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harvest. Young persons should remember, that they are now in their spring time, the most important portion of their lives. Your capacity to acquire knowledge, and to retain what you learn, is now in its most perfect state. That obtained between the age of thirteen and twenty-three is never forgotten through life. Store your minds then, dear young friends, with useful knowledge. Do not while away this most important season of your life in mental indolence, unprofitable reading, or frivolous pursuits. Read instructive books, charge your souls with just principles of action, and especially with the knowledge of the divine word. Begin with religion in earnest. “Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth." Devote the best, the brightest, and the most interesting season of your life to the service of God. Say unto God from this time, “Thou art our Father, and the guide of our youth.” What trials in the course of events may await this country, none can tell. The murky waters of infidelity may sweep over it, or the furious torrents of persecution may desolate it; and only those who are “rooted and grounded in the truth, and stablished in the faith,” whose minds are familiar with the strong evidences of the truth, and whose souls are deeply imbued with true spiritual devotion, can abide the trial, stem the tide, and preserve this country and posterity from apostacy or ruin. Manhood or old age, however, may not be granted unto you, and then only can your life and your death be happy, as you know and serve the Lord. If these should be yours, then remember that as the season of youth is improved, manhood will be useful, and old age happy. What sort of a harvest, think you, will that man gather, who trifles away the spring time, and permits all kinds of weeds, rank and noxious, to infest the soil, and exhaust its strength, and then, towards the approach of Autumn, begins to attempt its cultivation ? If you neglect your minds now, weeds of poisonous nature and rapid growth will occupy it, and then what will be your latter end, but confirmed hardness of heart, or profound regrets that your lives have been spent, and your energies consumed, only in the service of sin?
Do we not discover, also, in this season, that which is an emblem of the resurrection at the last day? The same power that periodically “renews the face of the earth,” and calls, by his providential arrangements, the dead creation to life, the unsightly and the bare to clothe itself with new beauty, will then awaken the slumbering dead, and clothe his people in the garments of immortality. Were it not that the changes of Spring are familiar to us, we should admit that there was nearly as much of mystery and of difficulty in the one as in the other operation of the divine hand. The parallel indeed is recognized by the apostle in that beautiful passage, “So is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption : it is sown in dishonour ; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness ; it is raised in power : it is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body.” “Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for a new heaven and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness."
Let us then, in contemplating this beautiful season, adore the God of nature, and recognize his faithful, wise, and beneficent hand in all his works. Let us seek him as the God of grace, that he may revive us again, pour down upon us the dews of his he nly love, shine upon our souls with the bright and cheering beams of his life giving presence, and cause the gales of his Spirit to pass with gentle and refreshing power over the gardens of his Church.
“ Wake heavenly wind, arise and come,
Blow on the drooping field;
And fragrant incense yield.”
J. G. L.
THE RESPONSIBILITY OF PROPERTY;
OR, THE SUPPORT OF
THE CAUSE OF CHRIST AFTER DEATH.
"He being dead, yet speaketh."-Heb. xi. 4. The motto of the devoted christian is, “For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour : yet what I shall choose I wot not. For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better : nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you.”—Phil. i. 21–24. The prospect of usefulness made Paul willingly forego, for a time, the enjoyment of heaven. But men live after death, in the moral influence of their lives. An excellent writer has observed, “ We draw and are drawn in both good and evil. We can form no competent idea, at present, of the effects of good any more than of evil. What we do of either is merely the kindling of a fire; how far it may burn we cannot tell, and generally speaking our minds are little occupied by it. Who can calculate the effects of a modest testimony borne to the truth ; of an importunate prayer for its success; of a disinterested act of self-denial; of a willing contribution; of a seasonable reproof; of wholesome counsel; of even a sigh of pity or a tear of sympathy? Each or any of these exercises may be the means, in the Lord's hands, of producing that in the bosoms of individuals which may be communicated to their connexions, and from them to theirs, to the end of time !" With such overwhelmning views of the influence of human actions, we should not marvel at acts of “high consecration to God,” but rather marvel that the people of God in general appear so much to forget that it is written, “No man liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself."
