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stooping from his throne, and interposing in behalf of man, guilty, ungrateful and ruined man---unfold. ing a plan for his recovery, and even snatching from destruction, in a sovereign manner, a great multitude which cannot be numbered ; who, being reno. vated in their natures, and cleansed from their pollutions, are destined to repeople heaven; and fill those original mansions made vacant there, by the first rebellion.
You will say perhaps that these displays o Divine benignity, which astonish and absorb the mind, when made the objects of its contemplation, are too august and dazzling to be considered as models for human imitation.
If you say this, it is not because you have contemplated God in creation or redemption, too much; but too little. In the latter particularly, he has even accommodated himself to our weakness, that he might be to us in all things a pattern of righteous
Approach then and contemplate this perfect character : God manifest in the flesh!
Having disrobed himself of the splendors of the Deity, and descended from the mansions of immortality ; whether we behold him, the babe at Bethlehem, the man of sorrows a Gethsemine, or the suf. fering victim of the wrath of God on Calvary, his conduct alike enforces on us, a life of practical benevolence. Indeed, all his intervening tọils, in.
structions and labors, bear a similar complexion, and speak a similar language. It is said concerning him, that he went about doing good.
The darkness and distress which then prevailed on every side, courted his presence and demanded, in different directions, a portion of his time. Accordingly, when he had healed the sick, cast out devils, and preached the doctrine of his kingdom, in one city, he departed to another; where he repeated the same acts of benevolence, and published the same doctrines of life. And, though the principal cities afforded a larger theatre for his usefulness, and claimed a larger portion of his munificence, he did not overlook the little village, and condescended to honor and bless even the very cottage by his presence.
Sometimes we behold him in the capital, sometimes in its suburbs, and sometimes travelling through the country round about. He refused 110 hardships; he shrunk from
no fatigue which might promote the happiness or alleviate the miseries of the forlorn and wretched beings he came to save. His progress through life, was marked with expressions of mercy, and the very p.:ths he trod, were thronged by hapless sufferers, asking instruction, or applying for healing from their maladies. In his retinue, you might behold, not the glittering cour tier, not the fawning sycophant, but the blind, the deaf and the diseased, soliciting mercy or returning thanks for mercy received. Yes; there you might see the lame man leap as the hart, and hear the tongue of the dumb man sing !
As this illustrious Personage approached that dreadful catastrophe which terminated his ministry, the visible splendor of his benevolence encreased.
On the last sad evening before he was offered up, more affected with the wants of his disciples than with the miseries which awaited himself, he spent his time in fortifying their minds, and in supplicating his Father in their behalf. Just parting from them, and moved with the tenderest affection towards them, he says, “Let not your hearts be troubled ; ye believe in God, believe also in me." And having said this, look. ing to heaven, he adds, “ And now holy Father, I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, keep through thine own name those which thou hast
Immediately after this he went forth to Gethsemine, and from thence to Calvary; where, fastened to a cross, contending with the terrors of avenging justice, and sinking under the agonies of dissolving nature, he remembers his friends not only, but casta ing an eye down on his malignant and relentless enemies also, pities them, and presenting in their behalf, before the throne of the Eternal, his blood, his wounds, and his cross, cries out, from the bottom of a heart overflowing with good will, Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do!......... And does this illustrious example furnish no motive to the practice of benevolence ?
Though it would not be the duty of all to travel from place to place, as Jesus did; and though it
would be in the power of none to controul the diseases which he controuled, or to distribute the bounties which he distributed; yet ought not you, and all men, to be followers of him as dear children?
Each of you is able to do something to glorify God, to alleviate the miseries, and promote the happiness of man. Let then, at all times, and on all occasions, your conversation be such as becometh godliness, and your example adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour.
Can any employment be so agreeable to a benevo. lent mind, or so congenial to the spirit of Christianity, as that of doing good? Go then, sympathize with the mourner; open the hand of charity to the needy, and recommend to Jesus, those who, weary and heavy laden, wander in the deserts of Hermon, and pour out their complaints upon the hill of Mizar.
Thus Job spent the season of his prosperity. “I was eyes," says he “to the blind, and feet was I to the lamc. I was a father to the poor, and the cause which I knew not, I searched out. did not lodge in the streets, but I opened my deor unto the traveller.”
To the character of Deity, add
THE PRECEPTS OF HIS LAW, “If thy brother be waxen poor, (these hearer, are the words of him whɔ created both thee and thy" brother) If thy brother be waxen poor, then shalt thou relieve him that he may live. Thou shalt not
harden thine heart, nor shut thine hand against thy poor brother: but thou shalt open thine hand wide unto him, and shalt surely lend him sufficient for his need in that which he wanteth. The poor shall never cease out of the land, therefore I COMMAND thee, saith the Lord Almighty.”
To the precepts of the law, add
THE PROMISES AND BENEDICTIONS OF THE
" He that hath mercy on the poor, happy is he. He that hath a bountiful eye blessed is he. If thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul, then shall thy light arise in obscurity. Whosoever shall give unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, he shall in no wise loose his reward. He that hath pity on the poor, lendeth to the Lord, and that which he hath given will HE pay him again." My God! what a powerful incentive to charity.
Jesus Christ becomes the representative of the poor; takes upon himself their infirmities, and pledges his veracity to repay all who minister to their wants. It is not the poor therefore, but Jesus Christ, whom we deny when we withhold our charities.
Were Jesus Christ to descend from the realms of the blessed, accompanied by cherubim-seraphim
-angels, mighty in strength and terrible in majestyby thrones, by dominions, by principalities and powers, solicting a moity of our possessions, and at the