Images de page

tions, crying." Awake, awake, put on thy strength, 0 Zion!" shall we not, dear brethren, be melted to contrition, and aroused to new exertions and importunate prayer. “Come from the four winds, O breath” of the Lord" and breathe upon" thy churches, " that they may live" to thee.

The Executive Committee, in view of these afflictive dispensations, would especially entreat the prayers of their Christian friends, that a gracious God may be mercifully pleased to overrule these things for the glory of his name, and the furiherance of the gospel among the heathen, that trusting in the continued co-operation of his people, and the merciful help of the Shepherd of Israel, they may go forward with their work.

By order of the Executive Committee,

E. P. Swift, Corresponding Secretary.

View of Public Affairs.

[ocr errors]

EUROPE The latest advices from Europe, are of the 24th of May; and of very little general interest, except the article which relates to the death of General La Fayette, nor have we seen any announcements from other quarters of the globe, of such importance as to demand much detail. We shall therefore give a very summary view of Public Affairs for the present month.

The British Parliament is busily engaged in settling many points of Reform. The one which has caused the greatest excitement throughout the nation, is that which relates to the separation of church and state—to abolishing the ecclesiastical establishinents, and putting all religious denominations on the same footing. To obtain this, the dissenters of every name have united, and appear determined not to rest short of their object. They are opposed, however, by the whole of the court influence, and their petition has, as yet, not been granted. Lord Chancellor Brougham, in the house of Peers, niade a long argumentative speech against granting the petition; and, from being the idol of the dissenters, he has become the object of their utter aversion-In France, the greatest respect was shown to General La Fayette by the Chamber of De. puties, by a message of inquiry sent to his family while he was sick; and all parties united in bestowing the highest funeral honours upon him after his decease. His death has attracted the attention of the whole civilized world, more than the demise of any other man could have done. His party in France sincerely mourn his death, but the court party feel no grief. He was certainly an example of undeviating attachment to the principles of civil and religious freedom, such as the world has seldom seen. From the age of eighteen, to seventy-seven, and in the midst of the most trying scenes, he showed himself the firm, consistent, active, unfaltering friend of freedom and human happiness. He is gone from the world, but his name and character will live in history till the end of time. In Spain and Portugal, the cause of the young princesses who are the lawful heiresses to the crowns of those kingdoms, is, on the whole, gaining ground; but it meets with great and obstinate opposition, and we think will do so for a length of time. The radical cause of this is, a besotted attachment to all the extremes of Papal superstition. In Spain the rancour of party is such, that the murder. ous practice of giving no quarter, or of shooting prisoners, has been adopted. But this cannot last long-in Belgium, the death of the infant heir apparent to the crown, is the news of the most importance that has lately occurred—In Germany, great agitation is said to have been produced by the discovery of a plot and combination to as. sassinate the emperors of Germany and Russia, the king of Prussia, and a number of other princes. But mystery still hangs over this plot, if it has any real existence, of which we are as yet sceptical. We have nothing to state in regard to Asia and Africa -We regret to find that another revolution, said to be of a most important kind, has commenced in our neighbouring republic of Mexico. The parties, it appears, consist of those who are in favour of, and those who are opposed to, the appropriation of ancient religious endowments to the use of the state, and the granting of equal privileges to all religious sects. Santa Anna, it is said, is at the head of the latter party, and a sanguinary conflict is feared.

Our Congress adjourned on the 30th of June, having passed, we suspect, more bills in the last ten days, than in all the previous parts of the session. The deposite question, remains in statu quo-Our readers are acquainted with the changes which have taken place in the cabinet-For a few days past, the heat of the season has been intense ; but it has been favourable to the products of the earth, and the maturing of the harvest; and, through the great goodness of God, health, as yet, is generally enjoyed throughout our favoured land.



AUGUST, 1834.

Religious Communications.


A Charity Sermon. 1 CARON. xxix. 14, last clause. The whole verse is thus—" But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able to offer so willingly after this sort ?--for all things come of thee, and of thine own have we given thee.'

