cost. That help was one of the last acts of a wellspent life-a life spent in doing good — doing good after the right fashion, even as he had been taught in that Church, of which he was a minister-quietly, judiciously, unobtrusively, not letting the right hand know what the left hand gave. And now, as I said, were he with us to-day, none would be more glad. But God hath ordered it otherwise. His aged servant has departed in peace; he will worship no more in any temple made with hands. We cannot wish him back again, but we may, and must express how much we miss him— we may, and must, recur to him in thought to-day, and thank God for the remembrance of him—thank God, who gave him that gentle heart, and made him, for so long a while, a blessing and an example to the people amongst whom he dwelt.*

Pardon me this digression, my brethren, and let me now close these remarks with a few plain words of counsel, such as the present moment may seem to warrant, and demand.

You have entered this day, for the first time, your new church—the new church built on the site of the old one-built, as was the second temple at Jerusalem, on its “own heap."


* The Rev. Joseph Walls, patron of Firsby, and father of the present incumbent.

I think this in itself ought to be regarded. There is much more to interest you in your church, now that it keeps the old situation, than if it were built on some other spot. The old associations are unbroken-around it lie the graves of your fathers;

along the path that leads to it have passed for centuries the inhabitants of your village; within the space of these four walls--on the same spot on which we are

now assembled —Christian service has been carried on for many generations. Your fathers worshipped in this place; here, for ages, God's word has been preached, and God's blessing spoken by His ministers, and the marriage vows made, and the young child brought to be baptized, and the bread and wine, as the Lord appointed it, have been given, and taken in remembrance of Him! In

every way, then, the ground is hallowed; it is consecrated to you by every tender, every solemn recollection: most truly may I say of it, “The place whereon thou standest is holy ground.”

Yes, it is holy, were it only from its connexion with the past ; but take in another thought-consider Whose House this is, and Whose Presence fills it, “when two or three are gathered together in His name"--and then, how tenfold sacred does it become! God is in this place— He whom the heaven of heavens cannot contain is here, according


to His promise, in a measure, and in a manner, above what we know or think; He is present to hear our petitions, to assure us of pardon, and to guide our souls into the way of peace.

Do, my brethren, remember this. Do bring to this House, which is thus holy, reverent tempers, and closely guarded hearts; do bethink you, whenever you cross the threshold, what your business is here

to worship God—and give to that business all your attention, all your care. Take your part in singing God's praises; be on your knees when prayers are offered ; let not your minds roam to worldly things; do not buy and sell, even in thought, while you are in the “house of prayer ; serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice unto Him with reverence; use our church to God's glory, and your soul's true good; use it as a 6 covert from the heat, and a refuge from the storm; come to it in all time of your trouble, and in all time of your wealth; come to it to be comforted; come to it to be counselled; come to it to be strengthened with all grace; come to it to have fellowship with God, and with His Son.

In a word, brethren, make, I beseech you, from this day forth, such a constant, such a devout, such a thankful, such a glad use of this, your new parish church, tliat it may prove to you, not as a mere figure of speech, but in very deed, “the gate of

[ocr errors]


heaven ”-a place in which you shall be fitted for your eternal home - where those lessons shall be learnt that shall make you “wise unto salvation;" where that character shall be put on, and those graces called forth, that become your calling; where you shall be practised in the worship, and prepared against the coming of your Lord; “made meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light!”



1 Tim. iv. 12.

“Let no man despise thy youth ; but be thou an example

of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.”

[ocr errors]

THESE are St. Paul's words to Timothy; to him whom he calls at the beginning of his letter, "My own son in the faith.” And they are words, we shall all think, very good to meditate on. They furnish, as I shall hope to show you, matter profitable for our learning; profitable most of all for their learning, who form in every congregation a class in whose welfare a minister of Christ must always have the deepest interest - the young.

It is, then, chiefly with the hope of being of use to the younger part of those here present, that I have taken this verse-a verse out of this afternoon's second lesson—for our consideration. May God bless the words I shall speak, and make them to be a seed of grace in some of your hearts !

[ocr errors]


« ForrigeFortsett »