« ForrigeFortsæt »
by man, in an age of civilization. But posed to cold and nakedness—some of they are the ordinances of God," the them are starving with hunger-some poor shall not cease out of the land." of them are dying in ignorance. Our They are the Lord's distribution of head is glorious, but look at his memgifts—they are the Lord's platform bers. His members are yet left here laid for the express purpose (at least in the world, his members are yet exone of the purposes) of giving an op- posed to the ravages of famine, are portunity of cultivating that very dili- yet exposed to the deadly influences of gence to which we are exhorted in ignorance. Look, my dear brethren, this place.
at the members of Christ. He has Oh, my beloved brethren, it is easy come down to you in the person of his to profess attachment to a friend whom members, and he is despised and rejectwe deem powerful, able to help us, ed of men still. He is in distress, sick, and when the profession of attachment naked, hungry, thirsty, in prison. to him involves us in no present dif- Behold your Lord in the person of his ficulty. And of this character is much members in prison, and sick, and then of the profession of attachment that try your attachment to him. See, my exists among us to our absent friend— dear brethren, we have many talents our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. But entrusted to us, many opportunities of when a friend comes near, and instead doing good to our Lord, for he takes of having power to help us, is in dis- it as done to himself. Inasmuch as tress, and needs our help, when he ye have done it to the least of these, stands in need of kindness and assist- my brethren, ye have done it unto me,” ance, self-denying, pains-taking, sym- says the gracious head. pathy, then, when our profession of Now, some of you have time, and attachment is put to the proof, when money, and clothing, and fuel, and we cannot show it to be sincere with houses, and lands, and these all in out self-denial, without encroachment abundance, whereby to testify your upon our own ease, and upon our own love to the shivering members of your indulgence, then comes the trial in- Lord that are here on earth. Some of deed, and the sincerity of the friend is you have money to spare, but no time proved. Many there are who will be that you can give. Some of you have friends to the rich and powerful. time, but no money that you can give. “ The rich have many friends," saith Some of you have a little time and a Solomon, “ but the poor shall seek little money. The lowest, the poorest, long for a friend."
the most abject amongst you has still Now, when the Lord Jesus Christ something, has still one talent, has himself as the glorious head of the still one opportunity whereby you can church is alone considered, it seems testify your love to the Lord Jesus in easy to profess attachment to him. the person of some of his poor memThere is in this country, and all pro- bers. Is there a poor man here, a fessedly Christian countries, an honour poor mechanic, in this congregation, and kind of respectability, yea, there who can scarcely acquire sufficient is a fashion in professing to be faith- food to keep himself and his family ful to Christ. But, behold, while the from starvation? Yet I say to that head is exalted in glory, his members man, there is one talent that you
have are left upon the earth, the members whereby you may testify your love to of his body, of his flesh, and of his the Lord Jesus. Is there a young bones, are here among us, and they person, a junior member of a family, are in distress. Some of them are ex- whose superiors in the family are op
posed to any open effort of Christian seen) a poor man in real sincere atbenevolence, and who has no separate tachment to a fellow-creature deny funds whereby such an effort can be himself the repose which his weary carried on? Yet, to such a one I say, frame required after the day's labour, there is still one talent left by which and instead of sitting down to refresh you may testify your love to your dear his body for to-morrow's labour, go to Lord in the persons of his members show some kindness, to soothe some on earth. What is it?-what is it? pressing sorrow, or to volunteer to go I think I hear a poor man say, whose on some convenient errand for the heart is full of the love of Jesus, but who gratification of the object of his affechas no money. He can scarcely clothe tion? Well, well is it proved where and feed himself. What can I do? How a man's heart is, for where his heart can I show my attachment to my is, there is his willing hand and his Lord ? Why, my brethren, observe willing foot; there is his willing serin the enumeration which our Lord vice, there is self-denial, there the gives of the tokens of attachment to whole power of his nature manifests him, we read not only, “I was an itself in the out-goings of those extra hungered, and yegave me meat; thirsty, kindnesses, as it were, which are not and ye gave me drink; a stranger, absolutely called for in righteousness, and ye took me in; naked, and ye but which show the fulness of the af. clothed me;" these clauses are beyond fection of the soul. the reach of a poor man to whom I Shall this be done towards human now address myself; but there remain objects, and shall our Lord have to two clauses more, “ I was sick, and complain that there is no such selfye visited me; I was in prison, and ye denying love, no such determination came to me.” Who is so poor, who of costly affection, (for it is more costly is so destitute of opportunity that he than money for the poor man to give cannot show some tender sympathy, his extra labour, for the labouring man some self-denying condolence with the to give the last hour of exertion in his suffering members of his beloved Lord, weary frame, and deny himself the in. that he cannot go to some sick bed, dulgence that nature craves, is more and pour consolation, by his sympathy, costly than hundreds or even thousands into the heart of the sufferer that lies laid down on the plate by him who there upon it? Who is there that can- has thousands left behind.) Shall our not comply with the apostolical injunc- Lord have to complain that such at. tion, to weep with them that weep?" | tachment is shown among one another,
My dear brethren, true love is in- and that there is so little attachment genious in inventing methods of show- shown unto him? ing kindness. man who truly loves It is to this, it is to this self-deny. an earthly object, one of his fellow- ing, this warm, fervent, sympathetic creatures, if he be too poor to testify love that you are invited this day, my his love by costly gifts, will yet devise dear brethren, in the exercise of all the such smaller kindnesses, such affec- gifts, of all the opportunities, of all the tionate watchfulness of attention as talents with which the Lord hath enwill bear witness with an eloquence not trusted you to trade withal until he to be misunderstood, that if he give shall return. And whatever other no more it is not for want of inclina- things he shall do at his return, we tion, for the inclination is manifested are positively assured of this one thing, in these smaller attentions. Oh, my that “when the lord of those servants brethren, who has not seen (I have returns, he reckoneth with them.”
