페이지 이미지
[merged small][ocr errors]

breast, who is not totally void of charity. I had therefore nothing to do, by way of using arguments to persuade to liberality; but my province was simply to state the peculiar claims of charities to public favour, and then leave the application in every instance to each man's breast. And the event proved the propriety of the plan. The text of my sermon was those sweet words of the Lord Jesus ; “ I am come that they might have life; and that they might have it more abundantly,” John X. 10.

As it is possible some reader may feel interested to know more particularly the outlines of this charity, it may not be improper to subjoin, that this school contains eighty children ; viz. forty-five boys, and thirtyfive girls, which are instructed in the principles of the church of England. The boys are taught to read, write, and cast accompts. The girls to read, write, knit, mark, and sew. In both schools they are annually clothed ; and when of proper age, are put out as apprentices. Since the first institution of this school, the number received into it hath amounted to one thousand nine hundred and twenty-seven. In which number, it is not the smallest recommendation of the charity, that there have been many, and some are now living, who have risen into very respectable situations in life, and have become truly honourable and useful members of society. I

pause in this place, to pay a small tribute of thankful remembrance to my much honoured friend, Mr. Simpson, of this parish; who, after the service of the church was over, constrained us to take refreshment, and, like another Publius, “received us courteously.”

[ocr errors]


The Lazarus Society hath for its treasurer, Mr. Gibbons, 95, Church Street, Bethnal Green ; by whom

I was solicited to preach for it; which I did on the afternoon of the same day, in the church of St. Matthew, Bethnal Green, from those words of the prophet ; which, according to my apprehension, seemed to be peculiarly appropriate, “ And they shall come that are ready to perish," Isa. xxvii. 13.

If the reader be unacquainted with the principles of this charity, he will be pleased, I think, with the relation of them. And I doubt not but that he will be led with me to wish, that a similar institution was formed in every large town in the kingdom. Figure to yourself, a number of humane and pious persons going daily in quest of misery among the haunts of wretchedness; not waiting with a coldness of indifference until application be made for relief from the numberless sons and daughters of affliction, but penetrating into cellars and garrets, where the poor hide themselves to conceal their shame, and where many of them literally pine away for want. Figure to yourself innumerable cases of this kind; and fancy also, as is truly the case, that the members of this charity are privately administering to such supplies suited to their perishing circumstances ; and this will afford some faint idea of the plan of the Lazarus Society.

But it were to give an imperfect idea of the outlines of this charity were the reader to suppose from hence, that the care of the body is the only object of its con

It hath still far nobler designs in view : the everlasting welfare of the soul comes in agreeably to its importance, for a larger proportion of the Society's attention. And when the visitors have searched and found out misery in all its various forms, and have administered to the pressing demands of the body, then they take occasion (and it must be confessed the season is peculiarly suited to it) to direct the objects of their charity to seek relief in the more interesting concerns of the soul. And I am authorized to add, that their


[ocr errors]

labours of love, in many striking instances (as may be seen on the records of their charity) have been blessed of God to the conversion of souls “ from darkness to light, and from the power of sin and satan unto the living God.”


The evening of this day was engaged in divine service, at St. Ann's, Blackfriars; where I preached from those words of Job, “Oh! that I knew where I might find him," &c. chap. xxiii. 3, 4, 6.

I found my mind impressed with a more than ordinary solemnity as I entered the pulpit of this church. When I recollected the venerable character of that faithful servant of God who had so often'occupied it; when I called to mind the labours of so great a man in this place; and when I considered, this very pulpit in which I now stand is the highly honoured spot on which dear Mr. Romaine stood, who is now with Jesus; a certain undescribable emotion passed over me, and induced sensations I had never before experienced.

Happy servant of Jesus! he hath realized the enjoy. ment of that blessedness, which is the portion of them 6 who die in the Lord.” He hath now known what it is to rest from his labours, and for his works to follow him.” He hath seen, and is continually seeing his works following him, in the happy effects of his labours here below, in every soul he now meets before the throne, to whom his ministry was blessed by the sovereign power of divine grace. And who shall say how many of this description whom he left behind have since entered into glory; how many unfinished, and apparently at that time, unanswered prayers for the conversion of sinners, whose souls lay near his heart, have since been answered by a prayer-hearing God in their salvation, and who have since mingled their songs with his to


redeeming grace in the church above? Rest, faithful servant! in the enjoyment of God and the Lamb, now thou art entered “into the joy of thy Lord !” And may it be my portion also to be as thou wert, “ the follower of them who now through faith and patience inherit the promises."


It was with no small degree of satisfaction to myself, that in the few labours of my ministry while in town, the preaching a sermon for the Religious Tract Society formed a part. I have seen the good effects of this institution in several instances, and therefore, might well recommend it to the public attention. This service I endeavoured to perform, on Monday evening, the 9th day of May, in the church of St. Antholin's, Watling Street, from those words of the apostle, “ In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, Colos. ii. 2.

If the reader be unacquainted with the nature and design of this institution, he hath a great pleasure yet to receive in the perusal of the last Annual Report of the Society, which is truly interesting. * They state, that upwards of one million two hundred thousand tracts have been already circulated since the formation of the society; and that very decisive testimonies have been received of the Lord's blessing

upon it.

It were devoutly to be wished that the plan was more generally known, and that it was yet carried into far more extensive execution: there are a great number of villages, where those useful little tracts might be dispersed with promise of the most happy effects. And it cannot be the question of a moment, but that great good would be diffused among the community at large, if pious persons made it their business to scatter them in every direction. It would certainly tend, under divine grace, to counteract the poisonous principles, which abound in the filthy and profane songs, and other modern trash, which of late have issued so abundantly from the press, to the subversion of all order, as well as of religion and morality.

* This was the Report for 1802 ; with a small tract, entitled, “ the Origin and Progress of the Society.'

Reader! I could wish to interest your feelings in this work of mercy: there can be no charity equal to that charity which hath for its object the welfare of immortal souls. If I give alms to a poor man to preserve him from starving, certainly the act is kind and deserving commendations: but it should be remembered at the same time, the preservation of a thousand or ten thousand from starving is mercy only to the body; which, whether relieved or not, can live but for a little while: whereas mercy to the soul of a poor perishing sinner is of everlasting moment; for in its eventual consequences, if blessed of God, it makes the soul happy for ever. And the man that is thus made instrumental in the Lord's hand of so much good, as the rescuing a soul from death, is truly performing the office of a ministering angel upon earth. And as there is nothing, in the whole scale of christian love and charity, which bears any kind of resemblance in point of value to this gracious employment; so is it worthy consideration, that in the word of God, the greatest promises are held forth to the performance of it,

“Let him know, (saith one of the sacred writers) that he which converteth a sinner from the error of his way, shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.” James v. 20. And another scripture saith, They that turn many to righteous

« 이전계속 »