« ZurückWeiter »
hold! The more steadily a man walks in Wisdom's ways, the more boldly he rebukes sin, and bears testimony against the world that its deeds are evil, the more opposition he will meet ; and Enthusiast, Hypocrite, or Fanatic, are the mildest epi. thets which will be applied to him! But what says Jehovah? • Woe unto them that call evil Good, and good Evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter. He that justifieth the wicked; and he that condemneth the just, even they both are an abomination
to the Lord. · The change wrought in Mr. Pidgeon's heart was a general one, it extended itself through the whole man; and was clearly manifested in the few following traits of his character: : 1. His love for the Holy Scriptures, and his intimate knowledge of the important truths contained in them. The Bible was his study and delight: he read it with intenseness in his closet, he dwelt on its excellence in the seasons of family-worship and social intercourse with the children of God. In the pulpit he pressed the Saviour's exhortation, 'Search the Scriptures ;' and shewed that they were profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, and for instruction in righteousness. He was well entitled to the epithet A Man of One Book: he brought every opinion and every practice to
the law and to the testimony; and admitted not human autho· rity to sway him in the important concerns of salvation. He
read, marked, learned, and inwardly digested the word of God; his observations on it were not at random, but evidently the result of much serious reflection; and were admirably calculated to elucidate the subject, and to improve all who conversed upon it. Those who knew him in the fellowship of Christ's religion, can bear ample testimony to his spiritual discernment, and to his earnestness in enforcing the truth. Often have they listened with pleasure and profit to the genuine and unadorned eloquence of his heart, renewed and influenced by the Spirit of God. Family-worship was not in his house a duli, tasteless, and merely outward duty, -- a duty performed by the force of habit, and uninteresting to those who engage in it. No; the Bible was read with constancy and attention, prayer was offered up with all the earnestuess which true faith and ardent love for perishing souls are calculated to inspire! Joshua's confirmed purpose seenied to be his: "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord !
2. His boldness in preaching the gospel, and confessing Christ before men. -Filled with a deep sense of the awful responsibility of the ministerial office, he seemed to have been şctuated by the same spirit which led a holy man to say,
• I'll preach as if I ne'er should preach again, i And as a dying man to dying meal
**The truths on which Mr. Pidgeon delighted to dwell, were those which seemed most eminently designed to “humble the sinner, to exalt the Saviour, and to promote holiness.' His preaching was in strict conformity to the Articles, Liturgy, and Homilies of the Church of England; of which he was a steady friend and a bright ornament. Free from that fearful * temporizing spirit which leads many to accommodate their discourses to the prejudices of their hearers, and unawed by the opposition of the profane and the worldly, he aimed at laying the ase to the root of the tree, and lifted up his voice like a trumpet, that he might shew the people their transgressions, and the house of Jacob their sins. He preached not himself, bit Christ Jesus the Lord :' be felt for the inmortal souls coinmitted to his care: he knew that he should one day iicet them before the bar ; therefore, like a faithful watchman, he blow the trumpet, and was determined not to know any thing among them save Jesus Christ, and hin crucified. ; *- 3. His self-abasement. - By this he clearly evinced how much he was under the influence of grace; - to the last he ac. counted himself an unworthy servant. The unprofitableness of his life was a continnal burden to hiin; and he was more than ordinarily abased when he reflected upon the great anxiety he hact telt for several years about his perishable body. The nearer he drew to the close of life, t'i lèse was his concern about the body; and he lived long enough to have every anxious care concerning it subdued. He possessed a broken and contrite heart, and exercised an holy watchfulness over hïmself, tliat, in the discharge of his various duties, he might ever have a single eye to God's glory: he disclaimed the idea of merit; said it was an unfit word in a sinner's mouth; and that his hope of eternal life rested solely upon what the Lord Jesus Christ did and suffered. O that our hope may spring from the same source, and rest upon the same foundation!
4. His love for the people of God, and his ardent desire for the spreail of the gospel. 'He was indeed, what every minister onlight to be,' a lover of good men; and while his partiality for the Lstablishment, and his regard for those who were its true members were great and decided; he nevertlieless shewed a sincere brotherly ailection towards others: there was nothing in him of illiberality or narrow-mindedness. Wherever he saw the image of his Master, he acknowledged and admired it. This disposition led him to rejoice in the conversion of sinners at home, -- in the spread of the gospel abroad, and in the establishment of those societies whose object is the good of man and the glory of God. His house was open to the humble enquirer after truth; and often, at his own table, has be given a zest to the humble fare, far superior to all the joys of the festive board. In his pastoral visits he distributed racis suited to the particular states of his parishioners ; and
was peculiariy, zealous in the dissemination of the Scriptures. When unable to visit, he wrote many faithful letters to those placed under his care, and seemed to bear them continually upon his mind. In personal reproof he boldly confessed his Lord: he was afraid of no man, when the interests of religion and the salvation of souls were concerned. Sensible that many general applications made in preaching were in vain, he often reproved face to face; and was enabled to say, as Nathan to David, · Thou art the man! By his conscientious observance of the Sabbath, by a faithful discharge of family duties, by his ardent affection for good men of every denomination, anci by his zeal in making known the excellency of the Holy Scriptures, he shewed that he was a partaker of his Master's spirit.
