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Full text of ""Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright; for the end of that man is peace." A discourse on the occasion of the death of James Elliot, delivered in Jackson, Miss., Feb. 4, 1844"

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Boston Public Library 

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Delivered in Jackson, Miss., February 4, 1844. 













Delivered in Jackson, Miss., February 4, 1844. 









APR 12 \mo 


T. K. & P. G. COLLINS, 



" Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright: for the end of that man is peace."— 

Psalm xxxvii. 37. 

It is for no mere purpose of human eulogy, that we assemble 
here to-day. We come not into the house of mourning simply 
to pay a tribute of respect to the character of a friend, or drop a 
tear of sympathy over the memory of a brother, however lovely 
may have been his life, however peaceful his death, and however 
bright the example of virtue which, both living and dying, he 
displayed amongst us. No ; if this were our only object, it would 
be as unprofitable to us as any services in which we may engage 
must now be useless to him ; if this were all, such a meeting as 
the present would be as unbefitting the sacred solemnities of the 
Sabbath as it would be repugnant to all the principles and feelings 
of our departed friend and brother. But it is with a different 
view that this occasion has been appointed, and let us hope it is 
with higher purposes that we are now assembled in the sanctuary. 

When one, whose education and sphere of action are such as 
to give him an extensive influence in society, and whose estab- 
lished character is such as to make that influence as salutary as 
it is extensive, is taken away in the midst of his usefulness, we 
who survive owe it to ourselves as individuals, to the community 
in which he lived, to the church of which he was a member, and 
to the rising generation of our country, to make the departure of 
such a man an occasion of good, by portraying the great principles 
of truth and righteousness by which his character was moulded. 
When a good man dies it devolves upon his survivors to per- 
petuate his influence, so that the good which he hath done shall 

not die with him. When a good man dies he leaves his cha- 
racter, as a sacred deposit, to his friends, and his influence, as a 
rich inheritance, to his country ; and we cannot better extend 
and perpetuate the influence of a good man, when he is gone, 
than by holding up his example before the youth of our country, 
for their careful^study and imitation. Although in doing this we 
must look beyond the character itself to the plastic and Divine 
hand which moulded it — although we must look beyond the mere 
man to the eternal principles of truth and virtue which made him 
what he was — yet it is when we contemplate those principles 
personified, developed in the life, and illustrated in the death of 
one whom we all knew^ and loved as a friend, and brother, and 
fellow citizen, that we behold them with a livelier interest, and 
cling to them with a stronger conviction. It is when religion 
teaches by her living examples that she gives us her clearest and 
most impressive lessons. 

There are two important results to be gained by the contem- 
plation of such examples. The first is our renewed conviction 
of the truth and excellence of the Christian religion. Examples 
of this kind show us that pure, spiritual, evangelical piety is still 
extant in the world, and that the Gospel of Christ is as powerful 
now in moulding the human character into its own likeness as it 
was at the beginning. As infidelity has no answer to make, no 
plea to offer against the evidence of a holy life, so there is no 
argument for the truth of religion more convincing than that 
deduced from the life and death of a genuine Christian. 

The other good result arising from the contemplation of such 
examples is the encouragement given to others to go and do 
likewise. When we see what religion could do for one of like 
passions, frailties and infirmities with ourselves — for one in the 
same walks of life, and with natural endowments similar to our 
own — for one who may have been our familiar friend, or relative, 
or fellow-citizen, we are ready to ask, "why may it not do the 
same for us?" When we witness the integrity of his conduct, 
the purity of his conversation, the serenity of his spirit, the 
humility of his life — when we stand by the couch of his suffer- 
ings and mark the triumph of his patience and fortitude — when 
in all his public and his private walks, around the fireside and in 
the streets, we feel the gentle uninterrupted flow of his cheerful- 

ness, his benevolence, his hospitality — when at last we visit him 
in the chamber where he meets his fate, and behold his death 
so beautifully characteristic of his life — and when, after he is 
laid to rest, we call to remembrance his virtues, and know that 
it was Divine grace which so adorned him, and rendered his 
name '* to memory dear, and dear to God," — then do ^ve go on 
our weary way of life, encouraged and resolved, saying, *' Let 
me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like 

It was doubtless with something like these important ends in 
view, that the King of Israel, in the 37th Psalm, after drawing a 
striking contrast between the righteous and the wicked, calls our 
attention to the portraiture of the good man in the memorable 
words of the text — " Mark the perfect man, and behold the 
upright: for the end of that man is peace." And with such 
objects in view, let us to-day contemplate the Christian character 
as it was so beautifully displayed in a living example which was 
here known and read by us all ; let us mark the footsteps, and 
gaze upon the lineaments, in life and in death, of that good man, 
that "perfect and upright man," who so recently went in and 
out amongst us, of whose wholesome counsels, of whose zealous 
labours, and of whose generous friendship we are now bereft as 
a church and as a community, but "who, being dead, yet 

In reading the Sacred Scriptures, it must not be forgotten that 
those terms and phrases which are applied in common to the 
Almighty and to man, must be taken in two different senses, 
according to their different applications; in an absolute or un- 
limited sense if they refer to him, in a comparative or subordi- 
nate sense if they refer to us. When power and wisdom are 
ascribed to God, the terms have obviously an absolute sense, 
denoting the highest possible power, and infinite, incomprehen- 
sible wisdom. But when man is called wise or strong, the words 
are used comparatively, meaning to ascribe to man some degree 
of power and wisdom. So when goodness, or perfection, or 
righteousness, or holiness is ascribed to God, it can be no 
other than absolute goodness, sinless perfection, spotless right- 
eousness, or infinite holiness, which is so ascribed. But when 
man is called good, or holy, or just, or righteous, or upright, 


or perfect, the terms are clearly comparative, implying the pos- 
session of these qualities in some degree, as compared with his 
fellow men. Absolute, sinless perfection belongs to God ; and 
in this absolute sense no man on earth can be called holy, 
upright, just, or perfect; but the very opposite is affirmed 
in the Bible. In this absolute sense David said, speaking of 
mankind, " I have seen an end of all perfection." In this 
sense our Saviour replied to one who addressed him as a man. 
" Why callest thou me good? There is none good but one, that 
is God." In this sense we hear Job saying, " If I justify myself 
mine own mouth shall condemn me ; if I say I am perfect, it 
shall also prove me perverse." In this sense we have the 
declaration of Solomon, "There is not a just man upon earth, 
that doeth good and sinneth not." In this sense the apostle 
John writes, "If we say that we have no sin we deceive our- 
selves, and the truth is not in us." In this sense we read more 
than once, that " There is none righteous, no not one." 

