Gambar halaman

fainting, desponding Christian, will thy Redeemer be in thy hour of need. "When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee."

4. It should console us when we bury Christian friends. We may be resigned to that providence which removes from us our friends, even though they leave no evidence of their conversion. For it is our privilege and duty to remember that God hath done it-done it in mercy and love, though incomprehensible to us. But how great the consolation arising from the conviction that the friend we loved was the friend of the Saviour-was the beloved of the Father. Can we have one murmuring thought? Little indeed should I think of that man's piety who, when the paroxysms of grief were over, could not be resigned to such a providence. Mourning friends, cannot you bow down in submission, and kiss the hand which hath so severely afflicted you? You weep, and well you may, for you will see her face on earth no more! That amiable disposition will no longer manifest itself in acts of kindness, sympathy, and love. Those eyes, sparkling with joy and beaming with tenderness, will gaze on you no more; that mellow voice will no more fall like music on your ears they are closed in death-it is hushed in the silence of the grave. You will miss her counsels, her example, her company in the social circle, and around the fireside.

"But 'tis sweet to believe of the absent we love,

Though we miss thein below, we may meet them above." O is not Martha in a better world? Have you not reason to believe that her pains all ended with the dying struggle? Stormy indeed was her passage over the river of death, but was it not safe? was it not triumphant? Would you then call her back again to suffer? to participate with you in life's poor, dying joys, while she is now in possession

❝ to

of those which are rich and enduring? Affection answers, No! Copy her virtues; imitate whatever in her was "lovely and of good report ;" remember her worth, to you untold; and O! prepare to follow her. May God give unto you great support, and enable you to give yourselves up entirely to him; so that you may feel that for you live is Christ, and to die is gain." And every moment may you enjoy the confidence of the apostle, and say, “We know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens."

May God sanctify this affliction to us all, and help us to be grateful to Him who " hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel." Amen.



THE views of God differ widely from the policy of man. In proof of this assertion the history of our race might be brought before you, and on its every page you might behold convincing testimony that human actions are openly at variance with the principles of the divine government. Hence the melancholy fact, which can on no other principle be satisfactorily explained, that our advancement in happiness has been so slow, and so frequently retarded. God has marked out the only path which leads to felicity, but if we choose not to walk in it, and blindly prefer to go on in the "ways of our own hearts, and in the sight of our own eyes," we must expect to grope in darkness, and be overwhelmed in misery.

* Delivered January 13, 1839, at the anniversary of the Female Friendly Society of Broomfield-street church, Boston.

If you will recur for a moment to a very memorable saying of the Saviour, you will distinctly see the nature and extent of this difference, in thought and action, between man and his Creator. He said, "It is more blessed to give than to receive ;" and in confirmation of the doctrine, gave his heart's blood unto his enemies, and freely made "his soul an offering for sin" for those who could not recompense him. The policy of man, on the other hand, has invariably been to obtain and to retain in his single grasp the treasures of earth; and in the possession of riches he has supposed the highest earthly happiness to consist. Thus he who has secured to himself many of the treasures of earth is envied by multitudes, while he who distributes freely to the necessities of others, and who labours to collect that he may enjoy the happiness of distributing, is either pitied as deluded, or censured as prodigal. While therefore this false policy rules the human breast, there will be misery in society. For as long as men are actuated by such views and feelings, they will toil excessively for aggrandizement. In their haste to become rich they will neither respect the rights of man, nor regard the laws of God. They will turn away their eyes from the wants of the poor, and close their ears to the cries of the widow and the fatherless. But just in proportion as the gospel becomes authoritative in society this selfish policy will disappear. Man will become fraternal; human rights and divine laws will be regarded; the sufferings of the poor will be assuaged, and the sum of human happiness will be increased.

The same difference between the thoughts and ways of God and those of man is clearly exhibited in our text. The Saviour promises blessings to those who provide for the poor and needy, the distressed and helpless, but not because in human view the money thus expended is profitably invested. No interest can be reaped on earth, and


even the principal cannot be repaid us. How then, might the calculating spirit of covetousness inquire, is the saying true, thou shalt be blessed?" I gladly answer, in view of the principles laid down in the sacred volume, that if the investment be made in the name and spirit of a disciple of Jesus, it is money lent to God—it is treasure laid up in heaven-it is stock funded for eternity. "Thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just❞— when the earth and all its treasures shall be burned up.

I have made these remarks at the commencement of my discourse, that I might induce you, for an hour at least, cheerfully to abandon this worldly policy, with which we are daily surrou rounded, and with which it would not be strange if we were in some degree infected. And I beseech you, in view of the important truths at which I have merely hinted, to welcome to your bosoms the economy of heaven, replete with benevolence and love, while I lay before you the wants of those who cannot recompense you, and who are dependant upon your charities. And I am inspired with the assurance of success this evening, not only because I address those whose hearts the gospel has made tender and benevolent, but also because I am the organ of a society with which you have long been acquainted, and because I know the character of the claimants for whom I shall plead, and the validity of the claims which I shall advocate. The character of the claimants is beautifully expressed in the language of our text: " They cannot recompense thee." Let us consider then,

I. The cause of their poverty. When solicited for alms by any individual, the first question which arises in the mind is, Why is he poor? How came he to need my aid? Is his poverty the natural result of his follies and his vices, or of afflictive circumstances, over which he could have no control? Reason and conscience both

unite in prompting us to make these inquiries; for long since it has been seen that indiscriminate charity scatters without blessing. The man who gives bountifully to every wandering beggar that approaches his house, irrespective of his wants, and indifferent to the manner in which his 'bounty may be applied, may be commended more for the kindness of his heart than for the soundness of his judgment for the course which he pursues encourages idleness and nourishes dissipation. The answer, therefore, to this important question, Are the poor innocent or guilty in their poverty? may, in many cases, decide whether it is our duty to give or to withhold.

It is not my purpose on this occasion to spread before you the causes of the poverty that exists in society. I would not lead you over so wide and dreary a field, even had I the ability and courage requisite for commanding such an "exploring expedition." My design is very briefly to show you the causes of their poverty on whose behalf I now speak, that I may fully convince you that they are the proper objects of your charity. And if you will but listen, reason will prompt, and conscience beseech you to give liberally of your abundance to their necessities. The members of this benevolent society will bear me witness, that I have no doubtful cases to lay before you. In answer to the question, Why are their pensioners poor? I unhesitatingly answer, God hath made them so, and cheerfully invite you to examine the proof of this position.

Long ere this must the attention of every careful observer have been arrested by the fact, that God governs both the natural and moral world by general laws. The necessity and wisdom of this economy will be apparent to every one who examines it. In a world where sin abounds, the operation of these laws promotes the happiness of man as a race, though it sometimes conflicts for a

« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »