SURREY TABERNACLE PULPIT.

 

DEATH OF THE RIGHTEOUS

 

MR. EVEN EDWARDS,

 

A Member of the Surrey Tabernacle thirty-five years, and Deacon twenty-seven years, who departed this life June the 8th, 1870, aged seventy.

 

A SERMON – by MR. JAMES WELLS

 

PREACHED ON SUNDAY EVENING, 19th JUNE, 1870

 

VOL. XII. - No. 607.

 

 

“The righteous perisheth, and no man layeth it to heart; and merciful men are taken away, none considering that the righteous is taken away from the evil to come.”—Isaiah lvii. 1.

 

One reason why, when the righteous die—for that is all that is here meant by the word “perisheth” —no man lays it to heart, is, because the people of the world do not know the righteous; they know not wherein their righteousness lies, they know not the soul-trouble that the righteous experience, and they know not the soul-deliverances which the righteous experience, and they know nothing of the blessedness into which the righteous enter, according to that scripture, “Being justified by faith we have peace with God.” That is one reason why they do not lay it to heart. And of course, another reason is disinclination of all men by nature to lay such things to heart. The text of course speaks of them in their worldly plans, pursuits, and pleasures. But while this is true naturally—that no man lays it to heart—yet the Lord does more or less overrule all such circumstances; for the Lord works more good by affliction and by death, when he is pleased to use means, than he does by any other means. And then another reason why they do not lay it to heart is because they do not think it of much importance. But let me just remind this assembly that the death of every good man is a loss to the world, the death of every good man is a loss to the church militant; and if you ask how that is, or why that is, the answer simply is this—that the people of God are the salt of the earth, and the more that are taken away, and the less that are left, the less likely are we to be blessed as a nation. So that when a righteous man is taken away, unless the Lord is pleased to raise up another or others in the place thereof, it looks almost like approaching ruin. Hence, in the antediluvian period of the world one good man died, and another good man died, and none laid it to heart; and by and by, when Methuselah died—which, reading in Genesis, it appears he did the same year that Noah entered the ark—Well, now, the Lord said, nearly all the righteous are gone, there is no reason now why I should preserve the world; and so, the world was drowned. So also, the cities of the plain: —had there been ten righteous men there, the cities would have been preserved. So that these people, that are unknown to the world and blindly despised by the world, they are after all the pillars of the earth; it is for their sakes that the Lord blesses the city, the hamlet, the village, and the nation in which they live. So, then the taking away of a righteous man is thus, as it were, a loss to all; and happy those who are favored to lay it to heart. As I have before said, the Lord will do anything and everything for the sake of his own people.

 

But in this case, we have not now to lament as though the Lord had taken all away, or as though we had but few left. And our brother had lived the allotted time—he had lived seventy years, and he had lived to the Lord, and was happy before he died, and is now happy before God’s eternal throne. I will first notice the teachings of our text; and then, secondly, we will give some little account of our departed brother; for it does appear to me that his character answers very nicely to the language of our text; —that he was a righteous man, that is, justified by faith in Christ, we all that knew him feel satisfied, and that he was a merciful man; and that he is taken away from the evil to come none of us question. We have therefore more pleasure in some respects than pain when we look over the thirty-five happy years which he spent with us, when we look over the twenty-seven official years, or the years which he spent with us as a deacon; —why, there is something pleasing to reflect upon; and so now he is perished as to the body, but not as to the soul, — the outward man perishes, but the inward man is in heaven.

 

Now, here are then three teachings in our text. The first teaching we have is the death of the righteous. “The righteous perisheth, and no man layeth it to heart;” that is, unless the Lord himself impresses it upon the mind. Secondly, that this same man who is righteous is also merciful. I shall give plenty of proofs of that as I go along. Lastly, the deliverance—that he is taken away from the evil to come.

