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hurried from one scene of affliction to another, each increasing. in darkness and distress, my mind has been overwhelmed in dismay; and I know not how to address you. Gladly would I shrink from public view, and yield this place to some one, whose talents, and christian experience, would enable him more accurately to describe, and more forcibly to impress upon your minds, the character of him, whose loss we deplore; and would give a deeper interest in your hearts to the consolations of THE GOSPEL OF THE GRACE OF GOD. But I am not placed here to indulge personal grief, nor to aggravate the sufferings of the afflicted. I would, as a minister of Christ, and in the name of him, who came into this world to bind up the broken-hearted, assist you in properly noticing and improving the solemn Providence, which has covered this temple with mourning, and filled your eyes with tears.
As a proper guide on this mournful occasion, I have selected a part of Paul's address to the elders of the church at Ephesus, whom he met for the last time upon earth: Bur
NONE OF THESE THINGS MOVE ME; NEITHER COUNT I MY LIFE DEAR UNTO MYSELF, SO THAT I MIGHT FINISH MY COURSE WITH JOY, AND THE MINISTRY, WHICH I HAVE RECEIVED OF THE LORD JESUS, TO TESTIFY THE GOSPEL OF THE
GRACE OF GOD. These words express that perfect devotion of heart to God, which every minister of Christ ought to have made, They are expressive of ardor in the service of Jesus Christ, and of a determined resolution of fidelity to him, though dangers, difficulties and death, should threaten.
Paul with full conviction, that his course would be marked with the most tremendous sufferings, that his life would be in
perpetual jeopardy, WAS NOT DISOBEDIENT TO THE HEAVENLY VISION. He, when impressed with conviction of the truth, as it is in Jesus; when his spiritual vision was purged, and he saw the worth and the glory of THE GOSPEL OF THE GRACE OF GOD; when he became impressed with its absolute necessity to the salvation of a sinful world, put on the ARMOR OF GOD, and enlisted, as a determined, zealous and powerful soldier under the banner of the Cross; and commenced a conflict against ignorance, sin and wretchedness.
The prominent traits in the character of this great apostle, were deep conviction of the truth and importance of the religion, which he advocated; a firmness in promoting its interests, which no difficulties could overcome; a zeal, never wearied in the service of his Master; such perfect devotion of heart to Jesus Christ, as in his view rendered worthless all human distinctions, and of no account all temporal embarrassments, when compared with the interests of the Redeemer's kingdom, and the honours reserved for those, who fuccessfully struggle in the glorious combat, to which he was devoted.
Paul, educated in the straitest sect of the Jewish religion, having imbibed the prejudices of his nation, once opposed the faith, which afterwards he embraced and defended. All the powers of his vigorous and cultivated mind, all the firmness, and persevering industry, for which his character was ever distinguished, were brought into operation for the destruction of the humble followers of the Lamb, and the religion, which to them was dearer, than life. Christ appeared to him, and poured upon his mind the light of heavenly truth. He arrested the messen
ger of cruelty in his sanguinary career. Paul saw, believed and embraced the Saviour. By miraculous interposition his mind was enlightened, and his heart sanctified. The glories of the Gospel beamed upon him. They entirely occupied his vigorous intellect, and softened his heart to devotion and love. Faith in Christ became deeply fixed; the truths of the Gospel gained his unwavering belief, and to be an instrument in enlightening and saving sinners, became an object of sacred ambition. That conviction of the truth, and importance of the Gospel, had perfect control of his mind and heart, cannot be doubted, when are recollected the sufferings and labours, which he endured in its advancement.
