Page images
PDF
EPUB

home, and that the whole of her valuable cargo was lost. Mr. Thornton immediately requested the gentleman to return him the cheque; the gentleman, a little unwilling to comply with such a request, returned it to him. Mr. Thornton tore it in pieces, wrote out another, and gave it to the gentleman, who, on looking at it, found that it was for double the amount that the former cheque was drawn for. He expressed his surprise; but Mr. Thornton said—“How can you be surprised? I have had a hint given me that it is time for me to be charitable ; for if I should undergo such another loss, I may not have the opportunity of enjoying the luxury of giving. But many

of the

poor

will say, “How can we deny ourselves? We have scarcely sufficient to purchase food and clothing for ourselves and children.” I would only ask, have you any desire to deny yourselves for Christ's sake ? Can it be said of you, as it is recorded of pious David, when he so earnestly longed to build a house to the Lord, and was not permitted to do so—“Thou didst well that it was in thine heart ?”* or, as it is related of her who was blessed with an everlasting memorial in the Gospel of Christ—"She hath done what she could ?”+ The Macedonians were commended by St. Paul for giving of “their deep poverty;" and with joy he bears record, that they were willing to give beyond their power, praying the Apostles

• 1 Kings viii, 18. † Mark xiv, 8, 9.

with much entreaty, that they would receive the gift for their brethren in distress.* “ But yet," observes an eminent divine, “ if we do extend beyond our measures, and give more than we are able, we have the Philippians and many holy persons for our precedent; we have St. Paul for our encouragement; we have Christ for our counsellor; we have God for our rewarder, and a great treasure in heaven for our recompense and restitution.”+ How many a poor person desirous to prove his gratitude to an earthly benefactor, will bring him little gifts of the produce of his garden, and deny himself taking them to market for profit, to show his sense of his master's kindness towards him, and not because he imagined one so much better off than himself could not buy these things. Not long ago, a poor woman, living in a country village, gave the profit of a brood of chickens to a Missionary fund, to help forward the spread of the Gospel, and to show that when she daily prayed, “Thy kingdom come,” the words were not only on her lips, but in her heart. I

Ask yourselves, what am I doing for my Heavenly Master Am I helping forward His kingdom ? And in what manner can I show a sense of my gratitude towards Him?

The very heathen, however poor, bring offerings of

• 2 Cor. viii, 2, 4. Jeremy Taylor. How frequently are we solemnly imploring of God that "His kingdom may come," while we are doing nothing to promote His kingdom of Grace here, and consequently His kingdom of Glory hereafter.-H. MORE.

their substance, the best of their fruit and flowers, and present them to their idols of wood and stone, in token of gratitude for daily blessings, and especially on any recovery from sickness. * And let us consider the zeal of the children of Israel, when they, in their sinful idolatry, offered incense to “the Queen of Heaven," and take deep shame to ourselves, that we, who are called Christians, use not half the same exertion, nor have the like earnestness of purpose, in the service of that kind Providence, to whom we owe all things for time and eternity, and who is alone the author and giver of every good and perfect gift.t Fathers, mothers, and children, are here named by the Prophet, as all taking a part in the work. I

If there is a real desire to do something for Christ's sake and His kingdom, it is almost always followed by the act; and those who do not desire to help, seldom make the effort in any way whatever.

And this must be the reason why the subscribers to a Missionary Association are not by any means those who are the best off in a parish, but those who love and serve God the most sincerely, and who therefore “do their diligence gladly to give of their little," and strive to show their faith by their works. Reader, we will take a walk through this village, and see how often this is borne out by facts.

• From accounts by Missionary travellers. + James i, 17.

| Jer. vii, 18.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

A little removed from the high road, in a pretty rural district, stands a cottage, whose broken windows stuffed with straw, and rotten palings round the unstocked garden, at once speaks to the passer-by, as the abode of poverty and wretchedness. It is inhabited by a family who seem to live like the beasts that perish, without thought for this world or the next. Speak to them of their immortal souls, of their unhallowed Sabbaths; they tell you, they "are not worse than their neighbours, and they would go to church, if they had any thing fit to go in.”

Give them decent apparel, and, after a Sunday or two, they turn back again to their former ways. Now and then a child may be seen at the school, if a new frock or pinafore is given to her; it is worn without washing till it is in rags, and then again the school is deserted. And yet the very next-door neighbour, with as large a family (both husbands earning the same wages) contrives to keep her children always clean and tidy, and through all weathers, winter or summer, to send three or four of them regularly to the Sunday and day school. If I were to go to the former of these cottages, and ask the wife to subscribe 68. a year to help forward the spread of Christ's kingdom upon earth, she would doubtless be much surprised, and wonder where the money could come from; and so this demand might perhaps appear a large one, if I did not remind her, that she had told me she “always spent three halfpence a week on snuff, to keep up

her spirits." Three halfpence a week is 68. 6d. a year. Now, if she did her duty in that state of life in which it had pleased God to place her, and with her family hallowed His sabbath-day, how much better would“ her spirits be kept up” than by spending her money on what she could then “ do very well without.”

We pass on a few steps farther, and turning into a pleasant lane, see a neatly-thatched cottage between some over-banging trees. A honeysuckle runs over the porch, and a small bit of garden ground in front is well filled in every part. The inhabitants are a labouring man and his wife, with four young children; two of them are sent regularly to the Sunday and day school. The husband and wife are constant attendants at God's house, in the morning and afternoon, for the Sunday dinner is prepared on Saturday. Family prayer is in their dwelling, and the father reads a chapter in the Bible every evening, verse by verse, with his little boy. They send every month a small subscription to the Missionary-Association in the parish.

I met the poor woman the other morning with an infant in her arms, the day after a Missionary Meeting had been held in the school-room She expressed her thankfulness at having been able to be present, and hoped they might be able soon to subscribe more, adding, “I know the Lord will repay us, for He has said so."* In the same cottage lodged

• Proverbs xix, 17.

« PreviousContinue »