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brethren. It must have been a solemn lesson which our Lord chose to teach so earnestly on that last night of his presence with his disciples; and which he not only gave in words, but expressed it in a most significant action, to impress it the deeper on their minds and ours. Observe the connexion of the words of the Evangelist: "Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he was come from God, and went to God:" what did he upon this knowledge? did he reveal to them some high mysteries concerning the divine nature, such as kings, and prophets, and sages had long desired to learn? No: "he riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments, and took a towel, and girded himself. After that he poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded." This was what Jesus did, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he was come from God, and went to God." Surely no diviner comment could be given upon the words of the Scriptures, that "God is love, and he who dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him!" A command so given and so enforced must surely have been


of the deepest importance: "If I, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet, you ought also to wash one another's feet."

I call this text a command to one particular kind of love," the love of our poorer brethren." It is sometimes said, that it was a command to practise humility and so it was in one sense of the word; but they who so explain it, deprive it of a great portion of its peculiar value. Our Lord taught humility, in the common sense of the term, when he took a child, and set him in the midst of his disciples, and said, "Whosoever shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven." But it is manifest that by washing his disciples' feet, and telling them that they ought also to wash one another's feet, he did not mean exactly the same thing as this. His meaning was, to enforce not so much a sacrifice of pride, as of luxurious and careless selfishness; to teach us to do, not those things which it was humiliating, but which it was troublesome, unpleasant, and disagreeable to do; that is, precisely, to perform duties of kindness, even of the most humble sort, to those who need them the most,-not to shrink from the meanest offices in visiting and relieving

the bodily wants and sufferings of the poor.

If there were nothing else, I am sure that the unwillingness with which we hear this command, and our anxiety to affix another meaning to it, would alone show how much we require it. It is too, I am sure, particularly needed by us who are here assembled. The duties of attending on sickness are so much more familiar to women, even of every condition, and there is so much more of the kindness required for them in woman's nature than in man's, that it is our own sex in particular, and, above all, our own station in society, that needs this lesson. To us the abodes of the poor, and still more their sickbeds, are a sight with which we are but little acquainted-in fact, our knowledge of the poor, that is, of the largest portion of our Christian brethren living immediately around us, is next to nothing. And it is chiefly from this ignorance, I think, that our feelings and relations towards the poor altogether are so thoroughly unchristian. You well know how early you learn to call every one belonging to the poorer classes by a contemptuous name, by which you distinguish them from those belonging to the richer classes. It is very

true that all who use this name do not intend any insult by it;-they use it without thinking of its meaning, just as men commonly swear and use profane language, without meaning or considering what they are saying. Yet, as no man of habitual piety will be found to swear, so I am inclined to think that no one who felt a Christian kindness towards the poor, who lived in the daily recollection of what they were and what he himself was, would ever speak of them by that insulting name to which I have alluded. And be assured of this, that our words have an insensible but certain effect upon our feelings, even when used most carelessly. From always hearing the poor spoken of, from always speaking of them yourselves by this name, you get habitually to think meanly of them, to look upon them almost as a different race, between whom and yourselves there is a wide gulf fixed, so wide as to cut off all sympathy. Meantime, those of the poor with whom you do become personally acquainted, are persons of whom you cannot but think meanly, although you ought to consider how much of what you despise in them is merely owing to your own encouragement. If I were to go through a list of the most respectable poor

families in this place, few of you, I am afraid, would know any thing about them;—but if I were to name those persons who are least respectable, your knowledge of them, I fear, would be far more intimate. So again I have been more than once struck by observing how much eagerness many of you have shown in giving things to beggars, evidently of the very most undeserving sort, because they amused you by their tricks and buffoonery; while the same hands, which were so lavish to the worthless, had, perhaps, never learnt to relieve the real necessities of the honest and uncomplaining. Nor let it be thought that these are little things, unfit to be spoken of in the house of God. It is a most vain superstition, and most mischievous, as all superstition ever is, to think that the mention of little common things is unworthy of this holy place, when out of these little things our hearts and lives are daily forming into a fitness for eternal happiness or eternal misery. The things of which I have now spoken, that contemptuous word by which you call the poor, that want of acquaintance with the respectable among them,that familiarity with the profligate,—that encouragement given to the idler who makes

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