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CARE FOR BRETHREN.
I can. If he is ignorant, destitute, helpless, his claim on my aid is all the stronger.
It is our duty to care for our brethren, The second great commandment of the law is, “ Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” If any one is distressed in body, or in soul, or in family, or in circumstances, and if I am within his reach, and able to benefit him, I am bound to do it, and to act the part of the good Samaritan. The gospel, as well as the law, require this, “If a man say I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar; for he that loveth not his brother, whom he hath seen, how can he love God, whom he hath not seen ?” Yea, under the gospel dispensation, we are bound to love our enemies, do good to them that hate us, and pray for them that despitefully use us, and persecute us. The grand commission, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature,” teaches the same truth. Our bosom of love must be as expansive as the shores of the ocean, and must burn with a desire to do good to all. The example of Christ requires the same thing. He was the world's benefactor; He went about continually doing good, and I am quite certain, He would have taken into His bosom of love every one of the human family, if he had come. Besides, God gives us the means of doing good, and we are to use them, and not hide our talent in a napkin. We can teach the ignorant, we can
warn the guilty, we can encourage the timid, we can comfort the afflicted, we can give of our substance to maintain and extend the gospel, and we can wrestle with God to make bare His holy arm, and subdue His enemies to Himself. Surely, if we are on the way to heaven, we should strive to persuade others to go along with us. Does not every breeze waft the cry ? “No man careth for my soul.” Selfishness may say, Let them alone, but religion says, Pluck them as brands from the burning.
If we neglect this duty God will call us to account. He reckoned with Cain, though he imagined his wickedness was hid. No human eye saw him murder his brother: but God saw him, and called him to account. If we fail in our duty, shall not God also reckon with us? If we neglect our relatives, if we care not for the souls of our neighbours, if the world, lying in the wicked one, excites not our compassion, and calls not forth our efforts, God will call us to account, and we will find, in our sad experience, that no blood stains so deep as the blood of souls. have gone down to the dust whom we might have tried to benefit. The fatal disease of sin, unthought of, and unchecked, has been ravaging our borders. On every side, as far as the eye can reach, great multitudes are perishing, and imploring our compassion, and shall we do nothing to prevent such a catastrophe.
THE LORD'S SIDE.
“ Who is on the Lord's side?" _Exod. xxxii. 26.
WHEN Moses was absent from the camp of Israel, holding intercourse with God on the mount, there was a general revolt. Young and old forsook the God of their fathers, and, for a time, became idolaters. When Moses returned, amazed and grieved at the universal defection, he stood in the gate, and cried, “Who is on the Lord's side ?” This question supposes that there are only two sides, that the Lord's side admits of no compromise—and that it admits of no delay.
There are only two sides, the Lord's side, and the side of idols. My reader, God is thy Creator. He brought thee into being-He endowed thee with an immortal soul-He gave thee more knowledge than the beasts that perish ; and, surely, it is reasonable, that thou shouldst serve Him, and Him only. God is thy preserver. He protects thee from danger–He gives thee food convenient-He supplies thee with comfortable raiment—He provides thee with a comfortable home-He surrounds thee with kind friends
; and, surely, it is reasonable, that thou shouldst serve Him, and Him only. God is thy Redeemer. Pitying thy lost and ruined condition, He has provided a great Saviour, and a great salvation, for thee; and this Saviour, having taken thy nature and thy place, and died for thy sins, claims thy love, and claims thyself; and, surely, it is reasonable that thou shouldst serve Him. The other side is the side of idols. Thou art not to imagine, that the Israelites and the heathen are the only idolaters. Strong drink is an idol. Alas! that there should be so many worshippers, sacrificing so much at its shrine. The world is an idol. Alas! that it should have so many votaries, whose hearts are set on it, whose hands grasp it, and whose feet pursue it. Self is an idol. Alas! that so many should be wise in their own conceits, and lean to their own understandings. “They sacrifice unto their net, and burn incense unto their drag.” Reader, which side dost thou choose? Is it the Lord's side, or the side of idols ? Let it be the Lord's side, for His service is reasonable, honourable, and profitable, while the service of idols is unmeaning, degrading, and destructive.
The Lord's side admits of no compromise. It does not permit indifference. There are some causes, regarding which we may be friendly, or hostile, or indifferent; but the cause of God allows no indifference. This was one of the laws of Solon : If any man was an indifferent spectator, while the republic was at war, he was to be condemned to perpetual banishment.
THE LORD'S SIDE.
Does the cause of God need friends and soldiers, and can I be indifferent? It does not admit of neutrality. “He that is not with Me is against Me; and he that gathereth not with Me scattereth abroad." The mighty are combined against the Lord, and therefore His friends must be decided. Lukewarmness, in such a cause, is offensive to God, and will expose to His judgments. It does not admit of mixed service. It will not do to fear the Lord, and serve other gods. If thou art halting between two opinions, thou art trilling with the demand of God for decision, and for energetic service, and thou art wronging thine own soul. The rapid flight of time forbids this; the uncertainty of life forbids it; the importance of eternity forbids it; and God himself forbids it. “No man can serve two masters.”
The Lord's side admits of no delay. The Word of God settles the question about time. In the morning of thy life, in ihe dew of thy youth, in the fulness of thy strength, yea, at the present moment, you must take the one side or the other. “ Come now.” “All things are ready.” If not now, difficulties will increase, and you will be daily farther from the kingdom of heaven. No one can settle the question for you, but you must decide and settle for yourself, and if not settled now, when? when ? when ? “This night thy soul may be required of thee.”