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some magical power of its own, has gotten the ascendency, then still it is followed after as the supreme good; and there is an actual supplanting of the living God. He is robbed of the gratitude that we owe him for our daily sustenance; for, instead of receiving it as if it came direct out of his hand, we receive it as if it came from the hand of a secondary agent, to whom we ascribe all the stability and independence of God. This wealth, in fact, obscures to us the character of God, as the real though unseen Author of our various blessings; and as if by a material intervention does it hide from the perception of nature, the hand which feeds, and clothes, and maintains us in life, and in all the comforts and necessaries of life.
has been pronounced a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart, that it cannot have two masters, or that there is not room in it for two great and ascendent affections. The engrossing power of one such affection is expressly affirmed of the love for Mammon, or the love for money thus named and characterised as an idol. Or, in other words, if the love of money be in the heart, the love of God is not there. If a man be trusting in uncertain riches, he is not trusting in the living God, who giveth us all things richly to enjoy. If his heart be set upon covetousness, it is set upon an object of idolatry. The true divinity is moved away from his place, and, worse than atheism, which would only leave it empty, has the love of wealth raised another di-It just has the effect of thickening still more that impalpable veil which lies between God and the eye of the senses. We lose all discernment of him as the giver of our comforts; and coming, as they appear to do, from that wealth which our fancies have raised into a living personification, does this idol stand before us, not as a deputy but as a substitute for that Being, with whom it is that we really have to do. All this goes both to widen and to fortify that disruption which has taken place between God and the world. It adds the power of one great master idol to the seducing influence of all the lesser idolatries. When the liking and the confidence of men are towards money, there is no direct intercourse, either by the one or the other of these affections towards God; and, in proportion as he sends forth his desires, and rests his security on the former, in that very proportion does he renounce God as his hope, and God as his
vinity upon his throne. So that covetousness offers a more daring and positive aggression on the right and territory of the Godhead, than even infidelity. The latter would only desolate the sanctuary of heaven; the former would set up an abomination in the midst of it. It not only strips God of love and of confidence, which are his prerogatives, but it transfers them to another. And little does the man who is proud in honour, but, at the same time, proud and peering in ambition-little does he think, that, though acquitted in the eye of all his fellows, there still remains an atrocity of a deeper character than even that of atheism, with which he is chargeable. Let him just take an account of his mind, amid the labours of his merchandise, and he will find that the living God has no ascendency there; but that wealth, just as much as if personified into life, and agency, and power, wields over him all the ascend-dependence. ency of God. Where his treasure is, his heart is also; and, linking as he does his main hope with its increase, and his main fear with its fluctuations and its failures, he has effectually dethroned the Supreme it is gotten; and when to this we add the from his heart, and deified an usurper restlessness of a yet unsated appetite, lordin his room, as if fortune had been embo-ing it over all his convictions, and panting died into a goddess, and he were in the for more; when, to the dullness of his achabit of repairing, with a crowd of other tual satisfaction in all the riches that he worshippers, to her temple. She, in fact, has, we add his still unquenched, and, inis the dispenser of that which he chiefly deed, unquenchable desire for the riches prizes in existence. A smile from her is that he has not; when we reflect that as, in worth all the promises of the Eternal, and the pursuit of wealth, he widens the circle her threatening frown more dreadful to the of his operations, so he lengthens out the imagination than all his terrors. line of his open and hazardous exposure, and multiplies, along the extent of it, those vulnerable points from which another and another dart of anxiety may enter into his heart; when he feels himself as if floating on an ocean of contingency, on which, perhaps, he is only borne up by the breath of a credit that is fictitious, and which, liable to burst every moment, may leave him to sink under the weight of his overladen speculation; when suspended on the doubtful result of his bold and uncertain adventure,
And to advert, for one moment, to the misery of this affection, as well as to its sinfulness. He, over whom it reigns, feels a worthlessness in his present wealth, after
And the disease is as near to universal as it is virulent. Wealth is the goddess whom all the world worshippeth. There is many a city in our empire, of which, with an eye of apostolical discernment, it may be seen that it is almost wholly given over to idolatry. If a man look no higher than to his money for his enjoyments, then money is his god. It is the god of his dependence, and the god upon whom his heart is staid. Or if, apart from other enjoyments, it by
