Obrazy na stronie

gave them that which cost him nothing ; but There is another very decided reason why when he died for us, he clothed himself with we should devote a certain proportion of our humanity, and gave up heaven- he took a fortune to charitable purposes, rather than low estate, and gave up what the world calls wait till our alms are called forth by seeing comforts - he wished to convince us of the some brother have need. Living as we do evil of our sins, and he gave up his life by a in this great metropolis, where the different most painful death, that he might redeem us orders of society are practically separated from our transgressions. There may be in- from much intercourse with each other, thoudividuals of the middle or upper ranks of sands might perish within a few streets of us, life who have expended large sums of money and no object of suffering be brought before during their lives in charitable purposes, but our eyes. We might never see a brother who, from the sober, prudent manner in have need. It must, however, be confessed which their expenses are regulated, have that, generally speaking, there is a great never put themselves to the slightest personal readiness on the part of the rich to supply inconvenience by any liberality which they the urgent demands of the suffering poor. have exercised. There may be others, who, Where cases of obvious necessity occur, with larger original means, have so wasted Christian charity will generally step in and their resources

on the first object which relieve them. But the strongest demands for attracted their sympathy, that they have de- our assistance, those cases which are the most prived themselves of the power of aiding one really pressing, never propose themselves to who is labouring under real distress. They our notice. For how many years of the last give up all which is left to them; but this all century were the poor uneducated ! How is inadequate to effect what they desire. inadequately is the task of education perHow shall we estimate the value of the inef- formed even at the present day! How infectual wishes of the one, or the prudent gift adequately, even now, are the religious wants of the other, which is devoid of all self- of the people among whom we reside prodenial ?

vided for! They who think of these things Thank God, we have not to decide on such cannot fail to grieve at them; but mere questions. He that shall judge us knoweth sorrow is useless : we must endeavour to whereof we are made, and remembereth that prevent and to remedy the evil; and no we are but dust; he knoweth our weaknesses, momentary surrender can avail any thing in and will pardon them. But if we be the such a case. There must be prudent forestewards of that wealth which God has com- thought and systematic arrangement. If we mitted to our care, we must strive to learn cast our eyes beyond the limits of England, from the word of God how our great Lord and regard the condition of the heathen world, and Master would wish us to regulate such lying in darkness and the shadow of death, matters : we must endeavour to ascertain and shall we suffer millions to perish in heathen to comply with his blessed will. If we so pro

blindness and hopeless unbelief, without any portion our expenditure to the calls which attempt at relieving them? Alas, how dwellare made on our liberality, that we leave that

eth the love of God in us? Look, again, at which, in our sober judgment, we consider a

the thousands of our countrymen who are due part of our income to be used for the annually seeking a new earthly residence ; benefit of others, we may then safely estimate who, in the increasing tide of colonisation, our alms by the inconvenience which the be- are filling every quarter of the globe with the stowing them creates to us; and we shall find population which cannot find subsistence on that it is really nothing; that we have gained their native shores : they carry with them, more than we have lost by our earthly pru- on many occasions, zeal and activity, intredence. We have relinquished some outward pidity and skill; but they are often fearfully show, and obtained substantial comfort ; we

ignorant of the thinys pertaining to the kinghave lived as if our worldly station were a dom of God, sometimes decidedly vicious, little lower than it really is, and we have and generally too much engaged in worldly obtained all the actual advantages of wealth ; objects to give a thought to the acquisition we have possessed rather more than we im- of those truths with which at present they are mediately required, and this is all that wealth unacquainted. He who can regard these can give: but we must regulate our alms by tremendous verities without anxiety, how prudence, or we shall find that a very small

dwelleth the love of God in him ?

It is not portion of our money so applied is devoted to enough to pray that God may supply all a proper purpose ; the benefit conferred on these deficiencies. God alone can do so ; the destitute will be found to be small, and but God's mercy would make us the instruthe inconvenience to which we are exposed ments by which this blessed work may be will arise from our own want of prudence, accomplished. rather than a sound principle of self-denial.

