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the Lord; and by office public instructors; as to prevent their suddenly rejecting any doctrine, which they may deliver; without a candid and thorough examination of it; and clear evidence, that it is not founded on the oracles of God. Though it should not exactly coincide with their preconceived opinions, they should not at once determine it erroneous; but remember, it is possible they may have been mistaken. They should lay their minds open to further light-be willing to be convinced of their errors, if they have run into any, and to renounce them. They should not rashly determine their minister to be unsound in the faith, before he hath had sufficient opportunity to explain himself, and to illustrate what might be dark and ambiguous, in any of his terms (such terms ought to be as much as may be avoided) and to set, in a plain and clear light, those arguments which he imagines, support what he hath advanced.
All this candor and moderation are due from one Christian to another, in private life, which if exercised, might prevent many angry disputes and severe censures: Surely not less, one would imagine something more is due from a people to their minister; whose advantages to search the Scriptures, and discover the truths which they contain, have generally been greater than theirs.
But when they evidently preach agreeably to the sacred oracles, and bring important messages from thence, to their people, they should consider in whose name and by whose authority, they speak, and regard them accordingly. If they are treated with contempt, in their ministerial character and work, the contempt doth not terminate upon them, but extends to their divine Master, whose they are, and whom they serve. What he said to his disciples, is in a measure, applicable to all his faithful ministers : "He that heareth you, heareth me; and he that despiseth you, despiseth me." Luke x. 16. When they deliver the pure, uncorrupted word of truth, it should be received, as the apostle said the Thessalonians received that which he preached, 1 Thess. ii. 13, not as the word of men, but as it is, in truth, the word of God, which worketh effectually in them that believe.
I shall close the discourse, with those addresses, which custom and propriety, lead you to expect on this occasion. And first, I turn myself to my beloved brother, at whose desire 1 stand in the desk this day.
You see, by what has been suggested, a large field of labor and service, which you have to go over, in order faithfully to discharge the duties of the ministerial office. You will find no small difficulty in observing the prohibition, "not to preach yourself." We are apt to be too selfish in all we do; to the exclusion of those
supreme regards to Christ, which ought to govern us. You will find it a great work, to "preach Christ" faithfully, in the several relations which have been mentioned. You will meet with many discouragements from your own heart; and not a few, probably, from the various tempers and dispositions of your people. I suggest not these things to dishearten you. I doubt not you have thought much of them already. I am sure the prospect would be enough to sink your spirits, and those of every one, that engages in this work, with a proper sense of its difficulty and importance, did not he who calls us to it, provide cordials and supports for us, while faithfully performing it. "Lo I am with you alway, even to the end of the world," is his gracious promise. Under what trials will not his presence support you! Through what difficulties and dangers will it not safely conduct you! As you desire to derive sensible support from this, and such like promises, labor to be very faithful to Christ, and the souls committed to your charge. Aim at an elevation above the fear of men-above worldly and secular views-above a thirst for popular applause. Keep in good terms with God and your own conscience. This will lead you to a conduct most likely to secure the friendship and esteem of your people, at least of such as fear God, and act conscientiously themselves.
Here, Sir, you behold a large number of precious and immortal souls, committing themselves to your pastoral care. It is incumbent on you "to watch for them, as expecting to give an account" -faithfully to "preach to them Christ Jesus the Lord"—and to bring them, if possible, to a saving acquaintance with him; and to a conversation agreeable to his gospel. For "his sake," you are to approve yourself "their servant." And when you consider what he hath done and suffered, to redeem them from everlasting ruin, can you think much of any services, and sufferings, you may be called to, in order to bring them to partake of that redemption? View every soul as precious: see that none, whether old or young, whether rich or poor, be neglected by you. Cultivate in your mind, an ardent affection to this people. Let it be catholic and impartial; extending to several who do not share with their brethren in the joy of this day's solemnity, as well as to others. Give them the most convincing proof, that you unfeignedly seek their best good. Let them have no occasion to say any evil thing of you: Yea, by a kind, tender and faithful conduct, labor to win them. If your heart is warmed with ardent love to your people, all your labors will be labors of love, which carry their own reward with them. Dear Sir, "be strong in the grace, which is in Christ Jesus. Be not weary in well-doing; remembering that in due time you shall reap if you faint not." Endeavor to keep in mind the rewards of grace, set before you. Look forward
to the appearance of the chief Shepherd. If you are faithful to him, and his cause, you will have his approbation, before assembled worlds. "Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful in a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things; enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.”
