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is specially deserving both of notice and of imitation is this: he gave, and he gave heartily, as soon as he had anything to give. He began to practise the grace of charity when he was young; and if in after life he gave liberally, it was no new thing ; it was the result of a habit which the grace of God led him to form in the days of his youth. If he had neglected to do what he could when his means were very limited, I don't believe that he would have done what he could when his way was made prosperous, and his cup was running over. The blessing of the Lord made him rich ; but I believe that his riches had a close connection with his liberality.
The man who has few talents, and does nothing with them, is in the fair way of having the little taken away. But the man who diligently improves what he has, however little it may be at the first, is almost sure to be blessed with an abundant increase. The world is slow to believe in such a principle, and practically to act upon it. But history is rich in examples, as encouraging as they are arresting. There is that withholdeth more than is meet, and it tendeth only to poverty. But the liberal soul deviseth liberal things, and the liberal soul shall be made fat. The day of small things let no man despise ; let him rather improve it to the utmost of his power, and the day of small things will, ere long, be followed with great and magnificent results.
"Thou art the living way,
Oh Christ, through which alone, Sinners their offerings dare to lay
Before Thy Father's throne.
Through Thee go up our works,
In holiest thoughts and deeds ; Ever, O Lord, some evil lurks,
That Thy atonement needs.
Washed in that precious stream,
For guilty man that flowed, Faith's meanest works Thou bid'st us deem
Acceptable to God.
Our works, our praise, our prayer,
By Thee to God are borne ; Ourselves to Him, blest Saviour, bear,
When breaks Thine advent morn.'
AVING adverted to the charities of James
Nisbet's youthful days, let me now glance for a moment at the grand results to
which, by a patient continuance in welldoing, his early habits, under the guidance of the Divine Spirit, were the instrument of conducting him.
For myself, I can truly say, that during the whole course of my experience and observation, I never met with any man more remarkable for unselfishness and for liberality. He had no particular taste of his own which he sought to gratify. He seemed only to live and to labour for the felicity of his family, the prosperity of the church of Christ, and the wellbeing of his brethren of mankind. Of him indeed it may be truly said, that the law of kindness was in his heart.
Some men do kind things occasionally, or under the impulse of momentary emotion, or at the bidding of strong passion. But it was otherwise with him. His kindness was not a matter of mere caprice, coming into operation by fits and starts. It was a law, not an occasional act, but a fixed and established habit, almost as steady and undeviating as are any of the laws that are working amid the elements of the material world. It can be traced through the whole course of his life. It
be seen in almost everything that he did ; and all, I think, who ever came into close contact with him can testify, with sterling truth, to this most obvious and predominating feature of his character.
About 1809 he commenced business for himself, on a somewhat limited scale, as a bookseller in Castle Street. I believe his first transaction was the sale to a little child of a copy of the Shorter Catechism. But though at that time his prospects were by no means flattering, yet the blessing of the Lord rested upon him ; his business transactions gradually increased, and he went on prospering in the labour of his hands. In the course of time he was admitted to the freedom of the city of London, and elected to the office of Renter Warden in the Stationers' Company. When his reputation as a publisher of religious books was thoroughly established, and his profits were considerable, he succeeded in buying the
premises in Berners Street, where the business has been carried on for nearly fifty years.
The purchase of this valuable property formed quite an era in his history. By means of it he realized the consummation he had long devoutly wished for ; his great object of ambition being, not to amass a large fortune for his own aggrandizement, but to be the proprietor of a comfortable dwelling, which he could throw open for the hospitable entertainment of godly men, such as faithful ministers of the gospel, or devoted missionaries to the heathen. Had he kept, as he once intended to do, a register for inserting the names of the distinguished men whom he welcomed so cordially to that pleasant home, I believe the record would have soon swollen into a series of the most massive volumes ; and if the various sums which he expended in ministering to their comfort had been reckoned up, they would have amounted to little less than a fortune of itself.
But apart from all expenditure of this kind, his liberality in other respects kept pace with the means which the providence of God had placed at his disposal. The subscriptions which he gave regularly to the various charitable institutions with which he was connected, were by no means inconsiderable; and his influence in obtaining contributions from other parties was not less remarkable than his own munificence. From his own resources he contributed upwards of