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And other aggravating cases of poverty might still be suggested but let their variety be what it will, the. duty of those who are either wholly, or if it be but partially, exempt from the same, is only one in relation thereto, being PITY AND relief.

It may be thought inconsistent by some for a spiritual profession like Christianity to be concerned or mixed up with the temporal affairs of its professors: while others shall think it derogatory for so high a profession to concern itself with the wants of the poor. They may think, that if the church ever meddles in temporal affairs it should be with those of the rich, and not with those of the poor; with a view to wealth, and not to poverty,-to cajole, to rival, to supplant the great, and not to impoverish itself by a system of munificence :-"to bind their kings in chains, and their nobles with links of iron;" (Ps. cxlix. 8;) not to be bound by such petty restraints: -still less to waste its talents and energies in taking up the simple out of the dust, and lifting the poor out of the mire; (Ib. cxiii. 6;) and it may be, of permanently raising the lower orders as they are called, into a degree of comfort and consideration more worthy of their human nature, and Christian profession. So they may think;

but we are not bound to think with them in this respect. They may think, if the poor have the gospel preached to them, it is enough,-let them live upon that, if they can; or let them believe, and others live. But the Founder of our profession, whose example and authority may deserve some consideration with his followers in matters of church-economy as well as doctrine and discipline, must have been of another opinion than that, or he would never have ordered something to be given to the poor, (John xiii. 29,) any more than some who have come after him, though not exactly in the same spiritual track, any more than in the same temporal sphere.

The excellence of our ecclesiastical economy consisted at first in the equality of rich and poor, or their equal

concurrence to each other's happiness: its corruption began with the violent distinction of these orders, amounting almost to opposition; and its restoration is to be found in their re-union by all means: since "God hath tempered the body together; having given more abundant honour to that which lacked (in his Son's institution), that there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another, and whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it." (Cor. I. xii. 24-26.) And as St. Paul says, too, of those who are baptized, and "have put on Christ, there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female," (Gal. iii. 28,) so when a perfect reunion of the church is effected, there will be neither fatherless nor motherless, nor childless, nor widow for we shall all be one in Christ Jesus: (Ib.:) and our Saviour's pathetic recommendation of his plundered, and most likely, widowed mother from the cross, will be further borne out in every instance than it is at present; as we read, "When Jesus, therefore, saw his mother and the disciple standing by whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son! Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother. And from that hour, that disciple took her unto his own home." (John xix. 26, 27.) So close an adoption as this, cannot, indeed, be expected to take place often: but our Saviour's example may serve to teach us a little more consideration than we are apt to entertain sometimes for women bereaved, like Mary.

It was not my intention to dwell exclusively on objects like the fore-mentioned, and the duties borne towards them by others whom Providence may have favoured with the means, and consequently charged with the duty of relieving them but only on these as one sort of two to be considered. And, indeed, the less we talk of such objects and duties in general the better; lest our charity should happen to evaporate in words, and be like the

TALKING FAITH which St. James so neatly exposes; e. g., "What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, and one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body: what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it have not works, is dead, being alone:" (Jam. ii. 14-17:) and one is about as good as the other; that is to say, such a faith and such a charity. No, my brethren, "Let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed, and in truth." And that we may not exceed in the tongue way at present, let us now go on to consider the objects of another kind of charity before alluded to, and our common duty in relation to them.

2. The sphere of such objects is spiritual, as before observed, and their division similar to the last-mentioned; namely, into two sorts,-1, those who are simply poor in a spiritual sense; and 2, those who are reduced to spiritual poverty from a better condition: which may suffice without any allusion to other species, or degrees of such objects; as there are many, and one in particular, that would deserve the name of superlative from their transcendent guilt.

1, The first of the two divisions, or that of the simply poor in spirituals, is a natural class including all mankind at their birth according to the view that is now taken of spiritual poverty, however some may improve or grow rich and others degenerate or grow poorer from this poor be. ginning; as it may happen with the body from what we call a poor, that is, a faulty constitution. Therefore, by poorness in spirit, we are now to understand the very opposite of what our Saviour intimates by this expression, when he says, "Blessed are the poor in spirit," (Matt. v. 3,) meaning those who are endowed with the treasure of humility, or according to another record, "Blessed be ye

poor;" (Luke vi. 20;) the poor in temporal or outward circumstances being generally, but not always, the richest in this spiritual and inward grace.

Men are poor spiritually who have not been taught any sense of religion: so are they who have not learned to think and to feel much on other matters of a liberal nature; who have no sense of honour, justice, and humanity; who are incapable of making a distinction between persons and things that deserve to be honoured, and those that do not; or if, when capable of making such a distinction, they will rather envy those whom they ought to honour, we cannot but think them poor spirited, or subjects of a poor and pitiful spirit. Indeed, what Jeremiah says of the first mentioned sort, "Surely, these are poor, they are foolish," (Jer. v. 4,) we may say of them all. And one should be sorry to owe them any thing beyond the general debt of love; one should not like to be joined, I mean, in any particular relation with any of them. Whence it would appear that there are two sides or respects of duty in relation to the spiritual poor; being one for charity, and another for prudence: but it is the first chiefly that we have now to regard.

And accordingly we owe to the simply poor in spirituals as much aid as we know how to convey to them in those commodities in which they seem to be poorest or most deficient. Do they want religious instruction, let them be taught; do they want a better sense of duty, let them be corrected: or do they only want more peace of mind and confidence, let them be comforted by the only way of repentance and absolution, if they will confess. Let them CONFESS AND BE COMFORTED: or if on the contrary they have not the grace to repent, let them be shamed or reasoned into it. Better do this for them than let the vicious and ignorant go their own gait, without caring what becomes of them; or, it may be with the Pharisaic malediction, "This people who knoweth not the law are cursed." (John vii. 49.)

The knowledge of the law was with the Pharisees and their countrymen nearly what the edification of baptism should be with Christians-a little fortune for them, the practice being a great one: so that a man might well be thought poor and unfortunate with them who was not elevated into what may be called a legal habitude. But much poorer were he, and much more unfortunate might it be thought for him, who living in a Christian country at this time should be remarkably deficient in the knowledge of the Gospel. This therefore is the point which benefactors of the spiritual poor ought chiefly to regard, and to which they should chiefly strain their endeavours: that they might be dignified and enriched with the light of the Gospel and a nobility of spirit becoming the members of Christ, or those at least who are candidates for his communion. It may be thought by some, that as we live in a state identified with Christianity, where the same helps of teachers and institutions for the ends before mentioned are general and generally encouraged which in the beginning of this dispensation were partially employed, and that only by stealth sometimes, so general a cooperation for the native poor in spirituals may not be requisite now as then: but it may be hard to say why; seeing there is still the same demand continually increasing with the increase of population. And so it happened too only in our Saviour's lifetime: when first only twelve coadjutors appeared sufficient for training in the Kingdom; "After these things the Lord appointed other seventy;" (Luke x. 1;) and not long after, it may be presumed, he still found more room for assistance. "Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest." (Mat. ix. 37, 38.) So we in imitation of our Lord's example apply ourselves first to him to send fellow labourers with us into the harvest, being well assured of their scarcity and of his ability; who, having all hearts at command, can

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