 

First, here is the death of the righteous. And I hardly know how to enter upon this part, because of the unfathomable depth of its solemnity. Oh, it is infinitely important. Could some of you that have never prayed, could some of you have never trembled at God’s word, could some of you that hare never entered into the solemnity of eternity—oh, could you see what it is to die unclean, what it is to die unjust, what it is to die in sin, what it is to die in the hands of a fiery law, what it is to die under the wrath of Almighty God, what it as to die under all the curses of God’s book, what it is to die under all your sins, and to be sunk into hell as low as your sins deserve, and as low as the curse can sink you, and there to writhe to endless duration; oh, could you that are unconcerned see this, how would you tremble, how would you breathe out with the publican, “ God be merciful to me a sinner.” May you have the happy lot that our departed brother had—you that are young; for he was very young when the Lord called him by grace; and there he was, when called by grace, fitted and formed for that glorious scene of things into which he hath now entered On the other hand, could you see in reality the blessedness of the death of the righteous—what a blessed death they die—I know, then, that you would seek with all your might to live the life of the righteous; for if a man does not live the life of the righteous, it is in the nature of things an utter impossibility for him to die the death of the righteous. You cannot die in Christ if you do not first live in him; yon cannot die in the faith if you do not first live in that faith; yon cannot die in the kingdom of Christ if you are not first translated by regenerating grace into that kingdom; you cannot die in reconciliation to God unless you are brought in your life into that reconciliation to God; you cannot die in the love of God unless you are brought into that love by the mighty working of the eternal Spirit of God. Therefore, I need not remind you of the solemnity, and the deep, indescribable importance of this great matter—the difference between the two; for it is a true saying that as death leaves us judgment will find us. Ah, great is the misery of man; and man delights in that that will produce his misery; man laughs at the gospel, despises the gospel, runs away from it; and those that do lay these things to heart, and are led to seek the Lord, not unto them, not unto them, but unto the Lord himself be all the glory, that he has thus made them to differ, and turned their wandering feet to tread that road that shall lead to everlasting life.

 

