Page images

assures us; He is truly "A lamp to our feet, and a light unto our path." Never, never then, relinquish the hope which your religion gives you, and you will find it be an anchor to your soul sure and steadfast. It will guide your footsteps here, unto the ways of peace —it will console you when you shall be stretched upon the bed of death with nothing else to console you—it will uphold you in trembling confidence at the tribunal of your everlasting Judge.

Lastly, I shall call your attention to that most excellent gift of Chabity which the Apostle has mentioned last, giving it at the same time a preference to the two former. As a better illustration of the meaning and properties of charity cannot be given than that which St. Paul himself has given, I will entreat you to accompany me in a review of a part of the chapter; and let us hope that we may imbibe some part of the Apostle's spirit, and be filled with good will towards men.

'' Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels," says he, "and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal." That is, though I could speak the languages of all nations, or knew how to converse even with angels themselves, yet if I have not charity, I am totally insignificant. The charity which is here recommended, consists not merely in outward acts, but also, in the inward disposition of the heart; for says the Apostle, " Though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth nothing." It is possible for a person to give alms without any true Christian love for his brethren; and to give his body to be burned, that is, to become a martyr for religion without any true love to God? Vain glory and superstition, may be, and perhaps too often have been, the motive of both. True, in

deed, it is, that " He who giveth to the poor, lendeth to the Lord;" and the relieving the wants of our fellowcreatures was always regarded by our Saviour and his Apostles as a preeminent part of charity, as I shall presently show you; but St. Paul here wishes to inculcate that it is not all. He therefore proceeds to detail to us the other features of charity. "Charity," says he, "suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up; doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own." That is, seeketh not her own praise, profit, or pleasure, to the injury of others, but inclines men to seek the good of others; or, in other words, is not self-interested. "Is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil." That is, it neither meditates mischief to others, nor suspects any from them. "Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth." That is, deriveth no malicious satisfaction from the misconduct of others, but delighteth in following the truth itself, and in seeing others follow it with her. "Beareth all things ;" that is, bearcth with the follies, frailties, and transgressions of others, knowing that itself is also encompassed with infirmities. "Bclieveth all things, hopeth all things;" that is, believing whatever may be urged in mitigation of a fault; and even where nothing is urged, hoping the best that the case will admit of. "Eudureth all things;" that is, patiently sustaining and enduring every wrong, or as it is elsewhere expressed, "When reviled, it revileth not again."

We see then, my brethren, that charity, according to St. Paul's definition of it, is a concentration of all those amiable feelings which still characterize our nature, fallen as it is, and of all those mild graces which Christianity has introduced amongst us. It is patience—it is kindness—it is the absence of envy and of pride of intellect—it is disinterestedness—it is mildness of disposition—it is harmlessness and unsuspecting confidence— it is fellow-feeling in the welfare of others—it is a readiness to believe and to forgive—and it is a love of peace and unanimity. Not, then, without reason does the Apostle prefer it even to faith and hope: for if such a comprehensive virtue as this was universally embraced and universally practised amongst us, this world would be itself a paradise, and we should have no occasion to desire another. The effects of faith and hope are confined to the individuals in whom they reside; but the effects of such a charity as this are diffused over all creation. Faith will guide each of us to heaven, and without it there is no admission there; and hope will cheer and invigorate us in our efforts to reach it; but charity will benefit not ourselves only, but all those, with whom in the varied walks of life, we may chance to meet, or over whom our actions may have any influence. Our faith and hope will save ourselves; but our charity may promote the salvation of others.

Have you then, my brethren, this excellent gift of charity? Do you in your intercourse with your fellowmortals act on such principles as I have above enumerated i Are you thus patient, long-suffering, kind, humble, unsuspicious, disinterested, forgiving, and peaceable? Alas! there are few of us, perhaps, that can answer altogether in the affirmative. The pattern is too perfect for us accurately to imitate; yet, let us remember though we cannot obtain perfection, we may, nevertheless, so far practise the pure precepts laid down for us in the Gospel, that at the great day of account, the all-sufficient merits of our Redeemer may be pleaded on behalf of our imperfect services.

