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and confusion; and liave often thought, that no minister of the gospel ever delivered discourses less likely to honour God or profit man. When I have heard any of my hearers speak in terms of approbation of my sermons, I have been ready to doubt their sinoerity. The more I reflect on my rule, motive, and end, the more I am constrained to detest every performance of my own, and to pray that I may never receive the desert of the best hour I ever spent. I can have no hope as to futurity but from the worthiness of another; and unless a better righteousness than my own had been revealed, I could not have expected that God would have saved me.
Jesus, how glorious is thy graee
When in thy name we trust!
That makes a sinner just.
A Sketch of Mr. Kingdon's Character, drawn up by one of
his Diacous. In delineating the character of a man who, for half a century, was an honour to his profession, we would not terminate our views in a valuable individual ; we would say to all our readers, “ Be ye followers of them wlio, through faith and patience, inherit the promises." To his congregation we would say, “Remember him who spake to you the word of the Lord ; consider the end of his conversation, -- Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever. Many of you will long venerate his memory; and, while you consider him as a man subject to like passions with yourselves, you must praise that grace which kept him from falling, and which was so abun. dantly manifested in his last sickness.
Mr. Kingdon was remarkably just in his dealings; charitable, candid, and humble. As to justice, he did not merely aim to save his character, but acted from higher motives. 'In all his concerns with men, he habitually conducted himself as under the eye of himn who saith, “As ye would that men should do unto you, so do ye unto them.” He hated every deviation from justice in others; for he considered it as a leading virtue. “ Be just,” he would say, “ before you are generous, for God hates robbery for burnt-offering.”
But he did not suppose that doing justly would excuse him from loving mercy. He did not forget to do good and to communicate. lle has often fed the hungry, and clothed the naked; but he took care 6 not to let his left hand know what his right hand did.” It was sufficient for him to do good, without receiving human applause for his conduct.
Temperance and self-slestial were very obvious traits in his character. Ile kept under his body, and brought it into subs jection. That grace which brought him salvation, oflictually taught him to liye soberly as' well as godly in this present evil world. But his temperance was not a monkish austerity, nor the parsimony of a miser, who cannot allow hinselt the decessaries of life: no; he used the werld as a Christian, but did not abuse it.
Candour and liberality marked his long career, both as a Christian and a minister. It is true, he could not treat avowed Socinians as Christians, because his religion taught him not to degrade, but to honour his Saviour. But he treated as brethren all who appeared to "hold the head;" often attending public worship with them, and sometimes assisting them in it; gladly promoting that pleasing harmony which always subsisted between himself and other ministers. Though he firmly embraced that system of doctrinal truth which is laid down in the Baptist Catechism, yet he did not treat his own creed as a standard for all others, nor presume harshly to censure such as differed from }iim on those points whereon all good men are not agreed. lie repeatedly told his people, that if they could profit more by attending elsewhere, it was their duty to do it, and he had no right to object. He often laid this down as an axiom, 'That these doctrines which humble the sinner, cxalt the Saviour, and promote holiness, are orthodox. He was ready to support the weak, and encourage the gifts of those who were far inferior to himself. Indeed, humility was lis principal characteristic. A few weeks before his death, he declared that he never entered the pulpit without a deep sense of his own insufficiency for the ministry; and never left it without shame. lle has said, he sometimes wondered that any should attend his preaching. Ilis humility was not that mimic counterfeit which, while it affects to be always degrading self, betrays a real desire of applause; for he very seldom spalie of liimself, but it was the genuine oilspring of self-knowledge.
He evidently possessed a spirit of sterling piety, and seemed habitually to realize the divine presence. Ile used to say, That “ an eye serrant among men is a disgraceful character; but one who acts as in the sight of Go:1, is an honourable one." Such an nye-scrvant his general conversation shewed bim to be. When he was obliged to touch on the sins of others, he would say, "I fear such a one has oftended the Lord;” but he was by no means fond of dwelling on the faults of others. " A had man's life," he would sy', " is too just a picture of a good man's heart." Helms cfien enforced this thought on his hearers : That "the more light we have, the more we?ust discover our moral pollotion. The more we enjoy of divine illusination, the more we must discover our own imperfections: and consequently the less we shall be inclined to censire others.”
lisministerial talents were very considerable, before his powers were debilitated by age and allliction: his voice was pleasant ; luis style simple, county distant from low vulgarity and priantic bomb.si; kis su vjects were generally of the utmost importance.
He never ventured to address his fellow-creatures from the pulpit without praying for divine direction, in fixing upon a suitable portion of Scripture. As this proved the spirituality of his mind, so it appeared, in some instances, to have been remarkably dirccted in the selection of subjects.
Ile frequently enforced the duty of self-cxamination, and inculcated that maxim of our Lord, That " the tree is known by its fruits.” He was equally cautious to guard his hearers against those notions which, under a pretext of love to the gospel, woul: legrade the law of God as a rule of life; or that system which militates against a free and fall salvation by Jesus Christ, flowing from the grace of God, and communicated to the soul by the lloly Spirit. He loved to preach Christ.
66 Wo be to me, said he, “ if I forget my Masier! I should rejoice if I could convey one exalted idea of Christ, were it but to one soul!”
66 Pardon us," said he, once in his prayer, uttered with the utmost energy, partion us, that so lovaly a person should be no more loved by us. I!c oficn preached also, on walking with God, drawing nigh to him, realizing his presence, commning with him, and the all-sutriciency of his grace. Ilis ministry was at. teuiled with considerable success. Many of his people owe their conversion to his instrumentality.
He loved his public work, and performed it as long as he was able. 66 Let me die in my work,” said he to some of his friends, who, a few years before his death, offered to afford him some assistance.
