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Title: A funeral sermon for the Rev. Joseph Kinghorn - preached in St. Mary's Meeting-house, Norwich, on Sunday afternoon, September 9th, 1832
Author: Alexander, John L.
Language: English
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Transcribed from the 1832 Wilkin and Fletcher edition by David Price.

        _The Mourning Congregation reminded of the Work of their_
                           _Deceased Minister_.

                                * * * * *

                             A Funeral Sermon
                        THE REV. JOSEPH KINGHORN,

                               PREACHED IN

                   ST.  MARY’S MEETING-HOUSE, NORWICH,


                  SUNDAY AFTERNOON, SEPTEMBER 9TH, 1832.

                            BY JOHN ALEXANDER.

                                * * * * *

                                * * * * *

                     “THE MEMORY OF THE JUST IS BLESSED.”

                                * * * * *

                                * * * * *


                                * * * * *


                               THE AUTHOR.


                       II Peter, chap, i, verses 12–15.


THESE words, my brethren, are impressively suitable to the present
solemnity; especially when you consider that, if the life and health of
your beloved pastor had been prolonged till to-day, he would probably
have made them the subject of his own discourse.  Having been engaged,
for some time past, in preaching a course of sermons on some of the
Epistles, he had proceeded in his expositions as far as the eighth verse
of this chapter; and, by this time, perhaps, he would have addressed you
on the following verses, including those of our text.  He would, in that
case, have enforced upon you the duty “to give diligence to make your
calling and election sure;” and he would have encouraged you to do so by
the promise, that “if ye do these things ye shall never fall; for so an
entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting
kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.”  But whatever intentions
or expectations he might have formed respecting future sermons, they have
all been frustrated by the stroke of death.  Instead of urging upon you
the performance of this duty by his living voice, he now admonishes you
from the grave.  Instead of animating your minds by this “exceeding great
and precious promise,” he now enjoys the fulfilment of it himself, in all
its richness and perpetuity; and instead of attempting, with mortal lips,
to describe to you the glories of that “everlasting kingdom,” he has had
ministered unto himself “an abundant entrance” into its celestial
palaces, where all the inhabitants are made “kings and priests unto God.”

The duty and the promise, to which I have referred, are immediately
followed by the words of our text, which, on this occasion, we may,
without impropriety, adopt as his own language.  They were indeed
practically the language of his life and ministry; and on this, or on
some early sabbath, had his life been spared, they would have been made
the subject of his discourse to you in this place of worship.  They were
evidently the motto which he adopted at the commencement of his ministry;
and during the whole course of his labours among you, it was his
endeavour that the doctrines which he preached might be retained in your
remembrance, not only during his lifetime, but also after his decease.
And often has he said to you, verbally in his discourses, and virtually
by the conduct which he pursued in his life and ministry, “I will not be
negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye
know them and be established in the present truth.  Yea, I think it meet,
as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in
remembrance; knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even
as our Lord Jesus Christ hath shewed me.  Moreover, I will endeavour that
ye may be able, after my decease, to have these things always in
remembrance.”  His own remarks on this passage would probably have
included the language of _determination_ and _anticipation_; ours alas!
must include principally the language of _reflection_ and _remembrance_.
Let us therefore consider the work in which he was engaged, the decease
by which it has been terminated, and the remembrance of it which it now
becomes you to cherish.  Let us consider,


The work of a minister of the gospel, as intimated by the apostle, is to
remind his hearers of the various and important truths which the gospel
of Christ contains; for he determines to put them “always in remembrance
of these things,” and “to stir them up by putting them in remembrance.”

The “THINGS” to which the apostle here refers are evidently the various
doctrines, and exhortations, and blessings, which he has recorded in the
preceding parts of this chapter; and which, in the third verse, are
emphatically called “_all things that pertain unto life and godliness_.”
They are the “grace and peace,” which is multiplied to all the partakers
of “precious faith”—the “promises,” which are “exceeding great and
precious”—the influences by which we become “partakers of the divine
nature”—the Christian graces, which include “faith, virtue, knowledge,
temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, and charity”—the
admonitions by which we are warned lest we lack any of these things, and
exhorted to give all diligence to secure them—and the motives and
prospects which are presented to us, full of constraining and inspiring
energy, “for if ye do these things ye shall never fall; for so an
entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting
kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.”

