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Saviour, who invites such men to put | continuance of poverty, it would be their whole confidence in the provi- an impeachment of his wisdom and dential supplies of God. He points goodness to doubt, for a moment, that them to the lilies of the field, which he has made adequate provisions for toil not, neither do they spin, and yet the poor. Oh, my brethren, consider he assures them that the king of Jeru- these things! God has made provisalem in all his glory, even Solomon, sion for the poor, in the obligations was not arrayed like one of these ; which he has laid upon the rich. This and then he says,
“ If God so clothe is a subject most largely spread over the grass which to-day is, and to-mor- the volume which God has given us row is cast into the oven, how much for our instruction. Let me direct more shall he clothe you, oh ye of your attention to one passage in parlittle faith.” He points them also to ticular in the fifteenth chapter of the ravens, who have no barns to ga- Deuteronomy; there, at the seventh ther their harvest into, “and yet your verse, we read this instruction to the Heavenly Father feedeth them; how chosen people of God: “If there be much better are ye than many rarens.” among you a poor man of one of thy And he invites the poor on this ground, brethren within any of thy gates, in to diligence in their calling, “ seeking thy land which the Lord thy God first the kingdom of God, and his giveth thee, thou shalt not harden righteousness ;" that is contentment thine heart, nor shut thy hand from and diligence. “Seeking the kingdom thy poor brother: but thou shalt open of God” to be under that supreme thine hand wide unto him, and shalt dominion of the things of God which surely lend him sufficient for his need, mark the transitions of a man from in that which he wanteth. Beware the kingdom of Satan into the king- that there be not a thought in thy dom of God. Seeking first the wicked heart, saying, The seventh kingdom of God," where the things of year, the year of release is at hand—” eternity have supreme dominion over when all burthens were unloosed and the whole character, over the man's the poor were established in their feelings and views, and habitual prin possessions, when all creditors gave ciples. “ And the righteousness of up their claims on their debtors. This God,” which in that passage refers to year of release was a sort of poor-law the character of the Christian man, in the Jewish theocracy, of which the his diligence in all his callings, his poor in the land got the benefit every manifestation of that character which seventh year: but here they are exGod is working in him, the similitude horted not to take advantage of this of himself. Seek ye first that divine Divine provision, this national provicontentment which is your Father's sion, to make it an excuse to themappointment, which shows you in his selves for refusing individual contrikingdom, and that diligence in your
butions. “ Beware that there be not calling which shows you partaker of a thought in thy wicked heart, saying, his righteousness, and then all these The seventh year, the year of release necessary things will be added unto is at hand: and thine eye be evil you, for God has made provision for against thy poor brother, and thou
givest him nought, and he cry unto I now proceed to consider the the Lord against thee, and it be sin PROVIDENTIAL PROVISIONS WHICH God unto thee. Thou shalt surely give HAS MADE FOR THE POOR. Seeing that him, and thine heart shall not be the Lord our God has appointed the grieved when thou givest unto him :
because that for this thing the Lord | foundation against the time to come, thy God shall bless thee in all thy that they may lay hold on eternal life. works, and in all that thou puttest Remember also the words of the thine hand unto. For the poor shall apostle John: “ Whoso hath this never cease out of the land: there- world's good, and seeth his brother fore, I command thee, saying, Thou have need, and shutteth up his bowels shalt open thine hand wide unto thy of compassion from him, how dwelleth brother, to thy poor, and to thy needy the love of God in him?" in thy land.” It is my appointment, See, my friends, what a provision saith the Lord God, that the poor God has made for the poor, so far as shall never cease from among you, it the rich are obedient to the comis my commandment, therefore, that mandment of God. The poor shall you shall open your hand wide to the not, indeed, cease out of the land, but poor. The Lord's controversy with they shall be supplied in the land; Israel was carried on upon this very they shall find the word of God fulground, that while there were many filled to them, which
*** Trust in who professed to know him, who came the Lord, dwell in the land, and verily to him as a people who understood thou shalt be fed.” For God will God, yet they did not undo the heavy fulfil his word of promise to the poor ; barthens—they did not judge the not by miracles, but by means, by incause of the fatherless and the widow clining the rich man's heart, by order
- they did not minister largely to the ing matters so that to the diligent, poor-they did not obey the injunc- and faithful, and contented, and trusttions which the Lord had laid upon ing poor man, there shall always be a then to make provision for their poor supply. These obligations are well brethren. Hear the animated expos- understood by some persons; they are talation of the prophet on this sub- understood by Christians, real Chrisject: “ Is not this the fast that I have tians; they are kept in their proper chosen? to loose the bands of wicked-connection as fruits of faith ; and they Dess, to undo the heavy burthens, and are engaged in with a power, yea, to let the oppressed go free, and that and by some beyond their power. It ye break every yoke? Is it not to is delightful to see the exercises of deal thy bread to the hungry, and Christian benevolence that are carried that thou bring the poor that are cast on in various places, by persons who out to thy house; when thou seest are putting their entire trust and conthe naked, that thou cover him; and fidence before God in Christ Jesus, that thou hide not thyself from thine who know the freeness of Divine own flesh."
