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of Benjamin, to hear causes, and admin- formance of this work of mercy, Ebedister justice to the people, and said, melech trusted in the God of Israel. He “My lord, the king, these men have believed, and therefore he spoke and done evil in all that they have done to acted. He not only gave credit to the Jeremiah the prophet, whom they have testimony which he had received concast into the dungeon." Nor did Ebed- cerning Jehovah, but honoured him by a melech merely assert the innocence of the firm reliance on the Divine perfections. prophet, and the injustice of his perse- Such was his piety, that he showed his cutors, but added what was likely to move faith by his works; and thus were his the king's compassion, and secure Jere- faith and his character justified and apmiah's release. “He is like to die of proved in the sight of men. Contemhunger," said the eunuch, “in the place plating his heroic conduct, Jeremiah where he is ; for there is no more bread might have said, as our Lord afterwards in the city." Perhaps he knew, more- did of another proselyte, “I have not over, that "there was no water in the found so great faith, no, not in Israel." dungeon, but mire ;” and that Jeremiah So true is it that “ faith is the fountain had "sunk in the mire," and had been of all virtues," as we learn froin what the purposely left there to perish! Now it apostle says of it in the eleventh chapter was more than humanity that prompted of his Epistle to the Hebrews. Faith Ebedmelech to intercede for the prophet's works by love, overcomes the world, enlargement. What honest boldness and leads to the practice of every good work, holy courage did he manifest when he and forms the truly pious man, on acventured to condemn the conduct of the count of whom the church has no need to princes before the king, while he sat in blush, but reason to glory. open court, to administer justice! “These And now in what a signal manner was men” themselves, or at least some of the piety of Ebedmelech rewarded ? It them, were probably present; and if they pleased God to send a special message were not, there were those who would to him, that he might be assured of the tell them what he had said. And what Divine protection and favour. “The would be expect but to encounter their word of the Lord came to Jeremiah, resentment, and, perhaps, to be cast into while he was shut up in the court of the the same prison with Jeremiah, if Provi- prison, saying, Go and speak to Ebeddence did not interpose for his protec- | melech the Ethiopian, saying, Thus saith tion?
the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; It appears, then, that the pious Ethio- | Behold, I will bring my words upon this pian had resolved to discharge what he city for evil, and not for good; and they conceived to be his duty, trusting in the shall be accomplished in that day before Lord for safety and success. Nor was thee." And what were these words ? They he disappointed; for the king immedi- were such as to declare that Jerusalem ately answered his request by saying, should be taken by the Chaldeans, and “ Take from hence thirty men with thee, destroyed by fire; while many of the and take up Jeremiah the prophet out of people, who would escape the famine and the dungeon, before he die.” With joy the pestilence, should be slain by the the good Ethiopian made haste to execute sword of the enemy! What pictures of the orders he had received, adopting misery and death does Jeremiah draw in suitable means for the accomplishment of his Lamentations! There Jerusalem is his wishes, and drew up the prophet from introduced as saying, “The young and his subterranean tenement, where he had the old lie on the ground in the streets; dwelt in “ the region and shadow of my young men and my virgins are fallen
