Page images

to be found those doubly pitiable objects, who are bowed down under the accumulated load of sickness and of want: here, too, the mourning widow, bereft of her support, and left alone to supply the necessities of a craving orphan family.

Great need is there, then, that the charitable dictates and precepts of Christianity should be listened to and obeyed, and happy has been the effect, rich the fruits, of this healing dispensation. The Sun of righteousness has shed his enlivening beams around us : a blessed change has been effected ; a change

; in the temper, passions, sentiments of the sincere Christians who unite faith and works-proving the truth of the former by the excellence of the latter. If, in former days, the heart of man was obdurate and steeled against the impressions of charity, and the sense of other men's distresses, such is not the case since Christianity rendered the heart soft, and susceptible to every tender impulse. Of this we have had abundant testimony throughout the dominions of Christ, but in the highest degree, perhaps, within this our happy Island. Here indeed, if anywhere, may the poor man say, “ I have

, a goodly heritage.” In no other country is charity so much alive to the cry of necessity; her ears are open to the most distant calls. The desolate and oppressed in Greece and Spain, in Germany, too, as well as in the Sister Island, have not appealed to her in vain. But, amid so many calls, it may be thought her

power must be exhausted; and that a want of the means may frustrate the workings of charity in her heart.

But is this really and truly the case ? Thanks be to God! heavy as our public burdens are, of which a legal provision for the poor

is one of the heaviest, they yet seem to be no check upon the charitable spirit of the Lord, in which free bounty is dispensed with a liberal open heart.



Witness the many spacious costly edifices, not only within the Metropolis, but throughout the Kingdom, raised and enriched often by private legacy or voluntary contribution, for the supply of every want, the mitigation of every disaster with which frail mortality is visited, in every stage and station of life from helpless infancy to wrinkled enfeebled age. Witness the numerous charitable associations in all parts, in

every ner, of the island, and among all discriptions of the inhabitants. Witness also the immense sums annually sent abroad with a lavish generosity.

But there is no channel, which has a better right to demand a supply, than the one which now engages our attention, and to which we are urged by the additional force of a precept from the throne. The call cannot be a light one, which is strengthened by regal authority; and thus pervades the land, No, it is no other than to aid in training up the children of the destitute in the way they should go, in the hope, that when they are old, they shall not depart from it: thus treasuring up to the Kingdom the richest treasures, in an increase of morality and religion in the rising generation. The plan is sufficiently evident from the royal letter read to you to-day, from which however let me trouble you with the repetition of a few brief sentences. - The returns of last year, it states, as presenting the welcome spectacle of the near and distant

operation of this comprehensive scheme of education exhibited in 1867 united schools, affording religious culture with every beneficial influence on the minds and manners, the habits and appearance of more than 350,000 children.” Is it not worth ambition to be a partner in such a work? Think that here the widow's mite entitles her to say, I assist in the support of so

[ocr errors]



many schools, in the religious nurture of so many helpless children. This is a charity against which no objection can arise, it has everything to recommend it, and blind, wilfully blind, must they be, who do not see and confess its advantages and excellence, and lend a helping hand to its support and increase. Great was the national bounty, when the Sister Island implored a supply of food for the body; here the demand is for the Bread of Life, for the sustenance of the soul. Which shall we then prefer? Is the body more than the soul? Are

? few years on earth, more than eternity ? Let us then contribute liberally to the wants of the latter, as we did, in the year which is gone, to those of the former. We cannot be dead to such a call. Let us then, my dear fellow-christians, breathe that spirit of extended love which is inculcated by our divine master; let us embrace the present opportunity of striving with a generous emulation to increase the kingdom of God and his Christ, by bringing forward "young children” in the way to the Kingdom of Heaven.

It would, I think, be difficult among the numberless charities which adorn this country, to select a finer instance of the beneficial effects of the revealed religion, than the establishment for which I am now imploring your contribution,—the object of which is the education and welfare, present and eternal, of poor destitute children.

Need more be said to influence your benevolent feelings ? did the time allow me to expatiate on this fruitful and glorious theme, other arguments would not surely be demanded to strengthen the plea. It is the voice of our Saviour which emphatically proclaimed; “Suffer little children to come unto me:" for “ of such is the Kingdom of Heaven.” •If they had so high a value in his estimation, ought they to be neglected by us?

Think of 350,000 children all praying to God for their benfactors,—with one accord and with grateful hearts:—think, too, how easily may be purchased a share of such efficacious prayers :- I say efficacious, for remember who has declared, that “inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” Give, then, liberally, all ye who have received liberally at God's hand : -Christ will reward this labour of love. And the recollection of your merciful deeds will be productive of an advantage, of which the sordid and niggardly soul shall bitterly mourn the absence and the want,—in the dark dismal hour of departing life. Not such the death-bed of the merciful ; he will look up with soothing hope towards God through Christ; and when all earthly help is unavailing, will meet the king of terrors with a smile, and be consoled with the glad hope of meeting in the courts of the Lord's House those rejoicing souls, whom his compassionate bounty had contributed to support and save; in the glorious assembly of just men made perfect, in those mansions of purity and bliss where all the distinctions of rank and power and wealth shall be abolished ;-where poverty and affliction shall no more assail, but happiness be perfect and complete, because "we shall be ever with the Lord,” and “shall be like Him."

[ocr errors]


PSALM V. 12.






By the good Providence of God, we, my brethren, have been brought in health and in safety to the last day of the present most eventful year. We may say with the pious Psalmist, “Surely, goodness and mercy have followed us all the days of our lives!” I would, therefore, exhort you to take a strict and impartial review of your conduct in the course of it. On the present occasion I propose to call your serious attention to some of the dangers with which, as a Nation, we have been

« PreviousContinue »