THE APOSTOLIC VALEDICTION CONSIDERED AND APPLIED.
2 Cor. xill. 11. Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect; be of good comfort, be of one mind; live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with youj
FAREWEL, especially a final farewel among brethren is a very melancholy word, the language of bereaved love. And little did I once think I should ever have occasion to pronounce this doleful sound in the ears of my dear congregation in Hanovtsr, with whom I fully expected to live and die. Both my first settlement here and my final removal were altogether unexpected. A few weeks before I made my first visit to Hanover I had no more thoughts of it as my pastoral charge, than of the remotest corner of the world; but was preparing to settle in ease near my
* 2 Cor. vi. 2.
f This discourse in entitled, "A Farewel sermon, addressed to the Presbyterian Congregation in Hanover, Virginia, July 1, 1759, on the Author's Removal to the College in New Jersey."
The Rev. David Bostwick, M. A. of Nets-Tori, in a preface to Mr. Davies' sermon-on the " Death of his Majesty King George the Second," favours us with the following information: "The unusual lustre with which he shone could not long be confined to that remote corner of the world, 'Hanover, in Virginia) but soon attracted the notice and pleasing admiration of men of genius, learning, or piety, far and near: and therefore on a vacancy at the college of New Jersey, occasioned by the decease of two former presidents,* in a close and awful succession, he was elected to that important office in the year 1759.
"Distressing as it was, both to him and his people, united in the strongest bonds of mutual affection, to think of a separation; yet, a conviction of absolute duty, resulting from the importance of the station, from various concurring providences; and lastly, from the unanimous advice of his reverend brethren couvened in synod, determined him to accept the proposal."
* The reverend Mr. Aaron Burr, 1757, 4nd the reverend Mr. Jonathan Edwards, woo succeeded Dim, an* <fied the winter fol lowing. >
native place,* till the more urgent necessity and importunity of the people here, constrained me to alter my resolution. It is known to no mortal but myself with what reluctance, fear, :ind trembling, I accepted your call. The rawness and inexperience of my youth, and the formidable opposition then made both by church and state, when a dissenter was stared at with horror, as a shocking and portentous phenomenon, were no small discouragements in my way. For some years I durst hardly venture to appear but in the pulpit, or in my study.; lest, by a promiscuous conversation with the world at large, I should injure the cause of religion, by some instance of unguarded conduct. •Jn short, my self.diffidence rose so high, that I often thought I had done a great exploit, when I had done no harm to this important interest, which I had a sincere desire, though but little ability, to promote. But having obtained help of God, I continue to this day. And I am not ashamed publicly to own these early discouragements, that if I have done the least good to any one of you, God may have all the glory, who has bestowed so unmerited an honour upon the unworthiest of his servants, and made use of such clay to open the eyes of the blind; and that I may remove the despondency, into which some of you are sunk, of ever finding your present loss repaired in my successor.
But when, after many an anxious conflict, I accepted your call, I fully expected I was settled among.you for life. I did not foresee, nor seek for, nor even desire an occasion to remove, notwithstanding the various difficulties attending my situation: and .whatever advantageous offers have been made to me, on either side the Atlantic, have not had the force of temptations. It was in my heart to live and die with you: and such of you as best know my circumstances, and how little I shall carry from Virginia, after eleven years labour in it, must be convinced in your own conscience, and can assure others, that worldly interest was not the reason of my attachment. I hope I understand my office better than to make a money-business of it, or a trade to acquire an estate. Or, if this had been my design, I would have chosen some other place than Hanover to carry on the trade. This, such of you as have been most generous to me, and to .-whom I shall be always grateful, have often professed yourselves sensible of, with more friendly anxiety than I could have ex* pected or desired.
• St. George's, in the territories of Pennsylvania.