It is obvious that the mass of us cannot be

called to execute any part of such a task by / powers of the man in doing the work of God. personal ministrations. To the majority of And so, too, the perfection of the servant of us there are already assigned proper duties, God may be accomplished by the employwhich we cannot relinquish with a safe con- ment of that servant in the work of God. If science : but we cannot help observing the God calls on us to perform any thing for his evil; and if a Christian spirit pervade our glory, the call is dictated by divine mercy, minds, we shall desire to obviate it. It is and destined to benefit the agent employed not a momentary impulse, however strong ; | in the sacred task. There is a work to be it is not a sudden act of self-denial, however done. God chooses his own instruments ; sincere, which can overcome the difficulties and if he destine us to fulfil that blessed of which we are speaking. There must be office, we have every reason for thanking prudent forethought, judicious management, him. There are two objects,- the good to persevering exertion, all guided by the Spirit be effected by us, and the good to be proof God, and rendered effectual by his bless-duced in us. God can do it without us : he ing. When we contemplate the extent of the kindly allows us to share in the glorious undertaking, it is not enough that we exclaim, task; and the share which we are permitted " Who is sufficient for these things ?” Our to take in the blessed work is the greatest feeling will be, how can any one hope to blessing to ourselves. Therefore that beaaccomplish these plans of usefulness? How venly goodness which enables us to share in can even the wisest, the most wealthy, the any great and important labour of love, places most active, hope to produce any change for before us the means whereby our own hearts the better? Alas! most of us shall find our may be reformed, be purified, be lifted up to minds bewildered by the extent of the diffi-| God. culty, and most might'relinquish it in despair ; Looking, then, at the spiritual wants of our might hardly venture to think upon so vast a own country; looking at the wants of our counwork; might say, May God accomplish it! trymen, who are scattered in different regions but what is it to me?

of the earth without the means of grace ; The reason why such works are important looking at the state of the heathen world, we to ourselves is this, that our Almighty Father have much reason to be thankful to God that has ordained that the performance of such societies have been established which are works shall contribute to the spiritual im- calculated to lessen these evils, and to proprovement of those who engage in them; vide, in some degree at least, for the remedy that the minds of those persons who are of them; that is, we have reason for doing occupied in the labour of the Lord are drawn so with reference to the evil itself, and the nearer and closer to God by the very exer- means of preventing or of lessening it : but tions which they make. When Christianity we have much better reason to thank God was first preached, God might have sent his for this with reference to ourselves; for that angels to convert and to convince the fallen which will enable to become fellowsons of Adam of their sin, and to place before workers, even in any degree, with those who them the remedy ; to convey to them the are engaged in the work of the Lord. There knowledge of redemption through a crucified may be persons who may subscribe largely Saviour, of sanctification through a cleansing to societies framed for these blessed purand purifying Spirit ;--but he selected a race poses, who shall never derive any spiritual of humble, self-denying, holy men, to convey advantage from this which they perform withthese glad tidings to a benighted world : and out any spiritual motive. There may be no doubt these same apostles were rendered persons whose subscribing largely is conmore humble, more holy, more self-denying, verted into a snare unto them, who fall into by the task in which they were thus em- ostentation by it, or become inflamed by party ployed. They were sent to do the work spirit: but surely no one can regulate his pewhich angels might have done; but no doubt cuniary concerns wisely with reference to chathe doing of it rendered them more like the ritable objects, who does not devote a portion blessed angels, and more fit for that happy of his income to one or more, at least, of such abode, among saints and angels, to which societies as are framed for these large and exthey were destined when their earthly career tensive purposes, which cannot be carried on was closed. God might do every thing with except by a large and numerous combination of out the instrumentality of man ; but he makes the servants of God. I am not now pleading us the instruments : for while man becomes for the sake of any societies,--though I would the agent of God, he is brought into a closer heartily bid them good speed in the name of resemblance to God. The grace of God the Lord,---I am urging my hearers to join in changes the natural man into the spiritual such undertakings for their own sakes, because man by such means as Almighty Wisdom I believe that a portion of our alms bestowed directs: it may be by using the natural in this way will promote the glory of God,


