« PreviousContinue »
provement of the Penitentiary, which powerfully call for additional contributions. The heart-rending necessity, which at present exists, of sending away from the doors of this refuge above three-fourths of those who apply for admission, principally through want of room for their accommodation; and so excluding them from their only hope of escaping the complicated miseries and dangers of their present situation ; (a hope thus excited, alas! only to end in disappointment !) especially, as it appears, that many of these have but recently been drawn into the paths of vice, and are by no means inured to them; this single consideration, I say, must be of more cogency with every pious and benevolent mind, than the most pathetic and persuasive eloquence. If, however, the fact does not speak for itself, I possess no talent of adding energy to it“ by excellency “ of speech," and shall not attempt it...
But surely the case itself makes an imperious demand on all those who, by the bounty of Providence, have it in their power; and who, by the riches of divine grace, know the “ blessedness of “ him whose iniquity is forgiven, and whose sin is “ covered :" nay, a demand on every Christian to spare a little, especially by retrenching some needless expense for the support of so excellent a design. This demand must not, and I trust will not, be made in vain, whatever temporary privations or self-denials may be required in complying with it. A receptacle must, if possible, be formed adequate to the urgency of the case: that none may be.
' Reports 1810, 1811. p. 4, 13.
sent away to despair, to die, and to perish without remedy.
And, methinks, many of you, my brethren, are even now saying within yourselves, 'I shall feel it a privilege and a blessing to contribute, as I am able, to its support, its enlargement, and its success; and it shall especially be my constant prayer, that the most enlarged hopes of its most sanguine friends may be realised and exceeded. To these reflections I leave you, with the apostle's words: “Now therefore perform the doing of it: that as “ there is a readiness to will, so there may be a “ performance also out of that which ye have. “ For, if there be first a ready mind, it is accepted, “ according to that a man hath, and not according “ to that he hath not.” “For ye know the grace “ of our Lord Jesus Christ; that, though he was “ rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye “ through his poverty might be rich."!
Only, my brethren and fellow sinners, let us give earnest diligence to obtain and preserve the assurance, that there has been, and is, “joy in the “presence of the angels of God,” on our own account : and we shall then experience a daily increasing promptitude, alacrity, and pleasure, in copying the self-denying, condescending, compassionate love of our gracious Redeemer, to us, in ourselves most miserable sinners. .“ He came to seek and to save that which was “ lost.” All men are lost by nature and practice as guilty and depraved : and, if all men knew it, the Saviour would become precious to their hearts.
' 2 Cor. viii. 9, 11, 12.
Publicans and harlots are lost ; proud Scribes, Pharisees, Sadducees, and persecuting priests, still more deeply lost. Jews lost, gentiles lost, and nominal Christians lost; rich and poor, learned and unlearned, philosophers and peasants ; moral and immoral ; all by nature lost, all “shut up under “sin,” all under the curse of God's most holy law, all enslaved to Satan and their corrupt inclinations. “ By grace are ye saved, through faith, and that “not of yourselves, it is the gift of God ; not of “works, lest any man should boast ; for we are “his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto “ good works." Ought not then “the love of “Christ to constrain us, to live no longer to our“selves, but to him who died for us and rose again?"
Do we then inquire, “ What shall I render unto “ the Lord for all these inestimable benefits ?" May we not conceive of him, as saying to us, "Look on • the poor objects of the London Female Peniten* tiary, with compassion similar to that with which
I looked on you, in your lost estate ; and exert and deny yourselves in attempting to rescue them • from temporal and eternal ruin, after the example
of my dying love to you; “that they also may “obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with “ eternal glory."