Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

in this place, would set apart some seasons for extraordinary prayer, for the outpouring of his Spirit, particularly on the rising generation. And such desires I find she strongly expressed to the Rev. Mr. Dexter, in some serious and pious letters, which she sent to him above forty years ago. These desires, I doubt not, were from the Spirit of God. And would not our compliance with the thing therein suggested, be a reasonable service? God has declared himself ready to "give the Holy Spirit to those that ask him."

Her faith was productive of sublime joy and delight in God. By "faith having access into that grace wherein she stood, she rejoiced in hope of the glory of God." "Believing, she rejoiced with joy unspeakable and full of glory." I seldom ever saw her, without hearing her express the wonderful and almost unspeakable comfort and delight, which she found in the service of God; in communion with him; and in the assured prospect of enjoying him for ever, in his kingdom. When she spake of these things, she seemed to be in raptures of love and thankfulness. But amidst all her extraordinary attainments in grace and comfort, I can truly say, I never observed any thing that had the least appearance of pride or self-exaltation, but constant marks of great humility and self-abasement. She always spoke of herself as a great sinner, as one of the meanest and most unworthy of all God's children. She was often quite overwhelmed with tears, when she mentioned God's great goodness to her, in making such clear discoveries of his love to her soul. She ascribed it to free, rich and condescending grace. Often have I heard her cry out in such language as the following, "O the wonderful! wonderful! grace of God to such a poor unworthy worm of the dust, as I am! I am astonished to think of it! I cannot but call upon every one to praise and admire such rich and sovereign grace. I am grieved, and ashamed, that I make such poor returns: I long to depart and go to heaven, that with enlarged powers, I may bless and praise God, to all eternity."-A great deal of such language I find in her private papers, written through a course of years. Such in general were the fruits and effects of the faith of this eminent saint lately called away from among us.

Her patience also was illustrious in its exercise. This was tried in suffering afflictions; and in waiting for the accomplishment of her hopes.

She passed through several heavy trials in her family; and the uncommon one of total blindness for about nineteen years: In the ten last years of her life, she was exercised with great bodily pains and infirmities. Under all these afflictions I never could observe any sign of impatience: And I have heard others, who were more frequently with her, make the same remark. I have

often heard her speak of her trials, in the most meek and submissive manner, as ordered by a wise, a kind, and a good God; and say, "My God knows that I have need of them, else he would not send them. His will is a good will; I desire to have my will wholly swallowed up in his. He has graciously promised, that all things shall work together for good, to them that love him.' O this sweet and supporting promise! Not only some, but all things shall work for the good of such: And blessed be God, I know and feel that I love him above all things; I welcome his holy will."

But the greatest trial of her patience, since I knew her, was her being kept here in the body, and from those enjoyments, which she looked and longed for, in heaven. And she often lamented that her patience, as to this thing, was no more perfect and constant. Having such transporting views of the happiness of heaven, and such unclouded evidences of her own title to it; her desires to come into full possession of it, were so ardent, and intense, as hardly to consist with a patient waiting frame; yet I have heard her, I believe scores of times, express herself in the following manner: "God knows I desire to be perfectly patient. I strive and pray to be so. God's time to dismiss me from this body of sin and death, I know is the best: I desire to wait for it: But I long to have it hastened! I cannot but long for it: God allows me to long for it; and this I hope is not inconsistent with patience." And then, recovering herself from the vehement expressions of desire, she would say: "Well, I know the time will come, when I shall sin no more; when I shall be brought into the immediate presence of God and my Saviour. The long looked for-hoped for-waited for-and prayed for time will come." And often have I heard her repeat the following lines, from Mr. Flavel,

"The time seems long, yet here I lie
Until my God shall call :

It is enough; eternity

Will make amends for all."