Such, my brethren, is the beautiful and comprehensive view, which the
apostle gives us, of the doctrines, and promises, and influences of the
gospel of Christ, and such is the evidence which he affords that it
contains “all things which pertain unto life and godliness, through the
knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue,” and by whose
precious blood and efficacious grace we are redeemed, and sanctified, and
saved.  To make these things known, for the conversion and salvation of
the guilty and depraved, is the great work of the Christian _preacher_,
to whom is committed the word of reconciliation, and who beseeches men to
be reconciled to God.  And to “stir up” the minds of those who know these
things already, and are established in the present truth, in order that
they may have them always in remembrance, is the peculiar work of the
Christian _pastor_, whose office it is “to feed the church of God which
he has purchased with his own blood.”

In the verses before us, the apostle directs our attention, however, more
particularly to _the manner_ in which, as a minister of the gospel, he
endeavoured to discharge this work; and the several statements which he
has made are so strikingly descriptive of the ministerial labours of your
own pastor and teacher, that I proceed at once to connect them with the
work in which he was engaged.

In the first place, he endeavoured to discharge his work DILIGENTLY.  “I
will not be negligent,” says the apostle—and the man who undertakes to
watch for the souls of others, and yet neglects them, is of all men the
most criminal in his conduct now, and will be of all men the most
miserable in his condition hereafter, when their blood is required at his
hand.  How mercifully clear from this awful charge is the character and
conduct of your lamented pastor.  “I will not be negligent,” was his
motto and his determination every day of his life.  It is true that he
was endowed with intellectual capacities of a superior order, which
enabled him, with considerable facility, to acquire languages and to
collect stores of general knowledge; but he was always endeavouring to
accumulate and improve; and, distinguished as he was by natural talents,
he was equally distinguished by his aversion to negligence, and by his
laborious and conscientious diligence.  His habits, in this respect, had
become so matured and confirmed, that he was as diligent in the fortieth
year of his ministry, as he was in the first; and was pursuing, with all
his heart, his inquiries into the great subjects connected with the
gospel ministry, till he was smitten by the stroke of death.  “In common
life,” says he, in one of his printed sermons, “we consider it a shame to
a man not to understand his business, and surely it is a shame to a man,
who appears as a minister of Christ, not to be well versed in that
knowledge which is intimately connected with the whole of his ministerial
labour.”  Influenced by these considerations, _as a Christian_ he “gave
diligence to make his calling and election sure;” living by faith on the
Son of God, adding to his faith every Christian grace, wrestling with God
in prayer, and crucifying the flesh with its affections and lusts, lest,
having professed and preached the gospel to others, he himself should be
cast away.  _As a student_, he meditated on these things, and gave
himself wholly to them; daily searching the Scriptures in their original
languages, and always having before him some object of inquiry and
pursuit, which he investigated with a degree of devotedness and curiosity
which remained as diligent and as prying in his age, as it had ever been
in his youth.  And, _as a minister_, he was diligent to know the state of
his flock, and in making such studious preparations for the pulpit as
enabled him always to feed you with knowledge and understanding.  It was
this diligence, which gave to all his social conversations, and
especially to all his public discourses, a peculiarly instructive
character; so that you might “know these things, and become established
in the present truth.”  You, my beloved friends, have not been accustomed
to receive from your minister that which cost him nothing to procure.
His sermons on the Lord’s day, were not the extemporaneous effusions of
the moment, nor the hasty accumulations of the Saturday evening, which
when delivered were “full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”  They
were fraught with instruction, because they had been previously prepared
with diligence and prayer: and you have listened to many of his
expositions on the epistles, and to many of his courses of sermons on
particular subjects, which shewed that he was “a scribe well instructed
in the kingdom of heaven, who brought forth from his treasure things new
and old.”  These discourses had been previously written with great
neatness and care, most of them too at considerable length: and he once
acknowledged to a friend that, to the constant practice of writing his
sermons, he owed what degree of accuracy they might possess when
delivered.  And it was this diligence that doubled his life: for if life
is to be measured, not merely by years, but by labours and acquirements,
it will appear that he lived twice the sixty-six years of some persons,
and thereby enjoyed the fulfilment of the promise, “it shall be well with
thee, and thou shalt live long upon the earth.”

