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SECXVIL. The following is, we believe, a correct list of his
acknowledged publications. :;' 1811.
1. Sermon at Harvard, 4 July, 1794.
fourth number of the Christian Monitor, with the pray
ers annexed to each discourse.. 13. A selection of psalms and hymns, embracing all the
varieties of subject and metre, suitable for private de
votion and the worship of churches. 12mo. 1808. 14. Sermon at the ordination of Rev. Mr. Clark, Bur
His father was son of Rev. Joseph Emerson and Mary his wife, daughter of Rev. Samuel Moody of York. The following extract from an obituary notice of his early death is dated
"Concord, Nov. Ist 1776. On the morning of the Lord's day, the 20th of October last, died at Rutland, on Otter creek, the Rev. Mr. William Emerson, pastor of the church of Christ in this town, in the 35th year of his age. His zeal for the liberties of his country, which appeared from the beginning of the present troubles, animated him to accompany his brethren in the reinforcement lately sent by this state to our army at Ticonderoga, as chaplain of a regiment. But the hardships, to which he was exposed, soon overcame his delicate constitution, and brought on the symptoms of a bilioùs fever ; which, when he had proceeded a few miles on his return, attacked him with greater violence, and prevailed, until his Lord called him from the labours and sufferings of this life to receive his reward."
GOOD MEN ALWAYS DESIRE THE PRESENCE OF GOD.
DELIVERED AT FIRST CHURCH, BOSTON, 17 JULY, 1808, THE DAY,
OF LEAVING THE PLACE OF WORSHIP FOR A NEW EDIFICE.
BY WILLIAM EMERSON, THE PASTOR.
Exod. xxxii. 15.
We have arrived, my brethren, at so noticeable a period in the history of our church, that I was unable to restrain myself from addressing you, on the singular occasion. For sufficient reasons, and, I hope, for our own and the common benefit in time to come, we are about to abandon this house, which, for ninety-five years, has been used, as a place of worship. In resigning it to a ruin, which, in a few years, would, in spite of all our exertions, inevitably have overtaken it, and which, in a few years more, will creep over all terrestrial things, we are naturally led to review the records of our society. We feel a strong inclination to recur to the days of our fathers, and trace the most memorable passages in their christian pilgrimage. This duty I had proposed to myself, in looking forward to the day, which we now behold. An unforeseen, and, to me, awful dispensation of providence however, in suspending the exercise of my ministry, seemed to cover this purpose, and all my other purposes, with a veil of darkness. But that God, whose province it is to heal as well, as to wound, is prolonging a life, which was apparently destined to immediate waste. May it be in mercy to my and your souls ! Blessed God! “ If thy presence go not with me, carry me not up hence !" If thy pleasure may not prosper in my hand, take away utterly that life, which thou hast so severely threatened ! For thy favour is life, and thy loving kindness is better than life. Nevertheless, O God, not my will, but thine be done !
Since then it seems to be the will of heaven, that I should resume my pastoral labours, I cannot, I say, deny myself the pleasure of putting you in remembrance of the divine conduct, towards this church, in former generations, and of imploring, with you, the divine presence in our contemplated removal. It will hardly deserve the name of a discourse ; and, were not my situation perfectly well known, I should sit in silence with you, and meditate on the desolation hastening upon these hallowed walls. But I cast myself on your candour and kindness, which, in most instances, have exceeded my expectations, and my deserts in all.
The words, which I place at the head of my discourse, were spoken in an address to God by the hebrew legislator. On his way from Egypt to Canaan with the israelitish tribes, he was favoured of Jehovah with frequent interviews. The Deity is said to have conversed with him “ face to face, as a man talketh with his friend.” He was directed what course to pursue, when to travel, and where to rest. A cloud by day, and a fire by night, were tokens of the divine presence, and formed the guidance and consolation of the journeying Jews.
Moses had now received the ten commandments from the mouth of Jehovah. During his stay in the mount however, the rebellious disposition of the people broke forth, in a request to Aaron, that he would make them a god to go before them. At this unpardonable instance of infidelity, the anger of the Lord was justly kindled, and he said to Moses, “ Depart, and go up hence, thou, and the people, which thou hast brought up out of the land of Egypt ; and I will send an angel before thee ; for I will not go up in the midst of thee, for thou art a stiff-necked people, lest I consume thee in the way. And when the people heard these evil tidings, they mourned, and no man did put on him his ornaments.” As for Moses, he was overwhelmed with sorrow. Though innocent himself of the great transgression, he was yet alive to its dangers and consequences, with respect to the people ; and as much,as he censured their folly, he was determined to share in their fate. He interceded for their salvation, and could not endure the thought of being deprived of the conduct of Jehovah. Irksome, as was a precarious residence in the wilds of Arabia, and pleasing, as was the prospect of resting in the land of Canaan, he was willing to renounce the last, and endure the first, rather than lose the protection and presence of the Lord. “And he said, if thine own presence go not with us, carry us not up hence.”
The spontaneous prayer of any pilgrim to a better world ! Yes, good men always desire the presence of God. As they love what is excellent, so they desire to be intimately acquainted with the source of excellence. They have no relish for worldly advantages, if they cannot be enjoyed with the presence of God. Offer them power, and they reject it ; wealth, and they despise it ; pleasure, and they loathe it, if these goods are not; to be possessed, except at the expense of their integrity, and their religious principles. They will not violate the laws of God to obtain the favour of man. They will not inhabit the most fruitful soil, and under the happiest skies, and in the most magnificent buildings, if they must be confined to the company of the wicked, and deprived of the institutes and instructions of religion. Virtuous men, from the beginning of the world, have manifested a disposition to separate themselves from the workers of iniquity, and put themselves under the protection of heaven..
This trùth might be illustrated by numerous examples in sacred history.
Abel had no sweet communion with his brother Cain, and Enoch preferred walking with God, in solitude, to mixing with the idolaters of his age. Noah sufficiently testified his desire for the presence of God, by seceding from the corrupt antediluvians, whom his preaching could not reform, and by building an ark for the salvation of his house. Abraham showed his regard for the divine presence, in renouncing his kindred and country, and seeking a habitation in a strange land. Isaac was under the influence of the same religious principle, and accordingly preserves himself and his