Page images

night an indifferent public house. He pleaded, therefore, that it was necessary for him to proceed on the next day until he should arrive at better accommodations. But I could not help thinking that his being comfortably accommodated was not, on the whole, so important as obedience to the decalogue.

One person thought he asked an unanswerable question, when he begged to know why it was not as well to be on the road, as to be lying by at a country tavern. It occurred to me, that if his horses had possessed the faculty of Balaam's beast, they could have readily told him the difference, and why the latter part of the alternative was preferable.

There was still another person who was sure his excuse would be sustained. He was one of a party, who were determined to proceed on the Sabbath in spite of his reluctance, and he had no choice but to go on with them. Ah, had he no choice ? would they have forced him to go on? could he not have separated from such a party ? or might he not, if he had been determined, have prevailed on them to rest on the Lord's day? Suppose he had said, mildly yet firmly : “My conscience forbids me to journey on the Sabbath. You can go, but you must leave me. I am sorry to interfere with your wishes, but I cannot of. fend God.” Is it not ten to one such a remonstrance would have been successful ? I cannot help suspecting that the person was willing to be compelled in But many said that this strict keeping of the Sabbath was an oid puritanical notion, and this seeined to ease their consciences somewhat. I remarked that I thought it older than puritanism. A Sinaitical notion I judged it to be, rather than puritanical.

this case.

Many Sunday travelers I met with, begged me not tell their pious relatives that they had traveled on the Sabbath. They thought, if these knew it, they would not think so well of them, and they would be likely to hear of it again. No one asked me not to tell God. They did not seem to care how it affected them in his estimation. It never occurred to them that they might hear from the Lord of the Sabbath on the subject.

I do not know any purpose which such apologies for Sabbath-breaking serve, since they satisfy neither God nor his people, but one, and that is not a very valuable one. They serve only, as far as I can see, to delude those who offer them.

I love to be fair. I have been objecting lately against the Catholics, that they reduce the number of the commandments to nine. I here record knowledgment that some of us Protestants have really but nine. The Catholics omit the second ; some of our Protestants the fourth.

my ac

22. I Have Done Giving

A gentleman of high respectability, and a mem. ber of the church, made this remark the other day, when informed that an application was about to be made to him in behalf of some charitable object. “I have done giving,” said he. When I heard of his remark it awakened in my mind a train of reflection, which I have thought it might not be amiss to communicate.

Done giving !" Has he indeed? Why? Has he given all? Has he nothing left to give ? Has this disciple done what his Master did ? Was he rich, and has he become poor for the sake of others, that they, through his poverty, might be rich ? O no! he is rich still. He has the greatest abundance-more than enough to support him in elegance, and to enable him to leave an ample inheritance to his chil. dren. What if he has a great deal ? He has not only not impoverished himself, but is probably richer now, through the favor of Providence, than he would have been had he never given any thing. Now if, by honoring the Lord with his substance, his barns, instead of being emptied, have been filled with plenty, he had better continue this mode of honoring him. He should rather increase than arrest his liberality.

" Done giving !" Why? Is there no more need of giving? Is every want abundantly supplied ? Is the whole population of our country furnished with the means of grace? Is the world evangelized ? Have missionaries visited every shore? Is the Bible translated into every language and distributed in every land, a copy in every family, and every member of every family taught to read it ? Are the accommodations for widows and orphans as ample as they should be ? Is there a house of refuge for every class of the human family that needs one? Or have the poor ceased from the land ? O no! There are no such good reasons as these for ceasing to give. Why then has he done giving? Is it because others do not give as they ought? But what is that to him? Will he make the practice of others his rule of conduct, ra. ther than the precept of Jesus Christ? If others dc not give, so much the more should he. Will he add another name to the list of niggards ?

Does he feel worse for having given away so much? Has it made him unhappy? Is his experience different from that of the Lord Jesus, who said, It is more blessed to give than to receive ?"

Has he, who thinks he will give no more, been led to that conclusion by having found that what has been given hitherto has done no good? And is it so, that no good has been done by all the Bibles published, and all the Tracts distributed, and all the missionaries sent abroad into our own land and into the world; and all the schools established, and all the children taught to read, and all the civilization intro


duced, and all the asylums opened, and all the poverty relieved? Has no good been done ? Good, great good has been done by what has been given ; but still more will be done by what shall be given hereafter. Bibles can now be printed at a cheaper rate than heretofore, and the conductors of our charitable operations have learned, by experience, that economy which can be learned in no other way. And yet at this time, when a dollar goes so far in doing good, here is a man who says, “ I have done giving !" If I had his ear for a moment, I would ask him if he has done receiving—if God has done giving to him. I would ask him, moreover, if he has done spending, or done hoarding, or done wasting. Now, if he has not, he surely should not stop giving. When he ceases to waste, to hoard, and to spend, except for the merest necessaries, then he may stop giving, but never till then.

Done giving ! that is, done lending to the Lord ! Done sowing and watering! Done offering the sacrifices with which God is well pleased ! Done making the widow's heart leap for joy, and bringing on himself the blessing of them that were ready to perish! Well, I am sorry-sorry for the sake of the poor, and the sick, and the orphan, and the ignorant and the heathen. But no less sorry am I for the man's own sake. Poor man! poor with all his affluence, for there is really no one more poor

than he, who, with the ability to give, has not the inclina


« PreviousContinue »