Her desires seem to have increased, as she drew nearer to the object of them. The last time that I saw her, when she was able to speak, she begged for a patient waiting frame, but lamented the want of it. She uttered the following, and many such like expressions. "I have thought myself just going, for several days,

* In a paper dated July, beginning, 1716, she writes, "I am afraid, lest I should be too weary of the world, and too earnest in my desires after death: But I hope, I desire earnestly, that I may freely, entirely, and cheerfully submit to the will of God herein, both as to the time, and manner thereof, and with Job, patiently to wait all the days of my appointed time till my change shall come."

but the time is not come yet. When will the time come! O when will the time come! Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly! The last enemy is death; and it is hard work to die: The agonies of dissolving nature are hard: But I know death to me is a conquered enemy. Christ has taken away its sting: I am ready to enter upon this last conflict now, if it be the will of God."

Much the same frame, I understand, continued through the last week of her life: And when death evidently came upon her, she expressed her satisfaction in it. And when she was unable to communicate her mind to those that stood by her, was heard to utter some broken and imperfect sentences; such as, Heavenly Father! I commit my soul, &c. She breathed out her soul, I doubt not, into the arms of her Saviour, on Thursday, the 8th of February, 1770, about noon; and is now inheriting those promises, in heaven, which were the support and delight of her soul, while here on earth. Thus she lived, and thus she died.

If my saying so much about her, needs an apology, I can truly say, I have not done it from a desire to compliment the dead, or flatter the living. Funeral characters are often disagreeable. But the person I have been speaking of, appeared to me, such a wonderful instance of vital piety and practical godliness, as I was hardly ever acquainted with before: And therefore I think I ought to speak of it, to the honor of God's grace, and for the encouragement of others, to be followers of her, so far as she followed Christ.

I mean not to represent her as a perfect pattern. I have been acquainted with few Christians who have appeared more deeply affected with, and more ready to own, their sinful imperfections, and unworthiness. When, to intimate Christian friends, she declared what God had done for her soul, it seemed to be, purely to magnify the riches of divine grace, to a poor unworthy creature; and to encourage others to trust in the same grace.

And now to conclude.-How lovely doth such a Christian appear, in life, and death! Who would not desire to live such a life, and to die such a death! Let the posterity of our deceased friend consider the privilege they have enjoyed, in having such a parent, and grandparent. This is a privilege, of which you must give an account to Him, from whom you received it. If any of you continue in sin, notwithstanding all the encouragement and help for religion, which you have enjoyed, by her instruction and example, how great will be your guilt? We hope these advantages will not be lost upon you. We hope numerous important blessings will descend upon you, in answer to the many fervent, believing prayers, which she was daily offering up to the throne of grace for you.

And how solicitous should we all be, my brethren, to be followers of such eminent saints; who through faith and patience inherit the promises? Their examples should quicken us to strive after high attainments, in the Christian life. Let us not be slothful in our Lord's work. We have the same objects of faith, which they had. We have the same "Author and Finisher of faith,” to apply to, to begin, to carry on, and to perfect this and every other grace and virtue, in us. Upon Him let our hope and trust be firmly fixed herefor, in the diligent use of all appointed means of grace. Let us "give all diligence to add to our faith, virtue; and to virtue, knowledge; and to knowledge, temperance; and to temperance, patience; and to patience, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly-kindness; and to brotherly-kindness, charity. For if these things be in us, and abound, they make us, that we shall neither be barren, nor unfruitful, in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ-And so an entrance shall be ministered unto us abundantly, into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ:" to whom be glory, for ever and ever. AMEN.

[ocr errors]

SERMON

PREACHED

AT THE ORDINATION

OF THE

REV. MR. EPHRAIM WARD,

TO THE

PASTORAL CARE OF THE FIRST CHURCH IN BROOKFIELD.

October 23, 1771.

Rav

BY JASON HAVEN, A. M.

PASTOR OF THE FIRST CHURCH IN DEDHAM.

"Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and doctrine."-2 7'im. iv. 2.

"Let the elders that rule well, be counted worthy of double honor, especially they who labor in the word and doctrine."-1 Tim. v. 17.

BOSTON, N. E.:

PRINTED BY RICHARD DRAPER, IN NEWBURY STREET.

1771.3

« VorigeDoorgaan »