Secondly, he endeavoured to discharge his work IMPRESSIVELY.  The apostle
says that he repeated the things which pertained to life and godliness,
in order to “stir up” the minds of those whom he addressed, and thus to
excite and to persuade them to cherish every christian grace, and to
perform every christian duty.  It is of essential importance that the
doctrines which a minister addresses to his hearers, should be “the truth
as it is in Jesus”—the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
But even truth itself may be presented to the mind in such a way as make
no “stir” in its energies or emotions.  The matter may be good, but the
manner may be so destitute of spirit and life, as to render every sermon
an illustration of the scripture maxim, “the body without the spirit is
dead, being alone.”  This, you are aware, my brethren, was not the
character of Mr. Kinghorn’s preaching.  It was deeply impressive.  It was
full of “thoughts that breathe, and words that burn.”  It exhibited all
the force of his intellect, combined with all the fervour of his heart,
so that every sermon which he preached resembled “the sea of glass which
was mingled with fire.”  The impressive and spirit-stirring influence
which his preaching was calculated to produce, may however be traced to a
variety of circumstances.  For instance, he endeavoured to stir up your
minds, _by the plain and practical character of his discourses_.  Persons
who live at a distance, and who judge of Mr. Kinghorn merely by his
literary fame, or by his controversial writings, may perhaps suppose that
his sermons were learned disquisitions and doubtful disputations.  This
was by no means the case—and though he could appear, and on suitable
occasions did appear, as the profound scholar, and the skilful
reasoner,—yet, however he may be estimated elsewhere, by those who knew
him not, those who have been accustomed to associate with him in this
city, and to sit under his ministry, knew him as the plain and practical
preacher of the gospel, whose dress, and domestic economy, and manners in
the parlour and in the pulpit, were simple and unostentatious, and whose
one object it was to win souls to Jesus Christ.  “It is the duty of the
Christian minister,” and I am quoting his own words, “to exert himself,
as far as he is able, that what he says may be intelligible and plain;
and that, from the manner in which he delivers it, it may be impressive.”
{9}  He endeavoured to stir up your minds also, _by the point and force
with which he directed his appeals to your consciences and hearts_; so
that he met you at every turn, he compassed your path at every step, he
pursued you into every avenue, and it seemed impossible to escape from
his close and searching admonitions.  His object was, not to polish his
style so as to gain your admiration and applause, (he had no taste for
that), but to point every sentence till it became like a two-edged sword,
quick and powerful, which pierced to the dividing asunder of soul and
body, and discerned the very thoughts and intents of your hearts.  He
endeavoured also to stir up your minds, _by the earnestness and
impressiveness of his manner_.  Though he was with you during a longer
time than Moses was with the Israelites in the wilderness, yet “his eye
was not dim, nor was his natural force abated.”  He retained even to old
age, much of the vigour and vivacity of his youth; and those who have had
the opportunity of comparing together the earlier and the later periods
of his ministry, are of opinion that the sermons of the last few years
were more earnestly and impressively delivered, even than those which
preceded.  He no doubt felt increasingly the value of the gospel, as a
source of holiness and happiness on earth, and as revealing and bestowing
a life of eternal blessedness in heaven; and therefore, in proclaiming
that gospel to you, he became increasingly earnest and fervent both in
his feelings and in his manner.  His heart was anointed with a holy
unction which diffused its fragrance over all his feelings and his words,
and his eyes often became “fountains of tears” when he spoke of the hopes
which the gospel inspires, and when he told the enemies of the cross that
their end was destruction.  And when, on such occasions, his voice broke,
(and it sometimes did with tremulous impressiveness,) a burst of holy
eloquence was sure to follow, which thrilled, and subdued, and
overwhelmed.  But we must not omit to notice, that he endeavoured to stir
up your minds, _by the simplicity and piety of his life_.  And without
this, his talents, his literature, and his eloquence, would have been of
but little avail, for all his public labours would have been neutralized
by his practical inconsistencies.  But we all knew him and venerated him
as a man of God.  The doctrines which he preached in the pulpit were
written in his life; and he was not only a preacher of Christ to his own
congregation, but also “an epistle of Christ known and read of all men.”
In the course of his religious experience, he had indeed passed through
paths of darkness, and had contended with doubts and difficulties, such
as but few Christians are called to endure.  But, through the mercy of
God, they served ultimately only to strengthen his faith and to confirm
his hope—they gave him “the tongue of the learned, so that he knew how to
speak a word in season to him that was weary”—and they chastened and
humbled his mind under a deep conviction of human ignorance and
imperfection, and of the necessity and value of that grace without which
we are nothing, and can do nothing.  Under the influence of that
all-sufficient grace, his own character was formed and his own mind was
excited, so that he was enabled to stir you up by his holy example, as
well as by the simplicity, and point, and impressiveness of his
preaching, that you might have these things always in your remembrance.

