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its vicinity was the destined spot where they were to be most eminently blessed ; and where, alas! they were specdily, to terminate.
He took the charge of the church at Burford Oct. 4, 1801. In what manner he conducted himself while in that place, à mourning church and congregation, and mourning villages all around, bear a most decisive and pleasing testimony. God wonderfully succeeded his ministry in the town and neighbourhood. The cause of Christ at Burford had been for several years on the decline, but it soon bore a very different aspect. The Meeting-house had been long in a shattered condition ; - on this account, fears were excited in
of the hearers for their own safety, and some were hereby altogether prevented from attending. It was, therefore, deemed highly expedient and necessary to erect another Meeling-house, which was done in 1804, when the readiness of all Christian friends, to whom application was made, strongly evinced their attachment to Mr. Smith, as well as their concern for the prosperity of the interest at Burford. The new Meeting was opened in the Autumn of 1804. The subsequent increase of the congregation soon proved that it was by far too small. Many were called under Mr. Smith's ministry at Burford, and the adjacent villages.
Little had been previously done in village-preaching, but he soon entered fully upon the work, and the Lord soon shewed his approbation by the conversion of many souls. Most pleasing and affecting instances of this blessed work speedily appeared among the villagers, in whom the native ignorance and enmity of the human heart had been heightened and confirmed by long habits of negligence, formality, self-righteous dependences, and the most inveterate prejudices. Yet the doctrines of the gospel overcame all opposition, and made even these characters willing in the day of divine power, to deny themselves, to take up their cross and follow Christ, although in doing this they had to meet reproach, contempt, and persecution. Thus, for the last few years of his ministry, Mr Smith bad constant reason to “thank God, who always made him to triumph in Christ, by making manifest the savour of his knowledge in every place” to which he could obtain access; and the church at Burford, as well as the congregation, was thus very considerably enlarged.
It had been much feared, for some time, by many of his friends, that his exertions were beyond his strength; and that his constitution, naturally weak, could not long sustain them. But often, when desired to give up part of his work, he replied, “ Porlaps, I shall not be here long : I must not be idle." He generally preached every week at four villages: to these he always walked, though they lay at considerable distances from each other; and this labour, added to his usual exercises at Burford on the Lord's Day, increased an aslbmatic complaint, to which he had been a long time subject, and which, at length, rapidly proved fatal. Some extraordinary exertions which he made in attending two meetings of ministers at a distance, greatly fatigued him, and seemed to occasion a violent return of the disorder. On his way home he called at Bourton, and preached from 1 Cor. xv. 58; after which he presented a most affectionate and fervent prayer for all his friends; - in both, he could not have been more appropriate had he known that he was taking his farewell, and that they would see bis face no more. He reached home with disliculty at the close of the week. On Lord's Day, April 5, 1807, -lie preached twice, and administered the Lord's Supper, notwithstanding his great weakness, and the affectionate dissuasion of his friends. : His subjects were Isa. xii. 3. and Psa. cxxxviii. 7,8. When requested to omit the afternoonservice, and suffer a sermon to be read, he replied, with his usual cheerfulness, “ No: I hope I shall be able to get through it." After this, he became gradually worse ; his breathing was very difficult, but his mind was serene and happy. On Tuesday, he gave an intimate friend a special charge not to neglect the dear people at Milton (one of the villages where his lalyours had been peculiarly blessed) and to visit them the next preaching night, as there were some persons desirous of coming forward to join the church. The same friend said to him, “I hope, dear Sir, you now enjoy the sweetness of those blessed truths which you preached to us?”