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him! “though he was rich,"—and what riches !-“become poor, "and what poverty! See him! living in this world, your Lord and God, as you would not live,--supported by charity, not having a penny to pay the tribute, nor a place to lay his head. See him ! sold for that miserable money which you prefer before every thing, delivered into the hands of wicked men, condemned as a criminal, insulted, crowned with thorns, crucified between two malefactors and for whom? For you; yes, for you; who have to this day loved the thirty pieces of Judas more than the blood of your Saviour ; but who will henceforth love the blood of your Saviour more than the thirty pieces of Judas. See, and believe, and fall at his feet ! saying to him, as Peter, “ Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Then, doubt not, the shameful bonds with which Mammon has held you enchained will fall of themselves. Could you then deem fortune the sovereign good, and poverty insupportable, when Christ has become poor to merit for you eternal riches ? Could you then be anxious for your life, or for your family, when he has said, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee ?" Could you not then “suffer joyfully the spoiling of your goods, since you have in heaven a better and a more enduring substance ?" Could you refuse your property to the Lord, when it is a deposit which belongs to him, and which he has confided to you; and when he has given himself to you, and is your true riches ? Ah! it is only necessary to become a Christian, in order to be the most disinterested of men, and if there are so few who are not influenced by the love of money, it is because there are so very few true Christians even among true Christians.
This is the first step,—the faith of the heart : the second is the liberality of the hand, which springs from this faith, and feeds it in turn. Zaccheus no sooner knew the Lord than he presented himself before him, and said, “ Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have wronged any man, I restore him fourfold.” Imitate him. Like him, give with method; like him, devise for yourself a large and liberal rule. How much each ought to give, or in what manner, he must settle with the Lord. The Gospel has prescribed nothing : it has left it to your charity. Justify this confidence. Rise above cold custom, and lay your account not with men, but with Jesus Christ. Be not content till you hear him say, “Well done!" Ponder the thought, that your fortune is his more than your own ; and that you are only the steward to dispense it in his name. Remember the words of the Lord Jesus, “ It is more blessed to give than to receive;" and give as one who feels that the power is bestowed upon him as a favour from God. Congratulate yourself that you live at a time when occasions for the religious bestowment of your property are increasing. Blessed is he who knows how to respond at once to the call of the age, to the call of men, to the call of the Saviour, and to the call of a heart animated by charity! Vol. XXIII. Third Series. JANUARY, 1844.
Rich men, this happiness is specially yours. Learn, then, to enjoy your fortune. Learn why God has given it to you. Dispense it for his glory while you live, and in your last Will forget not Him to whom you owe both your earthly and your heavenly inheritance. Of what usc will your riches be, if you do no good,—if you are not “ rich in good works, and ready to distribute ?” Then only will you be happy in being rich, and the world will be happy that you are so. Then that property which has ruined so many others will be to you a means of making “your calling and election sure.” Then, in separating from your earthly treasure, you will remember with joy what you have sown in the field of the Lord, and will go to reap it with increase ; and you may, as another charitable man, have inscribed on your tombstone,“ What I kept, I lost; but what I gave, I have."
And do not you, to whom the Lord has given the heritage which the wise Agur asked for himself, complain, because you cannot give what you would : give what you can. " If there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not.” Attempt it, and you will find that you can give more, much more, than you imagine. An ingenious charity will enrich you for the Lord; impracticable sacrifices will become easy ; necessary expenses superfluous; and if the rich man has this advantage over you, that he can present more costly gifts,—you will have this over him, that your gifts are characterized by greater self-denial.
Finally: is Christian liberality forbidden to you, whom Christ has placed in the very condition in which he lived on earth ? No, my dear brethren ; no! Remember the poor widow. You have nothing to give ? She had no more than you ; but the spirit of sacrifice led her to discover, in the depths of her poverty, an offering which excited the admiration of her Lord. What you give will be too small to bring forth fruit? Listen. Have the two mites of the widow been lost? Have they not been more fruitful--yes, literally more fruitful than the rich offerings which fell with them into the treasury of the temple ? Through the faith which offered them, and by the blessing of the Saviour who accepted them, and who designed that his words should perpetuate the remembrance of them, these two mites have been multiplied from age to age. From age to age they have provoked the sacrifices of a multitude of poor Christians, who would never have discovered that they had any thing to give, if they had not learned it from this poor widow; and whose contributions, in fact, produce a larger amount than those of the rich. These two mites have already drawn into the treasury of the church immense sums; their work is not done ; they will continue to influence “in all places wheresoever this Gospel shall be preached ;” and if you to-day resolve to imitate this widow, that will be a new fruit of her humble offering. Be faithful, and listen to Him who multiplied the oil of the widow of Sarepta, and the mite of the widow of Jerusalem.
