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to that of the ministry ; and he reverenced it, not because this · would honor himself, but because it was the appointment of Christ. He was also a man of strong religious faith. In early life, religion was wrought into his soul by experience. He was a be. lieving son of a believing mother. He told me lately that he had never been troubled with a single doubt as to the inspiration of the Bible, or the reality of religion.
Such confidence had be in the Abrahamic covenant, and that he and his were in that covenant, that he told me, many years ago, that he had never had a doubt that his children would become pious; and he admitted every one into his own church before any one died.
During his last sickness I asked him if Christ and his kingdom seemed to be realities to him. In a moment, with his bright eye flashing, he replied: "I have no more doubt about them than I have in the visible universe—in the existence of the sun, moon, and stars. For sixty-two years," added he, “I have lived in the full faith of the Gospel, and can not have a doubt of it. And then, as to personal interest in it, I do not know but I am equally without doubts. But I ever have to say, God be merciful to me a sinner!”
When I first knew your pastor, he was in the glory of his days -nearly six feet high, straight, finely built, strong and vigorous. His hair was curling and beautiful. His teeth even and very white. His eye, large, black, and brilliant as a diamond. His forehead was lofty and commanding. His lips somewhat compressed, and the whole impress of his character was, that he was a man decided and hard to be moved, capable of great mental labor, quick of ap. prehension, and devoted to his one work. To see him, in the mellow ripeness of years, so calm, so bright, so cheerful and so loving, you would have no idea of the rough, stern, and hard materials out of which that character was formed. To see him denying himself almost in clothing and in comforts, that he might annually give more in charity to spread the Gospel, than many whole churches, you would not think that he did this contrary to strong natural tendencies.
Religion was the work of life, and it pervaded, transformed, purified, altered, adorned, and beautified the whole man. On his fortyninth birthday, he writes : “In reviewing my own history, how full the evidence of the omniscience and omnipresence of God! How wonderful his hand, in leading me through all the steps by which I have come to the present moment! When I began, how perfectly dark every thing was, as to my life, my occupation, my connections, my place and circumstances! Now I see the wonderworking hand which led me to a public education, to the sacred ministry, which has given me six children and two grand-children, which has provided me a comfortable dwelling, garden; the
hand which has preserved all my children, which has surrounded me with books, which has enabled me to educate my children thus far, which has given me friends and multiplied my privileges and enjoyments beyond all that I can reckon. I walk into the garden ; every thing seems to be waiting upon me, and saying: 'We have come from the hand of God to do you good. I go into the yard, all the domestic animals salute me, asking for food at my hand, and promising to serve me in their turn. I look around among the trees, and they say: 'Here we stand in our strength and hight, in our verdure and fruit, the monuments of divine kindness upon your planting and care.' I am filled with wonder and humiliation. I feel that my sins have been innumerable, and that I have been unworthy of the least favor at the band of God. I feel a new and lively interest for the salvation of my people, and a revived animation to live for the service of Christ and the salvation of souls.”
My brethren and friends, those who have known this good man, will cheerfully accord that his life was one of brightness. The lines fell to him in pleasant places, and he had a goodly heritage. I can testify to his warm, deep, undying love for this people, and his most earnest prayers for them as long as he lived, and also of the reverence and high estimation in which they esteemed him. They are both honored in this mutual love. His last sickness was one of terrible sufferings; the pains wbich others suffer all the way through life, seemed to be condensed and laid upon him then. Much of the time his mind was overpowered by disease, and always in agonizing pain, but even then his spirit was beautiful and childlike. Not an expression escaped him inappropriate, or which you would wish altered. Much of the time was spent, even in these circumstances, in quoting the Scriptures and in prayer, and every thought was in the line of religion. He wanted prayer in his room even longer than he could command his thoughts to follow it fully. And when, at last, in the silent, hushed chamber, the messenger came, in the arms of his children he breathed out his soul as softly as the rose shuts her leaves at night. For many minutes we knew not in which world to think of him!
We have brought the worn-out pilgrim to his early loved home, to sleep with you and your children. It was his direction to be brought here. You will see him in this pulpit, walking that aisle, standing at the communion-table, no more. You will hear that strong voice no more. You will see the aged patriarch worship, leaning on the top of his staff, no more. When you again see him, the mortal will have put on immortality, corruption will have put on incorruption, old age will be exchanged for eternal youth ; but the same character, only enlarged, only made perfect, only more in the image of Christ, will meet you! By the grace of God, he has lived four-score years in public life, and has gone down to the grave without an enemy in the world, without a spot on his character, without a seam in his garment, and will be laid gently down in his resting place, by loving hands, amid the bless. ings and tears of many who revered him as a father.
0 Father dear, dear! we, thy children, will try to take up thy mantle, and walk in thy steps, and feel that thy warm breath is upon us; while we seek to follow thy example!
BY REV. E. II. GILLETT,
PASTOR OF THE HARLEN PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH, NEW-YORK CITY.
CHRIST WOUNDED IN THE HOUSE OF HIS FRIENDS. "And one shall say unto him, Wbat are these wounds in thine bands? Then he shall answer, Those with wbich I was wounded in the Louse of my friends." --ZECH. 13: 6.
WHATEVER may have been the prophetic reference of these words, they are strikingly illustrative of the treatment of Christ.
It is not merely a beautiful but an affecting thought, that Christ identifies himself with his people. He is with them to the end of the world. He is in them, and they in him. The Church is the body of Christ. “Inasmuch," he says, “as ye have done it to one of the least of these, ye have done it unto me."