These are the words of David, king of Israel, “ the man after God's own heart.” He had purposed to build the temple of Jehovah at Jerusalem, that the ark of his covenant might no longer abide in a tent, but occupy a permanent place of deposit;—a structure which, by its magnificence and costliness, might be a standing and striking monument of the devotion of the nation to Jehovah the God of Israel; and by its spaciousness and accommodations, might enable both the priests and the people to perform the service of the sanctuary in the most perfect and agreeable manner. This was a work which, for a long time, lay near the heart of David. He was commended of God “in that he had it in his heart," but was expressly forbidden to carry it into effect himself; and as expressly commanded to commit it to his son and successor Solomon. David-possessing a temper wholly unlike what we sometimes witness in zealous men, who seem to be but little desirous that good should be done, if it be not done by themselves David determined that if he could not be a principal and conspicuous agent in this business, he would, at least, be an humble underworkman-If he might not be permitted to build the house, he would employ himself in gathering and preparing the materials. In this employment, accordingly, he engaged with activity and effect. Having made many preparations, for a length of time, when he drew toward the close of life, he completed them by a' great and noble effort. He assembled together all the men of rank, authority, influence and wealth, in his kingdom; made to them a solemn and affecting address on the subject; and charged Solomon in their presence to go forward with the work, and them to assist him in it. But he did not content himself with making a persuasive and pious speech. He set them an example of munificence, by giving of his own private property three thousand talents of gold, and seven thousand talents of refined silver. This example had—what such examples will usually have

a very powerful effect. All who beheld it seemed to catch the spirit of libe

. rality; and donations to a surprising amount were freely and cheerfully made. The heart of the good old monarch appears to have been so gladdened and melted by this event, that he could not restrain his

Ch. Adv.-Vol. XII,

2 U

emotions. He broke forth into solemn thanksgiving to God, before the august assembly. And here his humility was as remarkable, as his liberality had been great. He arrogated no praise to himself, nor bestowed any on the other donors, for what had been done. He ascribed it all to God, who had first enabled and then disposed them, to make these offerings—“Who”-says he in the text-"Who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able to offer so willingly after this sort?-for all things come of thee, and of thine own have we given thee.” Happy they, who do acts of liberality with such a spirit, and afterwards review them with such a temper! “All things come of thee, and of thine own have we given thee”-In farther discoursing on these words—the original occasion of which has been explained-I shall endeavour

I. To illustrate the truth asserted in the text, that “all things come of God,” and consequently that we serve him “ with his own,” when we employ his gifts in doing what he requires.

II. Deduce from the truth illustrated, a number of practical and important inferences.

First, then, I am to illustrate the truth that “all things come of God,” and consequently that we serve him with his own, when we employ his gifts in doing what he requires.

My brethren—The assertion in the text that “all things come of God,” needs no other limitation or qualification to render it a truth in the full extent and meaning of the terms, than that we should understand that only all good things are here spoken of; and this will be immediately perceived to have been the understanding of him who used the words, by any one who considers their connexion or design. It would, therefore, be a doctrine, true in itself, and capable of the fullest proof both from reason and Scripture, to maintain that not only all our earthly possessions, but all our intellectual endowments and improvements, all our moral dispositions and habits, and every inclination that we ever feel, either to serve God acceptably, or to do good to men, are really and strictly of him “from whom cometh down every good and every perfect gift;" and therefore that in the employment or exercise of any of these things, we do no more than serve our Maker with a part of his own bounty. As this, however, is a doctrine too extensive in its nature to be suitably handled in a single discourse, as well as somewhat beside the immediate purpose for which I now address you, so it is not, I think, the doctrine which the text was specially designed to teach. When David says in the text—"All things come of thee, and of thine own have we given thee,” there can be no doubt that he directly refers to that worldly affluence, wealth or property, which he and others possessed, and which had enabled them to make such costly offerings to the Lord. In this limited view, therefore, I shall at present treat the subject; and I do this the more willingly, because I believe that this is a view of the subject which, although by no means unimportant in itself, or perplexed in its nature, yet is too seldom taken, even by serious persons. They are ready to allow that divine grace is the gift of God, and that singular dispensations of Providence come immediately from bis hand. But in regard to their worldly substance, perhaps gradually acquired, and in the acquisition of which their contrivance and management, their laborious efforts and persevering industry, have been constantly exerted, they are not so sensible of the truth. They do not at least, so deeply and constantly realize that whatever they possess in this way, cometh as truly of God as if he had given it to them by the most remarkable and extraordinary dispensation of providence; and of course, that when they use it in his service, they do no more than serve him with his own. This, therefore, is the point which seenis to call for our special attention, and which we are particularly to regard on this occasion:- And yet, my brethren, when we distinctly fix our attention on it, we shall find it, as already hinted, a matter of great plainness, in regard to which the mind does not so much need conviction or argument, as to be refreshed with truths which have slipt from its recollection, and to which it is prepared to assent as soon as they are again distinctly presented to its view. In a word, the doctrine before us is nothing else than the doctrine of a particular providence, applied to a specific point or subject. ;. Let us suppose, in the first place, that a competent, or a liberal, or a profuse measure of worldly wealth is possessed, as an inheritance from parents, ancestors, or friends: and then we ask-who was it that enabled those parents, ancestors, or friends, to acquire that wealth at first? and who disposed them, after it was acquired, to give it to you as your inheritance?

