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lying children, children that will not hear the law of the Lord: which say to the seers,“ see not ;” and to the prophets, “prophesy not unto us right things; speak unto us smooth things; prophesy deceits : get you out of the way, turn aside out of the path ; cause the Holy One of Israel to cease from before us*.” Here we learn the necessity of a written revelation. Men are stupidly opposed to the truth; and were the words of God committed to the memory and veracity of man, they would be forgotten or perverted.
Write, that it may be read from age to age; that it may be remembered, believed, and obeyed by all nations. “ Write it in their sight, that they may keep the whole form thereof, and all the ordinances thereof, and do themf.”
The divine declaration, that all who die in the Lord are blessed, has been written. The record has come even to us, in these ends of the world. But, alas ! that it should be thus! it is not read by many; it is believed by a less number; and is constantly remembered by none.
“ Blessed are the dead, which die in the Lord.” Consoling words! They are full of truth, grace, and mercy. They can smooth the pillow, and soften the bed of death. But, shame to the inactivity of be..
* Isa. xxx. 8-12,
† Ezek. xliii. 11.
lievers, not half the human race have had the oppor.
pray that God would bring the heathen into his Church, enlighten, justify, sanctify, and save them, through the Gospel, but take no trouble to diffuse knowledge among the ignorant within your own sphere of influence; you, who spend yearly, thousands upon your luxuries, but will not give Pagans in Christendom the value of a bible. You, Christians, are to be pitied, who have been baptized into the name of the Holy Spirit, but suffer the epistle of this same great God to lie covered with dust and cob-webs; which you will neither read yourselves, nor suffer others to read, who are perishing for want of knowledge. Will it not be more tolera ble, in the day of judgment, for the heathen, than for you? Christ has answered the question.
“ I heard a voice from heaven, saying unto me, WRITE.” It was written in vain for you: you read not; neither do you persuade others to improve the
advantages which you despise. How shall the Pagans read, if Christians never, or feebly exert themselves to promote Christian knowledge? Were all professors to imitate your example, the Church would become extinct. Blessed be God, that he will provide the means for the preservation and enlargement of Zion. All, who have a name to live, are not dead, and buried in the rubbish of temporal wealth and pleasure. God has his friends in every age. He will continue to raise
persons, who will read what is written, who will send the Gospel of God to the dark corners of the earth, and who will be instruments in the divine hand of magnifying his word above all his name*. Although some nominal Christians touch not the burden of diffusing the knowledge of Jesus with the tip of their little finger, yet there are others, who strive earnestly to promote religion at home, that it may be also extended abroad; who pray and work with their own hands, each man according to his ability, in confident assurance, that soon all nations shall read, “ blessed are the dead which die in the Lord.”
Many do not believe what John was commanded to write, because of the hardness of their hearts. Do you require proof of this assertion ? Take that wealthy man for an example, who rolls along in his gilded chariot, reclining on cushions of velvet, and followed by his servants, to the house of God. He is pleased with his minister in holy things, because he is courtly in manners, and persuasive in address; because his fashionable neighbours applaud that Christian eloquence which charms, and sometimes, finding its way to the heart, makes Felix tremble. His teacher would inculcate the duty of doing good to all men, in exact proportion to ability and opportunity ; especially the duty of contributing a proportion of our substance to the distribution of bibles and religious tracts, and to the support of a preached Gospel among the poor at home and abroad. His discourse is founded on the apostolical “ charge,” to “them that are rich in this world, that they be not high-minded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy ; that they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate ; laying up for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.” The man of wealth is not destitute of all humane emotions, and when he contemplates the wretched state of the Pagans, when he beholds the youthful wife burning upon the funeral pile of her husband, the child of affectionate parents passing through the fire to Moloch, and the hoary headed chief of a tribe slain, because of his decrepitude; when he hears the cry from the wilderness of thousands ready to perish for lack of vision*; when he learns that in his own city thousands cannot read
* Psalm cxxxyiii. 2.
the Holy Scriptures, and rarely hear the Gospel of Jesus proclaimed; then his eyes are moistened with tears. Would God they were tears of penitence ! Does he give the price of his chariot to promote the illumination of the heathen? No. Perhaps, then, he gives the amount of a needless servant's wages, for one month ? Aye, Christianity might stop in her progress, before he would retrench the expense of a lubberly fellow to stand behind him, while he lolls along the streets. Does he consecrate the price of one splendid dinner to the benefit of perishing souls ? Not he. But he wept while the preacher was eloquent and pathetic in description. Does he not contribute then as God hath prospered him?
Cautiously he conceals his hand, when he carries it to the receptacle of gifts for the poor, for he would not give his alms before men; he would not let his left hand know what his right hand accomplishes. GOD SEES HIM GIVE A DOLLAR! He does not believe that it is written, “ blessed are the dead which die in the Lord.”
A person of moderate fortune next contributes to the propagation of the knowledge of Christ. How much does he love the salvation of souls? How much would he give, to send the bible to every destitute family, a preacher of the Gospel to every deserted village, light to benighted India, truth to the inhabitants of the American wilderness, and the gladness of salvation to the multitude of isles? He gives