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the naked and feed the hungry. Ye are no more than stewards for the poor, whom God has entrusted with the disposal of his blessings. His blessings I call them; for there is nothing we can call our own: we came naked into the world, and therefore whatever we possess is only lent us by God. However, therefore, some men may boast of their acquisitions, they are no more themselves than dependents on the charity and mercies of God. His is the air we breathe and the food we eat; his is the head by which we contrive, and the hand by which we execute all our schemes and contrivances. To him therefore, and to his blessed will, should both we and all we have for ever be subservient. This gratitude requires of us as the only testimony we can give of our thankfulness for the mercies he hath showered upon
This too our duty requires from us, as a proof of our obedience to him, who hath again and again commanded us to put on bowels of mercy and compassion, and in no wise to turn our face from the poor and needy
And however we máy Hatter ourselves, without this virtue, vain will be every other. · We may fast, we may pray, we may read the 'scriptures, we may lead sober and regular lives,' we may be just and upright in our dealings; but without charity, all this will not save us from the vengeance of Heaven,
The tree may blossom indeed, but unless it also bring forth fruit, it will be hewn down and cast into the fire. In fact, we find that it was the want of this virtue, which chiefly, if not solely, condemned the rich man to the flames of hell, He is not accused of getting hís wealth by injustice, or using it with oppression; he is not charged with the commission of any heinous crime against God, but only with inhumanity towards man; he relieved not the miseries of his poor and distressed brother.
And if this single crime deserved so heavy à sentence, will it not make one shudder to reflect what their lot must be, who grind the faces of the poor by oppression or usury; who take the hungry man's bread and give it to dogs, or waste
that substance upon harlots, which belongs to the distressed members of Christ !
But we need not throw these crimes, or any other, into the scale to add to the weight of our condemnation: it will be guilt enough to have withheld our bread from the hungry, and our drink from the thirsty, even though we should have withheld it from ourselves at the same time. For though Diyes was damned for starving the poor man whilst he pampered himself, yet it will not mitigate our sin in starving the poor, , to say
to say that we starved ourselves too. The mịser may in deed call upon his threadbare coat and famished looks to witness that he makes a beggar of himself; yet he is not the less bound to relieve those whom God has made so: for his riches were not given him to be put under a bushel, but like the beams of the sun, to diffuse joy and plenty on himself and all around him.
Here then, ye misors, learn the true and best use of all those hoarded treasures, N4
which cost you so many anxious days and sleepless nights. An inspired Apostle will teach you better how to apply them than all the rules of economy, and all the calculations of gain, which ye so carefully have studied : “ Charge them, says hé, " who are rich in this world, that they be “ not high-minded, nor trust in uncertain “ riches, but in the living God: that they “ do good, that they be rich in good 66 works, ready to distribute, willing to 6 communicate.” Nor can ye wish for higher interest than the same Apostle here promises for thus laying out your darling treasure:-“ laying up in store,
says he, a good foundation against the “« time to come, that they may lay hold " on eternal life."
And be not afraid by this means of diminishing what you have to leave to your children or heirs. If they have but a little, with God's blessing, it will be enough ; and, without it, all you can leave them will be nothing worth; the rust and moth will soon corrupt it all,
Remember too that your time for doing good is both short and uncertain. Can ye think that your riches will make you immortal? Can ye hope to carry your
illgotten lands and possessions with you, or to transmit them into the regions of eternity? Or, if ye could, what would they avail you there? Would all your riches asswage the pangs of conscience, or bribe the justice of an avenging God? Would they prevail upon Abraham to send a messenger to warn your brethren, or extort from Lazarus a drop of water to cool your tongue? No: vain and fruitless are such hopes:--they are the dreams of phrenzy, the wild workings of a distempered brain. The voice of truth and reason will tell you far other things: it will tell you, that soon will all your treasures be buried in darkness, soon will all your enjoyments fade, except those which spring from a good conscience and a right use of God's blessings. Soon will that awful hour approach, when every worldly comfort shall fail, and the
open its devouring jaws to receive you. And then, dreadful will it be to have your last