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in the remembrance of Britain, of India, of America. I refer not to any man of renown for martial prowess and for successful generalship; I refer not to any statesman who has supported the majesty of the throne, and the sanctity of the altar, and made both lovely in the eyes of a happy population. I refer to a servant of God, whose praise is in all the churches; in his own estimation the chief of sinners, in ours a striking instance of the truth of our text: “ Them that honour me, I will honour." I have lately been called upon to weep over the grave of the Rev. CHARLES SIMEON, for fifty-three years minister of the same church, and fellow of the same college, in Cambridge. When a student I was honoured with his fatherly kindness ; and as there are many circumstances in his life which, when narrated to the congregations of our Zion, may stir up souls to increased diligence and faithfulness, by the permission of your minister I shall detain you this evening with such particulars as may prove most instructing.
It concerns me not to tell you of his earthly parentage; though it is interesting to know when it was first manifest that he was * born of God." The historian of this world records the birthplace of statesmen and warriors ; but “ of Zion it shall be said, this and that man was born in her. The Lord shall count, when he writeth up his people, that this man was born there."
His first convictions of sin took place when at Eton College, before the age of nineteen. He had then very strong feelings of the sinfulness of his heart, and hearty desires for pardon and forgiveness. But these impressions were not permanent ; he had not yet obtained strength to cast off the old man, with his affections and lusts, and to put on the new man “ created after God in righteousness and true holiness.” He fell again into the ordinary sins of youth ; and though his conduct was not what the world calls gross and disgraceful, yet he afterwards lamented his fall, as rendering him especially deserving of the wrath of God. After being resident some time at Cambridge, the feelings of remorse and of bitterness were awakened by the usual invitation to attend the sacrament at his college chapel. He was for some time in much agony: God spake to him through his conscience; he felt deeply its inward stings; he cried, and prayed, and interceded for pardon and peace with many tears ; and at length, on Easter Sunday, before he went forth to join in the sacramental service, God gave him that peace, of which he never afterwards deprived bim. Henceforth he felt himself a child of God; he was fed with the milk of the word; the light of divine
truth beamed in upon his mind, and all was a calm, and settled, and growing peace with God, through Jesus Christ our Lord.
The time at length came for his taking holy orders, when he had attained the age of three and twenty, about fifty-four years ago. His first curacy was a very small parish in Cambridge, which he held for nearly a year; for he was appointed by the then Bishop of Ely perpetual curate of Trinity Church, Cambridge. the church in which he ministered till summoned to his everlasting home.
Now, the view which we are about to take of his character will be already suggested to you by the words of our text. I wish to shew you how he honoured God, and how, according to his own promise, God honoured him; but that I may not confine your attention too closely to one individual, I would treat the subject first, generally, and then illustrate it by this striking example.
Our two heads will be as follow : first, how the righteous should honour God; secondly, how God will honour the righteous.
THE RIGHTEOUS MAN SHOULD HONOUR God, by putting his trust implicitly in God's words of promise. The first duty of the regenerated soul is to receive the kingdom of heaven as a little child: with all simplicity and meekness, and seeking God as a father; taking his word as if spoken to one's-self, searching it diligently for hidden treasure; and resigning one's-self, body, soul, and spirit, to the leadings of the Spirit of God. To deny self, to become humble, teachable, and pliable, under the hand of God, are all impossible to flesh and blood; they need daily and hourly watchfulness and prayer, and by cultivating such a spirit of patient waiting for Christ, the righteous man commences his course by honouring God.
Thus it was with the departed. As soon as he was admitted into fellowship with the Father of spirits, through his Son, Jesus Christ, he honoured God by self-abasement in prayer, by lying lowly in the dust, by crying for mercy as a lost sinner, and by pleading only the merits and righteousness of the adorable Saviour. There never was a man of modern times who spent more of his time in earnest, agonizing prayer. He rose early in the morning to be alone with God; and, like David, he frequently watered his couch with tears. Thus he honoured God by private devotion and by personal holiness; by curbing angry passions and unholy desires ; and having gained the victory over self, he went forth to battle, as a giant refreshed ; and won over many from the thousands of Satan's host by the holiness of his example, and by the consistency of his conversation.
Secondly, the righteous man honours God by cleaving fast unto the Lord when the world is all against him. It is easy to come forward as a champion for the faith, when the multitude are flocking to our standard. When the fashion of the neighbourhood in which we live encourages a display of piety and good works, when the tide of obtrusive profession sets in towards the landmark of formal profession, then it costs scarcely a pang to walk worthy of our high calling. But when the world is all against us, when friends and foes combine to ridicule, to injure, and to crush us, then is it a hard matter to fear not them which can kill the body; then is it a hard matter to resist the persuasiveness of friends, and the virulence of opponents. When you have no earthly friend with whom you can hold counsel, none who can appreciate your motives or sympathize in the anxieties of your soul, then will you feel the awfulness of that solitude which consists in being alone with Jehovah.
