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The one-half of them never seek for religious ordinances. If these are not carried to them, they will never come for them. Our situation is thus becoming gradually worse. Notwithstanding the unusual increase in places of worship, during the last few years, there is yet no fair proportion between the increase of population and that of Churches. When I contemplate the state of things, I must own my spirit sometimes sinks within me. I am led to cry with Daniel," O Lord, what shall the end of these things be?" Unless some means are used beyond what has been, or is now employed, there is no prospect before us, but that of a large amount of our population sinking into heathenism. O! that God might put it into the hearts of our rulers to provide religious instruction for the poor and neglected of the people. And that he would stir up the members of the Churches to consider what they can do in the existing emergency.
The only other feature of the population I would notice, at present, is the obscurity of those of whom we have been speaking. It is remarkable how little the rich know of the real situation of the poor. The most important movements may be taking place among them, either for good or evil, and these be unknown and unobserved by those who would have means and influence to control them. The most important agency may be set up or taken down, without the cognizance of those who are in other stations. In this way, the poor may become the heaviest sufferers in the loss of effective agencies, and they who could supply their necessities not be aware of their existence. If a minister of the gospel dies, his pulpit becomes empty; this is obvious to all, and his place is supplied again; but a Scripture-reader may be taken away, and his loss scarcely be perceived by those who have the power to remedy it; and the widow he was wont to comfort, and the orphan he was accustomed to teach, and the destitute whom he used to sustain, may be left to utter their lamentations unheard, and, in the bitter anguish of unalleviated grief, to cry," no man careth for my soul."
Such is the field of labour which it was assigned to our departed brother to cultivate. I beseech you to consider its features carefully: its extent, a neglected population of 18,000 persons; its denseness,-every vice spreading its contagion throughout the whole mass; its influence,-hundreds continually drawn into its vortex, and disgorged again over the surface of society; its increase,-far outrunning all the means of Christian instruction; and, its obscurity,—the utmost spiritual destitution prevailing, but unknown, or unobserved, or not considered by those who possess the means of meeting it. Look upon this field of labour, and can we forbear to cry, in the language of the Psalmist, "help, Lord; for the godly man ceaseth; for the faithful fail from among the children of men."
II. Consider the character and qualifications of our departed brother, as another reason for the exclamation of the text. The Psalmist describes the friend, whose death he deplored, by two epithets, godliness and faithfulness. Godliness has respect to the private character, and faithfulness to the proper discharge of official duties. The godly man is he who devotes himself to God. Whatever he does has respect to him, to his authority, or will, or honour. The principle of his life is that which has been inculcated by Paul, "whether ye eat or drink, or whatever ye do, do all to the glory of God." And this is his great peculiarity, that he not merely does that which is right in itself, but that he does it out of regard to the will and glory of God. The faithful man is he who, with simplicity of aim, and honesty of purpose, prosecutes the work that has been assigned to him, and endeavours to approve himself to God, and to be useful to men. He feels continually the pressure of a solemn accountability resting on his conscience, and he puts forth all his vigour in the execution of the task which he has undertaken. From my knowledge of our friend's character and history, it were easy for me to adduce evidence of his godliness and faithfulness. But, instead of thus abiding by the language of the text, I shall rather endeavour to place before you the prominent features of his character and labours, reducing what is to be submitted to a few remarks on his personal piety, bis public labours, and his great success.
His personal piety is placed first, because it is itself of prime importance: it is what is most pleasing to God, and it is a necessary preparation for future usefulness. It commenced with our brother in his 27th year. Until that period he was, by his account, a stranger to God and to true religion. He had never been an immoral man, and, with one exception, had been preserved from the grosser vices. But till then, he was unacquainted with the nature and power of vital godliAt that time, it pleased God to acknowledge my own unworthy ministry to effect what his subsequent life has proved to have been, a genuine work of conversion. Many of our interviews and conversations, at that interesting and important period, are still fresh in my memory, and dear to my recollection. At the time, I considered the work to be a saving operation of the Spirit; and, therefore, after an observation of his character for the space of about two years, recommended him to the Belfast Town Mission, as their first agent. The evidences of his personal piety were numerous; but it will be sufficient to notice his private habits, his consistent conversation, his exemplary discharge of the relative duties of life, and his death. His private habits were devotional. He was much given to secret prayer. It was his practice to observe special seasons of fasting and humiliation. When he completed the seventh
year of his labours in this town, he called upon me, and begged I would return thanks to God, in the Church, for his preservation and success. On the 19th of the last month, he completed the 10th year of his agency, and he had resolved to spend it in humiliation, and fasting, and prayer. But before it arrived, his sickness had seized upon him, and incapacitated him for carrying his purpose into execution. In consistency with his private habits, his walk in life was uniform and consistent. From the time that he became a subject of religion, he never did an act, so far as has been known to me, dishonourable to his profession. His life was evidence of the reality of his conversion. And particularly was it manifested in his social and relative duties. As a son and a brother, his conduct was the most exemplary. His means were very limited, yet he cheerfully shared them with those whom Provi dence made dependant on him. He counted not any thing he possessed his own. In a word, so far as I enjoyed an opportunity of observing, his conduct was in all respects becoming the Gospel. His conversation was unanswerable evidence of his personal piety: He was "an epistle, known and read of all men, manifest y declared to be the epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written, not with ink, but with the spirit of the living God, not in tables of stone, but in fleshly tables of the heart." As for his death, it was in accordance with his life. At the commencement of his sickness I saw him, and he anticipated it would be an attack of fever. He was aware of his danger, but, with the utmost composure, waited for the will of God. The progress of the disease soon impaired his understanding, but it occasionally returned. At such intervals his faith was clear, and his hope unclouded. Even in his wanderings, the bent of his affections was manifest. Either he was communing with Christ, or fancied himself still preaching his Gospel. His latter end was peace. And, with great emphasis, he repeated, while he was able to apprehend and articulate, "I KNOW WHOM I HAVE BELIEVED!" O, what a salvation has Christ purchased! His people, once united to him, are alike safe when asleep or awake, whether possessing their mental faculties, or deprived of them. Our beloved brother's death was, like his life, a confirmation of the genuineness of his conversion, and the soundness of his principles. He was a man of God.
