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immense treasures of all descriptions will be voluntarily contributed by her converts to promote her prosperity and to accomplish the purposes of Divine benevolence. All that has hitherto been given for the support of the true church of Christ, will bear no proportion to the vast treasures which will then be appropriated for promoting her extension and glory; for they will then be increased at least a hundred fold. Hence it is declared in a subsequent passage of this prophecy: "For brass I will bring gold, and for iron I will bring silver, and for wood brass, and for stones iron.” It is added, "I will also make thy officers peace, and thine exactors righteousness.” The superintendents or overseers of the church will be “men fearing God and hating covetousness,” and “not given to filthy lucre," so that the wealth consecrated to its use will be properly distributed, and faithfully applied to the ends for which it is appropriated. In this respect, they will form a striking contrast to many office-bearers that have appeared in the church at different periods, who are characterized by the prophet, as “greedy dogs that can never have enough, and shepherds that cannot understand, who look to their own way, every one for his gain from his quarter.” And whether this character may not apply to many in our day, demands the serious consideration of some of those who have been invested with the sacred office.*
Now, if it is clearly predicted, that in the latter ages of the church a vast proportion of wealth will be devoted
* Dr. Mosheim states, with regard to the conduct of the bishops and presbyters of the third century, that " though several yet continued to exhibit to the world illustrious examples of primitive piety and Christian virtue, yet many were sunk in luxury and voluptuousness, puffed up with vanity, arrogance, and ambition, possessed with a spirit of contention and discord, and addicted to many other vices, that cast an undeserved reproach upon the holy religion of which they were the unworthy professors and ministers." The same author, in his history of the sixteenth century, states, that the greatest part of the bishops and canons passed their days in dissolute mirth and luxury, and squandered away in the gratification of their lusts and passions, that wealth which had been set apart for charitable and religious purposes."
to the interests of religion, it becomes us seriously to consider, whether we ought not, at this moment, to realize the accomplishment of such predictions, by coming forward, with enlarged hearts and munificent offerings, to accomplish the gracious designs of the Most High. What a high honour would it be, far surpassing every earthly distinction, to be considered as the special objects to which ancient prophecy refers, and that the Omniscient Jehovah should have us in his eye when he communicated his will, in the days of old, to the inspired prophets! What a dignified privilege is it that the great God who has all the treasures of the universe at his command, should condescend to make us “workers together with him” in accomplishing his merciful and beneficent designs, and to accept of the wealth we possess, as the means by which his eternal purposes are to be brought into effect! Can any other application of our riches procure us higher honour or felicity, either in time or through eternity? And it is only our superfluous wealth which he demands, while he leaves us every thing requisite to all the sensitive enjoyments which a rational and immortal soul ought to desire. If we had right views of the true use of riches, and of the noble ends that may, and ought to be accomplished by them, we should esteem it our highest privilege and delight to consecrate all we possess to the glory of God, and the promotion of the best interests of mankind. We should feel a pleasure, not to be compared with selfish gratification, in beholding the Divine plans gradually accomplishing, in witnessing the diminution of moral evil, and wretchedness, the expansion of the human mind by the propagation of Divine knowledge, and happiness diffusing itself among all ranks, and in every region of the globe. Let Christians, then, seriously consider these things, and arouse themselves from that apathy and indifference into which they have been so long sunk, with respect to the legitimate application of their worldly treasures. Let them consider whether the transitory pomp of this world, and “ the honour which cometh from men, ought to be set in competition with the prosperity of Zion, and “the honour which cometh from God alone." Let
them consider whether the lust of the eye and the pride of life,” costly furniture and splendid equipages, ought to be preferred to "beautifying Jehovah's sanctuary, and making the place of his feet glorious;" in short, whether selfish gratifications, and things seen and temporal," ought to be exalted above an incorruptible inheritance, and those things which are unseen and eternal.”
Let us consider, for a moment, the gross amount of what might be, and what ought to be raised, in Great Britain alone, for the purposes of religion and philanthropy. I have already stated, on the ground of a very low estimate, (p. 173.) that more than twenty millions of pounds might be raised by devoting one-tenth of income to such objects. But as there are multitudes of individuals who ought to devote the one-half of their incomes, when large, to the service of God-on the principles now recognised and adverted to in the language of ancient prophecy-we ought not to expect less than a hundred millions of pounds annually, were wealthy Christians to consider themselves as stewards for God, and to act in a manner worthy of the Christian name. It is a disgrace to that sacred name that so little has hitherto been raised for the great objects to which money should chiefly be devoted. Shall fifty millions of pounds be annually wasted, within the limits of the British isles, in the purchase of intoxicating liquors? Shall hundreds of millions be raised for carrying forward the purposes of ambition and warfare? and shall only a few droppings of overflowing wealth, the mere lees or scum of abundant riches, be devoted to the noblest and most important objects that can engage the attention of man?' Forbid it heaven! That such has hitherto been the case, that such is the case at the present moment, is perhaps one of the most glaring inconsistencies, and one of the foulest blots that disfigures the Christian character and the Christian church.
It is now time that such inconsistencies and such stains were wiped away from the face of the religious world, and that the followers of Jesus begin to act in consistency with their high character and their heavenly calling. If we refuse to come forward with our treasures at the call of God, he may be provoked to realize, in our experience, that denunciation recorded in the chapter to which we have adverted. “ The nation and kingdom that will not serve thee, (namely, the church,) shull perish, yea, those nations shall be utterly wasted." This denunciation immediately follows upon this declaration, " Thy gates shall be open continually, that men may bring unto thee the wealth of the Gentiles, and that their kings may be brought.' If we hesitate long in coming to a decision on this point, God may soon confer the honour of accomplishing his designs upon other tribes and nations whom we now despise. Many of the Christians in the Northern States of America, are now beginning to exert themselves with a noble generosity in the cause of Christian improvement. Even the inhabitants of the Society Isles—so lately immersed in all the ignorance, superstition, and vices peculiar to the savage state, are contributing of their oil and other productions of their country, instead of money, for carrying forward missionary enterprises among other unenlightened tribes; and they are perhaps at this moment contributing more in this way, in proportion to their numbers and their wealth, than the inhabitants of Britain. The natives of the Navigator's islands, lately deemed so ferocious that mariners were afraid to land upon their coasts, are now lifting up their voices from afar, and imploring missionaries to instruct them in the knowledge of salvation, and offering whatever they can afford of their substance for this purpose. And, ere long, these and other inhabitants of the Isles of the Pacific, may bring their valuable treasures “to beautify the sanctuary of God," and to promote the extension of his kingdom. For, such persons, and such localities come within the range of prophetical description: “ Surely the isles shall wait for me—the isles afar off that have not heard my fame, neither have seen my glory, and they shall declare my glory among the Gentiles." Sing unto the Lord a new song, and his praise from the ends of the earth, ye that go down to the sea, the isles, and the inhabitants thereof; let the inhabitants of the rock sing ; let them give glory to the Lord, and declare his praise in the islands." Let
British Christians, then, rouse themselves from their lethargy, and shake themselves loose from every covetous affection; let them come forth with cheerfulness and alacrity, with their treasures in their hands, to be consecrated to the glory of God and the renovation of the world; let them trample under foot, with a noble heroism, every selfish maxim, and the fashion of this world that passeth away, and account it their highest felicity and honour to be instrumental in furthering the plans of Divine mercy and beneficence; and great shall be their reward. For they who are the instruments of turning many to righteousness, “shall shine as the brightness of the firmament, and as the stars forever and ever.”