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EZEKIEL XXXVII, 1-10,
" The hand of the Lord was upon me, and carried me out in
the Spirit of the Lord, and set me down in the midst of the
valley which was full of bones,—And caused me to pass by
them round about; and behold there were many in the
open valley; and lo, they were very dry. And he said
unto me, Son of man, can these bones live? And I answer.
ed, O Lord God thou knowest.-Again he said unto me,
Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry
bones, hear ye the word of the Lord.
Thus saith the Lord God unto these bones, Behold, I will
cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live,-And I
will lay sinews upon you, and shall bring up flesh upon you, ,
and cover you with skin, and put breath in you; and ye
LIBERAL CHARITY STATED AND RECOMMENDED
ON THE PRINCIPLES OF THE GOSPEL.
2 COR. IX, 6.—LAST CLAUSE.
He which soweth bountifully shall reap bountifully.
THE Scriptures abound in a great variety of the most beautiful images, and figurative allusions. These are sometimes employed as the only fit conveyance of spiritual truths to our minds; some. times as apt and affecting illustrations of known truths; and sometimes to press them more forcibly upon our attention, and allure us into a more cheerful compliance with their design. In this and the preceding chapter the apostle urges the Corinthians to be charitable to the poor saints. By the most insinuating address he takes possession of every avenue to their hearts, and puts them under the pleasing necessity of yielding to
his generous design. However, lest covetousness should exert a secret counteracting influence, and suggest that the required liberality would subject them to a great and unproductive expence, he fully obviates the objection, without formally stating it, for he reprobates the gift bestowed with reluctance, and promises ample returns to the cheerful giver. The instruction thus given, needed not the assistance of metaphor, to render it intelligible: But it is admirably illustrated and enforced by the choice of a similitude, perfectly expressive of his intention. “ He that soweth
bountifully shall reap bountifully." As well might the husbandman look upon the seed, unspar. ingly scattered in his field, to be for ever lost, as the truly bountiful man suppose, that the riches, which, with a liberal hand he hath expended upon the poor, are thrown away. The expectations and returns in the one case, are not more reason. able and certain, than in the other. The general sentiment then is, that liberal charity shall receive a rich and full reward. I leave the metaphor to illustrate this sentiment. Such a subject cannot be unsuitable, when met to give our countenance and support to a charitable institution, great in its designs, and extensive in its operation. We
pay a just, respectful, and grateful tribute to the memory of its first founders, and to the present members of the very respectable society, whose unceasing exertions and influence have been so honourably and successfully employed in following out the original scheme, when we assemble at their desire, to worship that God, who alone can crown their labours of love, and our co-operating charity with a rich and effectual blessing. To direct and animate our prosecution of this important object, I shall endeavour, through divine grace, First, To delineate the character represented in the text; and Secondly, To illustrate the meaning and design of the promise annexed.
Let us begin with calling your attention to the character here represented,
66 He that soweth “ bountifully,” in other words, the man of liberal · charity
And I observe, First, That this is a character formed and perfected under the influence of su. preme regard to God and the Redeemer. No character can acquire any established distinction by a single action, or a few occasional exertions. These must be uniformly called forth by some