To satisfy you of the reasons of my present removal, I will give you a brief impartial account of the whole affair:
The college of New-jersey, though an infant institution, is of the utmost importance to the interests of religion and learning in several extensive and populous colonies. From it both church and state expect to be supplied with persons properly qualified for public stations; and it has already been very useful to both in this respect. Before the irreparable breach made in it, by the death of that excellent man, president ">i;nn, its members were increased to near a hundred; and there was no small prospect of considerable additions every year. But alas! president Burr, its father, is no more. Upon his removal, the trustees made choice of the Hev. Mr. Edwards to succeed him, the profoundest reasoner, and the greatest divine, in my opinion, that America ever produced. His advancement to the place, gave the public sanguine expectations of the future fame and prosperity of the college. But alas! how short is human foresight! how uncertain and blind are the highest expectations of mortals! He was seated in the president's chair but a few days, when he was taken sick and died, and left a bereaved society to lament the loss, and pine away under it. An earthquake spread a tremor through a great part of our solid continent on the melancholy day in which he died ;* but how much more did Nassau-hall tremble, when this pillar fell! Some of the trustees, to my great surprise, had some thoughts of me, upon the first vacancy that happened. But knowing the difficulty of my removal, and being very unwilling to bereave my congregation, they made an attempt, upon president Edwards' death, to furnish the college with another; and therefore chose the Rev. Mr. Lockwood, a gentleman' of a worthy character in New-England. But being disappointed as to him, they elected me on the 16th of last August, and were at the trouble and expense of sending two messengers to solicit the affair with me and the presbytery. I can honestly say, never any thing cast me into such anxious perplexities. . Never did I feel myself so much in need of divine direction, and so destitute of it. My difficulty was not to find out my own inclination, which was pre-engaged to Hanover, but the path of duty; and the fear of mistaking it, in so important a turn of life, kept me uneasy night and day. I submitted the matter to the presbytery, and gave them an honest representation of it, as far as it was
* March 22,1758.
known to me. As I was. at an entire loss in my own mind to discover my duty, I could not, upon the authority of my own judgment, approve or reject their decision; but 1 cheerfully acquiesced in it, and sent it, with my own negative answer, to the board of trustees, and expected never to hear any more about it. But the trustees, to my still greater surprise, made a second application, requesting I would act as vice-president during the winter, till the synod should sit, when the judgment of the presbytery might be referred to that higher judicature. After making all the inquiries in my power to discover what was my duty in so perplexing a case, I thought I had certainly found out the will of God, and returned an absolute refusal in the strongest terms; transferring all my interest at the board to another gentleman,* whom I looked upon as incomparably better qualified for the place, and of whose election I then had considerable hopes. Upon this, I was as much settled in Hanover in my own mind as ever; and, as many of you may remember, publicly congratulated you upon the pleasing prospect. But how was I surprised and struck into a consternation, to receive a third application in more importunate terms than ever! This again unsettled my mind, and renewed my perplexities; though I was encouraged to hope, that when I had so sincerely committed my way unto the Lord, he would direct my path, and order things so, as that the result should discover my duty\ This third application, as I informed the trustees in my answer, constrained me only to admit a mere possibility of its being my duty to comply; but my mmd was still almost established in the contrary persuasion. It constrained me only to lay myself open to conviction, and no longer shut up the avenues of light; and therefore I came to this conclusion—To mention at large, all my difficulties and objections—to insist that my first election should be null, because my electors were not then apprised of my objections—and to leave it to the trustees, after hearing all that could be .said against it, whether to re-elect me at their next meeting. But even this was not all: I farther insisted, that in case they should re-elect me, it should be referred id the synod of New-York and Philadelphia, whether I should accept the place. This is a brief view of my proceedings in the all'tiir; and for fuller intelligence I must refer you to my friends, the
* The Rev. Mr. now Dr. Samuel Finuev.
