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so exact, that when he had once fixed the sense of a text, his memory would retain it for many years; and he could easily, and in a very little time, recollect the method in which he had treated it, the inferences he had made, and the whole sermon. This was surprising, as he had no 'notes and yet I have known him preach a sermon upon ' half an hour's recollection, which he had preached about 'fourteen years before: and he himself told me, he did not believe he had missed three sentences. This was not a peculiar case: but he had fixed his sermons in general in his head. What an uncommon strength of judgment and memory was this!'

This great capacity had been cultivated with care and diligence accordingly his acquired attainments were proportionable. As much may be easily inferred from what was before said of his preparatory studies. He well understood the several schemes of ancient and modern philosophy. To the very end of his life he continued to read, by way of amusement at least, the celebrated ancient writers both Greek and Roman, whether poets, philosophers, or historians. These are authors, with which men of the learned professions are generally acquainted. But I presume, I may say, without disparagement to any, that he was a better judge of their beauties and perfections, blemishes and defects, than most are. He had also read the remains of the ancient Greek mathematicians, which is an uncommon part of literature. He had a good knowledge of the civil law. In early life he was celebrated for skill in the Hebrew language and Rabbinical learning. He was well acquainted with ecclesiastical history, and had read the ancient christian writers. But the Bible was his principal study and the knowledge, in which he most excelled, was the knowledge of the scriptures. Few men, I believe, can be named in any age, who have equalled him therein.

To this last particular, more especially, I apprehend to be owing the great contempt he had for infidels, commonly called deists; who pretend to condemn revelation, without ever having carefully studied and considered it: and though they are apt to give themselves airs of superior knowledge, he looked upon the whole body of them as a sort of men who have only a very superficial knowledge both of scripture and antiquity. To this ignorance of theirs he in part ascribed their infidelity: for he used to assert, that all antiquity confirms and corroborates revelation; and he had a strong persuasion, that the next age would be as remarkable for enthusiasm, as this for infidelity: forasmuch as those

two extremes, he said, take turns, and mutually produce, or occasion each other.

If our friend was a man of great capacity, and various learning; yet sincere piety, uncommon meekness of temper, and mildness of speech and behaviour, most amiable and unaffected modesty, and remarkable inoffensiveness and peaceableness, are as distinguishing parts of his character, as learning and knowledge.

He was a tender husband: as he too was happy in a consort, who by her prudent management of the affairs of the family afforded him entire liberty to pursue his studies, and discharge the offices of his ministerial function without distraction.

What care he took to instil the best principles, and impart the most useful knowledge to his children, as their minds gradually opened, their own consciences will bear him witness: and it is to be hoped (which indeed I have no cause to distrust) that their future behaviour in life will show, that his paternal care and concern have not been in vain; and that they will prove every way worthy of such constant, familiar instruction and example.

The benevolence of his temper, his sincerity, disinterestedness, and communicativeness, rendered him a most desirable and valuable friend.

He sympathized with the afflicted: and though he was a man of strong reason, and had a rightly informed judgment and understanding, he did not deny the use of the passions; which have been placed in us by our Creator, and make a part of our constitution.

I have reason to think, that he was liberal to the poor to the utmost of his circumstances, if not beyond them. And he has wished, that men of wealth would sometimes visit the habitations of the poor and sick: supposing, that a near view of their scanty accommodations might soften their temper, and dispose them to afford all the relief that is in their power.

In his latter years he has been several times afflicted with severe fits of the stone and gravel, the acute pains of which he bore with exemplary patience and resignation. And he had behaved likewise with great firmness and steadiness under some very trying afflictions and difficulties, which he met with in the former part of his life.

For about a year before he died, there appeared in him a visible decay; and he seemed to feel it himself: for his prayers and conversation turned much upon his approaching change. He would also lament, that he could be useful no


longer, and was afraid of outliving his usefulness. But when he spake of death, it was with great calmness and composure of mind and he declared, he was more afraid of the pain of dying, than of the consequences of death. However in that he was greatly favoured. For about a month before his death, he seemed more brisk and cheerful than he had been for some time: and his friends hoped they might have enjoyed him longer. But as he was walking a little way into the country, to see a friend, he had an unhappy fall, which bruised his leg. No danger was apprehended at first: but on the fourth day it threw him into a fever, the place mortified, and the mortification brought on a lethargy. All proper means were used, but in vain. When his friends roused him, he answered very sensibly: but soon fell into his dosing again, from which he never awaked. For on Wednesday morning, a little after nine of the clock, the fifth of this month, without either sigh or groan, or the least struggling, he in the most easy and composed manner breathed his last. An affectionate friend, who stood by his bed-side, tells: Though he never could bear 'to see any one die before, yet he saw nothing formidable, or to give him any uneasiness, except that he was losing 'his dear and faithful friend.'


