« PreviousContinue »
in any other. And what good man or Christian, either of the Clergy or Laity can object to this? If we are Christians, indeed; if the love of truth and of one another, the true signs of the peace of Christ, prevail in our hearts; there will be no disputing or gainsaying, in matters of this kind. In all things, fundamental and necessary to salvation, we “shall
speedily find a decision in the word of God;” and as to things speculative and unnecessary," not find“ ing them written there,” we will seek for their de. cision, by suffering them to glide smoothly down the stream of mutual forbearance, till at length they be discharged into the unbounded ocean of Christian love, and be there swallowed up and lost forever!
Let us not, therefore, repeat former errors; nor let the advantages now in our hands slip from us. If we become slack or indifferent in the concerns of Religion; if we discourage every endeavour for reformation*, “ not only departing from the Law but
corrupting the covenant of Levi, so as to make “ men stumble at the Law; the Lord our God hath " said that he will make us base and contemptible
among the people, and all our flock shall be scat“ tered.” God will be provoked to remove his candle from us, that glorious light which he hath revealed to us; and we shall fall back again into the former grossness and superstition!
If, Brethren, in the present work any thing be offered or done, with less clearness, precision, purity, or elevation of thought and expression, let it be considered calmly, judged of by Christian methods, and
proposed for future amendment with singleness of heart; imitating the meekness and love of our master Jesus! Thus shall we approve ourselves his disci. ples; and be justified in our endeavours for the purity of our Religion, not only in the sight of men and angels, but of Him especially, who will be our sovereign Judge, and sits enthroned above all the choirs of angels.
Thus also shall men be compelled to join in our worship, and our Sabbaths become more and more sanctificd. Our very hearts and flesh will long for the courts of God's house--for the return of every Sabbath, as a blessed remainder, yet left us, of our original bliss in paradise, and a happy foretaste of our future bliss in the paradise that is above-a day of grace whereon our heavenly King lays open the courts of his palace, and invites us to a more immediate communion with himself!
To all who love and pray for the peace and happiness of society in this world, or for the everlasting happiness of men in the world to come, the growing neglect of the Sabbath, is a most painful consideration. From what source springs the greater part of all those crimes which bring so many to a shameful and untimely end, but from the neglect of God's worship; whereby men become hardened in iniquity, without giving themselves any opportunity of being awakened to the consideration of their everlasting interest. How many are there who, having no relish for heavenly things, seek for every amusement which sin and folly can suggest to fill up this day, and to kill the time, as they chuse to express it? But, gracious heaven! have we so much time to spare in this
life, and so little to do in what concerns the one thing needful, as not to consider that he, who kills time in this way, is murdering his own soul and giving constant stabs to his everlasting peace? Alas, brethren! a day will come, when a thousand worlds, and all the pleasures they can bestow, would be given, to bring back again the least portion of this murdered time for every moment will then be considered as murdered and forever lost, which hath kept us back from our own reflections, and hath shut God, Religion, our own Souls, and Eternity-awful and mysterious Eternity-out of our thoughts and sight!
Wherefore, then, Brethren-let our Sabbaths be remembered, and more and more sanctified. The Scriptures encourage us to look for a time, when there shall be an universal diffusion of the Gospel throughout this land—when they who dwell in the wilderness shall come and bow down before the Lord; when, among the highways and hedges, to the remotest parts of this continent, decent places of wor. ship will be erected-villages, towns, and great cities arise—and the service and worship of our Church (as we have this day introduced it) be not only adopted, but, through the blessing of God, become happily instrumental in compelling the fulness of the Gentile world to come in!
O Time! may thy wheels move quickly round, until the approach of this blessed æra; till there be a fulness of spiritual food through every part of this new world; and all nations, kindreds and tongues have access with us unto One God, and be sealed with us unto the day of redemption, through the everlasting merits of Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour! Amer.
FIRST PREACHED SEPTEMBER 17, 1792, IN TRINITY-CHURCA,
NEW-YORK; BEFORE the General Convention of the Bishops, Clergy, and Laity, of the Protestant Episcopal Church, in the United States of America:
AT THE CONSECRATION OF
THOMAS JOHN CLAGGET, D. D. As Bishop elect, for the said Church, in the State of Maryland. PREACHED ALSO, IN SUBSTANCE, AT TRE FOLLOWING COX
shire, May, 1787.
Extract from the Journals of the General Convention, of the
Bishops, Clergy, and Laity of the Protestant Episcopal Church, in the United Stated of America, held at New York, viz.
“ Monday, September 17, 1792. “ In the House of Clerical and Lay Deputies; Resolved, una“ nimously, that the Thanks of this House be given to the Rev. “ Dr. Smith, for his Sermon, delivered this day in Trinity. “ Church, at the Consecration of Bishop Clagget; and that he “ be requested to furnish a Copy of the same for Publication.
“ In the House of Bishops. Wednesday, September 19th, “ 1792. The House received a Message from the House of 5 Clerical and Lay-Deputies; Requesting the Concurrence of “ this Housę, in a Resolve of Thanks to the Rev. Dr. SMITH, " for his Sermon delivered before them, on occasion of the Con* secration of Bishop Clagget, and that he be requested to S6 furnish a Copy of the same for Publication."
" Resolved, That this House do concur in the same."
2 TIMOTHY, Chap. IV, ver. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.
I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who
shall judge the Quick and the Dead, at his Appearing, and his Kingdom-Preach the Word : Be instant in Season, out of Season; Reprove, Rebuke, Exhort with all Long
Suffering and Doctrine. For the Time will come, when they will not endure sound
Doctrine; but, after their own Lusts, shall they Heap to themselves Teachers, having Itching Ears. And they shall turn away their Ears from the Truth, and shall be turned
unto Fables. But Watch thou in all things; Endure Aflictions; Do the work of
an Evangelist; Make full Proof of thy Ministry.
Right Reverend Fathers, Reverend Brethren, and Re
spected Fellow Citizens, here assembled!
WHILE, in one point of view, I consider the Nature of the Holy Solemnity and Work, upon which we are about to enter, and feel, as I do, the Weight of the Part assigned to Me, on the occasion; (namely to delineate, and give in Charge to the Brother now to be consecrated, the important Duties of a Bishop, or Chief Pastor, in the Church of Christ) I might well be deterred in looking forward to my task! But, in another point of glorious view, I am encouraged to proceed, when I consider that I have