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58 THE NOTICE CRISTIANITY TAKES OF THE Poor, &c. contemn that rabble, whether for or against us*.”

Thus we see the contempt with which these gentlemen treat the poor and illiterate part of mankind. They display the reality of the imposture, by being solicitous to accommodate themselves and their system to the prejudices, the habits, and wishes of the affluent. As the better sort seem to be their object, what is to become of the rest? They never pretended to enlighten them, but leave them to the apostles. What a mercy they are not cast off by them!

Let us now view briefly the system of infidelity : we shall find that as unsuitable and hopeless for the poor. The poor man is often consoled with the thought that he is the creature, the dependent, and the servant of Cod; but what can he derive of happiness or joy from a system that tries to render this first article doubtful or unimportant; that leaves him in the dark how he may serve God or enjoy his favour, and how he may be freed from alarm and danger. What benefit can he reap from a system, which renders it doubtful whether his soul be immortal or not; and as the issue of all his present toils presents him only with a vast void for eternity; and gives no better ground for security against future misery, ihan the foolish fatal counsel to keep himself easy, and believe there is no such thing? Sorry comfort indeed!

The rich are often attracted to this system, because it flatters their pride; - it consults their prejudices, it gratifies their wishes, and whispers peace to them, and seeks to ease them of present alarins. Thus they gratify their vanity, and pursue their pleasures with greater cagerness, - approach eternity with greater indifference, — and, though hastening to an awful crisis, fiel perhaps less present alarm. But this system is as insufficient for them as for others. The question still returns, Where are its vouchers and authorities ? It leaves its votaries in the greatest uncertainty; and as these things, which they dread, may prove true, it leaves them in that case without remedy, and utterly without hope.

Let us now consider the suitableness of Christianity to all ranks, and particularly its amiable attentions to the poor. Our Lord and Saviour gave this as one mark to the disciples of Johm the Baptist, that he was the true Messiah. When their Master had sent them to ask if he was “ he who should come, or if they should look for another," — the Saviour answered them, saying,

Go and shew Jolm again these things which ye do hear and see ; - the blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them.” Thus the poor were principal objects of the attention of Jesus. But had Jesus been an inu postor, he would not have adapted his religion to the capacities of the vulgar, nor have manifested so much concern

# See Abbe Barruel's Memoirs of Jacobinisan,

The poor

THE NOTICE CHRISTIANITY TAKES OF THE POOR, &c. 59 about those who had so little to recommend themselves to his regard, and who could be of so very little advantage to him. If he had been an impostor, merely seeking his own interest and aggrandizement, he would have endeavoured to recommend himself and his religion to the notice of those who, from their fortunes or their stations, might have thrown a lustre on his cause, and have contributed, by their influence, to its advancement. His conduct manifested the most undoubted integrity, and displays the most disinterested benevolence. have the gospel preached to them. It is as if he had said, They have no recompence to give ; - no worldly inducement on their side draws my notice or regard, but I pity their wretched

The gospel shall be preached to them. The good news is too important to be hid; -- they are too interesting to all to be hid designedly by any. The Lord has manifested peculiar and disinterested benevolence for the poor. Job observes, respecting the kindness of God to the poor, that “ He saveth the poor from the sword, from their troubles, and from the hand of the mighty. So the poor hath hope, and Iniquity stoppeth her mouth *. “ God accepteth not the persons of princes, nor regardeth the rich more than the poor." The Lord'delivers the poor, and saves them from their enemies. “ He shall judge the poor of the people, he shall save the children of the needy, and shall break in pieces the oppressor. For he shall deliver the nerdy when he crieth ; the poor also, and him that hath no helper. He shall spare the poor and needly, and shall save the souls of the needly. Ile shall redeem their souls froin deceit and violence; and precious shall their blood be in his sigut t." “ The Lord will deliver them from all their troubles, and rescue them from all their enemies " “ The Lord will abundantly provide for the poor of his people, and supply all their wants || . The Saviour's coming bad a special reference to the poor; therefore, he says, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath atiointed me to preach the gospel to the poor ; -- he hath sent me to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, - to set at liberty them that are bruised to preach the acceptable year of the Lords.' 66-All this was the fulfilment of prophecy 1.” The Lord takes care of the comforts of the poor, and leaves such injunctions respecting them as shew the amiable spirit of his religion. He gives his people reason to expect that the poor will always continue to be objects of their sympathy and benevo, Jenice. I will also leave in the midst of thee an afflicted and poor people, and they shall trust in the name of the Lord **." When some had expressed indignation because the woman pouroul the ointment on the Saviour, because it niight have been sold and given to the poor, he replied, “The poor ye have with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good; but me ye have not always *.” It is made a proof of want of love to God, wherever want of benevolence to the poor is discovered + : the Lord hath chosen multitudes of the poor, and shall exalt them for ever.

ness.

* Job v. 15, 16. + Psal. Ixxii. 4.19.-14. # Psal. ix. 18. xxxiv. 6, 3 įsa. xxv. 4. || Psal. cxxxii. 15, 16. Isa. xlj. 17-20. { Luke ir. 18,17 $154. xj. 4. xxix. 18-21. Txi. 1-3. ** Zeph, iii. 1%.

The poor have the gospel preached to them, for it is peculiarly suitable to them. . It puts them in possession of the true richies; it discovers to them an Almighty Saviour, and a sovereign remedy in his blood for the diseases of their souls ;

it rescues them from the fears and dangers they are exposed to by iniquity, and, as the issue of their troubles below, gives them the prospect, through Jesus Christ, of perfect happiness above.

