTRINES which they have maintained : let their testimony remain in your consciences, for you must give an account thereof to Him who shall judge the quick and dead.' This shall fully appear in the great day of account, when it shall be said, “What did you hear from that leader, that guide, that minister whom I sent to speak to your heart? “I stood at the door and knocked, while he was expostulating, with you. He cried to you, “ Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. He proclaimed the remedy, appointed for the misery and guilt of the world. No man could say, “There is no hope! I know not what to do! I am a guilty creature, and there is no refuge! What must I do to be saved ? He cried aloud, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved;' for he was exalted to be a Prince and a Saviour, to give repentance and forgive