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more interested, or one in which God could have manifested equal displeasure against us. important and virtuous a character could not be exempted, but must be called away suddenly in the midst of his usefulness : May. we not with propriety, every day be looking out for death? The situation in which God in his providence, had lately placed Dr. Swift, and the remarkable success that attended his ministerial labors among the people where he resided, afforded pleasing prospects, and promised a long continuance ; but in a moment our expectations are frustrated, by him who destroyeth the hope of man.. The preacher has not the vanity to suppose, that a commendation from him would add much weight to acharacter so well established among all who were acquainted with him.
I have often thought, and repeatedly mentioned in private conversation, that I thought I never saw the description of a gospel minister, as given in the word of God, so illustrated and exemplified by any person as in the life and character of Dr. Swift.
Few ever attained a more thorough, acquaintance with divinity, or were so capable of opening the mysteries of the gospel. He appeared always ready to solve difficult passages in the Scripture, and questions in theology. I believe numbers in the ministry are ready to acknowledge, that many important ideas on this subject they have obtained through his instrumentality. Affability, christian zeal and firmness in the fundamental principles, of religion, were distinguishing traits in his character. These things I thought shone more conspicuous in him than usual at our last meeting. His benevolence and hospitality often astonished those who came under his roof. Those who had taste for plain, instructive, experimental preacha.. ing, greatly admired his public performances..
His attachment to, and exertions in the missionary interest were great : I have often thought to the prejudice of his health, especially of late. About the last conversation I had with him was on the subject of missions. He requested me to go to a place at some distance to preach, as he had given the people previous encouragement. I told him I was pre-engaged; he replied, " It will not do to neglect them, I must go myself.”—But few churches in this State, on this side of the mountain, but owe much of their present prosperity, under God, to Dr. Swift.Perhaps no man was more improved, and more useful in ecclesiastical councils than he. In our associations, where he alway's: presided, he was truly a burning and a shining light. But however hard to realize the thought, he is gone !-Heaven has so decreed, and it becomes blind mortals to submit. Oh ! let us be thankful to God that we have enjoyed him so long. Let us call ta mind and rightly improve the advantages with which we have been favored, and endeavor to imbibe that temperand imitate those virtues that dweit so richly in him. Oh! that a. double portion of his spirit might rest upon all the ministers of Christ :. That those especially in this State, to whom he has been so kind a father and benefactor, would consider how loudly God by this Providence calls us to engagedness in his cause, knowing that the time of our departure is at hand. Let us learn to put our trust in that God, who is able to take care of his church without us, or those who are more eminent in gifts and grace, and who worketh all things according to the coun. sel of his own will. Amen.
ACTS XX. 20.
And how I kept back nothing that was profitable to you.
* THIS passage is a part of the Apostle's fare. well address to the church of Ephesus. He had labored at no piace so much as at this, and he had,, no doubt, a tender affection for the Ephesians. His ministry was now closed. He was now about to part with them, never to see them again in this world. He expresses the consolation of his heart, that he had obtained grace to be faithful and to administer whatever might be profitable. Many of the doctrines of christianity are so offensive to. the pride of men, that the temptation to keep back is strong, and it is often matter of regret to many, that they have yielded to temptation in this respect. But the Apostle, amidst all his trials and
* The substance of this discourse is supposed to have been delivered at Bennington, when the Doctor took leave of that peo.. plen
in a view that he had to meet his hearers at the bar of God, had this support, that he had not yielded to temptation.
In the ensuing discourse, your attention will be called to the following truths.
1. A minister's leaving a people is often attend. ed with trying circumstances.
2. Ministers are under great temptations to keep back that which is profitable to the souls of a people.
3. Some things that are profitable to the souls of a people ought not to be kept back.
4. When a minister is taking his farewell of a people that have been dear to him and whose case he has often borne before the throne of grace, it is a great comfort to reflect that he is, in this respect, clear of their blood.
1. A minister has often heavy trials when called to leave a people and consider that his work is. done. It was a tender parting which the Apostle had with the Ephesian church. He had, no doubt, his eneinies; but he had valuable friends whom he did not expect to see again in this world. He expected soon to have a scene of great distress to go through. So others, called to resign their charge, have a tender parting. Often have they many bitter things to bear from enemies and opposers, and especially from false brethren. Often to bear slander and reproach.Often is the state of the church and people affecting ; a broken and divided state. In addition to all this, often has a 'minister dark worldly prospects in being turned out with a family and subjected to great evils.
2. The temptation is strong to keep back some thing's that are profitable.
Ministers have a great desire to have the good will of their people. They know that if they are faithful, it will make them enemies. Their doc. trines and reproofs often sting the hearts of sinners.
Often have they dark worldly prospects. They see that they must be unfaithful, unless they are prepared to give up worldly prospects, and this too, when advanced in life. At the same time, they are sensible that if they would keep back, they might live in quiet. It is to be feared that many yield.
3. Some things that are profitable to the souls of a people ought not to be kept back. The great doctrines of religion are profitable to the souls of men ; such as the being and perfections of God; the dependence of the creature on God; the depravity of human nature ; the great and infinite evil of sin from its aim and tendency; the nature of God's law ; its strict demand ; the guilt of sin and solemn state of the sinner ; the providence of God; his universal decree and government; the nature and necessity of the atonement ; the character of Christ, the Saviour; the great work of regeneration and sanctification ; the nature of christian
way of life and salvation ; free
grace in the pardon of the sinner ; the nature of the covenant, and the moral, christian duties. It is profitable to hold up the various commands of the law; to inculcate the observance of the Sabbath ; the worship of God ; attendance on ordinances and the duties of a holy life ; to administer the promises and suitably to apply them; to make solemn application of the truth to sinners; to comfort and endeavor to strengthen the christian and promote his quickening: These are things profitable to the souls of men and ought not to be kept back.
4. It is matter of great comfort to a faithful minister, when called to resign his charge, to be able to say that he has faithfully discharged his