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till you had seen a little more of "life," (for "to see life," according to the modern phraseology, is to try hard to make the soul commit suicide)-you, the woman who like not an assembly where you shall find no fashionable acquaintance, and where discourse on finery and gaudy dress shall be out of place? What would any of you give to be inside the ark, when you shall see it riding on the waters which are rising to the tops of the mountains? The minister has comfort in addressing you, and he tells you that you all may seek, all may find shelter. The ark is large enough, the Spirit of the living GOD mighty enough. Oh come in: withstand not his mission. He wrestles with you all-you all know he wrestles

with you: yield to his influences, hearken to his suggestions: when he excites a wish to be saved, stifle it not; let it bring you to your knees, let it urge you to the cry, "Lord, save, or I perish."

For a while there must be a suspension of these our weekly ministrations: I commend you, therefore, to GOD, who is able to keep you. I point you to the rock on which there is safety. The black and cloudy waters of death may roll among us ere the weeks of separation are over; but if sheltered by Christ, these waters will but roll us into the haven of rest, and there (O GOD, may this be our experience!) we shall be found eternally and unspeakably happy,

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No. 151.]





[Price 3d.

A Sermon,




Matthew, xi. 5.-" The poor have the Gospel preached to them."


THIS is recorded as one of the prin- | table year of the Lord."
ciple circumstances which marked
out Jesus as the true Messiah; it was
one of the characteristic and dis-
tinguishing tokens laid down by the
prophets by which his kingdom of
glory and mercy was to be known:
and it is applied accordingly to our
Lord himself, along with the miracles
wrought by him, as one of the chief
signs of his being the Christ, of his
being Him who was the anointed of
GOD. "Then," says the prophet
Isaiah, "the eyes of the blind shall be
opened, and the ears of the deaf shall
be unstopped. Then shall the lame man
leap as an hart, and the tongue of the
dumb sing." And again, the words
which Jesus on another occasion, ap-
plied to himself: "The Spirit of the
Lord God is upon me; because the
Lord hath anointed me to preach good
tidings unto the meek; he hath sent
me to bind up the broken hearted, to
proclaim liberty to the captives, and
the opening of the prison to them that
are bound; to proclaim the accep-

poor"-or, as the prophet expresses
it," the meek," according to our
translation." The poor have the
Gospel," that is, the good tidings—
"preached to them." These good
tidings of great joy, that joyful in-
telligence of God's redeeming mercy
to fallen man, the knowledge of his
will, and the keeping of his gracious
promises-these are imparted to all
who will receive them; to the poor,
among others; to the low in station,
in wealth, in learning, in abilities, in
self estimation; to those whom the
self sufficient Pharisees despised, as
not having become skilled in all the
subtilties of their pretended tradi-
tions. This people who know not
the law," said they," are cursed."


"The poor"-those who, among the gentiles and their philosophers, were classed among them who had not attained to their standard; "the poor"-those who among all countries of the earth were considered but as a few degrees above the beasts


of burden, unworthy or unable to raise their thoughts to any ideas above the daily labour by which they subsisted any attempt to instruct this class of men, would have been regarded by most of the lawgivers of our Lord's time, and before it, as an idle scheme, unlikely to succeed, and unsafe that it should succeed. No man among the heathen ever devised such a scheme, and no mere man ever could have devised it. But GOD, the maker of all men, who produced all from one common stock, and who designed all to be in common beyond the grave, thought fit that all should be instructed in this particular design -should all receive the knowledge of the good tidings, the Gospel of salvation prepared for them. He sent therefore his Son into the world to proclaim these glad tidings to all, to the most depraved of men-to preach, in short, the Gospel to the poor; and he enjoined his disciples to "preach the Gospel to every creature ;" and he founded the church for maintaining and spreading Christian knowledge, promising to be with those who should be employed in this work to the end of the world.

Now, he left us a special example that we should follow his steps: and doubtless those who are not studious to copy the pattern he set before us can have no just hope to follow him to those mansions which he has prepared for us. And in no point is it more within our power, nor more our duty, to imitate this great example, than in providing for the instruction of our poor brethren. Let us not suppose that this is the business of the clergy alone: to preach the Gospel is especially and peculiarly their office; but they cannot, as is evident to every one, effect all that is desirable, and, without intruding at all into the ministerial office, the laity may do, and therefore ought to do, over and above

supplying contributions in money, much towards forwarding the work. You pray daily, I apprehend, that God's kingdom may come: now your conduct will be utterly at variance with your prayers, if you do not attempt to promote the coming of that kingdom to the utmost of your power.

But there is a mode of expression in common use which tends to mislead the laity very much as to their duties. When you speak of a churchman, or one belonging to the church, he is usually understood to be a minister of the church. This contributes to make men forget that the society which Christ founded-the church, called by the Apostle, "the spouse of Christ," "the body of Christ”— the church, which he loved and for which he gave himself-comprehends not the ministers of the Gospel alone, but all Christians without exception. However forgetful some of them may be of the duties belonging to the station, however unworthy subjects of the kingdom of heaven, still all of you have been enlisted by baptism under the banner of Christ crucified, and have promised to continue Christ's faithful soldiers even to the end of life: and the soldiers, no less than the officers of this spiritual host, are bound to be zealous and active in that holy warfare.

