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quently, more than three hundred and sixty-five guineas a year, (or £370 4s. 2d.) which sum would support siz missionaries in the South Seas.
Having such noble examples as above stated, set before us, Christians of every name should now begin to arouse themselves from their apathy and inordinate attachment to the world, and to consider that they cannot bestow their wealth on a more honourable and important object, than in promoting the glory of God, and the best interests of the human family, wherever they are dispersed over the surface of the globe. Were such liberal offerings becoming general throughout the universal church, and why should they not?) we might, ere long, have the near prospect of beholding the light of Divine truth irradiating every land, the moral wilderness turned into a fruitful field, and righteousness and praise springing forth before all the nations.
It may not, perhaps, be improper to remark, that the contributions of Christians should not be chiefly confined to missionary purposes, or to the support of the stated ordinances of the gospel. These objects, indeed, ought to be supported with far more liberality, and carried forward with more vigour than they have hitherto been. But, while we look abroad to distant tribes, and provide missionaries for their instruction, we are sometimes apt to forget the duty we owe to our countrymen at home; and, while we pay some attention to the religious improvement of the adult population, we too frequently overlook the rational and religious instruction of the young. On the proper
moral and intellectual tuition of every class of the young, from two years old till twenty, the whole frame of civil and Christian society almost entirely depends. This grand object has been too much overlooked in all our Christian and philanthropic arrangements; and while it is so, all our other schemes of improvement will be partially frustrated. They will have a tendency only to lop off the twigs and branches of immorality and crime, while the roots of evil are left to break forth in fresh lux. uriance. Christian society, therefore, should not rest sa..
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tisfied, till every human being, from two years old till manhood, be brought under the influence of an efficient system of intellectual, moral, and Christian tuition, both in our own country, and, so far as our influence extends, in other lands; and a very considerable, if not the greatest portion of our Christian contributions ought, in the mean time, to be devoted to this object, which lies at the foundation of all those arrangements which are calculated to introduce the expected millennium. But, as I have already adverted to this subject, it is unnecessary to enlarge.
4. Associations might be formed, particularly among Christians, for the purpose of encouraging liberality and counteracting avarice.
As the spirit of covetousness is so extensively prevalent, and as it stands as a barrier to every noble and Christian enterprise, no means should be left unemployed to counteract its tendencies and effects. And, as societies have been formed for less important purposes, there appears no reason why an Association should not be entered into for promoting the cause of Christian liberality and beneficence. Such a society might be composed of persons who are willing to devote the one-tenth, or any other proportion of their incomes to philanthropic objects. Such a society, if it could be formed, would set an example of liberality to the church and the world around them, and might prove a stimulus to many who might not otherwise have thought of it, to devote a portion of their superfluous wealth to rational and religious purposes. It might establish, in particular districts, systems of education on new and improved plans, as specimens of what ought to be set on foot for the improvement of society in every place. It might purchase barren tracts of land, and make arrangements for their cultivation and embellishment. It might rear small towns and villages, on spacious and improved plans, with every requisite accommodation and embellishment, and calculated for the promotion of health, convenience, and comfort. It might provide employment for the industrious poor, and commence new enterprises for civilizing and christianizing rude and uncultivated tribes, whether in our own country, or in other lands, and accomplish many other objects which an enlightened benevolence would readily dictate. The frequent publication of the operations of such a society, might be the means of exciting the attention of mankind in general to such beneficent
pursuits, and leading to the promotion of similar associations.
However romantic such a project may appear to some, I have no doubt that there are hundreds of benevolent individuals in various districts of our own country, who would rejoice to have it in their power to co-operate with other congenial minds in promoting the best interests of their fellow-creatures in the above, or in any other modes that a rational or religious mind might devise—and that they are only waiting for such openings, in order to give vent to their Christian liberality.
It is an evil, or at least a defect, in many of our Christian arrangements, that, in the first instance, we aim too high, beginning at the top of the scale, when we should commence at the bottom. This is the case when our attention is almost solely devoted to the improvement of the adult population, while the young are, in a great measure, neglected ;—and when our efforts are entirely directed to the promotion of the spiritual interests of mankind, while their temporal comfort is overlooked or disregarded. We have hitherto laid much stress on merely preaching the gospel to adults, while we should have been equally active in preparing the minds of the young for the reception of Divine truth, by all the rational and religious arrangements which Christian wisdom can devise. We likewise profess great zeal for the spiritual and eternal interests of the poor; while we not unfrequently leave them to pass their existence in the most abject hovels, and to pine away in the midst of filth, penury, and wretchedness.
If we wish that they may appreciate the truths of religion, we must endeavour, at the same time, to meliorate - 256 MEANS FOR THE COUNTERACTION OF COVETOUSNESS. their external condition, and render it pleasant and comfortable. To tell a poor wretch that he may have spiritual blessings, and eternal treasures, by coming to Christ, while he is destitute of both food and clothing, and we refuse to supply his wants when we have it in our power, is something approaching to a species of insult. By endeavouring to meliorate the condition of the poor, while we offer them Christian instruction, we prepare the way for the reception of Divine truth. For, in so doing, we exhibit a visible proof that Christianity is a beneficent system, and tends to promote our happiness, both in the life which now is, and in the life to come.
Now, such societies as suggested above, while they have for their ultimate object, the spiritual and eternal happiness of men, might be instrumental in promoting the external comfort of all ranks, particularly the lower, in furnishing them with employment, in providing them with comfortable habitations, in securing the proper instruction of their families, and directing them in such a course of conduct as will infallibly lead both to present and future enjoyment.
CONSIDERATIONS, ADDRESSED TO PROFESSING CHRISTIANS AND OTHERS, AS TO THEIR AFFECTIONS AND CONDUCT IN RELA. TION TO COVETOUSNESS.
Having, in the preceding chapters, embodied a variety of motives and considerations, to direct the views of professing Christians, in reference to this subject, it would be inexpedient to dwell on this topic, and therefore, I shall only offer a few additional arguments and considerations.
I. To professing Christians in general, we would call attention to the following considerations.
1. Consider, what God claims the Supreme affection of the heart.
He is possessed of every attribute calculated to excite the adoration and love of all holy intelligences. He inhabits eternity and immensity, and is near to them who fear bim, and hope in his mercy. His power and wisdom gave birth to the innumerable worlds which fill the universe, and all the streams of happiness which gladden the hearts of their inhabitants, flow from Him as the uncreated source of felicity. To the inhabitants of this lower world, he has displayed his love and mercy in a way that “passeth comprehension"—in the mission of his Son for the purpose of procuring our salvation-an event which ought to draw forth our highest affection, and gratitude, and praise. And he is “ daily loading us with his benefits, giving us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, and filling our hearts with food and gladness."
Hence we find the inspired writers, and other holy