and tend, more than any other one human has promised that he that watereth shall be means, to lead us to a spiritual, holy frame watered ; and may that Holy Spirit, who can of mind. I need not say that it is not the alone render the labours of societies effectual mere giving the money, but the bestowing it to accomplish the purposes for which they with prayer that it may contribute to the are framed, not only prosper the objects glory of God and the salvation of man. which we have in view, but may He grant a No doubt the mass of those to whom I am blessing to our exertions ; and while we exspeaking are already in the habit of doing tend Christ's Church on earth, may we be what is here recommended ; but to such per- sanctified and prepared for his Church in sons as have as yet confined their alms to the heaven ; for that great "multitude which no relief of individual sufferers, I would name man can number, of all nations, and kindreds, several societies to which I am in the habit and people, and tongues, which shall stand of subscribing, and with the management of before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, which I am more or less concerned :: - the and palms in their hands." May we, too, Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge then cry with a loud voice, and say,

“ Salvais constituted for the purpose of diffusing tion to our God which sitteth on the throne, such information as is calculated to lead and unto the Lamb for ever and ever !" mankind to the Saviour, through our own apostolical Church : the Society for Propa

CHURCHES OF ASIA.-(VIII.) gating the Gospel in Foreign Parts is chiefly

Laodicea. engaged in supplying our fellow-subjects who are in foreign lands with the means of STRIKINGLY contrasted with the Church of Philadel. grace, by aiding them in building churches, phia, that of Laodicea is presented to our notice, as and obtaining ministers of our own Church, lying under the merited displeasure of Him, who deand catechists : the Church-Missionary So

scribes himself as "the Amen, the faithful and true ciety endeavours to preach Christ crucified in Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God.” Even those quarters where his name has never been

the other Churches, apostate as many of them were, heard, and to provide missionaries for the

still contained in their number some who were apheathen. These three are in close connexion

proved of by the Most High ; who, amidst the surwith our own Church. There are many other

rounding darkness, walked “ as children of light ;" missionary societies of which I know nothing,

and, amidst errors of the most pernicious character

and tendency, maintained the truth. Sardis, for inas they are carried on by persons who do not hold communion with our Church ; but

stance, was accused of having a name to live, but being,

in fact, dead; still were there a few names to be found every Christian has much reason for blessing

there which had " not defiled their garments,” and to God on account of the results which these whom the gracious language was addressed,—" And several societies have been enabled to pro- they shall walk with me in white, for they are worthy." duce. We must not here forget the Bible

But no exception is made in the case of Laodicea : the Society, which, from its very constitution, whole of the members of that Church are addressed cannot be peculiarly connected with

as having exposed themselves to the strongest and Church ; and which has, by God's mercy, most deserved censure. contributed to furnish, for the use of foreign Two faults in the character of the Laodiceans are nations, the Scriptures, in whole or in part, especially noticed : the first, lukewarmness in the cause in a greater number of languages than they of God; the second, spiritual blindness as to their had ever been translated into, before the be- actual condition. The accusation is brought against ginning of this century, which, in this one them, that they were neither" cold nor hot;" that is, point, has enabled the years in which we have that their state was one of listlessness and indifference lived to outdo the eighteen centuries which to the subject of religion. They are not described as have preceded us since the birth of Christ. being vehemently opposed to the truth, or of being noBut I am not pleading for one society or

toriously profligate in their conduct; and from hence another; I am urging my hearers, each of may be learned the fearful lesson, that there is a state them, to employ some portion of their income of apathy and unconcern on subjects of vital monient, devoted to alms in these more extensive,

