Page images
PDF
EPUB

tress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

But having considered, first, the Christian doctrine, and, secondly, the Christian duty and privilege, we come, lastly, to consider TRE CHRISTIAN HOPE. “This is the promise, even eternal life.” When I first entered this church after its consecration, it was a solemn moment. I got into it alone; there was not a soul here, but God himself. I remember very earnestly praying that God would give a special blessing upon the commencement of my ministry. I remember well this hope that I had ; that some in this parish might have to bless God to all eternity that this church was ever built, ever opened, ever dedicated to God's service. Brethren, between that time and this, many changes have taken place amongst us.

I have seen the pews change again and again those who were seated in them : I have seen the same families greatly changed: I have seen the garb of mourning go round from pew to pew, and only last Sunday I saw it in another. But where are some of our friends who used to worship with us here? They are not with us, but they are with God: “This is the promise that he hath promised, even eternal life." They walked up and down in this world of sin as the servants of God, and candidates for immortality; they went in and out amongst us as Christians; they received the word of God in its power; they brought forth the fruits of holiness: but where are they now? I repeat it, they are in eternal life: and we, I trust, are on

How long our pilgrimage may be, or how short, we know not, nor would we care to know: the Lord is still with his people; the Lord whom we serve is still with his children : “ This is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life.” We are not content, we could not be content, to live here always. No; we know there is a better land, a land of peace, of purity, and perfect bliss; a land where the inhabitants feel no pain ; where none say, “I am sick ;" where the people are delivered from sorrow; the land where the Lord shines forth in all his glory, where his people behold his face, where his people reflect his light, and where his people sing of his salvation ; and there is no more death there, neither sorrow, nor sighing; for the former things have passed away.

the way

Brethren, for God's sake and for your own, think what is implied in eternal life. It means something more and something better than this poor world can offer to your notice or for your acceptance. What is the world with all its pomp, with all its joy?

“A little sun, a little rain,
And then night sweeps along the plain,

And all things pass away.
Man soon retires, yields up his trust;
And all his hopes, and all his fears,

Lie with him in the dust."

This is true if he is not a Christian: but it is not true if he is one ; all his hopes then do not lie with him in the dust. No; his hopes ascend with him into the eternal world, pierce through that veil which separates this world from a better, and press before him into the presence of his God. “This is the promise which he hath promised, even eternal life.”

If then, beloved people (I call you so for nearly twelve hours longer), if, my beloved flock, we have sometimes told you of the absolute necessity of receiving the Christian doctrine, and leading the Christian life, and fighting the Christian warfare, it has been for this reason : we believed that there was no other way of enjoying the peace of God; and I believe there is no other way: there is no other path that leads to everlasting joy. Weigh, then, this matter; dwell upon the Christian doctrine, upon the Christian duty and privilege: and often again may you be satisfied, in your sojourning through the wilderness, by the Christian hope !

And, now, gladly should I have had nothing to say on any other subject : glad should I have been, on this occasion, to have had not to ask you for any contributions : glad should I have been to bear the whole expense connected with the worship of God in this place, to have said at leaving you, “ There, I will gladly bear the whole, and

you shall have nothing to bear.” This I had thought of; but after weighing it solemnly and seriously, I felt this : “ No, it is not my duty to my motherless children ; it is not what my affectionate flock would wish.” It has been so, beloved, that in carrying on the worship of God in this place, there have been some very considerable

expenses ; for which, when our church-wardens stated to me, very properly, that they had no funds in hand, I felt it my duty to say, “I will be responsible,” believing that my affectionate people

Ser

10

will bear me out in the expense. I shall not enlarge on the nature or the amount of those expenses, except further to say this; that a large sum, somewhere about two hundred and fifty pounds, will be necessary, in order to liquidate certain outstanding expenses for this church. These I was anxious to see discharged before I left. Let it not be supposed for one moment, that this has been owing to any thing excessive on the part of those who have had to do with it. The professional persons engaged in it gave us their services in the most handsome manner; the architect rendering us his help free of any expense; and the builder, one of my dear congregation, generously contributing altogether what would amount, I suppose, to about one hundred guineas, in order to show his love to the church where he worshipped, and to the minister upon whose ministry he attended. I mention this, that we may endeavour to follow his example, and, according to our ability, do what we can.

