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Although we live in times distant from these occurrences, when Christ crucified was literally before the eyes, and his own words in the hearts of Christians—in times when contention has infused an alloy into the pure spirit of religion, so that the operation of the mind is less simple in reverting to the great pattern of humility and beneficence—yet should not the effect be the same? Can we take any other view of the innumerable mercies of God than did these Christians? Is any miracle greater than the power of lifting up our hands as we have done in the house of God this morning? Can we draw a breath without feeling that the power exists by the inspiration of God? Can we look on the beauty of his works, as exhibited continually to our minds through the medium of sight, and forget that he gave us this delightful and wonderful faculty? 1 say, can we do this, and hesitate to administer all in our power to those who, in the dispensations of his providence, have a less portion of those common but important blessings.
It will be unnecessary for me, in addressing myself to the minds of the thinking and observant, to go far back to shew that whatever be the station or abilities, or the luxuries or the wants of mankind, all are of one family, and not only does this connection exist by nature and in reference to our common origin, but in proportion as society and refinement increase, and the duties and interests of mankind become more complicated, so much more do we become mutually dependant and our obligations increase towards our fellow-creatures, and so much more should it raise our hearts in gratitude to that God, whose bounty and mercy is in such fullness to his erring children. Not only does God not spare the continued supplies which are necessary to our existence and enjoyment, but we are each of us receiving every moment such evident proofs of his care and mercy towards us, that were it not that his power is equal to his goodness, we might suppose that we were individually the only objects of his favour and protection, and that none but ourselves were to be provided for.
Great is the wisdom and goodness of God, and wonderful his providence! He, who has created and who upholds system upon system of worlds, revolving and performing, according to the most complicated laws of motion, their continued and undeviating course, has also contrived, in reference to us, that though the pride, the self-will, and all the natural evil that is in our hearts, form a perpetual interruption to the moral and physical organization of his providence, yet there is no diminution in all he provides—no breaches of his law can efface the unalterable beneficence of God, or turn aside the benevolence of His intentions towards
God, who has ordained that all should be dependant on Him for the reception of these blessings, has also ordained that, as far as relates to the distribution and enjoyment of them, we shall be mutually dependant on each other; “and whether one member
be done nowe waitempt would inf and had his
suffer, all the members suffer with it, or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.” This dependency may be compared to a representation in Mosaic-let but the meanest piece in size or colour be removed, and the whole picture is deformed, and its beauty and accuracy destroyed. Thus in life, no man can fulfil his destiny who lives to himself, whatever be the sphere of his exertion, however large or small the amount of his usefulness to the community : to attain happiness he must connect his feelings and his interest with the interest of those with whom he is placed.
In the times of the patriarchs, when nations were divided into families, we find that one cultivated the ground, another followed the chase and brought home the food, which was prepared by a third, and so on; the employment was divided, and no one thought of or was permitted to live to himself, and had his inclinations prompted him, the attempt would instantly have failed; nor could it be done now without the same results to society, though not so immediately felt by the individual himself.
History furnishes us with many examples of the effects and the punishment of selfishness, it never was intended that man should be a monopolist; but I need not enlarge on the sin of attempting to live for ourselves. The great and glorious truths of our religion furnish arguments and examples, from the smallest to the greatest, of the indispenable nature of charity and benevolence" without charity all else is as a dead letter.” But let us come at once to the amazing benevolence of God, as shown in giving his own son as a sacrifice for our sin, that by his stripes we might be healed.
What is the love, or the benevolence, or the disinterestedness of the best among us, compared with the love of God? “God so loved the World as to give His only begotten son, that whosoever believeth on Him should not Perish, but have everlasting Life;" in His compassion for human misery, He has established an institution where none can be refused who apply for His mercy,—where no disease can baffle the remedy He has prepared,—where none are too poor, too destitute, or too insignificant, to claim His healing and restoring power ;-apply, then, to this provision of the love of God, and let us pray that His Holy Spirit may be given us that we may be able to walk in the steps of Him, who, when He was upon the Earth, went about doing good. Let us never forget that while we have not His spirit, we are all under the condemnation of the Law; “the wages of Sin is Death,” but the gift, the free gift of God, is eternal life. There the same danger threatens all, the same means of escape are open to all, the same God is over all, blessed for ever!
In appealing to you on behalf of this institution, I may be asked, why I direct your Charity to this particular object. I wish not to deny the claims of other institutions; blessed be God, he has put
it into the hearts of many to let their usefulness flow into various channels—let us see the advantages that belong to one, and our sympathies will be excited towards others. Let me speak for a moment in reference to the Royal Westminster Ophthalmic Hospital :-it appears, that since the year 1817,426,087 persons have been relieved, did you think there had been so much blindness ? and can any of you reckon on the certainty of retaining the use of that precious organ, the Sight?
This disease (Ophthalmia) was, it is believed, brought into this Country, by the British Soldiers, who were afflicted with it while crossing the sands of Egypt; risking their lives and destroying their health for our comfort.
Of these persons relieved, many would have been a burden to the community, from the dreadful affliction of blindness preventing them from earning the means of subsistence, who are now enabled comfortably and respectably to do so. I refer you to the particulars that are supplied to you for further details, and to the example of the many noble and munificent patrons; to the arguments that have been drawn from the sacred volume, recommending that volume as the all-important guide of our actions; and amidst all our endeavours for the good of our fellow creatures, may we not loose sight of its value !—but constantly endeavour to second the wish of a late august patron of this institution, who was himself afflicted many years with the disease for which this institution offers a cure to the meanest persons of the realm,–He hoped the time might come when every child in his dominions would be able to read the bible.-—AMEN.