which is regarded by the Most High as no less culmore diffusive works of Christian charity; and

pable than open rebellion against his authority. It that not for the sake of the heathen so much

may not, indeed, be so glaring in the sight of men,

or so pernicious in its effects upon the good order of as for our own sakes. The work is a blessed

society; but it will unquestionably expose us to his work; and God has enabled even the poor

righteous displeasure, who would have us zealous for widow to give her two mites to it. I urge the furtherance of his honour, and anxious to suryou to do it, not by a collection made in

render the whole lieart to his service. The Laodichurch, but by a voluntary and quiet, unos

ceans, moreover, were labouring under spiritual blindtentatious and regular payment of your own. ness as to their actual condition; and this caused See calmly what you can afford to give, and, them to regard their religious state as one of the most if it be little, give that little freely. God perfect safety. They do not appear to have been under


All the ways

any apprehension as to their being found wanting in | polis, then Rhoas ; but after being enlarged by Anthe sight of God. Their language was that of self- tiochus II., king of Syria, it was called Laodicea, in congratulation, that they were rich and intreased with honour of his wife Laodice. The state of the Christian goods, and had need of nothing ; and they would pro- Church there, when the cpistle was addressed to it by bably have been most grievously offended had their “the faithful and true Witness," was probably very deficiencies been candidly pointed out.

different from what it was in St. Paul's time; for that of a man are clean in his own eyes; but the Lord apostle mentions it in his epistle to the Colossians, weigheth the spirits.

and in such a way as to lead us to suppose that it was With reference to these two especial faults of cha- not in a lukewarm state,—“I would that ye knew what raeter, the Laodiceans are warned in this episile. great conflict I have for you, and for them that are at They are assured, that on account of their lukewarm- | Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face ness God will reject them; and they are counselled to in the flesh” (ii. 1). And again,-"When this epistle go to the Saviour for that righteousness which they is read among you, cause that it be read also in the foolishly supposed they already possessed, and to re- Church of the Laodiceans; and that ye likewise read ceive from his fulness for the supply of their mani- the epistle from Laodicea.” It has been a matter of fold wants. They were poor; the Saviour was enabled dispute amongst commentators, whether the apostle to make them rich in spiritual blessings and in spi- | Paul himself carried the Gospel to Laodicea ; and, ritual attainments : they were naked, destitute of any from the above quotations from the epistle to the Cocovering of human merit; the Saviour would clothe lossians, whether he had written an especial epistle to them with the garments of salvation : they were blind; the Laodiceans, which is no longer extant; but the he who could open the bodily eye, as he sojourned in more common opinion is, that he refers to some other this world of sorrow, was now able and willing to pour of his epistles which have come down to us. celestial light on the spiritually dark. There was not Laodicea suffered much from earthquakes; but after a want, in fact, which Jesus could not supply, a ma a considerable period it was a city of opulence and lady which he could not heal, a blessing which he importance, though inland. It was possessed by the could not bestow; and the freeness with which he Turks about the year 1097; and after a series of rewould bestow these benefits was beautifully expressed volutions in its history, having been taken and retaken, by himself,—" Ask, and ye shall receive ; seek, and it fell under the Turkish power about the middle of ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto the thirteenth century. you.”

