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forms of novel, and poetry, and dramatic ther, and this is the point at which he is
will be the benevolence of those who have But the contrast does not stop here. The directed it to a building not made with benevolence of the gospel is not only at an- hands, eternal in the heavens. This, then, is tipodes with the visionary sons and daugh-the point at which the benevolence of the ters of poetry, but it even varies in some of gospel separates from that worldly benevoits most distinguishing features with the ex- lence, to which, as far as it goes, I offer my perimental benevolence of real and familiar cheerful and unmingled testimony. The life. The fantastic benevolence of poetry is one minds earthly things, the other has its now indeed pretty well exploded ; and, in conversation in heaven. Even when the the more popular works of the age, there is immediate object of both is the same, you a benevolence of a far truer and more sub- will generally perceive an evident distincstantial kind substituted in its place the tion in the principle. Individuals, for exambenevolence which you meet with among ple, may co-operate, and will often meet in men of business and observation-the be- the same room, be members of the same sonevolence which bustles and finds employ-ciety, and go hand in hand cordially togement among the most public and ordinary ther for the education of the poor. But the scenes, and which seeks for objects, not forming habits of virtuous industry, and where the flower blows loveliest, and the good members of society, which are the stream, with its gentle murmurs, falls sweet- sole consideration in the heart of the worldly est on the ear, but finds them in his every-philanthropist, are but mere accessions in day walks-goes in quest of them through the heart of the Christian. The main imthe heart of the great city, and is not afraid | pulse of his benevolence lies in furnishing to meet them in its most putrid lanes and the poor with the means of enjoying that loathsome receptacles.
bread of life which came down from heaNow, it must be acknowledged, that this ven, and in introducing them to the knowbenevolence is of a far more respectable ledge of those scriptures which are the kind than that poetic sensibility, which is power of God unto salvation to every one of no use, because it admits of no applica- who believeth. Now, it is so far a blessing Hon. Yet I am not afraid to say, that, re- to the world that there is a co-operation in spectable as it is, it does not come up to the the immediate object. But what I contend benevolence of the Christian, and is at vari-for, is, that there is a total want of congeance, in some of its most capital ingredients, niality in the principle-that the moment with the morality of the gospel. It is well, you strip the institution of its temporal adand very well, as far as it goes; and that vantages, and make it repose on the naked Christian is wanting to the will of his mas- grandeur of eternity, it is fallen from, or ter who refuses to share and go along with laughed at as one of the chimeras of fanatiit. The Christian will do all this, but he cism, and left to the despised efforts of those would like to do more; and it is at the pre- whom they esteem to be unaccountable peoCise point where he proposes to do more, ple, who subscribe for missions, and squanthat he finds himself abandoned by the co-der their money on Bible societies. Strange operation and good wishes of those who effect, you would think, of eternity, to dehad hitherto supported him. The Christian grade the object with which it is connected! goes as far as the votary of this useful be- But so it is. The blaze of glory, which is nevolence, but then he would like to go fur-thrown around the martyrdom of a patriot
or a philosopher, is refused to the martyr- fan orthography for wandering and untudom of a Christian. When a statesman dies, tored savages. They have given a shape who lifted his intrepid voice for the liberty and a name to their barbarous articulations; of the species, we hear of nothing but of the and the children of men, who lived on the shrines and the monuments of immortality. prey of the wilderness, are now forming in Put into his place one of those sturdy re-village schools to the arts and the decencies formers, who, unmoved by councils and of cultivated life. Now, I am not involving inquisitions, stood up for the religious liber- you in the controversy whether civilization ties of the world; and it is no sooner done, should precede Christianity, or Christianity than the full tide of congenial sympathy and should precede civilization. It is not to admiration is at once arrested. We have what has been said on the subject, but to all heard of the benevolent apostleship of what has been done, that we are pointing Howard, and what Christian will be behind your attention. We appeal to the fact; and his fellows with his applauding testimony ?as an illustration of the principle we have But will they, on the other hand, share his been attempting to lay before you, we call enthusiasm when he tells them of the apos- upon you to mark the feelings, and the tleship of Paul, who, in the sublimer sense countenance, and the language, of the mere of the term, accomplished the liberty of the academic moralist, when you put into his captive, and brought them that sat in dark- hand the authentic and proper document ness out of the prison-house? Will they where the fact is recorded-we mean a misshare in the holy benevolence of the apos- sionary report, or a missionary magazine. tle when he pours out his ardent effusions We know that there are men who have so in behalf of his countrymen ? They were at much of the firm nerve and hardihood of that time on the eve of the cruelest suffer- philosophy about them, as not to be repelled ings. The whole vengeance of the Roman from the truth in whatever shape, or from power was mustering to bear upon them. whatever quarter it comes to them. But The siege and destruction of their city form there are others of a humbler cast who have one of the most dreadful tragedies in the transferred their homage from the omnipohistory of war. Yet Paul seems to have had tence of truth, to the omnipotence of a name; another object in his eye. It was their souls who, because missionaries, while they are and their eternity which engrossed him. accomplishing the civilization, are labourCan you sympathise with him in this prin- ing also for the eternity of savages, have ciple, or join in kindred benevolence with listed up the cry of fanaticism against him, when he says, that “my heart's desire them-who, because missionaries revere the and prayer for Israel is that they might be word of God, and utter themselves in the saved ?"
| language of the New Testament, nauseate
heite, and other South Sea islands; and Mr.
