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sympathy to their poor fellow-sinners who stand here feebly supplicating their miseration! Alas! Age and misery are hard task-masters. Is it because you have not experienced them yourselves, that you can afford no pity to those who are bearing the double burden of poverty and years ? May you, my beloved brethren, be for ever shielded from all adversity. May your prosperity be founded upon a rock, and no affliction come nigh you. But there was, perhaps, a time when the suppliants now before you, as little expected any such reverse--as little apprehended that they should ever have to encounter this bitter hour of anxiety and humiliation. And you cannot, indeed, be ignorant, that there are daily occurring, in the regions of fashion and of folly, affecting instances of the instability of fortune, (where Providence, by visible judgments, arrests the offender in the career of his iniquity) which, the man who has been seduced by the illusions of prosperity, must not only be destitute of goodness and of grace, but of reason and reflection, not to be startled by, and awakened to a sense of the necessity of seeking, in this most perilous world, for some more secure rock of defence, in this most calamitous world, for some more abiding consolation. Anticipate, then, those lessons of wisdom, leading to the works of mercy, which Providence so frequently finds it necessary to teach by heart-rending and melancholy experience. The poor creatures whom you see before you once had husbands, whose labour sustained them in comfort and independence—but the grave has long since closed upon their mortal remains. Children, but they are either absent or no more ;-some of them, perhaps, serving in distant lands ;-some, perhaps, having fallen the victims of war, fighting the battles of their country:
“ All gone! all vanished! they deprived and bare ; How shall they face the remnant of their age ? What will become of them ?” But heaven is gracious. God has raised up friends and protectors, who will be to them instead of the dear and precious relatives who have departed. Upon you, my brethren, devolves the blessed work of thus administering divinest consolation ; of acting, in some measure, as the ambassadors of Providence, and banishing want from the presence of the aged mourner
“Like silent-working Heaven, surprising oft
The lonely heart with unexpected good.” And in being placed in this pre-eminence, and called upon to perform this service, are you not, indeed, highly favoured ? The same
God who has given you the means, now gives you the opportunity of being merciful Alas! it is but a little thing which your poor afflicted fellow-creatures, who stand here require of you. No luxuries--no comfortsnot even fire or shelter—but bread, just to support life—and clothing, just to shield them from the inclemency of winter. Look upon them, and tell me, are you prepared to say in the presence
of your Saviour, that you suffered the burden of poverty to press upon their aged shoulders, until it brought down their grey
hairs with sorrow to the grave ? But if, witnessing such a case, you could withhold your aid, you would be even more pitiable objects than those whom you left to perish—for death would soon release them from their misery, and, perhaps, make them one with their Saviour. But you-you would be cursed with hard hearts—and, as you disobeyed the commands of God, should live in the eye of his displeasure. Are you prepared for this?
Are you prepared to sink into a luxurious indulgence, and shut the ears of your hearts against the cries of the wretched in this their utter extremity, while you yet expect that the Lord will graciously, hear you, when you call upon him for a continuance of those blessings by which you have been so abun
Will you say,
dantly favoured ? For, what have you that 1 he has not given you, and which he may not again resume?
your pros2a perity is all your own desert--that you are
not accountable for the use of your possessions? - Oh! be timely wise. Let no such impious 2thoughts assail you. Acknowledge that all is *the gift of God—of that God who will not be - worshipped by empty external acts—who will
and not sacrifice. And as you value his blessings—as you reverence his laws—as you hope for his favour—as you dread his judgments—prove yourselves careful and diligent in the stewardship to which he has appointed you ;—be occupied in works of mercy-be instant in affording aid to the indigent-in speaking comfort to the afflicted, and in binding up the broken heart; and the good favour of your God will be with you, and the blessing of the poor will descend upon you, and the holy angels will look down rejoicing upon your work, and when you fail, they will receive you into everlasting habitations.