he dreads the tidings of disaster in every arrival, and lives in a continual agony of feeling, kept up by the crowd and turmoil of his manifold distractions, and so overspreading the whole compass of his thoughts, as to leave not one narrow space for the thought of eternity;-will any beholder just look to the mind of this unhappy man, thus tost and bewildered and thrown into a general unceasing frenzy, made out of many fears and many agitations, and not to say, that the bird of the air, which sends forth its unreflecting song, and lives on the fortuitous bounty of Providence, is not higher in the scale of enjoyment than he? And how much more, then, the quiet Christian beside him, who, in possession of food and raiment has that godliness with contentment which is great gain-who, with the peace of heaven in his heart, and the glories of heaven in his eye, has found out the true philosophy of existence; has sought a portion where alone a portion can be found, and, in bidding away from his mind the love of money, has bidden away all the cross and all the carefulness along with it. Death will soon break up every swelling enterprise of ambition, and put upon it a most cruel and degrading mockery. And it is, indeed, an affecting sight, to behold the workings of this world's infatuation among so many of our fellow mortals nearing and nearing every day to eternity, and yet, instead of taking heed to that which is before them, mistaking their temporary vehicle for their abiding home-and spending all their time and all their thought upon its accommodations. It is all the doing of our great adversary, thus to invest the trifles of a day in such characters of greatness and durability; and it is, indeed, one of the most
formidable of his wiles. And whatever may be the instrument of reclaiming men from this delusion, it certainly is not any argument either about the shortness of life, or the certainty and awfulness of its approaching termination. On this point man is capable of a stout-hearted resistance, even to ocular demonstration; nor do we know a more striking evidence of the bereavement which must have passed upon the human faculties, than to see how, in despite of arithmetic,-how, in despite of manifold experience,-how, in despite of all his gathering wrinkles, and all his growing infirmities,-how, in despite of the ever-lessening distance between him and his sepulchre, and of all the tokens of preparation for the onset of the last messenger, with which, in the shape of weakness, and breathlessness, and dimness of eyes, he is visited; will the feeble and asthmatic man still shake his silver locks in all the glee and transport of which he is capable, when he hears of his gainful adventures, and his new accumulations. Nor can we tell how near he must get to his grave, or how far on he must advance in the process of dying, ere gain cease to delight, and the idol of wealth cease to be dear to him. But when we see that the topic is trade and its profits, which lights up his faded eye with the glow of its chiefest ecstacy, we are as much satisfied that he leaves the world with all his treasure there, and all the desires of his heart there, as if acting what is told of the miser's death-bed, he made his bills and his parchments of security the companions of his bosom, and the last movements of his life were a fearful, tenacious, determined grasp, of what to him formed the all for which life was valuable.
PREACHED IN ST. ANDREW'S CHURCH EDINBURGH,
THE RELIEF OF THE DESTITUTE SICK,
APRIL 18, 1813.
"Blessed is he that considereth the poor; the Lord will deliver him in time of trouble."—Psalm xli. 1.
THERE is an evident want of congeniality | respect is greatly impaired, since the wisbetween the wisdom of this world, and the dom of the man has taken so unaccountable wisdom of the Christian. The term "wis- a change in its object and in its direction? dom," carries my reverence along with it. The truth is, that the greater part of the It brings before me a grave and respectable world feel no respect at all for a wisdom character, whose rationality predominates which they do not comprehend. They may over the inferior principles of his constitu- love the innocence of a decidedly religious tion, and to whom I willingly yield that character, but they feel no sublime or compeculiar homage which the enlightened, and manding sentiment of veneration for its wisthe judicious, and the manly, are sure to dom. All the truth of the Bible, and all the exact from a surrounding neighbourhood. grandeur of eternity, will not redeem it from Now, so long as this wisdom has for its ob- a certain degree of contempt. Terms which ject some secular advantage, I yield it an lower, undervalue, and degrade, suggest unqualified reverence. It is a reverence themselves to the mind; and strongly diswhich all understand, and all sympathize pose it to throw a mean and disagreeable with. If, in private life, a man be wise in colouring over the man who, sitting loose to the management of his farm, or his fortune, the objects of the world, has become altoor his family; or if, in public life, he have gether a Christian. It is needless to exwisdom to steer an empire through all its patiate; but what I have seen myself, and difficulties, and to carry it to aggrandize what must have fallen under the observament and renown-the respect which I feel tion of many whom I address, carry in them for such wisdom as this, is most cordial and the testimony of experience to the assertion entire, and supported by the universal ac- of the Apostle, "that the things of the Spirit knowledgment of all whom I call to attend of God are foolishness to the natural man, to it. neither can he know them, for they are spiritually discerned."
