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Charity begins at Home.
85 • of those with whom he lives, they may not require it;
but he has a constant opportunity of exercising a Christian disposition towards them, of shewing charity in its true sense; for Christian charity is “ love." Charity does not mean merely giving away money, though this is one exercise of it; but charity towards our fellow creatures is that disposition of love towards them, which leads us at all times to consult their happiness, their comfort, and their best interest. Read the 13th. chapter of St. Paul's first Epistle to the Corinthians, and there you will see what Christian charity, or love, is. Now try to shew such a disposition towards all within your reach; let this spread itself throughout all your house; let every member of the family aim at this; in this sense, let“ charity begin at home.” The exercise of this disposition is the true rule to make a happy family. And let us remember, moreover, that we are in this world only as a state of preparation for another; and that those who are really seeking for the happiness of heaven, must, as a preparation for it, cultivate heavenly dispositions. Now such a disposition is Christian charity, or Christian love. This “charity never faileth ;" it must be cultivated on earth; it will have its full exercise in heaven.
But many will say, “I know that this is right; I know that this is the disposition to cultivate; I know that this is the way to make us all happy; but I cannot get others to think so; I cannot get them to shew this disposition towards me.”—This, however, is no reason why you should not exercise it. If it were exercised by all, you would all be the happier and the better : but still your duty remains the same; and it is, in fact, the trial that more decidedly calls forth the duty. We may indeed fairly suppose, that evil is permitted in this world, to call forth the virtues of a Christian, and to exercise him in the duties of
patience, submission, forbearance, and charity.
A servant says, " I wish I could show this disposition, but my master and mistress expect so much, they are never satisfied, they see every little fault, and are unwilling to give any encouragement. If any thing is wrong, it is all my fault ;- I try all I can to please ; but, whichever way I act, I am sure that it will be wrong; I can never give satisfaction." Now, if a master or mistress are so unreasonable, a servant has a full right to give proper notice, and to leave his place; but he has no right to forget his duty whilst he remains in it. He is called, it is true, to a great exercise of Christian forbearance; he is to endeavour to be patient; he is not to “ answer again,” in anger or violence: “ charity suffereth long."
A master says, “ I would treat my servants kindly, but they are so provoking, so careless, so disobedient." -This is indeed very wrong in them; and, if they continue so, may be a very good reason why you should part with them; but it does not set aside your duty, nor at all justify you in showing an unchristian spirit, or a haughty domineering disposition, which leads you to an arrogant and proud declaration of your own power, and contemptuous disregard for the feelings and condition of those below you. Charity vaunteth not herself,” is not puffed up," is not easily provoked." You are required to "forbear threatening." There is, for wise reasons, a difference between masters and servants as to their earthly conditions, and to each belong their different duties; but you are reminded, that “ your Master is in heaven, neither is there any respect of persons with Him."
It is not, however, masters and servants only, but it is parents and children, brothers and sisters, friends and relations, all ought to seek to show that they are really Christians by exercising Christian dispositions. A spirit of mildness, and consideration for the feeling of others, in the intercourse between man and man, is the great secret of human happiness. How much happiness is contained in this one sentence, “ A soft answer
* Phil. vi. 9.
turneth away wrath.”—Let every member of every family act upon this; he has an opportunity every day of his life, within his own doors, of exercising a spirit of kindness ;-he should exercise it, indeed, not only to his own family, but to all whom he is concerned with ; and the best place of acquiring this disposition is, in a man's own house," Charity begins at home." - Let this be the application of the proverb; not that sordid and selfish spirit which shuts up its bowels of compassion against all the wants and sufferings of its fellow-creatures, and makes its excuse like the old miser, by saying “I must provide for my family,”and “Charity begins at home.”
ON THE WEATHER.
"He giveth snow like wool, he scattereth the hoar frost like ashes. He casteth forth his ice like morsels; who can stand before his cold ? He sendeth out his word and melteth them; he causeth the wind to blow, and the waters flow.”—Psalm clxvii.
This is a passage that appears to me very applicable to the present season, for though, as a poor woman lemarked to me lately, “This has been a merciful winter to the poor;"--we have had changes enough to exhibit the power of the Mighty Hand that guides the seasons, if we be but willing to attend to them. But the truth is, we are all very apt to forget that things which occur in their usual course come as much from the hand of God as the unusual and extraordinary ones which force us to think of his power at the moment. It is only in this way that we can account for the fact that many people who have borne real misfortunes meekly, remembering that they are sent from
Him who does not willingly afflict x his children, do not support the lesser evils of life with the same patience, and will even allow themselves to complain and murmur at the extreme heat or severe cold, according as either the one or the other annoy them. . The man who would call upon God in a tempest, forgets him in a common cold wind; as he who would pray to him in a dangerous illness, neglects to ask for patience to bear his
pain in a common fit of rheumatism, cold, or toothache! But it is the same power that dispenses to us all these, and it is therefore our duty to endeavour to bear them all with submission, and we have need of his help to enable us to do so. The extremes of the weather, with the sicknesses often produced by them, are indeed often very hard trials of patience, particularly to those among the poor who are without many comforts proper to defend them from their severity; but, like every other trouble they can only be borne properly by a constant trust in God's Providence, and by always remembering that He who careth for the sparrow will not forget those who trust in Him.-It is indeed right, and a truly Christian duty for every man to endeavour by all the means of honest industry and prudence to avoid these evils.—Let us, under all circumstances, have our thoughts directed to our heavenly Father; remembering that the snow and the vapour and the stormy winds are “fulfilling His word.” They are fulfilling his purposes in the government of the seasons; they will be fulfilling his even more gracious purposes to us, if they thus remind us of Him, and make us strive, in all our trials, whether more or less severe, to let patience have her perfect works. The following little hymn will I hope please those who are humbly endeavouring to do so.
Then, Christian ! send thy fears away,
Nor sink in gloomy care;
CHILBLAINS. The following prescription is said to have been of use in the cure of chilblains :
“ Soak them in warm bran and water, and then rub them. well with flour of mustard. This must be done before they break.”
It is, however, easier to prevent chilblains than to cure them; and with attention and caution much may be done towards preventing them. If they are inclined to come on the hands, take care, after washing, to dry the hands well ; and do not let them be cold if you can help it ; keep them in use, and wear gloves when you find it necessary. But chilblains more particularly attack the feet. Take