Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

CHARITY.

The word charity is often mistaken. We are apt to think that it merely means the duty of giving alms to the poor. This is indeed one part of charity, but there are other very important parts besides this. The word charity means love : and it includes the duty of “love to God” and “love to man.” Our Lord has told us the disposition which he requires in those who would inherit eternal life.-"Thou shalt love the Lord thy God, with all thy heart, and with all thy mind, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.”- Our Lord likewise says that on these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets;” meaning, that all the practices mentioned in the written law depend on these two principles, “ love to God," and love to man;" and the Apostle repeats the same truth when he says that « love is the fulfilling of the law;" "love,".

charity,” understood as extended both to God and man. Now this is not in opposition to those parts of Scripture and those declarations of our Church, which speak to us of the great privileges of the Gospel, and tell us, that by "FAITH we are sayed.” A Christian knows that heaven is purchased for him by the sufferings of his Saviour, and he rejoices to rest his hope on the foundation of that rock. That sacrifice gives him his only hope of salvation; on that therefore he firmly relies, and he knows that this is the gift of God's mercy to him. Heaven opened to sinful man, is not man's purchase, but Christ's, and it is the Christian's faith to receive this in thankfulness and praise.

When we read of the merciful offers in the Gospel, we must not suppose that they are made only to few of us, they are made to us all. But all,

or

Charity.

151 alas ! do not accept them. Those who do are those who are said to be in the faith ; they are the believers; they look for the pardon of their past sins, to the merits of Christ; they know that they must be accounted righteous, before they will be admitted into heaven;-and ihey feel assured that they have, in themselves, no such righteousness of their own as will entitle them to claim this salvation; and therefore they rest their claims on the righteousness of Christ. This is the doctrine of justification by faith. It is not that a man is saved hy any merit in his own faith, but he is saved by Christ's merits, which he by faith accepts.

Now, besides this, we must remember, that if our faith in the sufferings and atonement of our Lord be really sincere, we shall feel full of gratitude, when we think that our blessed Saviour has endured all his griefs and sorrows for our sakes; and this will lead us to “love Him” who has thus shewn that he “ first loved us." We are then brought to examine ourselves, to see whether we have, within us, this proof of our faith-and moreover, whether our minds are filled with that disposition which is a necessary preparation for an eternal kingdom of holiness and purity and spiritual happiness. Now this disposition is love, love, as we have said, to God and to man.

This disposition is that which St. Paul has so beautifully described under the name of “Charity” in his 13th Chapter of his lst Epistle to the Corinthians. Charity, as there described, is to be cultivated by every Christian, by the poor as well as by the rich. Without this heavenly disposition, we are in no state of preparation for heaven :-“all our doings without charity are nothing worth.” Let us join then, in the prayer of the Church of Christ, that our beavenly Father would send his Holy Ghost and pour into our hearts that most excellent

gift of Charity, without which whosoever liveth is counted dead before Him *.”

V.

EXTRACT FROM THE CHURCH HOMILIES.

The following extract from one of the Homilies of our Church, teaches us, in its simple language, what true charity is.

“ Of all things that be good to be taught to Christian people, there is nothing more necessary to be spoken of, and daily called upon than charity :-you shall therefore hear nowa true and plain setting forth of charity, not of man's imagination, but of the very words and example of our Saviour Jesus Christ, in which description every man (as it were in a glass) may consider himself, and see plainly whether he be in the true charity or not. Charity is, to love God with all our heart, all our soul, and all our power and strength. With all our heart; that is to say, that our heart, mind and study, be set to believe his word, to trust in him, and to love him above all other things. With all our life ;-that is to say, that our chief joy and delight be set upon him, and his honour, and our whole life be given to his service. With all our power ;--that is to say, that, with all our powers both of body and soul, we should be given to the keeping and fulfilling of his commandments. This is the first and principa part of charity; but it is not the whole : for charity is also to love every man, friend and foeto bear good will and heart unto every man, to use ourselves well unto them, as well in words and countenances, as in all our outward acts and deeds;

* Collect for Quinquagesima Sunday.

Extract from the Church Homilies. 153 for so Christ himself taught, and so also he performed indeed. The Pharisees had corrupted, and almost clearly stopped up, this pure well of God's lively word, teaching that this love and charity belonged only to a man's friends, and that it was sufficient for a man to love then that loved him, and hate his enemies; therefore Christ opened this well again, purged it and scoured it by giving unto his godly law of charity a true and clear interpretation, which is this—That we ought to love every man, friend and foe. Christ did this himself. He loved not only his friends but also his enemies, which in their hearts) bore exceeding great hatred against him, and with their tongues spake all evil of him, and in their acts and deeds pursued him with all their might and power, even unto death : yet notwithstanding all this, he withdrew not his favours from them, but still loved them, preached unto them of love, rebuked their false doctrine, and wicked living, and did good unto them, patiently taking whatsoever they spake or did against him. When they gave him evil words, he gave none again ; when they did strike him, he did not smite them again: and when he suffered death, he did not slay them nor threaten them, but prayed for them. Almost every man persuadeth himself that he hath charity, yet let him examine none other man, but his own heart, his life and conversation, and he shall not be deceived, but truly discern and judge whether he be in perfect charity or not. For he that followeth not his own desires and will, but giveth himself earnestly to God, to do all his will and commandments, he may be sure that he loveth God above all things; and else surely he loveth him not, whatever he pretend."

HYMN.
Christian Love, or Charity.

I.
Happy the heart where graces reign,

Where love inspires the breast;
Love is the brightest of the train,
And perfects all the rest.

II.
Knowledge, alas! 'tis all in vain,

And all in rain our fear;
Our stubborn sins will fight and reign,

If love be absent there.

III.
'Tis love that makes our cheerful feet

In swift obedience move;
The devils know, and tremble too,

But Satan cannot love.

IV.
This is the grace that lives and sings,

When faith and hope shall cease;
'Tis this shall strike our joyful strings,

In the swect realms of bliss.

y.
When join'd to that harmonious throng

That fills the choirs above,
Then shall we tune our golden harps,

And ev'ry note be love.

REFLECTIONS OF THE SACRIFICE OF ISAAC. “WHERE is the Lamb for a burnt offering ?” were the words of the unconscious Isaac, as he followed his father up the mount, where the sacrifice of himself, was to be offered. And does the Christian, in the present time, ask himself this question ? I would humbly venture to offer a few ideas which

« ElőzőTovább »