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by a&ions more brilliant and observable. The former do good by services no less folid and subftantial. The labours of the poor contribute, as essentially as the benefactions of the rich, to the general support and happiness of human life. Neither class, without the other, could comfortably (ubfift. “ The rich and the poor meet together : the Lord is the maker of them all.”
God bestows an abundance on some, not for their fakes only, but also for the sake of the poor who are with them. Hence the rich are charged to “ be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate, and thus to lay up for themselves a good foundation against the time to come”-against the time, when, in the changes of human condition, it may be their turn to become poor ; or against the time of general retribution, when every one will receive according to his works.
When we give to the poor, we lend to the Lord, who, in due time, will amply repay the loan. We are to do good to all, and especially to them, who are of the household of faith. The poor, whatever may be their character, are entitled to our charity, because they are needy: the virtuous poor have the first claim, because they are worthy. He who receives a righteous man, in that name and character, will receive a righteous man's reward. He who shall give to a difciple of Christ a cup of cold water only, in the name of a disciple, and because he belongs to Christ, shall not lose his reward. Whatever is done for such, Christ accepts it as done for himfelf. If then we have this world's goods, and see a brother who has need, we are to consider, that the Lord hath need of a part of these goods for that needy brother. If in this case we shut up
our bowels of compassion, the love of Christ dwells not in us. We then love him indeed, and in truth, when, at his call, we relieve the diftressed, help the weak, and comfort the afflicted.
Christ has need of our abilities and services, as well as of our substance, in carrying on his work on earth.
His cause requires, that we dedicate ourselves to him, and openly profess our faith in him.
If there is need, that his church should be continued and his religion maintained in the world, there is need that some should enter into his church, and profess his religion. If none should be added to the church, it must expire with the short-lived beings who now belong to it. If the church should be discontinued, the means of religion would be dropped and loft, and religion itfelf cease and be forgotten; or exist only here and there in the folitary breasts of a few obscure and despised mortals.
Now if Christ has need of some to honour and maintain his religion, then every one, who believes it to be divine, should consider, that the Lord hath need of him.
Among those who have never publickly professed their faith in the gospel, there are many,
I suppose, who believe it is true, and wish it may be preserved for the general benefit of mankind. They could not, at once, reconcile themselves to the thought, that the gospel should be extinguished, and that those who enjoy it should degenerate into atheists, idolaters, pagans, or barbarians.
They could not easily make themselves willing, that their pofterity should grow up among such a horrible set of beings. Come forward, then, and join yourselves to the Lord declare your faith in him, and friendship to him ; for he has need of
you. If he needs any professors at all, why not you as much as others ? You excufe yourselves on one pretence and another : but may not every man excuse himself as well? Is there, in your case, any peculiar circumstance, which exempts you from the common obligations of religion? It all should excuse themselves, as you do, where would be the church where would be the religion of Christ?
When religion declines--when professors are few, and these few lose the ardour of their zeal and love-when churches become like societies of the world, then Christ has need of you to strengthen the interest, and restore the honour of his cause among men.
You withdraw from the church, or refuse to come into it, because you see in it so little religion, and so many unworthy members. But if its real ftate is such as you apprehend, and you have fo much more purity and zeal than others, then you are the very persons whom the Lord needs to fupport his languishing cause. Forsake not his church, when it is linking; but come forward ; strengthen it by your example, advice and prayers : come ; help to sustain it by your friendly concurrence with the few, who may perhaps be found as really concerned as you for its increase and glory.
Christ has need of some to preach his gospel ; and they who undertake this work, should be inAuenced by a sense, that the Lord hath need of them. Paul was influenced by this principle. He had better worldly prospects in a secular calling; but in no other profession could he do so much service for Christ. In the prosecution of his ministry, he chose to bestow his labours, not where they would be most lucrative to himself, but where they would most conduce to the fur
therance of the gospel. · He ftrove to preach, not where Christ was named, left he should build on another man's foundation ; but where the gospel had not been preached, or the ministry was not at that time enjoyed, that the word of falvation might be more extensively spread. He would not go, where the Lord had no need of him ; but where the ends of his apostleship might best be answered.
In times, when licentious opinions and corrupt manners prevail-when infidelity grows bold, and iniquity abounds, Christ has need of the active services of his faithful ministers and sincere friends, who are then to stand up with courage against evil workers, and bear testimony against those who make void his gospel. At such a time, if minifters are to stand foremost, yet they are not to stand alone. All who regard the truth are to strengthen and support them. The zealous Levites, seeing the necessity of a reformation in the church of God, said to Ezra, “ Arise, for this matter belongeth to thee : we also will be with thee : be of good courage, and do it.”
Warnings from a folitary voice have little effect ; and never less, than in those corrupt times, when the advocates for vice and error, by evil communications, and by the circulation of licen. tious writings, strengthen the hands of evil doers. “ Two are better than one; for if they fall, one will lift up his fellow.” Christians are to be fellow-helpers to the truth. Paul beseeches the brethren, for the Lord Jesus' sake, that they strive together with him.
Christ needs the service of those who are placed at the head of families.
The continuance and increase of his church depend on the faith and piety of the young and ris
ing generation, and consequently on the fidelity of parents to bring up their children in the nurs ture and admonition of the Lord. Children will not be prompted, by natural inclination, to seek after knowledge and virtue. They need instructions to inform their minds, and exhortations to awaken their attention. The Lord of the church has committed their education to the care of their parents; he requires, and he needs their diligence and fidelity in the execution of this great charge. Ordinarily they may expect that their faithfulness will be followed with a blessing, but their negligence with a curse, on their children, as well as on themselves. They who are early trained up in the way in which they ought to go, will pursue it when they are old : but children left to themfelves foon bring their fouls to ruin, and their parents to shame. If there be need, that your chil. dren should seekand serve God in their early years, and pass through life with wisdom and virtue if there be need, that they lhould become mem-' bers of Christ's church, walk in his ordinances, and work out their own salvation—if there be need that they should take up his religion, and hand it on to a future generation, then he has need of you to instruct them in his religion, and to lead them along in the way which he has mark. ed for them.
When family order is much neglected, he has more need of the services of the faithful to re. vive and restore it. If those around you treat with indifference fo necessary a branch of religion, be not carried away by their example, but say to them, as Joshua faid to the men of Israel, “ If it seem evil to you to serve the Lord, choose ye, this day, whom ye will serve : but, as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”