. He said he did; but from great weakness and difficulty of breathing, his mind was not so much fixed as he could wish. He said, he wanted to experience more of the peace and joy of God's salvation. His mind through the week con. tinued tranquil; and even at those seasons when he was evidently delirious, his language discovered what was the object nearest his heart, and had been the grand business of his life, publish*ing salvation by Jesus Christ. Upon parting with the above friend on Wednesday evening, he said, taking him very affectionately by his hand," I hope we rway yet meet in more comfortable circumstances on earth; but if that should not be the case, we shall meet in intinitely better circumstances in Heaven. I hope I feel this aflliction will issue well, - well to all eternity;" and closed with singing a verse, the words of which, from bis weakness, could not be understood. On Friday there was evi. dently a change, which indicated the approach of death; but, living and dying, he was the same; wishing to have no will of his own, knowing that God's will was best, and being enabled to welcome it. On Saturday his mind appeared fixed on heavenly things." He enquired very earnestly whether a supply had been obtained for the Lord's Day; and being answered in the affirmative, expressed his satisfaction at it. A neighbouring minister visiter him in the evening, whom he at once recognized; und, -upon inquiry. being made as to the state of his mind, with
a smile of holy complacency, lie said, in an emphatic and animated tone, “ My Jesus!” In a few mirutes after, notwithstanding the greatest difficulty of breathing, he repeated the plaudit he huinbly hoped so soon to receive from his adorable and gracious Master, “ Well done, thou good and faithful servant, thou hast been faithful over a few things (these last words he twice repeated, over a few things) I will make thee ruler over many things ; - enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.” He very affectionately took leave of his brother, shaking him by the hand, and saying, “ The Lord bless you: my love to all.” the last conversation he had with any carthly friend. Though silent, he continued evidently in a calm frame of mind, till three o'clock on Lord's Day morning, April 12, when his spirit departed to be with Christ, and enjoy an eternal Sabbath, after à residence in the mortal tabernacle 55 years.
On Friday, April 17, he was interred in the Meeting-house at Burford, just beneath the pulpit. Sis of his bretbren in the ministry supported the pall. Mr. Hinton, of Oxforci, preached on the mournful occasion from Acts viii. 2; Mr. Coles, of Bourton, delivered the funeral-oration, and the strong emotions of sorrow universally apparent, evinced the high esteem in which he was held by his own church and congregation at Bur, ford ; as well as hy many who had repaired thither from sur. rounding villages, to witness the last tokens of respect paid to the remains of their deceased friend and father in Christ Jesus.
Mr. Smitli's family was large, and his salary, which his friends were unable to augment, was inadequate to their support. Six of his children are living, and the two youngest of them, together with their surviving parent are entirely uprovided for. Their distressed case it cannot be doubted will receive the notice which it justly demands from a generous public; who, in contributing towards their support, may expect“ a prophet's reward."
We here see another of those mysterious events which we are called so frequently to record ; -- an event, however, pregnant with important lessons. Though such a death is to us apparently premature, yet, as has been often observed, "God's sera vants are immortal (ill their work is done.” Our decease] brother, therefore, ere he departed, doubtless finished the work appointed him to do. : May the speedy removal of so many faitliful and successful ministers be sanctified to their surviving brethren, so as to make them increasingly diligent and zealous in the work of their: Lord, and habitually ready to give an account of their stewardship at his coming! May it inspire perpetual consolation and joy, that the chief Shepherd ever lives, and hail engaged to supply his churches with pastors after his own heart, with whom he will be from generation to gcneration, cven to the end of the world! Bourton,
ونه به نه ها در
THE JOYFUL SOUND.
Justice and judgment are the habitation of thy throne : merci
and truth shall go before thy face. Blessed is the people thut know the joyful sound: they shull walk, O Lord, in the light of thy countenance. In thy name shall they rejoice all the day, and in thy righteousness shall they be eralted. - Psal. lxxxix. 14-16.
Man, conscious of guilt, is afraid to draw near to God. Lilie Adam at the beginning, he would still flce, and hide himself froin the Almighty. But flight is vain, and concealment impossible-man must appear. He trembles in expectation of meeting his doom. But when the gracious character of Jehovalt is discovered to him, he draws near with deep contrition, that he may obtain mercy; and is graciously welcomed and received into favour. Sinners, of every description, may now approach, and obtain acceptance through the heavenly Saviour. The gospel discovers to us this Saviour in all his glory, and in all his fulness; and blessed is the people that know the joyful sound.