God, when instructing his creatures in their duty, and in the allegiance they owe to him, necessarily delivers perfect rules; and as those creatures are deeply entangled in the trammels of sin, their allegiance will be unavoidably deficient; and here it is that the atonement of Jesus Christ steps in to our aid, and renders us admissible into those mansions which must otherwise have been barred against us for ever. Some degree of this blessed charity is attainable by us even in this life; and unless we strive to attain it, in vain shall we look to Jesus for the supply of our deficiencies. We can check, if we cannot subdue our angry passions—we can forgive, and we can ask forgiveness—we can be kind and affable and condescending —we can administer to the wants and bodily infirmities of others—we can endeavour to cultivate peace and good will, each in his own narrow circle. Thus we may in part adopt the spirit of St. Paul, and I may add too, the spirit of our blessed Lord, as it was manifested in every accent of his lips, and in every work of his hands.

Having dwelt thus at length upon charity in its general and diffusive nature, let me now call your attention to that particular branch of it, which relates, more immediately, to the object of my present address. The relief of the wants and the distresses of our fellow-creatures is, as I observed, a pre-eminent part of Christian charity. It is that too, which is of the most pressing obligation; as the sufferings of the unfortunate are, alas, constantly presenting themselves to our sight. In discharging this duty, then, we have two methods to adopt:—First, that of privately relieving those of the afflicted whose sufferings may fall within the sphere of our observation or knowledge; and Secondly, that of contributing to the support of public institutions which have been established, for the purpose of doing collectively, that which could not be effected by any individual exertion or liberality.

To your spirit of private benevolence, I am not now called on to appeal. I will only on that head remind you, that whatever you may do, in relieving the sorrows of your Christian brethren, will be recognized by your Redeemer and Judge, as having been done to himself—that he sees and notices from his throne above, the slightest benefit, even a cup of cold water, that may be bestowed in his name— and that to every such act of goodness he has promised with his own lips an appropriate reward at the resurrection of the just. "Be ye not weary with well doing; for in due season you shall reap, if you faint not."

Public benevolence, which is the topic with which I am more immediately to deal on this occasion, consists of permanent support to as many institutions as you may be enabled personally to support, and occasional contributions to such as may be brought to your notice in a manner similar to the present; and it is gratifying, to be able to state, that the spirit of public charity in this country has been so judiciously exerted, that it is scarcely possible even for a single charitable institution to be put forward for your aid, which does not well deserve it.— The benevolent establishments of England partake in a remarkable manner

of the spirit of the religion of England, that is, of the pure and unadulterated Gospel of Christ, all of them being indisputably good, and practically beneficial—all of them combining to form the subject of national exultation, of which we might be justly proud, and which, at the same time, we cannot be too zealous or too liberal in upholding. I would entreat you therefore, brethren, as a minister of that religion from which all these excellent fruits have sprung, to be ever ready to give your aid to any institution that applies to you in the name of Christ, having been established through the influence of his doctrines on the hearts of the faithful, and being devoted to the benefit of his afflicted followers.

One such institution now prefers its claim for your aid; and that claim is of so peculiar a nature that I feel bound to lay it before you in its several features. The St. Ann's Society, in common with many other institutions of a scholastic nature, trains the minds of the young in useful knowledge, and in principles of sound religion. The St. Ann's Society, in common with a few others, clothes, maintains, and wholly supports and provides for the greater part of the objects of its care. But the St. Ann's Society differs from all others in points of the first and paramount importance. It receives the children, which are to partake of its blessings, from every part of the country and without the slightest restriction.

(To be continued.J

London: Published for the Proprietors, by T. GR1FFITHS, Wellington Street, Strand; and Sold by all Bookseller* in Town and Country.

Printed by Lowwim and While, Crane Coon, Flee! Slreel.


No. 30.]


[Price 3d.