Missions to Africa and the East, who reduced the
zons in Greenland; the latter in Labradore, I be given.
abundantly in their way, redeem from scorn | effectually to your patronage. My time the purer and the nobler principle which will only permit me to lay before you a few inspires them.
of their advantages, and I shall therefore These observations seem to be an appli- confine myself to two leading particulars. cable introduction to the subject before us. I. The man who considers the poor, inI call your attention to the way in which stead of slumbering over the emotions of a the Bible enjoins us to take up the care of useless sensibility, among those imaginary the poor. It does not say, in the text before beings whom poetry and romance have us, Commiserate the poor; for, if it said no laid before him in all the elegance of ficmore than this, it would leave their neces-titious history, will bestow the labour and sities to be provided for by the random ebul- the attention of actual business among the litions of an impetuous and unreflecting poor of the real and the living world. Besympathy. It provides them with a better nevolence is the burden of every romantic security than the mere feeling of compas- tale, and of every poet's song. It is dressed sion-a feeling which, however useful for out in all the fairy enchantments of imagery the purpose of excitement, must be con- and eloquence. All is beauty to the eye trolled and regulated. Feeling is but a faint and music to the ear. Nothing seen but and fluctuating security. Fancy may mis- pictures of felicity, and nothing heard but lead it. The sober realities of life may dis- the soft whispers of gratitude and affection. gust it. Disappointment may extinguish it. The reader is carried along by this soft and Ingratitude may embitter it. Deceit, with delightful representation of virtue. He acits counterfeit representations, may allure it companies his hero through all the fancied to the wrong object. At all events, Time is varieties of his history. He goes along with the little circle within which it in general him to the cottage of poverty and disease, expatiates. It needs the impression of sen- surrounded, as we may suppose, with all sible objects to sustain it; nor can it enter the charms of rural obscurity, and where with zeal or with vivacity into the wants the murmurs of an adjoining rivulet accord of the abstract and invisible soul. The with the finer and more benevolent sensiBible, then, instead of leaving the relief of bilities of the mind. He enters this enthe poor to the mere instinct of sympathy, chanting retirement, and meets with a picmakes it a subject for consideration- ture of distress, adorned in all the elegance Blessed is he that considereth the poor-a of fiction. Perhaps a father laid on a bed grave and prosaic exercise I do allow, and of languishing, and supported by the lawhich makes no figure in those high bours of a pious and affectionate family, wrought descriptions, where the exquisite where kindness breathes in every word, and tale of benevolence is made up of all the anxiety sits upon every countenance-where sensibilities of tenderness on the one hand, the industry of his children struggles in and of all the ecstacies of gratitude on the vain to supply the cordials which his poother. The Bible rescues the cause from verty denies him--where nature sinks every the mischief to which a heedless or un-hour, and all feel a gloomy foreboding, thinking sensibility would expose it. It which they strive to conceal, and tremble brings it under the cognizance of a higher to express. The hero of romance enters, faculty-a faculty of steadier operation than and the glance of his benevolent eye ento be weary in well-doing, and of sturdier lightens this darkest recess of misery. He endurance than to give it up in disgust. turns him to the bed of languishing, tells It calls you to consider the poor. It the sick man that there is still hope, and makes the virtue of relieving them a matter smiles comfort on his despairing children. of computation as well as of sentiment; Day after day he repeats his kindness and and in so doing, it puts you beyond the his charity. They hail his approach as the reach of the various delusions by which footsteps of an angel of mercy. The father you are at one time led to prefer the in- lives to bless his deliverer. T'he family redulgence of pity to the substantial interest ward his benevolence by the homage of an of its object; at another, are led to retire affectionate gratitude; and, in the piety of chagrined and disappointed from the scene their evening prayer, offer up thanks to the of duty, because you have not met with the God of heaven, for opening the hearts of gratitude or the honesty that you laid your the rich to kindly and beneficent attentions. account with; at another, are led to expend The reader weeps with delight. The visions all your anxieties upon the accommodation of paradise play before his fancy. His tears of time, and to overlook eternity. It is the flow, and his heart dissolves in all the luxoffice of consideration to save you from ury of tenderness. all these fallacies. Under its tutorage, at- Now, we do not deny that the members tention to the wants of the poor ripens of the Destitute Sick Society may at times into principle. I want, my brethren, to have met with some such delightful scene press its advantages upon you, sor I can in to soothe and encourage them. But put no other way recommend the society whose the question to any of their visitors, and he claims I am appointed to lay before you, so I will not fail to tell you, that if they had
