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and those who can give, ought to give. During the last year, the demands have been more numerous than formerly, although the ability to give has been decreased by the pressure of the times; yet who will say he has been called on too often? or that he has given too much? or that he regret what he has bestowed? or that he has been impoverished by his liberality? 19 *** }
12: We desire to stir up our brethren and ourselves to increased liberality, by reflecting on the peculiar character and increased obligations of the Gospel dispensation. This is a scheme of love throughout, and every one who imbibes tis spirit becomes a person of enlarged benevolence. What Christian can withstand that apostolic appeal, " Ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, who, though he was rich, yet for our sakes became poor, that ye through his poverty, might be rich." And this appeal, be it remembered, was delivered in a lengthened discourse by the Apostle Paul, on the very subject of Christian liberality. He insists upon it, in an unbroken discourse, sustained with the utmostvigour, throughout the entire of the eighth and ninth chapters in the second epistle to the Corinthians. We earnestly recommend that discourse to the deep consideration of the members of the Church. The views which it expresses, the arguments it employs, the motives it enforces, and the rewards which it promises, are such as place the subject of Christian generosity in a light of supreme importance. It is closed with the animated exclamation, “thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift,”—an exclamation called forth by the delighted contemplation of the grace of God producing generosity in the narrow and selfish heart of man. It is this generosity which he calls "the unspeakable gift." And his language is not misplaced. For what a triumph of grace is it when he, who comes into the world its slave, is so far emancipated from it as to make it subservient to the spread of religion; when he, who by nature was inclined to "live to himself" has had his heart opened to give up what he counts valuable, for the sake of others. This is to catch the spirit of Christ, to have the mind in us that was also in him. We entreat the members of the Church to consider how far we have been formed, in this particular, on the model of Christ. Has the doctrine of Christian liberality had that place in the measures of the Church, and in the hearts and lives of Christians, which has been assigned to it in the
life of Christ, and in the writings of the New Testament? We dare not say no. We must rather mourn, that this part of our Christian code has been a dead letter on the statutebook. The conduct of the Church, in this respect, will not bear investigation. What proportion of our property has been given to the cause of God, compared with what has been spent upon ourselves? We venture to make the affirmation, that, even throughout our own Synod of Ulster, for every shilling which has been given to religion, there has been a pound given to ardent spirits. This will be questioned by no one who has attended to the subject. And what an appalling fact! A pound given to Satan for every shilling that has been given to Christ! A pound for the destruction of men's souls, and a shilling for their salvation! A pound to that cause which is the most destructive of man's present and eternal well-being, and a shilling to that which proposes to bless him here, and make him supremely blessed hereafter. Bear with us, dear brethren, in these earnest expostulations. We bring no railing accusations against you in particular; rather have we reason to be thankful that your liberality has greatly increased, and even, in many instances, abounded; but we are looking at the general conduct of professing Christians, as respects the duty of devoting their substance to God, and we cannot restrain our emotions, when we see how the vanities of life are pampered and fed, while the house of God lieth waste. We are moved with fear for the judgments of God, while we contemplate such things. We would sound an alarm in the ears of those who are at ease in Zion. We are fearful that where the grace of generosity is stunted, no other grace can be lively or strong. We would remind you, that self-denial is a Christian duty; but, alas! where shall it be found. Who is denying himself, that he may give to him that needeth? Let us consider the great principle of the dispensation under which we live, that Christ gave himself for us, and let us be constrained, by its moral influence, to give ourselves, all we are and all we have, to him.
3. Consider the urgency of the claims now made upon us on behalf of the Synod's Mission. Our Church has passed through a long and dreary night of apathy and neglect. During the last century, the Presbyterian population has increased greatly; but, with the exception of the last few years, there has been scarcely any increase of religious opportuni
ties. The consequence is, in one respect, what might have been expected, a large proportion of our Presbyterian brethren shut out from the benefits of a Gospel ministration. In another respect, however, the consequence is otherwise than might have been expected. Amongst the neglected and destitute there has gone forth a spirit of anxious inquiry. On all sides, the cry is made in the ear of the Church, come over and help us." There is scarcely a neighbourhood in the whole province of Presbyterian Ulster, as wellas in many other parts, where there is not much destitution, and yet where there is not also a demand for Christian and Presbyterian ordinances. "And now, for a little space, grace hath been shewed us from the Lord our God, to leave us a remnant to escape, and to give us a nail in his holy place, that our God may lighten our eyes, and give us a little reviving in our bondage." For this let us be grateful, and let our gratitude be shewn in embracing the opportunities of usefulness that are given. Not only are spheres of usefulness inviting, but, what is more to be accounted of, agents are raised up, able and willing to occupy them. “in the beauties of holiness, from the womb of the morning, our Church hath the dew of her youth." The number of young men raised up with the spirit of zeal and love is surprising, and surpassing our fondest expectations. Many are saying, both for home and foreign service," here are we, send us.' And while the fields are white unto the harvest, shall they have reason to complain, no man hath hired us." Let us not provoke God to leave us : let us not shut the door which he hath graciously opened; let us go through the length and breadth of the land, and possess it; let us encourage and employ the Missionary spirit that hath gone abroad; and let us rejoice in the anticipation of "the harvest home," when they that have gone forth weeping, and bearing precious seed, shall return again rejoicing, bringing their sheaves with them. But all this God condescends to accomplish by human instrumentality. He honours us by making our substance and labours needful to the accomplishment of his purposes. The Master has condescended to say, be hath need of us, and of ours. Let us remember we are not our own, nor yet any thing that we possess. Let all be laid at the feet of Jesus. Let every one ask, what can I give, or induce others to give? What can I do, or induce others to do? Let us forget the things that are behind, accounting
that any thing we have yet done is nothing, and let us press forward to a large participation of the mind, and life, and labours of Jesus, that we may, with all our talents, "glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ."
