Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

all the with theirer they are death

Lord poured upon him the Spirit of Prayer, and he was heard to Plead much with God for purity of heart and confidence in him, In this exercise he was remarkably blessed, and requested of his friends, that if any thing was said of him after his death, it might be from these words, “ And it shall come to pass, that whosoever "! shall call upon the Name of the Lord, shall be saved.” His views of salvation were such, as led him to long for the fullest enjoyment of God in Glory, and to express his surprise at the folly and madness of men, for their inordinate and finful attach. ment to the things of this world.

He was tenderly affected when any of his christian friends cal. led to see him; and as one sensible of his approaching change, he looked forward to that time and place, where he hoped to see ihera again, joyfully repeating these linés ? . " There all the ship's company meet,

“ Who sail'd with their Saviour beneath, . . « With shouting each other they greet,

" And triumph o'er trouble and death !" A few days before his death, my Gfter informed me of the rapid progress of my brother's disorder. I ordered my concerns so as to go over and visit him. I arrived at Otley on the gift of May, but before I could see him, I was informed that he was dying. When I came into the house he revived, and embraced me with much affection, and soon after faid, “ I bless God, Í " was never more resigned to his Will; ... I have no pain, nor “ have had any doubt of my acceptance with God since my afa "fliction began."

Mr. Harrison came in late from the circuit and called to see him. My brother took him by the hand with great affection, and said, " This is my friend that always stood by me." I sat up with him that night. He rested but little, and early next morn ing desired to sit up, which he did for a short space several tips in the day. During this day I took an opportunity of spenang to him on some fainily affairs, which gave him satisfaction, and also, on the affairs of our Zion, for the peace of alch 11$ 10 had long travelled in pain. Texnrelled mu bees of seeing general peace in our societies. He just ręp?:

veru, “ If your hopes are well founded, it is well.” In the ver

evening he was so very weak that he could hardly speak at av!,

v, but when his friend Mr. Blag. borne from York, with Mr Harrison, came in, before the preaching, he revived and find in them, “Blelled be God, I have not. ferved him for noudt ; but am very conscious, that tho'I am,

" Unworthy of the crumbs that fall,
• Yet, rais'd by him who died for all,

" I eat the children's bread.” VOL. XIX, Nov. 1796.

When

When they were gone, observing their brotherly affection towards him, he said, “ The law of sympathy makes us feel very much." During the following night, he was a little restless, with difficulty in breathing. Next morning I perceived his dissolution was near: I asked, If he longed to depart to be with Christ? He answered, “ I did feel that desire constantly, but it is not so constant now." I asked, What is the cause? He said, “I am examining." .

I now saw he could speak no more. I took his feeble hand, when I supposed its strength was gone, and said, If Jesus is precious now, raise your fingers. He lifted up his hand with great emotion. Soon after I perceived he was dying, and kneeled down to commend his soul into the hands of God. He opened his eyes and looked upon me with his usual ease and pleasantnefs, and then breathed his lat.Thus died a meek and humble follower of Jesus Christ, having just entered into the 55th year of - his age.

Stockport, June 20, 1796. . :: J. BRETTELLO

ve how the Son of lich words, allufiuso we oug

CHARITY recommended on its true Motive,

[.EXTRACTED FROM A LATE EMINENT WRITER ) • C REATER injustice, cannot be done to the doctrines of

Christianity, than to suppose them barren speculations, subjects intended only for the meditations of the pious in their closets, or the controverfies of the learned in their writings; and issuing in no conclusions for the benefit of society, and the comfoit of mankind. The contrary is happily evinced by the Apostle, where he says, “ If God so loved us, we ought also to love « one another;" in which words, allufion is made to the incarnation of the Son of God, as the great instance of the divine love toward us; and that love proposed as the principle and the pattern of our love toward our neighbour. “If God so loved us,” it he “sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins," -- then,

'n ought also to love one another." We might ask him in hona: zcal for the welfare of his fellow.creatures burns with the brighter and most ardent flame, what his patriotic and generous heart could with more than that men might be brought to this blessed temper of minun

4?. Did it but prevail in it's full extent, it would reform the world at one."