Thirdly, He endeavoured to discharge his work PERSEVERINGLY.  The apostle
determined to put them “_always_ in remembrance of these things”—he
thought it meet to stir up their minds _as long as he was in this
tabernacle_,—“yea!” says he, “I will endeavour that ye may be able, after
my decease, to have these things always in remembrance.”  And this part
of the apostle’s language is equally descriptive as the former of the
determination and the conduct of our departed friend.  Though his mind
was highly speculative, though his curiosity was as young and prying at
sixty as at twenty, and though, “through desire, he sought and
intermeddled with all wisdom,” yet how steady, and straight forward, and
persevering, was the course which he pursued.  Whilst many by whom he was
surrounded have diverged, some to the right hand, and others to the left,
he kept on the even tenor of his way—professing neither to be a dreamer
nor an interpreter of dreams, neither a prophet nor a prophet’s son, but
a disciple and a minister of Jesus Christ, whose duty it was to give
himself wholly to the great things of the gospel, and to endeavour to
pluck sinners as brands from the burning.

This, my brethren, is not to be considered as a full delineation of your
beloved pastor’s general character.  I have not attempted that, but
merely to give you a brief sketch of the work in which he was engaged,
and of the manner in which he endeavoured to discharge it.  Still it may
be sufficient to remind you of the _diligence_, the _impressiveness_, and
the _perseverance_ by which you knew him to be distinguished, and of your
obligations to that power and grace which endowed him with these mental
and moral qualities, and which induced and enabled him to consecrate them
all to your service in the gospel of Jesus Christ.  He was from first to
last, a sinner saved by grace.  It was Christ alone who inspired his
intellect, and formed his character, and redeemed his soul—and I honour
the servant for the sake of the Master who made him what he was.  For if
such was the character of the minister, what must be the character of the
Master!  If such was the workmanship, what must be the skill and power of
the architect himself!  “Not unto us, O Lord, but unto thy name be the
glory for what thy servants are.  They have no glory in this respect by
reason of the glory that excelleth in thee—for of thee, and through thee,
and to thee are all things, and unto thee be glory for ever.”

Having thus considered the work in which, as a minister of the gospel, he
was engaged during his life, let us now proceed to the second part of our
subject, and consider,


The apostle Peter, whilst engaged in his labours, and whilst declaring
the manner in which he would endeavour to pursue them, says, “Knowing
that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus
Christ hath showed me”—and by so saying, he probably refers to the
prediction which had been addressed to him by Christ, and which John has
recorded in the last chapter of his gospel.  “Verily, verily, I say unto
thee, when thou wast young, thou girdedst thyself and walkedst whither
thou wouldest; but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thine
hands and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest
not.  This spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God.”
The decease which was thus foretold, and which the apostle anticipated in
our text, was soon afterwards realized.  The earthly house of his
tabernacle was dissolved amidst the pains of martyrdom, and he entered a
building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.  A
similar event has now befallen your beloved pastor.  The putting off his
tabernacle had long been the subject of his anticipation; it is now
become the subject of his experience.  His body has returned to the dust
whence it was taken, and his spirit is gone to God who gave it.

