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admonitions! Here he presents an example worthy of the imitation of every other pastor. We should never be unmindful of the little ones around us who are to occupy the vacant places made by the inroads of death and the vicissitudes of time; who are to rise up as the parents of the next generation. And it is well known what a happy influence pastoral attention to the welfare of children produces. And the lengthened years of our departed friend, as a venerable minister of the cross, added much to the respectof those that knew him and loved him. An aged pastor is a pleasing character; his very appearance inspires our affection and respect. We call to mind how many discourses he must have delivered during his official career —how rich he must be in experience— what an unction must necessarily rest on his conversation.—He is like the ripened fruit which has long been in the sun, and is ready to drop from the parent stem. And as our venerable friend lived in the land, his end was peace and tranquillity. His last words, as I have been informed by an esteemed friend, were, "Now, Lord, lettest thou thy servant depart in peace according to thy word, for mine eyes have seen thy salvation." And his prayer was answered. "May we die the death of the righteous—may our last end be like his!"
There was, however, one feature more in his personal character which I had almost forgotten, but which we would not have intentionally concealed, I allude to the liberality and catholicism of his spirit. Basil Wood was no bigot; he loved all good men of every name and denomination; he knew, that though there are some nonessential shades of difference among us, yet we are all one in Christ Jesus; though distinct as billows we are one as a sea; and that in heaven these shades will be absorbed "in the far
more exceeding and eternal weight of glory." This he felt, this he avowed, and experienced a pleasure in avowing, and thus gave the right hand of fellowship to all those who loved the Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity.
Having thus prescribed the last public token of our respect to the personal and ministerial character of our venerable neighbour, let us bring the subject home to our own Particular Improvement; for that, my dear hearers, is the great end of preaching and of hearing.
Now, what do we learn from the event which we have contemplated? In the first place it seems, That Death Is An Universal Event—your ministers depart as well as yourselves. "Your fathers, were are they? the prophets—do they live for ever? And, shortly, you and I must go the way of all the earth. My hearers, what is the state of your souls? Have you been brought to true repentance? Are your sins, which are many, forgiven? What do you know of communion with God, and of fellowship with his son Jesus Christ? Are you using the world without abusing it? Are you looking not so much at things which are seen and temporal, as at those things which are unseen and eternal? Happy are you if it be so! Then when you die yourend will be peace—if otherwise, you are not prepared to meet your God.
We learn, again, The Great ImPortance Of Personal Religion. Your attendance upon the ordinances of religion amounts to nothing without this. Your sudden impulses, your occasional convictions and resolves, my brethren, will not avail, unless they terminate in newness of life. You must be converted by divine grace; your heart must be changed by the Spirit of God. It is a happiness to know, that these ordinances are the means of grace, but we wish to caution you against resting in their internal observances, against satisfying yourselves in merely frequenting the house of prayer, mingling in the praises of the sanctuary, and in other acts of devotion, and then departing, forgetting the improvement that ought to be made, the feeling that these services ought to have inspired, the practical results that they should produce on your conversation and deportment in the world. And further, we may remark, that It
IS A COMFOKT TO US, THAT THOUGH OUR EARTHLY PASTORS DIE THE HEAVENLY SHEPHERD EVER LIVES. The bishop
of souls is from everlasting to everlasting, having an unchangeable priesthood, and thus he can supply the necessities of his church; he can do for us exceeding abundantly, above all that we can ask for.
Andonce more, we learn from the sub
ject, THAT THE DEATH OF MINISTERS IS VERY ALARMING TO THEIR UNGODLY
Hearers. Now, let us suppose, for a moment, what must be the reflections of those stated attendants of our esteemed father in Christ, who have heard all the expostulations and instructions that flowed from his lips, and his many appeals to the conscience, and are still strangers to the one thing needful. What must have been their reflections when they followed him to the tomb —when they saw him closed up for ever—when they understood that his spirit had winged its flight to the rest which remains to the people of God? Their reflections surely must have been somewhat similar to these. My beloved pastor is gone—long ere this he has appeared before God and witnessed against me—I have heard the truth, but I have rebelled against it, and have never received it in the love of it. Ishall no more hear his voice—no more promises, no more invitations will ever proceed from his mouth. He has left we an unconverted sinner! Ah, solemn
reflections, my hearers, apply them to yourselves. Shortly, perhaps, at a period which we are not at all calculating on, the preacher who addresses you, will have to yield obedience to the summons of death. If you are, therefore, left destitute of vital piety, he will be a witness against you. On, then, remember that his ministry will cither be a savour of life unto life, or of death unto death. May you be his joy here and his crown of rejoicing hereafter!
