« PreviousContinue »
spirit you are able. Meantime, watch always against all hurry and dissipation of spirit; and pray always, with all earvestness and perseverance, that your faith fail not. And let nothing interrupt that spirit of sacrifice, which you make of all you have and are, of all you suffer and do, that it may be an offering of a sweet smelling savour to God, through Jesus Christ!
5. As to the manner of acting and speaking, I advise you to do it with all innocence and simplicity, prudence and serious
Add to these, all possible calmness and mildness; nay, all the tenderness which the casc will bear. You are not to behave as butchers, or hangmen ; but as surgeons rather, who put the patient to no more pain than is necessary in order to the care. For this purpose, cach of you, likewise, has need of " a lady's band with a lion's heart." So shall many, even of them you are constrained to punisli, “glorify God in the day of visitation."
6. I eshort all of you who fear God, as crer you hope to find merey at his hands, as you dread being found (though you kuew it not) "even to fight against God;” do not, on any account, reason, or pretence whaisoever, either directly or indirectly, oppose or hinder so mercitul a design, and one so conducive to His glory. But this is not all: If you are lovers of mankind, if you long to lessen the sins and miseries of your fellow-crcatures ; can you satisfy yourselves, can you be clear before God, by barely not opposing it? Are not you also bound, by tlic most sacred ties," as you have opportunity, to do good to all men ?" And is not here an opportunity of doing good to many, cven good of the highest kind? In the name of God, then, embrace the opportunity! Assist in doing this good, if 10 otherwise, yet by your carnest prayers for them who are immediately employed therein! Assist them, according to your ability, to defray the expense which pecessarily attends it, and which, without the assistance of charitable persons, would be a burden they could not bear! Assist them, if you can without inconvenience, by quarterly or yearly subscriptions! At least, assist them now; use the present hour, doing what God puts into your heart! Let it not be said, that you saw your brethren labouring for God, and would not help them with one of your fingers! In this way, however, "come to the help of the Lord, to the help of the Lord against the mighty!"
7. I have an higher demand upon you who love as well as
fear God. He whom you fear, whom you love, has qualified you for promoting his work in a more excellent way. Because you love God, you love your brother also: you love, not only your friends, but your enemies ; not only the friends, but even the enemies, of God. You have “put on, as the elect of God, lowliness, gentleness, longsuffering.” You have faith in God, and in Jesus Christ whom he hath sent; faith which overcometh the world : and hereby you conquer both evil shame, and that “fear of man which bringeth a snare;” so that you can stand with boldness before them that despise you, and make no account of your labours. Qualified then as you are, and armed for the fight, will you be like the children of Ephraim, “who, being harnessed, and carrying bows, turned back in the day of battle?” Will you leave a few of your brethren to stand alone, against all the hosts of the aliens ? O say not, “This is too heavy a cross; I have not strength or courage to bear it!' True; not of yourself: but you that believe, “ can do all things through Christ strengthening you. “ If thou canst believe, all things are possible to bini that believeth." No cross is too heavy for him to bcar; knowing that they that “suffer with Him, shall reign with Him.” Say not, ‘Nay, but I cannot bear to be singular.' Then you cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven. No one enters there but through the narrow way; and all that walk in this, are singular. Say not, ‘But I cannot endure the reproach, the odious name of an Informer.' And did any man ever save his soul, that was not a by-word, and a proverb of reproach? Neither canst thou ever save thine, unless thou art willing that men should say all manner of evil of thec. Say not, But if I am active in this work, I shall losc, not only my reputation, but my friends, my customers, my business, my livelihood; so that I shall be brought to poverty.' Thou shalt not : thou canst not: it is absolutely impossible; unless God bimself chooseth it: for His “ kingdom ruleth over all," and "the very hairs of thy head are all numbered.” But if the wise, the gracious God choose it for thee, wilt thou murmur or complain? Wilt thou not rather say, “The cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?" If you “suffer for Christ, happy are you; the Spirit of glory and of God [shall] rest upon you.” Say not, I would suffer all things, but ny wife will not consent to it; and, certainly, a man ought to leave father, and mother, and all, and cleave to his wife.' True; all but God; all but Christ : but he ought not to leave Ilim for luis wife! He is not to leave any duty undone, for the dearest relative. Our Lord himself bath said in this very sepse, “If any mian loveth father, or mother, or wife, or children, more than me, he is not worthy of me.” Say not, "Well, I would forsake ali for Christ; but one duty must not hivder anothe! ; and this would frequently binder my attending pablic worship.' Sometimes it probably would. “Go, then, and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy and not sacrifice.” And, whatever is lost by showing this mercy, God will repay seven-fold into thy bosom. Say not, ‘But I sball hurt my own soul.