In the next place, let me speak a few words to the beloved church and society, who are now about to have a pastor set over
My dear friends,
I heartily rejoice with you, that after a season of darkness and difficulty, God has, I trust, in answer to your humble and fervent prayers, led you to the choice of a pastor, who, we hope, will approve himself one after his own heart; and be a great blessing to you. Behold the man whom you have called to this important office; and who is, this day, devoting himself to the service of your souls, in the gospel of Christ! You have heard something of the greatness and difficulty of his work. I hope you are affected with it, as well as he. He is to preach to you, "Christ Jesus the Lord"-the glories of his person and offices-his perfect example and his heavenly doctrine. In such preaching, I trust, you will take great satisfaction; by it be greatly edified. He "who holdeth the stars in his right hand," hath placed several "burning and shining lights in this golden candlestick;" hath set over this ancient church, several able and faithful ministers of the New Testament; who assisted your pious ancestors, in the way to heaven, whose memories are still precious with you. Though you may have reason to lament, that you have not brought forth fruit, answerable to your privileges, and to God's just expectations; yet he is not depriving you of the means of fruitfulness. He is not leaving you to be scattered, as sheep that have no shepherd. He is sending one to take the charge of your souls, who I hope, will be an instrument of great good to you, and to your children. Need I bespeak your tender affection for him? I trust he already enjoys it; and that his conduct will be such, as to deserve it still more and more. The character which this town hath sustained, for generations past, of being peaceable, candid and liberal, towards those who have faithfully served them in the gospel of Christ, I hope, you will never forfeit. This is undoubtedly a great encouragement to him whom you have called to the pastoral office, in taking it upon him, at this difficult day. "I beseech you, brethren, to know him, who is to labor among you, and to be over you in the Lord, and to admonish you, and to esteem him highly in love, for his work's sake; and to be at peace among yourselves." Do what you can to encourage his heart, and to strengthen his hands. Be importunate in your prayers to God for him. Treat his person and character with tenderness. Let him
find you of an attentive and teachable disposition. Let him see you prizing a glorious Christ, whom he will be daily recommending to you-obedient to his gospel, and "walking in all his commandments and ordinances blameless." Such evidences of your regard to him, and of his usefulness to you, will be a noble support, under all his labors and trials.
We deprecate the reverse of this. We entreat you would not give him occasion to carry this mournful complaint to his Lord: "I have labored in vain, and spent my strength for nought." Should this be the unhappy case, how will it discourage his heart! How will it sink his spirits! The present grief will indeed be his, but the future dreadful consequences, yours. His fidelity will be rewarded: Though his people should not "be gathered" home to Christ, by his faithful labors, "yet will he be glorious in the eyes of the Lord." But the doom of disobedient hearers will be executed on you. "Take these unprofitable servants, and cast them into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth." "But, beloved, we would hope better things of you, and things which accompany salvation, though we thus speak." We pray God to give your pastor a long and successful ministry, among you. We wish grace, mercy and peace, from God the Father and from our Lord Jesus Christ, may be multiplied unto you. And that he and you may be each other's crown of rejoicing, in the day of Christ's appearing.
I shall finish the discourse, with a word to this numerous assembly. You have heard whom the ministers of the gospel are to preach: And whom they preach, you must receive, by a true and living faith. Unless you do so, you will perish for ever. Dreadfully dangerous is your condition, while you continue in unbelief. You are every moment obnoxious to the wrath of Almighty God, and to the condemning sentence of his violated law; which once executed upon you, will never, never be repealed. May you now be awakened to a sense of your danger, that you may flee from God's impending wrath, to Christ, the only refuge the only Saviour of perishing souls.
And as to you, who have known the grace of God in truth, O! be entreated," as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so to walk in him." Grow in your acquaintance with him, and conformity to him. Let nothing short of perfection bound your desires. Keep heaven much in your eye. So run the Christian race that you may obtain the prize-the crown of eternal life; which God grant to us all, for the sake of Jesus Christ! AMEN.
PREACHED AT STOUGHTON,
ON WEDNESDAY, THE 18TH OF JUNE, 1783,
FUNERAL OF THE REV. MR. SAMUEL DUNBAR,
LATE PASTOR OF THE FIRST CHURCH AND SOCIETY
IN THAT TOWN,
WHO DIED THE PRECEDING LORD'S DAY, IN THE 79TH YEAR OF HIS AGE,
AND THE 56TH OF HIS MINISTRY.
BY JASON HAVEN, A. M.
PASTOR OF THE FIRST CHURCH IN DEDHAM.
"And Samuel died, and all the Israelites lamented him, and buried him in his house at Ramah."1 Sam. xxv. 1.
"For me to live, is Christ; and to die, is gain."-Phil. i. 21.
PRINTED BY N. WILLIS.