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that, whilst we were yet sinners, Christ | have nothing to do with enquiring died for us.”
whether the Irish are, what is termed, Thus far have I laboured to set before deserving of relief. They are in want, you the clear illustration of our text, and they are in wretchedness, and unlo trusting that you will all along have creatures who, like ourselves, had kept in mind those bearings of the sub- nothing but their want and their ject on the occasion of our assembling, wretchedness to recommend them to which I indicated in the early part of the guardianship of the Most High, this discourse. Once more I ask of you, want and wretchedness should be the where should we have been, where best passports when any of our lineage would have been the fathers, where the sue to us for succour. children, had the principle been applied Neither do I suppose that the preto us of unworthiness intercepting be sent is the season for enquiring into nefit, and of want of desert justly shut the possible neglect or misrule of the ting up the bowels of compassion? Is Irish peasantry, by those who are the it true, or is it not true, that when re- rightful lords of the soil. bellion was at its height, and corrup- be, or there may not be—I presume not tion most inveterate, and profligacy to decide—a want of attention to the most daring, the Son of the Eternal poor on the part of those whom God One came amongst us on a mission of hath made, in a certain sense, their mercy, and wrestled, and sorrowed, and natural protectors. If the charge be a agonized, and died, and all on behalf of just one, then the matter calls imperprodigals who had wasted their sub-atively for judicial interference—but of stance, and of infidels who were wed this I am persuaded that the day of ded to wickedness? Is it true, or is it starvation is not the fit day of legisnot true, that if God had dealt with lation—and that which we are bound us after our sins, and if he had rewarded to, as christians and as men, is to us according to our iniquities, the earth lighten the misery first, and to legislate beneath our feet must have been as against its recurrence afterwards. iron, and the firmament over our heads It were but to sicken you with the as brass; and we who now are the sons horrible recitals if I entered minutely and the daughters of beautiful hope, into the details of that fierce desola. for whom the present is paved with tion which is now wasting the westein loving kindness, and before whom the districts of Ireland. Thousands, yea, future expands itself in the spreading tens of thousands of our fellow men of the azure and vermilion, we must are enduring the sternest privations have been the heirs of a blasted inhe- which can fall to the lot of humanity. ritance, and have writhed through In the emphatic and piercing words weary years beneath the scorpion of the Book of Lamentations, scourge of despair, and have sunk tongue of the sucking child cleaveth to down in death with the worm of wrath the roof of his mouth for thirst-the gnawing at the core of the heart? young children ask bread, and no man “With what measure ye mete,” said breaketh it unto them.” “ They that Jesus himself, “it shall be measured be slain with the sword are better than to you again”-and we are bound to they that be slain with hunger-for take good heed that we apply not to these pine away, stricken through for our fellow-creatures in temporal con- want of the fruits of the field.” Ye cerns, a principle which must have con- are men-ye have heartsand these signed us to utter perdition, had it been hearts are not made of the stern stuff applied to ourselves in spiritual. We which is wholly impervious to the
enterprize which proposes, by God's | to-morrow the same quiet shelter. li assistance, to upheave that tremendous I brought tears, and intenseness of mass of ignorance which hath long entreaty, and vehemence of supplirested, as an incubus, upon Ireland. cation to the advocacy which I have The distress is temporary; but the re- undertaken, could I add any thing to lief, with which we meet it, must be that wail of distress which has been quickly administered—and it is an af- borne across the waters, the wail of fecting thing to be told, as we are by perishing thousands, a wail which an eye-witness, that the fields of the shall enter into the ears of the Lord suffering districts are now blushing of Sabbaoth, and bring down a curse with the promise of a plentiful harvest, upon ourselves if we give no heed to so that the peasantry lie down to die its accents ? on land, which yet a few weeks longer I have nothing to state but that the shall yield abundantly the means of cause is so peculiar and pressing, that subsistence. Alas ! if we aid them not every shilling churlishly withheld may during this little interval, the sun produce the death of a fellow.creature. may shine, and the showers may de. Yes, it is the life of multitudes for scend upon the rising crops, but they which I plead, and he who gives not who should have gathered the fruits to the full of his ability, I dare tell will have tottered into the grave, look him that he tampers with life, and does ing wistfully at the blossom which his part towards hurrying into eternity seemed to tell them to struggle yet a the souls of many of his brethren. little while with misfortune, and then And finally, I beseech you, beloved there should be food for father, and in the Lord, by the amazing love of mother, and child.
