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is, that they may obtain the means, not of pleasing themselves, but of relieving the distresses and saving the souls of their fellow-men.
On the present occasion, brethren, you have doubtless often turned your thoughts to our departed friend, as one who exemplified that Christian benevolence, which I have endeavoured to inculcate. He did indeed exemplify it, and, compared with most of his contemporaries, in a remarkable degree. I well know that the community, so far as they have proper
information, will confirm the truth of what I say. And I am persuaded, they generally have such a sentiment on this subject, that they will not easily be satisfied, unless some public testimony is given to the benevolence, the usefulness, and the piety of that beloved man, whose death has filled so many hearts with sorrow.–The name of MOSES BROWN cannot be pronounced, and, for these forty years, has not been pronounced, without respect and love. I might here delightfully expatiate upon
many estimable traits of his character. I might say, that for more than half a century, in which he was engaged in acquiring and using property, his reputation for integrity and honour was unsullied ; that it was his uniform principle, to seek no advantage to himself, which would prove injurious to his neighbour ; that he neither countenanced vice, nor neglected, on suitable occasions, to reprove it ; that he was eminently a peace-maker, exercising, with singular success, the spirit of conciliation. I might speak of the sweetness of his temper ; of the control he maintained over his passions ; of his sincerity as a friend ; of his attractive and generous hospitality ; and of the happy combination he possessed of the domestic virtues. I might say, that through a long life he manifested a lively interest in whatever concerned the welfare of society, of the church, and of the world ; that while he was raised, by his wealth, and the worth of his character, to hold so respectable a place in society, he was totally averse to splendour and show ; that he scrupulously avoided all needless expense, and set an example of plainness and economy, which, if generally copied by the rich, would save enough to rescue ten thousand families from distress, and to send the gospel to all the nations of the earth. But on these attributes of his character I can not enlarge. I had a particular object in view, and to that I shall chiefly confine
remarks. Moses Brown was born in Newbury, Oct. 2, 1742. By unceasing diligence, and the exercise of uncommon judgment and forethought, with the blessing of divine providence, he rose from small beginnings to the possession of a large estate. But he was not, like most other successful merchants, so immersed in his worldly business and cares, and so occupied with his schemes for the acquisition of wealth, as to be neglectful of the wants and sufferings of the poor. He remembered what it was o be poor ; and through all the years of his prosperity, he cherished a tender and generous sympathy for those who were placed in that condition from which divine providence had raised him up. Many a time did he, from the mere kindness of his heart, exercise a forbearance towards his debtors, which occasioned him the loss of what was justly his due. And many a time, especially in the latter part of his life, did he relinquish valuable claims upon individuals, not because they had nothing to pay him, but because they could not pay him without reducing themselves to straits.
It would be impossible to record the various forms and instances of his kindness to families and individuals in want. The benevolent actions, to which I now refer, are known in a measure to those among whom he lived. But they are fully known to God only And I trust, that when they are brought to view from the records of Omniscience, our departed friend will recollect, with holy thanksgiving, that divine grace which excited him to perform them, and will know the glorious import of what the God of mercy hath said: Blessed is he that considereth the poor.
But these charities to the poor did not satisfy the heart of this friend of man. He did not follow the steps of those rich men, who engage a little in the more private details of charity, and there stop. His having devoted so much of his substance to the ordinary objects of charity, seems evidently to have had an influence to enlarge his heart, and to prepare him to contribute to higher and nobler objects.
My lot, as a minister of the Gospel, was cast seven miles from his residence. In compliance with a particular request, I had the pleasure of meeting him, together with another friend, now living, and one more, now I trust in heaven, to consult respecting the establishment of a THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY. It was twenty years ago. The subject of a THEOLOGICAL INSTITUTION was then new to us, and new to the public. The conversation of that happy evening will be one of the last things to fade from my memory. But it was not conversation merely. The honoured friends of whom I speak, were not men of words, but of business. And, feeling their obligations to God, who had given them their estates, they then entered on the plan of founding a Seminary for the education of pious youth for the Ministry. And that dear man, who is now silent in death, freely offered his ten thousand dollars for this momentous object. For though he was a man of but ordinary education, and had been incessantly engaged, from early life, first in mechanical, and then in mercantile labours, and though he had never thought himself worthy to be numbered with the followers of Christ ; he had a mind large enough to understand the importance and necessity of such an establishment, and a heart to give liberally of his honest treasures to promote it. That timc
appears like yesterday. Every word, and look, and tone of voice is fresh in my recollection. The readiness, the simplicity, the generous kindness, with which our departed friend offered his aid, cannot be described; though, by those who knew him, it inay easily be conceived. He merely said, It is a great object; I will give ten thousand dollars to begin with; and more afterwards. He redeemed his pledge; for he was always a nursing father to the Seminary, and after various smaller donations, and one of a thousand dollars, he gave, a few years since, twenty-five thousand dollars to found a new Professorship. Besides all this, he promoted, by generous contributions, the various religious charities of the day. And it was a remarkable trait of his character, distinguishing him from most others, that even after he came to be an old man, he could readily enter into any new plans of benevolence, however different they might be from those to which he had been accustomed. Such was THE AMERICAN EDUCATION SOCIETY, which he regarded from the beginning, as a worthy object of his patronage, and to which, at the commencement of his last sickness, he contributed a thousand dollars to found a permanent scholarship. Such too was TI!E AMERICAN SOCIETY FOR THE PROMOTION OF TEMPERANCE ; the formation of which he welcomed, with all his heart ; as it coincided perfectly with his own settled principles and habits, and the sober results of long observation. To this Society he made a donation of five hundred dollars. He previously contributed five hundred dollars for the benefit of GREENVILLE COLLEGE, Tennessee; and fifteen hundred to the town of Newburyport, when it was visited with a destructive fire. By his last Will he bequeathed six thousand dollars to be kept as an increasing fund, till it should be adequate to the perpetual support of a public Grammar School in Newburyport; and one thousand dollars to THE HOWARD BENEVOLENT SOCIETY.