Again, his public labours demand a special notice. They were very abundant, and could not fail to attract both much observation and admiration. It is, however, not my purpose to detail these, but rather to ascertain the principles from which they proceeded. And, were I asked what these appeared to me to be? I would specify his simplicity of purpose, modesty of deportment, diligence in his calling, ardent zeal, and considerate benevolence. These were the springs of his
accumulated labours, and they deserve a separate notice. Simplicity of purpose was a prominent feature of his charac. ter. He proposed to himself only one object, the conversion and salvation of sinners. All he did was made to bear on this end. All with whom he came into contact were made to feel that this was his object. Hence was he ever found largely insisting on the doctrines of grace. He spoke continually of Christ, and him crucified. He appeared as if he never had time nor inclination for controversy. It was plain that he had no design to advance either himself or his sect, but tɔ promote the cause and kingdom of Christ. Great power thus accompanied his ministration. He spoke with authority, as one who knew the truth of what he uttered; yet was the dignity of truth so associated with the obvious simplicity of his purpose, that he seldom offended any who heard him. Although himself a well instructed Calvinist, his services were acceptable to both Calvinists and Arminians. While he was a determined Protestant, his visits were welcomed by both Protestants and Romanists. All were made to feel that he had far higher interests to serve than those of a party, and he thus commended himself to every man's conscience in the sight of God. Closely allied to simplicity was the modesty of his deportment. Never was he found out of his place. Though in an bumble station, he was much at the tables and in the confidence of the rich, yet did none complain that he forgot himself. His genuine Christian modesty cast a safeguard around him. To these graces he added laborious diligence in his calling. He rose early, worked hard, and often retired late to rest. He visited from house to house continually, yet he found time to make careful preparation for his religious exercises; and he supplied weekly no fewer than nine stations, in which he delivered discourses that would not have disgraced any pulpit. He was borne through all his labours with ardent zeal. Wherever he was, he brought his Master and his cause with him. One of the late purposes of his life was, that whomsoever he met, however short or long their interview, he would bear some testimony to the honour of Christ before they separated. Whatever he did, he did it heartily, as to the Lord, and not to man. And whenever he spake, it was obvious to all that he did so out of a heart filled with the love of the Saviour. The excellence of his public character was completed by a considerate benevolence. He was, to a great extent, the support of many a widow and orphan. His sympathy was excited for their temporal, as well as their spiritual sufferings. Though of his own resourses he might say, "silver and gold have I none;" yet what he had he gave, and what he could he did. He begged for the poor both the clothes and the money of the richa Some benevolent Christians occasionally intrusted him with large sums for distribution
among the poor. In the present season of distress, we know him to have received, at separate times, to the amount of £15, from one person. He thus became a channel of communication between the rich and the poor, and many a generous heart has employed his hand to relieve the distresses of suffering humanity. He was the almoner of the rich and the friend of the poor,-respected by the one, and beloved by the other. These appear to me to have been the secret principles on which his public character was formed, and his labours conducted. They are mentioned not so much in praise of him, as in honour of God. He was the first to say, not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory," and we reiterate the sentiment. As was said of Paul, so say we of him, "they glorified God in me." And our purpose has been not to eulogize him, but to exalt the grace of God, that shone so conspicuously in him.
As might he expected, from his personal piety and his public labours, his success was great. It was, indeed, remarkable. I give my deliberate judgment, formed on no defective evidence, that he had, perhaps, more seals to his ministry in the conversion of souls, than any minister of Christ in this town. One thing is particularly observable, the large number of aged persons brought to the knowledge of the truth by his means. I have received to the Lord's table several persons above 70 years old, who gave good evidence of having undergone a saving change, after that period of life, through his faithful intercourse with them. And this view of his success gives rise to many important reflections. This man, so acknowledged of God, was uneducated. He could read and write, but as for a liberal education, he never enjoyed any share of it. His case is a striking illustration of the language of the Apostle Paul, "ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; and base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are; that no fesh should glory in his presence." Not merely was he uneducated, but he was without the authority of office. No act of ordination by man had passed upon him, yet the Lord owned him extensively. This teaches us that it is not the preacher who saves the sinner, but the truth that is preached by him. We are far, indeed, from undervaluing either education or office. In ordinary cases we would insist upon them both. But an extraordinary state of things has arisen. The harvest is plenteous, but the labourers are few. We are glad to find a labourer wherever God furnishes him. If educated and ordained, it is