Som Transgression would cease, and with it much of our misery and inabi

andable. The reign of righteousness and happiness would commence and paradise be, in great measure, restored upon earth. St. Paul nop's the reason, in very few words; “Love worketh no ill to its neighbour t;" it can work him no ill; it can never injure him in his person, his bed, his property, or his character; it cannot so much as conceive a desire for any thing that belongs to him. But it resteth not content with negatives. It not only worketh him no ill, but it * 3 John iv. 11.

muf

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

must work for him all the good in it's power. Is he hungry? It
will give him meat. Is he thirsty ? It will give him drink. Is
he naked? It will clothe him. Is he fick? It will vilt him.
Is he sorrowful ? It will comfort him. Is he in prison ? It will
go to him, and, if possible, bring him out. Upon this ground,
wars muft for ever cease among nations, dissensions of every kind
among lesser societies, and the individuals that compose them. All
must be peace, because all would be love. And thus would every
end of the Incarnation be accomplished ; good will to men, peace
on earth, and to God on high glory from both.

Many seem to think, that if charity be but shewn, Motive is a
matter of indifference. It may be fo to the party receiving, but
not to the party beftowing. Á fick person is equally benefited,
whether he, who sits by his bed-fide, lies there from real affection,
or with design to make a will in his own favour. Nothing can
determine the sterling worth of an action, but a knowledge of the
Motive upon which it is performed. Here, then, we should be
very careful not to deceive ourselves. We should deal fairly, and
search our hearts to the botiom. In the day of inquilition and
retribution, he who made them, and therefore knows what is in
them, will certainly do so. Men and angels, on that day, will
be made acquainted not only with all we have done, but with the
true reasons why we did it; and the transactions of human life
will be found far other than they seem. Nay, there are, even
now, men of the world, endowed with fagacious and penetrating
minds, who judging partly from what they experience in them-
selves, and partly from what they have observed in others, are
not easily imposed upon. By knowing a person's general charac-
ter, and laying circumstances together, they will give a threwd
guess at what is passing within, and not be led to take the oftensa
ble motive for the real. Some French authors, and, after them,
some English ones, writing upon this plan, have given a very una
favourable representation indeed of human nature. Their máxims
are by no means universally true: but might be sendered services,
able, if we made use of them, not to censure others, but to exa.
mine. ourselves; not to judge our neighbours, but to let our own
consciences plead, Guilty, or Not Guilty.

Some information on this subject is necessary for us all, left after performing actions of charity, by performing them upon wrong and sinister motives, we become exposed to the mortification of losing their reward. We may perform them merely because there is a decency and propriety in so doing ; others perform them, and we should be thought meanly of, were we to omit them: We may perform them out of vanity, to acquire the character of benevo. Jent'; a character, to which, perhaps, upon the whole, we have no good title: We may perform them out of envy, left a rival bear off the honour from us: We may perform them to become popular, and serve by them some secular and political interest : 4 E 2

We

the pious :

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

We may perform them in the way of commutation for a favourite sin, in ihe practice of which we have determined to continue, and hope thus to buy off the punishment due to it, In this last article we shall find ourselves grievously mistaken. In all the rest may be applied the words of our Lord; “ You have your reward;" you fought the praise of men; you obtained it: you fought not the praise of God; you obtained it not.

There is yet another motive, concerning which the determinațion is more difficult : ... When we perform an act of charity, to escape from the pain we fell at the sight of misery. We relieve the obje&; but it is, to relieve ourselves. We hear much of these fine feelings, from persons who reject with disdain the influence of a higher principle. God forbid we should depreciate this humane and exquisitely tender sentiment, which the beneficient Au. thor of our nature gave us, as a fpur to remove the distresses of others, in order to get rid of our own uneasiness. But it has been justly observed, that " where not streng hened by superior mo: " tives, it is a casual and precarious instrument of good, and “ ceafes to operate, except in the immediate presence, and within " the audible cry of misery. This sort of feeling often forgets os that any calamity exists which is out of it's own sight; and tho' " it would empty it's purse for such an accasional object as rouses “ transient sencibility, yet it seldom makes any stated provision for miseries, which are not the less real because they do not obtrude

upon the fight, and awaken the tenderness of immediate fym. “ pathy. This is a sort of mechanical charity, which requires “ springs and wheels to set it a going” · Not so the real Christian Charity, recommended by the Apostle to be performed upon another motive...“If God so loved us" ... as he hath done..." we ought also to love one another;" A mo. tive at once rational, pure, and permanent.

