ページの画像
PDF
ePub

ber of his months often repeated in years of anxious labour, have not been favoured with so much. If all prove faithful unto death, whom he enlisted, whilst on earth, beneath the banners of the cross,

he will head a goodly company, when the hosts of the redeemed shall be assembled at the judgment day. Who that knew and loved him, but must anticipate the joy with which he then shall say, "here am I, Father, and the children whom thou hast given me.'

Let the example of his exertions and success stimulate, quicken, and encourage ours.

We work for the same Master, and are engaged in the same cause. And, to the student or the youthful preacher who may honour these pages with his regard, I will add, your term may be as short-if it be not as successful, let it be as diligent. The diligence is ours, the success is God's: He will not demand at our hands what is not ours to secure-He will give His rewards of grace to the faithful servant, whether his success be proportioned to his exertions or

not ; and we are a sweet savour unto Him in them that are saved, and in them that perish.'

Fourthly, From the early and sudden removal of Spencer, let churches learn to prize the labours of holy and devoted men, while they enjoy them. Alas ! too many only learn the value of their privileges by their removal. They neglected or lightly esteemed, whilst living, the minister, upon whose memory they heap eulogies and honours when departed; and I believe, that some have even bedewed the ashes of their pastors with affected tears, who accelerated and embittered their passage to the grave, by uukindness and neglect ! Not so the

people whom the death of Spencer suddenly bereared. The tears with which they embalmed his memory, were suitable to the respect they bore his person--the love they cherished for his friendshipand the sense they entertain of his transcendent worth.* O that every minister living were as much beloved !-dying were as unaffectedly deplored !

Fifthly, In Spencer we see the excellence of real religion-how it sweetens labour-sooths in affliction-supports in trial—and animates the soul in scenes of disappointment, and hours of care. To few are allotted severer labours-to few, so young, are measured heavier trials than those which he endured. But few, upon the whole, have possessed a greater share of happiness: there were intervals of sorrow, and clouds would sometimes obscure the brightness of his sun; but for the most

By some liberal expositors of God's providence, the death of Spencer has been pronounced a judgment on the people, for what they have termed, “ their idolatrous attachment" to him. Alas! the idolizing of its ministers is, surely, not the crying sin of the church at the present day! But was there any thing in the conduct of the people over whom Spencer presided, so contrary to the mind of God as to excite thus strongly his displeasure, in loving a man who was beloved wherever he was known--and revering an office which Christ himself has invested with so much dignity ? Let such bold infringers of the prerogative of God, who presume to assign reasons for his conduct, when he has not deigned to give any, read," Know them that labour amongst you, and over you in! the Lord, and admonish you ; and esteem them very highly in love for their work's sake, and be at peace among yourselves." Let them take the solemn admonition this passage gives ; and perhaps eir own ministers will have no occasion to regret that they have done so.

part his hope was livély, and his prospects fair. He enjoyed religion upon earth—he anticipated the consummation of its bliss in heaven: and now he has entered into the joy of his Lord. His life was piety, and his end was peace.

Sixthly, In the sudden removal of Spencer, we mark the mysterious conduct of Jehovah's provi. dence.

At first sight the event might stagger the strong. est faith, for he was snatched away at a period when his life seemed of the utmost moment to the people over whom he presided, and the circle in' which he moved. Scarcely had his talents reached their maturity; his character was even then unfolding; from the promise of his youth, his friends dwelt with rapture on the anticipations of his manhood, and every day added some strokes of reality to the picture they drew,—when suddenly, in the bloom of his youth-at the commencement of his course,-just entered on his labours-he is arrested by the arm of death, and conducted to the silent grave. Was his death untimely? No, he had seen a good old age in usefulness, though not in years : 6 that life is long that answers life's great end." His end was fully answered, and he was gathered to the grave in peace. Was his death severe? No to him it was tranquil, and serene; he crossed the river of Jordan, singing as he went, and in an unexpected moment, found himself safely landed on the shores of immortality. No raging billows awoke his fears no agonies disturbed his countenancedeath respected his loveliness, and preserved the beauty of the form, when the spirit that animated

But whilst for him his death was peaceful, was their ought of mercy in it to his friends ? Yes--if they review and act upon the lessons it conveys, there is ; to survivers it declares, that excellence and beauty must fade and die let them seek an interest in Him, in whom whosoever liveth and believeth shall not die eternally-to the church it will endear the assurance of His care, who is independent of instruments and the conqueror of death. To the young it is a solemn admonition of the uncertainty of life the instability of all terrestrial good. To such as attended his ministry--what a powerful application is it of the many sermons they have heard him preach, with such delight—but to so little profit! How must the event of the succeding morning rivet the impression of those solemn words which, on the last Sabbath evening of his life, he addressed to them : “ I shall soon meet you at the bar of God; I shall be there !”- that they were wise, that they knew these things that they would consider their latter end.

it was gone.

END OF THE MEMOIRS.

APPENDIX

No. I.

The Dissenters of various denominations bave numerous Academies, partly endowed by munificent individuals, and partly supported by voluntary subscription, for the education of young men for the work of the ministry. There are institutions of this kind at Homerton, Hoxton, Hackney, Wymondley, Rotherham, Axminster, Idle, Wrexham, Bristol, Stepney, Caermarthen, York, Glasgow, and other places. In these schools of religion and literature the course of study is for the most part liberal, and some of them have supplied the churches of Christ, for many generations, with sound and learned divines. The compiler had the honour to receive his education in the Old College, Homerton, a truly venerable institution, over which the Rev. Dr. John Pye Smith, and the Rev. Thomas Hill, preside. The following is an outline of the principles, upon which that institution is founded, and the course of study which is there pursued.

It is held as a fundamental principle among the Orthodox Dissenters, that do young man should be destined for the ministry as a mere profession; or educated with a view to that office, till he gives rational indications of that internal and sound piety, which arises from the operations of the Holy Spirit of God upon the heart. Their first care therefore is, to select such characters only as candidates for

« 前へ次へ »