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ER.

:I')LE NO. 225.

EFORE THE

COVER THEOL, SEX

NOV 20 1907

"IE.

LIBRARY.

vi. 3.

Te found 're. The

wept and

God of aroused ved city. n.

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usted and even her et her wel. the captive it and sad.

lay rise and

short time before you.” His grand-children began to cry. “What is the matter, my dear children? Ilave I alarmed you ! ( do not cry-be good children and we shall all meet in Heaven.” Turning to the servants lie said--" I want to meet you all, white and black, in Heaven." Having exhorted them in an eloquent strain for half an hour, he sunk away and calmly expired.

What an affecting and sublime spectacle! The aged soldier and statesman, the idol of half the nation is slowly expiring. He has but a few hours to live, he is all weakness and pain, but he rouses himself from the gathering torpor of death, and for half an hour gives eloquent counsel to all “ to prepare to meet God.” If children and youth and servants needed such counsel from his lips, they need it from ours. If conscience will not let us die in peace without discharging our duty in this respect, let us begin early, and in our days of health beseech all around us to be reconciled to God.

General Jackson would take the sacrament in his sick chamber. He asked it as a privilege. Who in health then are justified in neglecting this ordinance as it is administered before them in the sanctuary? Let us learn the virtues of a death-bed while we have health to exercise those virtues in acts of piety.

I thank God that he led General Jackson in the face of this nation to honor in his last years and hours the Bible--the Sabbath, the Church and its sacraments—and the great doctrine of salvation alone through the atonement of Calvary. We hope those who loved him will hasten to follow this his final example.

He was always a brave man, but he achieved his greatest triumph when he humbled his pride at the foot of the cross, and gained a hope which gave him victory over death.

His military and civil renown may fade amid the mists of coming ages, but God grant that his noble and impressive testimony to the truth and value of the Christian religion may live in the hearts of men until the pillars of this great globe shall crumble, and time itself be no more. Amen.

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A SERMON DELIVERED IN FRYEBURG, ME., JUNE 24, 1845, BEFORE THE
MAINE " CONGREGATIONAL CHARITABLE SOCIETY

ACOVER THEOL, SEINASY
BY REV. E. THURSTON,

NOV 20 1907 PASTOR OF THE SOUTH CHURCH IN HALLOWELL, ME.

- LIBRARY. THE MAGNITUDE OF THE MINISTERIAL WORK.

“I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down."-NEH. vi. 3.

NEHEMIAH bad undertaken to rebuild Jerusalem. He found its walls broken down, and its gates consumed with fire. The sight deeply affected bis heart. “He sat down and wept and mourned certain days, and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven.” But tears and fasting did not satisfy him. He aroused himself and went to work to repair the ruin of his beloved city. In this undertaking he encountered formidable opposition. The enemy derided, scorned, threatened. Yet he was not to be turned aside. He prosecuted the enterprise till it was nearly completed. Seeing that direct opposition availed nothing, his opposers changed their mode of attack. They proposed to meet him, for friendly consultation, on the plain of Ono. But he understood the stratagem. “They think to do me mischief,” said he. “I shall not meet them. They are enemies in disguise." Accordingly, be dispatched messengers to say in his name," I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down." Thus, their iniquitous design was defeated.

There is a spiritual, as there was a literal Jerusalem to be built. Its ruins are to be raised up, its wastes repaired. The ministers of Christ are the Nehemiahs in this work. They bave walked about Zion, marked her desolation, and mourned and fasted and prayed over it. They love her gates and her towers—even her ruins are precious in their eyes. Never can they forget her wel. fare or her woe. While she remains a desolation, like the captive Jews by the stream of Babylon, they are despondent and sad. Still they live upon the promise that she shall one day rise and VOL. XIX-NO. IX.

9

shine, her light being come, and the glory of the Lord having risen upon

her. They are earnestly watching for the dawning of that day. To whatever will hasten its coming, they have consecrated their energies and life. But, like Nehemiah, they too meet with opposition. Sometimes the enemy derides, and scornfully inquires, “What do these feeble Jews? Will they revive the stones out of these heaps of rubbish which are burnt ?" At other times, finding all their contempt in vain, they seek to beguile them from their steadfastness, and challenge them to come down, for worldly purposes, from their high, moral position. And it furnishes occasion for gratitude to God, that so often their proposals are met with the reply, We are doing a great work, and cannot come down.