court of the prison until the day that presented as being “swifter than eagles," Jerusalem was taken.” For the per- hunting down those who remained in the city, and pursuing those who fled to the wonderful also is that providence by mountains. “Our days are fulfilled," which he fulfils bis word, and takes care says the prophet, “our end is come !" of those who put their trust in him! Bat, in the midst of destruction, the pro- Youthful reader, imitate the pious Ethiomise of the Lord to Ebedmelech was, “1 pian; choose God for your portion, and will surely deliver thee, and thou shalt trust in him, after the example now benot fall by the sword, but thy life shall be fore you. You will then find that "the for a prey unto thee, because thou hast Lord knoweth them that are bis," and put thy trust in me, saith the Lord.” can command the destroyer to spare This good inan had reason to be afraid them. When the Chaldeans entered of the princes, whose displeasure he had Jerusalem, they probably slew all they incurred by interceding for Jeremiah, met in the streets and all they found in and causing him to be drawn up from the houses which they entered ; but the dungeon. These men might have | Ebedmelech was one of those alluded to been disposed to kill the pious eunuch, or in Ezekiel's vision,-one of the men who treat him as they had treated the pro- had Jehovah's mark of safety upon them, phet, when they left him to perish in the and who were not to be touched by those mire. But it was said to him, “I will who slew the wicked. Have you, then, deliver thee in that day, saith the Lord; begun to "call upon the name of the and thou shalt not be given into the hand Lord," and put your trust in him who of the men of whom thou art afraid." He has said, “I will never leave nor forsake probably knew that they bad purposed thee?" If not, begin now. “Seek the eril against him, which they might, per- | Lord while he may be found,” and “call haps, have also threatened, so as to make upon him while he is near.” Remember him afraid of them; but it was so ordered that Christ is the “one Mediator between that these men were fully employed in God and men.” Whatsoever you ask, other matters. They had neither time be careful to ask by faith in his name; nor opportunity to revenge themselves and you have the Saviour's promise, that on Jeremiah's friend; and when the city your prayers shall be answered. Thus was taken, they were probably slain, or may you obtain "the mercy of our Lord made prisoners by the enemy.
Jesus Christ unto eternal life,” that the How good and how faithful is God to Father may be glorified in your salvation those who fear and serve him! How through his beloved Son. J. B.
OCCASIONAL PAPERS OF THE LONDON MISSIONARY SOCIETY.
No. VII. THE DIVINE METHOD OF RAISING CHARITABLE CONTRIBUTIONS. “ Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered
him, that there be no gatherings when I come," 1 Cor. xvi. 2. Love gives a cup of cold water to a self came, saying, "I delight to do thy disciple. Love visits the needy and the will, O my God.” To build the taberafflicted. Love goes forth to seek and nacle the willing-hearted brought enough, save the lost. In a distant country, and more than enough. The man after under the burning sun, amid privations God's own heart said, “ Because I have many and great, love cheers the weary, set my affection to the house of my God, drooping stranger, while he pities, and I have of my own proper good, of gold instructs, and guides the returning wan- and silver, prepared with all my might derer. So God sent his Son into the three thousand talents of gold, and seven world to save sinners. So the Son him- | thousand talents of silver. Who then is willing to consecrate his service this day | “the stone which the builders rejected unto the Lord ?"
became the head of the corner." What Love was the grace of God bestowed glorious associations! A rising Saviour! upon the churches of Macedonia. Then, A church founded! Now, on the same "in a great trial of affliction, the abun- day, we “lay by in store" that which dance of their joy, and their deep poverty, may honour the Saviour, add lively stones abounded unto the riches of their liber- | to the spiritual temple, and send hope to ality." They “were willing of themselves the benighted world. It must be good, beyond their power.” Love inspires the also, to begin the week with this labour grateful recollection of the “grace of our of love. Let God have the firstfruits Lord Jesus Christ, who, though he was of all our time ; let the noble object of rich, yet for our sakes he became poor, saving lost men, as co-workers with God, that we through his poverty might be preoccupy our thoughts and onr plans.
