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ness of sins.' Your minister declared to you the grace of God's Spirit, whose breath could raise the dry bones into a living man."
No man more consistently declared and exhibited these doctrines than the deceased Minister of whom I am speaking.
Whose faith follow--follow not only the Doctrines of their faith: but the EXERCISES and HABITS of their faith for it is one thing to speculate on the truth,-to give a mere assent to it: and it is another thing to have it in exercise, to endure as seeing him who is invisible,' and to bring it into action in all the circumstances of life. I feel, in this respect, a great and lamentable defect in my own heart, and observe it in the conduct of others. Faith is not to be considered only with reference to the grand points of justification and sanctification, and our being glorified in the end: but a Christian is to be a man of faith with reference to all circumstances. Follow the faith, therefore, of Christian Ministers, in endeavouring to bring it into daily exercise, and habitual employ.
Follow the FRUIT of their faith. Imitate their zeal, their labours of love, their patience, their usefulness, their conflicts, their instant prayer.
"Whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.' Some read these words thus: considering the end of their conversation, which was to set forth Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, and to-day, and for ever.' This is, in itself, good counsel; but it is not the sense of the passage: for, when the Apostle says, 'considering the END of their conversation,' he means consider the ESCAPE which they made.
The word which he employs is used but once more in the New Testament. In the tenth chapter of the First Epistle to the Corinthians, where the Apostle says, 'There hath no temptation taken you, but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able:
but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.' Observe
'make a way to ESCAPE it is the same word that is here used-Consider the escape which they have made'--their exit-their outlet-their end; how honourable, as good soldiers, and servants, and stewards of Jesus Christ.
When Christian Ministers have finished their work, and God calls them home, they may depart on their beds: but, if they even depart at the stake, they will cry, "Victory!" No man can rob them of their crown. They have overcome, the world, the flesh, and the devil; and, in their going out, they cry, "Victory!"
But some will say, "They are gone! Elijah is, indeed, honourably taken away; but we are ready to rend our mantles, and say, "Where is the Lord God of Elijah? Where is our king, and creator, and benefactor, and friend ?"-The Apostle answers -'Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, and to-day, and for ever:' He is not gone! Jesus Christ is still the same! He sends a servant: he takes him away again. He communicates special light to a particular town, village, or congregation he withdraws that light again. What! shall a man say we are all ruined and desolate because the Master has called his servant home? No! Jesus Christ' remains the same yesterday, and to-day, and for ever.'
He was the same, YESTERDAY, to the Ancient Church. He appeared in a human form under that dispensation. He was with them in the wilderness." He was the sum of their promises and prophecies; their lamb; their city of refuge; their brazen serpent: these were only so many emblems, pointing out to them, that in him they had all they wanted for time and for eternity. They tempted, Christ in the wilderness.' They had water from the rock, but 'that
rock was Christ,' or an image of Christ. So that he was the same, YESTERDAY.'
He is the same, TO-DAY, in the New-Testament Church, to us now living. He is here! He is in this church for where two or three are met together,' he says, 'there am I.' A faithful minister can look round him, and see what miracles Jesus Christ has wrought in his congregation to-day: he will mark one, whose blind eyes he opened: he will mark another, called from a cavern of death and despair: he will say, "Behold! Jesus Christ is working miracles today." If men see him not to-day, and limit their faith to what he did when on earth, it is because their eyes are darkened. Let them but come to him :-let them but trust him :-let them but take hold of eternal life in him and then he will say to them, as he did to Martha, 'Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?'thou shouldest see that I am here to-day.
And he is the same, FOR EVER-to all succeeding generations-to the end of the world. Wicked men may plan to destroy his work; wicked men may labour that the sun shall not shine in this place or in that: but they forget, among their plans, that Christ is 'the Alpha and the Omega; that 'he openeth, and no man shutteth, and shutteth and no man openeth.' 'is the same yesterday, and to-day, and for ever.'
But, many will sit to hear us expound Scripture; and sit with satisfaction, provided we do not come home to them. I speak, therefore, to such CARELESS PERSONS. 'We preach Christ crucified: to the Jews a stumbling-block, and to the Greeks foolishness:' and we show you to-day, a monument of the power of Jesus Christ, in the man who has lately departed-a monument, which seems to be inscribed with these words, That, in the ages to come, he might show the exceeding riches of his grace, in his conversion through Jesus Christ,'-a monument of grace! Re
member, therefore, his testimony: he has spoken in this pulpit. Remember his blessed end; and remember your own end, which will shortly come. He could not save you, though he could preach to you: I cannot save you, though I can preach to you: I can only say, with the Apostle, 'Would to God, that not only thou, but all who hear me this day, were altogether such as I am!' I was going to say, and I will not refrain from saying, that God himself cannot save you, as you are: I repeat it, God cannot save the unconverted, hardened, careless, unbelieving sinner, as he is. He can touch the heart: he can work faith in the heart: he can give it sensibility, and make it a heart of flesh: but a sinner, as he is! a careless thoughtless sinner, as he is, to be saved! God must deny himself, if he were thus to save him. Turn ye, turn ye, for why will ye die?' Either you or God must change, or you cannot live together. Remember, then, what you have received. Remember the necessity of having faith in exercise. Satisfy not yourselves with crying out, 'Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his.' You must be in earnest; and must come, as the prodigal, back to your God. Cry aloud to God, therefore, to turn your hearts, and change your dispositions: and to enable you to come smiting on your breast, like the publican, and saying, 'God be merciful to me a sinner!
My DEAR BRETHREN! 'is Jesus Christ the same, yesterday, and to day, and for ever?" I call you to pray earnestly to God, that a double portion of the spirit of those servants, whom he has lately taken to himself, may rest on those that remain. Coldness, torpidity, and a comparative indifference prevail too much among those, who should be more inflamed with the truths of the Gospel. Pray, earnestly, then, that God would raise up faithful labourers for his vineyard. The harvest is ready, but the labourers are few.
Let us remember, too, that we also are called to be ready; for our Lord 'cometh at such a time as we know not.' And, however a man may put off these things while he is in health, and has a prospect of living many years, yet a dying time is a very awful time. If a man be not hardened and stupid indeed, his conscience will then speak out: he will have a lively apprehension of that future state, into which he is going; and to meet which, he feels himself wholly unprepared. 'Now,' therefore, is the accepted time now is the day of salvation.' Nothing more clearly shows the subtlety of Satan, and the stupidity of the carnal heart, than our putting off these things, till it pleases God to say, 'Thou fool! this night shall thy soul be required of thee.' May God grant that we may lay these things to heart! that, whenever our Master comes, he may find our loins girded and our lamps burning!