But we will take the words of divine inspiration: although they were uttered by a false prophet, still they are the words of divine inspiration, and instructive; I mean the words of Balaam; he shall help us out with this first part—the death of the righteous. He said, “Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end”—my ultimate reward “be like his.” But observe, this was only a temporary feeling with Balaam. He would have abode where those truths are, some of which I shall name, —he would have abode there, and gone on externally in a profession of these things; but then the gold and the silver upon which his affection was fixed were not there, and therefore he went away from where mercy was, from where God's truth was, he went away from where salvation was, to where the silver and the gold were, Ah, what a cruel enemy is the great adversary of our souls; if he can unite our affection to anything which will drag us away from God, and from Christ, and from eternal things, he will do so. How many have said “Oh that I may die the death of the righteous;” but then that is only a temporary wish, a temporary desire, it does not abide with them; there is no seeking to live the life of the righteous. And now I shall go on to show the reasons that are laid before us why we may well desire to die, the death of the righteous; at the same time, if our desire be real, we shall seek to live now, at this time, with God, by those things in which alone we can die the death of the righteous. Suffice it to say that the righteous man means a man that believes in the Lord Jesus Christ, a man that is convinced of his need of the obedient life and atoning death of the Lord Jesus Christ. But what are the reasons why we may long to die the death of the righteous? I know you will say, Well, escaping from hell, escaping from that that thrills one through and through to think of; to escape that that horrifies one to think of. Ah, whom we read sometimes of the solemn judgments of God, they make one tremble to the very center of one’s soul. And yet that is not the side that I shall dwell upon, but upon the pleasing side—to die the death of the righteous. One reason is because such persons die in all the blessing that God can bestow. “Behold, I have received commandment to bless; and he hath blessed; and I cannot reverse it.” Therefore, one reason why it is so blessed to die in the Lord is because you die where it is all blessing, where there is no curse. The Lord gave promise to Abraham, “In blessing I will bless thee;” the blessing cannot be reversed. And we will go on to show what the blessing is. If we do long truly and sincerely to die the death of the righteous, then while we live we shall seek to live in this blessing which is by Jesus Christ. But let us look at the blessing. The blessing, then, is entire freedom from sin, entire freedom from fault, —as free from fault ns Christ is free from fault; as blameless, as unreproveable, and as righteous as Christ himself. This is strong language, but it is none too strong, because the people are complete in him, and the challenge on the ground of that completeness is, “Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect?” Now “the Lord hath not beheld iniquity in Jacob, neither hath he seen perverseness in Israel; the Lord his God is with him, and the shout of a king is among them.” Here is the blessedness, then, —to die where there is no sin. If you are one with Jesus Christ, his blood cleansing from all sin, his redeeming power redeeming from all evil, and his righteousness justifying from all things, here you die without a sin, without a fault; your sins are forgiven, they are blotted out, they are put away, they are forgotten, they are cast, as it were, behind Jehovah’s back, cast into the depths of the sea. Numerous are the representations to show how by the Lord Jesus Christ we are freed from sin, and this is a truth that cheered the heart of our brother from time to time, and it has cheered our hearts, and will cheer our hearts all the way to glory, and when we got there too, for it will be our glory to eternity. So, then, to die in the Lord is to die by faith in Christ, where the Lord has infallibly promised to bless; where, because he could swear by no greater, he hath sworn by himself, saying, “In blessing I will bless thee;” where he will not behold iniquity in Jacob, nor see perverseness in Israel; where the Lord is with them. The Christian’s life is this life of confidence in God by the sacrifice of Christ, the variety of adaptability in that sacrifice. The Christian looks at what he deserves on the one hand, and looks at what the atonement of Christ on the other hand has done, and he says, What a wonderful revolution this atonement has wrought; having put sin away, it has turned death itself into a friend, as we sometimes say; for that is what death is in the common course of things—it is God’s servant and God’s minister. Jesus Christ came under the law, and became one with us, and hereby death became Christ’s enemy; and if death became Christ’s enemy, it became Christ’s enemy because it was our enemy; and therefore, becoming Christ’s enemy because it was our enemy, the last enemy to be destroyed is death; and Jesus Christ destroyed that enemy, and he has now turned death into a friend. Therefore, the life which the Christian lives is this hidden confidence, this hidden sorrow at the absence of the Lord, and this hidden rejoicing at the presence of the Lord; for the heart of the true Christian knows its own bitterness, and a stranger does not intermeddle with its joy. I am quite aware, friends, this is very foreign to the religion of the present day. Religion in general now is all outward pretense, outward doing; and if you make a great outward show, and do something wonderful of a creature kind, why, you are passed off as a religious man. Hence a friend—a nephew—of the departed, has written me a long letter containing a long list of the good doings of our departed brother. Why, if he were here now, and I were to read that long list, he would be ashamed to hear me; for we think so little of our own doings; and his religion did not consist in those doings; those doings were merely the outflowing of his good feelings, and the result of his living the life of the righteous; but his religion laid in his faith in Christ, in his confidence in God. Why, the thief when he died had as much religion as any prophet or any apostle ever had; because the thief received Jesus Christ, and if you receive Jesus Christ then you receive, as we have said, the life—he is the life, he is that eternal life which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us. Good works—I admire them very much, but I abhor, detest, and shall to my latest breath trample them under my feet when they are brought in to help make up a part of our salvation. We must have none of it; let Christ be everything, and the sinner nothing. And as to the few good works we have done, they are not worth naming. Here am I myself; I have labored now three and forty years publicly, and I know not how many hundreds of souls have been by my labors brought to a saving knowledge of God; and I know not how many homes have been turned from hells into heavens, I know not how many homes have been turned from pandemonium’s into paradises; but I dare not look at any of these things, for I have not done it, but the grace of God that is with me; and there is no more praise to me than as though I had never said a single word; for I can say nothing that can do myself any good or anyone else apart from the grace of God; therefore I look away from it all, and look to the Lord only; he is my light, my life, my salvation, my all in all.

 

Now in order to die the death of the righteous you must be brought to live this life of faith in Christ, brought to live this life of faith in the truth, in the everlasting covenant of the everlasting God. How true it is that “the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” The spiritual man himself “judgeth all things, but he himself can be judged of no man.” “The world knoweth us not.”

 

But we secondly go to the mercy—that this same man who is righteous is also merciful. “The righteous perieheth,” or die—the outward man perisheth; “and merciful men are taken away.” Depend upon it if a man is a righteous man he will be a merciful man. Solomon says, “the righteous man regardeth the life of his beast,” even; so that the righteous man, his sympathies range to all the objects of sympathy, whether his fellow-creatures or the animal creation; “but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel” I will now give you some instances of a righteous man being a merciful man; and our brother, as I shall presently show, was particularly conspicuous in this quality; and that is one reason, among others, why I so liked him. I should not like any of our deacons to be unmerciful men; we should never be happy together if any one of them were unmerciful; and it increased my pleasure with our departed brother to find him from time to time so merciful, so forgiving. Why, deacons are kind of fathers; our deacons ought to look upon themselves as fathers; and they ought to look round upon our congregation from time to time, and say to themselves, “We are fathers;” and what father is there that would not be merciful to his children? What father is there that would not do what he could for his children? What father is there that would pick up and magnify every blemish and every fault of his children? What father is there that would not try to direct them out of their faults, and hide their faults, and show his affection to them? That is the position deacons occupy; they are a sort of fathers. And so, the minister should be among the people as a sympathizing father. So, the apostle says, “Ye have ten thousand instructors,” —a wonderful number of instructors. But the apostle says, “Ye have not many fathers.” Ah, that is how the minister ought to feel; he ought to feel that the people are, as it were, his children, and to walk in love to them, pray for them, sympathize with them, and long to bring the bread of life to them, and the water of life, and the garments of salvation, and the medicine of the gospel, and the music of the gospel, and to deal with them as far as he can—deacons and minister too—as the father dealt with the prodigal son—bring the robe, and the ring, and the fatted calf, and bring the music, and let us dance and be merry, and let the great theme be that of salvation and eternal life. “This thy brother was dead, and is alive again, was lost and is found.” It is a glorious theme for mercy to revel in, to rejoice in, and for the sinner to triumph in. The righteous man, then, is a merciful man, knowing that he is constituted righteous by mercy, knowing that he himself is saved by mercy. But let us have some examples. Cain and Abel—Abel was a righteous man; so, was Cain in his own eyes; but Abel was a righteous man by faith in Christ; and think you that Abel would have persecuted Cain as Cain persecuted Abel? Think you that Abel would have slain Cain because Cain did not know the truth, as Cain slew Abel because Abel knew the truth? Think you that Abel would have done this? And yet Abel was a thorough high doctrine man; he believed in the eternal perfection of the work of Christ, and the certainty of the promises which are by Christ Jesus. He was merciful. Then think you that Noah would have treated Ham as his wicked son Ham treated him? No; Noah would have been merciful; he would have said with the poet, —

 

“Teach me to feel another’s woe,

And hide the fault I see;

That mercy I to others show.

That mercy show to me."

 

“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.” And think yon that Isaac would have persecuted Ishmael as Ishmael persecuted Isaac? Verily no. And think you that Joseph would have persecuted his brethren as his brethren persecuted him? Think you he came to them without any unkind feeling when he told them of his divine dreams, his divine visions, and seemed to have some idea that those dreams and visions meant ultimately something in their favor? Ah, would he have persecuted them as they persecuted him? No. And by and by, when the wonder-working hand of God appeared—oh, what a circumstance is that! —twenty-two years rolled over, and the wonder-working hand of God brought about a fulfilment of those divine dreams and visions, and how astounded were these persecuting brethren to see themselves outwitted, and to see how God had overturned them; oh, how they trembled and feared! But did Joseph retaliate? Nay, how he sympathized with them. “Be not angry with yourselves; God meant it for good, to save much people alive. I will nourish you; and your little ones; fear not;” God hath sent me as the representative of his kind providence; to go before you, and to make provision for you. Ah, I say, would he have persecuted his brethren as his brethren persecuted him? You will always find, then, that mercy in all ages has been with the righteous, and that persecution has been with the wicked. Again, think you that Moses would have persecuted Pharaoh as Pharaoh persecuted the Israelites? And how was this? Why, Moses was a righteous man, Moses was a believer in Christ, Moses had obtained mercy, and therefore he was merciful. But, say you, he brought dreadful judgments upon Pharaoh. No, friends, I must deny that Moses brought any judgments at all; he was merely God’s minister, and it was the living God by Moses that brought those judgments. And think you that Elijah would have persecuted Ahab and Jezebel as Ahab and Jezebel persecuted him? Think you that he would have threatened their lives? Verily no. Was a man ever more mistaken than Ahab when he called Elijah an enemy? "Art thou he that trouhleth Israel?” and a little further on Ahab said, “Hast thou found me, O mine enemy?” Elijah was a friend; he would not have persecuted Ahab. And so, we may go on through the prophets. Would Jeremiah have persecuted the people as the people persecuted him? But there—let us come down, as your time is running on, to the great event of all; because I wish you to notice that the man in our text is first righteous, and then merciful. “The righteous perisheth,” that is, dies, and “merciful men,” which of course means the same character, having obtained mercy of God they are taught to be merciful and kind to others. Let us therefore come down, passing by the righteous blood that was shed down to the coming of Christ, and ask this question, which will answer itself in one moment; would the Lord Jesus Christ have persecuted the people as the people persecuted him? Oh, my hearer, where was the mercy in that day? Was it with the Pharisees towards men, and towards the souls of men? No, say yon, for Jesus himself said to them that they passed over judgment, and faith, and mercy, these weighty matters. But as for the Savior, I feel lost when I speak of his mercifulness. He was a righteous man, of course, in the highest and most perfect and glorious sense of the word. I ask, what was his whole life but a life of mercy to man? What were his miracles but miracles of mercy to man? Ah, when I think of the infinitely contemptible pretended miracles of Rome, and set them by the side of the real miracles of mercy wrought by the Savior, how infinitely contemptible the one, how admirable, beautiful, endearing, and delightful the other! And what was his ministry but a ministry of mercy? He came to preach mercy, to bind up the broken-hearted. Was there one that came, feeling his need of mercy, to whom he did not show mercy? And is not that parable wonderfully encouraging to every poor sinner that feels what he is? — I mean the parable of the Pharisee and of the publican. There is a man that in his own eyes never did wrong, and there is the other man that never did right; so the one that never did wrong, he went down from the temple as he went up—namely, a dead, blind Pharisee, an enemy to God’s truth; here is the man that has never done right until now, he is convinced of what he is; and the first right thing that the publican ever did in his life was to breathe out that prayer, “God be merciful to me a sinner.” The word “mercy” is in the scripture by which the Lord forty-five years ago brought my soul into the liberty of the gospel; and therefore, no wonder that mercy should have occupied all these years so large a space in my humble ministrations, and it will do as I go on. I rejoice more and more in that 136th Psalm, every verse of which ends with the blessed testimony that “his mercy endureth for ever.” Ah then, if you want mercy, look to Christ; if you want mercy, look to God; and if you want to see a merciful people, look to the people of God; —they have obtained mercy; and “he that showeth no mercy shall have judgment without mercy.”

 

But lastly, the deliverance; — “none considering that the righteous is taken away from the evil to come.” It is most grievous and lamentable that professors sometimes have such vague ideas about being delivered from the evil to come. One thinks this will do, another thinks that will do, —anything will do for religion. You do not do so with your worldly affairs; you always see there that the means are suited to the end. But in religion it does not matter Whether a few ceremonies or a few doctrines, whatever they are, it will do. Now let me reason with you two or three minutes closely. Look at all the temporal deliverances wrought in the Old Testament dispensation, and you will see that there was always something definite; it was never vague, it was never general. The Lord never came and said, “Now I am going to do so and so, how would you like to escape? What would suit your taste as the best way of escape from this evil?” The Lord never dealt like that; he always had one definite plan, and those that were to escape were made acquainted with that plan, and fell in with that plan; and there was that one plan, and no other. Just so it is in salvation. But I will bring the circumstances, that you may, as it were, see them before your eyes. And you will already anticipate the first I shall bring. Here are a few who are to escape from the flood; now you see there was a definite plan by which they were to escape. The ark was the only plan, the only way. You must escape by that ark, or else not at all. Just so, friends, in religion, “ye must be born again;” you must be brought into the faith of Christ; it is Christ alone. As the ark alone could carry them through the flood, it is being in the faith of Christ alone that can carry you safe through all the troubles that are to come, deliver you from the wrath to come, and bring you to heaven. Again, when the Israelites were to escape from the angel of death, it was by a definite plan. There was no man whatever to devise the plan, the plan was devised by the Lord; that plan, as you are aware, was the paschal lamb, and none could escape but by the paschal lamb. Then when they came out of Egypt, there was a definite plan by which they were to come out, and that was dividing the Red Sea. Then when they came into the wilderness, there was a definite plan by which they were to be supplied, namely, by the manna and the water from the rock. And lastly, when they came to cross the Jordan, they had to cross the Jordan by a definite plan. See what trouble the Lord took to describe how they should manage, how the ark should rest, and what should take place; and everything took place just as the Lord said it should do. And thus you will see in these cases, as a very small sample, that they were all delivered by a definite plan. Oh, my hearer, look to God, if you have any concern at all, and do not think that anything will do. It must be the true ark, Christ Jesus; it must be the paschal lamb, Christ Jesus; it must be the victory wrought by his omnipotent arm. He must be the bread of life, he must be the living rock to you, he must be the ark of the everlasting covenant that can divide the waters of death and bring yon over in safety to the heavenly Canaan.