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Such has been the life, and such the death of our honoured friend. His life has been a course of laborious service in the church of God, and an example of uniform, steadfast, growing virtue; and his end has been peace. If we copy his example, and observe the rules of life, faithfully taught, and earnestly inculcated by him, we may hope to meet him again in a state of perfection and happiness. With these, and such like thoughts and considerations, let us comfort ourselves, and others, who sympathize with us, and mingle their tears with ours; being affected with the loss which both we and they have sustained.

4. Lastly, This subject is confirming and animating, as well as comforting.'

In our Father's house are many mansions. There are regions of light and immortality: there is a world, wherein dwells righteousness: where intelligent beings are admitted to the sublimest entertainments: where there is no death, nor pain, and where all sorrow and sighing are fled away. Forasmuch as such a joy is set before us, let us lay aside every weight, and perform the services now laying before us with fidelity and diligence.

We have had a new testimony to the truth of religion. Our deceased friend was "an Israelite indeed in whom

was no guile," John i. 47. Of his sincerity there were many undeniable proofs, and it was liable to no suspicions. He had as good reason, as any, to know, whether virtue has a real excellence, and whether it be recommended by religion, or be the will of God: whether it has any delights and comforts here, and may expect a reward hereafter. He has spoken and acted as if these things were true and certain; and, if they were not so, he would have told us.

Let us improve this thought for our establishment: let us reckon ourselves obliged to weigh maturely, and recollect frequently, what we have heard from him upon these important points, whether in public or private. Far be it, that any of the stated hearers, near relatives, or intimate friends of this excellent man, and faithful servant of God, should be so far misled by the temptations of the times, as ever to become infidels in opinion, or libertines in practice. I rather hope and believe, that remembering how he taught, and how he walked; and mindful of other helps, still afforded them; not forsaking the assemblies of divine worship, as is the manner of some; but by an open profession of religion animating and confirming each other; and joining with a love of liberty a hearty zeal for true piety, they will withstand the snares of an evil world, and maintain their integrity to the end of life: and so be to him a crown of glory, and rejoice with him in the day of the Lord, Heb. x. 23–25. Finally, " my beloved brethren, let us be steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord: forasmuch as we know that our labour shall not be in vain in the Lord," 1 Cor. xv. 58.





I thought on my ways, and turned my feet unto thy testimonies. Psal. cxix. 59.

IN these words two things are observable; first, the Psalmist's practice: "He thought on his ways." Secondly, the result and consequence of that practice: "He turned his feet unto God's testimonies."

The text therefore presents to us these two points, consideration, and the happy effect of it; reformation, or amendment. These will be the subjects of the present discourse: and this is the method to be observed by us:

I. To show what is implied in consideration, or thinking

on our ways.

II. To observe the proper effect thereof, which is amend


III. After which, in the way of application, I would recommend the practice of consideration by some motives.

I. I am to show in the first place, what is implied in consideration, or thinking on our ways.

1. It implies a recollecting, and taking a survey of our past conduct, with a view of detecting the sins and errors of it, as well as observing the good we have done.

To think on our ways is to recollect and bring to remembrance the past actions of our life, good and bad: more especially our latter, but also our former conduct: nor only our outward actions, but likewise our thoughts and intentions, the principles and views of our actions, in the several past periods of our life, and the various circumstances we have been in: how far our behaviour has been suitable to the dispensations of Divine Providence towards us: what we have been, and what we have done: how we have behaved in times of prosperity, or of adversity: how far we have regarded and performed, or neglected and omitted, the duties owing to God or men, in the stations we have been in; by which it may appear, that this is a wide field of meditation to expatiate in.

2. In the practice of this duty is implied seriousness and deliberation.

"I thought on my ways." I recollected them, as just shown: and that seriously and deliberately. I did not bestow only some few slight and cursory reflections on myself and my past conduct: but I acted with seriousness and deliberation, being sensible, it is a thing of no small moment. I allotted some time to this work, and called off my thoughts from other matters, to think of myself and my ways. I laid aside other business, and redeemed some time from the hurries of life, for the sake of this necessary review. I desisted from farther pursuits until I had surveyed my past conduct, and could judge how far it has been right, or how far wrong: whether I ought to proceed in the present course, or whether it ought not in several respects to be altered and corrected.

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