Lord Jesus, thou hast come to us to-day, saying, “ Take heed, and beware of covetousness.” We come to thee, saying, “Save us from the love of money! Tear away, stifle this serpent which holds us in its folds! The faith of the heart, the liberality of the hand, both are from thee. Give us both, that, washed in thy blood, and baptized by thy Spirit, we may henceforth consecrate to thy service all that we have, and all that we are. Happy to offer thee a thousand fortunes, and a thousand lives, did we possess them ! and hereafter only regretting that we have nothing inore to offer thee in return for thy unspeakable gift, which constitutes our joy and our eternal riches.”
THE JUSTIFICATION OF A SINNER BY LIVING FAITH.
(From " Defence of Christ's Church," by Caelius Secundus Curio, an
Italian Protestant : translated by Archdeacon Philpot, one of the Smithfield Martyrs. Written soon after 1547, and trans
lated in the latter part of the Reign of Edward VI.) But, I pray thee, show me why dost thou so much detest to grant, that we obtain the divine justice through faith, and that all our sins be freely and for nought forgiven us, for Christ's sake alone, if that we put our confidence upon him ? Doth not Peter the Apostle confess and preach this, where he saith, that God, by faith,—that is, through affiance of his mercy,-purgeth the hearts and souls of men ?
Is not Paul wholly in this, to teach us that excellent justice of Christ to belong to us by faith? “Therefore we, being justified by faith, have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ;" than the which nothing may be found out more plainer, stronger, and more pertinent to put this question out of doubt. “By the works of the law no man shall be justified before God." Thou hast here, that together all good deeds, yea, the very best, as those of God's law, cannot bring us just before God, and do justify no man. And he addeth a reason why the law justifieth not; for that it was not made for this purpose, to justify, but that through the same sin might be known. And it is a shameful blasphemy, when thou affirmest that Luther requireth a barren faith only, or rather a certain trust, with the which whosoever is once endowed, albeit he shall grievously sin until the last day of his life, he ought to be careless. Where ever taught Luther this? With these subtleties and lies ye cause the true and sweet doctrine of Christ to be hated, disdained, and envied. We teach the sincere and lively faith which is right-firmly grounded upon the promises of God, out of the which do spring all good deeds, and honest and virtuous actions, as it were fruit out of a quick and plenteous tree, and not a dead opinion and rain confidence.
ON THE PERFECTION OF THE SPIRITUAL LIFE.
that the per
(To the Editor of the Wesleyan-Methodist Magazine.) Ita tamen ut Deus intelligatur perfectus tam ness of his own sins, and enforced quam Deus, et anima perfecta tamquam ani
his exhortation by a passage from ma.--Aug., De Serm. Dom. in Monte.
the writings of Bernard, Abbot of The great revival of religion, of Clairvaux. Luther was thus put on which the Rev. John Wesley was the right track; and when after. the honoured instrument, has not wards he found a copy of the Bible been sufficiently regarded in its con in the library of his monastery, he nexion with the Lutheran Reformation. deeply studied the Epistles of St. The grand principle by which this Paul; and, learning from them tlie latter was effected was,
doctrine of “the righteousness of sonal salvation of man, his recon God,” revealed in the Gospel, that ciliation to God by the forgiveness Gospel-for the first time iruly unof sins, his reception of peace of derstood by him-became, in his conscience, and power over sin,- case, “the power of God unto salall was from the mercy of God, vation." And thus was he prethrough the alone merits and ine pared, by knowledge of the truth, and diation of the Lord Jesus Christ; by experience of its saving efficacy, to and bestowed only upon those by engage in those controversies which whom a true, spiritual faith in produced the great
Reformation.* Christ was exercised. Along with Remarkably similar was the case this there were others of high im- of Mr. Wesley. He, too, sought portance. The supremacy of the word of God may be mentioned as one of * There never was a period when it was mora them. But salvation by grace, through
necessary than now it is, for the spread of cor
rect opinions respecting Luther, and the Refaith in Christ, was that which ori
formation of which he was, under God, the originated the whole. The letters gin and leader. Protestantism is attacked by written (especially by Melancthon) the Tractarians because it cuts up their scheme iminediately on receiving the intelli by the roots; while many professed friends of gence of Luther's death abundantly liberty dislike it because it condemns a system
maintained by those with whom they have condemonstrate that this was the fact.