Ilis gift in prayer was uncommonly excellent. What rich variety! -- whai depth of thought! - what beautiful sublimity!
what glowing devotion were discovered in his prayers ! Aler attending his ministry almost forty years, I could scarcely ever be inattentive or wearied in uniting with him in ii, - he seemed to lead us to the very gate of leaven: mi as ke loved prayer himself, so lie promoted prayer-incetings; always encouraging even the wcakest gifts; and often exciting his people to pray with and for each other. He has often said?, il le conld choose how he should spend the last hour of his lif, it shoull be in praying and reading his Bible; -- and indeed he did spend liis last days in praying and recommending religion. His dying ex. perience was remarkably expressive of the excellency of the gospel of Christ. Then he luppily found the promise fulfille!, -- That as his days, so his strengil should be;" and that's the grace of Christ was sufficient for him *, These were favourite passages with him; froin the latter of which he preached his last sermon. A little before his death, he said, “I know that God loves me, because I know that I love him: I am persuaded that I shall be a pastaker of glory, because I ain the subject of the imluences of the lioly Spirit!” Instead, liis c?ying conversation was devont, zo full of lore to God and man, so expressive of perfect
* I cu'.xxij.25,
I Cor. xii. 9.
signation to the divine will, and so suited to convince all who visited him, that the truths which he had preached to others were calculated to support the dying Christian, that it is hoped the impression produced will not soon be forgotten.
A few hours before his departure, he said to his son," I have done with time, and all before me is a vast eternity; and as long as God exists, my happiness is secure!"
DIFFERENCES AMONG DEISIS
AN ARGUMENT FOR TIIE DANGER OF IMBIBING THEIR SYSTEM.
DIFFERENCES among Christians are often dwelt upon and magnified by Infidels, as undeniable arguments of the insufficiency of Christianity, and the indistinct and indecisive nature of its doctrines. But thc dupes of the system of Incredulity seem to forget that we can retort the charge npon themselves and their system with a dilemma, and show the insecurity of their ground, without the possibility of evasion. We can also shew, that whatever differences exist aniong the genuine friends of Christianity, (lo not affect the essence of the system, nor endanger the safety of those who embrace it.
We now consider the differences between the champions of Deism ; and they are such as show that the system is without foundation, and that those who trust in it are undone. On the first of all subjects, and the foundation of all religion, the being of a God, they differ and contradict one another. Some of them allow that there is a God; and that it is our duty to worship him: - while others make such mistakes about his cxistence, as amount to a denial of a God altogether. Some deny his perfections as God; and others deny or overlook the obligation of worshipping him. Lord Herbert, the first and the best of the English Deists, makes his Natural Religion to consist in five articles, the first of which is the belief of a God. He allows, as another article, that it is our duty to worship him; and that the soul is inmortal, for another; while he admits of a future state of retribution, as another article. But have they all agreed in the first article of all ? No: Hobbes held, that God was corporeal; and Tuland, that there is no otier God but the Uni
Thus these advocates of Incredulity were in the utmost uncertainty about this very important and foundation-article of religion. Does not this shew us that Deism leares its votaries in the utmost uncertainty, whether there be a God or not? - or if there be, what he is ? A religion which begins in clarkness, must surely issue in darkness which may be felt.
Some of the champions of Infidelity deny the perfections of God, and therefore, in effect, say, there is no God. Bolingbroke insists, that we must not aserive to God any moral perlections, such as holiness, justice, and goodness. - Thus the licentions Inc fidel forms a God to himself, agrocable to his own mind, and thinks that God is such a one as himself. This is just as much as to deny a God altogether * Hume endeavours to subvert the proofs of the existence of an Intelligent Cause of the universiand speaks of the doctrine of the Being of God as uncertain and useless. Thus, these men, in their delusions, sought to get rid of a Gol, who might be ready to disapprove of them, or disposed to punish them. This is the resort of a heart still depraved, and a conscience ill at ease, in the prospect of what may take place hereafter, and is a dangerous, during effort to get rid of the qualms occasioned by the forebodling apprehensions of a future reckoning.
These men disagree also about the obligation of creatures to worship God. Lord Herbert allows it to be a duty to worship God, and makes this, as we have saitl, one of his five articles of Natural Religion. Chubb insists, that prayer to God is no part of Natural Religion. So that Natural Religion is no religion at all. Hame again says, that where the gods are conceived to be only a little superior to mankind, and to have been, many of them, advanced from that interior rank, 'we are more at ease in our addresses to them, and may even, without profaneness, aspire sometimes to il rivalship and emulation of them. So that the grossest absurditics of the Heathen Idolatry would have passed with Flume, and have been, in his judgment, quite rational. Surely those who can reject the Religion of Christ, and are inclined to admit such absurdities as these, must be strongly biassed in their judgments in examining thưse matters, and must have some very clifferent grounds for their belief than the reason and fitness of things. The author of the Age of Reason not only omits the duty of worshipping God, but treats it with the utinost contempt, saying, that, “ he is not a beggar, a mumper, and à worm.” He says, le docs not need the divine favour or friend. ship, and stands indebted to God for nothing. Thus Deism is a sort of Practical Atheism, and in some respects is more inconsist. ent; becausc, while it pretends to acknowlege a God, it refuses to worship him. Indeel, it leads directly to Atheism. The first of the champions of this cause admitted the being of a God, and the obligation of his creatures to worship him ; while later advo. cates sncer at the latter, and even hesitate about the former. Does not this show that it is the high road to Atheism ! It is surely higlily reasonable that, if the Lord bc God, we shonld worship hin.
* See Leland's Dcistical Writers, and Boling broke's Works.