grace, who know the justification of a Neither is this confined to the Old sinner standeth in Christ, and not in Testament, my brethren. Remember any thing of his own, who disclaim the charge given by the apostle to his altogether the slightest merit in aught friend Timothy: “ Charge them that they do, and who yet are diligent in are rich in this world, that they be these things, showing, by practical not high minded, nor trust in uncer- proof, the principle by which they tain riches, but in the living God, are actuated. But, my dear brethren, who giveth us richly all things to en- these obligations are misunderstood joy; that they do good, that they be by many. It is melancholy to conrich in good works, ready to distri- sider, by how many multitudes the bute, willing to communicate ; laying passages I have now quoted to you up in store for themselves a good from Holy Scripture are abused to
their own ends, abused as the resting full comforts of domestic life, or the places of self-righteousness.
vain ornaments of fashionable frivolity. But here it belongs to our present They hoard one lump after another! subject to observe, that God over- and where their treasure is, there their rules the false doctrines imbibed by heart is also. The meditations of their the rich into a mean of providence for hearts grovel in the interest and comthe poor; and that, while men shall pound interest upon the same heap; be aiming at establishing their own their sinking fund becomes the object righteousness, and shall be endea- of their worship—“ Covetousness is vouring to stand on the merit of their idolatry.” Yet by these drones in huown almsgiving; and while, in the man society, even by these, God makes perversion of the truth of the gospel, provision for the poor. For, my breththey shall be ruining their own souls, ren, these men cannot live always, they shall, nevertheless, in the wonder and when these men die they cannot working providence of our God, be carry their treasures with them; and feeding his poor. Thus God hath God, who marks the course of the made provision for the poor, not only gray haired miser, is preparing, at the directly by Christian principle, where same time, the overflowing heart of the obligations laid upon the rich are his heir, either in reckless extravaunderstood, but indirectly, by false gance, or in Christian principle. And doctrine, where those obligations are so it is written in the Proverbs, “ that misunderstood and abused.
he who by unjust usury increaseth his And further, God hath made pro- substance shall gather it for him that vision for the poor, by the determi- will have pity on the poor.” Thus, nation of the rich to indulge in luxu- when we say, that while the action of ries and vanities. There are rich Christian benevolence is, as it were, men who will not give willingly to God's direct provision, his provision the poor; but they will indulge them- of ready money, to use a common exselves, they will have certain luxuries pression, for the poor, the exercise of and vanities of dress, of establish- covetousness in man forms a sort of ment, and of residence; and they savings' bank, in which God lays up a will, and are determined, to enjoy fund ready to be brought out at any these things whatsoever they may moment for the supply of his poor, cost. Well, in paying for them, they ready to be brought out by the sudden are unwittingly dispersing the very death of the old man, and the sudden funds which God has laid up for the opening of his purse strings to his supply of multitudes of servants, and young heir. Oh the wonder working mechanics, and artisans, and la- of our God for the supply of his poor bourers, who thus find God feeding people which are in the land! them by the unconscious instrumen- But, my brethren, I must direct tality of self-indulgent rich men. your attention to a better supply still,
Nay, further, God has made pro- that God has made for the poor,-it vision for the poor in the very covet- is that spiritual supply which is emiousness of the rich. There are some nently adapted for them. Here we rich men who will not give to the poor, come, then, to the most precious proneither will they indulge themselves visions of the gospel of our Lord Jesus so as to be compelled to employ the Christ. God has made a provision for poor. They are alike insensible to the poor spiritually; first, in that when the obligations of Christianity, the he came himself, manifest in the flesh, tenderness of natural benevolence, the he chose the condition of a poor man.
Jesus was not born in afluence and a moment the peculiar aspect in which rank and splendour, but was born in Jesus is presented to us in the Gospel obscurity and poverty. One of the message. As a substitute for sinners reproaches of his enemies was, “ Is he is, indeed, peculiarly applicable not this the carpenter's son?" and a to all, for all are equally guilty; for part of his history is, “ that he had a sense of guilt may press equally on not where to lay his head.” There is the conscience of a rich man as a poor something peculiarly congenial in this man. This is the foundation stone of to the minds and feelings of a poor man. the Gospel; and here we may well I know not, my brethren, whether it say, it is a message of God to sinners, has fallen within your experience to equally and indiscriminately without observe, but I can confidently and with considering rich or poor. But when a feeling heart, declare, that there is we consider the other characteristics in a poor man, a man whose earnings of Jesus, that he is the friend of the are scarcely sufficient to support bis friendless, that he is the brother born family, when awakened in any degree for adversity, that he sympathizes in to a sense of divine truth, such a con- the sorrows and afflictions and disgroiality to his heart in the history of tress of all who trust in him, here we the poverty of Jesus in person, as recognize characteristics which have endears Jesus to him in a way that a peculiar adaptation to the state of is difficult for a rich man to compre- the poor. “ The poor is forsaken beud.
