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trespasses." The parable in its most limited the good example of the apostles, and walk sense shews the necessity that is laid upon us to live in christian charity; forgiving as we have been forgiven, and blessing as we have been blest but it carries a wider application, and teaches how we may have obtained mercy, and yet by inconsistent and uncharitable conduct, bring ourselves again under the wrath of God.

No attainments therefore can warrant presumption. This world is the place for exertion, for watchfulness, for improvement. As long as the race continues, we must press forward. Through all the conflict, which will never cease till we lay down this mortal life, we must vigorously contend. We run, we contend, we shall conquer only in the strength of God; but he will not give victory to the indolent, nor bring salvation to the careless, for the sake of former desires which they have ceased to cherish, and former efforts which they have ceased to make.

LXVI.

O grant me, Lord, myself to see,
Against myself to watch and pray;
How weak am I, when left by Thee;
How frail, how apt to fall away!

If but a moment Thou withdraw,
That moment sees me break thy law.
Saviour! the sinner's only trust;

With trembling hope on Thee I call:
O raise the feeble from the dust,
And let me never, never fall.

Let not thy grace be given in vain,
Nor let me turn to sin again.

The pure and watchful mind bestow,
That trembles at the thought of sin;

Let me thy full salvation know,

O Thou, who didst the work begin;
Preserve me, lest I go astray,
And prove at length a castaway.

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according thereto; and observe the evil conduct of bad men, its shameful character and evil consequences, that they might learn to hate and avoid it; having their conversation in heaven, and animated with the exalted hope of the coming of the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, and the glorious resurrection which by him they should then obtain.

In the lessons we see the consequence of good and bad conduct; every wise and good act, with its reward, being placed in contrast to the opposite sin and folly, with its punishment. The lessons are in fact an application of the precepts contained in the epistle.

Our Lord teaches us, in the gospel, that we are not to plead religion, and duty to God, to excuse ourselves from the just claims of society, and civil government. The religion which does not make a man a better neighbour, and a better subject, is false and vain. The worship and service of God claims indeed our first care; but we glorify Him when we adorn our profession in the eyes of men. We are guilty in his sight if we disobey the authorities and laws under which we live, unless by obeying them we should either commit a sin, or abstain from a duty. It is the command of our Lord himself, that we render unto Cæsar the things that be Cæsar's; as well as unto God the things that be God's.

LXVII.

Lo! where the words of Wisdom shine;
Recorded in the Book divine,

Our life and death to shew:
The heav'nly path, the downward road,
Where holy duty leads to God,

Or sin, to endless woe.

Oh, may it be our wisdom here,
To serve the Lord with filial fear,
And holy gratitude:

Our heav'nly calling to display,
By shunning still the evil way,
And walking in the good.

The watchful mind, the prudent heart,
From sin and folly to depart,

To each, O Lord, be given:
Teach us the way of life to know,
That we may walk with Thee below,
And see thy face in heaven.

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CHAPTER IX.

The Claims of the Poor, and the Duty of the

State.

THE application, the most serious consideration of all, and for which, chiefly, this volume has been written, yet remains;-how may the blessings of religious instruction be extended to the poor? It would have been very pleasant to have confined attention to this subject, without alluding to any topic which called for censure; for there are many circumstances which make it peculiarly painful to me to speak thus of Dissent. But dissenters have exerted themselves so actively, not only to prevent the Church from becoming more extensively useful, but also to narrow her present means of usefulness, and even to vilify her character, that it was an act of justice so to expose their principles, that their power of mischief may be restrained: and such loose notions have prevailed on the nature, objects, and power of a Church, that before a decided effort could be made for extending religious instruction to all the Country, it was necessary to establish the fact that the Church is not merely the best, but the only agent to effect it. Dissenters may enjoy their own opinions freely, and use every exertion to make them popular; but they must never again be allowed to withstand the Church; and if they attempt it, they must be quietly put by, as

disqualified by their prejudices to judge, and having no right to interfere.

Dismissing now the subject of Dissent, never, I trust, to return to it, I proceed to consider the active duties to which we are called by the spiritual destitution of our brethren and truly the contemplation of the field before us is most appalling: districts, which have doubled and quadrupled their population; towns, each of which might be the capital of a kingdom; where no instruction is provided for the multitude,-no man caring for their souls. Looking at the metropolis, the heart sickens at the contrast between the population, and the church-room. Nor does this apparent contrast by any means shew the full extent of the evil. Many hold pews in their parish churches who live only a part of the year in London; others content themselves with a single attendance on the Sunday; others procure accommodation to the extent of their possible, and greatly beyond their general wants; and thus pews are empty, and churches half filled, while two-thirds of the people are denied the opportunity to worship.

There are two effectual agencies for raising the character of the poor;-intercourse with their superiors; and religion. Both are in effect denied to them in large towns; where, at the same time, they are continually tempted to the most brutalizing of vices, drunkenness, and sensuality. However therefore we may lament the amount of vice and crime, we may

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justly wonder that the whole body of the poor requires the disparity which exists; but that

is not a mass of moral corruption.

It is happy for us all that religion, upon which the weakness of human nature seems every where instinctively to rest, can exert a powerful control where it appears to be little more than a name. Its influence is felt in some degree by the most neglected among us, in the order of society, and government; in the Sabbath; in places of worship, which every where strike the eye; in festivals, which are seasons of common recreation; and in the services which hallow our domestic duties.

Even to this extent, the benefit to society is very great; but it falls infinitely short of what the present happiness, and future hopes of the individuals require. They need the living principle, which, glowing with love to God and man, shrinks from the approach of evil, and delights in the practice of good:-the faith, clearly seen, and strongly grasped, which rejoices in the comfort of God's presence amidst all the trials and sorrows of this life; and rests on the assured hope of future glory.

Religion is emphatically the poor man's blessing. His condition preserves him from many snares which interfere with its due reception, and exposes him to many sorrows which nothing else can relieve. Heavily do we suffer for our past neglect to extend to them this inestimable blessing: and most deservedly, for there is no duty, no obligation, more absolute on the influential part of society, than this. It is found in their ignorance of its value, which we are bound to enlighten; in their helplessness, which denies to them the power to obtain it, except through those whom God has set over them; in the trials and sufferings which attach to poverty, under which only religion can support them; and in the vices to which poverty, with ignorance, is prone to sink; for if they are not taught to find comfort in religion, they will seek amusement and forgetfulness in dissipation.

very disparity binds them the more closely, by making them necessary to one another. The condition of each demands the cultivation of its proper virtues :-active benevolence, humility, and condescension, on the one side; patience, and gratitude on the other; brotherly kindness in both. In performing these duties, each finds a corrective of the evils which attach to his station. By considering and relieving the poor, the rich are saved from that cold, and wretched heartlessness, which is sure to be the curse of a life devoted to selfish pleasure. By receiving the favours of the rich with grateful attachment, the poor escape that envious repining, which is the bane of the cottage. Little cause will be found for pride on one side, or envy on the other, if a just and extended view be taken of their respective conditions. The poor, it is true, have fewer means of worldly gratification; but they are privileged to know, what the rich must not forget, that this world, in which only they are unequal, is but a stepping-stone to eternity: that they are the objects of peculiar promises, and blessings: that our Saviour honoured their condition by assuming it for himself: and that God is their declared protector and avenger, against all who dare neglect, despise, or oppress them.

The poor are made for the rich; but in a far stronger sense, the rich are appointed for the poor. Wherever God commits the power, he imposes the responsibility to be useful; and whether the talent of any man be wealth, or station, or influence, or intellect, he is answerable as an offender for all the good which he might, but neglects to do; and for all the evil which he might, but neglects to prevent. That servant was severely judged who did not improve his one talent: we are left to infer the guilt and punishment of him who misapplies and squanders his ten.

The character of the poor depends upon circumstances, over which they can have little or no control, because they are determined Let not the poor be regarded merely as they and created for them by their rulers and sucontribute to the convenience of the rich. periors. It is evident therefore that a most Both are of one blood: redeemed by one extensive and awful responsibility must attach Saviour; fellow-servants to one Lord; and to station and influence; no less than being appointed to stand together for judgment accountable for the ignorance of the poor, at one tribunal. Their common interest with all the sufferings, vice, and crime, which

arise from it. Rulers are bound, as they shall answer for their trust at the bar of God, to provide for them instruction, suited to their condition, and adequate to their wants; exerting their power to encourage virtue, and to restrain vice; and never daring to trifle with their interests, whether in health, comfort, or morals, for any object of political, or commercial expediency. This responsibility is shared by all, who by the expression of opinion, or the more direct exercise of political power, may influence the measures, or strengthen the hands of the Government.

We cannot entirely prevent the sufferings of the poor; because deficient employment, bad harvests, hard winters, and sickness, will always press on them severely. But religion will strengthen them to bear these trials; afford a safeguard against the vice that would aggravate their calamities; exalt their patience, by placing it upon a right principle; support them with peace and hope under all their afflictions; and make their homes generally a scene of contentment, and quiet enjoyment, which the rich might envy. In one most important respect, poverty may claim an advantage over wealth for the rich are strongly tempted to rest too much on worldly enjoyment, which never can satisfy, and which palls in the possession. But the poor, denied the means of seeking pleasure from the vanities of the world, are led to find it in religion; which is the perfection of present happiness, exalted by the most animating hope. What charity therefore is comparable to affording them the means to possess this blessing: a blessing which combines all that is most desirable in this life, with the promise of that which is to come! and how is the obligation enforced by considering how fearfully ignorance and irreligion aggravate the miseries of poverty; while these, in their turn, strengthen the temptation to vice.

At length let us grapple with the whole evil, remembering that the interest at stake is nothing less than the present happiness or misery, and the everlasting salvation or perdition, of millions of our brethren. Dare we limit our concern to a part, and leave the rest to perish? Shall we think that to build a new church here and there, where a pressing necessity may exist for it, will be an excuse

for leaving multitudes uncared for? Let us rather act upon a system, comprehensive, complete, and effectual; cultivating the whole waste; gathering in the whole flock; and satisfied with no plan, which does not provide for each, and for every one, the opportunity of becoming a Christian in deed, and in truth.