 

Now our brother’s character answered to this text exactly. He was a righteous man, and a merciful man. I may just say that he was a native of South Wales, brought in the course of the Lord’s providence to London, and very conscientious from his youth, and kept from those profligacies into which thousands of young people run. He was a man of medium ability, a man of mediocrity of ability in business, and not likely therefore to be what they call a very great man in the world; but then with that mediocrity of ability he united conscientiousness, good temper, good nature, mercy, and kindness. Hence his relatives all bear testimony to his suavity, to his liberality, to his kindness; and it was pleasing to the deacons and pleasing to myself, to see in the neighborhood on the day of the funeral the great respect that was paid to his memory by his neighbors, by his men, and in a word by all that were connected with him, and about five hundred of the friends at his funeral. And now here are more than two thousand persons listening to this humble tribute to his memory. So that he was a man that would bear having around, the more you knew of him the better you would like him. Then the Lord blessed him, and he was led along, and did very well. And having lived well, he died well. His illness was very short, and in the morning of the day he died—he died at night—he was so happy that he thought he was going, and I do not wonder at it. Also, I am informed that he had, recently especially, found the morning sermons come with a very great deal of savor, with a very great deal of power, and a very great deal of interest. In a word, his death was a most blessed death. And I may just say, though some of you perhaps will think it hardly worth naming, but I will name it—he was a thorough Surrey Tabernacle man; there was no cause under the heavens to him like the Surrey Tabernacle. Ah! he often used playfully to say, “It is no use, if you send me out at one door I will come in at the other. The Lord brought me to the Surrey Tabernacle so many years ago, and has blessed me so many times, I feel I cannot leave it.” And when little differences of opinion arose sometimes, he would just twist his thumbs round, one over the other—I always knew there was a little bit of something he was thinking about when he was twisting his thumbs round; he was winding his thoughts up, I suppose, in order to get them in a little bit in order—I always knew there was something queer he was thinking about. When he came again, I would say, “Well, brother, what do you think of all that now?” “Oh,” he would say, “I have forgotten all about that.” “Then you do not mean to leave us offended?” I do not mean to leave you at all; nothing shall sever me; if you turn me out as deacon and member, you cannot turn me out of the chapel; I will come in if there is a window open; here I mean to live and die.” And so, he always desired to do; and I only say this—happy for us all if we come to the same happy end. Also, while he was a man of medium ability in business, yet he was thoroughly established in the truth; he was always on the side of the truth. Ah, just touch him there, he would be up in arms in a minute; nothing would do for him but the truth, the real truth of God. And those of you that knew him well, know that you hardly ever heard him make a speech or give out a hymn, but that you saw the grace of God in him. He has made many speeches at our meetings, and we have always been amazingly pleased, not because the speeches were strictly grammatical—we did not care for that—but with a little of the fire of Wales, and a little, or a great deal, of the grace of God in him, he used to speak out with all his heart and with all his soul; and you know how some of us used to laugh and cry and be convulsed, as it were, and delighted with our brother Edwards. He spoke out with all his heart, and soul, and mind. There was not anything mawkish about his religion; as I have before said, he was right out decided for God’s blessed truth. Indeed, if we had a deacon that was not, I could not be happy; for I ask, as our brother used to say, if we are not to be decided for God’s truth, what are we to be decided for? If we are not to contend for the liberty wherewith Christ hath made ns free, what are we to contend for? And therefore, all I can say is, that our brother’s spirit, and our brother’s conduct, and our brother’s liberality, and his being always on the side of mercy and of charity, that altogether his character summed up was really above all the praise that I can bestow upon his memory, and of course he will not soon be forgotten. It is sudden; none of us anticipated this quick removal; but death has begun among us and we cannot tell who may be the next. But, bless the Lord if we are found in this righteousness, and found in this path of mercy, and found in this definite plan, taken from the evil to come by a definite plan, and that plan is embodied in Christ Jesus; there is no other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved; —if we are thus found, it shall be well with us forever. I was always proud of brother Edwards, but not more proud than I am of the present deacons, not more proud than I am of the members, and not more proud than I am of the congregation. I cannot help it; you have done so much, and made such sacrifices, that if my eyes did not see the place as it is, and if I did not know that you have made the place as good as freehold for ninety-nine years, I could not have believed it possible. How you have made such sacrifices I know not; I never could have believed it when we first set out; but it is done; and our brother and, the deacons often used to talk about it, about the sincerity of your love, the sympathy that you have shown towards the ministers, towards the cause, and towards other ministers.