Imatges de pÓgina

Jews and Romans, could have easily called a host of angels to his assistance; but then how should the prophecies have been fulfilled, or our redemption wrought? In like manner, when he earned his bread by a trade, or subsisted on the benevolence or a few poor Galileans, and was worse lodged than the birds and foxes, he could have supplied himself from the united treasures of heaven and earth; but then how had an example of infinite humility, self-denial, and contempt for worldly pomp and riches, been set us by him who best knew their insignificance? As he acted in his natural body, so does he in his spiritual. He is able, of himself, and without any aid from his creatures, or even in defiance of the whole world, to make comfortable provision for all his wants, and relieve himself from every species of distress, down to that which may affect him in his lowest or most deplorably afflicted member. But were he to do all himself, how then should our love towards him, or his members and our Christian brethren, be exercised ? How should our gratitude for his infinite goodness to us, be ever either cultivated or exhibited ? By this means the lovely band of Christian charity, adorned with ten thousand graces, being dissolved, the church must be separated from its head, must die, must crumble into a dust of individuals, ugly and unhappy.

No, my dear Christian audience, Christ, the express image of God, by whose death we are delivered from eternal infamy and misery, and entitled to infinite glory and happiness, is ever among us, and continually presents himself to us in his image, that is, in every Christian, but more eminently in every poor distressed and destitute Christian. Let us look on these with some share of that pity, wherewith the Son of God hath looked on us, in the filthy rags of our sins, not strangers only, but aliens and enemies, sick to death eternal, sold, enslaved, imprisoned ; let us melt into pity for these little Christs, and in them hear the voice of the Son of God, who cries out, I am an hungred; O you, whom I have fed with my own flesh and blood, give me to eat. I am thirsty ; 0 you, for whom I opened in my side a living fountain, give me to drink. I am naked; O you, whom I have clothed with my own proper righteousness, give me clothes. I am a stranger; O you, whom I brought by

and snow.

adoption into my Father's house, take me in from the rain I am sick and in prison; O you, whose mortal

, disorders I have healed, whose souls I have redeemed with the price of my blood out of the hands of your enemy, who had taken you prisoners, and tyrannized over you at his will, come to me with medicines, come to me with the sum I owe, and set me at liberty. Help me, you who hold all your riches in trust from me, with a little of my own.

I died for you; O my friends, my brethren, suffer me not to perish again through want, while you abound with every comfort, every luxury of life. You may relieve me, without sensibly curtailing the smallest of your innocent enjoyments. Live in affluence, but suffer me not to starve.

Take now the conclusion of this whole matter in the words of our Lord himself; these, the hard-hearted, the impious, who had no feeling, either of nature through their fellow-creature, or of religion and gratitude, through their suffering Saviour, shall go away into everlasting fire ; but the righteous, that is, the tender-hearted, the lover of Christ and Christians, who melted at the miseries of his Saviour in all his members, as through the close connexion of one common nature, one soul, one body, shall go away into life eternal.

From the first kindlings of mere good will, through kindness, affection, friendship, up to the stronger glow of love or charity, which crowns the charming climax, and through all the outgoings and exercises of tenderness, in its various degrees of warmth, there is none that emits so beautiful or so ardent a flame, as that which hath brought us together this day. It is not merely to relieve the bodies of our fellow-Christians from temporary wants, from disorders, soon terminating however in health or death, nor even from a death, which all our wealth, expended in food, raiment, and medicine, cannot long procrastinate; no, this charity of charities, after doing every thing that can be done for the wretched body, goes forward, and carries food for the famished soul, clothing for the nakedness of the soul, a panacea for every disorder of the soul, and an infallible amulet against the eternal death of the soul.

Ye are come hither this day, ye friends of Christ, ye


favourites of heaven, to seek for the lost sheep on the avenue of hell, and to restore it to the flock of the true Shepherd. Ye are come to snatch the brand, already kindled, from an infernal fire, to quench it in the water of life, and give it a new root by the tree of life. Ye are come to perfect the work of Christ, to save a soul he died for, and thus thank him for the salvation of your own. O glorious thanks! which in their success, give an additional joy to the triumphs, and loudness to the hymns, of heaven, for the conversion of a sinner. If the wounds of Christ bleed anew at the touch of those professors, who murder him afresh by their sins, how sweetly are they soothed and healed again by the balsam of your charity! It is surely God that worketh in you, both to will and to do the business, on which you meet at this place, insomuch, that we may see his hand in yours, with a glory round it, as it is stretched out with your contribution. God, infinitely high above sin and misery, looks with pity on the sins and miseries of his creatures. With an eye like his, you the chaste weep for the lewdness, and you the wealthy, consider the wants of others. This indeed is godlike. What a noble, what an acceptable sacrifice of thanksgiving! what an amiable acknowledgment is this, that, had it not been for the grace and bounty of Providence, you might have been as wicked and indigent, as those who now excite your compassionate attention!

Were there any here (but there is none) to whose seducing arts these, or the like objects, owe their unhappy fall, horror and compunction ought to furnish them with yet stronger motives to contribute on this occasion, than those of your charity, warm as it is. Corruptors, however, are not apt to be reformers. No, it is theirs to debauch and abandon; yours to follow and reclaim, in which blessed work you do not only retrieve the poor soul, already fallen, but prevent the fall of many others, on whom the wretch in question might revenge the injury done her by our sex.

Your goodness in this double, this complicated work of charity, cannot be conceived, without first conceiving the complicated enormities attendant on the life of a common prostitute. Yet here is a mass of filth and stench, which forbids the approach of decency. What a vice is that which


cannot be lashed in the language of modest people, which must not be so much as mentioned but in terms, fit only to soften it down into a mere frailty, which, maggot-like, surrounds, conceals, and defends itself in that heap of ordure which gave it birth.

Suffice it to say, that this vice turns the most beautiful and modest part of our species, once a Christian too! into a monster of impudence, lewdness, foulness, hardly exceeded by those fiends, into whose horrible company and abode she is hastening; turns her into a factor for the infernal deceiver, for whom she trades on the way to hell, with a success more fatal to virtue, to fortune, to character, to health, to life, than that of his other instruments, and often leaves the print of blood and murder where she treads.

It is to bring this miserable creature back to Christ; it it to defeat the flagitious trade she at present drives, and provide for her when reclaimed to the service of Christ, that this house is crowded with the friends of Christ and virtue. Blessed sight indeed! O assembly, brilliant in the eyes of Heaven ! let your hearts overflow with joy, and your voices loudly resound his praise, who hath given you the will and power, thus to serve your God, thus to save your fellowcreature, and thus to relieve your Saviour in your fellowChristian.

To God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost, be all praise and honour, all might, majesty, dignity, and dominion, now and for evermore. Amen.

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