His decease had been mercifully preceded by a long life of health and
labour, and more than sixty-six years had elapsed from his birth to his
departure.  Some of the former of those years were connected with
occasional attacks of sickness, which sometimes led him to expect an
early grave; so that at the time of his ordination, upwards of forty
years ago, he said to his father, “you are come to ordain a dying
man”—and subsequently to that period, he was once visited with a severe
and alarming illness.  Nor is it improbable that these occasional
admonitions of his mortality were the means, under the blessing of God,
of producing much of that seriousness of spirit by which his mind was
pervaded.  Still, his was a life of comparative health, and when I
visited him during the week in which he died, he told me that, till then,
he had not been kept out of his pulpit by illness for a single sabbath,
during a period of twenty-eight years.  His last illness, as you are
aware, was confined to one short week.  It commenced on the evening of
Saturday, August 25th, and concluded in his death, on the evening of the
Saturday following—yet it is probable that the fever which at last
consumed him, had, for some time previously, been accumulating its
exhausting fires.  His illness was so short, and of such a nature, as to
afford scarcely any opportunities of conversation with him in order to
ascertain the state of his mind—indeed those around him little expected
that death was so near at hand.  This, however, is a circumstance on
which we reflect with no feelings of anxiety.  His soul, and all its
eternal interests, had long been committed to the Saviour.  For him to
live had been Christ; for him to die was gain.  During nearly twelve
hours before his departure, he was apparently inattentive to every
surrounding object.  His body and his mind seemed to be in a state of
perfect peace.  Not a word was spoken—not a limb stirred—not a symptom of
pain appeared.  The tide of life gently and silently ebbed away, till at
length his breathing ceased, and his countenance faded into the paleness
of death,

    Calm and unruffled as a summer’s sea,
    When not a breath of wind flies o’er its surface.

To himself—“thanks be to God who gave him the victory”—death was preceded
by no terrors, and accompanied by no sting.  Its bitterness was past
before it was tasted, and he felt “the bliss” without “the pain of
dying.”  It has indeed terminated his labours, which he pursued with deep
and increasing interest and delight.  It has terminated his accustomed
intercourse with earthly scenes and earthly friends.  It has terminated a
life to which he naturally and instinctively clung.  But it has not
terminated the existence of his spirit, nor its communion with God, nor
its conformity to his image, nor its joy in the light of his countenance.
Oh, no!  He is absent from the body, but he is present with the Lord.  He
is gone to the spirits of the just made perfect.  He has renewed his
communion with many of the members of his church, which death had for a
while suspended.  He is with Watts, and Doddridge, and Fuller, and Ward,
and Hall, and “the general assembly and church of the first born” in
those celestial mansions, where all is perfection, and harmony, and love.
He is in the pursuit of knowledge with ampler capacities and ampler means
than any he possessed on earth.  And, above all, he is with
Christ—surrounded by the light and glory of his presence—sitting at his
feet to receive knowledge and joy from his instructions, and deriving,
from the fountain of his mercy, degrees of happiness as large as his
desires, and as lasting as his immortality.

But whilst his decease has thus been productive of perfect and eternal
blessedness to himself, it has been productive of mourning and bitterness
to you.  The voice which has often instructed, and admonished, and
comforted you, is now silent in the dust.  The heart which was so full of
kindness, and which yearned over you with such paternal anxiety and love,
has ceased its beatings.  The eyes which beamed upon you, and wept over
you with unutterable tenderness, are extinguished in the grave—and you
are “sorrowing most of all that you shall see his face no more.”  Some of
you have lost the companion of your youth, with whom, for more than forty
years, you have taken sweet counsel, and walked to the house of God in
company.  Some of you have lost a father in Christ, whose instrumentality
first awakened you to a conviction of your guilt and danger, and then
calmed your fears and soothed your agitations, by directing you to the
Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.  All of you have
lost a wise and affectionate friend, who was able to advise you in
difficulty, to sympathize with you in sorrow, and to comfort you with the
consolations with which he was comforted of God.  And, by this sad
stroke, I too have lost a father and a brother, with whom, for more than
fifteen years, I have associated in this city, and to whose example and
kindness I owe much as a minister of Jesus Christ.  We have often
conversed together freely on many subjects, even on those in which we
differed in opinion—and all my intercourse with him has only served to
increase my admiration of his talents, my veneration of his piety, and my
desire to be like him in diligence, and impressiveness, and perseverance.