(The Rev. E. Rice'i Sermon concluded.J

It is not, therefore, a parochial school; it is not a local school; but it is already in some degree, and may hereafter become in the fullest sense, the Charity School of England. It partakes of the advantages of all benevolent institutions for the young; for in one of them, the orphan is sheltered—in another, the child of the soldier—in a third, the child of the sailor is received —in a fourth, the unhappy offspring of the wretched convict is sheltered— in a fifth, the deserted child that never knew a parent's smile finds a home. In various other institutions, the destitute or orphan children of persons of particular professions are sheltered; but in the St. Ann's Society Schools all are admitted: distress alone is the qualification there required. In this respect, indeed, it differs in some degree from the only institution, to which it bears in other respects a resemblance, as far as its limited means at present admit of; I allude to Christ's Hospital, an institution with which I myself am connected, a third of whose presentations are restricted to th« children of parents who are free of the city of London: but here, there is not even that partial limitation, the door is freely opened to all whom early sorrow has qualified to be its inmates. And sincerely do I hope, (I may be allowed, perhaps, on this occasion, to express this hope) that it may so increase in the approbation and support of the country at large, that it may one day be envoi.. II.

abled like Christ's Hospital, to maintain upwards of one thousand children, educating and clothing and wholly providing for them all. Its establishment at Brixton gives it the means of an indefinite increase in point of locality; and nothing but the extensive co-operation of the benevolent is wanting to enlarge it into a great and truly national institution. Its patrons and supporters are zealous and active in the highest degree. They have, indeed, in a praiseworthy reliance on Christian sympathy, gone beyond the means of the society, and incurred a debt in .the erection of the Brixton establishment which they trust to the benevolent to defray: a sum of two thousand pounds still remains to be discharged on that account.

That the institution is conducted in a manner calculated to deserve your support, may be gathered from the best of all testimonies, the testimony of those who were themselves educated within its walls, many of whom are annual subscribers, many life governors of the school, and still more, whose humbler means have not yet enabled them to give either of those greater testimonies of their gratitude, have formed themselves into an auxilary society in aid of the establishment, that out of individual subscriptions of a small amount they may periodically present to the society a collective sum. The last annual contribution from this source amounted to twenty-five pounds; and most valuable must that contribution appear to the managers and supporters of this institution, conveying to them, as it does, the cordial approbation of those who have felt, and therefore can estimate, the blessing imparted.

In regard to the necessity of this institution, a point on which perhaps you might be induced to found an enquiry, one fact alone will be sufficient to convince you; though it wholly supports one hundred children, and partially fifty more, yet at the July election last year, the immense number of one hundred and twentytwo candidates were unavoidably rejected, whilst nine only could be admitted. It cannot, therefore, at present, receive even a tenth of those, on whose behalf its necessary aid is from time to time earnestly and loudly implored.

And who, alas, are those on whose behalf its aid is, as I said, earnestly and loudly implored? Let me conclude, by again reminding you of this point; they are peculiarly the children of the unfortunate, the offspring, in many instances, of those who have seen better days, or who have been prevented from rising to the station, for which they otherwise were qualified,

by constant calamity and distress. The affliction of such persons is hard, indeed, to bear. It is painful to be, themselves, the victims of continual disappointment—it is more painful to be cast down from a state of affluence into a state of poverty, which they are ill prepared to encounter—but it is most painful of all, to look around upon their offspring, and feel that there is no hope for them. The parent will endure the wretchedness of his own lot, perhaps, without repining; but for his children, we who are parents well know, that he must feel, and feel acutely too. Could he but have a hope for them he might yet be happy. Let us then, my brethren, impart our aid, whether as contributors on this occasion, or as permanent supporters of the St. Ann's Society—let us contribute our aid to administer one drop of consolation, at least, to the bosom of many an afflicted parent—let us assist in keeping open, and in enlarging the source of relief, which will draw down many a blessing on the heads of its benevolent supporters, and which will cause many a thanksgiving from grateful lips to ascend to the throne of God in the name of his Son Jesus Christ Our Lord.

21 Srrmott



Psalm xxiii. 4.—" Yea though I walh through the ralley of the shadow of death, 1 unit fear no evil: for thou art with me, thy rod and thy staff they comfort me."

Great danger is to be apprehended of our being attracted and enchained to the study of the word solely, or even principally, by the beauties of its composition, and by the general

character of the sublime and interesting subjects of which it treats: and thus, mistaking delight in its language, imagery and general contents, for holy joy at the contemplation of its in

« PreviousContinue »