But I am not going to press the matter: I never had to press you, and you never sliall have to say that I do this day. Give what you can, but give it with a thankful and prayerful spirit; give what you can to assist us in this work of the Lord. One thing I ought to mention, as, perhaps, some may wonder at the amount; but so it was that we were anxious, if you remember, to be all ready for the visit of our respected diocesan), when he came to confirm last year. It was found that what was undertaken would take considerably longer than we had anticipated ; and the men had to work night and day to get every thing ready. I felt anxious that nothing should be wanting, that when our chief ecclesiastical officer came to visit us, he should see all in order, and not have to tell us of things that were wanting

Brethren, my object while I have been with you has not been to enrich myself, but to enrich you. God knows it, and I know it, and I trust you know it too. We can say with truth, 66 We have not sought yours, but you.” We have not sought how we might enrich ourselves, but how we might, through the blessing of God, enrich you unto eternal life. We shall now, after contributing to the cause of our God, return home to our respective habitations; and at three o'clock meet together to commemorate the dying love of our Lord and Master. And we hope, by and bye, amid the services of the upper world, amid the chaunts ofangels, and cherubim, and seraphim, to look back

upon
all the

way

which the Lord our God hath led us here in the wilderness; and, I trust, we shall have then to say, “He hath done all things well."

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

ST. MARK'S CHURCH, PENTONVILLE, NOVEMBER 6, 1836.

" And Samson called unto the Lord, ard said, O Lord God, remember me, I pray thee, and

strengthen me, I pray thee, only this once, O God.”—JUDGES, xvi. 23.

sermons.

We are often greatly mistaken in our calculations respecting

That sermon does the most good which God is pleased to crown with the greatest blessing : and therefore, beloved brethren, as in the good providence of God, I am come to my last sermon among you, I am anxious to do this: I am anxious to set the pious praying in reference to those that are not pious. I know that it is little that on

poor

sinner can do ; but if I can set fire hundred or a thousand, who really love and serve God, this night, if I can set them at prayer—fervent, ardent, carnest prayer to God, to crown this, my feeble, but last effort in this place with his blessing, then you may never know the good that will be done till the day of eternity. There is no telling what the God whom we serve may be pleased to do in answer to the prayers of his people. Vain is the help of man; man's best efforts are useless and inefficient: but when God sends down his Spirit, and crowns the feeblest efforts with his blessing, who can calculate where the good shall end?

Let me, in directing your attention to this subject, consider, first, some points of similarity, and then some points of dissimilarity: and may the Holy Ghost assist us, and bless us, enabling us to speak and you to hear, to our mutual edification, and to the glory of liis name.

I was much struck with the second lesson: it was the proper chapter appointed as the second lesson by the church for this evening's service; it was not one of my selection : but had it been of my selection, had I felt myself at liberty to have taken any chapter in the Bible, on such an occasion, I know not where I could have found a more suitable one. The Gospel of Jesus is the same in all ages: ministers and their people are united by the same ties: ministers are sent forth by the great Head of the church ; they are the labourers in word and doctrine, to do their patient work, to finish their allotted labour, and then to render up an account of their stewardship when they are to be no longer stewards.

But I turn to the text. In the first place, here is the effort of a man under deep affliction. Samson was now, and had been for some time, in a state of deep affliction : the Philistines had treated him most cruelly; he felt the loss that he had been called to suffer; lie was placed under circumstances most discouraging, most depressing. But a Christian always knows where to look in the day of trouble; a servant of God is never left to himself in the day of affliction : banish him where you will, send him into exile, send him even among the enemies of the Lord, send him even from his own dear native land, place him even in Patmos—the Holy Ghost, as he did with St. John, can visit him there ; and there, hearing the words of mercy and truth, he shall be enabled to rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory.

But, secondly, it was an effort of a man who felt that his time was short, and wished to improve the short time that remained. He loved the people of Israel; he longed to strike a blow upon their enemies; he felt that his time was short: he was a man in deep affliction, but he felt no time was to be lost. O that we were always anxious to improve our opportunities! Here is an opportunity given me for which I must give an account before the Judge of quick and dead. Here is a mass of human beings passing hastily through this world in their passage to another; some prepared to meet their God, many totally unprepared, far from Christ, unacquainted with the knowledge of salvation, or the remission of sins; and if they die as they are, they will be totally undone. O, brethren, behold the state of the case, and offer up your fervent prayers that the effort may not be in vain in the Lord.

But, thirdly, here is the effort of a very bold and daring faith; I say of a very bold and daring faith. There appeared nothing but difficulties: true, he himself was to be sacrificed if the effort succeeded; but mark, it was by a supernatural agency that he was assisted, I doubt not, in this matter. It was a bold and daring act of faith ; and, in his blindness, while the Philistines were making sport of him, while they had him out in order that they might treat him with ridicule and with contempt, there was a secret intercourse going on between God and his soul. Here are the very words that he used in his approach to Jehovah; here is the very request that he made of the great and the infinite God. Brethren, I am quite sure, if we

« PreviousContinue »