But there is a perfection which may be, and in the Bible is 
ascribed to man. It is a comparative goodness or perfection, 
derived from God as its source, and contrasted with the natural 
sinfulness of man. Thus, in this comparative sense, we read 
that "Noah was a just man, and perfect in his generation, and 
walked with God." In this sense the Almighty said to Abra- 
ham, "Walk before me, and be thou perfect." In this sense it 
is recorded of Job, "That he was a perfect and upright man, 
one that feared God and eschewed evil." In this sense Solomon 
said, "The path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth 
more and more unto the perfect day." In this sense our Saviour 
said to the young man who was rich, " If thou wilt be perfect, 
come and follow me." And to his disciples, "Be ye also per- 
fect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect," thereby requiring 
them to strive for some degree at least of that goodness or holi- 
ness which the Almighty possesses in absolute, infinite perfec- 
tion. In this sense the apostle Paul laboured "to present every 
man perfect in Christ Jesus." In this sense the people of God, 
both in the Old and New Testaments, are called holy, righteous, 
and perfect: and so says the Psalmist, "Mark the perfect man, 
and behold the upright: for the end of that man is peace." 
Thus, in the language of the Bible, the perfect man is not the 
man who is so wholly sanctified that he has ceased from sin, but 

the man in whom, by the grace of God, the principle of de- 
pravity has been so far counteracted that the new principle of 
holiness predominates, moulding the character and guiding the 
conduct into some good degree of conformity to the law and 
perfection of God. 

You perceive that this is a kind of perfection altogether dif- 
ferent from anything known or recognized as such in this world's 
philosophy. There is a creed current in our day amongst men of 
the world, made up partly of poetry, partly of religion, and partly 
of philosophy, but mostly of fiction, w^hich speaks much of per- 
fection. It descants eloquently on the unsullied purity and in- 
nocence of childhood, on the unfallen, angelic amability and 
generosity of youth, on the radiant beauty, the snowy whiteness, 
the immaculate excellence of human nature, on the sunshine and 
bright skies, and fair Arcadian fields, and ever blooming bowers 
of human happiness — on the inherent grandeur, dignity, high 
nobility, immortality, perfectibility, and almost divinity of human 
reason ; but this, you know, is not the perfection of the Bible. 
This is not the creed of any of its writers, nor the description of 
any of its characters. Nor was this the creed or the character 
of our departed friend and brother. He had attained to no other 
perfection, nor does the Bible ascribe any other to man than that 
which consists in recovery from sin, and which arises from Divine 
grace implanted in the human heart, and subduing its natural and 
inherent depravity. 

What, then, are the distinctive characteristics of the good man 
of the Bible, " the perfect man in Christ," as they are delineated 
in the Word of God, wrought in the soul by the Spirit of God, and 
exemplified in the life of every child of God ? With the Scrip- 
tures for our guide, let us mark and contemplate some of the 
most obvious traits. 

First of all, it may be mentioned, as a characteristic of the 
good man, that he takes the Word of God for his counsellor, and 
the law of God for his rule of action. He is one who believes 
firmly that " there is a God, and that he is the rewarder of them 
that diligently seek him." Whatever he may call in question, he 
has settled that point, as a truth, once for all. With equal con- 
fidence, he has settled it as a truth, never more to be doubted, 
that God has given to man a revelation of his will, containing a 


standard of all truth, a test of all excellence, a rule of all duty. 
If we hold these great truths as incontestable ; if we believe, as 
we must, from the most abundant proofs, that all nature around 
us is the workmanship of an almighty, all-wise, and beneficent 
Deity, and that the Bible is an authorized revelation of the cha- 
racter and will of that Deity, then it is manifest, that the fear of 
God and the knowledge of his will, as revealed in his word, must 
be the beginning of all human wisdom ; must lay the foundation 
for all correct moral character in man. It is as clear as the sun 
in the heavens, that virtue, wisdom, perfection or moral excel- 
lence in man, can be built upon no other true and enduring 
foundation than that which is laid in a correct knowledge of the 
character, and a conformity to the law of God. The law of God 
is to us the only sure and infallible standard of moral truth, the 
only sure and unerring rule of moral duty, the only sure and 
ultimate tribunal of right and wrong. 

Now the perfect man in Christ is one who has been brought to 
stand upon this foundation. And upon this safe and solid founda- 
tion he is building the house of his present and eternal happiness. 
Like Abraham of old, he not only believes in a God, and in a 
revelation of that God, but he believes that God has indeed 
spoken to him in the Word of truth ; he believes what God has 
spoken there, every word of it; and "it is counted to him for 
righteousness." Other men may see, or affect to see, nothing 
true and good, nothing divine and lovely in the Bible, but it is 
with no common interest that he opens and reads that venerable 
book. For him it contains wondrous things, and glorious things. 
It is no dead letter to him, but a living testimony; even the 
testimony of the living God. It is no dreadful, mysterious 
unknown handwriting on the wall, to harrow up his conscience; 
but a beautiful, gracious, heavenly message from God his Maker, 
God his Redeemer. It is not some huge, uncouth, obsolete 
volume, to be neglected and despised, buried in rubbish or 
covered with dust in a corner ; but his sacred treasured charter 
of life — eternal life. " It is a lamp unto his feet and a light unto 
his path." " He has chosen it as an heritage for ever." " The 
testimonies of the Lord are his delight, and in his law doth he 
meditate day and night." The Word of God is his constant 
counsellor ; the law of God is his infallible rule of action. 


He searches the Scriptures day and night as for hidden trea- 
sures : in them he has eternal life, for they testify of a Divine 
Saviour, who is the great source of life, spiritual and eternal. 
To them he goes for comfort in distress, for direction in per- 
plexity, for light in times of darkness, for support in affliction, for 
encouragement in adversity, for strength in temptation and for hope 
in death itself. They are the guide of his youth, the companion 
of his riper years, and the solace of his declining age. Rereads 
them by day, and meditates upon them by night, in order by 
them to mould his character to virtue, and regulate his walk and 
conversation amongst men. He entertains no principle of morals, 
he forms no opinion in philosophy, he adopts no doctrine of faith, 
he cherishes no sentiment in religion, he engages in no pursuit of 
life, until he has first consulted this great depository of truth, and 
tried them all by the touchstone of its instructions. Both in 
theory and in practice, he brings everything '' to the law and to 
the testimony," and if they agree not with these, it is because 
there is no truth in them. 

With such a man as this, holding such oracles of truth and 
wisdom as these, it is a matter of small concern to have his 
principles or his conduct tried by man's judgment. It is a thing 
of comparative insignificance to him to be either censured or 
approved by any human standards, seeing he has in his hands the 
word, the law, the judgment of his God. Tell me if it is not a 
sublime position which he occupies ? When for his creed, and 
his conduct, for every opinion and every practice, he has such a 
voucher as, " Thus saith the Lord," tell me if he may not then 
plant his foot as upon an everlasting rock .'' Tell me if he may 
not say, here will I stand fast, though the earth be removed, and 
though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea : here 
will I stand, for this is truth, though all else should prove to be 
false; here will I stand, for whatever else may be good or evil, 
right or wrong, the law of the Lord is holy, just and good for 
ever : here will I stand, for whatever besides may stand or fall, 
survive or perish, heaven and earth shall sooner pass away than 
one jot or tittle of God's word shall fail; here will I stand amidst 
all the changes of human opinions, amidst all the tumult of men 
and nations, amidst all the shifting schools and systems of 
human philosophy, amidst all the convulsions of the natural 


and the moral world, and all the powers of earth and hell shall not 
dislodge me from this sure foundation which is laid in Zion ? 

Men have sometimes boasted of their philosophy, as a suf- 
ficient standard of truth and duty. They have referred to the 
light of reason, or law of nature, to the code of honour, to the 
customs of refined society, or to the law of the land, as an ade- 
quate guide. But what need has the Christian to come down 
from the noble, elevated position which he holds, to occupy any 
inferior ground ? What need has he to abandon his divinely 
inspired, for any human guide ? What need has he to walk by a 
rush light, when he can have the glorious light of the sun ? 
Would you then aspire to the position and the character of the 
perfect man in Christ ? Would you be one whose life shall be an 
example to imitate, and whose end shall be peace? Go, then, like 
him, first of all, and take for the man of your counsel '^ the 
Bible, the whole Bible, and nothing but the Bible." 

In the life and character of our deceased friend, the truth of 
these remarks had a beautiful illustration. He recognized no 
standard of religious truth, and acknowledged no rule of religious 
duty but the Holy Scriptures; and these he had known, like 
Timothy, from his childhood. His early youth had been a veri- 
fication of the text — " Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse 
his way ? By taking heed thereto, according to thy Word." The 
prime of life and manhood with him had only added another 
example, to show that "the Scriptures are profitable for doctrine, 
for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness ; that 
the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all 
good works." The experience of his age was but a commentary 
on that of the Psalmist, " Oh how I love thy law : it is my 
meditation day and night. Thy testimonies have I taken as an 
heritage forever ; for they are the rejoicing of my heart. The 
law of thy mouth is better unto me than thousands of gold and 
silver." And when, at last, leaning on the rod and staflf of the 
divine Word, he was called to walk through the valley and 
shadow of death, in him was again fulfilled the promise — "When 
thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee ; and 
through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee ; when thou 
walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned ; neither shall 


the flame kindle upon thee. For I am the Lord, thy God, the 
Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour." 

Few men, even in the ministry, had a more accurate and 
extensive acquaintance both with the letter and spirit of the 
Scriptures; and perhaps no one was better able than he to dis- 
cern any deviation from the doctrine, or misquotation of the letter 
of God's Holy Word. This was the result, not merely of long- 
continued reading and study, in his mature years, but of that 
early discipline and committing of Scripture to memory, that 
thorough indoctrination in the standards of truth, that faithful 
catechising in the forms of sound words, and those religious 
habits to which he had been trained in his native land. To these, 
under God, more than to anything else, he owed the stamina of 
his character. And these, more than anything else, though it is 
now the fashion with some to decry them, are the means by which 
men are to be made ; the materials, and the only materials, out of 
which the human character can be cast in its highest, sternest, 
noblest mould. Born and educated in Scotland, a land above all 
others proverbial for its piety, for its uncompromising attachment 
to sound doctrine, its deep reverence for the Sabbath, and its 
widely diffused knowledge of the Scriptures; blest with pious 
Presbyterian parents, whose earliest care was to consecrate their 
offspring to the service of Jehovah, and whose highest ambition 
was to leave them the legacy of a godly example ; trained up 
under such counsels, to inhale from infancy the breath of 
parental prayer, to live in the very atmosphere of piety, under 
the very droppings of the sanctuary, in the green pastures and 
beside the still waters of salvation ; habituated thus, from youth, 
to the Scriptures and to the catechisms and ordinances of the 
Scottish Church, he was through life not only a creditable repre- 
sentative of his native land, and a worthy son of his pious an- 
cestry, but a signal and noble illustration of what pure primitive 
Christianity, in the form of Scottish Presbyterianism, could do 
for a man, and make of a man. 

It is the glory of Scotland, that she brings up her children in 
the nurture and admonition of the Lord, that she makes public 
provision for their instruction in his Word, that she places in their 
infant hands the confessions and formularies of a pure faith and 
a simple worship, that she pours into their opening minds the 


healthful influences of religious truth, that she nurses them, not in 
the lap of luxury and indolence, but of industry and virtue, and 
that, when she sends thera forth to other lands, though she has 
no patrimony of silver and gold to give, she sends them out with 
a better patrimony, even the patrimony of a Christian education, 
which cannot be lost by misfortune, which cannot be alienated by 
debt, which cannot be wasted by time. Though she cradles 
them amidst the rocks and snows and storms of a northern clime, 
though she casts their lot on a rugged soil and amidst w^intry 
winds, yet she w^akes their earliest slumbers with the voice of 
prayer, she soothes their hardships with the songs of Zion, she 
atones for the asperities of nature by the amenities of grace, and 
reconciles them to earth by instilling into their young hearts the 
knowledge and the hope of heaven. And wherever they wander 
over the wide world, unless they have become recreant to the 
memory of their country, the children of Scotland will still be 
characterized by their knowledge of religion and reverence for 
the Scriptures. In that knowledge and reverence thus obtained, 
we find the foundation of the subsequent conversion, the life of 
usefulness, and the Christian character of our departed brother. 
When, therefore, in him we mark the perfect man and behold the 
upright, we find that he is distinguished by his making the Word 
of God his counsellor, and the law of God his rule of life. 

The next leading and distinctive characteristic of the good man 
of the Bible, which must be marked, is his fearless integrity, his 
uncompromising moral principle. It is that principle which leads 
him at all times, and under all circumstances, to act from an 
abiding, conscientious sense of duty to God. The diversities of 
human character are as multiplied as the springs of human action. 
Some men act from impulse, others are driven on by ungovern- 
able passions and appetites, others again are impelled by the cool 
calculations of selfishness ; with some the love of pleasure, with 
others the desire of gain, and with others again the thirst for 
glory, is the main- spring of action. But the good man of the 
Bible, whatever may be his natural temperament, differs from 
them all in this, that the main-spring of all his conduct, the pre- 
dominant and living principle of all his actions, is duty to God. 
It is obvious that he who is always impelled by this motive of 
duty to God, must rise up at once to an integrity of character, 


which no human censure or applause can seduce, a strength of 
moral principle which no opposition can intimidate, which no 
flattery can undermine, which no self-interest can compromise. 

This characteristic of the good man is the natural result of 
that which was first mentioned, his constant study of the Scrip- 
tures. For, let a man have the words of inspiration always 
before his eyes, let him have the law of God ever stamped upon 
his memory, let him have, as he must have if the Bible be 
thus received and regarded, an abiding impression upon his 
mind of the presence and protection of the Almighty, so that 
whatever he does, and wherever he goes, by day and by night, at 
home and abroad, in public and in private, he shall feel that God 
is the unceasing spectator of all his deeds, and the unsleeping 
inspector of all his thoughts and feelings, and you perceive at 
once that he has the highest incentive to duty, the strongest safe- 
guard of virtue, and the noblest guarantee for correct, uncom- 
promising moral principle, that can be brought to bear upon the 
human soul. What can shake the integrity of a man, once fairly 
ensconced in such a citadel of strength, behind such a bulwark of 
defence as this ? Here is a motive to do right as powerful as it 
is lasting, as binding as it is universal. Neither the secrecy of 
solitude, nor the darkness of midnight, nor the applause of the 
multitude, nor the censure of the world, can destroy or diminish 
its perpetual and universal authority, when it has once taken pos- 
session of the soul. The man who cordially and fully adopts the 
Bible as his guide, who recognizes in every line of it the hand- 
writing of Jehovah, who believes in a Divine Omnipresence, 
there revealed, as fully as if the words, ''Thou God seest me," 
were written on the heavens over his head, will acquire a sterling 
integrity of character, as much above all others, as the fear of 
God is above all other motives. And such a character thus 
formed shall, one day, attain a position in the scale of moral and 
intelligent beings as immeasurably above that of the superficial 
worshiper of self and mere devotee at the shrine cf human 
honour, wealth and pleasure, as the heavens are above the earth. 
The fear of God will so cast out every other fear, that he who 
fears him aright shall have nothing else to fear : and a sense of 
the Divine approbation will so absorb every other and inferior 
good, that he who has this pleasure, can be blest even in the 


absence of all others. Let a man's mind be thoroughly imbued 
with the idea of an omnipresent and omniscient Diety, who is 
daily and nightly the observer, judge, and rewarder of all his 
conduct; let this great idea grow into a vivid, habitual, and last- 
ing impression, which shall go with him through all his hours of 
retirement, and all the cares of public business, and give a colour- 
ing to his very dreams; let this grand conception of an all-per- 
vading God become, as it were, his presiding genius by day and 
his guardian angel by night ; and do you not perceive that there 
must be a difference between such a man's character and that of 
others ? Do you not perceive, that a religious principle, founded 
on such a rock as this, must be a thing altogether purer in its 
elements and nobler in its rewards, than that of the world ? But 
if you have formed no conception of this vast difference, and 
have no consciousness of any such moral excellence in your- 
selves, still do not thereby conclude that none such exists ; for 
your want of observation or experience in this case, only proves 
yourselves, and not others, to be destitute of such virtue. Not- 
withstanding you may unfortunately be unconscious of any such 
feelings, still it is true that the good man of the Bible, who lives 
under an impression of the Divine presence, who aims to do right 
because it is pleasing to God, and to avoid doing wrong because 
he fears to sin against God, possesses a moral integrity which 
loses none of its beauty, because others may fail to appreciate it, 
which loses none of its efficiency where no human power can 
reach it, which loses none of its rewards where no human eye 
can see to censure or admire it. Its excellence, its authority, and 
its recompense are from God. And he who possesses them, may 
be said already to live in a new and nobler world. 

The perfect man in Christ, then, who takes the Scriptures for 
his guide, and a sense of duty to God for his motive, will aim to 
do right in all places and under all circumstances. It is true, he 
may sometimes fall short of his own elevated standard ; and when 
he does so, he is the first to perceive and lament his own errors, 
striving ever afterwards to avoid or rectify them. But, as a 
general rule, the main tenour of his life will, by the promised 
grace of God, be right. He will "do justly, love mercy, and 
walk humbly with his God," whether he has the co-operation 
and approbation of others or not. Though all men should prove 


perverse, he will not thereby conceive himself licensed or allowed 
to sin. If the multitude do evil, he will not, on that account, 
consider the claims of truth, virtue, honesty, justice, benevolence, 
humanity, honour, righteousness, and of God, as any the less bind- 
ing on himself. His integrity will not desert him in the hour of 
temptation, but will come forth like gold, seven times refined, the 
brighter and purer from the fire. In cases of perplexity he does 
not stop to inquire, '' will this be popular? is this expedient in 
the view of the public ? will the world approve or blame me for 
this?'' But the one question which he asks, and the only one is, 
*' Is it right — is it duty — is it the will of God ?" If there were not 
another man in existence who did right; if there were no human 
beings in the universe to praise or blame his conduct, the good 
man would still hold fast his integrity. As long as there is a 
God, whose favour is life and whose loving kindness is better 
than life, he would fear to sin ; saying with Joseph in the hour 
of temptation, " How can I do this great wickedness, and sin 
against God?" His religious principle is founded on the Divine 
existence, and earth and hell cannot overthrow it. This is the 
principle by which every Christian professes to be governed, 
and which, indeed, is possessed by every genuine Christian. 
Without this there is no true virtue, or morality, or religion on 
earth. It is the intention that constitutes the essence of virtue. It 
is the motive or end in view which makes the life and soul of 
religion. It is this thing, hidden from human eyes, but open to 
the eye of God, this thing, called motive, or purpose, or inten- 
tion, known only to the Almighty and the heart of the agent, 
upon which the Lord our Maker looks, as rendering all our ac- 
tions right or wrong, good or evil, in his sight. 

There may be a fashion of virtue, a species of morality, a form 
of religion, different from this, which passes current amongst 
men ; but it will not pass before God, because the w^rong inten- 
tion vitiates all its glory. Built upon a selfish human basis, hav- 
ing for its object a selfish human praise, it shall reap its appro- 
priate human recompense. Far be it from us to deny either its 
excellence or its reward. It may be good as far as it goes : it is 
better than nothing, infinitely better than vice : it passes current 
amongst men for at least as much as it is worth ; and verily it 


hath its reward. As it is of the earth, so its reward is earthly: 
as it looks not farther than this world, so this w^orld rewards its 
possessor. If it is called perfection in this world, with this world 
its perfection must have an end. Our objection to it is simply 
this, that it cannot stand before God and bear his scrutiny : it will 
be worthless in eternity. 

But the integrity of the Christian is of a style very different 
from this. As it comes from God, and relates to God, so with 
God it shall reap an eternal reward. Doubtless there are men 
who recognize no such distinction as this Doubtless there are 
some who acknowledge no standard of virtue and religion but 
utility. And such wall, no doubt, ridicule the idea of the ele- 
vated moral principle and integrity required by the Bible. But 
their reasoning on the subject is somewhat contracted. Because 
they are conscious of no such religious principle in themselves, 
because they have never yet acted from a high sense of duty to 
God, they profess to believe that no one else does, that self- 
interest rules alike in all hearts, and that but for the restraints of 
society, all men would be unjust, dishonest and selfish. But their 
mistake is that they make themselves the measure of mankind, 
and their own experience the disproof of the grace of God. For 
aught that appears to the contrary, it may be true enough that 
they are utterly devoid of this high and disinterested sense of 
duty to God, which the man of God professes. For aught that is 
known to the contrary, all unconverted men are destitute of this 
integrity, for this is the very thing which is received in conversion. 
But let no unregenerated man, arguing from his owm defective- 
ness, conclude that this elevated moral principle does not exist in 
those who have been regenerated. Let him remember that the 
perfect and upright man has been born again, and is a new 
creature in Christ. Let him mark the character, as delineated in 
the fifteenth Psalm. "Lord, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? 
who shall dw^ell in thy holy hill ? He that walketh uprightly, and 
worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart. He 
that backbiteth not with his tongue, nor doeth evil to his neigh- 
bour, nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbour. In whose 
eyes a vile person is contemned ; but he honoureth them that fear 
the Lord. He that sweareth to his own hurt and changeth not. 
He that putteth not out his money to usury, nor taketh reward 


against the innocent. He that doeth these things shall never be 

This second characteristic of the perfect man in Christ has 
seldom been more signally displayed, in a living example, than 
it was in the life of him whose death we now deplore. It 
seemed to be true of him, if it ever was of any man, that he 
always had the fear of God before his eyes, excluding every other 
fearj and subordinating every other motive. If a man's outward 
conduct be any test of his inward character, if a man's daily walk 
and conversation amongst his fellow-men be any true index of 
the soul, we have good evidence to believe that the one grand 
object, which with him predominated over every other cbject, 
was to do his duty to God, and live without sin. During all that 
painful and lingering illness of years which closed his earthly 
pilgrimage, and so warmly elicited the sympathy of all our hearts, 
his own constant care, his strongly expressed desire, his oft- 
repeated prayer to Heaven was, that he might spend his days, 
whether many or few, without sinning against God. What is 
duty? what is right? seemed to be the one great question which 
determined everything for him. It was one of the remarks of 
his last days, expressed to an intimate friend with all the energy 
of his character, and indicative of his high sense of duty and 
uncompromising integrity of purpose, that *' he could, feeble as 
he then was, without fear or hesitation, rise from his bed to 
perform any duty, to endure any pain, to make any sacrifice, 
which he saw to be according to the will of God." This was 
said with all that calm confidence and trust in God, which con- 
veyed an impression to his friend that he was a man, who, under 
a conviction of truth and duty, could have willingly marched to 
the cannon's mouth, or, like Abraham of old, have laid his only 
son or himself, as a ready sacrifice, upon the altar of his God. 

So settled was his purpose to do right, so implicit his adherence 
to the dictates of conscience, so firm his reliance upon God, that 
his piety was never known to assume the form of ecstasy, or 
ardour, or enthusiasm. It was not the piety of imagination, or of 
sympathy, or of animal excitement, or of superstitious credulity, 
but that kind of piety whose genuineness the world itself cannot 
deny, the piety of principle ; so conscientious, so uniform, so 
unshaken, that it seemed to have become the second nature of 



the man. It was, however, as he often expressed it, not nature 
at all, but the grace of God, ingrafted upon nature. He would 
not suffer any such moral excellence to be ascribed to himself, 
except as it arose from the implanting of Divine grace by the 
agency of a Divine Spirit. 

This firm, unflinching moral principle, arising from a conviction 
of truth and sense of duty to God, was evidently the main-spring 
of all his conduct, the secret clue to his whole character. For 
example, it was this that endowed him with an unusual degree 
of patience, resignation, and fortitude in suffering; those three 
Christian graces which flourish most in the school of affliction. 
To say that he did not murmur or complain, would be but faintly 
to state the truth : he never would acknowledge that he had the 
slightest ground of complaint, but triumphed and rejoiced under 
his sharpest sufferings, as one who felt that it was a privilege to 
suffer, because it was part of the appointed work which God had 
given him to do. And the last sentiment, which he uttered with 
his dying breath, in reply to the question, " whether he felt sup- 
ported in death ?" was — " O yes, surely we can afford to bear 
our sufferings, since Christ has borne so many of them for us." 
It was this that gave him a remarkable degree of candour, sin- 
cerity and consistency of character. As the heart is " deceitful 
above all things, and desperately wicked," so it would be wrong 
to predicate these qualities of any man in their absolute perfec- 
tion. But, perhaps, of few men could it be said with greater 
propriety, " Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile." 
It was because it was generally believed that he acted from a 
high sense of duty, that he always acted in keeping with his pro- 
fession, that his lips spoke out honestly and fearlessly the meaning 
of his heart, it was because of this impression, that men of all 
parties found in him a safe counsellor, and men of all creeds, a 
just and judicious friend. It was this that made him a man of 
great moral courage, decision and independence of character. 
Indeed it is difficult to see how a man, whose soul is fast anchored 
upon truth, and who acts from a high regard to the approba- 
tion of God, can be otherwise than brave, energetic, and inde- 
pendent. Rooted and grounded in the faith of the Gospel, and 
conscious of the reality of his own experience, he was never 
ashamed of his religious views, nor afraid to avow and defend 


them, at any time, under any circumstances, or before the face of 
any mortal. It is true that no man's moral courage can be known 
until it is tried, but if the impression which a man leaves upon 
the minds of his most intimate friends be any test, it is confidently 
believed that there was not a man in Christendom, who, had it 
been required, would have gone to the stake as a martyr to his 
religion more cheerfully than our deceased friend. When, 
therefore, in this example we *'mark the perfect man, and be- 
hold the upright," of the Bible, it is by his firm conviction of 
truth, his high sense of duty, his fearless integrity, and uncom- 
promising moral principle, that we find him distinguished from 
other men. 

Let us now pass to the consideration of another characteristic 
mark of the perfect man in Christ : and that is, his benevolence or 
disposition to do good to his fellow-creatures. The perfect and 
upright man, whose life and character we have been contemplat- 
ing, as modeled after the Bible, impressed with»the great idea of 
the Divine approbation, and governed by the high moral principle 
of duty, does not concentrate his feelings and exertions upon 
himself alone. He has other relations to sustain, besides those 
which he holds to God ; and his duty to God requires him to 
discharge with fidelity all those duties which arise from his 
social relations to man. God has not made him to be a hermit, 
either on earth or in heaven ; and for him to make himself one is 
as repugnant to the Bible as it is to nature. The God of nature 
and the Bible, who is the God of reason and common sense, has 
not given us a religion which requires any man to shut himself 
up, excluded from the world, in the caves and cloisters of monas- 
ticism ; or which permits his purposes, labours and affections to 
terminate in selfishness, though that selfishness should take the 
garb of devotion. Such a religion would be as unworthy of a 
God as it is unsuited to the nature of man : and the character 
formed upon such a model, would be as different from the per- 
fection of the Bible, as developed in the character of Christ, as 
benevolence is different from selfishness. The Christian religion 
is no narrow, partial, exclusive system, satisfied to be for ever im- 
mured in the heart of its possessor ; but, like its Divine Author, 
it goes forth on missions of love and mercy to all mankind. It 
is as diffusive as the air, as pervasive as the light, as bounteous 


as the dews of Heaven. It must have a development in action. 
It is a plant which must grow, not only by striking deeply its 
roots, but by spreading widely its branches, in order to bear fruit. 
That development is exhibited in a life of benevolence and 
charity towards our fellow-men, a life of activity and enterprize 
in promoting, by all lawful and available means, peace, virtue, 
knowledge, happiness and salvation throughout the earth. The 
first rich, ripe celestial fruit, which the tree of Divine grace, 
when transplanted in the soul, bears on earth, is benevolence — 
benevolence in feeling and in action — that benevolence which has 
a heart to sympathize in the sorrows of the suffering poor, and a 
hand to labour for the temporal and eternal welfare of the perish- 
ing sinner. The perfect man in Christ, though he holds for him- 
self a passport to the skies, and may read his title clear to a 
mansion there, is not satisfied merely with going to Heaven alone, 
leaving all others to perish in their sins. So long as there is a 
soul on earth without salvation, he has a heart to pray, a voice to 
plead, and a hand to labour, that that soul also may taste of the 
same grace which he has received. His religious humanity 
differs from that of the cold, unconcerned philanthropist of the 
world, who, from his elevation, looks down with lofty contempt 
upon his fellows, without moving a muscle or lifting a prayer to 
Heaven, that they might attain to his own superior felicity in 
religion. The good man proves the sincerity of his benevolence 
by striving to make his friends, his relatives, and all men as 
happy as himself; and thereby, if by nothing else, proves his 
religion to be from Heaven. "By their fruits ye shall know 
them." As it was the meat and drink of his Divine Master to do 
good, and as his own character is but a reflection of the Master's, 
so the life of the true Christian will be an illustration of the 
saying — ''Freely ye have received, freely give." "And re- 
member the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said : It is more 
blessed to give than receive." 

This characteristic of the Christian was also exemplified in the 
case of our lamented friend and fellow-labourer in the Gospel. 
In all the relations of life w^hich he sustained, in all the import- 
ant spheres of usefulness through which he passed, in all the 
varied pursuits of business which claimed his attention, he 
seemed never to lose sight of the fact, that besides the care of 


his own interests, he had a great work to do for God and his 
fellow men. He did not consider that because he was a layman 
he was exonerated from all concern about the interests of Zion, 
all responsibility for the spread and propagation of the Gospel, 
and all effort to save the souls of men. His whole Christian 
course was a signal proof of the vast amount of good, in the 
way of individual influence, private conversations, personal at- 
tention to the church, wholesome advice and counsel, as well as 
liberal hospitality and pecuniary support to the Gospel, which a 
single layman, even surrounded.with business, could accomplish. 
His deep insight into human nature, his extensive acquaintance 
with men of all classes and parties, and his high but unsought 
reputation for sterling integrity, combined to give him many 
opportunities for usefulness; and many now living, both in the 
church and out of it, could testify with what fidelity and success 
these opportunities were embraced. 

Having, at different times, lived in several states in the Union, 
having been about twenty-six years a member, and nearly twenty- 
one years an elder in the Presbyterian church, though he was cut 
off long before old age had dimmed his eye or abated his natural 
powers, yet at the comparatively early age of forty- four he had 
accomplished an important work, and exerted an extensive in- 
fluence in favour of truth and piety, over the world, not less than 
the church, at every point where his lot had been cast. 

Indeed, so thorough was his knowledge of ecclesiastical affairs, 
so accurate was his information respecting the moral and religious 
condition of the whole country, so sound was his discretion and 
so orthodox his faith on all questions of doctrine and polity, so 
strong was his attachment to all the principles of pure Presby- 
terianism set forth in the Confession of Faith, and at the same 
time so liberal, enlarged and conciliatory were his views towards 
all other branches of the Church of Christ, that his name was 
known, his judgment appreciated, and his influence felt in all 
the courts of his own church, from the Parochial Session up to 
the General Assembly, in all of which he had held a seat. 
Whilst no man was a more consistent and uncompromising Pres- 
byterian, no man could be a more liberal and conciliatory Chris- 
tian. He was as far from being a bigot on the one hand, as he 
was from being a latitudinarian on the other. And if there are 


those who are unable to conceive how this entire devotion to his 
own church should be compatible wdth such cordial liberality to 
others, perhaps it is because they have not yet understood the real 
genius of Presbyterianism, which, whilst it holds itself to be the 
truest and best system on earth, can at the same time admit others 
to be both true and good. He whose mind can grasp this dis- 
tinction will find no difficulty in comprehending the compatibility 
of zeal for one with good will for all. Whilst, therefore, his zeal 
for the church of his fathers led him to pray and labour for its 
prosperity, believing it to be the -most spiritual and scriptural on 
earth, his Christian charity caused him to rejoice in the success 
of all evangelical sister churches that hold Christ the Head, and 
truth enough to save the soul. He loved all who loved Christ, 
and desired to see all men brought to the knowledge of the truth 
of the blessed Gospel. 

His conversation habitually evinced how much he prized the 
prosperity of Zion, and his liberal support of the Gospel proved 
how much he was ready to do for it. His constant desire and 
prayer to God were, that all his children might become Christians 
in early life : and his oft-repeated declaration was, that he wished 
all his sons to become ministers of the Gospel, as the most useful 
and the most noble of all professions; and if the godly counsels 
of such a father have influence over the youthful mind, and the 
treasured prayers of such a believer have power before God, it 
will be the cherished hope of many of his friends, that some one 
at least of his sons will yet fulfil this fond expectation of a parent 
passed into the skies. 

In the Jackson church, with which he was last connected as 
an elder, he was looked upon by his associates in office, and the 
members of the little flock, as a wise counsellor, as a faithful 
friend, as a spiritual guide. As such, his labours of love were 
abundant. Upon the erection of a house of worship, and the 
establishment of a Presbyterian congregation in this place, he 
had set his fondest affections. Various were the schemes of use- 
fulness which he had devised or begun in this scene of his last 
labours. During the last year of his life he had purchased and 
put in circulation several dozen copies of the "Way of Life," 
and the "History of the Reformation," remarking, that "as he 
was now disabled from much conversation, he must preach the 


Gospel in future by proxy, through the words of Hodge and 
D'Aubigne." But he was soon called away, to leave, in our feeble 
band, a vacancy which none but the God of Providence can 
supply. In this example, then, we "mark the perfect man and 
behold the upright," as one distinguished for active benevolence, 
and a disposition to do all the good within his power to his fel- 

There is one more essential and important characteristic of the 
perfect man in Christ. He relies solely on the righteousness of 
God his Redeemer for salvation. Though he labours, whilst he 
lives, to do good, with zeal for God and love to man, he does 
not expect, on that account, to merit heaven. Though he spends 
his life in works of usefulness, in deeds of charity, and in acts 
of devotion, he does not rely upon one or all of them for justi- 
fication before God. Though he has exemplified in himself all 
the foregoing characteristics of the good man, his reverence for 
the Bible, his high moral principle, his disinterested benevo- 
lence, he does not depend upon them as the foundation of his 
salvation. Though he has adopted the law of God as the bind- 
ing rule of his life, he has not trusted in that as the groundwork 
of his justification, sanctification and eternal redemption. And 
though, out of love to his Divine Saviour's command, he endea- 
vours to keep the whole law, and does, in his walk and con- 
versation, exhibit before the world the beautiful fruits of holy 
living as the evidences of a genuine repentance and faith, yet he 
has too high a sense of the perfection of the Divine law, and too 
deep a conviction of the inadequacy and imperfection of his own 
best obedience to trust in that for salvation, or in anything else 
but the perfect meritorious righteousness and intercession of God 
his Redeemer. After all his good deeds he acknowledges him- 
self to be an unprofitable servant, who has oflfended in many 
points, and failed of perfection in all. There are no works of 
righteousness which his hands have done, there are no redeem- 
ing qualities which his heart possesses, there are no prayers of 
penitence which he has ever offered, no tears of contrition which 
his eyes have ever shed, or sighs of sorrow with w4iich his 
bosom has heaved, in which he can trust, or ever expect to 
trust, as the rock of his salvation. Though he will often exhibit 
all these as the fruits and the proofs of his piety, yet he discards 


them all as a ground of merit for justification; and looks away 
from them, or anything else in himself, in order that he may wear 
the robe of a Saviour's righteousness, and appear justified, sanc- 
tified and redeemed in heaven by that alone. And if any man 
here is unable to understand this distinction, that for a sinner to 
perform and plead his own many good deeds as a ground of 
merit before God is one thing, and for a sinner to renounce all 
confidence in them as a ground of merit, but still perform them 
out of love, as the fruits or effects of piety, is another and alto- 
gether diflferent thing; if he cannot see that the one of these is 
seeking to be justified by the law, and the other by the grace of 
God, it is to be feared that he is himself an utter stranger to the 
faith of the Gospel, having no adequate views of the Divine 
perfections, and of his own sinfulness, and consequently no ex- 
perimental acquaintance with the Christian character. 

