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ed upon creation, is also printed on the tablets of the human heart. So that we never act ourselves, we can never be ourselves, till we respond to this law,-illustrated everywhere, and made necessary by the very nature God has given us ! refer,

3. To the principle of safe and true expediency. We use this word in a good sense. We are allowed to act according to methods of wise expediency, but never in view of carnal and selfish policy.

There are compensations as well as penalties in the government of God; so we are permitted to have respect to the recompense of reward. We have, indeed, a right to take the course that is best for us, and no right to do otherwise.

It is giving-right giving-heart giving—that makes our receiving safe, our prosperity real, our possessions our own, our gains actual, and our riches treasures. Is honesty the best policy?

So also is benevolence, which is honesty toward God, and is essential to a just stewardship. If all things are God's, if we are his, and our property is his, and we are set in the world and in the church to carry out the great principle of love to man, in the relation of secondary providence, do we not rob God, and wrong others and our own souls by a life of selfishness?

The giving has always need to correspond in its measure to the receiving. If it does not, there will be danger and disaster. Of this there are illustrations everywhere. The pores of the body must give out as well as take in, or we die. Exhalation is necessary in order that inhalation may be safe. The lake must send forth waters as well as take in streams, or it will flood the land. There must be outflow, as well as influx, or destruction. The fields must needs give forth herbs and grass and trees, or the rain and richness that come on them would poison. The ocean gives as well as receives, and as much, else it would drain, or drown the earth. The heavens, so bright and beautiful, could not be so if they did not give. They are made so by giving. They scatter abroad their light and mist, and thus sow the earth with beauty and abundance. We need not add illustrations. Who will doubt that a heart to give blesses both thegiver and the gift? An old poet says, in rather homely lines, but expressing a beautiful sentiment

“God's love hath wealth in us upheaped,
Only in giving is that wealth reaped,
The body withers, and the mind,
If pent up in a selfish rind;
Give thoughts, give deeds, give words, give pelf,
Give time, give prayer, give thyself!
Give, give,-be always giving;
He who gives not, is not living,
The more we give, the more we live."

A thing is never truly our own till consecrated.

It does not become a property till held in an open hand. We possess actually only what we have a heart to bestow. That only is ours which we hold as God's, and in an open hand, to be given up when he calls. So a good Earl of England had put upon his stone and that of his wife, these words :

“ What we spent, we had;
What we gave, we have;
What we kept, we lost.”

Without a heart to give, our receiving becomes a snare, and our possessions a curse. The acquisition of a fortune endangers the soul unless the safety valves of benevolence are kept open. The only antidote to the dangers of prosperity is the warmth of heavenly charity, and the activity of doing good. Outward gains, unconsecrated, become inward losses, and there are no such losses as inward losses. An old writer has said, “he is rich in grace whose graces are not damaged by riches.” But the graces will be damaged by riches, unless these are used as the Lord's, to bless mankind.

To illustrate this truth to the minds of the young, we venture to revive an old allegory, that bears upon this subject. The language we have lost for the most part, which we but imperfectly supply.

See that little fountain yonder, away yonder,-in the mountain ; sparkling like a diamond in the sun, and writing its pathway to the sea with a pen of silver. But hark! the hoarse pool hails it: “ Whither going, master streamlet? Whither bound ?” “I am going to the sea, to bear this cup of cold water God has given me.” “Ah ! foolish wanderer, you will want it all for yourself before summer is ended.” Well, if I

may

die so soon, I'll work while I can, I'll run while I am.” (Good resolution, little rill.)

So on it went, leaping and blessing on its course, giving drink to the flower, sweetness to the air, freshness to the fields, and joy to the countenances of men! (No stream ever gets to the sea that does not run. And no soul ever gets to the ocean of blessedness that does not do the same.)

But soon the summer heat came as predicted; but it fell first on the face of the old pool. And the pool grew sickly and heavy and green ! The breeze that blew over it caught the contagion. The beasts put their cautious lips to it and turned away.

Its breath became a pestilence to the land. The very frogs spit out their venom upon it, till Heaven, in mercy to man and earth, smote it with a hotter breath, and it dried up.

Its caution to the rill was the dirge as well as symptom of its own decease.

