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that is the last we hear of them. They never will attend the meetings, never lend the aid of their little finger to forward the design. Others make their appearance once or twice, and then go to sleep with their companions. Others again, we might address in the words of the Apostle to the Galatians : "Ye did run well: who did hinder you!' And many of the rest, finding only the co-operation of names, where they expected living and active men, are greatly disheartened.
Now, it is obvious, that the strength and usefulness of the society must depend not on its nominal, but its efficient members. A respectable name, handsomely written, on clean, white paper, looks well. But surely, we have lived too long, and seen the experiment too often tried, to expect much, from mere ink and paper. There is no such mighty terror in a few smooth letters, that the Geshems and Sanballats of the age, will quake and flee'before them. No. Men must honor their names, by acting up to the spirit of the instrument which they subscribe. If they do not, the act of subscribing is something worse than useless. What the Prince of Grecian orators said of the art of speaking, is almost literally applicable to the real efficiency of any Society. The first thing is action. The second is action. And the third is action.
It only remains that I suggest, very briefly, a few motives and encouragements, for an active, a general, and persevering co-operation, to discountenance vice and promote good morals. After all that has been said and written on this subject; and after what your own eyes must have seen,' and `your ears heard,' very little need be added to convince any candid mind, that a reformation is imperiously called for.
Who that mingles at all with society, who that ever attends town meetings, or steps into a tavern where numbers are collected, or walks out in the evening,-is so happy, as not frequently to hear the great and terrible name of God profaned! In what highly favored corner of the state, or nation, are there no distilleries, or dramshops; no gamblers, or sabbath-breakers; no deep traces of the wide and wasting ravages of intemperance ; such as trembling limbs, bloated faces, ruined families, early graves and broken hearts ? But I leave the picture. Your own observation will enable you to finish and fill up the outline.
Do you want motives, then, to enter with all your hearts into the work of reformation ? They may be drawn—they urge themselves upon you, from heaven and earth. They address you from heaven.
from heaven. Speaking to the ear of your consciences, they conjure you to do whatsoever your hand findeth to do with your might,' by all your regard for the authority of God; by the awful retributions of eternity, to which you are bastening; by the worth of all the souls, which you might possibly be instrumental in saving; and by all that is desirable in an exceeding and eternal weight of glory.'
From this world, motives almost innumerable, urge you to instant, combined, and persevering action.
Among these are all the momentous interests of your country; the well being of society; the harmony of neighbor.. hoods; the peace of families; the blessings of good government; the security of life, liberty, and property ; your own comfort in the evening of your days; the happiness of your children, and all the good that may flow to distant generations, from the influence of your exer
tions and example. If you are Christians, these and similar motives, cannot fail of producing a powerful effect on your minds. If you are true patriots, if you love your country, you will seek to advance its prosperity, by striving to promote righteousness, which exalteth a nation,' and to prevent 'sin, which is a reproach to any people. If you love your children, you will encourage every design, which has an obvious tendency to preserve them from the destructive contagion of immorality; to make them' wise and useful here, and happy forever.
For ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye
may do them good; but me ye have not always.—Mark xiv, 7.
The disciples of our blessed Lord drew upon themselves this rebuke, by charging Mary with having wasted a very precious and costly box of ointment, which she had just poured upon his head. They regarded it as wantonly thrown away, since it might have been sold for a large sum, and distributed to great advantage among the poor. How many of the disciples united in this complaint against the pious and afflicted Mary, we are not informed : but no one appears to have been so much disturbed as Judas. None of the company, he would fain have it believed, felt so much for the sufferings of the destitute as himself. Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence and given to the poor? This he said, not that he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein. The motives of the rest were good, though their indignation was entirely out of place; but Judas was influenced by the basest of passions.
Far was it from the mind of Christ to discourage liberality to the poor. They were the objects of his tender
* Preached at Pittsfield, Mazs, on the day of the Annual Fast, April
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compassion. In his human nature, and as a poor man bimself, he sympathised with them in their privations. He strongly enjoined upon his followers the giving of alms, as an essential evidence of love to himself; and this christian duty is clearly implied, in the very reproof which we are now considering. The poor ye have with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good : but me ye have not always. As if he had said, “Let the poor, by all means, share in your bounty. They are always with you, and may be relieved at any time; but I am about to be taken away from you. I must die for your sins upon the cross, and the time draweth pear. Whatever is done for me, must be done speedily. This act of Mary is, therefore, a well timed testimony of her love and gratitude.' She hath wrought a good work
She is come aforehand to anoint my body to the burying
This view of the text may serve to correct the mistakes of some, and to expose the covetousness of others, in regard to religious charities. It fully justifies those earnest and pressing calls, which are multiplying upon us, for aid in evangelising the world. The missionary cause is the cause of Christ, and he now regards every pious sacrifice, for the advancement of his kingdom, as a testimony of love to himself. As it was, however, when Mary anointed his head and washed his feet, so it is even in this enlightened age of christian benevolence. Some who stand by, are filled with indignation. They severely blame those, who cast their gifts into the treasury of the Lord.
They regard all that is done for Christ, as no better than thrown away; and too many, there is reason to fear, like Judas, express the deepest concern for the poor, merely to hide their covetousness.