But, great as the joy of this moment is, it is not greater than will be the glory which follows it. To the man who had saved the life of a Roman citizen, was presented the civic crown, the highest of earthly honours : but of what insignia shall he be accounted worthy, who has saved a soul from death, and restored a citizen to Heaven? I cannot answer this interrogation ; and I exult at the idea that I cannot ; because any inability to give an answer, results from the sublimity of those symbols in which the answer is contained.

But I will not confine my hopes to a single individual. Our charity may do more, it may reclaim many profligates ; it may convert many Pagans; these may reclaim and convert others, and these again in their turn, may continue to reclaim and convert : and thus the benevo. lence of a single Christian assembly, collected from different denominations, but actuated by the spirit of their common master, may be extended to distant countries, and operate benignly on succeeding generations, till the kingdom of Christ shall come.

This kingdom, Christians, is at hand, let us anticipate its glory ; let us fill our minds with ideas of its duration and extent; let us endeavour to hasten its approach ; let us invite, by our charities and our prayers, the Saviour from the skies ; let us show that we are willing to receive him on the earth, and placing on his altar the humble means which we are able to furnish for advancing his interest, with one general burst of passion, that shall fill the Heavens, and reach the place where His glory dwelleth, let us say, " Come Lord Jesus, come quickly." I pause, not because the subject is exhausted, for it expands, and expands, as I contemplate it--not because I fear that an auditory of Christians can already be weary of such a contemplation ; but the delightful duty of charity remains to be perfomed, and I pause that I may give place to the performance of it.

Continuation of Dr. Nott's Missionary Sermon, delivered

at Philadelphia, May, 1806. THE vast objects which the plan of redeeming love contemplates, are now before you, and you are about to contribute to carry that plan into further execution. Before you cast your gifts into the treasury, permit me to propose a single interrogatory: it is not whether the objects be important-your hearts testify that they are so. Neither is it how much you now feel as if you could afford to give ;-but how much, at the day of judgment, standing at the bar of Jesus, eternity spread out before you, the grandeur of the world perished, and not a vestige of all that you once possessed, except the charities you may have laid up in Heaven remaining—then, when the loans made to the poor, for which God became responsible, are repaying--when the poor widow, approaching, receives for her two mites, infinite remuneration, and to the disciple, who gave but a cup of water, because he had no more to give, is awarded an inheritance among the saints -then, when looking back, in thought, on this evening, which furnishes such a glorious opportunity for evincing your love to Jesus, and signalizing yourselves by deeds of charity ;-How much will you wish that you had given? To conscience I appeal to the day of judgment I refer you. Exhibit now the liberality you will then approve, and reprobate now the parsimony you will then condemn.

Yes, in the light of that day, as if earth was already dissolved, the Heavens departed, and the judgment seat of Christ erected, let each, according to his ability, and with reference to the whole amount, so desirable to raise, make an apportionment.

Let the mechanic say how much of the scanty fruits of his labour, he will consecrate to succour destitute settlements-how much to send missionaries to the Pagans. Let the merchant, whose wealth flows from a thousand sources, and whose property floats on distant seas, say how much of the profits of his trade. Let the advocate at the bar, say how much of his fees. Let the minister of the altar, say how much of his salary. Let the magis.

trate say how much of the income of his office. Let the man whose dwelling has just been consumed, say how much of the remnant of his property, which was raked from the ashes. * And the man whose dwelling has been preserved, when flames encircled, and cinders covered it-the man who hath passed, literally, with his family and fortune, through the fire, and it hath not kindled on him, let him say how much of that fortune he will consecrate as a testimony of his charity, and an expression of his faith in God.

Were I addressing an auditory unaccustomed to feel for human misery, whose stinted pity was cruel, and the stream of whose charity congealed as it flowed, after the repeated calls upon your bounty, which have been made the last week, I should despair of success ; but I am not addressing such an auditory :—though a stranger, I am not ignorant that Philadelphia, like that primitive city whose name it bears, is famed for deeds of mercy. With unutterable emotions, I have viisted yonder consecrated grounds, on which stands asylums for the poor, and the wretched-illustrious monuments, which your charity has erected-monuments, not like the pyramids of Egypt, which cherished a vain self-glory; not like the temples of Greece, which fostered a cruel superstition, but left at their threshold, the unpitied sufferer, to converse with sighs, and tears, and wretchedness, and death.