This work, in the broad sense in which I propose to consider it, embraces the glory of God in the salvation of men.

First. I shall ask you to look at its magnitude. We are doing a great work.

That it is emphatically a work many need not be told. At this age of the world, and in this country especially, the ministry is no sinecure--no place for the sluggard or the voluptuary. İts demands are highly exhausting and self-denying. This fact, the early failure and fall of many of its incumbents cannot fail to impress upon such as have not been taught it by their own experience. If any man enters the ministry from motives of personal ease, he will soon discover bis mistake. It is a calling in which toil or failure is inevitable. But this is not our point. I was to speak of the magnitude of the work.

I. It is great in its object. Indeed, in extent and boldness of design, it has no parallel among all the enterprises on earth. The changes and revolutions it contemplates surpass, in importance and grandeur, everything witbin the range of human conception. It proposes, through the mighty power of God, to change darkness to light, bring good out of evil

, make the dead alive in Cbrist to transform the rebel into an ally—the barren desert into a fruitful field a world of wretchedness and tears into the paradise of God. By the humblest instrumentalities, by the foolishness of preaching, by the simple story of the cross, it aims to overturn the kingdom of darkness, defeat the powers of hell, root out from the earth all the Protean forms of error, break down every system of false religion, and substitute, in their place, the spiritual worship and service of God, and at length, when the purposes of mercy shall have fully ripened, to usher in the day of millennial glory, and send the echo round the globe, Now have the kingdoms of this world become the kingdorns of our Lord, and of his Christ, and he shall reign for ever and ever." How lotty, how sublime such an aim! If it sought only to save a single soul, it were a bigher, worthier object, than any for which kings ever contended or conquerors fought. Indeed, all the exclusively worldly enterprises projected since the creation are nothing compared with the exalted endeavor to raise a single soul to heaven. What, then, must be the loftiness of the aim, when instead of one, it seeks to save thousands and millions-a great number which no man can number-all that countless throng given to Christ in the covenant of redemption? Who can fully understand it? It is an object in sympathy with the plan of God in creating, storing and upholding the world, in giving the Son of his love to die, in dispensing, from age to age, the treasure of his grace-an object, so bigh and glorious, that wlien it shall be fully attained, and all its vast results unfolded and perfected, the infinite Redeemer himself, looking back on the bitter travail of his soul on earth, shall be fully and forever satisfied. In a word, for it comes to this, the object of the ministerial work is the same bigh and transcendant object which God had in view in the plan of redemption.

II. It is a work great in difficulties. "Tuis unavoidably follows from the previous proposition. Such mighty changes as have been alluded to, are not easily wrought. To raise dry bones to life, clothe them with flesh and sinews, breathe into them the breath of life-to mould a vessel of wrath into a vessel of

mercyto pass from the individual to the multitude, and bring the mass of the community into harmony with truth, and into subjection to God, so that their views and aims shall be shaped and controlled by the power of the gospel, this, by a mind acquainted with the inveterate depravity of human nature, can be regarded in no other light than as a work of extreme difficulty. No man can look with a truly philosophical eye upon the moral renovation of the world, without discovering obstacles such as never opposed the progress of any other cause. Heathen altars are to be demolished -heathen idols given to the moles and bats-new customs introduced--a new standard of conduct established-old things to pass away, all things to become new-crooked places to be made straight, rough places plain, every valley to be exalted and every hill made low, the desert to blossom as the rose and streams to break out in the wilderness, in a word, the ruins of the apostacy to be repaired and the world brought back to its original harmony, beauty and holiness. Think of such a change, opposed by the whole current of usage, prejudice, ignorance, depravity, and in some instances law, and say, can anything compare with it for difficulty of achievement?

But I shall be met here, perhaps, with the reply, that this is the work of God, and not of man, and with God all things are possible, all things easy. We admit it. And yet God works by means. Ile causes these changes, he accomplishes these amazing revolutions through the agency of the ministry. Men do not believe in him of whom they have not heard. They do not hear without a

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