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ing its phantom. It is the project of a Party. It will come to nothing." A steady and consistent Christian will, however, pity this mixture of mistake and malignity: he will neither be surprised nor moved by such misrepresentations. He will consider the proposal itself, rather than the proposer. He will advert to its real worth and weight, the probable means of its success, and the motives which should actuate his heart in prosecuting it. Thus taking his well-considered stand, he will persevere by the help of his God; having this testimony in his conscience, that he does what he can, and would do better if he could.
I have reason to hope, Brethren, that most of you are thus proceeding: and thus may you proceed, till the awful hour arrives, when that only which is really substantial will comfort you! In that hour, when life is viewed as but a dream just vanished, when every earthly possession and enjoyment is departing, when your dearest friend can but say, “ Farewell.” In that hour, to be borne up by the faith of Jesus, and to feel the comfort of having stood a witness of its power to others--this will prove a solid satisfaction, which nothing beside can yield. Blessed are the dead, who thus die in the Lord froin henceforth; yea, saith the Spirit
, that they may rest from their labours, and their works do follow them: Rev. xiv. 13.
With the subject, as it respects the Heathen, I have done. Yet I cannot conclude without adverting to a common but fatal error. Too many are observed anxious to bring the Heathen to Christ, who yet give strong reason to fear they have not savingly approached him themselves. They are zealously affected, and that in a good thing--but seem never to have laid to heart how much that very thing is the one thing need ful for their own souls.“ Prepare ye the way of the
Lord,” say they : "for till Christ is brought to a people they must perish for lack of knowledge.” Most true! But most true it also is, that, till a people are brought to Christ, they too must perish, whether it be in England or in Japan. “All you can tell me," said one lately on a dying bed, “ All you can tell me, I have long well known; but I tell you that I have lived without real religion. I was forward in the Church, but fixed in the world : and my profession now only serves to terrify me !"
O ye, who labour to build an ark for others, but enter it not yourselves—ye, who would convert the Heathen, but remain yourselves unchanged-tremble, lest even the most blind and profligate of those whoin you would convert, should one day rise up in judgment against you. 'It shall be more tolerable, even for Sodom, in that day,' than for any among us who repent not : Matt. xi. 24.
On the contrary, may He, whose glory we seek in this Institution, enable us so to abide in Him; that when he shall appear we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming,' 1 John ii. 28; but, receiving then the full accomplishment of those promises for which we now wait, may we join in proclaiming, “THE KINGDOMS OF THIS WORLD ARE BECOME THE KINGDOMS OF OUR LORD AND OF HIS CHRIST, AND HE SHALL REIGN FOR EVER AND EVER!" Amen.
REV. JOHN NEWTON.
And the Lord said, Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom
his Lord shall make ruler over his house hold, to give them their portion of meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his Lord, when he cometh, shall find so doing.–LUKE xii. 42, 43.
I SHOULD not have ventured to appear this day in this place, and on this solemn occasion, but at the express desire of your departed Minister: nor can I think of any scripture which more suitably applies to his past character and present state, than the passage before us. May a divine blessing accompany our meditations on it; that we may not only 'mark the perfect man, and behold the upright, but that our end, also, like his, may be peace!
Our Lord had said, v. 35, “Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning; and ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their Lord when he will return from the wedding: that, when he cometh and knocketh, they may open to him immediately. Blessed are those servants, whom the Lord, when he cometh, shall find watching. Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not.
Then Peter said unto him, Lord, speakest thou this parable unto us, or even to all ?
"And the Lord said, Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his Lord shall make ruler over
his household to give them their portion of meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his Lord, when he cometh, shall find so doing.'
As if Jesus had said, “ Though all have a general concern in the words which I have spoken, you, my disciples and ministers, have a special interest in them, and a particular obligation laid upon you by them. You are not only servants in general: but servants also of a particular description : you are placed as stewards over my household; having a peculiar and specific charge to execute. And blessed are you, if your Lord, when he cometh, shall find you executing it faithfully and wisely."
In the words of the text, taken in connection with those which lead to it, we have our Lord's view of the CHARACTER and COMMENDATION of a faithful Minister. He is represented in the text, both as a steward and a servant : as a SERVANT he is before described as vigilant and prepared; as a STEWARN, he is faithful and wise. Let us attend to both descriptions in this account of,
I. His CHARACTER.
The faithful Minister's character resembles that of a trusty servant watching the coming of his Lord. For even among men such a servant will not only consider his wages, but also the obligations which he is under. If his Master be from home, especially at a late hour, he will stand prepared to receive him on his return. If (as in the East) long garments are in use, he will have them girded about, that no impediment may prevent his activity. If the night requires a lamp or torch, it will be kept burning. He even watches his master's tread: he knows his knock: he springs to open the door : his very face welcomes him; and, whether his master comes at the second or third watch, such a ser
vant complains not, he sleeps not, but steadily remains on his post. “I know not,” says he," at what hour my Lord may come; but I well know in what position he ought to find me." It is nothing to him, that other servants in the same house may be off their watch. Some may be absent, some gaming, some wasting their master's substance, some stealing his property, some abusing his character, and some quarrelling and fighting. But what is all this to Him? His thoughts are on his Lord.
Thus the vigilant and prepared servant, who is now called off his post, saw indeed and lamented the state of the household in which he had long kept watch: and faithfully protested against the neglect, carnality, and contention which he observed therein: but while he thus warned the unruly, his own heart was continually fixed on the coming of his Master. His own heart spake its real feelings, when he wrote that Hymn which
have often sung:
What are other objects worth ?
Is a heav'n begun on earth.” Thus, I say, with his loins girded,' with his 'lights burning,' and looking for the coming of his Lord, departed John Newton, servant of the Most High God.
But this servant is also described as a faithful and wise STEWARD; one set over the household of God, and expressly appointed to his office of administering therein. "Let a man,' saith the Apostle, so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover it is required in stewards that a man be found faithful. But the Steward is not faithful, if he does not give the due portion to each :