« PreviousContinue »
him likewise giving ready Counsel to all that ask; I behold him saving, or striving to save, some thought. less Youth from the Snares of the world, pouring his Balm into the wounded Character and Conscience, composing the Strifes and Contentions of jarring Neighbours, and ever exerting himself to make a whole World happy; concealing and bearing with Patience, his own infirmities and promoting Religion, Justice, Peace and Joy, to the farthest extent in his
power. None ever can approach such a Man but with Reverence! His gray Hairs are indeed a crown of Glory! They strike even the giddy and profligate with Awe; and all are ready to cry out, in Scripture Language...
“ O how comely a thing is Judgment for gray “ Hairs, and for ancient men to know Council! O “ how comely is the wisdom of old Men, and Under“ standing and Council to Men of Honour. Much
experience is the Crown of the Aged, and the fear “ of God is their Glory!” and who is there here present that will not add to the prayer...“ Lord God
grant that when gray Hairs cover this Head of “ mine, I may live the life of such a man, and that my latter end may be honourable like his!"
Should a man who has acted such a dignified part as this, come at last to bear the greatest marks of decay, and even outlive all the active powers both of Body and Mind; yet still he will continue to be respected by all! Like some grand Structure, tottering and crumbling beneath the Hand of Time, he will appear beautiful and majestic, although in Ruins; and
be still looked upon with Reverence and Awe! even by the Giddy and the Dissolute.
Notwithstanding, therefore, the common complaint, that old Age is a Thing not desirable; yet if it be such an old Age as we have been describing, and which is in part copied from the Life of the good Man, whose breathless Clay lies before us, it hath Satisfactions more substantial than all the giddy and fantastic Joys of former years. The Autumn, and even the very Winter of such a Life, yield a calm Sunshine of comfort, which the splendid Spring and Summer of Life, cannot yield to many who think themselves the most happy!
Now,* unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the Power that worketh in us; unto Him be Glory in the Church by Christ Jesus, throughout all Ages, World without End. Amen.
PREACHED AT THE FUNERAL
COLONEL JOSEPH NICHOLSON,
EASTERN SHORE OF MARYLAND.
GENESIS, Chap. XV. Ver. 15.
And thou shalt go to thy Fathers in Peace; thou shalt be buried
in a good old Age.
WE read here, Brethren, part of a Patriarchal Blessing--the Promise of God to Abram-a Blessing or Promise wished for by Many, obtained by Few, and revealed to Fewer still—but, without Promise, it hath been a Blessing propitiously bestowed upon our Friend and Fellow-Citizen; to whose venerable Ashes we are here assembled to pay the last Honours of funeral Interment!
The words of our Text were delivered to Abram, in a Vision of the Night, by the Almighty, and intended for his Comfort, at a Time when (finding old Age far advanced upon him) he laboured under great Sorrow and Affliction, “ because he went Childless, and had no Heir to inherit either his Name or Estate, but that one, not of his own Bowels, was to inherit the Whole.”
While the venerable Abram laboured under this great Distress of mind, " the word of the Lord
came unto Him, in a Vision, saying, 'fear not “ Abram-I am thy Shield and exceeding great Re“ ward And Abram answered;" Lord God! what wilt Thou give me,“ [or of what Service will all thy Kindness be to me? Although Thou shouldlest be my Shield and Defence against all mine Enemies, and shouldest reward me with the longest Life, and largest Possessions, yet none of these Things can give me substantial Comfort]" seeing I go childless, and to me Thou hast given no Seed; and my Steward, this Eleazer of Damascus, (though a stranger to my Blood, yet) is the only Person who deserves' most to be my Heir.
But the Lord answered unto Abram for his comfort—" This Man shall not be thine Heir; but one that shall come forth out of thine own Bowels, shall be thine Heir; and to shew Him further what a Multitude should spring from Him," the Lord (continuing to him the Vision of the Night) “ brought him forth abroad, and bid him look toward HeavenTry to tell yonder Stars, if thou art able; for so [in Number] shall thy Seed be.”
And now Abram, notwithstanding his former Despondency, believed in the Lord, respecting his future Seed; and also took the highest Comfort, through Faith, in the further Promise given him in our Text; namely—That after he had been blessed with a numerous Posterity—" He should go to his “ Fathers in Peace, and be buried in a good old “ Age;" and this Faith of Abram, in the promises of God, as revealed to him in the Vision, “ was “ accounted to him for Righteousness."*
We see from this short History, what God points out to Abram, “as an exceeding great Reward, and one of his highest Blessings upon Earth," namely, “ a numerous Posterity, and living to a good old Age;" having been useful and upright in our Dayvirtuous Citizens, stedfast Friends, venerable Fathers and Mothers—and then at last, to depart in Peace with God and Man, full of Years, respected in our Neighbourhood, and almost adored in our Families!
How much of this Blessing was applicable to our venerable Friend now departed, (who was almost a Patriarch in Years and Progenyt) those who have known him nearest and longest can best testify. His numerous Family of Descendants bear full Testimony to one Part; and some of us can further witness, with great Truth and Feeling, how earnest and assiduous were his Endeavours to promote those public undertakings in which we have been engaged, for the instruction of the rising Generation;ļ and other Works of common Benefit to the Country.
Zealous he was also for the advancement of Religion, and the support of its holy Ordinances; constant
* Gal. Chap. iii. Ver. 6.
t I have written to Albert Gallatine, who married his Grand-daughter, and his Grand-son Joseph Nicholson, Member of Congress, (bred up under my Care at Washington College) to send me the list of their Grandfa:her's Family, Children, &c.
The founding of Washington College, whereof he was the oldest Visitor and Governor.