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therefore so live as to secure to themselves the
protection of God, and be able to look up to him with confidence in the day of distress and perplexity. Whatever changes may take place here below, God is still the same.
The Psalmist describes him as seated securely on high, upon the throne of his kingdom: while the people, like the restless waves of the sea, are vainly raging below : Ever since the world began hath thy seat been prepared—The waves of the sea are mighty, and rage horribly; but yet the Lord, who dwelleth on high, is mightier. Psalm. xcii. Therefore will we not fear, though the earth be moved, and though the hills be carried into the midst of the sea: though the waters thereof rage and swell, and the monntains shake at the tempest of the same. This world must come to its end : we should therefore not be dismayed at the signs, which make it probable that its end may be drawing near. For why? The same sea, which destroyed the wicked Egyptians, gave deliverance to the chosen people of God. We should have no desire to put off the end of this world; but should rather.pray, as we are taught to do in the most solemn of our offices, that God would shortly accomplish the number of his elect, and hasten his kingdom ; that saints and martyrs, and all who have, and do suffer for the cause of God and the name of Jesus Christ, may lift up their heads, and see their Deliverer seated upon the clouds of heaven,
Till this shall be brought to pass, let us not set our affections on the pleasures of this, unsteady world, so apt to disturb and alarm us with the misery of present, and the terror of future, evils. Woe be unto those, who have not God for their confidence in the day of visitation !-Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man-To whom, with the Father and the Holy Ghost, be ascribed all power and dominion, in heaven and earth, both now and for everSERMON XVII.
YE OUGHT TO SUPPORT THE WEAK, AND TO RE
MEMBER THE WORDS OF THE LORD JESUS, HOW HE SAID, IT IS MORE BLESSED TO GIVE THAN TO RECEIVE. ACTS xx. 35.
CHILDREN of this world, and children of light, are phrases of the Scripture, by which two opposite parties of men are distinguished : and it is a considerable step toward the christian life, to understand rightly their different principles and rules of action. A general character of each, so far as our present subject is concerned with them, may be given in few words. The children of this world are they, who study how to turn men's labours and passions and prejudices to their own advantage; and their chief wisdom consists in making other men useful to themselves. The children of light, having higher objects in view, think it their wisdom as well as their happiness to make themselves useful to all mankind. It never could be expected that the former would pay much regard to the memorable saying in the text; therefore it is addressed to the latter; to Christians, who are glad to hear, and ready to follow, the words of the Lord Jesus. He, whose first object it is, to get as much as he can, by any means whatsoever, will find little inclination to give; especially on a religious motive; for the sake of a prospect which he
could never see: but he, whose faith has taught him that he may be a gainer by his losses, will readily admit that he may be blessed for his gifts. From this great difference in their opinions, the man of the world despises the Christian; while the Christian pities the man of the world, and understands him much better than he understands himself.
Our blessed Saviour was the great example of his own sublime doctrine. He came into the world, not to receive, but to give. He refused its wealth, its honour, and its power: he gave bread to the hungry, comfort to the afflicted, health to the sick, life to the dead : he gave himself for our redemption, and ascended up on high, that he might send down his gifts upon earth : he is now daily giving to those that ask, and has promised to assist his church with his gifts to the end of the world.
We have another eminent example of this doctrine in the person of St. Paul: "I have coveted (said he) no man's silver, or gold, or apparel ; yea, you yourselves know, that these hands have ministred unto my necessities, and to them that were with me.”
This duty of ministring to the necessities of them that are with us, our fellow-christians, friends, relations, and associates in the work of the Gospel, is the subject we have before us on the present occasion : you will therefore permit me to recommend it to your attention from the words of the text; which
First, that we ought to support the weak.
Secondly, that we are encouraged so to do, from the consideration, that it is more blessed to give than to receive.
That the strong ought to support the weak, is in a manner self-evident from the state of mankind; who
being by nature endued with unequal powers, are formed into societies for their mutual assistance and protection, as the superior and the subordinate members are set together in the same body. And if God has made all men for one another, as the constitution of things plainly indicates, the world, wicked as it is can present us with no vice more unnatural and detestable than selfishness. For what could any one amongst us have done, unless the Creator in his mercy had provided those, whose duty and pleasure it was to support us when we had no help in ourselves ? We bring into life no' faculty but that of signifying our wants; and the cries of an infant find a ready way to the heart of a parent. In our first years, the attendance of the mother is necessary; without which the tender plant must fade and perish: and the father is called upon for support and education till the years of manhood. Every child comes forward in the world under an obligation to repay the debt of gratitude upon other objects with some of that same kindness, without which he himself must have been lost: and the sordid wretch, who can gratify and indulge himself without any ,sense of this obligation, should have been left upon a common, there to cry to the winds and the elements, which have no sense of human weakness. “ Be kind to strangers,” said the Law, “ for ye were once strangers in Egypt*;" so may the moralist say, with parity of reason, support the weak, for ye were once weak as they are.
In virtue of this argument, the first debt is due to parents and all relations; but it extends to all mankind. Want and weakness, wherever they are found, carry their own recommendation to a benevo
* Deut. X. 19.