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Ordination, Rev. James Glasgow, Confessions
36 Speech of the Rev. W. Gibson, or
ib. Synod of Ulster, and the Church
The Dyiny Year's Complaint 82
The History of the Presbyterian
• 168 The Irish Preacher, (notice of) 322
Presbyterian Home Mission, 200, 233 Death
- 251 Buying and not Selling it, (notice
Remarks on the Rev. Mr. Mitchel's People under their Charge 422
Letter on the “Scripture Doc- To the Readers of the Orthodox Pres
36, 72, 174
No. LXXVI. JANUARY, 1836.
DEATH A BELIEVER'S GAIN.
A SERMON, OCCASIONBD BY THE DEATH OF THE REV. THOMAS LESLIE, LATE
MISSIONARY TO JAMAICA, PREACHED IN KILLII.EAGH, SHORTLY AFTER THE ANNOUNCEMENT OF THAT MELANCHOLY EVENT, BY THE REV. ANDREW BREAKEY.
“ To me to live is Christ, and to die is gain ; for I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart and to be with Christ, which is far better."-PHILIPPIANS, i. 21-23.
DEATH, in any instance, is an awful event. It is the fixing of an immortal spirit unchangeably, in happiness or misery. It is a solenın warning to survivors, that the same event awaits all, and the time of their departure is at band.
There are some circumstances that invest the death of in. dividuals with more than ordinary interest. If the deceased have been young-eminently pious and useful--a parent, a friend, a Minister of the Gospel ;--if the death have been sudden, unexpected, leaving a chasm in society not easily filled up-death, in such circumstances, excites attention in a more than ordinary degree.
Of this kind was that instance of mortality, the melancholy announcement of which has lately reached us in this place, You are all aware that I allude to the death of the Rev. Thoss Leslie, late Missionary to Jamaica. He was young, a de. voted Missionary, the first, too, our church had produced ;he had just entered on the field of his labour, saw the first fruits and bright prospects of future success, when he was suddenly, unexpectedly, called away. The church is amazed at the mysterious dispensation. His friends lament bitterly, though weeping in hope. He sleeps far from the land of his fathers, where a lonely widow, the faithful, affectionate, devoted companion of bis labours, and joys, and sorrows, has
closed his eyes.
He was not only nearly related to me, but also my most intimate, dearest earthly friend. I had taught him, when a boy-superintended bis education, when at College-our prayers had often ascended together to a throne of grace-we had often taken sweet counsel together in the house of God. l'hese circumstances should not have induced me to take public notice of his death, were it not that he was the property of the church-devoted to its service--to extend it, he wished to live -in extending it, he has died;—and that his death is one of those inexplicable providences, whereby God speaks to men and says, be still, and know that I am God.
While you, as a people, deeply sympathise with the friends of the deceased, (as we know you do,) there are some circumstances which make it not unbecoming that his death should be noticed and improved in this place. He had occasionally assisted here, at our most solemn seasons. son was known to you, and something, too, of his doctrine and manner of life. Immediately before his departure for Jamaica, he preached here on the Sabbath, and also addressed us at a prayer.meeting, on the evening of the following Tuesday. The zeal, earnestness, and spirituality with which be addressed us at these seasons, and how he made oyr hearts burn within us, will be long remembered. These, so far as I know, were his last public services, until be bade our land farewell, as it appears, for ever. We may consider ourselves as having heard, in this land, his last instruction --received his last benediction. The tongue which then instructed and blessed us, is silent ;—the form we then beheld, is mouldering in the grave-the spirit which then animated it, has departed from this transitory world, and mixes with the redeemed before the throne. That good soldier of Christ Jesus has ended his earthly warfare, and passed from the Church militant to the Church triumphant.
Under these circumstances, a particular notice and improvement of this melancholy and unexpected death, among you, will not, we hope, be considered out of place.
As suited to the present occasion, we have chosen the words of St. Paul, now read. When he wrote them, he was prisoner at Rome, " set,” that is in bonds, for the defence of the Gospel. Nero might order him forth to instant execution, or spare him longer, as God, who reigneth and numbereth thé hairs of his people's head, might determine. For either event for life, for death, Paul was ready. Christ, he knew, would be magnified either by his life or his death. To live would be
Christ-would promote the Redeemer's glory, extend the Redeemer's kingdom ;-to die, his own advantage. Between these opposing ends of public and personal good, he appears unable to choose, or unwilling to express a decided opinion. Both were good-pre-eminently so, and he was willing to acquiesce in either.