How many instances have you seen, of persons who once had the power, the prospect, and the expectation of bequeathing riches and independence to their posterity, or their friends, who have, at last, died in poverty themselves, and left the same portion to those who succeeded them? How often, by occurrences that could not be foreseen, or by fraud, treachery and deceit that could not be prevented, has a patrimony, or a legacy, been entirely and forever kept from those for whom it was intended, and to whom, in justice, it belonged? Pursuing aright the thoughts which these inquiries may suggest, it will appear that property possessed by inheritance cometh of God, as really as that which is obtained in any other way–Nay, as it comes to the possessor without any of his own labour or care, a tribute of thankfulness seems to be especially due to that kind provi. dence which ordered his lot so favourably; and it becomes him peculiarly to remember, that in employing this property in any benevolent acts, he does no more than serve God with his own gift.

Or has any one become rapidly or suddenly possessed of wealth, or an easy estate? It has already been remarked, that men are sometimes more ready to allow that this cometh of God, than in cases where property is gradually and laboriously acquired. Yet to this very case, a remark which belongs generally to the whole subject applies with peculiar force-It is, that as all possessions which are not lawfully or honestly obtained, do not, in the sense of the text, come of God, so this is more frequently the case when riches are rapidly accumulated than in many other instances. “He that maketh haste to be rich, says Solomon, shall not be innocent”-“They that will be rich, says the apostle, fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts that drown men in destruction and perdition.” All the gains of unrighteousness, in whatever way acquired, come not of God: that is, they come not as a blessing, and are never held with his approbation. He even rejects them from his service, for “he will not have robbery for a burnt offering.” Whoever expects to bribe the approbation of heaven to deeds of fraud and injustice, by giving to charitable or pious designs, will find himself awfully disappointed. Such a man attempts by giving a part of what is not his own, to obtain a license to hold the remainder. No. Let him restore to its rightful owner that which has been unlawfully taken; or if this owner cannot be found, let him give to the Lord the last farthing of his ill-gotten pelf. “Behold -said the truly penitent Zaccheus-behold the half of my goods I give to the poor, and if I have taken aught from any man, by false accusation, I restore him four-fold.” But if, by the peculiar smiles of providence on our lawful enterprise or industry, we are prospered in an unexpected and unusual degree, and wealth is suddenly or rapidly thrown into our hands, then indeed, we have reason to say with special propriety, " this cometh of the Lord:” and if we have any right views of duty, we shall see that we but serve God with his own, when we are liberal of this property, in promoting every pious and useful design.

This is also true, in regard to those possessions which are acquired slowly, difficultly, and laboriously. Did you use much management and contrivance in getting what you possess? Were you very diligent, assiduous and persevering? Were you frugal and economical in all your concerns, that you might save a little? And who was it that gave you that capacity, that turn of mind for management and enterprise, which has made the whole difference between you and those improvident creatures, whom the want of foresight, contrivance, or resolution, keeps in perpetual poverty? Who was it that gave and preserved to

? you that health and activity, without which all your endeavours must have been suspended or prevented, and for the want of which, so many labour under the accumulated pressure of penury and disease? Who was it that produced those favourable occurrences, which introduced you into business, and which rendered that business profitable? Who was it that saved you from those disastrous mistakes, and accidents, and losses, by which hundreds of honest and industrious men are constantly thrown backward, and kept from getting on prosperously in the world? Who was it that has rendered your business-enterprises successful, when thousands, who have wanted neither skill, nor diligence, nor integrity, can scarcely keep themselves and their families above absolute want? Who has preserved your property, since it was obtained, from the destruction of fire and storm; and from a thousand incidents, against which human wisdom and power cannot provide, and by which “riches make to themselves wings and fly away?" Who was it?—It was God that did all this. He did for you that which you could not do for yourselves—that, without which, you would have been, at this hour, as poor as any unhappy mortal that asks your charity. All your possessions, then, have actually come of God-He has given them to you; and whenever you lay out a part of them, in any service that he requires, you only give himn of his own.

It were easy, my brethren, to pursue this train of thought to a much greater length-It were easy to show in detail, that as the earth is the Lord's and the fulness thereof," as he is the Creator-the original and absolute proprietor of all the good things that we possess; and as it is by the order of his providence, and by that alone, that they are conveyed into our hands, they do all, in the most emphatic sense, “come of him:” And that, whenever we expend, in a service that he requires, something of this store that he hath put in our keeping, it is no more than serving him with his own property. But these ideas are too plain to need explanation, although they well deserve a careful remembrance. I therefore proceed

II. To deduce from what has been stated a number of practical and important inferences.

First, then, If all that we possess be given us of God, and we do but serve him with his own, when we make the best and most liberal

« PrécédentContinuer »