Зображення сторінки
[ocr errors]

sort of formal or elaborate treatment, to im- his brother's keeper ; we are to love on press upon you now, is the point which lurks neighbours as ourselves ; and if, in the con. ju the last verse of the text; there is my claim tractedness of some narrow Hebrew spirit, we “from thine own flesh.”

ask the question, “Who is my neighbour ? ' God has made of one blood all nations of there comes the full pressure of utterance men for to dwell upon the face of the whole to enforce, and to authenticate the answer, earth. This is the announcement of a grand “Man is thy neighbour ; every one whom fact which has never yet been fuccessfully dis. penury has rasped or sorrow startled-every proved—the essential underlying identity of one whom plague hath smitten or the curse the buman race, however chequered by the hath banned-every one from whose bonne varieties of clime and of language--one deep, the dearlings have vanished, or around whose constant, ineradicable identity which links heart the pall has been drawn” (P. D. 2387). man to man all over the world. The old I observe further that, as it is now, so in Roman could say, "I am a man : nothing, every age since the earliest, there have been therefore, that is human can be foreign to distinctions of society in the world. It must me." And Christianity takes that sentiment be so in the nature of things; it is part of and exalts it into a surpassing obligation, and God's benevolent allotment, as well as part of stamps upon it the royal seal of heaven. Of

God's original economy. A level creation, it course this general law must be modified by you ever come upon it, is not the creation of minor and smaller varieties, or it will be prac- God, &c. And so it is in society. It is of tically useless. The sympatby that goes out necessity a union of unequals ; there could after the world gets lost in the magnitude of be no mutual cohesion, or mutual dependence, the area over which it has to travel; and the if we were one perpetual level. God has very vastness and vagueness of the object will never made it so; in the nature of things, it of itself tend to fritter away the intenseness could never continue 80; and if by the frenzy of the feeling. That is a very suspicious of some revolutionary deluge all the world attachment which clings to nobody in parti. were submerged into one level of waters to. cular, which rejoices no heart with its affeo- day, you may be sure that some aspiring tion, which brightens no hearthstone by its mountain tops would come struggling througb light. Hence private affections are recognised

the billows to-morrow, It must be so ; it is and hallowed and commended as the sources perfectly impossible, in accordance with God's from which all public virtues are to spring. known laws, and in accordance with the nature There is nothing in them inconsistent with of things, that there should be equality of the love of the entire race; they prepare for society in the world. God hath set the poor it, and they lead to it, and they scoop out the in his place," as well as the ricb, for He has channels through which its tributaries are to said expressly, "He that despiseth the poor flow. Who shall sympathise so well with the reproacheth"—not him, but—"his Maker." oppressed people as the man who rejoices in his Aud the announcement of the Saviour, "The own roof-tree sacred, aud in his own altar- poor ye have always with you,” is not only home ? &c. Now, these two obligations—the the averinent of a fact, but it is a commenda. claim of private affection and the claim of tion of them, as Christ's clients, to the succou universal sympathy-are not incompatible ; and to the help of His Church. This bene. but they fulfil mutually the highest uses of volence, moreover, is claimed for them, spe. each other. God has taught in the Scripture cially enjoined on their behalf, because of the lesson of universal brotherhood, and men their abiding existence as a class of the com. may not gainsay the teaching. I cannot love munity (Deut. xv. 11). Hence the Saviour all men equally ; my own instincts, and has especially commended them unto those society's requirements, and God's commands, wbo bear His name and who feel His affection all unite in reprobation of that. My wealth shed abroad within their hearts, and He has of affection must go out after home, and commended them by the tenderest of all pos. friends, and children, and kindred, and coun. sible ties—" Inasınuch,” &c. And, moreover, try ; but my pity must not lock itself in the class from which the poor is composed thein; my regard must not confine itself will always be the largest class in societywithin those narrow limits merely; my pity must be 80. The poor compose the army, must go out farther. Wherever there is gather the harvest, plough the waters, con. human need, and human peril, my regard struct and work the machinery, and are the must fasten upon the man, although he may stalwart purveyors for all the necessity and have flung from him the crown of his man- comfort of life. Who shall say that they have hood in anger. I dare not despise him, not a claim upon the resources of the state they because, in his filth and in his sin, as he lies serve-aye, and in seasons of special need and before me prostrato and dishonoured, there in special emergency, upon the charity and is that spark of heavenly fame which God upon the justice of the many who are enriched the Father kindled, over which God the Spirit by their toil? Once recognise the relationship, yearns with intensest yearning, and which and the claim inevitably follows. A sense of God the Eternal Son spilt His own heart's service rendered, and of obligation thereby, will blood to redeem. There is no man now that deepen that claim into a closer and closer can ask the infidel question of Cain, “ Am I compass; and religion, attaching to it her my brother's keeper 1” God has made man holiest sanctions, lifts the recognition of the

