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presently stir up those of kings, princes and elders, and send us by them the help we require.
But I fear there are men, and no Pharisees either, who can be more than indifferent,-who are decidedly averse to the important duty or part of enriching their poor neighbours with the principles of salvation. It may be true that there is a great deal of perverseness, a deal of ignorance, a deal of conceit among the poor people, and consequently a deal of indifference in themselves to their own eternal interests. And how can it be otherwise considering their natural prepossession in favour of "their adversary, the devil;" (Pet. I. v. 8 ;) being already ensnared and "taken captive by him at his will." (Tim. II. ii. 26.) Our fellow men, and, it may be, especial charges too, are not to be abandoned to such an "adversary," because they may be a little awkward, and perhaps more than half his already. Instead of deeming the people therefore cursed beyond the power of redemption we should rather continue to exhort and admonish them; saying, "Repent ye: for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand," (Mat. iii. 2,) to those who can have only a nominal interest in the same, if they have so much; being born in sin and unregenerate, the first of the two sorts of spiritual poor, namely simple and fallen, which I proposed to consider and point out as objects deserving your charity.
2, The other sort of objects answering to these may not be thought so deserving of that distinction; as they consist of a fouler grade, the regenerate who are "fallen from grace," (Gal. v. 4,) or reduced to spiritual poverty from a state of affluence through their own default; not falling back to the law merely, nor yet to a state of nature, but, much worse,-to" the rudiments of the world," (Col. ii. 8,) and to "walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness," (Pet. II. ii. 10,) if not to their very foundation, the prince of this world, who has no part whatever in Christ: (John xiv. 30:) "who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made
partakers of the Holy Ghost, and have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come; (Heb. vi. 4, 5;) but now are fallen from Heaven, like Lucifer, the son of the morning. (Isai. xiv. 12.) For it shall be often found of these apostates, that they do not fall away from the establishment in which they were inlisted without setting up for themselves, and trying to make proselytes; as Lucifer their archetype did when he fell from Heaven, and has been doing ever since. "These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever. For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error. While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage. For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. For it had been better for them, not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. But it has happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again, and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire." (Pet. II. ii. 17, &c.)
Therefore, whether this sort of spiritual poor be equal objects of charity with the fore-mentioned or not, it would seem from the language of inspiration, that they are more difficult to be served by others, and at the same time "cannot renew themselves again unto repentance." (Heb. vi. 6.) But charity "hopeth all things:" (Cor. I. xiii. 7 :) from hoping she goes on to attempting many things; and by attempting will succeed sometimes beyond expectation; and in cases bordering on the last mentioned, if not quite
so bad. For examples of which, and of unbounded charity in general, we need not go beyond the author of our text. There is one anecdote in particular recorded of St. John at the advanced age before supposed as the era of this epistle much to our purpose: and perhaps, as relating to an old man, an old version of the same in part may not be impertinent.
"Hear then (as the historian says) a fable, and yet no fable, but a true tale of St. John, the apostle, delivered unto us, and committed to memory." And then he goes on to relate, how St. John happening in one of his apostolical visitations to observe a young man of particular promise, commended him to the bishop of the diocese in the presence of the church and departed; how the bishop. took great pains with the young man's religious education; and, when he seemed to be sufficiently instructed, admitted him to the holy rite of baptism, and by that pass or medium into the sanctuary of the church. But, as no pains nor passes can secure a continuance in that paradisiacal retreat to those who are not wholly regenerate, or confirmed as well as baptized, and the same young man appears to have been one of that sort, we need not wonder at his falling from the happy lot provided for him; as Adam did first, and thousands do daily. For so it seems he did, and continued falling from bad to worse, until he was at length become what we call a desperate villain: in other words, according to the narrative, he was become "a most violent captain of thieves," towards the time that the presence of St. John was again required on ecclesiastical business in the city where he had found him so different a person in appearance, but not in fact or essence. So John, when he had finished and ended the cause of his coming," Go to (saith he) O bishop; restore unto us thy charge, which I and Christ have committed unto thy custody; the church, whereof thou art head, bearing witness." And finding, after a little explanation, how it was with the man; the apostle, " renting his garment, and beating his
head with great sorrow, said, I have left a wise keeper of our brother's soul! Prepare me a horse, and let me have a guide. He hastened out of church, and rode in post. Being come unto the place appointed, he is straightway taken of the thievish watch. He neither flieth nor resisteth, but exclaimeth, For this purpose came I hither; bring me unto your captain; who in the mean space as he was armed beheld him coming. But eftsoons, when he saw his pace, and knew that it was John, he was stroken with shame, and fled away. The old man, forgetful of his years, with might pursueth him flying, and crieth, My son, why fliest thou from me, thy father, unarmed and old? O, tender my ease; be not afraid: as yet there remaineth hope of salvation. I will undertake for thee with Christ: I will die for thee, if need be; as Christ did for us: I WILL HAZARD MY SOUL FOR THINE. Trust to me: Christ sent me! But he, hearing this, first stood still, turning his face to the ground; next, shook off his armour; anon, trembled for fear, and wept bitterly. He embraced the old man, and coming unto him, answered as well as he could for weeping; so that he seemed to be baptized again with tears, the shaking of the hand only being omitted."
I need not pursue the relation any farther, having repeated enough perhaps, to shew what a disposition for charity this beloved disciple of our Lord and justly revered apostle to his church might have borne, and probably did to the last; from whose hand, head and heart proceeded the excellent aphorism in my text; and, it may be, about the time of the transaction just alluded to,-possibly between his two visits to the scene of action, if not subsequent to the heroic expressions that have just been cited. To talk of one man's hazarding his soul for another, may seem at first to be rather extravagant than heroic: it may seem such an instance of devotion as one shall never hear of. But you must not take the hazard to be for eternity: and then you will find it no more than every true shepherd
will readily incur when going for his master," to seek and to save that which is lost," as it may be, among snares and precipices. More than that, we have had an instance of such a one not only hazarding, but actually "pouring out his soul unto death "—not indeed for one or another only, nor yet for a master's sheep, but for many, and them his own, which his Father gave him. (Isai. liii. 12; John x. 29; xvii. 12.) So we have some real instances, I believe, among the many which are recorded-of servantshepherds who also have "poured out their souls unto death" for the sheep confided to their charge in imitation and for the sake of the Chief Shepherd, as well as for love to the sheep; thereby confirming the truth and applying the benefit of his all sufficient and only acceptable sacrifice. And well may we and other objects of this prodigious sacrifice of the Father in his Son Jesus Christ and others by the Eternal Spirit exclaim with St. John, “Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us!" (John I. iii. 1.) "For (as another apostle remarks) scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." (Rom. v. 7, 8.)
§ 2. Therefore if one have laid down his life for his own, and others theirs for his, and others also be still disposed to do what they can for them,-it may and will be expected, that they also should do somewhat for themselves. For no one ever heard yet of sheep that were not required to take their own food, and also to take care ge-. nerally for their own lives under the shepherd's and his servant's direction. This is the second part that I proposed to consider; wherein, 1, the poor as well spiritually as temporally will appear the subjects of an important duty, as their own pastors and protectors in some measure; from having been considered and recommended as objects for the pastorage and protection of others. And if it should. appear, 2, that others are also pastured by the sheep, such