tracted a political alliance. And there is another And, in the case of Luther, this reason. Charles II, said, that Popery was a reli. commenced in personal experience. gion for a gentleman. In its reference to mere It is also very remarkable, that he
worldly gentlemen, the remark is, we fear, only was guided to this personal expe
too correct. A religion of theatrical perform
ance, including a splendidly-attired, hierarchical rience by the citation of a passage aristocracy, whose head claims to be a sovereign from one who, though he lived so Prince, suits the pride of man better than tho low down as in the eleventh century,
religion whose only power is in the truth which it is reckoned as one of the Fathers, –
proclaims,--that truth being directly opposed to
the natural self-righteousness of the heart ; and the last in the long line, but still
whose richest adorning is found in the fruits of belonging to it. Luther had chosen
righteousness which it produces. The enemies the monastic life that he might seek of Protestantism increase: it is time that its Peace and POWER. By the austeri. friends began to prepare to defend themselves, ties which he practised, he
had by studying the subject as it is. To our Wes
leyan readers, especially, we take the opportubrought himself to such a state of
nity of recommending the " Life of Martin bodily emaciation, that he was found Luther,” published, a year or two ago, by Mr. one day on the floor of his cell, Mason. In this volume they will find, along almost more dead than alive, by an
with the mere external bistory of the great Reold Monk; who, though with some
former, important statements respecting his re.
markable conversion, and his subsequent spiritobscurity of language, preached to
ual progress. The Methodism of the Reformahim faith in Christ for the forgive. tion (so to call it) constituted its real power.
the possession of evangelical peace What was the precise point in reand power; but he long sought in gard to which "Mr. Wesley’s relivain. Crossing the Atlantic, he gious opinions thus underwent saw, in some German children of change? Did it relate directly to the Reformation, evidences of the the nature of religion, or to the way possession of what he desired; but in which he was to become possessed he continued seeking as before, and of it? That the change related to returned to England nearly in the the latter, and only to the latter, etate in which he had embarked for might have been inferred from seveAmerica. But his acquaintance ral circumstances. Thus, in the with the children of the Lutheran sermon on “the Circumcision of the Reformation did not cease.
Heart,” preached before the Unihonestly following."on to know the versity of Oxford, January 1st, Lord;” and for those who are thus 1733, he represents holiness as con. upright light is prepared.
sisting essentially in love,---love to introduced to other Germans, and God for his own sake, and to our learned from them the way of the neighbour for God's sake. And, Lord more perfectly. He searched after the change which he expethe Scriptures especially on the sub- rienced in 1738, he frequently uses ject of conversion, and found that language which discovers what these things were indeed as they might almost be called an anxious had thus been described to him. carefulness to show that on this And this, too, by referring to the subject he still thought and spake Homilies, he found was the teach. the same as ever. In his discourse ing of his own Church. Another on the “Law established through teaching, indeed, of which the seeds Faith” he has these remarkable were sown at the time of the An- words : “ We establish the law, glican Reformation, and which, un when we so preach faith in Christ happily, had been only too fruitful, as not to supersede, but produce, had superseded it; and by this he holiness; to produce all manner of had been led astray, and long kept holiness, negative and positive, of back from peace and power. But he the heart, and of the life. now perceived the truth : it only re “ In order to this, we continually mained that he should experience it; declare, (what should be frequently and, by the arrangements of Provi- and deeply considered by all who dence, it was ordered that this, too, would not ‘make void the law should come to him, who was to be through faith,') that faith itself, the great English Reformer, by the Christian faith, the faith of God's instrumentality of the writings of elect, the faith of the operation of the great German Reformer. At a God, still is only the handmaid of Meeting in Aldersgate-street, May love. As glorious and honourable 24th, 1738, Luther's “ Preface to as it is, it is not the end of the comthe Epistle to the Romans” was mandment. God hath given this read; and the reader took occasion honour to love alone: love is the to describe "the change which God end of all the commandments of works in the heart through faith in God. Love is the end, the sole end, Christ ;” and, while so doing, Mr. of every dispensation of God, from Wesley was enabled to believe with the beginning of the world, to the that faith which, as the Homilies consummation of all things. And say, is “the gift of God.” “I felt it will endure when heaven and my heart strangely warmed,” he earth flee away; for love alone says, referring to that important never faileth.”. From the beginning period of his history : “I felt I did to the end this was his unvaried trust in Christ, Christ alone, for doctrine. Religion consists in love, salvation; and an
issuing in obedience. given me that he had taken away But we are not left to inference. my sins, even mine, and saved me He himself has described the prefrom the law of sin and death." cise character of the alteration in
But it is an important question,- his views, showing what was effected