As it is probably expected that I should give you a brief history of the
deceased, I present you with the following sketch before I proceed to the
concluding part of the discourse:—

The Rev. Joseph Kinghorn, the youngest child of David and Elizabeth
Kinghorn, appears to have been born in Newcastle, Northumberland, on the
17th January, 1766.  His father was, from about four years after the
birth of his son, pastor of a small congregation of baptists in Bishop
Burton, in Yorkshire, where he remained till he and his venerable partner
came to reside with him in this city.  Their son was in early life
engaged in the employ of Messrs. Walker, Fishwick, and Co., of Newcastle,
manufacturers of white lead; and whilst there he became a member of the
baptist church.  His qualifications for public usefulness were soon
recognized by his brethren, with whose concurrence he was sent, at the
joint expense of Mr. Ward and Mr. Fishwick, to enter on a course of study
in the Bristol Academy, under the care of Dr. Caleb Evans, the divinity
tutor, and of the Rev. Mr. Newton, the classical tutor, who was succeeded
in that office by the Rev. Robert Hall, a short time before Mr. Kinghorn
left the academy.

At the close of his studies Mr. Kinghorn visited Fairford, in
Gloucestershire, and preached there for some time as a candidate for the
pastoral office, but was prevented from settling among them by an
unwarrantable suspicion, entertained by some of the people, respecting
his orthodoxy, which appears to have harassed his mind and injured his
health.  At that time his friend, Mr. Fishwick, happened to be in Norwich
on business; and, having been informed that the church here was destitute
of a pastor, he warmly recommended his young friend as a candidate; in
consequence of which, an invitation was sent from the church to Mr.
Kinghorn, requesting his services for a few weeks; and he arrived in
Norwich on the 28th March, 1789, and preached his first sermon here on
the following Lord’s day, March 29th, from Romans v. 10.—“For if when we
were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much
more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.”

Mr. Kinghorn’s immediate predecessor in this church, was the Rev. Rees
David, who served it with fidelity and usefulness for eleven years, when
he was cut off by a fever, in the February of 1788.  The high degree of
regard which Mr. David enjoyed, from the integrity of his character, his
zeal for the cause of religion and of civil and religious liberty, and
from the energy and power of his preaching, rendered it no small
difficulty to obtain a successor acceptable to the destitute church; and
though a minister of considerable talents had been supplying the vacant
pulpit for some months after Mr. David’s death, yet opinions respecting
him were so much divided, as to bring the congregation into a very
uncomfortable state.  It was at this crisis that Mr. Kinghorn arrived;
and though much enfeebled and distressed when he came, yet in the society
of the late Mr. and Mrs. William Wilkin, he found the consolations of a
sincere and delicate friendship, and by frequent visits to their country
residence, he soon regained the tone both of his body and mind.  In after
life he testified his sense of obligation to their kindness, by accepting
the charge of their young and orphan children, over whom, as you well
know, he watched with affectionate and parental care.

After having preached in Norwich for several sabbaths, he received an
invitation from the church to become its pastor, which he accepted in
January, 1790.  On the 20th of the following May, he was ordained to the
pastoral office; on which occasion the Rev. Zenas Trivett commenced the
service; his father, the Rev. David Kinghorn, gave the charge, from 1
Timothy, iv, 13.—“Give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to
doctrine;” and the Rev. Mr. Richards, of Lynn, preached the sermon to the
church and congregation.

Under his ministry, the congregation having increased in numbers and
respectability, it was determined to pull down the old meeting house; and
sums of money, sufficient for the erection of a new place, having been
liberally subscribed by the people, the present place of worship was
erected, and opened for divine worship, on Thursday, June the 25th, 1812;
on which interesting occasion, Mr. Kinghorn preached in the morning from
Psalm xc. 17; and the Rev. William Hull, in the evening, from Psalm xcv,
1, 2, 3.

In the later period of his life, he had the happiness of being again
united to his aged parents, and of comforting their declining years; for
when circumstances rendered it necessary for his father to resign his
pastoral charge, the venerable pilgrims came to this city, as Jacob
journeyed to Egypt, to see the prosperity of that son from whom they had
been separated for so many years.  You know how tenderly he fulfilled
towards them every filial duty, how anxiously he watched over them, and
how carefully he supplied their necessities.  And when he had closed
their eyes, and had given directions concerning their remains, you well
remember how he addressed to you the affecting declaration, “_I am now
loosened from every earthly tie_, _and have no other care but you_.
_Henceforth __you_, _the members of this church_, _shall be my brother
and my sister_, _my father and my mother_.”