The writer has been much impressed with the responsibility of property; and it has struck him that there are many brethren and sisters in our Churches and congregations, “ dearly beloved, and longed for, the joy and crown" of his ministers, who have not duly considered this very important subject. We will not presume to say, that wherever property is left among children or relatives, that a small portion, say a tenth or twentieth part, should always be consecrated to the cause of God; and yet it might be difficult, in the full view of the infinite importance of religion, and the
state of perishing souls at home and abroad, to prove the contrary. The language of Jacob is deserving of most serious consideration, “If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat and raiment to wear, so that I come again to my father's house in peace, then shall the Lord be my God: and of all that thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto thee.”—Gen. xxviii. 20—22. Jacob had a family of twelve sons and a daughter, but we may presume he fulfilled his vow to give the tenth of all that God should give him to promote his glory.
Are there not many persons who have property and no children to be heirs to it? Are there not many pious persons who have property and no relations who are particularly in want of it? The writer has his eye on persons of
this class upon his list of friends ;” and he wishes to “stir up their pure minds by way of remembrance.” “The righteous shall be had in everlasting remembrance.” We live after death by the influence of our example, the answers of our prayers, the maturity and success of our “work of faith and labour of love;" by our children rising up in our stead, or by what we bequeath to the cause of God in the world. “ The desire of a man is his kindness.” What is our “petition, or request,” or purpose? The Lord “ grant the desire of them that fear him, being mindful of his covenant.” There are many ways in which the cause of Christ may be promoted in life and after death. How is it, that in pious persons there are not “deep searchings of heart” to promote the interests of religion after death, even to the end of time? From instances of liberality that have passed under the writer's notice, how much might be done if all the Lord's people were to come to his cross “ with their silver and their gold,” an offering unto the Lord.” One might provide for the enlargement of the chapel, as was done a few years since at B; another, the erection of galleries, as at M; another might release the Church from pecuniary obligations, as was done at W— many years since, and how many of his children's children are now walking in the steps of his faith; another might promote the erection of Infant, Day, or Sabbath school rooms; or the erection of a small chapel in a dark village, or a neglected part of the town of their residence, &c. Endowments to chapels appear ultimately injurious, and the wreck of our Churches in the last two centuries, and its stagnant state in some endowed places at the present time, it is hoped will prevent a return of such a system. The Gospel does not want such aid, and seldom thrives long with it; men must support religion to be interested in its progress. It is not to be supposed for a moment, that these observations are intended to encourage the delay of usefulness to all the contingencies of mortality. Where it is practicable, how desirable to “make haste and delay not” every “work of faith and labour of love.” The elders of the Jews commended the Centurion to our Lord by saying, “He loveth our nation, and he hath built us a synagogue.” Who will “ go and do likewise ?"
But the writer would plead for India, and China, and Japan. Let them be rembered in life and in death. Let us prefer the interests of Zion to “our chief joy.” In how many ways might this great cause be promoted. The liberality of our beloved friends at St. Ives can never be forgotten by the friends of the Orissa mission. The names of Parkinson, Radford, Newberry, Payne, &c., who loved our mission in death, deserve “honourable mention. Who loves the perishing souls of men, and will provide for their spiritual welfare? Are there none of our beloved friends who could leave by will £3000, the interest of which should support an English missionary in China or India to the end of time? Does not the writer know, that some who read these lines are able to do this, and will be "verily guilty concerning their brother" if they do not do it? It is written on a very different occasion, “ Then began the disciples to say, Lord, is it I?" Others, of less property, might provide for the support of one, two, or three native evangelists, who would be their representatives in the heathen world, and the fruits of their labours would doubtless increase the happiness of their benevolent patrons even before the throne. “There is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.” A small bequest would support a native school, or provide for five or ten
orphans in one of the orphan asylums. One individual might provide for the annual distribution of 50,000 tracts and Gospels at the car festival of Juggernaut, till that Moloch of the east,
“ Besmear'd with human blood, and parents tears," shall be “ cast to the moles and the bats !" “ The liberal devise liberal things, and by liberal things they stand.” As it is written, “He hath dispersed abroad, he hath given to the poor: his righteousness remaineth for
Now he that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness.”—2 Cor. ix. 9, 10.