But let us not hope to do this unopposed, nor despond when we are powerfully resisted. From the beginning of the world the powers of evil have striven against the good, and we must look for the conflict to continue. As surely as an effort is made for good, so surely will there be an effort to counteract it. We are called to an aggressive advance upon an enormous mass of sin, and misery, and we may be certain that no easy conquest will be afforded. Against us will be arrayed the natural hatred of the wicked, the hostility of the interested, the opposition of party. These will have for allies, on our own side, the fears of the timid, and the censure of the coldly cautious, who condemn as extravagant whatever they shrink from undertaking. To overcome all these will require the most determined zeal, regulated by the utmost prudence: faith, to know under the most unfavourable circumstances that the cause of God must triumph; patience, to strive on, amidst all discouragements, till He shall stretch out the right hand of His omnipotence: entire devotedness, and singleness of heart, that a cause so pure may be stained by no selfish motive: and perfect holiness, to secure the confidence of the good, silence the malice of enemies, and approve ourselves to all men.

If an angel were sent down on a mission of holy benevolence, to assume a human body, and labour for a time on earth; then to be recalled, and rewarded with divine and everlasting honours, as he had fulfilled his charge; what language should we deem adequate to express his infatuation, if, trifling with his duty, and forgetting his hope, he should devote to passing shadows powers which were given for eternity! Yet, what circumstance, or obligation, would attach to that angel, which does not apply to ourselves. Is our duty less important; our nature less divine; our destiny less glorious? What is every

Christian, but an angel in a human body, their perdition upon our neglect, what anprivileged to be for a short time God's mi-swer shall we make ! nister of good on earth; but soon, perhaps very soon, to drop this mortal incumbrance, enter into his rest, and receive a crown of glory!

Let voluntary exertions and contributions be encouraged to the uttermost; but if we rely on them to effect what is necessary, we shall be grievously disappointed. The experience of the past may enable us to judge of the future; and the greatest effort, on the most stirring occasion, has seldom raised a national contribution to a quarter of a million. A general assessment for the relief of the poor has quietly, and without an effort or a question, raised thirty times that sum, year by year.

Let the surplus revenues of cathedrals, and whatever more may be justly assessed upon ecclesiastical property, be made available as far as possible but if all this could be made available from the present moment, instead of being a future and distant revenue, it would scarcely keep pace with the increasing wants of the Country; leaving all the existing destitution unaided.

A large debt of gratitude is due to the Church-building Society, for all that they have done, and for the discretion with which they have managed the funds at their disposal. But while they have been providing churchroom for four hundred thousand, the population of the Country has increased four millions; and we are now in a worse relative condition than before they commenced their la

bours.

It is a noble attempt of the Bishop of London to build fifty new churches in the metropolis by private subscription; and if it succeed, it will be an instance of liberality unequalled in modern ages. I will not trust myself to entertain a doubt of his success. The energy of his character, and the influence he deservedly possesses, will enable him to do more than perhaps any other man. But after he shall have completely succeeded, at least half a million of the inhabitants of London, on the most moderate estimate, will still be denied the means of religious worship and instruction. When these shall become our accusers at the Judgment day, and charge

It is evident that no exertions, whether of individuals, or of societies, can do what is required. Only the State possesses the means; and the State therefore is bound to perform the duty; for where a duty is to be done, the sole possession of the power fixes the responsibility. This obligation upon the State is confirmed by the truth, that religion is the only sure foundation of national power;—for it is righteousness that exalteth a Nation, and in righteousness shall the Throne be established;-and the only effectual means to secure the great end of government; the restraining of vice, and the promoting of virtue. Not, however, that we should restrict the term 'State' to the executive government. It includes all the people; and especially those who by their votes, or even by their petitions, may influence the conduct of the Administration. As a public, general, and national object, it can be done effectually only through their rulers: but the duty, with the blessing of performing it, and the guilt and punishment of neglect, rests upon the people.

Expense cannot be pleaded as an objection. We have paid twenty millions as the price of extinguishing the name of slavery in the British dominions; and the claim of our brethren around us is at least as strong as that of the negroes of Jamaica. We have been paying from seven to eight millions yearly, to relieve poverty, and to punish crime; and ignorance and depravity, the source of both, equally, nay more, demand a corrective. The money thus expended would relieve from other charges; for religion is more effectual to check pauperism, than the workhouse; and to prevent crime, than the jail.

Taxes are levied from society, the amount of which is not to be estimated : taxes in the idleness and dishonesty of those we employ : taxes through the multitude of outcasts of both sexes, the vagrant, the felon, and the prostitute, who corrupt and prey upon the public. The law cannot effectually reach these evils. It lops the branches which shoot across our paths, but leaves the root untouched. This can be destroyed only by causing

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