So earnestly does our Lord recommend to our love and care, all the members of the church which he himself loved and cared for, and purchased by his blood: so earnest are the exhortations of the Apostles to love the brethren. It is not merely all our fellow creatures, but, more particularly, our fellow Christians, as such; our Christian brethren; those who are of the household of faith. That man who is indifferent about the salvation of others must be regarded as ignorant of the Gospel

scheme of salvation for himself. And in those who are brought up in ignono better way can the duty I am speak-rance of it, who cannot consult for ing of be performed than by promot-themselves the very Scriptures to ing the education of children, as the Apostle directs, “in the nurture and admonition of the Lord." If it be the will of Christ that the poor should have the Gospel preached to them, and if it be our duty to fulfil his will, we are bound to contribute, every one according to his peculiar ability and opportunities, towards their early instruction.


If the poor have opportunities of attending public worship, and listening to the ministry of the Gospel, so far is that from being a reason why they are not to be educated as children, that it seems an additional call to afford them education. For if they be not early trained to appreciate the value of that advantage, experience shows that they will, first as children, and then as grown people, too often employ the Lord's day in a very different manner; and even if they do attend public service of the church, extreme ignorance very much counteracts the benefit which they might derive from such attendance. prayers contained in our Liturgy are, for their purpose, admirable as human compositions; and much is to be learned from them by those who have already learned something. But it is plain that they are composed for those who are already Christians, and not to convey the elements of the Christian faith. He who cannot read them, or has never had them explained to him, is not likely to understand and properly go along with them. Preaching, again, ought indeed to be instructive, since there is no Christian who does not need Christian instruction; but it was never intended by the church that the sole business of the preacher should be to teach the rudiments of the faith to

which he refers them: and even if he were to direct all his preaching to this purpose, still the length of time it would take to explain each point of our religion to persons not regularly taught as children, and the interval between one sermon and another, would be likely to cause them to forget some part of what they heard above all, the difficulty which those find in fixing their attention to the subject who have not been early trained to habits of attention:—all these causes would conspire to render the preacher's labour, in a great degree, ineffectual.

And the same may be said of the portions of Scripture that are read in the church: it is important that they should be so read that all may understand them; for a passage that is read aloud with care and propriety is more than half explained. But though it is desirable that those who cannot read should have, at least, this opportunity of receiving some instruction in the Scriptures, I scruple not to say that those profit the most in" the church, who have been best educated in its religion. Those learn most who have learned already, provided they will make use of their knowledge in consulting the Scriptures at home. For it is but a small portion, and that a broken, scattered portion, of the Holy Scriptures that can be read in church: and here a chapter and there a chapter, delivered at long intervals, can give but a very imperfect knowledge of the Bible to those who have nothing else to refer to. It is better, certainly, to have such instruction as this than none at all, and they must make the most of it who can get no better; but if any one thinks that instruction in church

is absolutely enough, that it is not desirable for a poor man to be able to read his Bible at home, let me intreat such a one to read it more zealously himself, and he will be brought to a better mind by God's grace. He will find there that the Son of GOD patiently laboured, day after day, and year after year, to enlighten gradually the minds of humble fishermen; and made it the characteristic, the peculiar boast, if I may so speak, of his ministry, not that he had gained the admiration of the great and of the learned, but that he had preached the gospel to the poor. His apostles did the like; and they have left behind them on record their own and their master's words, for the instruction of all men in all ages. Can it be unfitting, then, or unnecessary, that the poor should be enabled to read in our days what the poor in the days of the apostles heard repeated continually from their mouths? Or shall we follow his example, who preached the gospel to the poor, if we do not make use of all the means in our power to make it known?

There are some who pretend that the labouring classes will be likely, for want of sufficient learning, to misunderstand, and misinterpret the Scriptures, so as to derive more evil than good from the study of them. How nearly some Protestants approach to Romanism, without knowing it! This is precisely the argument used by the adherents to the church of Rome against the use of the Scriptures at all in the vulgar tongue. But that a danger does exist there can be no question; for there is no advantage which can be bestowed on man that they cannot make a bad use of. If you give money to the dissolute, they may squander it away in intemperance. The sick man who has his life prolonged may live so as to add daily to

the number of his sins. Shall we therefore abstain from doing good because it is possible to turn good into evil?

Undoubtedly, however, it is our duty to guard against such evils, as far as can be done. And accordingly our Lord and his apostles appointed ministers in the several churches, for the express purpose of teaching the people. It is therefore our business, as ministers of the gospel, to explain the Scriptures to the people, to unfold the character of the religion they profess, to clear up the difficulties of it, and to refute errors which from time to time may spring up. Our preaching is intended to show the right use of the Scriptures, not as a substitute for them. But all that can be done in this way by the most diligent preacher is of use chiefly to those who have been elsewhere regularly trained as children in the principles of true religion, and in such conduct as ought to spring from those principles. This is to be done for far the greater part of the community at school; and much the greater part of the community must receive assistance for the purpose of being able to send their children to those schools. This must be provided, in part, at the expense of their richer neighbours.

As for the objection that the labouring classes are unfitted by such an education as this for hard labour, and for an humble station, I might safely appeal to all who have had any wide experience, whether such acquirements as those which are encouraged in these schools either make a man unwilling to labour, or prefer starving rather than work, or support himself by fraud rather than by honest industry; or whether, on the contrary, the most profligate are not to be found amongst the most enslaved and ignorant? I have been in various

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