even of his brother, but the rich have Neither is it the person of Jesus many friends." It is not that the rich alone ; it is his ministry, also, that is do not suffer ; but it is that in the peculiarly adapted to the poor. It midst of their sufferings the comforts mas one of the predicted character which they can command--the ordiistics of the Messiah, that by him “the nary sympathy, either apparent or prwis should have the Gospel preached zeal, which is never wanting at the to them." It is enumerated among sick bed of a rich sufferer—the various his miraculous powers, as equally, consolations which money can prowith them, characteristic of him. cure, and the various alleviations of When the disciples of John the Bap- their complaint so constantly supplied tist came and asked, whether he by the ministering attention of those was the person “ that was to come, around them, these have a natural Gp #bether they were to look for tendency to pre-engage the affections, another,” Jesus at the time was per- to catch the heart and satisfy it here, forming divers acts of wonder, and he and shut it out from the attractions called the attention of John's mes- which Jesus presents to it. But the Singers to those acts, and said “Go, poor man in his affliction, destitute, and show John again those things forsaken, passing hour after hour which you do hear and see: the blind without one kind word of sympathy, receive their sight, and the lame walk, without one ministering friend, withthe lepers are cleansed, and the deaf out any attention ; his own family, bear, the dead are raised up, and the that would shew him attention, being pour have the gospel preached to them. obliged to have their time occupied And blessed is he whosoever shall not in the labours of their station, and be offended in me."
himself left on the bed of languishing We shall see, my brethren, how hour after hour, no soothing hand to the subject of the Gospel is peculiarly smooth his pillar, or to speak patience adapted to the poor, if we consider for under the renewed pangs of his dis
ense; oh, my brethren, this man can And now if we can see that the feel and know how dear to his soul gospel gives spiritual provision for the character of Jesus is, as set forth the poor, has a peculiar adaptation to in the Gospel of his grace, “the friend | the poor considered as friendless and that is touched with a feeling of our destitute, we shall see a little further infirmities.” This makes the Gospel peculiarity of application to them, if peculiarly applicable to the poor. we consider them as outlawed from
Yes, my friends, I do not under the pale, even of human society, value, I do not forget, God forbid ! I scorned and spurned at as actual transdo not undervalue or forget the sove- gressors of the law of man, as well as reign dealings of Jehovah's grace, in the law of God. Jesus said to the that these things can be made in- | Pharisees, “ The publicans and harteresting to the rich also; but I know lots go into the kingdom of heaven that the Lord works by means. It before you.” Let the principle, on was in reference to these means, these which these words were founded, be natural tendencies, these peculiar suit- fairly examined, and it will be, at ablenesses that our Lord uttered those once, recognized, that there is a pecufearful words : “how hardly shall liar suitability in the gospel to the they that have riches enter into the inmates of prisons and the outcasts in kingdom of God!" How hardly shall our streets. they who have superabundance of My brethren, the institution with natural things to exercise supre- whose interest I am entrusted this macy over their affections enter into afternoon, that I might engage your the kingdom of God, that should charitable contributions on its behalf, have Divine things exercising a true has for its object individuals such as supremacy over them! How hardly I have now described—inmates in our shall pre-engaged hearts shake off prisons and outcasts in our streets. their pre-engagements, and live to Its especial object is to lay hold of Jesus as the one only and best friend, these in their infancy, to seize on them “the chiefest among ten thousand, before they have been hardened by and altogether lovely!” How hardly crime, to arrest them upon their first shall they, who have many things that transgression ; and when under senthey value in this world, say to him tence of imprisonment, when for the with truth, “ whom have I in heaven first slip that has been discovered they but thee, and there is none upon
are ready to be thrown into all the that I desire in comparison with thee!" contamination of the society of a gaol; Oh, how hardly shall they say so, or when having been there a short who have many earthly endearments season they are liberated, and ready and enjoyments, and affectionate sym- to fall back upon the frightful abyss pathies twining round all the inward of their former associates; the object constitution of their souls, and bind- of this institution is to catch them in ing them to the endearments of human its friendly arms, to protect, to screen society! How hardly shall the rich them, to bring them into an asylum, enter into this! Now, here is God's to bring the firmness and tenderness special spiritual provision for the of Christian principle to bear upon poor. My poor friends, how dear their moral character, and to cause should Jesus be to you. He is the the sweet accents of Divine love to poor man's friend, peculiarly so; and ascend in their ears. to the poor “the gospel is preached” The institution is a small one, as far with peculiar emphasis.
as man accounts greatness; and in an