We have the joyful sound here proclaimed to us: - it is such as may rejoice our hearts, and encourage us to put our confidence in God. Justice and judgment are the habitation of thy throne, - mercy and truth shall go before thy face. God is just and righteous, and all his decisions are regulated by strict and impartial justice. His character is such as must cut off all hope from those who are living in their sins; - it shews that he cannot but hate sin, and must of necessity punish ini. quity. “ He is the rock, his work is perfect, and all his ways are judgment: a God of truthi, and without iniquity, just and right is he.” Deut. xxxii. 4. As lle is holy, and hates sin, and just to punislı it, the ungodly cannot escape. In themselves they are undone: they have sinned, and must perisli, un. Jess a satisfaction sufficient to atone for their guilt can be obe tained; but this is not to be found in themselves, as their whole natures are defiled, and all they do is corrupted. The Lord warned man at the beginning of the danger of transgression, so that, if man has ruined hiniselt, God is free from blame; for God said of the fruit of the forbidden tree," In the day thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely dic.” It wan listened to Satan's Ise, he has become his own destroyer; and if lie continues in this dangerous state, despising the remedy, his ruin lies at his own door. That which is opposed to God's will and character, and which flows from cnmity against Him, must certainly sepa rate the soul from Ilim, and render it completely miserable: yet this is what the unrenewed heart can only produce.lu created goodness and created efforts, there is no help for man.
Mitu has destroyed himself; but in God is bis help. His throne is founded on, established by, and regulated according to eternal and perfect righteousness. “God sitteth upon the throne of his holiness." Psal. lxvii. 8. That plan of salvation had been materially defective, and exceedingly suspicious, which had made it necessary for God to encroach upon the demands of his justice, in order to its accomplishment. But the gospel discovers a way by which the justice of God is fully satisfied, and hy which bis mercy freely reaches the children of men. Jesus, the Son of God, has endured the penalty which the law denounced against transgression, and paid the ransom for us. Justice is now satisfied, and man, by Jesus' blood, is justified and reconciled unto God. Through bis death, therefore, salvation is afforded to all that believe, and that in strict conformity to the demands of justice, and in perfect harmony with them. God is now the just God and the Saviour; for God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing unto them their trespasses, and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Justice and judgment are the habitation of his throne, when he manifests mercy and bestows salvation on those who believe on his Son. The ransom having been paid, justice is every way satisfied ; and therefore, while strict justice regulates all his procedure, mercy and truth go before his face.
Justice had extensive demands upon the sinner ; but Mercy affords that which answers the whole. The Lord bath laid help on One that is mighty. The blessed Saviour, by laying down his life, hatb laid a foundation on which man may securely rest, and hath removed every obstacle out of the way
of his acceptance with God. Mercy, then, shall be built up for ever. Mercy and truth have met to ether, righteousness and peace bave kissed each other. Thus, man is encouraged to turn unto God and live. Mercy and truth go before his face, shewing the amiableness of his character, and his readiness to be reconciled, and to receive us into favour. He is true to perform allt those gracious invitations and promises of mercy, by which he encourages sinners to believe in his Son and be saved.
Consider then your state, what it is. Have you fled to Jesus, as a Saviour, from iniquity? Believe in Him without delay. He is a Saviour, who will rescue you from all your evils, and from every enemy. Why then hesitate about trusting in Him? You may safely entrust Him with your all. Nay, you are undone, if you do not trust in Him, for the demands of divine justice against you can never otherwise be satisfied, so that it may acquiesce in your release ; but otherwise it must assuredly inflict upon you threatened vengeance.
We have also the blessedness described of those who know the joyful sound. The joyful sound, in this passage, seems to have a reference to the jubilee-trumpet, which was a joyful sound to the distressed Israelites. Afuer seven weeks of ycars,