In like manner Christ identifies himself with his own cause on earth. Whoever touches it, touches the apple of his eye. Its interests are his interests; its triumphs are his triumphs. He is glorified by its purity, he is dishonored by its shame.
We see, then, how it is that he can be wounded still on earth. He is no longer present, indeed, in his bodily form. The nails are no more driven through those hands of flesh ; the Roman spear is no longer thrust into that bleeding side; the agony of the wooden cross can never again be repeated : and yet Christ's spiritual body-his Church, his cause-can be exposed to suffer. These can be wounded anew. These can be crucified afresh. They can be made to bleed and agonize under the cruel thrusts of open enemies or false friends, and he suffers with them.
Need I say that this is the case? Who does not know it? Who does not see the deed done? Sometimes in heedlessness,
sometimes in the baste of passion, sometimes by deliberate purpose, Christ's spiritual body is doomed to suffer, not only from the blows of open enemies, but of professed friends. Whenever it is exposed to reproach by inconsistent conduct; whenever it is left uncared for by a lukewarm zeal; whenever the ways of Zion mourn because few come to her solemn feasts, Christ is wounded in the house of his friends. I do not believe that a true friend could deliberately do it. A foe might, a Judas might; a hypocrite-a wolf in sheep's clothing-might; but the deliberation of the act would preclude friendship. In any case it would be at best only a pretended, a false friendship. It is avarice or ambition, or despotic will, or self-indulgence, cloaking itself with religion. It is murder kissing, that it may stab; treachery praying, that it may more plausibly bear false witness; avarice exhorting, that it may draw custom. If there is any thing outside of Judas' own place” that is horrible, it is this. How much of it there is in the world, God only knows. We wait for the judgment. day to unmask hypocrites. Human insufficiency must pass them over to the hands of God.
But, wittingly or unwittingly, through a culpable negligence or baste, Christ is wounded in his cause, or in his spiritual body, in the house of his friends.
1. He is wounded when Christians grow cold in zeal, slack in duty, or forgetful of their solemn vows. They show indifference, and indifference strikes like a dagger into the loving heart. They show ingratitude; and among men, no wounds sting, and bleed, and rankle, like those of ingratitude. They betray selfishness, and selfishness is anti-Christ, and smites at that self-denying love which led Christ to die. They ought to improve under Christ's tuition-grow in virtue, devotion, and grace. They wound the Saviour as the careless pupil does his teacher, by stupidity, unconcern, and lack of progress. And what a life-long wound this is, when Christians make no advance, have but a name to live, challenge the tears of angels over their folly, and show that insensibility to their solemn vows which becomes the worldling and not. the Christian.
2. Christ is wounded in the house of his friends, when his cause is injured by the unbecoming conduct of his followers. Scandal in the Church is scandal heaped upon his name. Let worldly men follow the code of the market, the caucus, the stump; but Christians have another rule. They are not to live as others do. The world expects, and rightly expects, more of them, and, although often unwarrantably, it judges the cause by the men. Religion is stabbed by the vanity, pride, ostentation, envy, luxury, selfishness, dishonesty, meanness, uncharitableness, deception, trickery, of those that wear its garb. The world does not distinguish between the man and his uniform; and so, by the fault of
one, that glorious cause, which aims to regenerate a world, or bring from its sad wreck many sons and daughters home to glory, is darkened and defaced. Does not this open the wounds of Christ afresh ?
3. Christ is wounded in the house of his friends, when indiffer. ence is shown by them to the success of the instrumentalities by which his cause is promoted. These instrumentalities are vital with Christ, as though his blood flowed through them, and his voice spake by them, and his heart beat in them. He is in the word, the sermon, the prayer, the praise. They are his eye, piercing the souls of backsliding Peters; his breath, withering the Gs vipers" of the temple - lawyers, scribes, and Pharisees; his fingers, touching the sick of the palsy or the blinded eye of the soul; his hands, stretched out in blessing to the little children whom he calls around him. They are not sanctuary husks, dry forms, the mere shells of devotion. They are instinct with the power of the Gospel, and the very life of Jesus. He bleeds, as it were, when they are maimed or robbed of their power by lack of your coöperation, when, by unnecessary or cold-hearted absence, his friends leave them thinned in attendance or chilled in fervor. Yes! Christ so identifies himself with his own ordinances and means of grace, that he suffers when they suffer, is slighted when they are slighted, wounded when they are wounded. Angels might see Christ crucified afresh by your neglect of his sanctuary and ordinances; might see the equivalent of the soldier's bloodstained spear, dropped by your hands, a swift witness against you, in your vacant seats; thorns and sponges of vinegar in your empty pews. Deem not this mere fancy. Our services in preaching, prayer, praise, and conference, are the merest mockery if Christ is not in them, and in that case, the sooner they are dispensed with the better ; but if he is in them, your treatment of them is your treatment of him. Your influence, by your presence or absence, your sympathy or alienation, tells on Christ's cause : cheers or disheartens your brethren, speaks to sinners for weal or woe; and if that influence or example helps to thin the sanctuary or the praying-circle, then do you stifle, as it were, the breath of intercession ; you wound or contribute to strike down the hand that, in the name of Jesus, breaks the bread of life to dying souls. Are you guilty ? In the writings of the great English dramatist, there is a scene where the culprit is suddenly confronted with the specter of his bleeding victim, and, horror-stricken, he puts forth the lying plea: “Thou canst not say I did it.” If Christ should turn and look on you with an eye like that which smote through Peter's soul, and should hold up before you his pierced hands, and show you the print of the nails driven perhaps by your cold. hearted neglect, would not the very falsehood of the plea your heart may be suggesting now carry out to its conclusion a darker parallel ?