What heavenly temper! What submission to the divine will! Desirous to live and labour, that Christ might
magnified, yet counting it gain to die ; better to depart and be with Him. Compare the Apostle with him who voted for Stephen's death, kept the clothes of those who stoned him, made havoc of the church, and you will see one born again, changed into the divine image. May the same mighty power which wrought in him, work in us; that whether we live, it may be unto the Lord ; whether we die, it may be unto the Lord ; that, living or dying, we may be the Lord's.
considerI.-Why a believer wishes to live.
II.-Why he counts death gain, and thinks it better to depart, and be with Christ.
1.-Why Paul desired to live, he expresses very concisely and emphatically in these words -- To me to live is Christ. His Saviour was his all. In him was comprehended at once all the Apostle's supreme and subordinate ends of existence. Some desire to live, because afraid to die. They wish to stay in this, because unfit for a better, world. They feel no personal interest in Christ--no meetness for the life and immortality brought to light by his Gospel. They would wish life to enjoy the pleasures of the world, amass the wealth of the world, or chase the empty honours of the world. The Christian lives for far different ends. He lives Christ.
1. He lives to Christ in the promotion of his glory. This is the highest end and aim of all he thinks or does. Feeling that he is not his own, but bought with a price, he desires to glorify his Redeemer in his soul and body, which are his. When he thinks from how much misery he is saved, how much grace hath been bestowed, how much glory is reserved, bis language is, what shall I render unto the Lord for all his benefits. The love of Christ constrains him to live, not to himself, but to Him that died for him, and rose again. True, he feels he cannot add to his Redeemer's essential dignity, to his mediatorial sufficiency, or to his heavenly glory; but he can display the honour of his law, the greatness of his love, the sufficiency of his grace. . He glorifies him, by bearing, for his sake, reproaches, persecutions, tribulations, death.
2. He lives for Christ, in the extension of his Gospel. He desires to extend the Redeemer's kingdom, and not only prays, thy kingdom come, but labours to promote it. To preach the gospel of that kingdom was Paul's sole employment. To the utmost of his power did he labour to fulfil the commission of Christ. Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature. He preached Christ crucitied-declared the whole counsel of God-was so affectionately
desirous of men's salvation, that he was ready to impart to them not only the Gospel, but his own soul-be lived, when believers stood fast in the Lord when an error arose in any church, he never rested till it was removed his greatest joy was to see believers, walk in the truth. For the Jews' sake, he was ready to wish himself separated from Christ; for the elect's sake, he would endure all things. The prospect of bonds and afflictions which awaited him, could not move him; nor did be count his life dear to him, that he might finish his course with joy, and the ministry he had received of the Lord Jesus to tes. tify the Gospel of the grace of God.
3. A believer not oniy lives to Christ, and for Christ, but also in Christ, in spiritual union and communion with him. Faith unites the believer to Christ, and he becomes one with him, and has fellowship with him in all the Redeemer possesses-dies with him, is buried with him, rises with him, sits with him in heavenly places ; partakes with him, finally, in his throne, kingdom, and glory. This union the Scriptures exbibit as that of branches with the vine, members with the head, superstructure with its foundation. Thus united, he is found in Christ as the Lord his righteousness, his sins pardoned, his person accepted in the Beloved. He derives from the Saviour grace for grace, sufficiency of grace, grace corresponding to every grace which the Saviour possesses. Separated from Christ, he could do nothing; united to him, he can mortify his lusts, vanquish his enemies, fulfil his duties, do all things through Christ, who strengthens him.
4. Once more, to live Christ, implies, to live after his example, obtaining conformity to his image in the soul, and copying his example in the life.
1. He desires the soul to be conformed to the Saviour's image. His aim is, to be boly as Christ is holy--perfect as bis Saviour is perfect. The image of the old Adam must be put off
, and the new man put on, which after God is renewed in righteousness and true holiness. In knowledge, the soul must be renewed after the image of Him that created it. - The