claim into a duty which the Christian cannot violate without sin. "I will have mercy and not sacrifice.” “Whosoever seeth his brother iu need," &c. Nay, as I said before--and I return to it because no appeai can be so inimit. able in its tenderness and so omnipotent in its power-Christ Himself, once poor in the travail of His own incarnate life, and tonched there. fure with the feeling of their infirmities, adopts thein as His own peculiar care, and, pointing to them as they shiver in rags or perish with hunger, gives them to the care of His Church, that they may be warmed and fed, pronouncing at the same time the benediction which in itself is heaven, “ Inasmuch," &c.

I just want to remind you for a moment or two of some of the peculiar circumstances which make this claim more pressing in connection with the liberality of the Churches now. You may ineditate, if you please, for a moment upon some of the circumstances of the poor man's lot, in order to enforce the appeal which Scripture and which reason unite to announce and to comiend. I might remind you, for example, of the nature of the occupation in which so many are obliged to pass their lives. Their life is for the most part one dreary monotony of labour. His condition is like that of a traveller in the desert, going on and on through the stilling and interminable sand, with harilly an oasis breaking the wilderness, with hardly an Elim in which to quench bis thirst. Day after day, throuzh a cheerless round of drudging duties, must the poor man go- constantly the samethe mouth always demanding the labour of the hands. The family grow up around bim, and the children are clamorous for bread. The task must be performed. Ceaselessly the wheel goes round. A strange failing comes upon the heart, but he must work; the lion liibs lose their suppleness, but he must work ; the eyes get dim and troubled with a confusion of age, but he must work-until at last, perbaps, a strange paralysis seizes him, and he reels and dies, leaving his wife to the cold buffetings of the world, and his children to the stranger's charity, or perhaps to an early and a welcome grave.

And then I might remind you of the circumscriptions of the poor from many of the sources of human enjoyment. They do not start fairly with their fellows in the world of intellectual acquirement. To them the sciences are sealed. Rarely can they kindle before a great picture, or travel to a sunny landscape, or be thrilled beneath the spell of an orator's miglity words. Not to them are the pleasures of sense-the ample board, the convenient dwelling, the gathered friends, and all the appearances of comfort, with which wealth has carpeted its own pathway to the tomb. Theirs is a per. petual struggle between the winner and the spender, and unless they are blest at home, and happy in the consulations of religion, life will be to them a joyless birth-a weariness that ceases not; or if their dues come a brief

