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proved that you then saw and heard him for the last time. His strength and life were prolonged to finish his discourse, and to pronounce over you his parting blessing, which he had scarcely finished, before he was called home to his Master's joy. "Blessed is that servant, whom his Lord, when he cometh, shall find so doing."*

In considering the ground of the apostle's love to the Thessalonians, and the proofs which he gave of it, the subject will frequently lead me to bear a testimony to the grace of God, vouchsafed to your late minister, of whom we may truly say, he was a "follower of St. Paul, as Paul also was of Christ."t

1. The first ground, the original cause of the apostle's love to the brethren, was the love of Christ. His unwearied endeavours, in the midst of the hardships and dangers which awaited him in every place, to promote the happiness of mankind, made him appear to many who were unacquainted with the motives of his conduct, as though he were beside himself. The apology he offered was "the love of Christ constraineth us." Till he knew the Lord, he acted very differently. While he was under the power of prejudice and ignorance, he verily thought that he ought to do many things against the name of Jesus of Nazareth, and therefore breathed out threatening and slaughter against his people.§ But Jesus, whom he persecuted, appeared to him in his way to Damascus, convinced him of his sin, vouchsafed him pardon, and commissioned him to preach the faith which he had laboured to destroy. From that time he esteemed himself a chief sinner, and because much had been forgiven him, he loved much. He devoted his whole future life to proclaim the glory and grace of his Saviour, and to propose himself as a pattern of his long-suffering and mercy to all around him, that they likewise might believe and be saved. He was conscious of his Saviour's just right to reign in every heart. And they who, by receiving the Gospel which he preached, entered into his views, and loved the Lord whom he loved, instantly became dear to him for his Lord's sake, whether they were Jews or Gentiles, rich or poor, bond or free. It is probable, that all who are convinced and enlightened by the Holy Spirit, having a clearer knowledge of the nature, number, and aggravation of their own sins than they can possibly have of those of any other person, account themselves among the chief of sin-. ners, though many of them may have been preserved from gross enormities. I never heard that your minister was influenced, like Saul of Tarsus, by a bitter, persecuting spirit; and, I believe, his behaviour was moral and exemplary from his youth. When he

*Luke, xii, 43. Gal. i. 23.

† 1 Cor. xi. 1. 2 Cor. v. 14 Acts, ix. 1. xxvi.. 1 Tim. i. 15, 16.

entered upon his ministry, at his beloved Helmsley, in Yorkshire, he found the place ignorant and dissolute to a proverb. At this early period of life he feared God, and he hated wickedness. With much zeal and diligence he attempted the reformation of his parish, which was of great extent, and divided into several hamlets. He preached frequently in them all. He encouraged his parishioners to come to his house. He distributed them into little companies, that he might instruct them with more convenience: he met them in rotation, by appointment. In this manner, long before he fully understood that Gospel of God which of late years he so successfully imparted to you, I have been assured that he often preached or exhorted, publicly or more privately, twenty times in a week. These labours were not in vain a great, visible, and almost universal reformation took place. About the time I am speaking of, a clergyman in his neighbourhood made very honourable mention of Mr. Conyers, in a letter to the Society for promoting Christian Knowledge, (which I have seen in print,) as, perhaps, the most exemplary, indefatigable, and successful parochial minister in the kingdom; yet, in the midst of applause and apparent success, he was far from being satisfied with himself. He did what he could; he did more than most others; but he felt there was something still wanting, though, for a time he knew not what; but he was desirous to know. He studied the Scriptures, and he prayed to the Father of lights. They who thus seek shall surely find. Important consequences often follow from a sudden, involuntary turn of thought. One day an expression of St. Paul's, "the unsearchable riches of Christ,"* engaged his attention. He had often read the passage, but never noticed the word "unsearchable" before. The Gospel, in his view of it, had appeared plain, and within his comprehension; but the apostle spoke of it as containing something that was "unsearchable." A conclusion, therefore, forced itself upon him, that the idea he had hitherto affixed to the word Gospel, could not be the same with that of the apostle. From this beginning, he was soon led to perceive that his whole scheme was essentially defective; that his people, however outwardly reformed, were not converted. He now felt himself a sinner, and felt his need of faith in a Saviour in a manner he had never done before. Thus he was brought, with the apostle, to account his former gain but loss. The unsearchable riches of Christ opened to his mind, he received power to believe, his perplexities were removed, and he rejoiced with joy unspeakable and full of glory. He presently told his people, with that amiable simplicity which so strongly marked his character, that, though he had endeavoured to show them the way of salvation, he

* Ephes. iii. 8.

had misled them; that what both he and they had been building, was not upon the right foundation. He, from that time, preached Jesus Christ, and him crucified, as the only ground of hope for sinners, and the only source from whence they could derive wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption.* The Lord so blessed his word, that the greater part of the people who were most attached to him soon adopted his views, and many more were successively added to them. This change in his sentiments and manner of preaching, though it added efficacy to his moral instructions, and endeared him to his people at home, lost him much of that high estimation in which he had been held abroad. But he knew the Gospel of God too well to be ashamed of it; whatever disgrace he suffered in such a cause he could bear with patience. He loved his people, and was beloved by them; and their advance in comfort and holiness made him ample compensation for the unkindness of those who knew not what they did. And thus, when the providence of God removed him hither, the constraining love of Christ, which had long been the great principle of his conduct, disposed him to love you before he saw you; and he came among you with an earnest desire to impart unto you the Gospel of God, and his own soul also, because, from the moment that he accepted the charge over you, he was affectionately desirous of you.