But what became of the rill the while ? Did it not die too? Oh, no! God saw to that. It was his thing,—for it served him. The trees crowded to its brink, and threw their shelter of shade over it. The flowers overhung it tenderly and lovingly, and breathed their best incense upon it. The birds sang around it their best tunes. So on it went singing and blessing in its course, till its own gentle song swelled to an anthem, and its first soft voice of treble deepened into the mighty bass of the sea. And the sun smiled on the sea, and the sea sent up its

ocean incense to the sun. And the winds came into the ministry, and bore the mist and clouds away to the mountain top, and tipped their brimming treasure there, as a baptism upon its brow. So the little stream that ran its race of usefulness, never ran dry; but, joining hands with a thousand smaller ones, broadened and deepened and rolled on its wave to the mighty ocean.

Now this is God's way in all his works and worlds ; to give to him that giveth, and more abundantly. For if he so blessed

the rill, that little liquid missionary, born of the mountain, that gave its cup of water to man and beast, bird and flower, will he not bless you, will he not bless me,—if as we have freely received, like everything else in the universe, we also freely give ? But view this subject,

4. In the light of moral principle. Benevolence is an outgrowth of principle. It constitutes the ground work of the gospel. It takes its place among the virtues,—and has promises accordingly. There is a blessing in it, and a reward for it. So much cannot be said of mere receiving. Whatever may be claimed for it on the ground of convenience and personal benefit, it cannot take rank among the virtues. Benevolence has an advantage just here. It takes its place with that which God approves, and has promised to reward. Anything that costs us sacrifice-gives us character. That which roots up selfishnessplants disinterestedness. Whatever crucifies the passions—creates moral principle. That which crosses the vile affections crushes them. Hence the advantage of giving over mere receiving. We assume in this paper that the giving is real, is genuine, and not for vain show, or from heartless impulse. It is profitable to do as we were created to do, and as manded to do, and as will promote the highest good. It puts us upon a mount of influence and enjoyment, and will give us a crown of blessedness. We have not a faculty nor a feeling that is not strengthened by benevolence and damaged by selfishness. Reason has an easier flight, the imagination a loftier wing, in the atmosphere of love. The emotions and affections move in a purer, higher, heavenlier orbit, while under this divine attraction.

Benevolence promotes the spirit of prayer. Rev. Jotham Sewall, known as the patriarch of Maine, always mighty in prayer, was once called upon at a meeting of the American Board, to lead the congregation in prayer. He rose, left his seat, went to the Treasurer's desk, took out his wallet, and laid down a bank bill, saying, in an undertone, “ Now I can pray!” He took his position, and wrestled with God as few on earth have ever done! The truth is, he could'nt pray till he had given! No man can, if there are claims on his justice or his

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charity that are uncancelled. Be ye fed, be ye clothed, be ye saved, is not a prayer. But feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, and saving the lost, if not a prayer, are essential to prayer, the condition, the accompaniment, and expression of prayer. There is the worship rendered by works, as well as by words. Words must be crowned by deeds. We must answer our own prayers, or God will not. This we do by acting answerably to them. We work out our salvation ; so must we our prayers. Good deeds open the channel of prayer, and tend to keep the stream full. To change the phrase, sacrifice gives wings to prayer. Every idol we give up gives buoyancy to faith, and inspiration to prayer. Give alms of such things as ye possess, and all things shall be clean unto you; the faith clean, the heart clean, the character and principles pure, and the immortality bright and blessed !

True conversion reaches the possessions, as well as the affections. When we experienced religion, the fact extended to our property. Our goods and estates came into the church with us, climbed up some other

way.

Where our treasures are, there we are, or our hearts, and our hearts are ourselves, morally. If these are outside the church, so are we. To unchurch our property, therefore, excommunicates ourselves. Our hearts and possessions go together. If we serve God with either, we serve him with both.

Our property and our piety cannot be separated. So the judgment will show.

5. Giving has the highest of all sanctions and examples, which cannot be said of mere receiving. God gives, but does not receive. Christ gave, but does not receive, except it be our hearts and offerings ; and then, the receiving is all on our side. We are the gainers by what we give up ; Christ is not enriched by what we renounce, or bestow. All is his now, and We do not give to the Lord, we“ render” unto the Lord.

But God has put this service into the form of an ordinance. Benevolence has every element and feature of a fixed ordinance of Heaven. It has a foundation in the fitness of things. All ordinances have! It is an outward expression of an inward sentiment. All ordinances are ! It has a practical use in its benefits to the giver, and to mankind. All ordinances have!

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