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world, he loved them unto the end."
Besides the reward secured on earth-in personal satisfaction, in the success realised, and pledges of Divine love-there is a reward in heaven.
“Why talk we now of earthly things,
Or aught below the skies?
On which we fix our eyes!"
Having shown that christians are to manifest a spirit of benevolence; pointed out the claimants; how, and in what manner, it must be manifest; the principles by which they are to be actuated; and the reward such conduct secures; I now conclude this address by adding a motive and a caution,--a motive to excite to beneficence, and a caution against depending on good works alone. Many incentives to christian generosity and kindness might be adduced, but let one suffice :
1. The fact that it is an imitation of the most exalted character. The Saviour went about doing good, both to the bodies and souls of men. “ 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." What arguments can be more forcible, what motives more constraining, and what conduct can be more influential, than the arguments of the apostle Paul, and the example of the Redeemer? You are told what he was—"He was rich;"—what he became—"poor;”—and what was his design—"That ye might be rich." He was rich in heaven, rich in glory, honour, and immortality; yet he became poor, to enrich mankind with the blessings of pardon, peace, holiness, and heaven. Real benevolence, pure patriotism, and stupendous love dwelt in him. No character was so
brilliant, no history so full of interest, and no deeds so philanthropic, as the character, history, and deeds of the Saviour. He was a kind benefactor to the poor, a physician to the afflicted, a deliverer to the captive, and a Saviour to all, “specially of those that believe.”
What unspeakable love! what infinite compassion ! and what unlimited goodness he displayed during his life, and in his death on the cross! He gave himself for
Then ought we not to make suitable returns, by devoting our time and influence to his cause, and by responding to the cry of the perishing, and the call of the Father, “Son, go work to-day in my vineyard?” “How much owest thou unto my Lord ?” Do we owe less to him than a Paul, a Cornelius, a Wesley, a Whitfield, a Morrison, a Carey, a Coke, a Brainerd, a Martyn, a Wheelock, a Bourne, a Clowes, a Williams, a Moffat, and hundreds more, whose praise is in all the churches ?
The following account is recorded of Howard, the distinguished philanthropist :-"He has visited all Europe, not to survey the sumptuousness of palaces, or the stateliness of temples; not to make accurate measurements of the remains of ancient grandeur, nor to form a scale of the curiosity of modern art; not to collect medals, or collate manuscripts; but to dive into the depths of dungeons; to plunge into the infection of hospitals; to survey the abodes of sorrow and pain; to take the guage and dimensions of misery, depression, and contempt; to remember the forgotten; to attend to the neglected; to visit the forsaken ; and to compare and collate the distresses of all men in all countries. His plan is original, and it is as full of genius as it is of humanity. It was a voyage of discovery, a circumnavigation of charity.”
When we contemplate the claims of the church and the world, the spiritual destitution of millions of the human race, the deep poverty and humiliation to which the Saviour stooped, the zeal and self-devotedness of many
to the cause of Christ, and the responsibility devolving upon us, may we not exclaim,
“ Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small ;
Demands my soul, my life, my all ?".
Let all who profess the christian name imitate such exemplary characters. They are models for us to copy. It is honourable to tread in their steps, to imbibe their spirit, and embalm our names in works of piety and benevolence; for “ the memory of the just is blessed.” But,
2. None must depend on good works alone. Charitable deeds and liberal contributions to the cause of Christ cannot prepare the soul for heaven. There must be conversion, justification by faith, and holiness, “without which no man can see the Lord.” “ And though I be-stow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give
I my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing," 1 Cor. xiii. 3. If any expect or hope to merit heaven by acts of charity, while they are strangers to a renewed heart, their expectations are vain, and their hopes delusive. “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
“ If love to God and love to men
Be absent, all my hopes are vain;
Admitting, then, that goodness is a christian virtue, and an indispensable element in the formation of the christian character, a link in the golden chain, a fruit of the Spirit, and yet is no item in your account, let me remind you of the declaration of the apostle James, "Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin," chap. iv. 17. Should you live and die, unadorned by the fruits of the spirit, hear your doom : “ And that servant, which knew his lord's will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes,” Luke xii. 47.
To avoid this punishment there must be a prompt attention to the duties devolving upon you. Work out your own salvation while it is called to-day, for the night cometh when no man can work. Repose not in indolence, the work is all important; it requires haste; time is short; you stand in jeopardy every hour. Death's deep midnight will soon wrap you in its shadows, and the grave hide you in its gloom. Wipe the badge of disgrace from your foreheads, rub the slumber off your eyelids, erase your names from the calender of the enemies of God; rise, and stand upon your feet in the character of active, thinking, rational beings. “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest," Eccles. ix. 10.
“ The task thy wisdom hath assign'd
O let me cheerfully fulfil!
And prove thy acceptable will."
FAITH, OR FIDELITY.
“How full the joy that mutual vows impart,
Daily renew'd in offices of love!
Friendship’s unaltered sympathies to prove ?
True to its promise at a countless cost, –
And self in pure fidelity is lost.”
Faith is a word that has sundry meanings in the New Testament. But the faith which is essential to salvation not only implies belief of the revealed truths of religion, but an implicit hope and confidence in God, and an unshaken reliance on Christ. Every christian is a partaker of the Divine nature through faith. : “By grace are ye saved through faith ;” and, “Being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ."
The christian graces, or fruits of the Spirit, are the results of saving faith. It is the great principle upon which the christian character is established, and by which it is supported.
The constant exercise of faith is necessary to prevent apostacy and promote our growth in piety. "Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward.” It is not only requisite to our