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this to his mind: The chearful beams of day now begin to shine forth upon the world, and recall to me those pleasing varieties of nature, which God hath every where scattered with an unsparing hand through the works of his creation. But, whilst to me they thus bring new life and pleasure, alas for thousands of my fellowcreatures! they shine forth, only to awake the children of affliction to a painful recollection of their various distresses; to recall the pang of sorrow, to throw an unwelcome light on the dungeon of the fettered captive, to make the wretchedness of the poor mansions of poverty, only more visible and conspicuous. These various evils, I well know, are necessary in the confused order of a world like this, where pain and sorrow are the native birth-right and lot of man. Yet Providence, by putting the means of doing it into my hands, has allotted to me the pleasing task of alleviating these miseries, and of administering to the necessities of my fellow-creatures. I will remember therefore that this rising sun recalls me to the discharge of this god-like task. I will
labour to remove poverty and sickness from off the face of the earth, as far as my abilities extend, by “scattering the beams of benevolence around me, so long as heaven permits me to be the steward of its blessings. And, though, I cannot hope to wipe away all tears from all faces, for that belongeth to God alone, yet I may make the journey of some of my fellow-travellers through life happy; I may save a few perhaps from sinking under their heavy burdens; and be the happy instrument, under God, to save their souls alive hereafter, as well as to alleviate their bodily distresses here. At least of this I am fully assured, whatever may be the event of my endeavours, that I shall have discharged my own duty ; that I shall have acted in conformity to the great dictates of nature and religion ; and that therefore the prayers of the fatherless and widow will plead for me at the throne of mercy, in that great and awful day of account, when I shall most stand in need of mercy.
Thirdly, as the charity of the Christian must not be partial nor irregular, so neither must it be cold or grudging. It must not be extorted by argument or persuasion: it must not flow reluctantly or grudgingly, but freely and chearfully; it must arise from a love and obedience of God who commands it; from a regard to the poor, made in the image of God, who want it ; from a respect to ourselves, who may one day stand in need of the bounty of others. Our charity therefore must not drop with the niggard reluctance of the miser, but flow with the unbounded liberality of heaven. The true Christian will be ready to distribute, willing to communicate: And instead of studying frivolous objections to colour over his want of charity, which is too often the case of narrow-minded wretches, whose minds are impervious to the warm beams of benevolence, he will lend a willing ear to the cries of the necessitous : He will search out the poor and needy: He will plead for the misery that cannot plead for itself: He will anticipate the wishes of modest: want: He will have a pleasure in
sparing the confusion of depressed virtue, and rejoice to relieve the hand of falling worth, that cannot dig, and to beg is ashamed; knowing that God who loveth, will also reward the chearful giver.
And lastly, the charity of the true Christian will not only extend itself to the bodies, but also to the souls of men. And indeed, little as this is generally regarded, it is perhaps the noblest exercise of Christian benevolence. It is humane to feed the hungry, it is kind to clothe the naked, it is merciful to be feet to the lame and eyes to the blind, to deserve the blessing of the fatherless, and make the widow's heart to sing for joy : But how much nobler is it to restore the wandering sinner back to God and his duty, to snatch the profane infidel from the gates of hell, to awaken the impenitent, to comfort the broken-hearted mourner, to instruct the ignorant, to extend the glorious light of the Gospel to remote kingdoms, and open the gates of immortality to nations that now sit in darkness and the shadow of death? These are inK 2
deed glorious objects of charity ; as much · exceeding the relief of men's temporal
distresses, as the soul is more noble than the body, as the years of eternity are of more importance than the span of life. He therefore who is filled with a true sense of the duty of benevolence, will never want employment for his wealth or his abilities, so long as there is one body made after the image of God to be elothed or fed; so long as there is one soul, for whom Christ died, to be comforted, reformed, or instructed.
Such are the duties of charity and be. nevolence recommended by the great Apostle of the Gentiles to those, whom Providence had blessed with affluence. And to add weight to this recommendation, he commands Timothy (3dly), To lay before them the noble reward, which would await their compassion extended to the poor members of Christ: "laying up in “ store for themselves a good foundation “ against the time to come, that they may " lay hold on eternal life." . A reward indeed truly noble and desirable, suffi