And can it be, that the tender mercies of such an audi. tory are exhausted ? Have you then, nothing more to lend to Jesus Christ? Have you no longer any alms to bestow on your suffering brethren? And shall I tell them you have not ? Shall I recall the missionaries you have sent them ? And extinquish the hopes with which your former charities have inspired them ? Shall I pronounce on the Savages their doom? Shall I say to the Pagan, just emerging from the gloom of nature, and directing his steps towards the hill of life, GO BACK INTO YOUR FOREST,



* A few days before this sermon was delivered, about thirty buildings were consumed by fire, in Philadelphia, and liberal contributtions were soon made for the relief of the sufferers.

TISFIED WITH THE VAIN HOPE OF THE COUNTRY BEYOND THE HILLS? Are these the sentiments of Christians ? Christians, whose hearts have been softened by redeeming love, whose immortal hopes rest on sovereign mercy, and whose unceasing song, through eternity, will be grace, rich grace. I was going to add, but the presence of that august personage, whose glory fills the place of our devo. tions, awes me. Open your eyes, Christians, and behold God-Emanuel, in this assembly, Redeemer of our souls, who inhabitest eternity, and dwellest in the high and holy place, wherefore art thou present in this temple, made with hands? “ I am present that I may witness the strength of the affection which my redeemed bear me that I may in person record their charities, in that book

of life, where their names already are recorded-charities, which I will publish to the universe at judgment, and reward, through eternity, in Heaven.

Extract from a Sermon on the many various opportunities

of doing good, by the Rt. Rev. BEILBY PORTEUS, D. D. late Bishop of London.

TO enter into a minute detail of all the various ways in which we may benefit mankind, would be endless, and indeed, in a great measure needless. For whoever is possessed with a sincere desire to do good, will have no occasion for a monitor to suggest to him when and where to exert it. He will be no less quick in discerning than eager in embracing every opportunity of exercising his benevolence. I shall, therefore, content myself with men. tioning only one way of manifesting our good will to mankind; which is in a very high degree important and beneficial; which lies as much within the reach of the lowest as the highest; and, which both high and low, are, I fear, but too apt to neglect: I mean, recommend ing our brethren to God, in prayer.

Let not the philosopher smile at this! It is not to him I speak. He, I know, is infinitely above the meanness of paying any homage to the great Creator and Governor of the world. He disdains to pray, even for his own welfare ; how, then, should he ever think of imploring

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

; blessings upon others? How can he be expected to love · his neighbour better than himself? He laughs at the idea

of a particular providence, which regulates the minutest i movements both of the natural and the moral world, and i consequently looks on prayer as the idlest and most use

less employment in which a human creature can be en• gaged. Let us leave him then to the enjoyment of that

comfortable state of which he has made choice ; turned adrift (as he must suppose himself) into a wide world, and abandoned to caprice and fortune, without protector, guide or comforter; without any Almighty friend to apply to for himself, or those he holds most dear, when exposed to dangers, or involved in calamities, where all human help is vain. Here I say, let us leave him; and let us devoutly thank God that we are not philosophers. Let us thank God, that our belief of this most important doctrine of a particular Providence is founded, not on the cobweb subtleties of human science, but on that solid, immoveable rock, the Gospel of Christ.

The Scriptnre informs us, that he who first created the world, still continues to preserve it; that he is “ about our path, and about our bed, and spieth out all our ways; that without his knowledge not a sparrow falls to the ground, and that the very hairs of our head are all numbered.” To this gracious and Almighty Being, we are commanded to pray, and that not for ourselves, but for others also. “Pray one for another," says St. James.

Let supplication, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men. Keep the peace of the city where you live, and pray unto the Lord for it.” What a pleasing, what a spacious field of benevolence is here opened for the Christian, from which the unbeliever (who yet, of all others, boasts the most of his benevolence) absolutely shuts himself out. We think it a strong mark of our regard, to recommend those we love to some great and powerful friend, who is able to support and advance them in the world. But what earthly support or protection is to be compared with His, who has all the powers of nature, and all the events of futurity at his command, who has the hearts of all men at his command, “ and turneth them whithersoever he will.” What a privilege, what an honour, what an indulgence is it, that we are

« ForrigeFortsett »