In the present state of the Christian church, such a position is extremely rare: but this was exactly Mr. Simeon's case at the commencement of his ministry. For many a weary year he preached the Gospel of humiliation and repentance, without being conscious that a single hearer was benefited by his declarations of God's everlasting love. He knew of no clerical brother of similar views; he was all alone in his personal experience, and in his parochial ministrations. The singularity of his course at length commanded attention. All in authority combined to put him down. The University practically excommunicated him: they jeered, and scoffed, and blasphemed, for a long course of years. His parishioners joined in the same persecution. The churchwardens locked his church-door during the hours of service: when he forced it open, they crowded it with the boisterous multitude. The whole force of the civil power was necessary to conduct him in safety from his rooms to his church, and from his vestry to his pulpit. His hearers were pointed at with the finger of scorn, and the very sound of his bell for evening service was the signal for riot and confusion through the town and the University. At length men grew tired of insulting a man who was strong and courageous in his master's strength. When the excitement ceased, the still small voice of the Spirit was heard. After years of toil, one solitary stranger accosted him, and asked counsel concerning his soul. By this he was so affected that he burst into tears, and thanked God as for some magnificent mercy. A few of bis brethren were then discovered as holding sentiments like his own. Romaine, Berridge, Cecil, and the elder Venn, were his earliest friends. As time passed on, opposition was less open, trials were somewhat modified, usefulness was gradually extending, and the word of the Lord was respected where it was not received, and religion honoured when it might not be adopted and professed. He, however, was not a man to be moved from the Rock of his hopes, by either the frown or the smile of his fellows. That chilliness and deadness which had prevailed so long in the Church of England, began to be succeeded by the warmth and vitality of evangelical truth. The bread of life cast so often and so perseveringly on the waters, was found after many days; many instruments for good were raised up: the friends of the Gospel were multiplied, and spake often one to another, and were edified.
Another way in which the righteous man honours God is, by his ceaseless activity and enlarged benevolence.
Thus it should be with all: not slothful in business, but serving the Lord. The Christian has no time to fritter away in trifles. His concern is with the souls of men; and souls may be lost while he is loitering
This man of God whose character we are considering, was a man of ceaseless activity. He had three full services in his church, as well as one on Thursday evening, and usually preached himself every Sunday morning and evening. The composition of his sermons, and his instructions to young men who were afterwards to become the ministers of the church, occupied his ceaseless attention. He was unremitting in his efforts to point out the best method of preaching the truth. As his influence increased so his benevolence extended. He was of a most catholic spirit-friendly to all who loved the Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. He was either the founder or an original director of all the great societies which are now an ornament to our nation. He gave proofs of attachment to them more than ordinary. He received 50001. for the copyright of his works: this he instantly distributed as follows: 10001. to the Clerical Education Society ; 10001. to the Church Missionary Society; and 10001. to the Jews' Society : this last he especially loved, and for this it delighted him to preach. The remainder he laid out in acquiring the patronage of ecclesiastical benefices.
But I wish you to observe further, his singleness of eye, and his faithfulness unto death.
Early in life he scems to have marked out his peculiar conrse. He took one line, and he kept it. Though often tempted to leave Cambridge on most advantageous offers ; though livings of large value were continually falling vacant, to which his position in his college gave him a legal right, yet he allowed them all to pass; in this he never faltered for one moment. Although he had the opportunity of enjoying a large legacy from a relative, he accepted but a small part of it, and this he laid out in his most favourite method of doing good, namely, that of purchasing livings, for the purpose of appointing godly and active pastors, who should herald unto perishing sinners the only way of salvation. For this purpose he saved as much of his yearly income as possible; and, as his influence extended and others contributed to the fund, his livings, of which the patronage is vested in trustees, are very numerous. These he selected with the utmost care, and bound them by most solemn promise to allow neither party favour nor private friendship to sway them, when called upon to select the future pastors of the flock.
Our attention must now be turned to the second part of our subject, namely, how GOD HONOURS THE RIGHTEOUS. Now, first of all, God honours his saints who commit their souls to his keeping for pardon and reconciliation, by bestowing that peace which passes all understanding. Having chosen them by his grace first, he sustains them by his power afterwards. When once they are enabled to sue earnestly for the pardon of sin, and for an interest in the soul-saving righteousness of the Redeemer, then does God manifest himself unto them as he does not unto the world; he gives them the full assurance of faith; he supports them with his everlasting arm; he holds communion with them through his indwelling Spirit; and, finally, preserves them steadfast and victorious unto the end.
This was remarkably evident in the Christian experience of the departed. From that Easter Sunday of which I spake, he enjoyed a deep sense of the favour of God. He was always cheerful and confident when contemplating His pardoning mercy to his own soul. He spake often of the Almighty's sovereignty, of his faithfulness to his promises, of his immutability, and of the blessedness of believing ; and such honour have all his saints."
When he went forth to the high and holy duties of his pastoral office, then the Lord whom he served did put high honour upon him, before that world which once did persecute. His consistent boldness, his steady zeal, his undaunted courage, won the admiration of beholders. He gradually lived down the breath of calumny, as