elders of this congregation, to whom I have communicated all the letters I have received or written, that they may be able to satisfy you. And I can assure you in their presence, that all of them that heard my answer, expressed their acquiescence in it. The result of the affair, when left upon this footing, has been, that I was re-chosen at the board of trustees by a much greater majority than at first; and that the synod, consisting of an unusual number of ministers from various parts, after hearing at large what could be said upon both sides, not only consented to my acceptance of the proposal, but even dissolved my pastoral relation to my dear charge, and ordered my removal by an air most unanimous vote. This has brought the tedious anxious affair to a final issue, and disarms all my resistance, so that I can struggle no longer. It was one of my vows, on the solemn day of my ordination, that 1 would be subject to my brethren in the Lord, in all things lawful. It is therefore very impertinent to object, that " I might stay after all, if I would." It is true it is in my power to refuse to comply with my duty, even when it appears: it is in my power to violate my solemn vows, and incur the guilt of perjury by disobedience to my brethren, in that judicature to which I belong: that is, it is in my power, as a free agent, to sin. But this is a preposterous power, which I hope God will enable me never willingly to exercise. O that his grace may always happily disable me from disobeying the call of duty.
I am sorry to take up so much of your sacred time in a narrative in which I have so much personal concern, but it is wholly owing to my solicitude to satisfy you as to the reasons of my conduct. For though my dear connexions with Virginia are now broken, and my personal interest can receive no advantage or injury from your friendship or resentment, yet, since we must part, I would by all means part in peace, and prevent all unkind and suspicious thoughts of one whom you once tenderly loved, and who will always tenderly love you, wherever he goes, and whatever you think of him. To stop the clamorous mouths of the censorious world, is what I do not at all intend ; because I know it is impossible. They will put what construction they please, even upon the most unsuspicious and disinterested actions ; and nothing but the approbative sentence of the uersal Judge from the supreme tribunal, is likely to silence their calumnies. They will make it an article of their creed, living and dying, that secu
iar advantage is the object I have all along had in view, and in pursuit of which I am now about to remove. But among those .whom I had once the pleasure of calling my people, I hope I shall find none of this censorious and malignant turn. I have always found you candid, and ready to err upon the generous extreme of charity as to your once loved minister; and such I hope to find you at parting.
4t parting .'—Alas! and must we part ?—My heart fails
at the thought—The most endeared friendship I have for you, the affectionate gratitude I feel for you as my benefactors; the anxieties that rush upon my heart, lest when you are, as it were, disbanded, and left as it were as sheep without a shepherd, you should wander, and the little religion that has been among you, should die away ; my tender sympathy with you under your sorrows and discouragements; the diffidence and horror that seize meat the thought of entering into a sphere of action so arduous and untried, as that to which I am removing \ these, and a thousand other things, render this a very painful and melancholy parting to me. Yet, part we must; therefore, "Finally, my brethren, farewel. Be perfect ; be of good comfort; be of one mind; live in peace: and the God of love and peace will be with/ you." This is St. Faul's valedictory salutation and advice to the church of Corinth; and I would briefly illustrate the several parts of it, as pertinent to your present circumstances.
First of all, Be perfect: that isr labour after perfection in holiness; cherish every grace and virtue to maturity. Fill up the defects still remaining in your church: restore every disjointed member to its proper place; and correct whatever is amiss.*
lis advice may refer to the exercise of discipline in the :h; as much as to say, " If any offending member has been ided your communion, and now appears penitent, or if iy one has been unjustly laid under censure, restore him in the spirit of meekness to his former standing in the church, and confirm your love towards him." In this view, I would particularly recommend this apostolic advice to the elders of this congregation, whenever an occasion occurs of carrying it into practice.