Now, what I have said of the respectable attribute of wisdom, is applicable, with almost no variation, to another attribute of the human character, to which I would assign the gentler epithet of "lovely." The attri
Let me now suppose that this wisdom has changed its object-that the man whom I am representing to exemplify this respectable attribute, instead of being wise for time, is wise for eternity-that he labours by the faith and sanctification of the gospel for unperishable honours-that, instead of listen-bute to which I allude, is that of benevoing to him with admiration at his sagacity, lence. This is the burden of every poet's as he talks of business, or politics, or agri- song, and every eloquent and interesting culture, we are compelled to listen to him enthusiast gives it his testimony. I speak talking of the hope within the veil, and of not of the enthusiasm of methodists and deChrist being the power of God, and the wis-votees--I speak of that enthusiasm of fine dom of God, unto salvation. What becomes sentiment which embellishes the pages of of your respect for him now? Are there not elegant literature, and is addressed to all her some of you who are quite sensible that this sighing and amiable votarics, in the various
forms of novel, and poetry, and dramatic | ther, and this is the point at which he is entertainment. You would think if any mortified to find that his old coadjutors rething could bring the Christian at one with fuse to go along with him; and that instead the world around him, it would be this; and of being strengthened by their assistance, that in the ardent benevolence which figures he has their contempt and their ridicule; in novels, and sparkles in poetry, there or, at all events, their total want of sympawould be an entire congeniality with the thy, to contend with. benevolence of the gospel. I venture to say, however, that there never existed a stronger repulsion between two contending sentiments, than between the benevolence of the Christian, and the benevolence which is the theme of elegant literature-that the one, with all its accompaniments of tears, and sensibilities, and interesting cottages, is neither felt nor understood by the Christian as such; and the other, with its work and labours of love-its enduring hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ, and its living not to itself, but to the will of Him who died for us, and who rose again, is not only not understood, but positively nauseated, by the poetical amateur.
But the contrast does not stop here. The benevolence of the gospel is not only at antipodes with the visionary sons and daughters of poetry, but it even varies in some of
The truth is, that the benevolence I allude to, with all its respectable air of business and good sense, is altogether a secular benevolence. Through all the extent of its operations, it carries in it no reference to the eternal duration of its object. Time, and the accommodations of time, form all its subject and all its exercise. It labours, and often with success, to provide for its object a warm and well-sheltered tenement, but it looks not beyond the few little years when the earthly house of this tabernacle shall be dissolved-when the soul shall be driven from its perishable tenement, and the only benevolence it will acknowledge or care for, will be the benevolence of those who have directed it to a building not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. This, then, is the point at which the benevolence of the gospel separates from that worldly benevoits most distinguishing features with the ex-lence, to which, as far as it goes, I offer my perimental benevolence of real and familiar cheerful and unmingled testimony. The life. The fantastic benevolence of poetry is one minds earthly things, the other has its now indeed pretty well exploded; and, in conversation in heaven. Even when the the more popular works of the age, there is immediate object of both is the same, you a benevolence of a far truer and more sub- will generally perceive an evident distincstantial kind substituted in its place-the tion in the principle. Individuals, for exambenevolence which you meet with among ple, may co-operate, and will often meet in men of business and observation-the be- the same room, be members of the same sonevolence which bustles and finds employ-ciety, and go hand in hand cordially togement among the most public and ordinary ther for the education of the poor. But the scenes, and which seeks for objects, not forming habits of virtuous industry, and where the flower blows loveliest, and the good members of society, which are the stream, with its gentle murmurs, falls sweet- sole consideration in the heart of the worldly est on the ear, but finds them in his every- philanthropist, are but mere accessions in day walks-goes in quest of them through the heart of the Christian. The main imthe heart of the great city, and is not afraid pulse of his benevolence lies in furnishing to meet them in its most putrid lanes and the poor with the means of enjoying that loathsome receptacles. bread of life which came down from heaven, and in introducing them to the knowledge of those scriptures which are the power of God unto salvation to every one who believeth. Now, it is so far a blessing
Now, it must be acknowledged, that this benevolence is of a far more respectable kind than that poetic sensibility, which is of no use, because it admits of no application. Yet I am not afraid to say, that, re-to the world that there is a co-operation in spectable as it is, it does not come up to the the immediate object. But what I contend benevolence of the Christian, and is at vari- for, is, that there is a total want of congeance, in some of its most capital ingredients, niality in the principle-that the moment with the morality of the gospel. It is well, you strip the institution of its temporal adand very well, as far as it goes; and that vantages, and make it repose on the naked Christian is wanting to the will of his mas-grandeur of eternity, it is fallen from, or ter who refuses to share and go along with laughed at as one of the chimeras of fanatiit. The Christian will do all this, but he cism, and left to the despised efforts of those would like to do more; and it is at the pre- whom they esteem to be unaccountable peocise point where he proposes to do more, ple, who subscribe for missions, and squanthat he finds himself abandoned by the co-der their money on Bible societies. Strange operation and good wishes of those who effect, you would think, of eternity, to dehad hitherto supported him. The Christian grade the object with which it is connected! goes as far as the votary of this useful be- But so it is. The blaze of glory, which is nevolence, but then he would like to go fur- thrown around the martyrdom of a patriot
