Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

strive against them;” but if you fall into the spirit of selfishness, and keep it up; if you fall under the dominion of pride, and stick to it if you fall into the ways of uncharitableness, and will not be convinced that you are uncharitable or malicious; if you are acting as an un regenerate man acts, you are not a Christian. When you commit sin and defend it, and love it, you are not a Christian. To be a discipl of Christ is to be patient under affront. It is, being reviled, to revil not again. It is to follow the example of Him who prayed, “Father forgive them,” in behalf of those who were piercing Him with a speai and destroying Him. The command is, "Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, pray for them that despitefully use you and persecute you, that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven.”

No man can be a Christian without having a Christian spirit. Iti the condition of the heart that determines whether you are a Christian or not. Being a Christian is not being faultless ; it is not being un temptable; it is not being in a state in which you will not stumbl nor fall; it is being in that state in which you recognize the hateful ness of sin, and seek to overcome it. Taking the soil

, uncultivated a it is, and subduing it, and putting in the right kind of seed, and giving it the right tillage, and then waiting patiently for the harvest—that i what makes you one of Christ's husbandmen.

ܪ

man.

stranger

A CHAPTER ABOUT CHAPELKEEPERS. The number of people qualified to the intervals of the service. Then be chapelkeepers is not overwhelm- too, whatever may be said in favou ing There may be two or three in a of sparrows and swallows, it is not community; sometimes there are the tidy chapelkeeper who suffer not more than one, and often there the spider to weave a web for himsel are less.

under the altars of God. The good chapelkeeper is a tidy The good chapelkeeper is a polite house-keeper; he has a womanly When you come a horror of dirt; he is aware of corners within his gates, he meets you more in every pew, and his broom never than half-way. He puts himself in cuts across them. There are old your place, with a smile and a bow niches behind the pulpit, too, where that make the very vestibule seen rubbish is prone to gather. If the like home. It is a positive pleasure eyes of worshippers could sometimes to visit some chapels, to enjoy the penetrate the polished mahogany or welcome of the chapelkeepers. W the carved walnut of a pulpit front, have in mind a chapel not so blesset they would be painfully reminded of in its chapelkeeper. We never fel the whited sepulchre and its contents. quite at home till out of his hands Crumpled notices, dust-rags, half- he meets

us with a scowl, seems in burned matches, church manuals, wardly annoyed at our coming, broken-backed hymn-books, a dirty finally beckons us off with an air thai tumbler, a pitcher without handle seems to say, “If you must trouble -these are some of the bones of the us, sit there!” Then we are glad dead which stare the minister in the because we have got by Cerberus, face, and give him inspiration during The good chapelkeeper is a

and

thought

il man. He never lays the Bible on gently remonstrates with strangers he desk the wrong end up. We who come early and insist on taking now a minister who has to reverse the best seats in the house. He uis Bible and hymn-book every Sun- beams patientlyupon the retiring conlay morning. The chapelkeeper gregation, one of whom cheers him lusts the books standing below the with the remark that “the house was lesk, and replaces them correctly like a barn," and another, that "the rom his own stand-point, but not house was like an oven.” He hears rom the minister's. The thought- all degrees of temperature from sixty ul chapelkeeper keeps an eye on the to eighty prescribed, demanded, and pulpit

, and responds to the slightest denounced; yet his own blood flows ign for an interview. The thought- calm and cool. He is patient, too, ful chapelkeeper does not wear heavy with his committee. Stoves need or musical boots. He aims, too, to repairing, and even replacing, occamanipulate the windows or yenti. sionally, leaks call for attention; lators before sermon; and when he but if he is a good chapelkeeper he must come between the preacher makes his nineteenth application to and listener, he times the interrup

the committee with the same detion so as to make it the least possible ference as the first, and feels, when it annoyance to both. He does not is granted, that he has received a scale a window-seat, nor balance personal favour that he never dealong a pew-back, in the midst of an served. In a word-and what more illustration or appeal from the desk; can be said-the good chapelkeeper be does not come forward with a pair is as patient as his minister; for of steps and a lighted candle, to he has the same multitude to please, xindle the pulpit lamps during the and the same variety of complaints last words of the sermon-the to reduce to their lowest terms. preacher would rather be blind than Finally, the good chapelkeeper is see at such a cost.