Or the adviee may refer to individuals ; and then it is an exhortation to every particular church-member to improve in personal religion; as if he should say, " After all the means of sanctification you have enjoyed, you may still find yourselves deficient in every grace and virtue: therefore aspire and labour after higher attainments. You may still find many things amiss in you ; therefore endeavour to reform and rectify them. You may perhaps find yourselves upon the decline in religion ; therefore labour to recover what you have lost, and restore what is decaying. Strengthen the things that remain, which are ready to die, that your works may be found perfect before God.*
.far be it from you, my brethren, to think, that now, when you stfe deprived of your minister, you may lawfully make a stand in your christian progress, or allow yourselves to slide down the slippery descending road of apostacy. You are still obliged to grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. And you still enjoy sufficient means for that purpose, notwithstanding your present bereavement. The throne of grace is still accessible: your closets are still open for you; and you may enjoy the sweet privilege of secret devotion. Bibles, and an unusual variety of excellent books, are still within your reach: and these alone are sufficient to " make you wise unto salvation," when you have no opportunity of attending upon the public ministry. You may also receive advantage from your occasional attendance upon public worship in the established church : and I hope you will always retain those catholic principles Ihave endeavoured to inculcate upon you, and willingly receive all the spiritual good you can, wherever it may be obtained. I also hope and pray, with Moses, that "the Loud, the God of the spirits of all flesh, may set a man over this congregation ; a man in whom is the spirit, who may go. out and come in before you; that the congregation of the Lord be not as sheep which have no shepherd."t If you continue your earnest endeavours, and "pray to the Lord of the harvest," methinks I can assure you, upon the truth of the divine promises, that he will not suffer this spot of his vineyard to run waste, but will send a labourer into it, and leave you no reason to be sorry at the exchange.
The apostle's second farevvel advice is, "Be of good comfort:" that is, take courage, and rejoice in the Lord. Be not swallow
* Rev. iii.2. f Numb, xxvii. 16—W.
ed up in excessive sorrows; do not despond, whatever gloomy and frowning appearances things may wear as to yourselves, your church, or your country: but maintain a cheerful confidence in God, in the most discouraging circumstances. His fatherly love, his great and precious promises, the faithful care of his providence, the sweet experience which you and his people in all ages have had of his goodness, the privileges and blessings, temporal and spiritual, which he still leaves in your possession, even when he strips you of others ; these, and a thousand other considerations may support and comfort you: and it is your duty, as well as your privilege, to derive from them that encouragement, they are adapted to afford. It affects me with the tenderest sympathy, my brethren, to see any of you drooping, and sunk into despondency, at the prospect of my departure. But "be of good comfort, and strengthen yourselves in the Lord your God."* If you are the children of his grace, "though your father and your mother forsake you, the Lord will take you up,"t and he " will never, never, never^ leave you, nor forsake you. The Lord, the great bishop of souls, will be your shepherd; and then, you shall not want."
Or this advice may be rendered, "Be ye exhorted,"^ that is, be persuasible, and regard the exhortations I have given you. This is a very proper advice for me to give you, when I have but a day longer to stay in Hanover. Remember, my dear friends, the many exhortations you have heard, in the course of eleven years, from my mouth, as well as from my brethren, who have occasionally officiated among you. O "remember how you have received and heard ; and hold fast, and repent."|| Among you I have spent the prime of my life; among you I have .laboured and toiled in the delightful work of serving your souls; and God is witness, that "I have declared to you the whole counsel of God," as far as I knew it, " and kept nothing back." And will you not regard the word of exhortation, so often repeated, and so long continued? Alas! have I preached, and you heard, for eleven years in vain? Eleven such years is a long and important
space in the life of a minister of th.e gospel, and of his dying hearers, who must soon give an account to the supreme Judge of their improvement of so precious a season. Therefore, O recollect and seriously regard the many solemn exhortations yon have .heard."
The apostle's third valedictory advice is, K Be of one mind." This does not so properly refer to unity of sentiment in every little article, and dispttfable punctilio, Which is not to be expected in this state of imperfection, in which even good men, who always agree in the essentials of religion, may differ in a thousand circumstantials: I say, this does not so properly refer to unity of sentiment in this respect, as to unity of affection* and design, as much as to say, "However you may differ in lesser matters, be one in heart, one in affection, and attend to the same great concern, the salvation of your souls, and the advancement of practical holiness : mind this above all, and set your affections upon it. This is that point in which you should and may agree, even when you cannot think alike in smaller things."