I am a young man; and by taking up loose women I should expose myself to temptation.' Yes, if you did this in your own strength, or for your own pleasure. But that is not the case. You trust in God; and you aim at pleasing Him only. And if he should call you even into the midst of a burning ficry furnace, “though thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flames kindle upon thee.” “True, if He called me into the furnace; but I do not see that I am called to this.' Perhaps thou art not willing to see it. However, if thou wast not called before, I call thee now, in the name of Christ : Take up thy cross, and follow him! Reason no more with fiesh and blood, but now resolve to cast in thy lot with the most despised, the most infamous of lis followers, the filth and offscouring of the world! I call thiec in particular, who didst once strengthen their bands, but since art drawn back. Take courage! Be strong! Fulll their joy, by returning with heart and hand ! Let it appear, thou “departedst for a season, that they might receive thee again for crer.” o be “not disobedient to the heavenly calling!” Aud, as for all of you who know whereunto ye are called, count ye all things loss, so ye may save one soul, for which Christ died! And therein "take no thought for the morrow,” but “ cast all your care on Him that careth for you!” Commit your souls, bodies, substance, all, to Him,
as unto a merciful and faithful Creator!”
N. B. After this Society had subsisted several years, and dove unspeakable good, it was wholly destroyed by a verdict given against it in the king's Bench, with three lundred pounds viamages. Idoubt a severe account remains for the witnesses, the jury, and all who ucre concerned in tit Treadful affair!
ON THE DEATH OF THE REV. MR. GEORGE
Preached at the Chapel in Tottenham-Court-Road, and at the Tabernacle near
Moorfields, on Sunday, November 18, 1770.
“ Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be
like his !” Num. xxiij. 10.
1. “LET my last end be like his !” How many of you join in this wish? Perhaps there are few of you who do not, even in this numerous congregation! And, O that this wish may rest upon your minds !—that it may not die away, till your souls also are lodged “where the wicked cease from troubling, and where the weary are at rest !
2. An elaborate exposition of the text will not be expected on this occasion. It would detain you too long from the sadlypleasing thought of your beloved Brother, Friend, and Pastor ; yea, and Father too: for how many are here whom he hath “ begotten in the Lord ? ” Will it not then be more suitable to your inclinations, as well as to this solemnity, directly to speak of this man of God, whom you have so often heard speaking in this place ?—the end of whose conversation ye know, “ Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.” And may we not,
I. Observe a few particulars of his Life and Death ?
IU, Inquire how we may improve this awful Providence, his sudden removal from us?
J. ). We may, in the first place, observe a few particulars of his Life and Death. He was born at Gloucester, in December, 1714, and put to a Grammar-School there, when about twelve years old. When he was seventeen, he began to be seriously religious, and scrved God to the best of his knowledge. About eighteen he removed to the University, and was admitted at Pembroke College in Oxford; and about a year after, he became acquainted with the Hethodists, (so called,) wlion from that time he loved as bis own soul.
2. By them he was convinced, that we “must be born again," or outward religion will profit us nothing. Hejoined with them in fasting on Weduesdays and Fridays; in visiting the sick and the prisoners; and in gathering up the very fragments of time, that no moment might be lost: and he changed the course of his studies; reading chiefly such books as entered into the heart of religion, and led directly to an experimental knowledge of Jesus Christ, and him crucified.
3. He was soon tried as with fire. Not only his reputation was lost, and some of his dearest friends forsook him ; but he was exercised with inward trials, and those of the severest kid. Many nights he lay sleepless upon his bed; many days, prontrate on the ground. But after he had groaned several months under “the Spirit of bondage,” God was pleased to remove the heavy load, by giving bim “the Spirit of Adoption;" chabling him, through a living faith, to lay bold on “the Son of his Love."
4. However, it was thonght needful, for the recovery of his health, which was much impaired, that he should go into the country. lle accordingly went to Gloucester, where God enabled bim to awaken several young persons. These soon formed themselves into a little society, and were some of the first fruits of his labour. Shortly after, hic began to read, twice or thuice a week, to some poor people in the town), and every day to read tv and pray with the prisoners in the county-gaol.
3. Beins now about twenty-one years of age, be was solicited to enter into Holy Orders. Or this he was greatly afraid, being deply scusible of his own insuficiency. But the Bishop limsel seuding for him, and telling him, “ Though I had porpused 10 ordain none under tree and tirenty, yet I will ordain you, whenever you come, "--and several other providential circumstanc Couleurrin,-!e submitted, and was ordained on Trinity-Sindr, 17.6. The next Sunday he preached to a crowded anditory, in die Church wherein he was baptized. The week flowing he returned to Oxford, and took his Bachelor's degree: and he was now fully employed, the care of the prisoners and the poorlying chiefly on bim.
6. but it was not long before he was invited to London, to serve the cure of a friend going into the country. He contimved there liru months, locis ins in the Tower, reading prayers in the Chape wice it weck, catalising and preaching ouce,