The regard of the apostle to the Thessalonians was, undoubtedly, heightened in proportion as the Lord was pleased to give him seals to his ministry among them. And the like cause had the like effect here. The mutual affection that subsists between a faithful minister and those to whom the Lord makes him useful, is of a peculiar kind, and not easily described. I trust he looked upon many of you with joy, as his "crown and glory in the day of Christ" and you, I doubt not, looked on him with respect and gratitude, as the instrument of God in saving your souls, in calling you" out of darkness into marvellous light." What were some of you doing, and whither were you going, when God sent you, by him, the word of salvation? And what a happy change have you since experienced? You were then "dead in trespasses and sins, without Christ, and therefore without hope, and without God in the world; but now you, who were sometimes afar off, are made nigh by the blood of Christ." Now, being freed from the slavery of sin, "you have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life :" You have now access to God, communion with him, an interest in his promises, and a good hope, through grace, that, though your minister be taken from yon, he who, by t Ephes. ii. 1, 12, 15.

* 1 Cor. ii. 2. i. 30. Rom. vi. 22.

t1 Thess. ii. 19.

him, "begun a good work in you, will perform it unto the day of Jesus Christ."* Let this thought moderate your grief. You will see the face of your minister no more here; but you will meet him again, ere long, before the throne of God and the Lamb. Then all tears will be for ever wiped away.

Again During the apostle's continuance with the Thessalonians, he and they had enjoyed precious seasons of worship together, and of mutual communion with God, in the ordinances of his appointment. "Wherever two or three are met in the Lord's name," he is mindful of his promise, and does "manifest himself unto them, as he does not unto the world ;" and these tastes of his loving kindness wonderfully soften, spiritualize, and enlarge their affections, and knit them closer and closer together in love. And though that power and unction from on high, which makes the ordinances of the Gospel truly delightful, and an hour so employed preferable to a "thousand" of the world's hours, does not altogether depend upon the gifts, or even upon the grace of the minister; yet it is, doubtless, a singular and high privilege to be under the care of a wise and tender shepherd, of one who, in the school of experience, has acquired the " tongue of the learned," who knows how to adapt himself to the occasions of the people, to give every one their proper portion, to obviate their doubts, relieve their fears, point out their dangers, and to speak a word in season to them that are weary. Be thankful that you were long favoured with such an able minister of the New Testament. As a public preacher, he may, perhaps, have left some equals behind him. But he had at Deptford, as formerly at Helmsley, stated seasons, when he expounded the Scriptures to a smaller auditory in his house, or within his own premises. He supposed that, on these occasions, few persons were present but those who either possessed the peace of the Gospel, or were sincerely seeking it. The simplicity and meekness of wisdom with which, as a father among his children, he exhorted, comforted, and instructed these his more select hearers, seemed peculiar to himself. In this branch of his ministerial office I always thought him unequalled and inimitable. How often have many of you had reason to say, at such seasons, "Did not our hearts burn within us, while he talked with us, and while he opened to us the Scriptures ?" And the great attention with which he was heard, and the proofs he saw that his labours were not in vain, rendered him still more affectionately desirous towards you.

For, lastly, as one great reason why the apostle loved the Thessalonians was, that they were not only hearers, but doers of the

*Phil. i. 6. || Isa. 1. 4.

Matth. xviii. 20. ¶ Luke, xxiv. 32,

John, xix. 22.

Psalm 1xxxiv. 10.

word, and he could speak of them with pleasure, and propose them to others as "examples" of the efficacy and tendency of the Gospel which he preached; so, I trust, yea, I know, that some of you were exceedingly dear to your late minister on this account also. He could say of you, and to you, 66 now we live, if ye stand fast in the Lord." He had no greater joy than to see his children walk in the truth, and demonstrate, by their conduct, that the Gospel which they professed was a doctrine according to godliness. Those of Those of you who gave him this pleasure, may, now he is gone, praise God for the grace which enabled you to administer to the comfort of one who so tenderly watched over your souls. He was proportionably affected with pungent grief when any whom he loved acted unsuitably to their profession, though they perhaps seldom knew what their unfaithfulness cost him. In his preaching, he bore a strenuous and faithful testimony against every evil; not only against gross sins, but against every deviation, whether in temper or practice, from the spirit and rule of the Gospel. But there was something in his natural disposition which made it difficult for him to expostulate plainly and strongly in private. In private, he could not easily reprove. But he could mourn; he could wear out the day without pleasure, and the night without rest, in bemoaning those who had neither compas sion for him nor themselves. I can affirm this of him, from instances which have come to my own knowledge. Perhaps some person present may think, Surely the preacher has heard of me, and means to point me out to the notice of the congregation. No, it is your own conscience points you out; I know you not. But is it so, indeed, that you broke your minister's rest, and added to his troubles by your miscarriages? You do well to weep: may God give you repentance not to "be repented of."§ Will not his lamented and sudden death recall to your remembrance how earnestly he warned you, and pleaded with you, while he was liv ing, and rouse you from that dangerous security into which you have been seduced by the deceitfulness of sin?

II. I have, in a great measure, anticipated what I purposed to mention under a second head-the proofs which he gave that the affection he professed for his people was cordial and sincere. But the subject is not exhausted. St. Paul evidenced his love to the Thessalonians, by imparting to them the Gospel of God, and by his unweared zeal and diligence in their service, in defiance of the difficulties and obstacles which always attended his labours. By the strong expression, that he was ready" to impart unto them his own soul also," he intimates both the energy of his address, and his fixed determination to venture every consequence in their service. § 3 Cor. vii. 10,

* 1 Thess. i. 7, † 1 Thess. iii. 8.

† 3 John, 4.

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