The records of the Church contain numerous instances of liberality. We have seen the vow of Jacob, “Of all that thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto thee.” The liberality of the people in the wilderness at the erection of the tabernacle, was such that it was proclaimed, “Let neither man nor woman make any more work for the offering of the sanctuary. So the people were restrained from bringing, for the stuff they had was sufficient for all the work to make it, and too much.”—Exod. xxxvi. 6, 7. David and his people, though prevented building the temple, made a deed of gift in their life-time, so munificent, that the aged monarch was " lost in wonder, love and praise,” exclaiming, “Who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able to offer so willingly after this sort? for all things come of thee, and of thine own have we given thee.”—1 Chron. xxix. 14. These contributions amounted to 8000 talents of gold, and 10,000 drams; and of silver 17,000 talents; of brass 18,000 talents; and of iron 100,000 talents. The talent of gold is estimated at £5075 158. 73d; the talent of silver, £342; the dram, or daric, about £1 sterling. How immense the contributions for the erection of the temple, that "holy and beautiful house" in which the fathers worshiped. Look at the liberality of Solomon at the dedication—“He offered unto the Lord 22,000 oxen, and 120,000 sheep. At that time Solomon held a feast, and all Israel with him, a great congregation, from the entering in of Hamath unto the river of Egypt, before the Lord our God, seven days and seven days, even fourteen days.” Look at the community of goods in Jerusalem among the primitive christians—“Great grace was upon them all. Neither was there any among them that lacked; for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold and laid them down at the apostles feet; and distribution was made unto every man, according as he had need.”—Acts iv. 33–35. Paul thus commends the Hebrew christians, “ Ye had compassion on me in my bonds, and took joyfully the spoiling of your goods, knowing in yourselves that ye have in heaven a better and an enduring substance." Who shall speak of the sacrifices of christians through their confiscations, imprisonments and persecutions? Look at the reign of terror in the ten great persecutions in the first ages of the Church. Let us come to our own land, and nearer our own times.—“A catalogue is said to have been made by an intelligent minister, of 60,000 persons who suffered for their religion during the reigns of the two brothers, Charles II. and James II., of whom 5000 died in prison. And on a moderate calculation, no less a sum than £14,000,000 was extorted from them by fines and levies. The reign of bloody Mary was innocent compared with this horrid period; whether we consider the number of victims, or the distress endured."* Here is the faith and patience of the saints. Now “the lines are fallen to us in pleasant places, we have a goodly heritage.” But does the liberality of the Church in time of peace equal the sacrifice of the days of warfare Are we as prompt to lay our property and influence at the feet of Christ, in the way of active devotedness, as in the days of persecution ? Peace has her triumphs as well as war, and how much more valuable! Let not the Church be backward to go up to possess the land," but embark her capital in this expedition. Let the words of the Latin poet now be verified,
“Una navis est jam bonorum omnium." As Martin Luther said, “If the cause be bad indeed, let us renounce it ; but if good, why do we make God a liar, who has promised it support? Does he make his promises to the wind, or to his people?”
The history of modern missions is fraught with interesting instances of liberality both in life and death. Look at the sacrifices of the missionaries. Peter, in the name of his brethren said, “We have left all and followed thee.” How many have left father and mother, brother and sister, house and land, for the sake of Christ. How many have laid down their lives in lands“ once blest by their labours, now embalmed by their ashes.” When the venerable Swartz was on his death bed, inquiry was made respecting his property, for he was a man whom the native rajahs and our own countrymen had “delighted to honour,” he nobly replied, “Let the cause of Christ be my heir !" and that cause in India now enjoys the fruit of his liberality. The late C. Grant, Esq., gave 10,000 rupees for the purchase of the Church of Kiernander, and gave it for the worship of God: this is now known in Calcutta as the Mission Church. When he died he gave the missionaries at Serampore 2000 rupees, and some land, on which native christians are now residing. G. Becher, Esq., presented our missionaries in Orissa with twenty acres of land, on which a christian village is rising. Carey, the father of modern missions, had the honour of dying poor, but "rich in faith, and an heir of the hope of eternal life.” Dr. Buchanan expended £2500 in premiums for prize essays on the revival of learning and religion in the East. He very forcibly says somewhere in his writings, “These are times when every thing a man has, which
may be in any way for the advantage of christianity, ought to be given to the world; for we shall soon die, and then all our thoughts perish,
Look at the state of the heathen. One of the brethren in Orissa writes, “O that christians in England did but see and feel half what is witnessed by missionaries; I am persuaded they would increase in their exertions. They would not sleep another night till they had done something to save those souls from death. So many of the wealthy members of our Churches would not go into eternity without leaving a large donation, or legacy, behind them for the missionary cause, if, before they died, they witnessed for one month only the moral condition and extreme wretchedness of poor heathens." Are not the claims of the mission greatly increased ? Who can reflect upon the state of China, that “world of souls,” without deep emotion? “Providence opening the way to 360,000,000 of pagans, and not try to send a General Baptist missionary! Who can think of this without agony? Who could bear the responsibility of refraining to try ?" The
* Taylor's General Baptist History, vol. i., p. 300. Vol.5.-N. S.