a pious man. He loves the house The good chapelkeeper is a patient because he loves the Lord; and this man. He never gets angry with the makes him ever jealous for its most unreasonable people in the honour, its order, and its fitness. world. He stands complaints with Happy is the Lord's doorkeeper who, the placidity of an angel. He opens with all the drudgeries of its office, windows for a fur-clad lady, and and with its often unworthy pay, shuts them again for a bald-headed finds his duty thus glorified by his man, with equal composure.

He love; and happy are the church sympathizes with people who want and pastor who call such a man fresh air without a draught, and Our Chapelkeeper.

CHEERFUL GIVING.

BY THE REV. J. DODWELL.

“ God loveth a cheerful giver.”—2 Cor. ix. 7. The Apostle Paul is here pleading with the Corinthians for a iberal contribution on behalf of poor saints at Jerusalem. He had reminded them of various things which might tend to increase their iberality; but he would not have them give unwillingly, knowing that such giving would be altogether unacceptable in the sight of dod, for love of whom Christians help each other. Hence, after

stating that whosoever soweth sparingly shall also reap sparingly while those who sow bountifully shall reap bountifully, he add “Every man, according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give not grudgingly, or of necessity : for God loveth a cheerful giver."

It is not, however, with a collection for poor saints that we hay now to do, nor indeed have we exclusively to do with collectio of any kind, but with the more general subject of giving to Go and His cause, whether it be of money or of anything else. 1 reasoning with the Corinthians in relation to the particular objet to which we have referred, our Apostle lays down a general rule, th consideration of which may be helpful to us in reference to variou matters; and we shall do well to ask ourselves individually thes three questions : What have I to give to God and His cause? Ho should I give it? and, Why should I give it thus ?

I. Let us ask ourselves the question, WHAT HAVE I TO GIVE 1 GOD AND HIS CAUSE?

It may be unnecessary here to attempt any refutation of the notio that God needs anything at our hands; but still it is very desirab] that the opposite idea, that God is entirely independent of us, shoul be firmly established in our minds. God is the fountain of blessed ness, having within Himself a perfect sufficiency of everything good so that He cannot personally need anything from us; and witl respect to the accomplishment of His purposes, not only would Hi own arm be sufficient for Him, but He has in His housebold a vas number of servants of perfectly suitable abilities, and of entir consecration to His service, by whom He might do all His pleasur without any help from man. Nor, strictly speaking, is it possib for us to give anything to Him, seeing that all we are and have belong entirely to Him; and though we should keep back nothing, but yiel ourselves and all our possessions most absolutely to Him, we shoul only give to Him of His own, and consequently could not boast having enriched Him in any way. This needs to be observed befor we enter upon the subject of giving to God, in order that we ma be humbled before Him, and made willing to confess that we ar always unprofitable servants, and can never do more than it is ou duty to do.

Nevertheless, such is the condescension of God, that He is please to look upon our offerings, and even to request the same, as expression of our love to Himself; and hence, it must surely be one of or greatest pleasures to bring them to Him. Let us therefore pond the question, What have I to give to God and His cause ? not those who are afraid of being shown their duty in this respect, b1 as those who are desirous of knowing how much it is possible for the to do in this direction.

To this inquiry we now hasten to reply, that, in the first plag we must give our hearts to God. Upon this observation we dest to lay especial stress; for we fear that some have never laid th essential foundation of all true giving to God and His cause, wa nevertheless look upon themselves, and desire others to look upon them, as liberal contributors to all that is good. We repeat, the giving of the heart to God is the essential foundation of all true giving to Him; for, if this be withheld, we can hardly be said to give anything to Him; and it is certain that nothing we give can, without this, be acceptable to Him. God accepts our gifts simply as expressions of love to Himself; hence the motive is of far more importance than the gift, and the gift will not prove acceptable if the motive be impure. If any look upon what they have given to God's cause as wasted, we will not quarrel with them about the expression, for God has not accepted it at their hands; and if so, to what purpose is it that it has been professedly rendered to Him? Persons of this kind very forcibly remind us of Saul, and his rejection from the kingdom of Israel, because of his disobedience to God's command to destroy the Amalekites, with all belonging to them. Whilst he destroyed all that was vile and worthless in his estimation, all the best of the cattle, and everything that would be valuable to himself

, together with their king, who might have served to grace his triumph, he spared; pretending to have done so that he might offer the best of the sheep and oxen to God in sacrifice. But the Almighty could not be deceived in this way; nor could He accept sacrifice in the place of actual obedience; and so the word went forth, "Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord ? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.