This I would particularly inculcate upon you, my dear brethren, of whom I am now taking my leave. You may differ among yourselves about a thousand lesser things in religion and civil life, but oh! do not differ in heart. Still love one another: forbear and forgive one another. Give, as well as take the liberty of thinking for yourselves; and do not make a perfect uniformity of opinion in every thing, the test of Christianity, nor the ground of your charity. Would you regard the last advice of a dying man, a dying friend, a dying minister? Well, from this day I am dead to you: and one principal article of my last advice to you is, "Love one another. Have fervent charity among yourselves; that charity that suffereth long, and is kind; that envieth not; that is not easily provoked; that thinketh no evil; that baareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things."t This, my brethren, is the christian temper; the very mind that was in Christ Jesus. And by this shall all men know that ye are his disciples, if ye love one another.^ It is an old tradition, that the beloved
* f gamr is a word that I think is never applied to the intellect, but always to the affections: and <pgo»s<« To «t>To, may be rendered, mind the same thing : or, tet your affections upon the same thing. So Col. iii. 2. T« aro Victim, is rendered, "set your affections on tilings above."
f 1 Cor. xiii. 4, 5, 8. i John xiij. 35.
.disciple John, when he was so enfeebled with age that he could not preach, thought it worth his while to be carried into the 'congregation every Lord's day, just to repeat this benevolent exhortation, "Little children, love one another." And this I would most affectionately inculcate upon you with rny" last breath. This will contribute to your mutual happiness, to your growth in religion, to the prosperity of your congregation, and to the comfort of your future minister. And may the God of love stamp this part of his amiable image upon your hearts!
If we give the word another turn, mind the same thing, I may take occasion to inculcate upon you the one thing needful, the choice of which I have so often recommended to you; even the care of your souls, and the concerns of eternity. O make this your main study: pursue this with all your might: be unamitnous in this, whatever other differences subsist among you: agree at least not to ruin yourselves forever by a course of sin: agree at least to walk to heaven in the same road of practical holiness. However variously and freely you think, O be of one mind in this! Akin to this, is
The apostle's fourth and last valedictory advice, Live in peace: be of a pacific temper and practice towards all men, especially those that are members of the same church with you.
Offences, my brethren, writ happen among you, which will render it difficult even for the lovers of peace to maintain it, and enjoy their favourite blessing. And a thousand trifles will happen every day, which will be made an occasion of contention by proud and turbulent spirits, that delight in noise and animosities. Angry contests and ill-will may rise from very trivial causes, 'and spread among you, like a conflagration. Some small difference in opinion, a little matter of property, a supposed neglect or contempt, the whisper of tatlers and busy bodies, and a thousand other trifles, may strike the spark, which may burst out into a destructive blaze. Therefore be upon your guard against every thing that may break the peace of the society, to which you belong. Be patient and forbearing; not blustering and quick of resentment. Be meek and humble, not insolent, imperious and over-bearing. Be pliable, self-diffident, and submissive; not obstinate, head-strong, and self-willed. Be yielding to others, and do not usurp the province of uersal dictators. Be at peace with God, and love the common Father of mankind; and if you love him that begat, you will naturally
love them that are begotten of him.* This is the way to cultivate and preserve peace, and restore it when lost. And if you go on in this way, you may hope you will continue a flourishing society, and that the God of love and peace will be with you; which is the motive the apostle urges to enforce his exhortation. But this is not the whole extent of your duty. You are to cultivate peace not only among yourselves in your own congregation, but to follow peace with all men. If it be possible, as much as in yjou lieth, live peaceably with all men.-f Maintain peace with your brethren around you of the established church; and never let differences in religion break, up good neighbourhood, or interrupt the good offices in civil life. Indeed, if men will quarrel with you because you will think for yourselves in matters, in which every man must give an account of himself to God; because you will not follow the multitude to do evil, but resolve to save your souls, though you should be singular in the attempt; because you will not be of their mind in every punctilio, nor take your religion upon trust from them: I say, if men will quarrel with you on such accounts as these, you cannot help it; the breach of peace is chargeable upon them ; and you are not obliged to give up truth, religion, and liberty, to gratify their humour. Be *enacious of truth and liberty, and contend earnestly for the faith,^ but still in the spirit of meekness, for the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.§ Were I never to speak a word more, I could venture to affirm, that it is the cause of liberty and the gospel, and not a carnal faction, or a schismatical body, that you, my dissenting brethren, have been promoting: and this is the true grace of God in which you stand.|| The longer I live, the more I am confirmed, that the simple method of worship I have practised, free from the ceremonies of human invention, and those doctrines of grace so mortifying to the pride of man, and so unfashionable in our age and country, which I have taught you, are agreeable to the pure gospel of Christ, pleasing to God, and conducive to your salvation. I am so far from advising you to give up this cause for the sake of peace, that, on the other hand, it is my solemn charge to you, in the name of God, zealously to maintain and promote it. But this you may do without breaking the peace of church or state: this
you may do, and yet maintain a peaceable temper and conduct towards those that differ from you.