never moved but when they had something him into a thousand inconsistencies. He like this to excite and to gratify their professes to love the name and the senhearts, they would seldom have moved at blance of virtue, but the labour of exertion all; and their usefulness to the poor would and of self-denial terrifies him from athave been reduced to a very humble frac-tempting it. The emotions of kindness are tion of what they have actually done for delightful to his bosom, but then they are them. What is this but to say, that it is little better than a selfish indulgence-they the business of a religious instructor to give terminate in his own enjoyment--they are you, not the elegant, but the true represen- a mere refinement of luxury. His eye tation of benevolence—to represent it not melts over the picture of fictitious distress, so much as a luxurious indulgence to the while not a tear is left for the actual starvafiner sensibilities of the mind, but according tion and misery with which he is surto the sober declaration of Scripture, as a rounded. It is easy to indulge the imaginawork and as a labour-as a business in tions of a visionary heart in going over a which you must encounter vexation, op- scene of fancied affliction, because here position, and fatigue; where you are not there is no sloth to overcome--no avarialways to meet with that elegance, which cious propensity to control-no offensive or allures the fancy, or with that humble and disgusting circumstance to allay the unretired adversity, which interests the more mingled impression of sympathy which a tender propensities of the heart; but as a soft and elegant picture is calculated to business where reluctance must often be awaken. It is not so easy to be benevolent overcome by a sense of duty, and where, in action and in reality, because here there though oppressed at every step, by envy, is fatigue to undergo-there is time and disgust, and disappointment, you are bound money to give-there is the mortifying to persevere, in obedience to the law of spectacle of vice, and folly, and ingratitude, God, and the sober instigation of principle. to encounter. We like to give you the fair
The benevolence of the gospel lies in ac-picture of love to man, because to throw tions. The benevolence of our fictitious over it false and fictitious embellishments, writers, in a kind of high-wrought delicacy is injurious to its cause. These elevate the of feeling and sentiment. The one dissi- fancy by romantic visions which can never pates all its fervour in sighs and tears, and be realized. They embitter the heart by idle aspirations—the other reserves its the most severe and mortifying disappointstrength for efforts and execution. The ments, and often force us to retire in disone regards it as a luxurious enjoyment for gust from what heaven has intended to be the heart—the other, as a work and busi- the theatre of our discipline and preparaness for the hand. The one sits in indo-tion. Take the representation of the Bible. lence, and broods, in visionary rapture, Benevolence is a work and a labour. It over its schemes of ideal philanthropy-the often calls for the severest efforts of vigiother steps abroad, and enlightens by its lance and industry-a habit of action not to presence, the dark and pestilential hovels be acquired in the school of fine sentiment, of disease. The one wastes away in empty but in the walks of business, in the dark ejaculation--the other gives time and trou- and dismal receptacles of misery-in the ble to the work of beneficence-gives edu- hospitals of disease in the putrid lanes of cation to the orphan--provides clothes for great cities, where poverty dwells in lank the naked, and lays food on the table of and ragged wretchedness, agonized with the hungry. The one is indolent and ca- pain, faint with hunger, and shivering in a pricious, and often does mischief by the frail and unsheltered tenement. occasional overflowings of a whimsical and You are not to conceive yourself a real ill-directed charity-the other is vigilant lover of your species, and entitled to the and discerning, and takes care lest his dis- praise or the reward of benevolence, betributions be injudicious, and the effort of cause you weep over a fictitious represenbenevolence be misapplied. The one is tation of human misery. A man may weep soothed with the luxury of feeling, and re- in the indolence of a studious and contemclines in easy and indolent satisfaction-the plative retirement; he may breathe all the other shakes off the deceitful languor of tender aspirations of humanity; but what contemplation and solitude, and delights in avails all this warm and diffusive benevoa scene of activity.-Remember, that virtue, lence, if it is never exerted-if it never rise in general, is not to feel, but to do; not to execution-if it never carry him to the merely to conceive a purpose, but to carry accomplishment of a single benevolent that purpose into execution; not merely to purpose-if it shrink from activity, and be overpowered by the impression of a sen- sicken at the pain of fatigue? It is easy, timent, but to practise what it loves, and to indeed, to come forward with the cant and imitate what it admires.
hypocrisy of fine sentiment to have a To be benevolent in speculation, is often heart trained to the emotions of benevoto be selfish in action and in reality. The lence, while the hand refuses the labours vanity and the indolence of man deludel of discharging its offices-to weep for
amusement, and to have nothing to spare It is not the impulse of high and ecstatic
plain, and sober, and substantial reality,