Having given you this brief detail, we now proceed to consider,


Your own minister’s anxiety and endeavour during his life, like that of
the apostle’s, was, that after his decease, you might have these things
always in your remembrance.  Still, it is not merely an intellectual
remembrance of these things which it becomes you to cherish.  You may
remember every text from which he preached, and every sermon he has
delivered, and yet neither be sanctified nor saved by their influence.
Nor can you be saved by keeping in memory the things which you have
heard, unless you remember them with faith, and experience, and practice;
“for if ye know these things happy are ye if ye do them.”  Permit me,
therefore, earnestly and affectionately to address to you the following

In the first place, you should cherish the remembrance of these things by
BELIEVING the gospel which he preached.  There are some of you, my
beloved friends, whose minds I fear still need to be stirred up to the
remembrance of the things that belong to your peace.  The endeavours of
your departed minister, diligent, and impressive, and persevering, as
they were, have failed to awaken in your hearts the feelings of penitence
and faith.  Some of you have, perhaps, for many years, sat under the
sound of that gospel which during every year has been to you “the savour
of death unto death.”  Throughout the whole course of his ministry you
are the persons who occasioned his keenest anxieties and his bitterest
disappointments; for so far as you were concerned he seemed to labour in
vain, and to spend his strength for nought.  Yet he warned, and exhorted,
and admonished you to the last; and it should be to you, day and night,
an awful and awakening remembrance, that the very last text from which he
preached, {21} was the subject of a sermon emphatically addressed to you;
the last which he addressed to you on earth, were, perhaps, the first
which he repeated concerning you at the bar of God.  Ah! my brethren,
were it possible for any thought to disturb his peaceful breast in
heaven, it would be the recollection of the state of guilt and
impenitence in which he has left you on earth—it would be the thought
that now perhaps you and he are separated for ever.  And shall this be
the case?  Can any of you—can you, my dear young friends, bear the
thought that you may have bidden an eternal farewell to your faithful and
paternal minister?  Will you, who have procrastinated till his death, not
have these things in your remembrance now, after his decease?  When there
is joy in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, shall he never be told
that angels are rejoicing over you?  And will you not from this time, and
from the grave of your deceased instructor cry unto God, “My Father, thou
art the guide of my youth?”  My dear brethren, whether you be young or
old, “behold now is the accepted time, behold now is the day of
salvation.”  To-morrow may be too late for ever; and if you delay, the
remembrance of these things may be stirred up in your minds by the worm
that dieth not, and by the fire that never shall be quenched.  But if you
wish to have these things in your remembrance now, go, by faith and
prayer, to that Redeemer, whose gospel and whose minister you have
hitherto neglected.  Go to him with all the guilt and condemnation which
that neglect has contracted.  Go, as the prodigal went, with the feeling
of penitence in your heart, and the confession of penitence on your
lip—and whilst you are yet afar off, he will behold you with compassion,
and run, and fall on your neck, and embrace you, and exclaim, “This my
son was dead and is alive again, he was lost and is found!”