or a philosopher, is refused to the martyr- an orthography for wandering and untudom of a Christian. When a statesman dies, tored savages. They have given a shape who lifted his intrepid voice for the liberty and a name to their barbarous articulations; of the species, we hear of nothing but of the and the children of men, who lived on the shrines and the monuments of immortality. prey of the wilderness, are now forming in Put into his place one of those sturdy re- village schools to the arts and the decencies formers, who, unmoved by councils and of cultivated life. Now, I am not involving inquisitions, stood up for the religious liber-you in the controversy whether civilization ties of the world; and it is no sooner done, should precede Christianity, or Christianity than the full tide of congenial sympathy and should precede civilization. It is not to admiration is at once arrested. We have what has been said on the subject, but to all heard of the benevolent apostleship of what has been done, that we are pointing Howard, and what Christian will be behind your attention. We appeal to the fact; and his fellows with his applauding testimony? as an illustration of the principle we have But will they, on the other hand, share his been attempting to lay before you, we call enthusiasm when he tells them of the apos- upon you to mark the feelings, and the tleship of Paul, who, in the sublimer sense countenance, and the language, of the mere of the term, accomplished the liberty of the academic moralist, when you put into his captive, and brought them that sat in dark-hand the authentic and proper document ness out of the prison-house? Will they where the fact is recorded-we mean a misshare in the holy benevolence of the apos- sionary report, or a missionary magazine. tle when he pours out his ardent effusions We know that there are men who have so in behalf of his countrymen? They were at much of the firm nerve and hardihood of that time on the eve of the cruelest suffer- philosophy about them, as not to be repelled ings. The whole vengeance of the Roman from the truth in whatever shape, or from power was mustering to bear upon them. whatever quarter it comes to them. But The siege and destruction of their city form there are others of a humbler cast who have one of the most dreadful tragedies in the transferred their homage from the omnipohistory of war. Yet Paul seems to have had tence of truth, to the omnipotence of a name; another object in his eye. It was their souls who, because missionaries, while they are and their eternity which engrossed him. accomplishing the civilization, are labourCan you sympathise with him in this prin-ing also for the eternity of savages, have ciple, or join in kindred benevolence with lifted up the cry of fanaticism against him, when he says, that "my heart's desire them-who, because missionaries revere the and prayer for Israel is that they might be word of God, and utter themselves in the saved?" language of the New Testament, nauseate every word that comes from them as overrun with the flavour and phraseology of methodism--who are determined, in short, to abominate all that is missionary, and suffer the very sound of the epithet to fill their minds with an overwhelming association of repugnance, and prejudice, and disgust.
But to bring my list of examples to a close, the most remarkable of them all may be collected from the history of the present attempts which are now making to carry the knowledge of divine revelation into the Pagan and uncivilized countries of the world. Now, it may be my ignorance, but I am certainly not aware of the fact, that without a book of religious faith-without religion, in fact, being the errand and occasion, we have never been able in modern times so far to compel the attentions and to subdue the habits of savages, as to throw in among them the use and possession of a written language. Certain it is, however, at all events, that this very greatest step in the process of converting a wild man of the woods into a humanized member of society, has been accomplished by christian missionaries. They have put into the hands of barbarians this mighty instrument of a written language, and they have taught them how to use it.* They have formed
We would not have counted this so remarkable an example, had it not been that missionaries are accomplishing the very object on which the advocates for civilization love to expatiate. They are working for the temporal good far more effectually than any adventurer in the cause ever did before; but mark the want of congeniality between the benevolence of this world, and the benevolence of the Christian; they incur contempt, because they are working for the spiritual and eternal good also. Nor do the earthly blessings which they scatter so
among the Eskimaux; the missionaries of Otaheite, and other South Sea islands; and Mr. Brunton, under the patronage of the Society for Missions to Africa and the East, who reduced the language of the Susoos, a nation on the coast of Africa, to writing and grammatical form, and printed in it a spelling-book, vocabulary, catechism, and some tracts. Other instances besides might
*As, for instance, Mr. John Elliot, and the Moravian brethren among the Indians of New England and Pennsylvania; the Moravians of South America; Mr. Hans Egede, and the Moravians in Greenland; the latter in Labradore, I be given.