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creature in some form or other, is substituted in the place of the Creator and Redeemer of mankind. With such inferior objects in their eye, virtuous emulation can rise to no high pitch. They are actuated merely by selfish and worldly motives, and the best impressions which these can make on their minds must be temporary and fluctuating; their operation is exceedingly limited, or easily interrupted. Nay, when there exist no higher principles of human conduct, must we not rather suspect that, instead of beneficence, very different and opposite effects will more frequently follow, even malevolent affections and injurious practices. The Scriptures therefore, in describing the character of apostate men, represent them, as not only enemies to God in their minds, and by wicked works, but as naturally “ living in ma“ lice and envy, hateful and hating one another.” Whatever more favourable construction we may attempt to put upon these declarations of Scrip

I am confident that it will be admitted by all, that they, whose character is formed and maintained under the influence of supreme love to God, and the Saviour, must excel in all goodness, and particularly in the most liberal charity. Must not the lover, the admirer of the divine


character, wish above all things to imitate it in every imitable perfection? If the enmity of the carnal mind discover itself in refusing subjection to the law of God, when that enmity is slain, and friendship restored, must not the will of God become the will of the man? Can he hear the divine command without echoing back, that to love God " with all the heart, and with all the understand“ ing, and with all the soul, and with all the “ strength, and to love his neighbour as himself, “ is more than all burnt-offerings.” If " his eyes « are turned away from beholding vanity,” to the contemplation of divine excellence, greatness, and grace, must not his soul expand with the enlarged prospect before him, and in a manner partake of the divine nature? If he is made wise, spiritually to understand, and faithfully to trace the ways of providence; if he thus perceives, that “God is “good to all, and that his tender mercies are over " all his other works,-that he makes his sun to “ shine and his rain to descend on the just, and “ the unjust,—that his eyes go to and fro to show “ himself mighty, in behalf of those whose hearts “ are perfect towards him;" must not love to so bountiful a benefactor, effectually prompt him “ to do good to all, especially to those of the

“ household of faith, yea to be merciful as his « Father in heaven is merciful ?” When his di. vinely illuminated mind takes all these views of God, as arising from, and connected with the grand scheme of man's salvation, how is his heart enlarged and moved with generous sentiments ? Can he think of “ God so loving the world, as to give his only begotten Son," and with-hold

any possible return of affection and duty? Can he contemplate, and experience “ the grace of our “ Lord Jesus, in becoming poor to make many “ rich," without feeling and exerting at once all the warmth of gratitude and of a similar benevolence? Having the divine character strongly represented to his mind by the Spirit of truth, the “ desire of his soul is henceforth towards him,

. and the remembrance of his name:" he feels and confesses indeed that his goodness cannot extend to an object infinitely glorious, but, in the highest admiration and love, of this supreme, divine perfection and grace, he is ambitious to imitate these in the exercise of all goodness “ to “ the saints, as the excellent ones of the earth," yea, and to all his fellow-men: His own enemies, and the irreligious and profane are not excluded from his benevolent regards.

In the Second place, the man of liberal charity is one who gives cheerfully according to his abili. ty. The sacred oracles teach us that charity is not so much to be measured by what we give, as by the proportion which it bears to our circum. stances in life, and the manner in which we be. stow it. We find a most instructive piece of history to this purpose in Mark xii. 41. where our Lord takes notice of the contributions made to the public treasury. None are censured for neglect, nay, it is granted that “ the rich gave “ much.” But notwithstanding this show of liberality, a poor widow who only gave in two mites, receives his distinguished approbation. Her of. fering was in itself insignificant.—But what saith the unerring Judge ? ver. 43, 44. “ He called “ unto him his disciples, and saith unto them,

verily I say unto you, that this poor widow hath “ cast more in than all they which have cast into " the treasury. For all they did cast in of their “ abundance; but she of her want did cast in all “that she had, even all her living.”-A judgment founded not on the outward appearance of things, but on the relations which these several offerings bore to the real circumstances of the donors, and the motives from which they acted. A similar


decision is given, 2 Cor. viii. 12. where the apostle declares, that, “if there be first a willing mind, it “ is accepted according to that a man hath, and “ not according to that he hath not.” This too is the plain import of the direction in his first epistle to the Corinthians, chap. xvi. 1, 2. “Now “concerning the collection for the saints, as I have "given order to the churches of Galatia, even so “ do ye; upon the first day of the week, let every “one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him," By the exhortation immediately following our text, the apostle gives this very account of liberal charity. “ Every man ac

cording as he purposeth in his heart, so let “ him give, not grudgingly, or of necessity, for

God loveth a cheerful giver.” Thus we are taught to estimate charity by a comparative view of it with our worldly substance and our dispositions. Let not persons in affluence value themselves as truly liberal, because upon some occasions they have contributed largely to the support of their indigent brethren, but let them inquire whether their charity corresponds to their abundance, and whether even what they give is extorted, or freely and most cheerfully parted with. Let not these in inferior stations and circumstances

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