And, finally, this is an event to the surviving members of our departed friend's church, which requires of them much of the spirit of Jesus Christ. Now is the time for them to stand by each other to promote the unity of the spirit and the bond of peace ; and if as a Christian community they were now within the sound of my voice, I would say. Never desert the place to which you have been so long attached. You have lost your venerable pastor, but still it is the church, the house of God. I would caution them very affectionately against cultivating a roving spirit—I would entreat them, by the mercies of God, to promote unity and brotherly love— especially to be very much in secret and family prayer for divine direction, that the unoccupied pulpit may be filled by a good Minister of Jesus Christ, who, as a faithful and devoted Shepherd, will go out before them, and feed them with knowledge and with spiritual provision.
May God bless them, and cause the light of his countenance to shine upon them, and grant them peace. May he prepare them, and you, and me, and every other minister of the sanctuary for an abundant entrance into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ, and say to us at the last great day, "Well done, good and faithful servants, enter ye into the joy of your Lord."—Amen.
DELIVERED BY THE REV. T. MORTIMER,
AT ST. LEONARD'S, SIIOREDITCH, APRIL 24, 1831.
John, x. 11.—"I am the good Shepherd, the good Shepherd gitcth his life for the
I Need hardly remind you, my Christian brethren, that we last Sunday considered these words. They were brought before us, by the church, in the service for the day. We stated, that there were two things to be considered. First, THE OFFICE WHICH ClIKIST BOBE TOWARDS HIS PEOPLE—
that he was their shepheid; this we considered last Sunday afternoon—the Second point we left for to-day, which
is, THE SACRIFICE HE MADE FOB HIS
People. "The good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep."
We appear to be the same congregation we were last Sunday, but I am not quite sure that we are, I am not quite sure but that some persons who heard me last sabbath day may never hear another sermon preached, or may before this time have got into another world. Oh, my brethren, we come to God's house, and we hear his word, and we go our way, and some of us, perhaps, never hear the word of God again. Suppose such a case for one moment. What is it, my Christian people, to a dying man, when overtaken suddenly by death, at the turn of a corner, when least expected, in a moment, perhaps, what is it to such a man, to feel that he is one of Christ's sheep, and what is it to feel that the Lord Jesus laid down his life for him? Let me tell you, by and by, however common this passage may appear, however uninteresting it may appear, God knows, and you will know it, that the day is coming, when to feel that you are Christ's sheep,
and that you are interested in his death, will be worth ten thousand worlds. Ten thousand worlds did I say! Ten thousand worlds will appear a poor beggarly paltry thing on such a day, compared with a good hope, through grace, of something beyond the grave.
We are going then, this afternoon, to talk about the death of Jesus, a subject which I suppose we have all heard of before; but I wonder what some of you would have said of this subject if you never had heard of the death of Christ. Let me tell you that this death of Christ, when preached to the people, has sometimes accomplished wonderful effects. Some of the best missionaries that this world ever saw, next to the Apostles and the primitive Christians, some of the best mission' aries that this world of ours ever saw, have been, perhaps, those sent out by the ancient episcopal church of the Moravian brethren. I look upon it that no missionaries, who ever crossed the sea to preach the Gospel to the heathen, ever did more than they have done. They made a grand mistake, however, when they first began to preach. They went and preached to the heathen, mark you, that they were not to kill, that they were not to commit adultery, that they were not to steal, and the heathen did not care a straw for what they said; some went to sleep, others paid no attention at all; others said, we knew this before. At length, one of them addressing the missionary said, do you come all this way to tell us what we knew before? did you, said the Indian, cross the great big water to tell us that we must not steal, that we must not commit adultery, that we must murder one another; we knew all this before, but we cannot help it; we do these things and we cannot help it? The missionaries found out their mistake from that hour, and what do you think they did? They began to preach what you have got in the text, that Christ laid down his life for the sheep; they began to preach the death of Jesus to these poor untaught heathen, and what was the consequence? Why one poor wretched man began to weep, and another began to weep, and one began to think on his wicked life and to wish to God to be a Christian; and the effect was, that there was soon a Christian church planted even among the heathen, and the power of God's Holy Spirit attended the preaching of the crucified Saviour, and sinners were converted to the faith of Jesus.