The poor are also the people who pay most attention to the gospel. The great often treat religion as beneath their notice ; but the poor often feel a want which this alone can supply, and, being sensible of their want, rejoice in what they find in the gospel. It is no objection against the gospel that it suits the case and draws the attention of the poor. They are the most numerous and needy part of mankind. A religion which bad left them unprovided for, would have been liable to material objections.

Remember, that though it suits the poor, it is as necessary for the rich. It would, hy bringing to their view a Saviour, deliver them from the follies, the delusions, and the dangers which surround them, and which otherwise must ruin them. URIEL,

* Mark xiv. 7.

† 1 John ii. 17-19.

# James ii. 5. Psal. cxiii, 7, 8,

ON MAKING CONTRIBUTIONS FOR BUILDING

CHAPELS, &c.

I have long regretted the painful, humiliating, and fatigue ing way in which ministers from the country are compelled to seek the assistance they need for building or repairing places of worship. Whilst I would bear my testimony to the liberality of the London professors in general, having frequently experienced it; yet it is well known how many a weary step, many a buffet, many a sour look they meet with in the course of their travels. 'Not to notice also the inconvenience to their

people, in being deprived of their pastor's labours for so long a time; the harm often done to the minister, especially if popular; and the frequent uneasiness which springs up in churches during the shepherd's absence.

I have sometimes wished that a society could have been formed or granting this necessary help; but this is impracticable, for the following reason, among others : Those who now, in cona quence of personal application, the solicitation of friends, or Local attachments and interests, give perhaps from tento twenty guineas annually in this way, would content themselves in lieu of that, with subscribing one or two guineas to the society.

I am looking forward with pleasure to the projecte association of all the congregational churches throughout the kingdom, as likely to remedy this evil in a very easy and simple way.

I would recommend that a collection be made every year by all the churches and congregations throughout the association, according to their ability. This fund to be under the manage ment of a respectable committee in London, to which all applications for assistance are to be made. That no congregation shall receive any help, but those who have contributed.

In this way, there is little doubt of the committee being able, not only to give all necessary assistance to those who may want it for rebuilding, enlarging, or repairing, but that they will be enabled to look out for those dark districts, both in London and the country, where places may be built with great prospect of success.

S.

ON THE
EXCELLENCE OF THE CHRISTIAN RELIGION,

AS A SOURCE OF NATIONAL HAPPINESS.

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Sir,

To the Editor. The following Essay was originally intended as introductory to a Series of

Essays on the Universal Pre-eminence of Christianity. If you deemn it worthy of a place in your useful Publication, it is at your service.

WHEREVER the majority of a people are allowed to remain in a state of ignorance and vice, there undoubtedly the greatest deficiency of national happiness is to be felt: -a fact which no theorist on government can reasonably dispute : it has proved itself in numerous instances, and is founded on the experience of ages. No administration can be safe, no social intercourse can be maintained, where no hold is to be laid on the mind of the people ;--and such is the mind that is ignorant and vicious. Unawed, unrestrained, by religious impressions, it is ready to break out into the wildest extravagances. It feels not, nor acknowledges, any reverence for divine authority, and, therefore, affords no security for public utility or social happiness. No law of mere human appointment, no edict published by a mortal prince, will ever avail to check the excesses of mankind, or reduce thein to rational obuience. God him. self has raised barriers against the depravity of human nature, and when these are impiously broken through, the greatost

disorders in morality, and the most awful calamities that can befal a nation, are certainly to be dreaded.

It is a grand characteristic of our holy religion, that it is calculated to promote the mutual good of a whole community and of every individual member, of the Sovereign, and of the pation. It teaches the duties of all; -- it considers the whole Face as one great family, of which God is the Father : - disregarding the petty distinctions that originate among themselves, it enforces bis authority as Supreme ; -- without respect of persons or offices, it delivers his precepts to the world, withi sanctions which none but the Deity can give, with threatenings whose terrors, and with promises whose invitations, are equally extended to all. It addresses itself to the conscience and judgment of every man; and, where the corrupting influence of prejudice las not prevailerl, it carries conviction with it. The unbiassed mind perceives and acknowledges the beauty and harmony of its parts, -its admirable suitableness to the various wants and interests of our nature, - and the sublime ideas it communicates of the great Ruler of the world, and the mag. nificent system of his operations.

The tendency of the Christian religion to promote the happiness of mankind, appears from the broad principle on which it uniformly recommends and inculcates every social duty. What can be more inimical to every species of bigotry and exclusive benevolence, than the spirit that dictates such precepts

• Whatsoerer ye would that men should do unto you, likewise unto them ; follow peace with all men:

if your brother should offend you, forgive him; I say not seven times, but seventy times seven ; — love your enemies; bless them that curse you; do good to them that hate you; and pray for them that despitefully use you and persecute you.” These are evidently nothing less than the dictates of the Deity himself. They breathe the benevolence of the divine mind, and are alone sufficient to establish the superiority of the religion of Jesus over every other system of ethics, which the strongest efforts of unassisted reason have presented to the world. Christianity has exposed the crrors, as well as refined and confirmed the truths, of ancient philosophy. Many good things have been said by some of the ancients, who, from an attentive and shrewd observation of human nature, have been able to think justly, and to digest certain excellent rules for the rectitude of our conduct. These, so far as they are founded on truth and utility, are acknowledged in the Christian system. But how far cloes it exceed the philosopher in the recommendation of moral virtues! If he can say, “It is not enough to abstain from the act, we must avoid even the thought of mischief:” the Christian assents, but rises much liigher in sublimity of sentiment: “Be not overcone of evil,” says lie, 66 but overcome evil with good :-- if thinc enemy hunger, foed bim; if he thirsta

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