A DISCOURSE ON THE CONTINUAL EXERCISE OF A CHRISTIAN, HOW HE MAY KEEP HIS HEART FROM HARDNESS, AND HIS WAYS FROM ERROR.
To keep the heart aright with God, is the highest task of a Christian. Good motions are not unfrequent; but the constancy of good dispositions is rare and hard. This work must be continual, or else it speedeth not; like as the body from a settled and habitual distemper must be recovered by long diet; and so much the rather, that we cannot remit here without danger of relapses. If this field be not tilled every day, it will run out into thistles. The evening is fittest for this work; when retired into ourselves, we must cheerfully, and constantly, both look up to God, and into our hearts, as we have to do with both; to God in thanksgiving first, then in request. It shall be therefore expedient for the soul, duly to recount to itself all the specialities of God's favours,—a confused thanks savours of carelessness, and neither doth affect us, or win acceptance above.
Bethink yourself, then, of all those external, inferior, earthly graces; that your being, breathing, life, motion, reason, is from him; that he hath given you a more noble nature than the rest of the creatures, excellent faculties of the mind, perfection of the senses, soundness of body, competency of estate, seemliness of condition, fitness of calling, preservation from dangers, rescue out of miseries, kind. ness of friends, carefulness of education, honesty of repu. tation, liberty of recreations, quietness of life, opportunity of well-doing, protection of angels. Then rise higher to his spiritual favours, though here on earth, and strive to raise your affections with your thoughts. Bless God that you were born in the light of the Gospel, for your profession of the truth, for the honour of your vocation, for your incorporating into the Church, for the privilege of the Sacraments, the free use of the Scriptures, the communion of Saints, the benefit of their prayers, the aid of their counsels, the pleasure of their conversation; for the beginnings of regeneration, any footsteps of faith, hope, love, zeal, patience, faith, peace, joy, conscionableness, for any desire Then let your soul mount higher of all into her
heaven, and acknowledge those celestial graces of her election to glory, redemption from shame and death, of the intercession of her Saviour, of the preparation of her place; and there let her stay awhile upon the meditation of her future joys. This done, the way is made for your request; sue now to your God, as for grace to answer those, so to see wherein you have not answered them: from him, therefore, cast your eyes down upon yourself; and as some careful justicer doth a suspected felon, so do you strictly examine your heart, of what you have done that day; of what you should have done; inquire whether your thoughts have been sequestered to God, strangers from the world, fixed on heaven; whether just, charitable, lowly, pure, Christians; whether your senses have been holily guided, neither to let in temptations, nor to let out sins; whether your speeches have not been offensive, vain, rash, indiscreet, unsavoury, unedifying; whether your actions have been warrantable, expedient, comely, profitable. Thence, see if you have been negligent in watching your heart, expense of your time, exercises of devotion, performance of good works, resistance of temptations, good use of good examples; and, compare your present estate with the former; look jealously, whether your soul hath gained or lost,-lost aught of the heat of her love, tenderness of conscience, fear to offend, strength of virtue; gained more increase of grace, more assurance of glory. And when you find (Alas! who can but find?) either holiness decayed, or evil done, or good omitted, cast down your eyes, strike your breast, humble your soul, and sigh to him whom you have offended, sue for pardon as for life, heartily, yearningly; enjoin yourself careful amendment, redouble your holy resolutions, strike hands with God in a new covenant: my soul for your safety. Much of this good counsel I confess to have learned from the table of an unknown author, at Antwerp. It contented me; and, therefore, I have thus made it (by many alterations,) my own for form, and yours for use. Our practise shall both commend it, and make us happy. JOSEPH HALL,
Bishop of Norwich.
A LETTER FROM A SCHOOL MASTER IN THE COUNTRY TO HIS FRIEND..
DEAR SIR, I mentioned to you before that I was deeply engaged, during the holidays, in the study of Metaphysics. I read Dr. Young's Lectures nearly all, but hastily. To