Unto you, then, that are rich, I sufficiency in all things may abound in give this charge, and yet not I, but the every good work.” “There is,' says Lord chargeth you by his Apostle. Be the wise man, “that scattereth, and not high minded. Trust not in uncer- yet increaseth, and there is that with. tain riches, but in the living God who holdeth more than is meet, but it giveth us richly all things to enjoy. tendeth to poverty.” And if the lanDo good.
rich in good works, guage of philosophy can add power to ready to distribute, willing to commu- the language of God, hear what our nicate, laying up in store for your countryman, the first of philosophers, selves a good foundation against the has said on this subject. Lord Bacon time to come, that ye may lay hold on said, “Money is like manure, it is eternal life, so that when the Lord, useless in a heap, it must be scattered the Son of man shall return, he may in order to bring in true riches.” say unto you, “Come, blessed of my
To those that are poor among you, Father, inherit the kingdom prepared thus saith the Lord by his servant, for you from the foundation of the in reference to your state of mind, in world. For when I was hungry there reference to the efficient support of the upon earth, though indeed the head of poor, which you cannot give, and in the body was in the enjoyment of all reference to the sympathy which you the fulness of God in heaven, yet in can give. As to the state of your his members he wash ungry, there in mind, he says,
Godliness with conthat city I was hungry, in that village, tentment is great gain.
For we and ye gave me food ; I was thirsty, brought nothing into the world, and and ye gave me drink; I was ignorant, it is certain that we can carry nothing and ye taught me; I was sick, and ye out; and having food and raiment, let visited me; I was in prison, and ye us therewith be content.” As to what came unto me. Ye have been faithful you cannot give he saith, “where there in the few things, ye have made to is the first a willing mind it is acyourselves friends of the mammon of cepted, not according to what a man unrighteousness, enter into the king. hath not, but according to what he dom prepared for you from the foun- hath.” And as to what you can give he dation of the world.”
saith, “rejoice with them that do reOh, beloved brethren, let me warn joice, and weep with them that weep." you against the withering effect of Remember them that are in bonds as narrow systems, which would prevent being bound with them; and because the full power of this glorious appeal yourselves are also in the body, reof our Lord from reaching your very
member them that are in adversity. heart and soul. To those of you who And to all of you the Lord saith, are rich in measure, the same lan- “let love be without dissimulation ; let guage applies in its measure, and thus him that giveth do it with simplicity.” saith the Lord to you by his Apostle, And the Lord saith, " he that hath this “He that soweth sparingly, shall reap world's goods, and seeth his brother also sparingly; and he that soweth need, and shutteth up his bowels of bountifully, shall reap also bountifully. compassion from him, how dwelleth Let every man according as he is dis- the love of God in him?" And He saith, posed in his heart, so let him give, “beloved, if God so loved us, we should not grudgingly or of necessity, for God also love one another, for love is the loveth a cheerful giver, and God is fulfilling of the law," and that seeing able to make all grace to abound to- it, is now high time, because the night wards you, that ye always having all- is far spent and the day is at hand.
And, therefore, lay aside all works of groom, not because of any immorality darkness and put on the armour of imputed to them, but because they light, and devote yourselves to all the wanted oil in their lamps. The unLord's works and labours of love, for profitable servant is cut off, not for love is of God, and he that dwelleth any act of dishonesty, but simply bein love dwelleth in God—he that en- cause he lacked activity and diligence joyeth love enjoyeth God—and he that in the service of God. And those on practiseth love imitateth God; walk ye, the left hand are cast into outer darktherefore, as imitators of God, like ness, not because of any alleged crime, dear children in love. As Christ loved but because they omitted duty; beus and gave himself a sacrifice for us, cause, when the members of Christ near so we should sacrifice ourselves for the them were hungry and thirsty, they brethren, so should we be willing, like fed them not—they gave them not to the primitive bishops, of whom it is drink. Oh, if omission alone be so recorded, (I allude particularly to the made by our Lord, the ground of fear. Bishop of Carthage,) who, when there | ful condemnation, what shall we say
plague in the city, and when about the carelessness, the negligence, called to preach to the brethren con. manifested in so many who profess to cerning the condition of the poor | be the Lord's followers? around him, he congratulated his My dear brethren, bear in mind this church, praised God for the opportu- word of exhortation. I am not one of nity afforded, of showing real love to those who are afraid to give to each the suffering members of Jesus Christ, portion of Scripture its full, its plain, by giving themselves a sacrifice for its honest scope of application. Let their brethren, by running the risk of those who fear the fulness of the glolosing their own lives in the infection, rious doctrines of grace_let those be because he said the Lord hath so done afraid to follow up, in due measure, to us, and we should lay down our this exhortation to personal holiness, lives for the brethren.
