Page images
PDF
EPUB

hand gently over my brother's face, he said, with great emphasis, • This body is the purchase of Christ: it cannot be lost-it must revive again all these limbs must resume their activity. Oh! with what fine sentiments and ideas does the Christian religion furnish us to what any of the heathen systems did !"

Though excessively agitated in his whole frame, he yet sustained himself to deliver at the

grave a funeral oration, characterized by tender and solemn eloquence the eloquence of feeling and of piety.

His letters to his friends for some time after this event, contain occasional allusions to the death of Mr. White and in a way which proves how much he loved him-how deeply he deplored his loss. In one he says

“I have lately been visiting a scene of death at Chester: my worthy friend Mr. White is now no more in this world; but I doubt not, he shines illustriously in another state of existence. When I was

of
age

he came to Hertford, and used to spend a great deal of xiine with me: ah ! little did I then think I should have to deliver a funeral address at his interment, and so far away too from the place with which we were then familiar. Peace to his ashes, and eternal joy to his departed spirit! and ere long may I meet him in that blessed state, where disappointments will no longer be his lot op mine."

On the Sabbath evening following, Mr. Spencer preached a funeral sermon for his friend, in his own pulpit at Liverpool, from Deut. xxxiv. 5, So Moses, the servant of the Lord, died there in the land of Mo.

eleven years

ab, according to the word of the Lord.' The sermon was solemn and impressive. Thus we record the mortality of others, and drop into eternity ourselves. On that Sabbath evening three months, his own funeral sermon was preached in the same pulpit.

The following letter was written the day before the funeral of Mr. White :

No. 39.

TO MR. HADDON.

May 13th, 1811. MY DEAR FRIEND,

6. I am ashamed when I think of the length of time which has passed since I last wrote to you ; but indeed since then I have scarcely written to any one, so much have I been occupied. What a beautiful and admirable narrative is the Dairyman's Daughter; if you can, get me two hundred of them, and send me the very first opportunity : they are just the kind of publication I want for several of my hearers. Procure me too some of the Negro Servant, and of all the interesting modern tracts, which your own discretion may suggest.

The Rev. Ebenezer White of Chester, has entered into the joy of his Lord. He was formerly settled at Hertford. I knew him, and highly esteemed him. I am going o his funeral. Oh ! how uncertain is human life ! how necessary that habitual frame of piety which the Holy Spirit can impart to his believing favourites! May we both enjoy the sanctity of religion, love it for its purity, and be enabled to discern ils

66 loved me,

holy excellencies ; then we shall show that our regeneration is real, and our hope of heaven wellsupported. God is showing me more and more of the uncertainty of all things here, and the necessity of living the blessed life of faith upon the Son of God, who, I sometimes think I can say, and gave himself for me." I study a good deal, and find increasing pleasure in it. In visiting, as yet I have done but very little. The families I am most intimate with, are the serious, the pious followers of Christ ; for I find that these alone can help me to comfort under my own trials, or in any way do me real good. But I know I must not be selfish. I must labour to do good in any way I can possibly think of.

6 I am much pleased with my lodgings; the situation is so retired and beautiful, that it is every thing I can wish. I doubt not but you continue to pray for me, and I need your prayers. I feel the awful responsibility of my work, and my own unfitness for it. I long to present every man perfect in Christ Je. sus. Remember me affectionately to all our friends. “ I am sincerely your's,

66 THOMAS SPENCER."

Mr. Spencer seemed now to become more and more interested in his important work; the scenes of every day appeared to present it to his mind in some new and interesting light. The powers of his soul were absorbed in its concerns. He could think and speak of nothing else. In the pulpit, or in preparations for it-in serious conversation with his friends or in the chambers of the diseased and dy

ing, he was at home. He lived but for the discharge of his high obligations, and in the prosecution of his arduous work he was both useful and happy. With astonishing rapidity his character and talents ripened. He seemed to grow daily in favour both with God and man. All that saw him, admired him, there was something so engaging in his manner-all that heard him, respected and revered him, so seri. ous and important were the truths which he delive ered-all that knew him, loved him, for his was every amiable quality that could excite and retain the best affections of the human heart.

Valuable as our public institutions for the educa. tion of students for the Christian ministry really are, they can afford but an inadequate conception of the complicated duties of the pastoral office. The work of the pulpit is perhaps, after all, not the most diffieult or trying part of the pastor's employ—and the reason why so many fail when called into active service in the Church of God, is probably this, that they never calculated upon one half of the engagements which then press upon their regard. They had formed a most incorrect estimate of the numerous claims which the office of the ministry involves, upon their time their talents their patience-and their faith. They had imagined, that in the composition and delivery of sermons was the chief of their labour-and that when this duty was discharged, by far the heaviest burden was removed. The visitation of the siek, with all the peculiar delicacy, prudenee, affection, and faithfulness which it requires

-the consolation of the distressed, with all the caution and skill which the varieties of their grief de

mand-the reproof and admonition of the irregular, with all the mingled tenderness, constancy and fidelity, which, in such difficult cases, must be exercised -the care of the young, with that adaptation of temper and manner to their capacities which, in the work of catechising, familiar conversation or public instruction, is absolutely necessary—the ad. vising, comforting and relieving the distressed, the embarrassed, and the indigent, who all press to him for counsel, solace and relief;--these, and unnumbered other duties connected with the pastoral office, are perhaps but seldom contemplated with sufficient seriousness amid the exercises of a college. And even in the public engagements of ministry, the circumstances of the pastor differ materially from those of the student. The pulpit compositions of the student are general ; those of the pastor must be particular. The student has no individual case to suit ; the congregation to whom he preaches are strangers to him; the pastor has as many cases as there are people committed to his charge. The student can seleet his topics, and adapt his preaching to the tone of his mind--or if peculiar reluctance should be felt, may enjoy the repose he wishes, and not preach at all; bat the pastor must appear at the stated hours of worship, whatever be the frame and temper of his soul. Often he is called to the discussion of subjects but ill adapted to his feelings; and it becomes his duty to administer consolation to others which his bleeding bosom needs, but cannot take. He must sometimes cover with a smiling countenance an aching heart; and his lips must exhort to tranquility and confidence in God, whilst

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »