A RESPONSE TO DR. WIGHT'S ANNIVERSARY SERMON.
BY JUDGE ALBERT MILLER
(Published in the Bay City Tribune, June 16, 1885)
The parish meeting of the First
Presbyterian church was held on the evening of June 15, at which the annual pew
renting took place. There was a large number present.
During the evening there was a discussion regarding the proposed new church, in
which several took part and advanced their views.
A very pleasant part of the meeting was the response of Judge Albert Miller, on behalf of the congregation, to
Rev. Dr. Wight's anniversary sermon, delivered on the preceding Sunday. Following were Judge Miller's remarks:
OUR DEAR PASTOR - I have been deputed to address you in behalf of the church and congregation and your friends present; but before commencing, I wish to say a few words outside of and preliminary to the subject in hand. During your long acquaintance with these people you have probably observed a propensity they have, especially the ladies for scattering flowers along the pathway of life. They omit no opportunity of performing some benevolent act that will conduce to the happiness of those with whom they are associated. For instance, their efforts in preparing for the anniversaries and gatherings of the church and congregation for social enjoyment, and not long since their benevolence prompted them to give a pleasant surprise to a member of the church by extending to him pleasant greetings and congratulations on the anniversary of his seventy-fifth birthday, and they succeeded so admirably in their undertaking and made such a green spot in the declining years of that individual, that they have determined to extend their greetings to one far more worthy of their attention. So we now greet and congratulate you on the twentieth anniversary of your pastorate, which has been a pleasant, peaceful, and highly successful one. Twenty years is a long time, and in these days of unrest and change but few pastors and people in all our broad land have maintained that pleasant relation for so long a period, and among them all I doubt whether there has been one where it has been so pleasant, so peaceful, with so little thought or desire for a change on the part of either party. You were with us in our poverty and weakness, and to some of other older members of us who had been accustomed to hear complaints from the pulpit on account of an in adequate pecuniary support, it is a wonder how you trusted us so fully in the beginning, but in all these years we have never heard one complaint from that source, and to those who have had a different experience that has been a source of pleasure. You have rejoiced with us in our prosperity and sympathized with us in our sorrows and afflictions, and you have been unwearied in your efforts to mitigate the sorrows and promote the happiness of your people, and we wish you to feel that you have done your whole duty. We are satisfied, aye, more than satisfied, for your instructions from the pulpit have been such as few congregations, be they where they may, are permitted to receive. Your discourses are gems of thought that attract the attention by their brilliancy and retain a hold on the mind by their practical common sense. We are not only greatly interested in the course of their delivery, but they furnish us food for thought during the week. Under such preaching we must grow in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, and if we do not grow in grace it is not your fault. Your pastorate has been a successful one, for aside from the good it has accomplished, which will take an eternity to reveal, your long continuance with us has redounded to the honor and material prosperity of the church. Your wise counsels in the presbytery and synod have added to the efficiency of those bodies with which you are connected and have conduced toward extending the gospel to points north, east, and west of us, which were waste places in the wilderness when you commenced your pastorate. Your residence among us and your efforts for her spiritual
moral, and material improvement have redounded to the honor of our new and thriving city. Your genial, pleasant, and instructive writings serve to adorn American literature. But these pleasant associations cannot always remain, like time, with us all. They must sooner or later have an end, and that thought would produce an unmitigated sorrow were it not for the bright hope that brings a full assurance that they will be renewed under far more glorious circumstances, for it is one of the brightest anticipated joys of heaven that we shall meet, know, and be associated in eternity with those who are near and ear to us in time. Now when the summons shall come that calls you to the Master's presence, we feel that but few of all his servants will be so worthy to receive the welcome plaudit, "Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many; enter thou into the joy of thy Lord."
At the conclusion of the response, Dr. Wight arose and acknowledged his thanks for the very kind word uttered.