« ZurückWeiter »
it ought to teach the proudest heart a lesson of deep humility. For surely, when I reflect that I am, every day and hour, the pensioner of heaven's bounty; when I consider, that the same God, who to-day gives fruitful showers, and blesses the increase of our land, can to-morrow, as it is expressed in scripture, “make the heaven 56: that is 'over our head to b
brass, and the * carth'that is under us, iron;" I cannot but be sensible, how poor and helpless a creature I am: - I cannot but he sensible, how weak and foolish are all the pretensions of supercilious pride and vaunting ambition ;-I cannot bút be sensible of the truth of that ancient remark, that man, in his best estate, is altogether vånity. So long, then, as thou art forced, day by day, to ask bread of thy God, think not highly of thyself, nor despise thy poor brother, who, however low in thy esteem, is upon a level with thyself before the throne of God, in making this petition. Nor, on the other hand, can the poor have a greater consolation to their sufferings, nor a stronger motive to their frequenting the house of God, than to reflect, that they are here on a level with the greatest of mankind; and that a time is shortly coming, when they may be ranked, not only with the highest of mortal men, but even with angels and archangels.
5thly, Whilst we implore of God a supply of daily bread to ourselves, let us learn to commiserate and relieve the distresses of our afflicted brethren. God has various ways of conveying his blessings and bounty to mankind :--to some they descend in rain and fruitful showers, which make the vallies to laugh and sing :-to others they are conveyed in prosperous gales, which bring the long-expected vessel into the haven where she should be. But many, alas! are doomed to receive their daily bread from the hand of human benevolence. The man, therefore, who withholds from the poor that relief, which heaven wisely designed them to receive through his hands, is unfaithful to his trust, and contradicts the intention of providence, which certainly meant, that the abundance of the rich should be a supply, I do not say for the profligate vagrant or sturdy beggar, but for the honest and industrious, but unfortunate and distressed poor and needy. And surely we shall appear with an ill grace before the throne of God to request farther blessings from him, if our conscience tells us, that we have been guilty of misapplying those we have already received ;-if the cries of the fatherless and widow bear witness against us, that we have neither fed the hungry, nor cloathed the naked. And many, I fear, indeed, there are, who stand in need of this relief: for
thuugħ, as I before observed, the lazy and the vicious constitute the bulk of those, who labour under the evils of poverty ; yet, when we consider the common accidents of life, to which thousands are daily exposed; when we reflect upon the unavoidable misfortunés incident to évėry profession, we cannot wonder to find, in á wide-extended world, too many deserving objects, who call for our protection and assistance.
Whilst, then, we kneel to God for our daily bread, let it touch our hearts to reflect, that there are many, who are as much the children of God as ourselves, who in earnest want a morsel of bread. Let us not, therefore, grudge them the crumbs which fall from our tables, the small and scanty superfluities of our abundance. Let us not think it much to have spared one article of superfluous ornament or luxury, or to have been absent from one place of expensive diversion, for the sake of having it in our power to have relieved a poor member of Jesus Christ. Let us now and then retire from the circles of extravagant and voluptuous gaiety, to converse with the more wretched part of our speciés,--the melancholy inhabitants of hospitals and cottages, the unsheltered guests of cold streets, the unpitied prey of famine and disease.
They They will not, indeed, entertain our eyes with the magic of theatric representation, or delight our ears with the syren voice of melody; but they will teach our hearts a lesson of invaluable wisdom;---tliey will teach us to remember what wretched beings we are, when left to ourselves, and how much we are indebted to that providence, which has placed us above the stings of want and the miseries of dependence, by supply.
our daily necessities with daily bread.
Lastly, Whilst we ask of God, day by day, our daily bread, let it admonish us of the uncertainty of life, and of every thing we possess in it, andy therefore, of the necessity of attaining that bread of life, which he that eateth shall never hunger. Our Saviour no where teaches us to take thought, that is, I mean, anxious thought, for the morrow.' He well knew, that we are but creatures of a day, and that the present moment is all we can call our own: He, therefore, thought it sufficient for us to ask for present support, leaving futurity to the disposal of him, who governs the changes and chances of life. It will become us, therefore, to live daily in a sense of our uncertain condition, to form no distant schemes of pleasure or ambition ; but rather, whilst it is yet in our power, to prepare for that great and awful change which awaits us,-knowing that the tenure of life, like the supply of our bodily wants, is but from day to day.
: Whilst, then, we bend the knee to God for that daily bread, which is the necessary support of our trail and feeble bodies, for a few years, let us remember also to request that nobler spiritual food, which is necessary for the comfort of our souls, through ages as unlimited as their own existence ; that when the great and terrible day of the Lord shall come, it may not find us unprepared; but that, having done the will of God on earth; having bid adieu to all those wants and infirmities, which uow bring us, day by day, to ask our bread of God; we may be received into those mansions of glory, where the сгу. row and the cravings of hunger are not heard; where all tears are wiped from all faces ;-and where that God, who is now hidden from us in impenetrable darkness, will condescend to admit us to the fullness of joy in his presence for evermore.