Cornelius B. (Cornelius Bradford) Everest.

Characteristics of a true minister of Christ : a sermon, preached at the funeral of the Rev. Joseph Strong, D.D. Senior Pastor of the First Church of Christ in Norwich, Conn. December 21, 1834 online

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Online LibraryCornelius B. (Cornelius Bradford) EverestCharacteristics of a true minister of Christ : a sermon, preached at the funeral of the Rev. Joseph Strong, D.D. Senior Pastor of the First Church of Christ in Norwich, Conn. December 21, 1834 → online text (page 2 of 2)
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a long life, an able and faithful minister of the gospel, and an in-
strument of advancing the cause of tha Redeemer in the world.

It is here worthy of remark, that the period from the ordi-'
nation of Dr. Lord to the death of Dr. Strong was 117 years.
It is indeed a fact of rare occurrence that two men, without
mentioning the period of joint labor, should occupy a station
so long, or that a church in this changing world should not
be destitute of a settled pastor a single moment during so
long a period. As our departed friend said with reference to
his predecessor, so your present pastor can say with reference
to him, both as to cordiality and length of time : " It is one of
the most pleasing recollections of my past life, that I was per-
mitted to serve with him in the gospel, as a son with a father ^
almost six years."

During this period, entire friendship and cordiality have ex-
isted between us. Nothing has transpired to mar our mutual
enjoyment. The speaker has endeavored to profit by this
aged father's experience, and to make the evening of his life
pleasant ; while he, I doubt not, has equally labored to pro-
mote the usefulness of his colleague.

The last time that he met with us in the house of God was
on the first Sabbath in January, 1833, when he took part in
the administration of the Lord's Supper. His prayers and ex-
hortations, flowing from the fullness of his soul, and pro*-
nounced with trembling lips, led us to feel that it might be, as
he said, the last time that he should meet us at the sacramental
board. As a patriarch, he commended us to God, and took
bis leave. From that period to his death he has continued
as before, humble and devout, patient and resigned under in-
firmities and trials, firm in bis attachment to Christ, and happy
in God. The close of his life, calm and bright, was like the
setting of a summer's sun.

Thus he died on the 18th of December, 1834, in the 82d
year of his age, and the 57th of his ministry ; leaving a wife
and three children, a numerous circle of relatives and friends^
a beloved church and congregation, to mourn his departure.
" And T heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write,
Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth j
yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors ; and
their works do follow them."


To the bereaved family and relatives, I am happy to impart
all the consolation in my power. I know, my friends, that you
weep and mourn. But few are as highly favored in life as you
have been — the widow with a husband, and the children with
a parent so kind and affectionate, so wise and fahhful, present-
ing through Ufe an example of unaffected politeness, of manly
virtue, of evangelical piety. The more and greater were his
excellences, the greater is your loss. But be truly thankful
that he has been to you so rich a blessing, and spared so long.
Realize that the Lord does all things right ; that though clouds
and darkness are round about him, justice and judgment are
the habitation of his throne. You may not sorrow even as oth-
ers which have no hope ; for if you believe that Jesus died and
rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God
bring with him. That endeared form, though deposited in the
grave, is not forever lost. He who is " the resurrection and
the life " hath abolished death, and brought Ufe and immortal-
ity to light through the gospel. Your friend will rise incorrupt-
ible and immortal, and wear in heaven a crown of righteous-
ness forever.

May the widow's heart enjoy the consolations of God,which
are neither few nor small. Casting her burdens upon the
Lord, may she be sustained by his arm of strength, and be en-
abled by victorious grace to say, " It is the Lord, let him do
what seemeth hmp^ood." 4.

May the chil(freriihave grace to become wise unto salvation.
May the Lord' BS»their friend and everlasting portion. May
they be cheered by his presence, protected by his arm, and ta-
ken at last to heaven.

Brethren and friends of this church and congregation ! your
former pastor, who has long stood on these walls of, Zion, and
proclaimed the unsearchable riches of Christ, who feh that
your interests were his own, whose counsels and sympathies
you have enjoyed in the house of God and in your own dwell-
ings, has closed his labors. He has gone to unite with patri-
archs, prophets, and apostles, in the employments of heaven ;
he has gone to unite with him who was his predecessor and
venerable colleague in the ministry, and with those of his owa


dear flock whom the great Shepherd and Bishop of souls had
removed before him. But in what condition has he left you ?
Some are members of the visible church of God. With you
be has often communed at the Lord's table. He has counsel-
led you. He has wept and rejoiced with you. And though
dead, he yet speaketb. He calls upon you to be In readiness
to follow him into the eternal world ;. to be steadfast, unmovea-
ble, always- abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as
ye know: that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.

Bat it cannot in truth be said, that all who have set under
his ministry ' are truly piousv -Sjpme have rejected' the message
' which he delivered, and despised the' goodness and forbearance
of God. O what an account you must, render at the kst day,
when you meet him at the judgment-sear of Christ .' Unless
you become reconciled to God before you die, inevitable ruin
awatts you.

In addressing this church and people, I am constrained to
add that I feel a heavy load of affliction pressing upon me..
I have lost a father in the rainistiy, an intimate friend, my ven-
erable colleague. '■ My father ! my father ! the chariot of
Israel, and the horseman ^thereof."

Fathers and brethren in the ministry! This subject is one of
ilo ordinary importance to us. And the Providence of God,
in connection wkh it, speaks in deep, impressive tones. Are
we faithful to declare the whole coubse|:o^^^^.and in the
spirit and manner which he requires ? ^D^^H^ra^ the great
apostle Paul, as he copied Christ, reali^n^^^^^pisssponsi-
bility is high, that our time is short, ffekt we mS^Jmeet our
hearers at the bar of God ? 'While fe^ indeed are permitted
to rfmam as long as our departed friend in the field of labor,
many are.^t down in the midst of their 'usefulness, and re-
moved frdfcft the church and the world. It becomes us to keep
our hearts with all diligence, and count not our lives dear to
us, so that we may finish our course with joy, and the ministry
which we have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel
of tiie grace of God. Motives, awful aaeternity, urge us to be
faithful. O, may we be approved and accepted at last, as true
mintsiert of Jesus ! *. '


Online LibraryCornelius B. (Cornelius Bradford) EverestCharacteristics of a true minister of Christ : a sermon, preached at the funeral of the Rev. Joseph Strong, D.D. Senior Pastor of the First Church of Christ in Norwich, Conn. December 21, 1834 → online text (page 2 of 2)