Secondly, You should cherish the remembrance of these things by ADHERING
to the gospel which he preached.  For as it respects you who have,
through grace, believed the gospel which he preached, his endeavour was
that, after his decease, you might have these things ALWAYS in
remembrance—and the Lord grant that his joy concerning you may be
fulfilled.  There are, I doubt not, many persons, once blessed with the
ministry of our beloved friend on earth, who are now his companions in
the skies; and of whom he has said already, “Behold here am I, and the
children thou hast given me.”  And there are, I trust, many now present
who will be “his hope, and his joy, and his crown of rejoicing in the
presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming.”  You, my dear brethren
in the Lord, can no longer enjoy the living instructions of your revered
pastor, but it becomes you, as members of his church, to have the things
which he once taught you always in remembrance.  Adhere steadfastly and
perseveringly to the doctrines, and to the spirit, and to the practice of
the gospel of Jesus Christ, “by pureness, by knowledge, by
long-suffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned.”
Imitate your deceased minister’s excellencies, and avoid his
imperfections.  Endeavour to equal him—endeavour to surpass him in all
that is holy, and just, and good.  Above all, let the same mind be in you
which was in Christ Jesus; and repose, with unshaken confidence, on that
grace which is sufficient for you, and on that strength which is made
perfect in your weakness.  You are now in circumstances such as require
all the sympathy and consolation that the gospel can supply.  Your
minister is a corpse—the house of God in which he has been accustomed to
meet you is become his sepulchre—and all your future meetings will be
held around his grave.  May the God of mercy be your comforter.  May all
the grace and tenderness which fills and flows from HIS heart who wept at
the grave of Lazarus, flow into your own.  And when you begin to look out
for a successor to your deceased pastor, may you be directed to one who
shall appear among you clothed with his mantle, and blessed with a double
portion of his spirit.  In all your future intercourse with each other,
and in all your social meetings for devotion or for the business of the
church, I beseech you, by the mercies of God, to adhere always to the
gospel of Christ.  Never lose the praise which you have in other churches
of the saints, by destroying peace among yourselves.  LET BROTHERLY LOVE
CONTINUE.  Let each individual among you determine, for the sake of
Christ and of his people, to cherish it in his own heart and to exhibit
it in his own conduct, and then its fragrance will perfume and bless the
church.  “It will be like the precious ointment on the head of Aaron,
which went down to the skirts of his garments; and like the dew which
descended on the mountains of Zion, where the Lord commanded the
blessing, even life for evermore.”  “Jehovah bless you and keep you.
Jehovah cause his face to shine upon you, and be gracious unto you.
Jehovah lift upon you the light of his countenance, and give you peace.”

Finally, You should cherish the remembrance of these things by
CIRCULATING the gospel which he preached.  This also, my brethren, was
one of the things which your minister endeavoured that you should have in
your remembrance after his decease—for the ready and efficient assistance
which he gave to many of the religious institutions in this city—the
efforts which he made to extend the gospel in the county—and the
laborious zeal with which he endeavoured to promote the interests of the
Baptist Missionary Society—all shew how desirous he was to advance the
kingdom of Christ in the world.  Go you, my brethren, and do likewise.
Never become weary of labouring in the cause of Christ.  And remember,
for your encouragement, that though the priests are not suffered to
continue by reason of death, though ministers of the gospel are as mortal
as their hearers, and though all flesh is grass, there is, nevertheless,
one thing stable and eternal in the midst of this moving and this dying
world—and this one thing is, “the word of the Lord, that endureth for
ever.”  The church lives, though the pastor dies.  The church must
increase, though he has decreased.  One generation shall pass away and
another generation shall succeed, “till time and nature dies.”  But
during all this mortality and change, “Jesus Christ is the same
yesterday, to-day, and for ever,” and his word shall have free course and
be glorified, till it cover and crown the world, and till the kingdoms of
this world shall become the kingdoms of our God and of his Christ, and he
shall reign for ever and ever.  “Then cometh the end, when he shall
deliver up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put
down all rule, and authority, and power.  For he must reign till he has
put all enemies under his feet.  The last enemy that shall be destroyed
is death.  Thanks be to God who giveth us the victory through our Lord

                                * * * * *

                                 THE END.

                                * * * * *

             _Preparing for the Press_, _by the same Author_,

                               A COURSE OF

                       SHORT SERMONS FOR FAMILIES,

                            TO BE PUBLISHED IN

                     WEEKLY NUMBERS, AT A PENNY EACH.

                                * * * * *

                                * * * * *

                          _October_ 5_th_, 1832.


{9}  See “Two Sermons addressed principally to the students of the two
Baptist Academies at Stepney and Bristol,” entitled “Advice and
Encouragement to young Ministers;” and “The substance of a Sermon
preached at Bradford,” entitled, “Practical Cautions to Students and
young Ministers.”  All of which are well worthy the attentive perusal of
students and of young ministers of every denomination.

{21}  Jeremiah, xxxv, 14.

*** End of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "A funeral sermon for the Rev. Joseph Kinghorn - preached in St. Mary's Meeting-house, Norwich, on Sunday afternoon, September 9th, 1832" ***

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