FRAGMENT FROM THE
* * * * * * * * I can wonder at nothing more than how a man can be idle ; but of all others, a scholar; in so many improvements of reason, in such sweetness of knowledge, in such variety of studies, in such importunity of thoughts : other artizans do but practise, we still learn; others run still in the same gyre to weariness, to satiety; our choice is infinite; other labours require recreations ; our very labour recreates our sports; we can never want either somewhat to do, or somewhat that we would do. How numberless are the volumes which men have written of arts, of tongues! How endless is that volume which God hath written of the world! wherein every creature is a letter; every day a new page. Who can be weary of either of these? To find wit in poetry; in philosophy, profoundness; in mathematics, acuteness; in history, wonder of events; in oratory, sweet eloquence; in divinity, supernatural light, and holy devotion; as so many rich metals in their proper mines; whom
would it not ravish with delight? After all these, let us but open our eyes we cannot look beside a lesson, in this universal book of our Maker, worth our study, worth taking out. What creature hath not his miracle? what event doth not challenge his observation? And, if, weary of foreign employment, we list to look home into ourselves, there we find a more private world of thoughts which set us on work anew, more busily and not less profitably: now our silence is vocal, our solitariness popular; and we are shut up, to do good unto many; if once we be cloyed with our own company, the door of conference is open; here interchange of discourse (besides pleasure) benefits us, and he is a weak companion from whom we return not wiser. I could envy, if I could believe that anchoret, who, secluded from the world, and pent up in his prison walls, denied that he thought the day long, whiles yet he wanted learning to vary his thoughts. Not to be cloyed with the same conceit is difficult, above human strength; but to a man so furnished with all sorts of knowledge, that according to his dispositions he can change his studies, I should wonder that ever the sun should seem to pass slowly. How many busy tongues chase away good hours in pleasant chat, and complain of the haste of night! What ingenious mind can be sooner weary of talking with learnedauthors, the most harmless and sweetest companions ? What a heaven lies a scholar in, that at once in one close room can daily converse with all the glorious martyrs and fathers ? that can at once single out at pleasure, either sententious Tertullian, or grave Cyprian, or resolute Hierome, or flowing Chrysostom, or divine Ambrose, or devout Bernard, or, (who alone is all these) heavenly Augustine, and talk with them and hear their wise and holy counsels, verdicts, resolutions; yea, to (rise higher) with courtly Esay, with learned Paul, with all their fellow prophets, apostles; yet more, like another Moses, with God himself, in them both ? Let the world contemn us; while we have these delights we cannot wish ourselves other than we are. Besides, the way to all other contentments is troublesome; the only recompense is in the end. To delve in the mines, to scorch in the fire for the getting, for the fining of gold is a slavish toil; the comfort is in the wedge to the owner, not the labourers; where our very search of knowledge is delightsome. Study itself is our life ; from which we would not be barred for a world. How much sweeter then is the fruit of study, the conscience of knowledge? In comparison whereof the soul that hath once tasted it, easily contemns all human conforts. Go now, ye worldlings, and insult over our paleness, our neediness, our neglect. Ye could not be so jocund if you were not ignorant; if you did not want knowledge, you could not overlook him that hath it; for me, I am so far from emulating you, that I profess I had as lieve be a brute beast, as an ignorant rich
DELIVERED BY THE REV. THOMAS JAMÈS JUDKIN, A. M.
AT SOMERS TOWN CHAPEL, PANCRAS.
1 CORINTHIANS, i. 23, 24.-—“We preach Christ crucified, unto the
Jews a stumbling-block, and unto the Greeks foolishness; but unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God."
6 In former times, there was an old and learned divine who had ordered for his own use a very curious seal—and the seal was this : the representation of Christ crucified upon an anchor-it was a sweet and holy fancy— nor was it a useless one; for while as enstampt upon his papers and letters, it became the silent preacher of his faith and consolations as often as he looked upon it, so did it present to others who might receive it, the confession which he most gloried in publishing abroad. I do not recollect if any motto were added; but it might have been “hope in death”—the Christian's hope in the death of his blessed Redeemer; and he has none other than this that is pure, and soothing, and stedfastthat has power to sustain amidst the troubles of this weary life, and whose full fruition shall be the joy of a happy immortality, when “ the vision, that is yet for an appointed time, shall speak, and not lie," the great subject being the same subject to occupy, and the pious disposition being the same disposition to influence the churchman and the Apostle before us; the one in the engraving the seal, and the other in bearing his solemn testimony to the Corinthian converts—“We preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling-block, and unto the Greeks foolishness; but unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.”
In humble submission to the Spirit of God for heavenly guidance and teaching, I would now lead your attention to a few considerations on these words under the following order : I. THE GRAND THEME SUGGESTED FOR THE MINISTRATION OF THE PULPIT; and II. THE VARIOUS EFFECTS DECLARED OF ITS PREACHING, UPON THE MINDS OF THOSE WHO HEAR IT.
FIRST. The grand theme-THE CRUCIFIXITION OF CHRIST: “We preach," saith St. Paul, “ Christ crucified”-he thus boldly avows the business which engaged his thoughts and animated his endeavours, with that manliness of purpose which could not bend to hide whatever might be thought or said of the disclosure, and which could not be broken by any of the fierce persecutions that strove to silence him; his voice was evermore free of utterance in preaching Christ crucified: nor can he who is a faithful follower of his example be otherwise engaged; he cannot hold back, but