Dr. Smith's account of Laodicea (1671) describes And these rebukes were dictated by a spirit of love ; the city “ as now utterly desolated, and without any not in anger, but in compassion. They were designed inhabitants, except wolves, and jackals, and foxes; to arouse the Laodiceans from their state of spiritual but the ruins shew sufficiently what it has been forlistlessness, and to incline them to seek for the va- merly; the three theatres and the circus adding much rious gifts which he would bestow, of which the least to the stateliness of it, and arguing its greatness." was the gift of repentance. As many as I love, I The volcanic nature of the soil is thus described by rebuke and chasten : be zealous, therefore, and re- Dr. Chandler : The hill of Laodicea, it is probable, pent." For the willingness of the Saviour to receive was originally an eruption; for it consists of dry, imthose who come unto him, and his anxiety to induce palpable soil, porous, with small cavities, resembling the careless and indifferent to come, is strikingly set the bore of a pipe, as may be seen on the sites which forth in the declaration, “ Behold, I stand at the door are bare. It resounded beneath our horses' feet. The and knock.” How expressive is this of his long- stones are mostly masses of pebbles, or of gravel consuffering and patience! " I stand at the door and solidated, and as light as pumice-stone. We had knock; if any man hear my voice, and open the door, occasion to dig, and found the earth as hard as any I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he cement." with me." I will take possession of his heart ; I will Mr. Arundell, with Mr. Hartley, visited the ruins treat him as an associate, a friend, a brother; I will of Laodicea, and speaks of them as presenting a scene forget all his former perverseness, all his opposition, of utter desolation. “ Innumerable sarcophagi," he all his apathy and unconcern.

* And to him that over- says, as at Hierapolis, first attracted our attention, cometh will I grant to sit with me on my throne, even and then a theatre. A camel-driver undertook to be as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father our conductor, but it was only to shew us a multitude on his throne.” He shall not only be permitted to of excavations lately made by the Turks of the neighdwell, but to reign in glory: he shall be a partaker of bouring villages for the sake of the stone. In some my triumphs, a sharer of my victories, an inheritor of considerable depth we saw the finest sculptured with me of the dignities of the heavenly kingdom ; he fragments,-a proof that the larger part of the ancient shall be an heir of God, and a joint-heir with myself city, whether by earthquake or other causes, is buried of that ineffable blessedness, which, through eternity, much below the present surface. As the evening was shall fill the courts of the Jerusalem above. Such was closing in, we could only pass hastily along the ruins the gracious, such the condescending language of the of some remains of a very large building, where Memet faithful and true witness, to the members of this was waiting with our horses. This building, of which Church.

we could not understand the original designation, Laodicea (now called by the Turks Eski-hissar, or overlooked the large amphitheatre, then occupied by the Old Castle,) was a large city in the province of Turcoman huts and tents. .... In the morning, while Phrygia Magna, on the Lycus, and was originally a the horses were preparing, I walked up the side of a very insignificant place. It was at first called Dios. I hill, which commands an extensive view. The village

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(Eski-hissar, inhabited wholly by Turks,) and its flat- the text, “ I charge thee to buy of me," because they roofed houses and trees lay on the right; behind them do not feel the absolute destitution of their situation. a ridge of bills, over which rose mountains capped And this is the case, too, even after repeated warnings. with snow ; in front, separated only by a narrow vale, The Saviour has been knocking at the door of their in which is the amphitheatre, called by Smith the hearts. He has been calling for admittance, but in circus,' on a long ridge, lie the ruins of Laodicea.” vain; a cold formality is substituted for vital godli

And such is now the once-opulent and flourishing ness ; a round of external observances supplies the Laodicea, presenting not merely a spectacle of the surrender of the inner man to God: and though there decay of earthly grandeur, but setting forth the in- may be the profession of Christianity on the lips, there evitable destruction of those who are rejected of God, is not the cordial reception of the saving doctrines of who will not listen to the warning voice calling to Christianity in the heart. Now this appears to have repentance, who will not take beed to the knocking of been the precise condition of those of Laodicea. For the Redeemer at the door of the hardened heart. The it must be again noticed, that no accusation of heresy waste places of Laodicea, like those of the lady of or ungodliness is brought against that Church. There kingdoms, the imperious Babylon, are now full of is, indeed, often, in the minds of professing Christians, doleful creatures. The voice of prayer and praise has a resting satisfied with their freedom from crimes of there ceased to be heard.