You perceive that our honoured friend did not copy the example of some rich men, who retain all their property with an iron grasp, as long as life remains, and then, by Will, give away something, because they can hold it no longer themselves. He made a liberal use of his estate while he lived, -while in health, while engaged in business,--and while capable of enjoying the satisfaction of seeing the good resulting from his charities.
But the crowning excellence of his character was religious principle. His humility, and devotion, and conscientious regard to duty, were manifested by his life. He loved the strictness of evangelical truth, the holy doctrines of revelation. Never was there a man who seemed to think less of himself: who was farther from making any claims upon the divine favour, or indulging any hopes of heaven on the ground of his good works, though few men ever had more of these than he. But they were all of no account with him in the affair of justification before God. In this
respect he regarded them as of no value, and looked for salvation, where every child of Adam must look,—to the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world; and trusted wholly in His atoning blood for forgiveness and eternal life. His character had long been such, that the Christian community would have rejoiced to welcome him to the Lord's table. But from this he was deterred by his extreme self-distrust, and by his impression, which was probably not altogether correct, of the nature of the Ordinance, and of the necessary qualifications of those who ought to be admitted to enjoy it. But the heavy afflictions, with which it pleased God to visit him a few years since, in the death of his amiable partner, and his only child, and to which he bowed with silent meekness and submission,—were evidently the means of producing greater decision and maturity of Christian character, and preparing him for greater enjoyments. In consequence of this he was induced to unite himself with the church of Christ by a public profession. I am free to express my wish that he had done it long before, and my sober conviction, that he committed a serious mistake in neglecting it, and that he thus deprived himself of some of the best means of growing in grace, and preparing for the presence of Christ in heaven.
And now, brethren, when we review the whole subject, and fix our eyes on the character of the beloved man who has lately been removed from us to another world ; we cannot but be impressed with the littleness and insignificance of wealth, devoted to selfish, wordly purposes. Oh! it is all nothing-worth-base-contemptible; as the death-bed and the day of judgment will show. We honour the poor man, who cheerfully gives a few shillings to promote the cause of his SAVIOUR. But the man who possesses riches, and who lives and dies, in an age like this, without giving any considerable portion to benevolent and pious objects, has no honour from God, and deserves none from man. He sinks himself, and his name, and all his riches, into utter contempt. And though he
may leave a large estate to his heirs, he leaves no blessing of God with it. But blessed, for ever blessed, are they, whose hearts are warmed with divine love, and who cheerfully devote their substance and themselves to the glory of God.
II. Cor. v. 17.—If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature.
It is not uncommon for men, in the darkness of apostacy from God, to imagine that there is no great difference of character between saints and sinners : that since Jesus Christ has died, and the Holy Ghost been sent down from Heaven, men can become interested in the blessings of salvation without experiencing any great moral change. But the testimony of God is, “ If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature ; old things are passed away ; behold all things are become new.”
What does this mean? In a plain scriptural manner to answer this question, will be my object in this discourse.
I. If any man be in Christ he has a new God.
Such is the nature of the human soul that it must have a God; an object of supreme affection. It cannot exist in the rational exercise of all its powers without loving some object supremely. This, in the language of the Bible, is its God. And the character of the soul is determined by the character of its God.
Before the apostacy, man loved Jehovah supremely. the father of lies, came into Eden, and told our first parents, that if they would eat of the fruit which God had forbidden, they should be as gods. He did not say that this would glorify Jehovah, or benefit