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AN EVENING SONG.
« AUTHOR of life, with grateful heart
My ev'ning song I'll raise ;
Exceed my highest praise,
What shall I render to thy care,
Which me this day has kept? A thankful heart's the least return,
And this thou wilt accept,
Now night has spread her sable wings,
I would the day review ; My errors nicely mark, and see
What still I have to do,
What sins, or follies, hely God,
I may this day have done,
For pardon through thy Son,
This foolish waste forgive;
May I begin to live !"
THE great ends of Christian Biography are instruction and example. By faithfully describing the lives of men eminent for godliness, we not only embalm their memory, but furnish ourselves with fresh materials and motives for a holy life, It is abundantly more impressive to view the religion of Jesus as operating in a lively character, than to contemplate it abstractedly. For this reason we may suppose the Lord the Spirit has condescended to exhibit first and principally, the life of Christ ; and after his, that of many of his eminent followers. And for this reason, he by his holy influences stili furnishes the church with now and then a singular example of godlie ness, which it is our duty to notice and record. There can be no reasonable doubt that the life of Mr. Pearce ought to be considered as one of these examples. May that same divine Spirit who had manifesti v so great a hand in forming his character, teach us to derive from it both instruction and edification !
First, In him we may see the holy efficacy, and by consequence, the truth of the Christian religion It was long since asked, Who is he that overcometh the world, but he who believeth that Jesus is the Son of God? This question contained a challenge to men of all religions, who were then upon the earth. Idolatry had a great diversity of species: every nation worshipping its own gods, and in modes peculiar to themselves : philosoa phers also were divided into numerous sects, each flattering itself that it had found the truth : even the Jews had their divisions; their pharisees, saducees, and Essenes : but great as many of them were in deeds of divers kinds, an apos
ile could look them all in the face, and ask, Who is he that overcometh the world? The same question might sately be asked in every succeeding age. The various kinds of religions that still prevail; the pagan, mahometan, jewish, papal, or protestant, may form the exteriors of man according to their respective models ; but where is the man amongst them, save the true believer in Jesus, that overcometh the world ? Men may cease from particular evils, and assume a very different character; may lay aside their drunkenness, blasphemies, or debaucheries, and take up with a kind of monkish austerity, and yet all amount to nothing more than an exchange of vices. The lusts of the flesh will on many occasions give place to those of the mind; but to overcome the world is another thing. By embracing the doctrine of the Cross, to feel not merely a dread of the consequences of sin, but a holy abhorrence of its nature ; and by conversing with invisible realities, to become regardless of the best, and fearless of the worst, that this world has to dispense ; this is the effect of genuine Christianity, and this is a standing proof of its divine original. Let the most inveterate enemy of revelation have witnessed the disinterested be nevolence of a Paul, a Peter, or a John, and whether he would own it, or not, his conscience must have borne testimony that this is true religion. The same nay be said of Samuel Pearce : whether the doctrine he preached found a place in the hearts of his hearers or not, his spirit and life must have approved itself to their consciences.
Secondly, In him we see how much may be done for God in a little time.--If his death had been fureknown by his friends, some might have hesitated whether it was worth while for him to engage in the work of the ministry for so short a period : yet, if we take a view of his labours, peror haps there are few lives productive of a greater portion of good. That life is not always the longest which is spun out to the greatest extent of days. The first of all lives amounted but to thirtythree years ; and the most important works pertaining to that were wrought in the last three. There is undoubtedly a way of rendering a short life a long one, and a long life a short one, by filling or not filling it with proper materials. That time which is squandered away in sloth or trifling pursuits,forms a kind of blank in hunian life: in looking it over there is nothing for the mind to Test upon ; and a whole life so spent, whatever number of years it inay contain, must appear up. on reflection short and vacant, in comparison of one filled up with valuable acquisitions, and holy actions. It is like the space between us and the sun, which, though immensely greater than that which is traversed in a profitable journey, yet being all empty space, the mind goes over it in much less time, and without any satisfaction. If • that life be long which answers life's great end,' Mr. Pearce may assuredly be said to have come to his grave in a good old age.
And might we not all do much more than we do, if our hearts were more in our work. Where this is wanting, or operates but in a small degree, difficulties are magnified into impossibilities ; a lion is in the way of extraordinary exertion ; of if we be induced to engage in something of this kind, it will be at the expense of a uniform atten ion to ordinary duties. But some will ask, How are our hearts to be in our work ? Mr. Pearce's heart was habitually in his ; and that which kept alive the sacred flame in him appear's to have been,-The constant habit of conversing with divine truth, and walking with God in private,
Thirdly, in him we see, in clear and strong colours, to what a degree of solid peace, and joy
true religion will raise us, even in the prescrit world.- A little religion, it has been justiy said, will make us miserable, but a great deal will make us happy. The one will do little more thati keep the conscience alive, while our numerous defects and inconsistencies are perpetually furnishing it with materials to scourge us : the other keeps the heart alive, and leads us to drink deep at the fountain of joy. Hence it is, in a great degree, that so much of the spirit of bundo age, and so little of the spirit of adoption prevails among Christians. Religious enjoyments with us are rather occasional, than habitual ; or if in some instances it be otherwise, we are ready to suspect that it is supported in pari by the strange fire of enthusiasm, and not by the pure flame of scriptural devotion. But, in Mr. Pearce, we saw a devotion ardent, steady, pure, and persever ing ; kindled, as we may say, at the altar of God, like the fire of the temple, it went not out by night nor by day. He seemed to have learnt that heavenly art, so conspicuous among the primitive Christians, of converting every thing he met with into materials for love, and joy, and praise. Hence he' laboured,' as he expresses it, to exercise most love to God when sufe fering most severely;' and hence he so affectingly encountered the billows that overwhelmed his feeble frame, crying,
« Sweet a fiction, sweet affliction,
Singing as I wade to heaven.' The constant happiness that he enjoyed in God was apparent in the effects of his sermons upon others. Whatever we feel ourselves we shall ordinarily communicate to our hearers ; and it has been already noticed, that one of the most distinguishing properties of his discourses was,-that they inspired the serious mind with