Thus " mind the same thing, and live in peace," and be assured, upon the authority of an inspired apostle, that "the God of love and peace will be with you," and distinguish you with his gracious presence. There is a peculiar propriety and fitness in this; that the God of love should be with those who love one another; that the God of peace should be with those*that delight in peace, and maintain it; that is, that he should dwell with those that are like him. What can be more becoming? what can be more in character? Such do you endeavour to be, my brethren, and the God of love and peace will be with you, though your once-loved minister can be with you no longer. He will dwell among you; and his gracious presence will more than supply the absence of all his creatures. If he be with you, he will cause his church among you to flourish, and adorn every individual in it with the beauties of holiness. If the God of love and peace be with you, he will cause love and peace to prevail among you, and render you a society of friends and brethren, walking unanimous to the same heavenly country, like affectionate fellow-pilgrims. If he be with you, his gospel will not be that languid, feeble, inefficacious thing that it has been for some time; but even occasional opportunities of worship will be more serviceable to you, than stated have been; and even your silent Sabbaths, will be more delightful seasons, than those you have spent in his house, without his gracious presence. God grant you may enjoy this blessing in time, till you are advanced into his more immediate presence in a happy eternity!
Thus have I endeavoured to illustrate the apostle's general farewel advice. The remaining part of my design is, to take my leave of the several classes and ranks among you in a particular manner, and to give you a few parting advices adapted to your respective characters.
Farewel, ye saints of the living God, ye " few names even in Hanover, that have not defiled your garments." Ye sh&M fare, wel indeed. That God, whose the earth is, and the fulness thereof; that God, who makes angels happy, and whose goodness extends from the highest archangels down to the sparrows, the young ravens, and the lily and grass of the field; that God is your God, and has undertaken your welfare. That " God will be your God forever; and he will be your guide even until
death."* He will guide you by his counsel through the intricacies of life, and then receive you into glory.t Survey the sacred treasury of the divine promises laid up for you in the Bible, and stand lost in delightful wonder at your own riches. Behold the immense inheritance which the blood of Christ has purchased for you, and the grace of God bestowed upon you by an unalienable title. "All things are yours: whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas:" all The ministers of Christ, and all their various gifts, are for your service ; and if you are deprived of one of them, God will provide you another, or in some way make up the loss. "All things are yours, whether the world, or life, or death, or things present or things to come: all are yours ; and ye are Christ's, and Christ is God's."^ It doth not yet appear what you shall be. I have known you broken-hearted penitents; honest, laborious, weeping seekers of Jesus, and conscientious, though imperfect observers of his will: I have known you poor mortal creatures, sometimes trembling, sometimes rejoicing, sometimes nobly indifferent at the prospect of death. But I hope yet to know you under a higher character; glorious Immortals, perfect in holiness, vigorous and bright, and full of devotion, " as the rapt seraphs adore and burn;" and qualified to bear a part in the more sublime and divine worship of the heavenly temple. "There I hope to find some humble seat among you, and spend a blessed eternity in the divine intimacy of immortal friendship, without interruption or the fear of parting. Therefore adieu; "but not forever. Adieu for a few years, or months, or days, till death collects us to our common home, in our Father's house above. You have been the joy of my life, under all the discouragements and fatigues of my ministry; and to your prayers I owe the comfort and success I have had among you. You have great interest in the court of heaven, through the all-prevailing intercession of that advocate, Jesus Christ the righteous; therefore I beg you would always afford me the charity of your prayers, wherever I go, till the weeping voice of prayer be changed into rapturous strains of praise. If I have been so happy as to improve you in divine knowledge, and help you in your pilgrimage through this wilderness, I esteem it one of the most delightful actions of my life, and one of the greatest blessings of God to the unworthiest of his servants; and to him alone I
* Psa. xlviii. 14. \ Psa. lxxiii. 24. $ 1 Cor. jii. 21, 22, 38.