Considering the comparatively This will give tone to our spirit, and languishing state of the Missionary en- direction to all our movements. To comterprize in all its departments, for want mence the week in this manner assimiof larger pecuniary resources, it is im- lates earth to heaven, the employment of portant to ascertain the Divine method of Christians to the employments of angels. ruising contributions :
The sanctity and the blessedness of the 1. It is to contribute frequently and sabbath are thus spread over all our statedly: “Upon the first day of the time, and all the work of our hands. week.” This is frequently, for it is once 2. It is to contribute universally : in seven days. Nor shall we think that “ Every one of you.” Is it a duty to conGod calls too frequently, if he calls once tribute frequently and steadily for evana week to make some appropriate ac- gelizing the world? Whose duty is it? knowledgment of his right, by giving a The duty of every Christian. Is it a portion of what he gives us, to carry on privilege? Whose privilege? Does not his peculiar work in the world. Can once our Lord demand the service of every a week be too frequently to lay by in one? Does he not, at the same time, store, to feed the hungry and clothe the allow every one the privilege? Who is naked? Was it not ordered in the it, then, among all his friends, that is to churches of Galatia, as well as in the be exempt from the duty ? Who that is church of Corinth, that the same rule to be deprived of the privilege? Not one, should be observed? And can we hesitate Due allegiance is expected of all, and to adopt it in regard to the evangelizing due favour is shown to all. It is ordained of the world? Once a week : can this be that “every one” shall “lay by him in too often to make a pecuniary contribu- store.” How suitable and how beautiful tion to send the word of life, or the mes- is this arrangeinent! Here the whole senger of mercy, announcing life to those church of Christ, the high and the low, who are dead in sins ? Were we in their the rich and the poor, the male and the condition, should we think once a week female, appear before him on “the first too often to be thought of, and prayed day of the week.” Nor does any one for, and laboured for; "that we might ob-appear empty, every one “lays by him tain eternal life? We are required to do in store" an offering, as an acknowledg. these things frequently, so that we may ment of obligation and thanksgiving. never forget them.
This act is done by "every one" in his Statedly, also. “Upon the first day own dwelling, under the eye of the Lord, of the week.” What day could be more who "seeth not as man seeth, but looketh appropriate? The Redeemer's birthday; upon the heart." From a principle of as it is said, " This day have I begotten obedience and love, every redeemed sinthee." The day of the church's founda- ner gives an offering to the Lord. While tion; for, on “ the first day of the week" | this method cherishes the best feelings
towards God our Savivur, and towards and the poor would give a little, just in his people and cause, it forms, at the the same proportion. same time, the basis of all that is needful, The Apostle does not say, however, by way of contribution.
how much each man should give, only For a moment think of the power that it should be proportionate to each which the mighty Saviour can call into one's prosperity. Every one is to exercise action on this principle. Suppose a church | his own judgment. God wishes not of 250 members. Let every one be poor, that we should feel as tributaries, but as and every one lay by only the widow's friends and children, that he is Lord of iwo mites, which make a farthing. One all, the Father of mercies, and the farthing a week from 250 Christians will Saviour of the lost; that we should unamount in a year to more than twelve derstand the work in which he is enguineas! The Divine method is one of gaged, and that we are allowed and exgreat simplicity, but of great power also. pected to co-operate in it. And, that our How vast the sum of a halfpenny a week views may be enlarged and our affections from a million of poor Christians! Not engaged, he allows us the unspeakable less than one hundred thousand pounds ! privilege of considering his kingdom as
But this is by no means the Divine our kingdom, his work as our work, his standard of contribution. It is only the glory as our glory, and the happiness frequency and universality that we have and glory of all that is achieved and yet considered. And far be it from us to done, as his joy, in which we are perintimate that the rich are to contribute mitted to share. With such a work beno more than the poor. Such is by no fore us, and such results as our ultimate means the Divine method.
reward and portion, he calls us to take 3. It is to contribute in due proportion : part in the work, with the assurance that " As God hath prospered him." It is every one shall receive a reward acsupposed that every Christian is engaged cording to his own labour.” With our in business. It is needful, while in this eye fixed on the future joy, he allows us world, that every one should have some to deny ourselves, to labour, to make honest and laudable mode of acquiring sacrifices, and bear his cross, just in proproperty, both to supply personal and portion to our faith and love; all prodomestic wants, and afford a surplus for ceeding spontaneously from our ardent the needy. Believers were generally poor affection for him and his cause, and the in Apostolic times, and obtained the souls of men. In this blessed enterprise means of their support by their daily he lays out before us, not only this world, labour. At the end of the week, their which is the field in which he works and work being done, they were to observe employs us, but heaven and hell, with the Divine providence towards them, and their eternal realities. It is not, then, to ascertain how they had been prospered a mere estimate of our doing a certain in business. And this was the rule of amount of labour, or giving a certain proportion for their contribution. They amount of contribution, or bearing a might "lay by in store” a certain per certain weight of sorrow or affliction, cent., five, ten, or twenty, or any other that is to regulate our action or our sufproportion, just as they were able, or as fering ; but it is the worth of the soul, their love prompted them to do. If, at the bliss of heaven, the pains of hell, the any time, they had received more than example of God, angels, and good men, common, then their proportion would be that are to be always before us. Such the same, while the amount would be are the themes of thought, the expandgreater. And so if they had received ing, ennobling, and invigorating realities less. This would operate equally upon all which are to move us. And, with these tbe meinbers; for the rich would give in view, God allows us to judge and deabundance from their abundant income; I termine how great shall be the amount we will consecrate to this noble, angelie, tribution and their joy. So in all cases godlike enterprise.
