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as the Son of the Most High, and He shall love thee more than thy mother doth."
Ecclus. xxix. 11. Lay up thy treasure according to the commandment. It shall bring thee more profit than gold, it shall deliver thee from all afflictions, it shall fight for thee against thine enemies," &c.
Is. lviii. 10, 11. “ If thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul, then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noon-day. And the LORD shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones; and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.” Do not imagine that all that belongs to your Church belongs to you. You have indeed a right to live by the altar, but not in luxury'. The Church has not had worse enemies, than such as have been raised to estates out of her patrimony. This should open
the eyes of those who make no other use of Church livings than to provide portions, raise estates and families, enrich relations, &c. from which practices the good Lord keep me. The goods of this world, much more the goods of the Church, are mere depositums, put into the hands of men for the common good-of the Church and of mankind ?.
Col. iii. 2. “ Set your affections on things above." It is more to our advantage to have the prayers of a poor, good man, than the smiles of the greatest man on earth.
Deut. x. 18, 19. “ The Lord loveth the stranger ; love ye therefore the stranger; give him food and raiment,” &c.
Mark x. 21. “ Sell what thou hast, and give to the poor ; and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.” My God! we think we love Thee above all things, when, without being sensible of it, we love a thousand things better ; but as we hope for heaven, we must sacrifice even what we love most. This is a necessary duty now; and though it be a very, very difficult one, yet to Thee all things are possible. To sell is only an expression for a disregard for riches;
St. Bern. Ep. 2.
2 Dr. Moore's Div. Dial.
TRACTS FOR THE TIMES.
such as are, being dead to the world, crucified, born again, overcome the world; all which denote that temper which Christianity requires.
Matt. xxv. 40. “ In as much (for as often) as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” As often !— Who then would miss any occasion ? The least :- Who then would despise any object? To me :-So that in serving the poor, we serve Jesus Christ. O comfortable declaration! It is not out of cruelty or indigence, that Christ suffers any of His members to want or be in misery, but to give others an opportunity of exercising their faith and their love, and of making some amends for their mis-expenses by their alms.
Mark ix. 41. Whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in my name, because ye belong to Christ; verily, (with an oath He assures us) he shall not lose his reward.” This should always, if possible, be our intention :- This poor, oppressed, this miserable man, belongs to Christ. This would wonderfully enhance the value of our good deeds before God. Mercy is a natural debt, not left to our discretion. He that stands in need of our help, is to have it. Inclination, friendship, vain generosity, are selfish motives. The last refuge of a sinner is alms; it is an art of turning our master's goods innocently to our own advantage, and making to ourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness; heaven being the patrimony and inheritance of the poor, by our alms we engage them to solicit the mercy of God for us. This is the only way to sanctify riches, which are almost always either the fruit, or the seed, of unrighteousness and injustice. And indeed we are more obliged to the poor than they to us. Earthly riches are almost always abused without an extraordinary grace.
Luke xviii. 12. “I fast twice in the week; I give tithes of all that I possess."
Be very careful not to be puffed up with the thoughts of your alms. I give tithes of all that I possess, was the effect of a pride more prejudicial than the sins of a publican. It is a stratagem of the devil to set before us a sight of
our own good works, and to deprive us of that humility which alone can render us acceptable to GOD.
Luke xxi, 3. “ And Jesus said, Of a truth I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast in more than they all. For all these of their abundance cast in unto the offerings of God, but she of her penury hath cast in all the living that she had.” GOD judges not by the greatness of the gift, but by the heart that offers it. The applause which the great gifts of the rich receive, the complacency they take in them, and the little religion wherewith they are too often companied, lessen them in the sight of God. The rich indeed may give much, and reserve much for themselves. The poor, who gives all, reserves nothing to himself, but faith in God's providence. God magnifies the power of His grace, in disengaging a soul from the love of riches : O my God! manifest this power upon me: Raise my soul above the fears of poverty, and let me have the greatest part of my treasure in heaven. Shut my heart, O Jesus, against the love of worldly riches.
Rom. 25. “ But now I go to Jerusalem, to minister (that is, to carry alms) unto the saints.” So great an Apostle is not at all afraid that he should debase his character in carrying of alms. A Christian, who considers all other Christians as one body in Jesus Christ, will cheerfully contribute even to the necessities of the greatest, remotest strangers. God often spares the rich for the sake of the poor. To the poor, therefore, the rich stand indebted. A rich man, if a good man, is more afraid of not finding fit persons to receive his alms, than a poor man is of not finding persons to bestow alms upon him. We honour Jesus Christ in His poor, when we treat them kindly and help them. The very best of men are only instruments in God's hands, to receive and to give what God bestows
them. And this they should do without any desire of glory, or selfinterest. Let us make light of money and riches, and send before us into the heavenly treasures, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt; where neither tyrants nor thieves can take it from us; but where it will be kept to our eternal advantage, under
TRACTS FOR THE TIMES.
the custody of GOD Himself'. Thou, O LORD, hast been all mercy to me; grant that I may be all mercy to others for Thy sake.
Upon giving of Alms.
Not unto me, but unto Thee, O GOD, be the thanks, and praise, and glory.
1 Cor. ix. 14. "So hath the LORD (viz. JESUS CHRIST 2) ordained, that they which preach the Gospel should live of the Gospel." That is, out of the labours and revenues of those to whom they preach the Gospel. And this (upon principles of justice, as well as of religion: if thou hast much, give plenteously) as God has prospered you; that is, proportionably to your incomes. This no human law can set aside. There is a great deal of difference betwixt being exempt by law, and exempt in conscience. O LORD, who hast graciously allowed us a recompence for our labours, make me a faithful steward of that part of Thy revenues committed to my charge, that I may give Thy servants their portion of meat in due season; and that I may not feed myself or family with that which belongs to Thy poor. But, above all, I pray God give me grace to preach the Gospel as well as live of it; and that when my LORD cometh, He may find me so doing.-Amen. By what right can those, who do nothing at all, claim a share of those tithes which are by JESUS CHRIST appointed for the propagation of the Gospel ?—To satisfy avarice, ambition, luxury, or pleasures, with these, is no better than sacrilege".
Numb. xviii. 26. "When ye take of the children of Israel the tithes, which I have given you from them for your inheritance, then ye shall offer up an heave-offering of it for the LORD, even a tenth part of the tithe."
2 Matt. x. 10.
Can. Apost. Omnium negotiorum ecclesiasticorum episcopus habeat, et ea, velut Deo contemplante, dispenset.
Deut. xviii. 2. “The LORD (that is, that which God hath reserved unto Himself) is their inheritance.” This is said to show, that the priests bad as good a right to the tithes and offerings as any of the other tribes had to their land, they being both the gift of God.
Deut. xxvi. 12. “When thou hast made an end of tithing all the tithes of thine increase, the third year, which is the year of titbing, and hast given it unto the Levite, the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, that they may eat within thy gates, and be
13. “ Then thou shalt say before the LORD thy God, I have brought away the hallowed things out of mine house, and also have given them unto the Levite, and unto the stranger, to the fatherless, and to the widow, according to all Thy commandments."
15. “Look down from Thy holy habitation, from heaven, and bless Thy people Israel.” What care is here taken, that men shall not confound the things that belong to God with those that they may lawfully convert to their own use; and indeed a great deal more depends on this, than men are aware of, or are willing to believe.
Matt. X. 10. “The workman is worthy of his meat.” This is a matter of justice as well as of divine right; but then observe, it is only he that labours, not he that is idle, who has a right to the revenues of the Church. Men that are liberal, even to profuseness, to the ministers of their pleasures, that think nothing too much which is laid out upon the body, upon trifles and vanity, will yet grudge him that has the care of their souls, and who stands accountable for them, a very small part of their incomes. After all, it is God who maintains his own ministers, and not the people : He who gives all having reserved to His own disposal a part
every man's estate, labour, &c. Prov. iii. 9, 10. “Honour the Lord with thy substance, and with the first-fruits (the best) of all thine increase, so shall thy barns be filled with plenty."
Ezek. xlivso. “And the first of the first-fruits of all things,