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by the young men with whom he was associated in business, several of whom he had a share in leading to salvation while he lived in the establishment from which he retired to die. One of his fellow-labourers in this good work speaking of him has said—“ He has left a name in this place for zeal and usefulness which will never be forgotten.” He was “always zealously affected in a good thing,” especially in the religious training of the young. For which department of sacred service he was admirably fitted by his winning manners, his lively address, and overflowing kindness. While living in London, and then in a delicate state of health, he devoted him. self most zealously in connection with a Ragged School. Constrained by the love of Christ, he would sally “forth into the streets and lanes of the city,” and by his urgency and kindness, “compel them to come in.” He obtained a powerful influence over them, and it is not too much to hope that at some future day he will meet some of those poor outcast children, not in the dirty and ragged raiment in which he found them in the streets and in the lanes of London, but clad " in white raiment and having palms in their hands" before the throne of God.
And now, what influence are you exerting upon buman society? Is it for good or for evil ! It must be for one or the other. Fathers and mothers, what influence do you exert upon your children ! What effect has your daily walk and conversation upon them! Does your life speak for God I Does it allure them to Christ? Is your example such as they might safely follow? How dreadful is the thought that many parents live to destroy their children's souls by the poison of their example. Masters and employers, what kind of influence do you exert upon those with whom you have to do? Does the life speak clearly on behalf of Jesus! You diffuse an influence through your respective establishments. See, O! see! that it be for the healing of men's souls, and not in opposition to their salvation. Young men and maidens, what is the influence which you exert upon each other i O dreadful thought, some of you are living to aid each other's destruction ; you breathe a poisonous breath upon each other's souls that pollutes and destroys. O what an awful thing to meet in the pit of woe with the ghost of one of whom you have spiritually murdered, to endure its reproach for ever, and listen to the stinging declaration issuing froin lips maddened with everlasting torment" If it were not for you, I should never have been here !" You would think it a dreadful thing to be overheard in your closet praying that God would curse your fellow-creatures. But will you not be shocked at the thought that your influence goes to fix a curse upon their souls which may prey upon their quivering vitals for ever! O come peni. tently to the cross, that you may receive “ the promise of the spirit through faith," and then shall you live no more to curse but bless the world as you pass through it. The fragrance of a flower ofttimes increases in dying. And so it is with the Christian ; as he approaches his end while the hand of death is upon him, he exerts a more powerful influence than through life“Go into the chamber where the good man meets his fate,” and it seems filled with heavenly fragrance. Very obtuse indeed must his sensibilities be who does vot deeply feel the influence which the dying Christian diffuses around his death-bed. It is at once perceived and felt by those who are fpiritual. A solemn, unearthly influenoe which awes and melts the heart. It was oft felt by those who visited our young brother during his late affliction" His fipal hour brought glory to his God.”
V. The fading of the flower is inevitable. Perish it must. Place it in the most favourable position and yet you cannot preserve it; seek for it a nook where it shall be sheltered from “ the wind's unkindly blast," as well as from “the sun's directer ray,” and yet "the momentary glories will waste, the short lived beauties will die away;" cover it with glass, train and shelter it in the conservatory, and yet you cannot long conserve its frail life. The flower after all your care will perish. How strictly applicable to man whose death is no less certain than the fading of the flower. Attend to health with the most scrupulous care, surround yourselves with all the guards against disease and accident which human device and ingenuity may call into existence. And yet, after all, beyond the boundary which God has assigned to us, we cannot pass—“For is there not an appointed time for man upon the earth seeing his days are determined, and the number of his months are with God! He hath set him his bounds that he cannot pass.” The Great Author of our being has fixed at least the maximum of our stay on earth. Beyond this we cannot go; though, alas ! we may come short even of this. Hence we read that " the wicked shall not live out half his days.” The death of the flower is so certain, that you can name a period when you know it shall have occurred; you cannot, it is true, name the precise moment when the last particle of life shall bave left the flower; but it would be an easy matter for you to name a time when you know it must be dead, and when “the place thereof shall know it no more." Even so, the period of our departure is to us unknown, nothing can be more uncertain. The time and the circumstances under which we shall breathe our last are wisely concealed from us ; yet it would be easy to name a time when not one of us shall be left on earth. The days of our years are three score years and ten ; and if by reason of strength they be four score years, yet is their strength then but labour and sorrow, so soon passeth it away and we are gone. So that each may say with Job in his affliction_^ When a few years are come, then I shall go the way whence I shall not return.'' “ A few years," at the very furthest, shall in the course of their revolutions have swept all the present population of the world from the face of the globe. We know that we are so constituted, that like the flower, beyond a certain period we cannot last. This earthly house of our tabenacle is so built that it can bear the pressure only of a certain number of years, when its dissolution must take place. This throbbing of the heart will cease, these continuous pulses will stop, the light of these eyes will depart, these ears will no longer be the medium of sounds, these active limbs will become stiff and motionless ; “the earth must return to the earth as it was, and the spirit to God who gave it.”
