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question the reality of his conversion to God, who has not experienced this liberalizing influence. The grace of God prompts the inquiry, "Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?" It is no longer the question, "What does narrow and contracted selfishness think right or permit; what are the precedents which I see around me; what will keep my stupified and misguided conscience right; what will be considered decent and respectable?" but "Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?" And here is the inquiry of love and filial duty ; such as a regard for the honour and glory of the divine Saviour induces; and we know to what an extended career of labour for the good of man it led the apostle, a career only limited by the bounds of the universe, and the spiritual necessities of a world.
Hence, where a gracious and saving change takes place, it leads to the discovery and the acknowledgment of calls and of claims which had never been seen or felt before. How constantly we see this practically exemplified. One man comes from India, and tells us that nothing is doing in that country in a religious point of view: and that nothing can be done; perhaps, that nothing need be done. The fact is, he has only moved there in his own contracted circle; contracted, I mean, by his own selfishness. He has " sought his own," and "looked on his own things;" and, engaged solely in the pursuits of business or of pleasure, he has selected his associates and formed his opinions accordingly, and consequently without any intention to deceive, or to speak otherwise than what he really believes to be the truth, he reports accordingly on his return to England. Another man comes back from India, and tells a very differ
ent tale. He has moved in the more extended circle of Christian philanthropy and zeal for Christ's glory; and he comes to tell us of the abominations of heathenism, but of the fields white for the harvest; of the glorious and extensive awakenings at Tinnivelly and elsewhere; of villages praying and beseeching England to send catechists and missionaries into the midst of them: and their cry he gladly conveys to his own beloved country, "Come over and help us.' What a difference between the two men! Though residing in the same country, with the same apparent opportunities of coming to the same result, yet how differently are they influenced! The fact is, they move in different circles which never meet each other, which, in a religious point of view, are entirely distinct-oh, how distinct! for the one orbit has its sun in the heavens, to illuminate, and direct, and cheer, and transform, while the other has nothing but the chilly and dim moonlight influence of selfish and darkened nature.
God's grace in the heart puts a man into an entirely new position of sentiment and feeling, making him, in the best sense of the term, a citizen of the world. Hence, in whatever station of life he is placed, he considers what claims others have upon him in that station. And his view cannot be limited by the calls of his immediate family. Children must be provided for, but there is a large family of suffering and needy humanity with which he has a sympathy, and to which he feels that he belongs, and for whom he is in trust; for whose good he must improve the talents which God has given him; remembering how soon he will be called to give an account of his stewardship. And to what a wide field of practical duty does this view lead us!
us look at the landowner living in the country among his tenants and his peasantry. There may not be the same available means for extended charity as exist in some other quarters; there may be incomes stationary if not retrograde, not admitting of those means of improvement and advance which exist elsewhere; but still the calls to do good are felt, and the claims of others are not denied. The objeet will be not to wring out of the tenants every possible shilling, regardless of their well-doing, or to be as little burdened and troubled with the peasantry around him as possible. The tenants' happiness and health and comfort will be duly considered; and as for the labourer, he will be regarded as having a sort of claim on the succour of the soil, and work will be provided for him to keep him off the parish and from charity. With good management, a man's own policy may generally prompt his sympathy and benevolence in this respect; for in the regard for the tenant's comfort and the labourer's employment, will be found the landowners' advantage. If every country squire would but resolutely set to work to drain and cultivate and otherwise improve his property, our poor-rates would be brought within little compass, we should have a generally employed peasantry; and the consequences to the interests of human happiness, morality and religion, would be incalculable. Nothing can justify a violation of the law. Submission and content are evident duties. But let the rich put themselves for a moment in the position of the poor around them. The owners of the soil are seen living in luxury and self-indulgence, caring not for the needy and distressed; spending or hoarding up, while their neighbours find it hard to get the barest necessaries
of life; yea, the cravings of hunger are not unknown; and many a poor creature comes to an untimely end for want of proper succour and assistance in times of sickness. Can the rich man, falling into such a position, be sure that he could command even the same degree of patient submission and peaceful contentment as prevail around him?
Then there are the higher claims which the Christian recognises; and schools will be upheld, and the Scriptures circulated, and love, expansive, brotherly love, will be ingeniously inventive in devising schemes for promoting the general happiness and welfare.
If we turn to the manufacturing districts, the same principles apply. Oh that men were duly alive to the calls and claims even of their dependants. But what a laxity of moral and religious principle is practically developed! Yea, what an inadequacy, even when it is not wholly lost sight of. If men were duly alive to their responsibilities, how changed would be the aspect of our manufacturing districts! Then with the new factory and new streets, built to accommodate the new population brought together to work that factory, there would, as a matter of course, be erected the place of worship, and the schools, and other useful institutions for their benefit.
But how often is all this lost sight of by those to whom the work evidently belongs. The clergyman of the parish has the burden thrown upon his shoulders, often when it is too late: and the men who have created the need and incurred its responsibility, content themselves with contributing as others do, and even permit the case to be aided by the benevolence of those who are at a distance.
Perhaps fifty or one hundred pounds is the sum which they con
tribute for a work which they alone should accomplish.
But oh, what calls will the unselfish see in all directions! Can we take up a report of our religious institutions without discovering how much more might be effected if the means were forthcoming. At this interesting season of our anniversary meetings in London, will one single Missionary Society do otherwise than make the heart of the generous Christian sad with the announcement of work abandoned, or calls refused, because of money wanting to go forward? Could not the Jews' Society, in its Temporal Relief, as well as General Funds, enlarge its usefulness if it had the means? And would not the translations of the Scriptures and their circulation, as well as that of Religious Tracts, be extended in all directions if the funds were extended? And what will not the Pastoral Aid Society have to tell us of its refusals to assist many an urgent case, because of its inability? What can be more deplorable than the destitute and neglected condition of many of our colonial missionaries and chaplains, especially in Canada?
field of promise presents itself on the Continent of Europe! What an extended sympathy and succour does Ireland claim of us at this interesting crisis, when, with all the exerted and determined energy of Popery, there never was a period when the subjects of that imposture were more extensively longing to be free from their spiritual thraldom. At Achill and Dingle, and elsewhere, what generous support should we not render to the faithful and the valiant men who, not counting their lives dear to them, are enduring the heat of the battle! And what should we not do for the converts, who, on renouncing Popery, are thrown into
beggary and destitution: and above all for the converted priests! Few things have delighted us more than the recent establishment of a Priest's Protection Society for Ireland. It is important, not only as affording help to those who have renounced Romanism, but as removing one grand obstacle out of the way of others following their example; and we know that there are numbers both of the priesthood and laity who are panting to burst their bonds, and are only waiting to be generously and efficiently taken by the hand. Nor is it the least interesting consideration connected with this Society, that it will form, under God, a most valuable nursery for Christian labourers.
But we must not enlarge.
We can only ask, when was there a period in which calls and claims at home and abroad so largely presented themselves? When was there a period in which facilities were so many for responding to those calls? Britain at peace with all the world; our merchandise pioneering the way to every part of the universe; our arms breaking down barriers, and opening out unexplored countries, and bringing under our responsible sympathies unfathomed and benighted millions; all the march of intellect, and all the improvements in arts and sciences facilitating the transfer and circulation of truth throughout the world-and the world not as even we remember it; a world not only dark and needy, and satisfied to be so, but morally and religiously convulsed; heaving to its very centre; a world yet lying under the tyranny of its Prince, but not now, as heretofore, content in its chains, asleep in its delusions, but beginning to be restless; awaking to reflection; welcoming the dawn of a brighter day; and in the discovery and ad
mission of its own chaos, presenting to the God of Light and Life and Love, the materials for His own workmanship of spiritual order and blessedness.
Nor is it possible to survey the circumstances of our own beloved country without the conviction that we live in a period of singular facilities for benevolent enterprise. Persecution is almost powerless in the midst of us. Public opinion is largely on the side of charitable efforts.
And in speaking of facilities for doing good, shall we not bear in mind also the degree of national prosperity which yet is vouchsafed us? Oh, who can duly estimate the critical position of England at this moment! The unprecedented calls and claims which press upon us at home and abroad; the peculiar facilities we possess for attending to them, and the concurrent fact of a returning tide of national prosperity furnishing the abundance of means wherewith to discharge our stewardship-who can contemplate such a striking and significant coincidence without feelings of the deepest interest.
But it is not what a nation can do or ought to do collectively, so much as what Christians are called to do individually; that forms our most important object of inquiry. And oh, that our readers would duly consider, not so much what others are doing, as the way in which they themselves are occupying the talents entrusted to their
grand fundamental seat and principle of evil in general, the spirit of selfishness? Have you ever duly considered that Christianity in the soul is primarily designed to render man unselfish, to lead him not to seek his own, not to look on his own things, but every man also on the things of others?
And have you ever duly considered what talents you have entrusted to your care, and how you may best employ them for your fellow-creatures' good and Christ's glory? How often have we mourned over the prevailing and uncontrolled spirit of selfishness pervadding the junior branches, even of godly, Christian families. It never enters into their thoughts, that they have to do good to others. Whatever the heads of the family may be pleased to do, they, at all events, feel themselves exempt. The sons can indulge their own gratifications: books, pictures, dogs, horses, company, public amusements-here lie their selections; the wherewith to be selfish or be generous is not wanting, but the "luxury of doing good" is not known, and the spirit of selfishness carries the day.
And so there is many an amiable daughter; it may be well-disposed and exemplary in many things, and not disinclined to do good altogether, but then it shall be in a way that costs nothing, or as little as possible. There is perhaps a liberal allowance for clothes; but every shilling is allotted for the purchase of variety and fashion; and it is far easier to part with five sovereigns for a new gown, than with five shillings for a charitable object. Oh, let not the young of our families yield to the delusive fancy, that the heads act as their representatives, and that they may be excused from such duties. It is not the amount of money thrown
into the coffers of charity that we look at so much, as the habits to be formed by those who are fast rising to be heads of families themselves. The young, indeed, may extend an incredible degree of blessed influence around them now. If the principle is acted upon "of sparing to spend," for Christ and for others, what great good will little means effect in the circulation of Tracts, the support of Schools, and of our public charities, &c. And then the example spreads, the leaven of benevolence diffuses itself in all directions, and comes to a considerable aggregate of good eventually. But still we cannot help contemplating future and more important consequences. The young men thus early brought under the liberalizing influence of genuine practical Christianity, are preparing in the only solid and effectual manner to regenerate our universities, and eventually to lead to a degree of lay and clerical benefit throughout the land which no one can fully calculate.
can I do for Him who has done so much for me? What can I do for those who enjoy not my blessings? What can I do to diminish the sum total of human misery and suffering in the world?" Let this once be the honest, earnest enquiry, and it is not to say what heretofore unthought of resources and opportunities it may conjure up into real and valuable existence, and to what important enterprises of love and charity it may not eventually give rise.
But on what slippery places stand the heads of families, especially in the present day! It will be well if the money getting and the money loving spirit of the age be not the curse and ruin of our nation. the Scriptures are to guide us, there must be a proportion between our prosperity and our charity.
Yet how seldom is this the case! It is a melancholy fact, that times of national prosperity have not been the most favourable for the exercise of charity. There is something fearfully emphatic in that expression the deceitfulness of
riches. I never cease to think of a lamentable fact that Mr. Milner, of Hull, frequently used to mention of a lady whom he was called to visit in her last illness. Amongst many other distressing confessions which she made to him, this was one : "Oh, sir, there was a time when I had the w to give, but not the power: latterly, as you well know, I have had the power, but not the will." And so it is continually with increase of riches there comes their deceitfulness. Men suffer themselves to be persuaded perhaps that their wealth is their own, and that they have a right to do what they please with it; or if a principle so entirely at variance with the testimony of Scripture is hushed and kept quiet, increased expenditure and indulgence creep on with increased resources, thus leaving no available funds for increased liberality; or, the father of the family yields to the persuasion that he must, as a duty, provide for his children; but, alas! it is with a provision, that is only commensurate with the constant and careful saving of all that he can possibly realize. The Scriptures speak of the difficulty with which they who have riches can enter the kingdom of heaven; and yet who is there who is not willing to run the risk of their danger! The only way to avoid it, is to improve them as a talent according to the rule of Scripture. We are not required to abandon them, but to make friends of the mammon of unrighteousness; to use the world as not abusing it, to possess as though we possessed not.