of charitable liberality, if the Divine me4. It is such as requires order and thod were followed, how pleasant, how care : “Let every one of you lay by him delightful, would be the aspect of the in store."-Labourers have storehouses. church! Every member laying by him In them they preserve the fruits of their in storé, upon the first day of the week, labour. They have also some place of as God had prospered him, what an security as a treasury. There they deposit abundance would there be for every the results of their industry and frugality, want! How promptly, how cheerfully, for the twofold purpose of order and safe how satisfactorily would every want be keeping : and on this place of deposit met! Then would there be no complaint how much thought may be expended! It of hard times, for every one's bounty is the store, perhaps, laid up for a day would be ready. Then would there be of trouble, or for the helplessness of old no complaint of too many calls; for on age, or as an inheritance for children. In every Lord's day the store would be view of this store, one may say to his replenished. Even should there be a call soul, “ Thou hast much goods laid up for on one Lord's day for a Bible Society, on many years.” Another may calculate another for a Tract Society, on a third how much he may gain by the provi- for Foreign Missions, on a fourth for dent use of this store; or he may be Home Missions, on a fifth for Education, elated by the power he can exert with his on à sixth for Sabbath-schools, and so wealth.
on, till all the societies which deserve our But where is the man who keeps a aid have called, and then how would the treasury for God? I mean a place of case stand ? They would find support, deposit in which he may “lay up in and their claims be welcome again; for store, as God has prospered him," his again all would be ready to contribute. contributions for the relief of the needy, Observe, however, the Apostle does not especially the needy soul? It would be direct these supplies to be laid by in the no great stretch of the imagination to house of God on the first day of the week; suppose that a pious mind would find as but every one in his own house. Then, much pleasure in thinking of the Lord's at the call of the Lord, they may be treasury as of his own. It is the testi- brought forth from each one's store just monial of his heavenly Father's bounty. as the case may demand. Every thought of it calls forth a new If we now endeavour to apply these emotion of love, with a strong desire to Divine instructions, we shall see, do good to the needy. In this treasury 1. That personal responsibility is an the money is safe, and it is ready. This essential element in the Divine method. was one design of the Apostle in ordering Our Lord does not intend that the inthis deposit," that there be no gather- dividual shall be lost in the mass. His ings when I come." He was making col- eye is upon the treasury; he observes lections in Asia and Europe, among the every offering; the rich may cast in churches of the Gentiles, to relieve the much, but his eye is upon each one as he poor saints at Jerusalem. He was the gives. “Let every one of you, on the general agent in this business. But he first day of the week, lay by in store." did not wish to do what they could do He looks as carefully at the gift of the themselves; nor did he wish to be di- poor as at the gift of the rich. He kindly verted or detained from his great work notices the love, the hard labour, the while their collections were being made. self-denial, of a poor disciple who preIf they would follow his directions, all sents a small oblation. “The turtlewould be ready. Then God would be dove," “ the young pigeon," " the two pleased with their cheerfulness, and ho- mites," the hard-earned sixpence, given noured by the abundance of their con- | cheerfully, joyfully, and with a heart