deep dye, and a whispering to themselves of peace, " It is an old observation, that the country about even “ while there is no peace,” because there is a the Mæander, the soil being light and friable, and full regularity of outward conduct, and the voice of man of salts generating inflammable matter, was under- may be unable to bring against them the charge of mined by fire and water. Hence it abounded in hot having transgressed the bounds of the most scrupulous springs, which, after passing under ground from the decorum : but “thou art weighed in the balances, and reservoirs, appeared on the mountain, or were found found wanting,” may be the fearful declaration of Albubbling up in the plain or in the mud of the river ; mighty Wisdom to many a self-satisfied sinner ; nay, and hence it was subject to frequent earthquakes; the it is God's language to every self-satisfied sinner; for nitrous vapour compressed in the cavities, and sub- no man will ever be satisfied with himself who knows limed by heat or fermentation, bursting its prison with any thing of the spiritual requirements of the Divine loud explosions, agitating the atmosphere, and shaking law, and his own repeated transgressions. the earth and waters with a violence as extensive as

And let us beware, lest, on account of our departure destructive ; and hence, moreover, the pestilential

from the faith, our lukewarmness in the cause of God, grottos, which had subterraneous communications our negligence in improving the manifold spiritual with each other, derived their noisome effluvia; and privileges we enjoy as members of the Protestant serving as smaller vents to thesc furnaces or hollows,

Church of England, the Almighty may deem it fit to were regarded as apertures of hell, as passages for

set us forth to the world as monuments of his rightedeadly fumes rising up from the realms of Pluto. One ous displeasure. With reference to this momentous or more of these mountains, perhaps, has burned ;

subject, I cannot speak more energetically or forcibly and it may be suspected, that the surface of the coun

than in the language of Bishop Horsley :try, Laodicea in particular, has, in some places, been The promise of perpetual stability is to the Church formed from its own bowels." To a country such as

catholic : it affords no security to any particular this, how awfully appropriate is the message of the Church, if her faith or her works should not be found Apocalypse: “ I know thy works, that thou art neither perfect before God. The time shall never be when a cold nor hot ; I would thou wert cold or hot. So then, true Church of God shall not be somewhere subsisting because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, on the earth ; but any individual Church, if she fall I will spue thee out of my mouth.”

from her first love, may sink in ruine. Of this, history And may not a most instructive lesson be learned, furnishes but too abundant proof in the examples of and a solemn warning taken, from the fate of the de- Churches, once illustrious, planted by the apostles, serted Laodicea. Her Church had no zeal for the

and watered with the blood of the first saints and marfurtherance of the glory of God. A spirit of apathy tyrs, which are now no more. Where are now the paralysed every exertion; and this, with a spirit of seven Churches of Asia, whose praise is in the Apoself-sufficiency, led to her overthrow. And may it not calypse? Where shall we now find the successors of fairly be adduced against many professing Christians those earliest archbishops, once stars in the Son of at the present day, that they are in a lukewarm and Man's right hand ? Where are those boasted seals of self-satisfied state; that the fame of holy ardour, which Paul's apostleship, the Churches of Corinth and Phi. should burn so brightly, seems scarcely to be kindled;lippi? Where are the Churches of Jerusalem and and that there is no just appreciation of the rich

Alexandria ? .... Let us not defraud ourselves of the mercy of God to the perishing sinner, so fully testified benefit of the dreadful example, by the miserable subin the gift of his only-begotten Son? With the vast terfuge of a rash judgment upon our neighbours, and majority of professing Christians, it is to be feared an invidious comparison of their deservings with our that religion is a very secondary concern. They are Let us not place a vain confidence in the purer willing enough to admit its importance; they do not worship, the better discipline, and the sounder faith, wish to call in question its divine origin ; but they are which for two centuries and a half we have enjoyed. far more afraid of enthusiasm than of lukewarmness : These are not our merits ; they are God's gifts : and and though they have no doubt that Jesus of Nazareth the security we may derive from them will depend was the Son of God, and readily speak of him as their upon the use we make of them. Let us not abate, let Saviour, they yet do not obey the strong exhortation in us rather add to our zeal. , ... The time may come


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