When Paul submitted to the authority of Christ, he did not anticipate a life of ease and splendour. He knew the circumstances of the church. He knew the malignant and persevering opposition, which was making to destroy her existence, to pour contempt upon her sons, and to obliterate every vestige of the religion of Jesus. At all times he might have said, as he did, when about to visit Jerusalem: I GO---NOT KNOWING THE THINGS, THAT SHALL BEFAL ME-SAVE, THAT THE HOLY GHOST WITNESSETH IN EVERY CITY, SAYING, THAT BONDS AND
AFFLICTIONS ABIDE ME. With that firmness of spirit, which a consciousness of the goodness of the cause, in which he was engaged, inspired, and with a deep conviction of the importance of the services, which he was commanded to perform, this christian hero met the dangers of his course, regardless of difficulties, that he might TESTIFY THE GOSPEL OF THE GRACE OF GOD. The trials, through which he passed, might have overwhelmed an ordinary mind, in any common cause. A catalogue of them
is given by himself. OF THE JEWS FIVE TIMES RECEIVED I
FORTY STRIPES, SAVE ONE, THRICE WAS I BEATEN WITH KODS, ONCE WAS I STONED, THRICE I SUFFERED SHIPWRECK, A NIGHT AND A DAY I HAVE BEEN IN THE DEEP IN JOURNEYINGS OFTEN, IN PERILS OF WATERS, IN PERILS OF ROBBERS, IN PERILS BY MINE OWN COUNTRYMEN, IN PERILS BY THE HEATHEN, IN PERILS IN THE CITY, IN PERILS IN THE WILDERNESS, IN PERILS IN THE SEA, IN PERILS AMONG FALSE BRETHREN; IN WEARINESS AND PAINFULNESS, IN WATCHINGS OFTEN, IN HUNGER AND THIRST, IN FASTINGS OFTEN, IN COLD AND NAKEDNESS. BESIDE THOSE THINGS, THAT ARE WITHOUT, THAT WHICH COMETH UPON ME DAILY, THE CARE OF ALL THE CHURCHES.
Such were the sufferings of this holy man ; yet he did not shrink from the christian warfare on account of the heat of the battle. With true christian firmness he says, I CAN DO ALL THINGS THROUGH CHRIST, WHO STRENGTHENETH ME. Difficulties, and dangers never bore down his mind. None of these things moved him. His zeal never abated, but at all times glowed in his bosom. He did not count his life dear to himself, so that be might finish his course with joy, and the ministry, which he had received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God. He was entirely devoted to his Master, and the best interests of mankind. Though flattered with the prospect of distinction among the learned men of his nation, he was willing to be thought a fool by the advocates of worldly wisdom, that he might advance the reign of righteousness. He abandoned without a sigh every hope of earthly honor, when the indulgence of it was inconsistent with his duty to Christ. He was not left unsupported. He had the christian privilege of rejoicing in tribulations. His affections were placed on things above, and the hopes of religion
rendered him superior to the fluctuations of earth. He rejoiced, that he was counted worthy to suffer shame for the name of Christ. So entirely was he devoted to the Redeemer, that he considered, as nothing, the sacrifices, which he made in his service.
YEA, DOUBTLESS, AND I COUNT ALL THINGS BUT LOSS FOR THE EXCELLENCY OF THE KNOWLEDGE OF CHRIST JESUS MY LORD; FOR WHOM I HAVE SUFFERED THE LOSS OF ALL THINGS, AND I DO COUNT THEM BUT REFUSE, THAT I MAY WIN CHRIST AND BE FOUND IN HIM, NOT HAVING MINE OWN RIGHTEOUSNESS, WHICH IS AFTER THE LAW, BUT THAT, WHICH IS THROUGH THE FAITH OF CHRIST, THE RIGHTEOUSNESS WHICH IS OF GOD BY FAITH; THAT I MAY KNOW HIM, THE POWER OF HIS RESURRECTION, AND THE FELLOWSHIP OF HIS SUFFFERINGS, BEING MADE CONFORMABLE UNTO HIS DEATH; IF BY ANY MEANS I MIGHT ATTAIN UNTO THE RESURRECTION OF THE DEAD.
The firmness, which Paul manifested in the cause of Christ, the uniform zeal, and exertion, which he displayed in his service, the unreserved consecration of himself, amid difficulties and dangers, to the cause, in which he was engaged, leave no doubt of the strength of his faith, and the importance, attached in his mind, to the religion, which he advocated. The calmness and joy, with which he passed through a ministry, filled with calamities, bear unequivocal evidence of the power of gofpel principles and motives to sustain the mind under the pressure of adverfity. He finished his course with joy, and the ministry, which he received of the Lord Jesus. He proclaimed to a great part of the civilized world the good news of falvation through a Redeemer; and faithfully teflified the gospel of the grace of God. When his Master called him from the scene of his earthly labours, he was ready to depart, esteeming it a privilege to be absent from the body, that he might be present with the Lord.