« FöregåendeFortsätt »
the vain, are deserted by the poor, the sorrowful, and such as walk humbly with their God.
2. We should learn from the gospel, lessons of active benevolence.
The Lord Jesus, who went about doing good, has left us an example that we should follow his steps. Christians, on whom he has bestowed affluence, rank, or talent, should be the last to disdain their fellow-men, or to look with indifference on indigence and grief. Pride, unseemly in all, is detestable in them, who confess that by grace they are saved. Their Lord and Redeemer, who humbled himself by assuming their nature, came to deliver the needy, when he crieth, the poor also, and him that hath no helper. And surely an object, which was not unworthy of the Son of God, cannot be unworthy of any who are called by his name. Their wealth and opportunities, their talents and time, are not their own, nor to be used according to their own pleasure ; but to be consecrated by their vocation as fellow-workers with God. How many hands that hang down would be lifted up; how many feeble knees confirmed; how many tears wiped away; how many victims of despondency and infamy rescued by a close imitation of Jesus Christ. Go, with your opulence to the house of famine, and the retreats of disease. Go, deal thy bread to the
hungry; when thou seest the naked, cover him ; and hide not thyself from thine own flesh. Go, and furnish means to rear the offspring of the poor; that they may at least have access to the word of your God. Go, and quicken the flight of the Angel, who has the everlasting gospel to preach unto the nations. If you possess not wealth, employ your station in promoting good will toward men. Judge the fatherless ; plead for the widow. Stimulate the exertions of others, who may supply what is lacking on your part. Let the beauties of holiness pour their lustre upon your distinctions, and recommend to the unhappy that peace, which yourselves have found in the salvation of God. If you have neither riches nor rank, devote your talents. Ravishing are the accents, which dwell on the tongue of the learned, when it speaks a word in season to him that is weary. Press your genius and your eloquence into the service of the Lord your righteousness, to magnify his word, and display the riches of his grace. Who knoweth, whether he may honor you to be the minister of joy to the disconsolate, of liberty to the captive, of life to the dead? If he has denied you wealth, and rank, and talent, consecrate your heart. Let it dissolve in sympathy. There is nothing to hinder your rejoicing with them that do rejoice, and your weeping with them that weep; nor to forbid the interchange of kind and soothing offices. A brother is born for adversity; and not only should Christian be to Christian, a friend that sticketh closer than a brother, but he should exemplify the loveliness of his religion to them that are without. An action, a word, marked by the sweetness of the gospel, has often been owned of God for producing the happiest effects. Let no man, therefore, try to excuse his inaction; for no man is too inconsiderable to augment the triumphs of the gospel, by assisting in the consolation which it yields to the miserable.
3. Let all classes of the unhappy repair to the Christian truth, and draw water with joy out of its wells of salvation ! Assume your own characters, 0 ye children of men; present your grievances, and accept the consolation which the gospel tenders. Come, now, ye tribes of pleasure, who have exhausted your strength in pursuing phantoms that retire at your approach! The voice of the Son of God in the gospel is, Wherefore spend ye your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which satisfieth not; hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness! Come, ye tribes of ambition, who burn for the applause of your fellowworms. The voice of the Son of God to you
is, The friendship of this world is enmity with God; but if any serve me, him will my Father honor. Come, ye avaricious, who pant after the dust of the earth on the head of the poor. The voice of the Son of God is, Wisdom is more precious than rubies ; and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her—but what shall it profit a man if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul ? Come, ye profane! The voice of the Son of God is, Hearken unto me, ye stout-hearted, that are far from righteousness; behold, I bring near my righteousness. Come, ye formal and self-sufficient, who say that ye are rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and know not that you are wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked. The voice of the Son of God is, I counsel you to buy of me gold tried in the fire that ye may be rich ; and white raiment that ye may be clothed ; and that the shame of your nakedness do not appear; and anoint your eyes with eye-salve, that ye may see. Come, ye, who, being convinced of sin, fear lest the fierce anger of the Lord fall upon you. The voice of the Son of God is, Him that cometh unto me I will in no wise cast out. I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins. Come, ye disconsolate, whose souls are sad, because the Comforter is away.
VOL. III. 3
The voice of the Son of God is, The Lord hath sent me to appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, and the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness. Come, ye tempted, who are borne down with the violence of the law in your members, and of assaults from the evil one. The voice of the Son of God is, I will be merciful to your unrighteousness; and the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. Come, ye children of domestic wo, upon whom the Lord has made a breach, by taking away your counselors and support. The voice of the Son of God is, Leave thy fatherless children with me; I will preserve them alive ; and let thy widows trust in me. Come, ye, from whom mysterious providence has swept away the acquisitions of long and reputable industry. The voice of the Son of God is, My son, if thou wilt receive my words, thou shalt have a treasure in the heavens that faileth not; and mayest take joyfully the spoiling of thy goods, knowing that thou hast in heaven a better and an enduring substance. Come, ye poor, who without property to lose, are grappling with distress, and exposed to want. The Son of God, though the heir of all things, had not where to lay his head; and his voice to his poor is, Be content with such things as ye have, for I will never leave thee nor forsake thee;