Because thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, he hath also rejected thee from being king."

In the same way there are some who, while they neglect the great gospel command to believe on Christ with the whole heart, think to recommend themselves to God's favourable notice by giving of their substance to His cause. Let such be assured not only that salvation cannot be purchased in this way, but also that, because it has not been preceded by the gift of the heart

, and therefore does not proceed from a right motive, what they profess to give to Him, God is not pleased with, and does not accept. We must first give our hearts to the Lord, or it is absolutely impossible for us to give anything else to Him rightly and acceptably.

But when this is done, we must not suppose that our whole duty is performed ; nor, if our hearts be truly given to God, are we likely to indulge this supposition. Having given our hearts to Him, our love must constrain us to give him all else it is in our power to give. We must strive after such entire consecration as not to look upon anything We possess as our own, but practically to acknowledge that, as we ourselves are God's, so all we have belongs to Him. In expanding this thought, we are naturally led to remark, We should give of our substance to God, and that to such an extent as to show that we really look upon it as His. We firmly believe that a man has not anything like fully surrendered himself to the influence of Divine grace, if he is not, according to his means, truly liberal in his contributions

T

to God's cause and the carrying on of God's worship. Nor do we excuse any from this branch of practical godliness; believing that while the rich should give of their abundance, and even so as to feel it out of their abundance, the widow's mites should still be forthcoming, and the

poor should make sacrifices so as to give out of their poverty. And although, as to the particular way of doing this, perhaps particular circumstances must decide, there is no other plan which so well commends itself to our judgment, as that of systematically putting aside at least a certain part of everything we receive for this purpose, and so having always a purse for the Lord, which is not to be otherwise applied under any circumstances whatsoever.

We pass on to observe that we should give of our time to the service of God. With some this is the strongest test of love which could be applied. There are persons who would willingly give of their substance to God's cause, and not feel it half so much as they would feel it to give to it a few hours every week from the time which would otherwise be devoted either to their business or to the improvement of their minds. Far be it from us to find any fault with diligence in business or desire for intellectual improvement. Of the latter

, especially, we could wish to see much more than we are permitted to behold. Yet God's cause should stand before everything else in our estimation, and therefore even our time (that of course which belongs to ourselves and not to our employers) should be consecrated thereunto. Permit us to say, further, that our talents should be employed in God's service. We have not all the same talents, and cannot, therefore, all labour in the same way; nor, as there are so many

kinds of work to be done, is it desirable that such should be the case ; but, each in his own way, we should all, having first given our hearts to God, employ our talents in His service. With regard to this matter, some will have to do battle with an excessive modesty; for, although we could find it in our heart to speak very gently of this, it must be overcome if it would hinder us from giving all we might give to God's cause. And all our attainments, too, should be consecrated in the same way. Some may have attained to great skill in some particular business; let sucho consider how this skill may be used in God's service, and seek to honour Him with their best efforts. Others may have made considerable attainments in learning ; let these also bring all they have to the service of God, that it may be used for the accomplishment of His purposes. In one word, for we must not particularise further, nothing should be kept back from God; but the answer to our first inquiry, “What have I to give to God and His cause ?” must be, "Give Him first thy heart, and then give Him all thou hast.”

II. We now proceed to another question proposed for our consideration, How, OR IN WHAT MANNER, SHOULD I GIVE TO GOD AND His cause? and the Apostle answers the inquiry at once by saying, “ God loveth a cheerful giver.'

This evidently implies, first, that we should give without force.

« AnteriorContinuar »