Lastly. " The flower fadeth ; because the spirit of the Lord bloweth upon it.” The meaning is “the wind of the Lord;" the same word in Hebrew as in some other languages, having the signification of wind and of spirit. Bishop Lowth renders the words “the wind of Jehovah bloweth upon it.” The allusion is doubtless to the hot winds which prevail in the east, blasting and consuming every green thing over which they pass. The Psalmist evi. dently alludes to this hot wind-(Psalm ciii. 15, 16,) “As a flower of the field, so he flourisheth. For the wind passeth over it, and it is gone ; and the place thereof shall know it no more.”
The flower fades and perishes when a wind under the control and direction of God passeth over it. And thus would we connect the providence of God with the removal of our young brother, whose wasting some of us have watched during the few last months. If "a sparrow falleth not to the ground without our Father,” how much less can a Christian, a child of God be smitten down by the hand of death without his cognizance and permission ? « Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints,” and the death which is thus “precious” in his sight can be no chance work. Hence Job_"I know that thou wilt bring me to death, and to the house appointed for all living ;" thou who hast the keys of death and of Hades. It was the hand of a Friend, his Almighty and Everlasting Friend, that led our brother down to his quiet resting place in the dust. The consuming disease by which the frame was wasted, was only the wind of the Lord destroying the life of the flower, “He shall blow upon them, and they shall wither.”
When we see a young man sicken and die, as the result of a cold, over exertion, or hereditary tendency, we are in danger of so interpreting the whole as to exclude the immediate and special providence of God. But we should remember that God veils himself behind secondary causes ; for “the trial of our faith,” for the exercise of which there could be no room, if he worked manifestly in the sight of our eyes. And if “ we walk by faith, and not by sight,” we shall recognize the interference of an allwise God in the removal of this amiable and useful young man, from whose ashes we are endeavouring to extract lessons that shall fit us to pass with a triumphant courage like his, " throngh the valley of the shadow of death.” O no, lovely youth, it was not chance that removed thee, it was thy Master's voice that said unto thee, “ It is enough ; come up hither!"
In the last affliction of our deceased friend, the blessedness of our religion was most delightfully exhibited; a heavenly serenity reigned around his soul ; a peace unbroken and unvaried by doubt, fear, or anxiety ; his faith simple and childlike ; his submission to the Divine will cheerful and unfeigned ; his hope of heaven bright and cloudless ; his conscience sprinkled with the blood of Christ, unstained with a spot of guilt, uttered not the murmur of accusasation ; without rapture or depression, with calm Christian confidence he awaited the will of his Lord in his dismissal. O blessed gospel, whose inspiring hopes thus extract from death its sting, and take away from the grave its gloom ! " Thanks be to God for his unspeakable gift !”
The following conversation took place between our brother and his pastor while he lay pale and wan in the prostration of near dissolution.
“ Well, the conflict is almost over.” “ Almost.” “It will be a glorious change." “O yes, I long to depart.” “Do you feel Christ precious to you now ?" “ Every moment-every moment.” “Well, you are going a little before us, and we shall all soon follow." “ Yes, and I shall be there to welcome you." « Yes, and there will be some there to welcome you.” His reply was an upward look of hope and assurance.