5. His disinterestedness. - Placed by the providence of God in a situation of usefulness, and endued with a competence, he sought no more, and was content. He neither courted the favour of the great nor the smiles of the rich; not did he seek for the applause of any man by cringing meanness, servility, or a double tongue. To his disinterestedness am I indebted, under God, for the situation I at present hold, and for the opportunity now afforded me of addressing you from this place. During my absence from home, in the summer of 1805, and without ever consulting, or giving me a hint on the subject, he formed the determination of resigning the parish of St. Mary in my favour; and had actually obtained the concurrence of our late venerable and highly-respected bishop, Dr. Hugh Hamilton, who at once acceded to his wishes. The motives which influenced him in forming this determination were simply these : -- Ist, His own inability to discharge the various and heavy duties of so populous a parish; - 2dly, His desire that his successor might be known to the people, and peculiarly interested (from having laboured inany years among them) in their spiritual and temporal welfare ;- dly, His conviction that the person who performed the duty was entitled to the perpetuity of the situation. It may be said, “ The sacrifice was not great,' - not indeed to a man of large income; but froin him, it was generous, disinterested, and Christian-like: he had but little, and bis family was young, helpless, and increasing; and this we must acknowledge, that even small sacrifices are rare, when self-interest is concerned.
6. His compassion for the poor. He felt for their wants, and, as far as he was able, relieved them ;, and exerted himself to proeure contributions from those who possessed the means of alleviating the miseries of the afflicted. The poor of his flock were the objects of his care and compassion ; and, without ossentation, he dried up their tears and administered to their necessities. These are a few of the traits observable in the
character of our departed friend. It now only remains for me to make a few observations on his sickness and death.
Mr. Pidgeon was of a nervous habit of body from his youth. For a great length of time he laboured under a severe and oppressive complaint, by which it was considerably increased; and he was for many years a stranger to regular health or strength. His ministry has been, at times, suspended for many successive weeks; and two years have nearly elapsed since he preached his last sermon in the church. From that period he has laboured under a variety of complaints, following each other in quick succession : but, though weak in body, he was strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.'
In the beginning of his last illness, in September 1806, he indulged the hope of recovery; and sought, perhaps, with too eager a mind, medical aid. Here the frailty of his nature shewed itself in a manner that caused grief in the hearts of his friends, and afterwards brought him to the lowest degree of self-abasement. Having for many months laboured under the torturing anxiety arising froin a state between hope and fear, he at length emerged, like the sun, from behind a dark and obscuring cloud : his great nervousness subsided; and he was enabled, calmly and patiently, to await the disposal of his heavenly Father. He was confined to his room for twelve months, and to his bed for more than three ; during which time he never' murmured at the will of God, though, till the close of life, his consolations were not so abundant as he, and all who loved him, desired. During his whole illness, he spoke to the physicians who attended him, and to his clerical friends who frequently visited him, with as much clcarness and collectedness as he ever did. I had knowledge of him by night and day: I witnessed, and can attest, from this place, the same. He was constantly engaged in prayer; and I am persuaded, that, only for the support of religion, he would have been overwhelmed by his many afflictions : but this supported him from first to last, and raised his head above the deep waters. During the three months immediately preceding his dissolution, an unusually great and pleasing change took place; which proved the worlderful efficacy of the grace of God, and seemed to indicate that the moment of his entrance into glory was fast approaching: he seemed to be completely delivered from fear, doubt, anxiety, and every other distracting temper and disposition : "he was, I think, more subdued in his spirit than any one I ever saw, -- he cheerfully lay in the hand of the Lord, as his willing servant, looking forward, with humble yet assured hope, to the period of his dissolution ; and was enabled repeatedly to say, - O Death! where is this thy.sting ? O Grave! where is thy victory?' At length, on Friday morning, August 12, 1808, at four o'clock, he closed his eyes in peace, and entered into the joy of his Lord!
of praise thats not mourn him; but rather has
Thus lived and died this good man, who, by an upright walk and holy life, confirmed the doctrines that he preached. While - here below, he acted with an eye to the glory of God; and now, we doubt not, is joining with the glorious company above in songs of praise that shall never end! At the death of this excellent man, let us not mourn as for one without hope. Let not the tear of sorrow flow for him; but rather let it be reserved for ourselves, the church, and the world, who, by removal, have lost a valuable member of society. Weep not, since his entrance into the celestial abodes becomes the subject of angelic congratulation ; for it affords a fresh trophy to the triumphs of Immanuel's grace, and furnishes an additional testimony to the reality and divine excellence of the religion of Jesus!
. CHRISTIAN LUMINARIES:. .
; AN ADDRESS TO BELIEVERS,
including an Illustration of Phil. ii. 16.
. [Continucd from page 59.] · PERMIT me again to solicit your attention, my dear friends, to this singularly interesting and very comprehensive exhortation. In my last paper, I endeavoured to explain its meaning; in this I will attempt to represent its importance. If, as Dr. Doddridge and others suppose, there be an allusion in the original language of the text to a light-house, then the force and emphasis of the passage lie in this, That believers are bound by · all the sacred authority of God, as well as compassion to the souls of men, to guide sinners over the dangerous ocean of human life, by the splendor of a holy walk and conversation. Nothing is more evident, than that the unregenerate part of the world form their ideas of the reality and necessity of spiritual religion from the conduct of its professors. This is the first; and, alas! fatally for many, the last test, by which they try the claims of the gospel upon their supreme regard. At this, however, we cannot wonder; for in addition to the consideration, that the tree is known by its fruits, and the engrar.. ing on the seal by the impression on the wax, do we not ourselves declare, “That we have obeyed from the heart that forin of doctrine into which we have been delivered, or in which we have been cast, as into a mould *?" -- and indeed, were we as holy as we ought to be, there could be no view taken of the reality and nature of the religion of Jesus Christ more likely
* Rom. vi. 17.