respite, it will be one that gives no leisure for love or hope, but only time for tears. Then I would remind you, too, of the pressure with which ordinary evils—evils to which we are all liable--fall upon the circumstances of the poor. There is no part of the world where the curse has not penetrated. Man is born to trouble everywhere, but all these common ills of life fall with heavier penalties upon the poor. They have to bear the penalties in their condition as well as in their experience. They cannot purchase the skill of many healers, the comforts which soothe the sickness, the delicacies which restore the health ; and when the wasting sickness seizes them, they have no time to recover thoroughly. And then the maintenance of the poor-the bare maintenance-depends often upon contingencies which he can neither foresee nor control. If labour fails, bread fails, and homes fail. The more provident and thrifty inay struggle against the coming calamity for a while, and live upon the results of their thrift and their care ; but you can trace, as you may this day if that famine is protracted, the inevitable pru. gress downwards. One by one the comforts are obliged to be parted with, until there is extremity of desolation. And then that is not all. The sickness comes. The fever follows hard upon the famine ; through the noisome court the hot blast sweeps, and the pure air fees away at his presence. Comfort has gone ; strength has gone ; hope has gone, Death has nothing to do but take possession. And this is no fancy; it is no picture. There are thousands of the homes of your fellowsof "your own flesh," where this ruin is enact. ing to-day. And then I might remind you again, of the temptations which come especi. ally and more fiercely in connection with the poor mau's lot. The poor man must struggle for quiescence when he sees that the crumbs “ from the rich man's table” wasted, would furnish him not only with a meal but with a banquet. The poor inan must have a stern fight to be contented when he sees, striving all his life as he does to be honest, that he is splashed with the mud from the carriage where fraud and profligacy ride. Hence it is that in times of distress, in times of discon. tentment, grievances are multiplied; there is a cry that is difficult to repress against those above them; they are denounced as selfish, tyranvical, proud. What more shall I say ! It remains now surely that you address your. selves to the duty. Your pity, your philan. thropy, your patriotism, and your religion have opportunities of charity to day which they have very rarely had before. Let that charity fow as it ought-undiminished by any solitary misgiving, waiting to settle apparent discrepan. cies, or to rail at apparent apathy, or to solve economical problems-waiting to do all that until the famine is driven off from the heart of the hungry, and until the stricken and sorrowful can agaiu look up and smile. The duty is one from which none are exempt. God forbid that it should be an offering of the

the land like a watered garden and like a spring of water whose waters fail not,”there, Divinely spoken, is our "exceeding great reward.”—W. M. Punshon, LL.D. (in uid of the Fund for the Relief of the Lancashire Distress): Sermons.

rich alone! Desolate homes, starving children, patient women from whose hollow eyes the worm looks out already, men smitten from their manhood into feebleness until they have lost almost all remembrance of the bold and brave beings they were-these are our clients, “Inasmuch," &c.-tbat is our never-failing argument. “Ye know the grace,” &c.--that is our example, "She bath done what she could "-that is our mesure. " Light breaking forth as the morning, health springing forth speedily, righteousness going before you, the glory of the Lord your reward, light rising in obscurity, darkness as the noonday, the satisfaction of the soul in drought,

lviii. 7, 10, 11. BENEVOLENCE,

I. Is a Christian duty. II. Has its seat in the soul. Is the expression of the soul. Finds its demonstration in practical fruits. III. Must be associated with humility. IV. Is specially acceptable to God. V. Its reward. Light in the soul-on the path—on the condition (vers. 8-12).—Dr. Lyth.

[ocr errors]

A HEALTHY CHURCH. lviii. 8. And thine health shall spring forth speedily. I. ESSENTIALS OF A HEALTHY family puts everything out of sorts. CHURCH.

A healthy church may be known by 1. A scriptural constitution. As Noah its prayer-meetings, contributions, misbuilt the ark, Moses the tabernacle, sionary spirit, &c. 2. Health is known and Solomon the temple, according to by tustes. A sickly man's taste is bad. the Divine instructions ; so a healthy Ünwholesome dainties are preferred to church is formed according to the strong meat.

So with regard to an teaching of the New Testament and unhealthy church. Its taste is bad. pattern of the churches planted by the Silly anecdotes are preferred to good apostles. The foundation must be well scriptural teaching-thinks much of laid, otherwise the superstructure can

forms and ceremonies, &c. 3. Connot but fall. 2. Nutritious food. As tentment of mind. An unhealthy man the body requires to be fed with a is peevish, querulous, and difficult sufficient amount of wholesome food, to please. So an unhealthy church. so the soul must be fed with the bread It is a fault-finding church. Never which came down from heaven. Truth pleased with its ministry, with its in its purity, without any adulteration, officers, with its choir, &c. It faucies should be the soul's spiritual diet (1 that matters are managed better everyPet. ii. 2). 3. Pure air.

