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and recognized as the fruits of the spirit, we enter into a still higher, because more spiritual and divine enjoyment. “ The peace of God, “ passing all understanding, then keeps the heart “ and mind through Jesus Christ.” The Christian, “ examining himself, and proving his own “ works, rejoices in himself, and not in ano" ther.” When he tries his experience and conduct by the scriptural marks of genuine Christianity, and finds that his charity is not the consequence merely of good nature, or facility of temper; that it is not a sudden emotion produced by the incidental spur of the occasion, but a fixed and gracious principle implanted and cherised by the Holy Spirit, such evidence of the power of the gospel, and of supernatural grace, convinces him of his interest in the favour of God. Having this confidence towards God, he reaps bountifully indeed, being strengthened in his assurance of the approbation and love of his heavenly Father. “ He knows that he has “passed from death unto life, because he loves “ the brethren.” “ The spirit thus witnesseth “ with his spirit that he is a child of God; and “ the effect is joy, unspeakable and full of glo. “ry.” What renders the acquisition of this joy
the more valuable, is its inseparable connexion with spiritual improvement. “ The joy of the “ Lord is our strength.” Health, vigour, and exertion, have not a more certain mutual influence than spiritual enjoyment, activity, and improvement. As bodily strength is increased by exercise, and work done at first with much disculty, becomes easy by persevering application; so repeated mental exertions, and the frequency of active duty in life, produce these good habits, which mark a consistent and improving character. These are the natural effects of all the gracious operations of a fanctified mind. “ We “ work out our salvation with fear and tremsibling; for it is God who worketh in us both “ to will and to do of his good pleasure *.” What Christian can take this connected view of these increasing confolations in divine love and growing holiness, without finding that he that Joweth bountifully Mall reap bountifully?
. ADD to this, in the second place, the blessing and prayers of those who receive your help.
* All this is beautifully set forth in the short but com. prehensive history of the churches in Judaca, Galatia, and Samaria ; A&six. 31. by the Apostle's prayer for the Colofians, i. 9.–13. and by Peter, 2 Ep. i. 2.-}2.
These, as they are often expressed by common
ore n umes
In the third place, the promise in the text holds up, as a farther inducement to liberal cha. rity, a richly varied and extensive prospect of good to the world. Christian charity first turns its kind and compassionate eye to the poor saints. These are brethren for whom Christ died. His love to them is not diminished by the permission of their poverty and afiliétions; for these, as they are intended trials of their faith and patience, so are they of your charity to them, and your love to him. The stronger then, and more numerous testimonies of regard you show to him in his poor fuifering members on earth, the greater glory redounds to him through their thanksgiv. ing, the greater profit to your own souls by their prayers, the greater advantage to the church by their restored assistance, and the greater good to the world by their example.
But I must beg your attention to very different scenes. Your reward is great in contributing to the victories and triumphs of faith over adversity, but greater still if you consider the various efficacy of prudent liberal charity, extended to the poverty and distresses of those who are strangers to the faith, and hopes, and comforts of the gospel--their situation is truly deplorable. To struggle with
want, disappointment, and din ress, proves often a hard and alarning confli& to the rcal Christian ; and it is a glorio:is office to hold up their hands till they conquer, and call us to divide the spoils. But how dreadful and dangerous is the state of the poor and afflicted who are yet in their fins ? They are not, however, beyond the reach of divine mercy, and ought not therefore to be cxcluded from our chariiy. Yea, we are encouraged in this exercise of it by the most inviting prospect of extensive usefulnels among human beings, wretched in theinfelves, and posts in fociety. By meeting the needy with a scalonable supply, the truly bountifulman may prevent a powerful and often ruinous temptation, or check the progress of a criminal and dangerous properfily. By furnishing the means of fubtinence, and proper incitements to inclufry, bie my fave from despondency, recover from feebieness and indolence, awaken to virtuous feasibility, and restore to active and useful cxertion. The blefling conferred upon one may frequently extend to many. Relief io the parent ruy bu ilie preservation of the family. The children religiously educated, and trained to uscful employment, will contribute to the welfare of the community.