Page images
PDF
EPUB

A poor person, after labouring through the day, will pass the night in watching with a sick neighbour; while the rich pursue their pleasures, the scholar retires to his library, and the virtuoso to his cabinet, safe from the importunity of the wretched, and where the voice of misery never penetrates. Let not the pride of wealth or science look down with conteinpt upon the poor, since they often possess and exbibit that charity which is the end of knowledge, the comfort of society, the balm of life; and by his proficiency in which, every man is to be tried, at the judgement of the great day.--" Hath “not God chosen the poor?” Let not man, then, despise them.

Upon these grounds it is, that the Society has been employed, for near a century, in disseminating Christian Knowledge among the poor. Thousands and ten thousands of children have been snatched from the jaws of ruin, from ignorance and vice, and educated in the fear of God, in the charity-schools originally fostered and reared through Great Britain and Ireland, by their parental care, and which, at this time, contain above forty thousand. To this part of the plan the following testimony is borne by a celebrated prelate, in a charge delivered so long ago as the year 1716, though published only a few months since. He is speaking of the great and necessary duty of catechising—“The late encou“ragers of Charity Schools are never enough to be “commended for their care and diligence on this “ head, by which they have deserved well of God " and inan, and have done the church of England,

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

"and the pure religion of Christ, excellent service ; “ and verily they shall not fail of their rewardk."

A multitude of Bibles, Common-prayer-books, and a variety of religious tracts, adapted to the capa. cities and spiritual exigencies of the poor, amounting, within the space of the last fifty years only, to near three millions, have been printed and distributed by the Society, not only through England and every part of Wales, the isles of Scilly and of Man; but their care has been extended to the Greek church in Palestine, Syria, Mesopotamia, Arabia, and Egypt, as well as to the conversion of the feathens in the East Indies, where schools and missions have been established for that purpose. Translations of the proper books having been made, the inhabitants of these different countries have had opportunities of hearing and celebrating, “every one in his own " language, the wonderful works of God.”. . .'

I do not enlarge upon these several objects of the Society's bounty, because, in general, the world is now well acquainted with the nature of them; and the particulars may be seen in the annual account of its proceedings. That much good has been effected, is known to all those who have been con. cerned in carrying these benevolent designs into execution, or who have by any means happened to fall within the reach of their influence; but how much, it never will, nor can be known, till manifested by that day which shall manifest all things.

* The learned' and elequent bishop Atterbury's Charge to the Diocese of Rochester, in Mr. Nichols's publication of the Epistolary Correspondence, &c. vol.ii. p. 260.

The diligence of the husbandman, with the quantity and quality of the seed sown, will then best appear, when the harvest shall crown his toil, and, “the “ valleys stand so thick with corn, that they shall “ laugh and sing.”

Thus engaged in “well-doing," be not ye, therefore, “ weary;" "for in due time ye shall reap, if ye faint " not.” Look back with joy and pleasure on what has been done; look forward, with hope and confi. dence on what may be done. The adversary is not weary of exerting bis endeavours to suppress and extinguish the religious spirit among us; be not ye weary of exerting yours (as they always have been exerted) to cherish and support it. Consider the prospect which presented itself to the first preachers of the Gospel, when they entered upon the task of Promoting Christian Knowledge ; and consider the event: remember the “mustard-seed," and view the “ tree” which it has produced. Ye are fellow-labourers with them: and according to the measures of his grace, and the course of his dispensations, Christ will be with you, as he was with them. Apostolical is your work, and suitable will be your reward. Go on, then, and prosper, in the name of the Lord ; looking forward to that triumphant hour, when the scene shall open of which that now before us may serve to convey some faint resemblance; when the innumerable company of those rescued by your charity from the hands of the destroyer, and numbered ainong the children of God, shall be seen clothed in the robes of righteousness and salvation, arranged in shining circles around the throne, and heard singing Glory to their Redeemer, who sitteth thereon, forever and ever.

DISCOURSE II.

THE ANTIQUITY, USE, AND EXCELLENCE OF

CHURCH MUSIC.

PSALM, LVII. 8.

- Awake up, my glory; awake, lute and harp!

The sound of that noble instrument, which for the first time we have this day heard, is in perfect unison with the words of the text. It is intended for the saine purpose, and performs the same office. It calls upon us to employ all our powers and faculties in the service of him who bestowed them; to celebrate the praises of God, and give the glory due to the world's Creator and Redeemer. For this end man was formed : but it is an end which, in the present state of his nature, he is by no means disposed at all times to answer as he should do. Alive to earth, he is often dead to heaven. Troubled about many things, to the one thing needful he is apt to be inattentive. He sleepeth and must be awakened. “ Awake up, therefore, my glory; " awake, lute and harp! I myself will awake right

“ early 2." Let the instrument accompany the voice, and the heart accompany both. ,

In the constitution of man, as the all-wise Artist has been pleased to frame it, there are certain tones of the voice, by which the affections of the mind naturally express thenselves. The tone of sorrow is mournful and plaintive; the notes of joy, exulting and jubilant. St. James, therefore, spake with the strictest propriety, when he said, “ Is any afflicted ? “ let him pray; is any merry? let him sing. b" When the spirits are raised by good news, or any other very pleasing consideration, every one whose actions are unobserved, and therefore unrestrained, will break forth into singing. It is the proper expression of pleasure; it is “the voice of joy and “ health in the dwellings of the righteous.” Who shall contest THEIR right so to declare and make their feelings known ?" They have been in the possession of the privilege ever since the hour when, at the creation of the world, “the morning stars "sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for “joy ";" and they will be found possessed of it, in the day when, for the redemption of the world, saints and angels shall sing together, “Blessing, and “honour, and glory, and power, to hin that sitteth

# Music was used by the Pythagoreaus to dissipate the dulness of the mind at first waking in the morning: and it is said, I think, of good bishop Kenn, that, immediately on rising from his bed, he seized his guitar, and played some sprightly strain, for this purpose. b James, v. 13.

c Job, xxxviii. 7.

« PreviousContinue »