Perhaps the most obvious of all diflferences between the true 
Christian and other men may be found in this very thing — that 
he ascribes everything good in himself to God and his grace, 
whilst they ascribe it to themselves, to their own natural powers, 
to anything rather than to Divine grace. The Christian sees, 
feels, acknowledges, and laments his deep personal unworthiness 
and imperfection, whilst they do neither. The Christian lives a 
life of habitual and unceasing repentance, and discovers more 
and more his guilt just in proportion as he grows in grace and 
knowledge, w^hilst they cannot perceive themselves to be worse 
than others, or to have any great need of repentance. The 
Christian, convinced of his sinfulness, clothed with humility, 
feeling his weakness, renouncing all self-righteousness, distrust- 
ing his most perfect obedience, throws himself at the feet of a 
Divine Redeemer, saying, *'Godbe merciful to me a sinner," 
and so is justified by the faith of the Gospel, without the deeds 
of the law, whilst they, only augmenting their depravity by re- 
fusing to acknowledge it, say to themselves, " We are rich and 
increased with goods, and have need of nothing;" and know not 
that they are wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and 
naked ; and consequently, "ignorant of God's righteousness, and 
going about to establish their own righteousness," they will be 
condemned by the law without the grace of the Gospel. 

In the life, amidst the suflTerings, and especially in the death 


of our lamented brother, this essential trait of the Christian cha- 
racter shone forth most brilliantly. When he came to tread the 
verge of Jordan alone — as sooner or later we mast all tread it — 
when he knew that he was passing through the valley and shadow 
of death with no hope of a return — when he had reached that 
honest hour which tries all men's souls, and puts to the proof the 
strength of the materials on which they have been building for 
eternity, then it was that he felt the reality and the value of his 
religion ; then it was that he felt himself sustained by the Rock 
of Ages, and Jesus Christ, in all his offices of Prophet, Priest 
and King, became most precious to him ; and then it was that 
the fast-anchored hope in Christ, which he had cherished through 
life, cheered him, and brightened even the gloom of the dying 
hour. He had no other hope of heaven, and desired to have 
none other but that which was founded upon the perfect, all 
sufficient, imputed righteousness of a Divine Saviour. And 
though he never appeared for one moment to doubt its suffi- 
ciency, or his own personal interest in it, yet so deep was his 
sense of ill-desert and imperfection, and so exalted his views of 
the Divine holiness, that the reiterated sentiment of his last days 
was, '' Oh, the rich, amazing, unmerited grace of God which can 
save such a helpless, imperfect and unworthy sinner as I am." 
This humble and grateful feeling of absolute, unlimited confi- 
dence in the grace of God alone for salvation was indeed the 
crowning virtue of his Christian character. This child-like de- 
pendence upon God seemed to throw around his whole conduct 
the graceful garb of an almost primitive simplicity and humility. 
Probably there have been but few men, occupying the same 
station in society, having the same intercourse with the world, 
and bearing the same relations of husband, father, citizen, 
church-officer and master, who have lived so true to nature, so 
artless and unartificial in their conversation, their feelings and 
all their intercourse with men. If there was anything which he 
abhorred it was vanity and affectation. Everything like pride, 
pomp, ceremony, parade and affectation, he looked upon as both 
foolish and sinful. Unostentatious and unassuming himself, of a 
meek and quiet spirit, of gentle and easy demeanour, of plain, 
straightforward speech, he loved naturalness, and simplicity, and 


truth in others ; loved it in everything — in conversation, in man- 
ners, in religious worship, in the business of life. 

Thus did he live, and thus did he die. Every quality which 
had marked his life, adorned his death. His last words, his last 
act, his last looks, were characteristic of the man. He died as it 
is the prerogative of the Christian conqueror to die, without fear 
and without regret. Calm, patient, resigned, self-possessed, fear- 
less and cheerful, showing no signs of apprehension or uneasi- 
ness, or gloom himself, he divested those who witnessed hi's 
parting breath, of all afflictive feelings, by presenting a dying 
spectacle above their sympathies and tears, and leaving upon 
their minds the great impression, that "for him to live was 
Christ; to die was gain." As a river flows with its widest and 
deepest, and most majestic current when it reaches the ocean, 
and as the setting sun shines with its mildest and most beautiful 
efiulgence, so it was with the issue of the river of his exist- 
ence, and the going down of the sun of his earthly life. His 
character seemed to shine forth in full-orbed beauty as he left the 
world ; his life seemed to flow with its serenest and most crystal 
current as it entered eternity. 

And now that he is gone, we may modify and apply to him 
the words of another on a similar occasion. **He n,:eds not the 
breath of human eulogy to fan his spirit to its resting place ; for 
already it is hushed and happy upon the bosom of its God. This 
rich and valued specimen of man, around which his fellow-men 
used to gather, to look upon and admire, its Maker has reclaimed 
for himself, and keeps it in his cabinet of men made perfect. 
Scarcely has death ever stopped the beat of a warmer or more 
expanded heart, or quenched, so far as it could quench, the light 
of a more noble spirit. But it is all over. The sound of his 
gentle voice winning souls to God shall be heard no more. His 
absence shall help to wean many from the world. He was one 
of those few men whose death shall make us willing to die ; and 
in the general revelation these eyes shall see him again in peace, 
these ears shall hear, this hand shall grasp the hand no longer 
chilled, and this heart shall again commingle and coalesce with 
the heart of him for whom it feels." 

When we contemplate such an example as this, in life and in 
death, we are constrained to say, "Let rae die the death of the 


righteous, and let my last end be like his." When we contemn 
plate the great principles of truth and holiness which formed 
such a character as this, we can but say, ''Wisdom's ways are 
ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace." When we 
contemplate these characteristics of the good man — his adherence 
to the Word of God, his unyielding integrity, his generous bene- 
volence, and his humble confidence in his Redeemer, all exem- 
plified in one whom we called our friend and fellow Christian, 
we can appreciate the great lesson taught by the Psalmist, "Mark 


trn. END. 



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