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erto He has helped me. The last week completed fifty years since my ordination.
The lives of all your ministers have been unusually prolonged.-Only four in number, the joint term of their services has been more than one hun dred and sixty years, and that of the two last more than one hundred and fifteen. Even during the period of my residence among you, the changes as. to God's ministering servants in this vicinity, have been numerous and great. The Fathers, where are they; and the Prophets, do they live forever. Among the pastors of the neighbouring parishes, only one survives, who is my senior ; while several of the referred to parishes have their fourth minister. And to return within our parochial limits, the
and of death, are not less perceptible. Since my residence among you, the deaths have been more than fourteen hundred and fifty, averaging about twenty-nine annually. The greatest number in any one year, was sixty three, and the least, sixteen. In later years, the deaths during the period of childhood and youth, have not been as numerous as formerly ; being however, proportionably increased among those more advanced in life. The nature of prevailing diseases, has also surprisingly changed. Pulmonary complaints, especially, which thirty or forty years ago formed an awful besom of destruction, are now much more rarely known. When I was ordained
there were within the limits of the society, about eighty individuals, who had passed the alloted age of man; while now, there are not much more than half that number. This statement is the result of actual calculation, and not a deception arising from the fact, that the preacher has himself grown old.-There are but two families, which were in family state fifty years ago, both of whose heads now survive.
I have lived to follow most of your parents to the grave; and scarcely a house do I
your streets, where I have not been repeatedly called to mingle my griefs with those of mourning relatives. I feel myself to be now standing in the midst of a new generation—a generation whom I should esteem and love, if for no other reason, for the freindship and kindness which I experienced from their fathers. Your fathers were my friends—they bore with the infirmities or greater faults of my youththey ministered to my comfortable support—they listened to my well meant advice and admonition, and they rendered me happy by their dying blessing.
It is a fact known to some of you, that when I first came to reside here, there were two seceding congregations, considerably numerous, and regular in their meetings for social worship. Both of these have been, for many years, extinct; and a very considerable proportion of their members, after return
ing back to us, proved some of the most respectable and useful members of the church. They forgot the past, and manifested but one heart to do all the good they could to our common Zion. At the present time, those who attach themselves to the other religious denominations, are not numerous; nor is there any thing existing between us and them, which savours of bitter envying and strife.
But while gratified with the thought of that increased harmony as to religious sentiment and practice which subsists among us, I cannot but acknowledge the great unhappiness I feel, in having so long labored among you, with no greater success. Too much reason have I to adopt the prophet's complaint, and say, “I have labored in vain and spent my strength for nought, for Israel is not gathered.” But though I am thus compelled to lament that my labors have not been more blessed among you, sensible of the infirmity which has attended them, I would humbly trust that I do not deserve your censure for negligence in the performance of my official duty. Between the duties of the study, and the calls of more active ministerial service, my past life has not been one of indolence. It might have been more grateful to you, and certainly it would have been a pleasure to me, to have spent more time in parochial visits ; but the candid mind can need no apology from me, but to be reminded of the wide extent of this parochial field of
labor. In regard to my public ministrations in the sanctuary, I trust I stand equally excusable in your view; and,what is a vastly more momentous concern, as I would humbly hope, in the view of my infinite employer. I have endeavored at all times to reprove, rebuke and exhort with all long suffering and doctrine. I have studied to feed you with the pure milk of the word, that you might grow thereby—to open full to your view the wounds of our awfully depraved nature--to direct you to Jesus, who is truly God, and the only physician of souls -to convince you that nothing short of the divine and irresistable spirit, is competent to break up the fallow ground of the heart, and that to the same spirit you must be indebted, for growth in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. This has been my unvarying line of address; and though I fear, that not a few of my hearers have failed to be savingly benefitted by it, yet I would fain persuade myself, that it has been made the power of God for the salvation of some souls.
I do not recollect a single year of my ministry without some hopeful instances of awakening and conversion. “In the shaking of the olive tree, two or three berries have been found in the top of the uppermost bow ; four or five, in the outmost fruitful branches thereof." At three seasons, more especially, sanguine hopes were excited that the! ord
was about to work wonders on our behall. But though painful disappointment, to a degree, formed out the result, still it will be remembered with gratitude in regard to each of them, that it proved the occasion of very considerable increase to the church. In thus mentioning the increase of the church as an evidence of God's mighty working, I would not be understood to intimate that it is a sure and certain criterion, in any instance, and more especially in this place. Probably, we have those, who occasionally croud themselves within the limits of the fold, who have no right to be there; yet with regard to this congregation, I have always apprehended that a greater number have forborne to profess Christ before men, who have been prepared by divine grace to eat and drink worthily at the sacramental feast. Various causes have conspired to produce this result; not the least of which, has been a belief firmly entertained by a number of venerable fathers in our church, long since in their graves, and from them handed down and impressed upon their descendants and others, that the hope which casteth out fear, is indispensible to the christian profession; in the place of that more diffident hope, which is not less subservient to piety and a holy conversation. The fact cannot be questioned, that the number of our communicants is very disproportionate to the size of the congregation. Comparatively few show a practical regard to either of the sacra