Imatges de pÓgina
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baronial seud, led on by the courtier or the clan-were matters of public boast, and the treasured fireside tales. But these things have passed away. Christianity has resumed her meek and holy reign.” The time is at hand, when the song of triumph shall be that of peace.

56 The game of war,” and the "trade of man butchery," will cease to be practised. May it not be hoped, that the gentler sex will espouse this benignant cause, and * enrol their names on the list of those who patronize pacific institutions. Once, their influence was used to impel onward to fight, “ men, fierce in war.” Once in England, it was viewed honorable for them," to be seen at the public tournaments, riding in troops with swords by their sides." But now, ladies have other views, and other feelings. The war spirit has retired from their bosoms, and the pacific principles of the religion of Jesus reign in its stead. Will they not be entreated by sisters of departed brothers, by Jaughters made fatherless, and by mothers bereaved of husbands, in the field of blood and carnage, to enlist most cordially in thiş labor of love, and thus be co-workers with the Prince of Peace, till,

" All crimes shall cease, and ancient fraud shall fail,
Returning justice lift aloft her scale ;
Peace o'er the world her olive wand extend,
And white rob'd innocence from Heav'n descend."

* Appendix M.



The Saviour, in his memorable sermon on the mount, thus addressed his disciples : " Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them; otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven. Therefore, when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, they have their reward. But when thou doest thine alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth, that thine alms may be in secret, and thy Father, which seeth in secret, himself shall reward thee openly.” The duty of alms-giving, Christ here assumes, and then prescribes rules in respect to its practice. It is highly important that the subject of charitable contributions should be rightly understood, and deeply felt, especially in the present day, when the Christian community are so frequently called upon to contribute of their substance for the temporal and spiritual benfit of their fellow men. A number of considerations relating to this subject will be presented in this dissertation.

1. The duty of making charitable contribations.

This duty is taught by reason, or the light of nature. All men belong to the same family, are alike dependent

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upon the same Creator, and mutually dependent upon each other. Their general wants are the same. They are alike immortal, and alike accountable. Happiness is equally dear to all. A tender regard, therefore, to the interest and welfare of others should exist, and be mutually exemplified. The propriety of this, results from the relation which subsists between man and man.

The duty of giving alms is enjoined throughout the volume of sacred truth. It was required under the Mosaic dispensation. “If there be among you a poor man of one of thy brethren, within any of thy gates, in thy land which the Lord thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not harden thy heart, nor shut thy hand from thy poor broth

But thou shalt open thine hand wide unto him, and shalt surely lend him suificient for his need in that which he wanteth.” This


teaches in the most emphatic language the duty of supplying the wants of the needy and distressed, so far as we have ability. Among the Jews, the box of the poor was called the box of righteousness; and probably for this reason, that which is given to them is in Scripture, said to be their due. Hence we read in Proverbs, “ Withhold not good from them, to whom it is due, when it is in the power of thine hand to do it. Say not unto thy neighbor, go and come again, and 10-morrow I will give thee when thou hast it by thee." To these may be added many other passages of Scripture which enjoin this duty. .Said our Lord to his disciples, “Love ye your enemies, and do good and lend, hoping for nothing again, and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest ; for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil." The apostle John, not only teaches that giving alms is a duty, but expressly assures us, that they who neglect this duty, are not the subjects of religion, be their object what it may. He

says, “Whoso bath this world's goods, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?" The question here proposed, implies a negative answer. Said the apostle to Timothy, “Charge 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 all things richly to enjoy ; that they do good ; that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute ; willing to communicate ; laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come ; that they may lay hold of eternal life.” Here, Paul exhorted Timothy to inculcate upon the rich, the duty "to support and comfort their poor brethren, and by other pious and charitable actions to be rich in good works.” To the Hebrews he observes, - To do good, and to communicate, forget not; for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.” Charitable contributions would be an expression of gratitude to God, the Author of all good. They would benefit the recipients, and appear as the fruits of grace in the hearts of those who bestowed them. These remarks will apply with equal force, to the bestowment both of temporal and spiritual favors. The duty then, of alms-giving is plain, and urgent.

II. To whom are charitable contributions to be made ?

That all are not the objects of charity, is obvious. The really destitute, and such only, should receive assistance. This is true, whether their wants are of a temporal or spiritual nature. Are any destitute of food to eat, or clothing to wear, or the means of grace to improve, they should be supplied. They are objects of charity. There may, however, be circumstances attending the necessitous, which prevent even them from being, to much extent, objects of charity. We are not to bestow our bounties in a lavish manner. The notorious drunkard, though needy,

should receive no more at our hands than food and raiment for the time being. The indolent, should be excited to efforts for their own support, rather than have the necessaries of life bestowed upon them. The vagrant, who travel from place to place, soliciting alms, are generally not proper objects of charity. They are idle and dissipated, sowers of discord, and a pest to society. Our duty to such persons, is to feed them, if they are hungry ; to clothe them, if they are naked ; and at all times to admonish them in meekness, and exhort them to industry, frugality, and piety. The sick and suffering, is in circumstances of penury, are the objects of charity. Their wants should be supplied by the affluent. It was a wise plan of our fathers, and a wise plan of their children, to erect alms-houses, and enact eleemosynary laws, in reference to suffering humanity.

Persons who are destitute of the means of grace, are objects of charity. The heathen, who know not the true God, who have never heard of the glorious tidings of mercy by a crucified Redeemer, and consequently, are without the ordinary means of salvation, are objects of charity. They need the Bible, that revelation of God, which is “profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction and instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto every good work.” They need missionaries, to expound and enforce the Scriptures, and to instruct them in the way to heaven. After they have received the Holy Scriptures, and Christianity is introduced among them, it will be their duty to maintain the gospel and its ordinances themselves. They will then cease to be objects of religious charity.

The Jews, who for disobedience, have long since become " an astonishment, a proverb, and a by-word among all nations whither the Lord hath led them,”. are also obiects of charity. They have set themselves against the

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