Page images

propriety. Supposing that he did not approve of reading sermons, it is an useful exercise to em. body his thoughts, and express them with precision. This would prevent those empty harangues which only tend to expose the preacher and delude the hearers. But Mr. Richards was of opinion, that, in general, Sermons delivered off hand attracted greater attention, and were more conducive to improvement. The following outline I took promiscuously from amongst his papers; it was the first that came to hand, and may be deemed a fair specimen of the rest. Probably it was preached upon some national occasion.

Luke xix. 42.-If thou hadst known, even thou, at

least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace ! But now they are hid from thine eyes.

INTRODUCTION. Our Lord speaks here in the vehemence of affection for Jerusalem, and with a sincere and deep concern for its approaching ruin.

Christianity is so far from forbidding what is called the love of our country; that it strongly inculcates and promotes it. Christ, as the Christian's example, loved his country, sought its welfare, and wept in the prospect of its desolation.--He that is not affected with these things is unworthy the name of a follower of Jesus.

Excellence of Christianity-Everything good and excellent in natural religion is promoted here

Is inculcated with more than double force-Is held forth with additional lustre and glory.

Religion of Christ has a tendency to make men better in every station of life-If it had not, it could not be what it professedly is—a Divine Religion.

Christ wept.-—It can neither be a reproach to, nor a weakness in a Christian, to weep over the calamities of his country.

The inhabitants of Jerusalem were enemies to Cbrist and his doctrine; yet he pitied them, and wished their prosperity.—His friends and followers should imitate his example.-His wish is similar to that in the 192d Psalm.


1. If thou hadst knownTrue knowledge, or right views of divine things, lead to peace and safety.

2. Even thou-JERUSALEM—The most wicked and ungrateful of cities. Such is the infinite mercy, of God, that if even thou hadst known the


and sought the God of Grace, thou shouldst be spared.

3. At least in this thy day. Their case was not quite desperate--not entirely remediless yet. The day was not closed— The light had not quite departed— The voice of mercy, the call of divine kindness, still resounded in their land.

4. Thy day.Even Judea had its day of mercy Its highly privileged season. It was the day of

Christ's Ministry—the day of the publication of the Gospel among them.

5. The things which belong unto thy peace.-To do judgment and justice, and walk humbly with God. In short, obeying the voice of the great Prophet MESSIAH!

6. But now they are hid from thine eyes.-Thou art quite infatuated; and whilst thou continuest so, thou wilt never find the gate of mercy—the way of deliverance from misery and destruction.

IMPROVEMENT. 1. Obs. It is the part of a Christian to rejoice in the prospect of the happiness, and grieve in the prospect of the misery, of our country.

2. The way of KNOWLEDGE is the way to peace or happiness.

3. Ignorance and inconsideration are generally the forerunners of DESTRUCTION.

The filling up of this admirable outline yielded a fine scope for the preacher to explain the nature, to point out the tendency, and to demonstrate the superior excellence of the glorious Gospel of THE BLESSED God, which is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile.

I have been informed his Discourses were highly scriptural, as to their subject, elucidation, and improvement. Hence variety marked his ministrations throughout a long series of years. The nature, excellencies, and privileges of the Messiau's kingdom, were his favourite theme. The virtues and vices of fallen man were contrasted, whilst the Christian character, formed after the perfect model of the Saviour, was exhibited in all its perfection. And here the representations given in the Four Gospels must be made a prominent object, so as to illuminate the understanding and impress the heart. The prime object of the Christian Ministry is to turn men from darkness to marvellous light, and from the power of sin and Satan to the living God! In other words, to make men wiser and better is the legitimate purport of religious instruction. Nor let it be forgotten, that Ministers are much better employed in attending to the discharge of their own duties, than in proscribing and anathematizing others. “ Teach your people (says my old tutor, the excellent Dr. George Campbell, the truth to the best of your knowledge-enforce on them their duty to the utmost of your power—urge all the motives which the Gospel and right reason will supply you with : but give no evil surmising with regard to OTHERS!” The exercise of a good understanding, under the influence of a pure benevolence and an unassuming piety, constitutes the only solid basis of the Christian Ministry.

Speaking of the Ministry of Mr. Richards, an anecdote has come very unexpectedly to my knowledge, which must not be suppressed. Whilst penning this Narrative, a friend (the Rev. Mr. T.) called in, and inquiring what now engaged my pen ?

I answered, “ the Memoir of MR. RICHARDS, of Lynn.”—“ That was a good man,” replied my visitor; “ I shall never forget him, but always respect his memory.”—“ Did you know him ?” said 1.-“ No,” he rejoined; “I never saw him ; but a circumstance happened in early life which has led me to think well of his character and ministry.”. He then related the following particulars, which are deserving of attention.

In the year 1783, a young man of the name of Fox, not more than eighteen years of age, had stopped a poor itinerant Jew on a common near Lynn, robbed him, and beat him-a deed of barbarous atrocity. He was immediately taken, tried at Norwich the ensuing assizes, and condemned to be hanged on the spot where the offence was committed. On his trial the culprit urged, that he was young—had been to sea in the service of his country—was just discharged--and in a fit of intoxication had been guilty of the outrage with which he stood charged. In addition he mentioned, that it was his first, and would be his last offence; for he sincerely repented of it. While he lay in prison, from the time of his conviction to that of his execution, he behaved with a decorum befitting his wretched condition. The magistrates were urging him to the confession of other crimes, which he solemned denied; and which denial was deemed an induracy of heart. The fact was, he confessed that he deserved to die; but complained bitterly that he was to be dragged forty miles to the spot, near Lynn,

« PreviousContinue »