where than at home. 4. Work. Sickwho breathes in a polluted atmosphere ness disables a man for labour. Health sows the seed of disease and death in stimulates to work. A healthy man the human body. So the soul which cannot be idle. A healthy church may lives in an impure moral atmosphere be known by its labour. It teaches greatly injures itself. The spirit of the young, visits the sick and needy, worldliness, and the society of evil supports the missions, &c. companions, should be most carefully III. THE DESIRABILITY OF A avoided. 4. Regular exercise. Plıysi- HEALTHY CHURCH. cal exercise is one of the conditions 1. A healthy church is one of great of health, and is the means of saving comfort to itself. Though a man has many a doctor's bill. In like manner, wide estates, baronial castles, chariots Christian work and the faithful dis- innumerable, and though he be rolling charge of religious duties is conducive in wealth, if health fails, his chief to sound spiritual health.

comfort departs. So with a church. II. CHARACTERISTICS OF A HEALTHY Though it may have a beautiful chapel, CHURCH.

a crowded congregation, a large endow1. Health is sometimes known by out- ment; if lacking in spiritual health, ward appearances. The rosy cheeks, its consolations are indeed small. 2. the sparkling eyes, the sonorous voice, A heulthy church will survive through all testify to health. One invalid in a many triuls. The healthy man is heed

The man


[ocr errors]

less of easterly winds, and furious hur- a healthy church will live. Its chapel ricanes. So a healthy church. may become dilapidated, its members survives through persecutions, im- may die, but the healthy church lives prisonments, and martyrdom. Like the bush of old fires cannot destroy LESSONS.—1. A morally sick church it. 3. A healthy church is attractive. is a great curse to a neighbourhood. Healthy neighbourhoods entice visi- 2. The sooner the better that many a tors. So healthy churches attract church should apply to the great Phymen into their communion, and make sician for spiritual healing. 3. The all who come better and holier. People church will by and by become perfectly shun unhealthy churches as they do whole. 4. When perfectly whole, disfever dens. 4. A healthy church is one eased persons will no longer be adlikely to live. Sickness is the

precursor mitted into its fellowship (Rev. xxi. of death. When a church becomes 27).-J. Williams, Newcastle-Emlyn : morally sick, people will begin to speak Cofiant." of its death, funeral, and grave. But

THE REWARDS OF BENEVOLENCE. lviii, 10–12. If thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, fc. The Bible has une grand and pecu- conscience, and dreadful fears of a liar character,-it is the book of good- future state. Dwell upon such objects ness; it everywhere recommends and of misery. Think that it may be your extols the principle of benevolence; lut. its two grand precepts are love to II. The nature of benerolent regards. God and love to man. It never dis- We are to exercise-1. Tender compilspenses with either. Knowledge, gifts sion and sympathy. Not be heedless of tongues, and even faith without and careless of such ; not neglect; not works is dead. Of all the striking be callous. Investigate, inquire, exexhibitions of the beauty and value cite our best feelings; cherish soft and of this cardinal quality, none can excel benevolent passions; annihilate selfishthe one given by the evangelical pro- ness; crucify self; labour after genephet in the text. Notice

rosity and true charity; not wait for I. The objects of benevolent regard. opportunities of doing good. There These are described in two forms. may be many things having a ten1. The hungry. Those who have crav- dency to close our hearts. The iming appetites and no means to satisfy providence of the poor, and ingratithem. Such is, indeed, a pitiable con- tude ; cases of imposition. But we dition, yet not by any means rare. must not forget how miserable we This state, painful in itself, is often should be if God gave us our deserts, aggravated by surrounding plenty. It &c. 2. Kind and suitable aid. Symis difficult to hunger in time of famine; pathy without this is mockery. God but where there is enough, what a deems it an insult to Himself, and to temptation to steal! So thought Agur His image, which man bears.

Our (Prov. xxx. 8, 9). 2. To the afflicted. assistance must be in proportion to This is much worse than poverty alone.

It should be timely,-in Health gone; strength gone ; resources season; with kindness of manner; dried up; thrown upon

the bed of lan- with prayer for God's blessing; from guishing, wearisome days and nights, purity of motive,—not for show and &c. What wretched scenes are often ostentation; but out of love, &c., to discovered, &c. Often, too, this state the glory of God. is the reverse of their former condition III. The rewards of benevolent attenin life. Often, too, poor friendless tion to the poor and afflicted. l. It shall children have to suffer; and often be followed by a dignified reputation. there is a worse disease than that of No title or distinction equal to that the body,-a guilty spirit, a defiled of goodness. 2. Such shall have the

our means.

gracious guidance of God. How neces- fountain ; and as such, He never sary is this, how desirable, how pre- changes, &c. This reward is often eminently precious to have the provi- the consolation of the benevolent in dential interpositions of God, and the this life (Job xxix. 11-16). 5. The guiding influences of the Spirit. Guide full recompense shall be given at the last rightly, graciously, to the end, even day (Luke xiv. 14; Matt. xxv. 40, to a city of habitation. 3. They shall &c.). have internal happiness and satisfaction. APPLICATION.-Put not benevolence When others are lean and comfortless, in the place of experimental piety. they shall be prosperous and happy Yet, that is not genuine which does not (Ps. xli. 1-3). 4. They shall have produce benevolence. — Jabez Burns, abundant spiritual prosperity.

Com- D.D. : Sketches of Sermons for Speciul forts, &c., shall not fail. God is the Occasions, pp. 209-212.

A HAPPY CHRISTIAN. lviii. 11. And the Lord shall guide thee continually, &c. The portrait of what the Christian sations, promises, &c. In the worst is in his happiest times. The setting tiines of distress he is still satisfied. is a framework of duties (ver. 9, &c.). III. SPIRITUAL HEALTH AND HAPPIThese blessings are not promised un- NESS. It is a grand thing when the conditionally, but they are fenced in soul is in spiritual health, when the with terms. I must, therefore, address bones are made fat. Spiritual sickmyself to those who are living in the ness is the condition of many. Do not faith, &c., while I depict their happy be content short of spiritual vigour, &c. state, Five distinct features of their IV. FLOURISHING FRUITFULNESS. felicity are mentioned. They are de- This figure of a garden is a very sweet scribed as enjoying

and attractive one. Some professors I. CONTINUAL GUIDANCE. There are not like this. There is little evi. comes to them, as to other men, dence of diligent cultivation in their dilemmas in providence. The path of character. The contrast between an doctrine, also, is sometimes difficult. unwatered and a watered garden. Spiritual experience. The Lord shall V. UNFAILING FRESHNESS OF SUPguide thee-not an angel. “Shall.” PLY. Provided in the covenant of

grace. “Continually.” Grasp it by faith. I can only regret that my text can II. INWARD SATISFACTION.

It is a

have no bearing upon some of my blessed thing to have the soul satisfied, hearers, to whom it must be read in the for the soul is of great capacity. The negative. Treinble at this! Terrible Christian has got what his soul wants, is your present state, but more terrible

-a removal of all that which marred is the future. But there is hope yet. his peace, blighted his prosperity, and Jesus is able to save to the uttermost, made his soul empty and hungry-sin- &c. — C. H. Spurgeon: Metropolitan pardoned, satisfied with God's dispen- Tabernacle Pulpit

, Nos. 735-736.


lviii. 11. The Lord shall guide thee continually. The people of God are strangers

I. THE GOOD MAN'S NEED OF A and pilgrims on the earth; they "seek GUIDE. Necessarily arisesa better country,” &c. He needs a 1. From his ignorance. He is not in constant guide. His path is one he darkness, but he is at present the child has never before traversed. He is of the dawn. His knowledge is so ignorant of the way, and, without a limited, that he cannot trust to it. guide, his course would be uncertain, He only knows the first elements of and very probable his end unattained. truth. He has entered on the path of God graciously engages to conduct him. life, but he feels it necessary to seek

« НазадПродовжити »