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church, what Jesus will command at the last day, what will comfort you on your death-bed, will not be the rich beaufets that shine in your houses, the superb equipages that attend you, the exquisite dishes that nourish you, not even the signal exploits, and numberless victories, which astonish the universe, and fill the world with your names : but the pious foundations you have made, the families you have supported, the exiles you have received, these, these will be your felicity and glory.
You say, the miseries of the poor are perpetual, and their wants endless, and this disheartens you. Alas! Is not this, on the contrary, what ought to inflame your charity? What! Should your charity diminish as wants increase? What! Because your brethren are not weary of carrying the cross of Christ, are you weary of encouraging them to do
You say, the miseries of the poor are perpetual, and their wants have no end. I understand you, this reproach touches us in a tender part. But we have less reason to complain, because we are always miserable? Yet, perhaps we may not always be in a condition so melancholy. Perhaps God will have mercy upon his afflicted. Perhaps the flaming sword, which hath pursued us for more than twenty years, will return into its scabbard, rest and be still. Perhaps we may some day cease to be a wretched people, wandering about the world, exciting the displeasure of some, and tiring out the charity of others. Perhaps God, in order to recompense the charity, which you have testified by receiving us, will grant you the glory of re-establishing us, and, as you have lodged the captive ark, will empower you to conduct it back to Shiloh with songs of victory and praise. Perhaps if we all concur to-day in the same design, if
we all unite in one bond of charity, if animated with such a noble zeal we address our prayers to him, after we have offered to him our alms, perhaps we may build again the walls of our Jerusalem, and redeem our captive brethren from prisons, and gallies, and slavery. Perhaps, if God has determined that Egypt, which enslaves them, should be for ever the theatre of his vengeance and curse, he may bring out the remainder of his Israel with a mighty hand, and an outstretched arm, with jeruels of silver, and jewels of gold, with flocks and herds, not an hoof being left behind, according to the expression of Moses, Exod. x. 11.
After all, let us remember what was said at the beginning of this discourse, that if God require alms of you, it is owing to his goodness towards you. Yes, I would engrave this truth upon your minds, and fix this sentiment in your hearts. I would make you fully understand, that God has no need of you to support his poor, and that he hath a thousand ways at hand to support them without you. I would fain convince you, that if he leaves poor people among you, it is for the reason we have already mentioned; it is from a sublime principle, for which I have no name. In dispensing his other favors, he makes you sink with joy under the weight of his magnificence and mercy : to-day he offers to owe you something. He would become your debtor. He makes himself poor, that you may be enriched by enriching him. He would have you address that prayer, which a prophet formerly addressed to him, Thine, O Lord, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty : for all that is in the heaven or the earth is thine, thine is the kingdom, O Lord, and thou art exalted as head above all. Both riches and honors come of thee, and thou reignest over all, and in thine hand is power and might, and in thine hand it is to make great, and to give strength unto all. Now, therefore, our God, we thank thee, and praise thy glorious name. But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able to offer so willingly after this sort ? for all things come of thee, and of thine own have we given thee. For we are strangers before thee and sojourners, as were all our fathers : our days on the earth are as a shadow, and there is none abiding, i Chron. xxxix. 11, &c.
May these forcible reasons, and these noble motives convey light into the darkest minds, and soften the most obdurate hearts; and may each apply them to himself in particular ! It happens, not unfrequently, that on these occasions each trusts to the public, and, imagining that the charity of an individnal will be nothing to the total sum, for this reason omits to give. No, my brethren, there is no person here, who does not make one. There is no person here, who ought not to consider himself the public, and, if I may venture to say so, representing in some sort the whole congregation. Every person here ought to consider his own contribution as deciding the abundance or the insignificance of our collection. Let each therefore tax himself. Let no one continue in arrears. Let a noble emulation be seen amongst us. Let the man in power give a part of the salary of his office. Let military mengive a part of their pay. Let the merchant give a part of the profits of his trade. Let the mechanic give a part of the labor of his hands. Let the minister consecrate a part of what his ministry produces. Let the young man give a part of his pleasures. Let the lady bestow a part of her ornaments. Let the dissipated give the poor that box of ointment, which was intended for pro
phane uses. Let the native of these provinces give a part of his patrimony: and let the refugee give a part of what he has saved from the fury of the ocean when his vessel was dashed to pieces, and with a part of these remnants let himn kindle a fire to offer sacrifices to that God, who saved him from perishing by shipwreck.
My brethren, I know not what emotions of joy penetrate and transport me. I know not what emotions of my heart promise me, that this discourse will be attended with more success than all we have addressed to you. Ye stewards of our charity, ask boldly. Come into our houses ye blessed of the Lord, and receive alms of a people, who will contribute with joy, yea even with gratitude and thanks.
But, my brethren, we are not vet content with you. Should you exceed all our expectations ; should you give all your fortune,
your fortune, should you leave no poor hereafter among you, all this would not satisfy me. I speak not only for the interest of the poor, but for your own interest ; we wish you to give your charity with the same view. In giving your alms, give your minds, give your hearts. Commit to Jesus Christ not only a little portion of your property, but your bodies, your souls, your salvation, that so you may be able to say in the agonies of death, I know whom I have trusted, and I am persuaded that he is able to keep that, which I have committed unto him, against that day, 2 Tim. i. 12.. God grant us this grace. To him be honor and glory for ever.
Proverbs xvi. 32.
He, that ruleth his spirit, is better than he, that taketh a city.
ERE we to judge of these words by the first
impressions they make on the mind, we should place them among such hyperbolical propositions as imagination forms to color and exceed truth. The mind on some occasions is so struck as to magnify the object in contemplation. The more susceptible people are of lively impressions, the more subject they are to declamation and hyperbole. We find these maxims sometimes necessary in explaining the sacred authors. Were we to adhere scrupulously to their words, we should often mistake their meaning, and extend their thoughts beyond due bounds. The people of the east seldom express themselves with precision. A cloud intercepting a few rays of light is the sun darkened: A meteor in the air is the powers of the heavens shaken : Jonah in the belly of the fish, is a man down at the bottom of the mountains : thunder is the voice of Jehovah, powerful and full of majesty, dividing flames of fire, breaking cedars of Lebanon, making Syrians skip, and stripping forests bare : a swarın of insects is a nation set in battle array, marching every one on his ways, not break