His pastor paid him one more visit, and found him quite on the bank of Jordan ; the stream almost laving his feet, and in taking leave of him there, his last words were—"There is not a cloud !” In a short time after the minister had left him, having taken an affectionate leave of all his friends who were present, he requested to be placed in a comfortable position, and then extending his attenuated arms, he repeatedly said—“Come Lord Jesus, come quickly!” and exchanging the language of prayer for praise, he said -“ Glory! glory! glory! glory!" then was heard a mortal sound-and then a deep siļence—it' was the silence of death-and the sanctified spirit had forsaken the shrunken frame which we solemnly laid to rest in yonder cometery to await the resurrection of the just.
Let us pause and reflect. We hear of the death of others, and others will soon hear of ours. We gather together to pay our last tribute of respect and affection to deceased friends, and soon others will gather together to carry us forth to our burial. We stand around the mouth of the open grave and hear solemn words pronounced over the coffined remains of others ; soon ours will be the cold, motionless, enclosed remains over which similar words will be sounded forth.
About the certainty of death there can be no dispute. Here the whole world is in unison of opinion. We differ on almost every other subject that may be submitted to our judgment. There is scarcely another truth which some men may not be found to deny, yet no man thinks of denying that he is mortal. “The living (if they know anything.) know that they must die.”
Do you know this ? and do you admit it? Then ask, O ask solemnly, " What after death for me remains ? Am I prepared for death 1 prepared for heaven? Say not, “ It is of no use whether I consider this matter or not, for if I am to die a happy death, it shall be so." For does not God say, "O that they were wise, that they understood this, that they wonld consider their latter end.”
This is God's compassionate lament over inconsiderate souls, who approach death without thought. There is no hope for you if you will not consider. For want of consideration thousands perish. Let the thought then be deeply fixed in your heart. I must die; eternity follows death. Am I prepared for eternity! Am I found in Christ, forgiven and renewed ! I charge you consider this inatter! By the God that made you, by the Se. viour who redeemed you, by the awful doom of inconsiderate souls who forget God, by the peace and triumph of the Christian's death and "the glory that shall follow.” O thoughtless and undecided hearer, I entreat you, consider your latter end; how certain its arrival, how swift its approach, how awful its consequences to the unsaved, and turn at once to Jesus crucified, fly to those dear wounds of his. Then shall that which may have sprung up in your mind as a vague wish this evening, in the contemplation of this young Christian's deathbed, become a reality in your future history, for you shall “ die the death of the righteous, and your last end shall be like his." God grant this for Christ's sake. Amen.
PREACHED ON THURSDAY EVENING, APRIL 15TH, 1858,
BY THE REV. J. J. WEST, M.A.,
(Rector of Winchelsea, Sussex.)
AT CHRIST CHURCH, BLACKFRIARS ROAD, LONDON.
IN BEHALF OF THE CHRISTIAN BLIND RELIEF SOCIETY.
For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.-Philip. iii. 3.
If there is any solemn meaning in the office which I now occupy in this pulpit before you, it is, that I may be made and acknowledged a messenger to your souls from the God whom I serve. Ministers of the Gospel (and it is a solemn thought as I begin to speak, and find my own voice arresting the attention of the people before me), Ministers of the Gospel are either “the savour of death unto death,” or “the savour of life unto life,” just as God sees fit to use our instrumentality.
Now, in the words which you have heard me read, there are four specific points, and no man could have adopted these four points more feelingly or more experimentally than the great Apostle, who had himself formerly been such a thorough legal worker-a double-distilled Arminian. No man could have spoken so feelingly as the Apostle Paul upon the great subject that is embodied in the short text before us !-"For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Jesus Christ, and have no confidence in the flesh.”
I. First of all, “ For we are the circumcision.” Well, now, my hearers, we are existing in a day of high towering profession, we are living in a day (distinguished from the generation before us) in which it is positively the fashion to profess something. But there is among the sects and parties of our day, one, and only one established believing people of God—“We are the cir. cumcision.” Now, the Apostle had been rapping the heretics of his day. He guards the CHURCH in the verse preceding the one upon which I am attempting to preach, thus, " Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision," "dogs, evil workers, and concisionists !” and then he takes the first point in the text that I am speaking of, claiming for himself this great privilege,