Ah, my dear brethren, the preaching of the cross has done wonders let me tell you, and it is doing so now. If I were asked who were the most useful preachers in Christendom, I would not go to the most learned, much as I honor literature—I would not go to the most eloquent, much as I may admire eloquence—but, I would ask, who are they that preach Jesus and him crucified with the greatest simplicity to the people—who are they who forget themselves and lift aloft the cross of Christ and point perishing sinners to him? Wherever this is done, whether it be in the stately cathedral, or whether it be in the humble barn or cottage, there the power and grace and blessing of our God rests. Whether it be in the crowdedcity, or whether itbeamongthe poor Hottentots, or New Zealanders, or Indians, wherever Jesus is preached, wherever the cross of Christ is plainly
and boldly and lovingly lifted up before the people, there the blessing rests.
There is a mighty and wonderful promise attendant on this. "I," said Jesus, " if I be lifted up from the earth will draw all men unto me." I am, therefore, always thankful to God when I have got to preach about my Saviour. I wish to know nothing among you save Jesus Christ and him crucified. I often wish that my sermons had ten thousand times more of Jesus in them. I believe that one reason why half the sermons fall to the ground, and that nobody goes home touched, moved and melted, is because our sermons have nothing of Jesus in them. This was the preaching by which the Apostles brought a wicked and heathen world to the foot of the cross—this was the means by which the Roman Emperor became a Christian—this was the means by which idols fell to the ground, and the God of Israel was adored and worshipped—this it was our Reformers took care to preach when they took away all the rubbish of popery from the doctrines of the Gospel, and brought forth the old doctrines and preached the Gospel to the common people. Look at your Homilies not one person in an hundred ever reads them. You know not what your Reformers have taught to the people. You take, many of you, not the least trouble to understand or to read these things for yourselves. But go and read these Homilies and you shall see that they are full of the Lord Jesus.
And yet it is a strange thing to say, but it is true, and I must say it, that the preaching of the cross is, to some people, foolishness—the preaching of this, that Jesus laid down his life for the sheep, is to some persons foolishness. And to whom think you? I do not speak it irreverently, I speak it soberly, advisedly, and in the fear of God—to whom ii the preaching of the cross foolishness? Mark—to the men that are damned—to those who die in their sins and go to hell. You want a proof of this—a Scriptural proof. You are ready to say to the preacher—sir, your assertion is a strong one, can you bear it out by Scripture? If I cannot do not believe me—I give you the Scripture—" The preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness." If that passage do not mean what I have said to you, pray what can it mean? Does it mean any thing? Is not the language as clear and express as it is possible to be? How then ought this to open your eyes. We know that nine out of ten of those that live in this wicked thoughtless world of ours despise the preaching of the cross. Not merely despise it but think it foolishness—that it is unnecessary, say some—that it is fanatical, say others—that it is puritanical, say others —any name of current reproach, any bad name, or supposed bad name that they can give to Christian doctrine they will give and do give. But who are they? The men who are going to the devil—the men who are posting to destruction—the men who are on their way to eternal fire—these are the men. My dear brethren, the preaching of the cross is, to them that perish, foolishness. I do not ask you to believe what I say, but take what the Bible says. The preaching of the cross —the preaching of the death of Jesus—the making so much ado about a crucified Redeemer is thought to be perfect madness and folly. And by whom? By the men I have told you of—by the men who are posting to everlasting damnation.
Oh, then, what an awful subject is the cross of Christ, and what a sort of touchstone is it to us all. If it is foolishness to me, and I think it is so, and care nothing about it, and despise those that preach it, then the Bible
must be untrue, or I must be going to eternalfire. Oh, my dear hearers, would to God that hearing these things you would inquire what you know about the cross of Christ! Is it foolishness to you? It may be, that I have some persons here to-day, who, when they heard this text given out, said, I have heard it before. Heard it before! Yes, I hope you have, or else, indeed, what have we been doing if we have not preached it before. You thought you did not much need to hear it again, and you thought it was an old bygone subject, not much calculated to interest persons. Then, I pray you, tell us what can possibly interest a sinful, a rational, and immortal creature, if the cross of Christ will not interest him; and yet it is true, that the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness.
Take another view of the cross of Christ, about which I am preaching— of the death of Jesus. "To them that perish it is foolishness, but to Christians it is the power of God." A marvellous thing to say of it—one of the highest things that the Apostles could say of it. Now, then, my brethren, if this be the case, I wish to ask you, has this news, this good news, these glad tidings, which have been published to the world, have they been the power of God unto you? A most important question; and I will try to help you to answer it.
It says here, "the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep." It is said by St. Paul, in the passage I have quoted, that to those who are of the church of God, "to us who are saved, it is the power of God." I wish to know, for it is a matter very important for me to know—I wish to know, whether this doctrine has been the power of God to any of you? And as I promised to endeavour to assist you in this inquiry, I proceed to fulfil my promise. The Apostle Peter, when