and devotedness of service; but we My dear brethren, to avoid doing have no such fear-we have no fear of evil—to be satisfied to avoid absolute stating, in all their glorious fulness, mischief-to avoid the commission of the riches of the assured salvation crime is a very poor standard; besides, which God has given to his people it has a most insulating effect on so- the all-sufficiency of his grace in Jesus ciety. It is, as much as to say to all Christ—the union in him who is united our neighbours, let me alone, and I to God, who stands the bond of union will let you alone. It is a detaching, between God and man-in whom God a breaking, a selfish principle; but the has come down to humanity-in whom warm activities of sympathetic love man is raised up into the godheadare like the powerful cement, which and the sure salvation of all the membinds together the living stones of the bers united in him—those members Lord's spiritual temple, that it may who were chosen in him before the grow up in beauty in the Lord. foundation of the world. We are not
My brethren, contemplate the ground of those who would check the fulness of condemnation in all these instances of the declaration, that salvation in
It is not for any actual Jesus Christ, in the sight of God, the crime committed, it is simply for the meritorious admission into the kingomission of active, diligent duty. The dom of heaven, is by grace without foolish virgins were excluded for ever works, or merits of ours—that we are from the presence of the glorious bride- accounted righteous before God, only
for the merits of Jesus Christ, renewed tinuous ministrations, amongst the sai. through faith, and not for our own lors, of a minister of God. It is a works and deservings--but having noble object, an object worthy of this said so—having proclaimed the Lord's nation-worthy of this Christian peodeclaration of admission into his king- ple—an object which it should delight dom, shall we draw back and not pro
British Christians to set high in array claim the line of judgment for the ad- among the list of their Christian chavancement of his people in his king- rities. Whether you consider the hisdom? God forbid. Because we know
tory of the nation past, or the duties the glories of the day of grace-because of the nation present, the object now we know God is in Christ reconciling before us is well deserving of the most the world unto himself, without im- anxious solicitude and devoted care of puting unto men their trespasses, now British Christians. while it is the accepted time—now Now, apply to the present duty the while it is the day of the Lord's mercy, principle of divine truth which I have shall we draw back from declaring the developed among you this morning. day of judgment—from declaring God I cannot doubt but that every British in flaming fire, who is now in tender Christian will, at once, acknowledge mercy-from declaring that the ac
to his own heart, the duty of having ceptable year of the Lord shall pass Christian instruction thrown in the away, and after it cometh the day of way of the sailors that approach the vengeance of our God? No, beloved port of the metropolis. I cannot doubt brethren, but knowing the terrors of that arguments are not needed to sathe Lord at the end of the day of tisfy you of the plain and obvious duty grace, we would now persuade every in this case. But I know the principle, man, while the day of grace lasts, and or the want of principle rather, in earnestly call upon every man, to be the human heart, by which the conreconciled unto God. Now is the time viction of truth in the understanding of reconciliation—now is the appointed is avoided, and fails to pass into power time-now is the day of salvation. on the life.
I have developed one For God now is ready to receive any principle of divine truth to you this man, and every man, in Christ Jesus ;
morning, which ought to give the conand God's election of grace is not the victions of your understandings power rejection of any man from Christ, but —and I beseech you, under the full it is the securing of some men to Christ, impression of what you have now because all men would reject Christ if learnt, seriously to consider the danthey were left to themselves.
ger of tampering with convictions, My dear brethren, you are aware of the danger of stilling a rising sense of the more immediate object for which duty—the hardening effect of going we are assembled here this morning, back from the secret vow that you you are aware that it is in support of made to the Lord in the first moment the church which is foating in the of your convictions—the hardening Thames—you are aware that the de- effect of going back—(for the characsign of that church is not only to sup- ter of the godly man is, that he voweth ply a facility, and, therefore, an en- unto the Lord and keepeth it, though couragement to the sailors on the river it be to his own hurt, that is, to his own to attend the worship of God on the immediate apparent hurt, for to his Sunday, but also to supply, in confor- ultimate real hurt it cannot be)-I mity with our established order, the warn you against the hardening probasis of the daily, and stated, and con- cess of sin that takes place in every man