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reminded. Good impressions, we know, are impaired in much less time than that of a year, by the cares and pleasures of life, and need therefore to be frequently retouched. Many hear with more effect than they read: many also may hear, who do not read at all: and of those who do read, numbers may read a new sermon, who never read the old, though "the old be better;" and, by coming into new hands, it may procure us new friends and allies. Fresh hints, and those of consequence, may be afforded by the occurrences and publications of the times. Fresh accounts are communicated of the progress made, to encourage the desponding; or of the farther supplies requisite, to give the opulent and generous an opportunity of furnishing them.
It is matter of general complaint, that the fervour and zeal which, at the commencement of a charitable institution, diffused warmth and splendour on all around, are but too apt, by degrees, to languish and die away, unless some expedient be employed periodically to revive and cherish the holy flame. Let me congratulate the Society on the additional circumstances of solemnity, devised, with equal benevolence and taste, to grace their anniversary, in the place where we are now assembled. The eyes and ears of all present will attest the propriety with which they have been adapted to answer the purpose
And respecting that part of the entertainment to be provided by the preacher, it is but doing justice to the subject to say, that, though in itself old, and "what we have heard from the beginning," to the
well-disposed mind it is ever new. No man is the less pleased to receive a visit from a much-loved friend, on the account of his having received many before. No man nauseates the meal of to-day, because one composed of the like salutary viands was served up to him a year ago. Should he do so, we well know where the fault must lie; not in the quality of the meat, but in the appetite of the eater.
To prevent any thing of the kind from taking place, let us strengthen and encourage one another by applying, as we may with great propriety do, the exhortation of the apostle to those who are engaged in forwarding the designs of the Society. Let us endeavour to show, that all such are engaged in well-doing, and therefore that they ought "not to be weary.
Manifold, in the present state of the world, are the wants of mankind; and the virtues of one part of the species, consist much in relieving the necessities of the other. It is the leading feature in his character, on whom angelic as well as human spirits are directed to fix their attention, that "He went "about doing good;" in other words, as the explanation immediately follows, "healing all that were "oppressed of the devil," and afflicted with the maladies and calamities introduced into the world by sin, of which that evil spirit was the author. An idea of a similar nature is always supposed to be conveyed, when we say of any person departed, that "he did much good in his life-time." Nay,
* Acts, x. 88.
to the great Governor of the Universe, we have no other way of giving the glory due, than by proclaiming, as we are enjoined to do, that "Jehovah is
good, and that his tender mercies are over all his "works"." Godlike are the labours of charity; and they who are employed in them are, without all doubt, employed in "well doing."
The external indigence of our fellow-creatures, as it strikes directly upon our senses, is apt to be first and principally noticed. The case of a brother or a sister destitute of food and raiment, of habitation, health, and comfort, calls upon us, for commiseration and assistance, in a voice scarcely to be resisted by the man, much less by the Christian. And to the praise of our age and nation be it spoken, no pains are spared to relieve all such objects of bodily di
But the plan of the Society extends farther, and penetrates deeper into the constitution of human nature. It enters the cottage of clay, and reaches the inhabitant contained within, the immortal guest doomed for a while to sojourn here below; succouring the infirmities and necessities to which, during such its temporary abode upon earth, the soul of man is become subject. For there is an inward and spiritual, as well as an outward and visible, poverty; and that we may conceive proper ideas of the former, the sacred writers have described it under figures and images borrowed from the latter. There is a species of food necessary for the support
b Psal. cxlv. 9.
of the mind, after which it is said to "hunger and "thirst." There are garments, with which the spirits of just men appear clothed and there is a state of the soul which, through all its powers and faculties, is a state of health and salvation. Nothing of a corporeal kind was certainly intended in that reproof given by the Spirit to the church of Laodicea—“Thou sayest I am rich and increased in "goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not "that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, "and blind, and naked." An attention to this intellectual distress and misery, and the proper methods of relieving them, is excellent in proportion to the value of the subject, and the more dangerous consequences of their being neglected; and therefore constitutes the sublimer part of charity. When Christ healed bodily diseases, he did it principally that he might manifest his ability to heal those that are spiritual:-"That ye may know that the Son of "man hath power on earth to forgive sins, he saith to "the sick of the palsy, Arise, take up thy bed, and
go unto thine house." With particular disorders of the bodily frame some are afflicted, and some are not; and they whom our Lord healed of one, yet died afterwards of another. The saying in which all men are interested, and which ought, therefore, "of all "men to be received," is, "that Jesus Christ came "into the world to SAVE SINNERS."
c Rev. iii. 17.
But surely in vain did he come, unless the knowledge of this salvation be conveyed to those whom it
concerns. This knowledge is not born with us, nor are we to expect it by inspiration from above. Heaven has revealed it once, but left it from thenceforth to be communicated by man to man. He whose lamp has been kindled, is enjoined to kindle those of his descendants, that so the Gospel may run and be glorified, to the end of time. This in-. deed has been the process ordained from the beginning; for of the patriarchal religion, derived from Adam by tradition, may that be said, which the Psalmist hath said of the same religion in sum and substance, as it was republished in writing by Moses: "God established a testimony, he appointed a law, "which he commanded our fathers that they should "make known to their children, that the generation "to come might know them, even the children "which should be born, who should arise and de"clare them to their children; that they might set "their hope in God, and not forget the works of "God, but keep his commandments"."
Through the degeneracy and apostasy of nations, losing the knowledge originally imparted to their ancestors, it will sometimes happen, that parents can no longer instruct their progeny, or educate them in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, in which they themselves perhaps have not been educated. Ignorance, instead of knowledge, is then transmitted from generation to generation, of which each grows worse than the preceding: till, at length, "darkness covers the land, and gross darkness the
f Psal. lxxviii. 5, 6, 7.