would have you and myself ascribe all the glory. "Neither is he that planteth any thing; nor he that watereth: but God, that giveth the increase ;"* he is all in all.
If there be among you any of my spiritual children ; any that have received their first deep and effectual impressions of religion from my ministry, though it should be the meanest among you, I most heartily bid you farewel. It was worth my while to come into existence^ and pass through the hard and dubious conflict of life, if my Maker has been pleased to use my feeble unskilful hand to save some soul from death. This is a more noble and benevolent exploit than to save a kingdom from the heaviest temporal slavery; for what is an earthly kingdom to an immortal spirit? I take my leave of you with all the fond endearments of a fatherly heart: for what is my hope, or joys or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming ? Yes, ye are my glory, and my joy 4 "Therefore, my brethren, dearly beloved, and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved."^ Endeavour to make dailyproficiency in everybranch of true goodness, and beware of apostacy. Having begun in the spirit, beware that you do not end in the flesh. Remember, it is only "he that endureth to the end, that shall be saved: but if any man draw back, God's soul shall have no pleasure in him."§
Shall I say Farewel, impenitent sinners? Alas! you cannot Jarewel, however heartily I wish it. "There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked :"|| and whoever speaks peace to you, in your present condition, does but heal your hurt slightly, and flatter you to your ruin; for " who can bless whom God hath not blessed?" Your consciences bear witness, "that you have had precept upon precept, and line upon line,"! during my ministry among you—That " 1 have not shunned to declare to you tbe whole counsel of God,** and have kept back nothing that was'likely to be profitable to you.ft I have warned you, " in season and out of season.—I have reproved, rebuked, and exhorted you, with all long suffering and doctrine."^ I have preached to you as a dying man to dying men; and now the time of my departure is at hand—I must take my farewel of you. Receive, all of you, my brethren, the word of exhortation, from the lips of
& 1 Thess. ii. 19, 20. f Philip, iv. 1. * Heb. x. 38. § Isa. xlviii. 32.. i 1 Cor. iii. 0. fl 2 Cor. ii. 16. ** Acts xx. 2".
ft xx. 20. Vt ?Tim. ii. 2.
him, whose voice has so often sounded an alarm in your ears; though I fear, as to many of you, without the desired effect. My voice, it is probable, will never more be heard by you. This will be the last time. O recollect the many invitations I have given you on the one hand, and threatening* on the other. Heaven forbid that any of them should arise in judgment against you another day! Behold, now is the accepted time ; behold, now is the day of salvation.*—To-day, if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts. "I beseech you, once more, and I may say, once for all, in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God."t Do not cause me to appear, as a swift witness against you another da,y— the day of uersal retribution,—Flee, flee, all of you, from the
wrath to come—lay hold on the hope that is set before you. 1
have finished my message among you. O forget it not. Lay it seriously to heart. If the word you have heard from my lips, prove not " a savour of life unto life, it will, it must be a savour of
death unto death."^ Farewel "finally, brethren, farewel;
be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace, and the God of love and peace shall be with you,"—which may God grant for Christ's sake. Amen.
'' Cor. vi. 2. f 2 Cor- v. 30- t Isaiah xviii. 10.