1. A rational motive. There is indeed a feeling and an affec, tion in the case: but they are founded on the highest truth, and the strongest reason; they are fixed and directed by the judgment, A friend has done me the greatest service in the world ; to his kindness I owe every good that I possess, every comfort that I enjoy. His kindness I will therefore return through life, in every instance which falls within my power. This is the principle: It is, in short, gratitude; a principle, destitute of which, in social intercourse, the world itself scarce allows to any person more than the name of a man. Such is the idea universally entertained of ingratitude to a friend, a benefactor, a master, a parent, a prince. But does ingratitude, then, change it's nature, and put off it's de. formity, when the object is the best of friends, the most gene. rous of benefactors, the most indulgent of masters, the tenderest of parents, and the most gracious of princes? God has made us, and redeemed us; he has given grace, and promised glory. He asks no other return, but that we love him; and, as we can bring no advantage to him by so doing, that we transfer fuch love,

Chrilliset in

as he performed

for

[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

for his fake, to our brethren ; and he places it to his own account. In these circumstances, if we love not them, we cannot be deem. ed to love him. In the whole compass of our knowledge there exists not, surely, a truth, which, while it speaks so warmly to the human heart, approves itself so completely to the human understanding.

2. The motive'is likewise pure. It originates from all that is liberal, generous, and noble, in the soul of man. It has been said, there is a reward promised; and therefore it is mercenary. But they who say this seem not sufficiently to have considered the nature of the reward. I love my friend, and desire, of course, to be with him, to enjoy his company and conversation, and to Jive in his presence. In all this there is nothing mercenary, nothing sensual, or selfish *. Of such a kind is the reward promised by our heavenly Friend, The desire of it is no sign of the de. pravity, but of the exaltation and perfection of our fouls. The body indeed will have it's share, but not in it's present state. It will be spiritualized; by the working of an Almighty Power, able to subdue all things to itself; it will be changed into the same Image, from one degree of glory to another, and fashioned like unto that of it's great Saviour and Redeemer. The reward is in, tellectual and divine ; and would be no reward to a person who was not himself become so. The motive therefore, notwithstand. ing the reward, is as pure as it is rational.

3. And it is as permanent as it is pure. Is vaniiy our motive for charitable actions ? It may cease. Is worldly interest ? It may fail. Is fashion ? It may vanish away. Is a feeling of compassion and sympathy ? Such temperaments may change, and often do so. But the argument deduced from the love of God towards us can never fail, any more than that love on which it is founded. It meets us, when we arise in the morning, and when 'we go to our repole at night ; when we behold the heavens, and the earth, and all the hosts of them, serving our necessities, and ministring to our enjoyments; when we find ourselves surrounded by our families and our friends; when we go out, and when we come in ; when we hear from his blessed word the history of those wonderful works that he has wrought, and of the felicity he has prepared for us in another world, when this in which we now live shall be passed away, and gone into perdition. Often as we acknowledge these favours, and praise him for the mercy which endureth for ever, the question thould occur, How can I acknow. ledge them, with what face can I praise him for them, if, after fo much given, I am not ready, upon this principle, to give to others ? Verily, our praises, as well as our prayers, will rise up in the judgment against us, and condemn us. --- NO --- if we hope for final aceeptance with our God, let us always, in our life and at our death, remember “ If God so loved us, we ought also $to love one another."

* “The self-love, which aims at the rewards of another life, is perfeally con. 6 fiftent with social; the rewards being promised to those only who love their k! neighbours as themselves,"

Anecdote

[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]
[ocr errors]
« ForrigeFortsæt »