Page images

“ A man is accepted according to that which he hath, and not according to that which he hath not."

There is the same equality in judgment as in death. The lord of millions and the children of the soil lie side by side in the place of sepulchre; the only difference is, that the one rests beneath mouldering marble, the other beneath the indestructible sod: and side by side will they stand also, amidst the multitudes which no man can number, when all nations shall be gathered before the tribunal of the descending Judge. For what will be the distinction in that hour at which we must all be confronted with each other, and with our Judge? What will be the distinction then, think you ? Not who had most, but who loved most : not who possessed the five talents, or the one ; but who so occupied his allotted portion as in largest measure to glorify his God therewith. He will then take the pre-eminence who, roused into the love of man by the love of God, and freely giving for Christ's sake of his abundance, or of his need, is receiving freely of the blood of Christ, did most, in proportion to his power, to lighten the load of human wretchedness, to scatter the dark cloud of human wretchedness, to rescue from impending destruction the souls that were ready to perish, to reclaim the wanderer from the error of his way, to bring back those who were as sheep going astray, to the Shepherd and Bishop of their souls. Light will then condense around him as her favoured child, though on earth he may have been lodged in a hovel, or languished in a hospital. Though not a stone may have pointed to his unburied dust, nor a tear has been dropped on his tomb, light will condense around the head of him who did most to demonstrate his sense of the love that passeth knowledge, his high and deep estimate of the salvation that was beyond all price; who followed most clearly in the steps of his divine Master, who drank most deeply into his spirit, who was conformed most entirely to his ways. Such shall then stand forth amidst the countless multitudes who are to be judged as the true children of light : and though it was a cup of cold water only that they were able to give in the name of a disciple, verily they shall not lose their reward.

How the subject bears upon the case of that institution for which I am here to plead, why need I detain you to observe ? Who does not know the principle upon which it was established is the love of Christ, and that the practice which it exhibits is the love of man? Who does not know that it is numbered at once amongst the most extensive and most meritorious of those institutions which are the redeeming glory of the land, which has averted many of the curses of the Omnipotent from deluging this guilty metropolis in blood. Who needs to be informed that this institution not only affords to


two hundred children the benefits of Christian instruction (for in this it is equalled by many), but that to more than three-fourths of that number-many of them orphans, all of them necessitous it extends not only the benefits of a refuge, but the comforts and the tendernesses of a home? Who does not know, too, that it has expanded to its present ample growth under the fostering influence of Christian benevolence, called forth in great measure by appeals like these ?

Who, then, can deny, that to pour abundantly of their offerings in support of such a work of mercy, is most worthy of all who are, or who desire to be, children of light? Brethren, when we call on you in the advocacy of a cause like this, it is not only of the living that we think—not only the hundreds or the thousands who throng the sanctuary; we think of the dead around us, and we think of the dead beneath us—far, far more in number than the living ; the dead whose memories are chronicled on the walls of this edifice, and the dead who have no memorial but in the record of their God. We think of these ; and we think, too, how you will desire to have acted when you shall be even as they ; when you are anticipating,

as they are, in the place of departed spirits, an unchanging doom; when your souls shall be mingled with theirs in the multitude which shall stand before the Judge of quick and dead.

For what purpose will you be cited there but to give an account of your stewardship? and how can you expect to have done wisely unless you have done liberally; unless you have so dispensed the unrighteous mammon as that He who will not overlook the slightest act of mercy to the meanest of his little ones, shall approve your fidelity, and commit to your trust the true riches? You cannot expect a worthier cause, or desire a more urgent and more affecting appeal, than that which is this day presented to your eyes and to your hearts. You are called to bestow a two-fold benefit. How can you confer a greater blessing upon those children, who by their appearance plead more powerfully than any advocate can plead for them—how can you conser a greater blessing upon them than by aiding to train them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord ? And how can you better pour consolation into the hearts of afflicted parents-of the widowed, or perhaps worse than widowed, mother -of her, it may be (such cases do occur, and we know them)-of her who is a wife, and yet not a wife

for the body of that which was once an intelligent being, is but the sepulchre of the mind when the light of reason is quenched for ever: I ask, then, how can you better console these bleeding hearts—bleeding, it may be, with remembrance of brighter and happier days—than by sheltering

in this friendly asylum the more than orphan, and therefore the worse than fatherless ?

Brethren, I cannot but persuade myself that I speak to those who know how to value the blessing of him who is ready to perish, or those who are concerned to lay up against the time to come, that balm of memory, the thankful overflowings of a grateful heart, and thus to “ make friends of the mammon of unrighteousness :" I cannot but believe that I speak to such. But if there are those who will not do what we ask for the sake of humanity and compassion and sympathy and brotherly love; if there are those who, adjured in the name of their God, will not do it for the sake of helpless infancy, and desolate orphanhood, and destitute widowhood, and that they may temper the iron of misery entering into the souls of those who have fallen from a higher state, and perhaps having given charity to the offspring of others, come hither to ask it for their own : if, I say, there are those who will not do it for the sake of any or all of these, O let them do it for Christ's sake; nay, let them do it for their own sake. For unless you give much, how can you know you love much ? and if you do not look with love and pity on those little ones of Christ, how can you love Christ at all ? And when those who do love Christ are received into everlasting habitations, where will be the portion of those who love him not, or whom he has loved in vain ?

But you, children of light, imitate for once the wisdom of the children of this world. Provide now against the day of adversity. Record in this hallowed place a proof of your sincerity, a proof of your love. Lay up in store a good foundation against the time to come,

that you may lay hold on eternal life. For here is a question from the Word of God-and let us all look to it how we answer, for it will one day be asked again, and asked not as I now ask, collectively, but of each separately and singly: “He that hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him ?" O brethren, let him, that is, who holds his hand (if there be such), let him who shall harden his heart (if there be one such), only ask of himself, “ How dwelleth the love of God in me? and if the love of God dwelleth not in me, how can I expect to dwell in that heaven of glory which consists in the fulness of the love of God ?"





“For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a

building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.”—2 Cor. 5. 1.

The connexion which the late Mr. Thuinas Hancox held with this place of worship, as well as his own private worth to us as a friend, make it proper and our duty to notice his death thus publicly. As brother Leach took for his text this morning, so say we, “He was a faithful man and feared God above many. He might with much consistency be called the Father of the cause of Christ as at present existing within these walls ; for but for him, under God (to whom as the Great First Cause we trace all things), these doors had remained closed, and the ninety-six now constituting this church been strangers to the communion of saints, and forgiveness of sins. But whilst we devote this hour to the specific object of a funeral sermon for one to whom this society owes its existence and part of its maintenance, we dare not entertain for a moment, as any of our plan in this evening's discourse, a wish to eulogise. Were we so far to transgress the known mind of the deceased, we should fancy before us the spirit of the departed beaming a frown from his dignified face whilst his honest tongue exclaimed, “ Not unto us, not unto us, but unto God be all the glory.” We shall therefore do on this occasion as we believe our deceased friend your benefactor would have wished had he been aware that his death would have received such public notice in this place. We shall try to preach not ourselves but Christ. May the Holy Ghost, by whom Mr. Hancox was converted and made highly useful in his day and generation, (for “he was 'a faithful man and feared God above many,”) give a word to speak in season, of which we may say in leaving the sanctuary, “ How good is it!” Well might it be said, “ Life and immortality are brought to

* A Funeral Sermon for the late Mr. Thomas Hancox of Oxford-street. VOL. VI


light through the Gospel :" for what know we of man's origin, present condition, or future destinies, but by the Gospel ? Without this Book in vain the most profound mind dives into the mysteries of things past, present, or to come: but by this Book " He who runs may read” how “the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul.” It is to this book we are indebted for a solution of the cause of present calamities, of the misery, grief, and death which every where surround us; and to it we owe our knowledge of those brighter scenes where “God shall wipe all tears from off all faces.” Man's immortality, then, is the summum bonum of the text, and that immortality in connexion with the far

more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” It is evident that to recommend the Gospel and to set forth its truths, God the Holy Ghost led the various penmen to employ figurative terms. These figures were of limited correctness, and but of limited, as all figures must have about them that which is unapt as well as apt. Figures, therefore, must not be pushed too far, nor examined too minutely, but taken upon the broad prima facie intention.

So would we strive to handle the figures employed in the text; where, first, we have presented a tenant occupying two distinct and dissimilar residences; secondly, to notice why the tenant is called upon to quit the one and enter the other; and thirdly, how superior the latter residence is to the former.


First, The text presents the figure of A TENANT OCCUPYING TWO, DISTINCT AND DISSIMILAR RESIDENCES ; a tabernacle, a house, or earthly house of tabernacle, and “ a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens."

But as we have no less to do with the tenant than the tenement, a passing word is first requisite relative to its character. The tenant is the soul whose nature is such that, though susceptible of various changes, it is capable of dissolution. It can be a soul dead in sin, and dead to sin; but it cannot be a soul dead by sin. It can be a soul in a state of death as a figure, but not as a fact ; dead to God, happiness, goodness, peace, and the like. Original sin has made the soul dead to these things, and in this state being from our birth possessed by us, we are disposed to grow up hardened and wicked characters, “in whom, that is, in our flesh, dwelleth no good thing:” for the tenant being evil, the tenement becomes as a nest of unclean birds. Now power divine can raise that soul so that a

« PreviousContinue »