which ye have yourselves been the subWhat shall I say to excite you to jects—I beseech you, by the agony and liberality ? Eloquence would avail no- bloody sweat, by the cross and passion thing, if the cry of the famished prove of him who commended his love tonot a thrilling oratory. Pathos would wards you in that he died for you be an idle weapon, if you are not whilst you were yet sinners—I beseech moved by the thought of the old man you to open wide your compassions, and the suckling lying down in one and thus to show your obedience to common grave, and the grave itself the apostolic injunction : "beloved, if left, it may be, open, because the death | God so loved us, we ought also to love grasp is on others who will need one another."
DELIVERED BY THE REV. H. Mc NEILE,
AT ST. BRIDE'S CHURCH, FLEET STREET, ON BEHALF OF THE LONDON FEMALE
PENITENTIARY, JUNE 8, 1831.
Luke, xv. 2.--" And the Pharisees and Scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth
sinners and eateth with them."
If any of you had a transaction of your prospects; and if the nature of business with a man-a neighbour- your connexion with that man were business of such importance, as that such that, throughout the transaction, it involved all your property and all you were completely in his power, either to elevate you into affluence, to perplexing. Man is soothed into a leave you as you are, or to reduce you kindly view of the divine character to starvation, it is undeniable, my when he enjoys the bright sunshine brethren, that it would become a and the refreshing breeze ; but he is matter of lively interest with you to startled and alarmed under the thunascertain, upon good authority, what der-storm, when he hears of an earthwere the feelings and dispositions of quake or pestilence. Man is soothed that man towards you ; and you could into tender feelings towards the chascarcely be considered in your right racter of God when he enjoys health, mind if you would be content to go on peace, and prosperity, when all things without making any enquiry—if you smile around him, and his family, and could live without feeling any anxiety his friends and himself are happy; but respecting the feelings and disposi- | he is alarmed again, and perplexed, and tions of that man.
thrown into doubt about the God of Now there is no man in his senses nature, when a dear friend is seized that can deny that he is absolutely in with a racking disease, when a childthe power of God for the transaction a healthy, happy, lovely child—is of a business the most important seized from his view and laid upon which mortal man can transact—his the bed of sickness unto death. My business for eternity; that he is com
dear brethren, there is utter perplexity pletely in God's power, absolutely in the view that a man gets of God in and irrevocably so, not merely as to the book of nature ; no man, with whether he shall be raised to affluence only that book, ever yet loved God or reduced to want in this life present, when he was suffering pain. He might but whether he shall be exalted to have fancied that he loved what he the fulness of life and light in the called God in his hours of ease ; but conscious favour of a God of love when a living, acting Being exercising and of holiness, or whether he shall that power and that right which he be cast into the everlasting torments undoubtedly possesses over all his prepared for the devil and his angels. creatures, brings that man to pain, Can, therefore, any man be considered or suffering, or sorrow; no man with in his right mind who has no anxiety only the book of nature, ever had such upon the subject, no desire, no con- love to God as 'could survive the instraining desire, to ascertain, upon fiction of sorrow or of suffering. good authority, what are the feelings Where, then, shall we learn what and what are the dispositions of the God feels respecting us ? Oh, where living God towards him?
shall we ascertain, on good authority, How can we ascertain what God the mind and the heart of our God feels towards us? How can we ascer- towards sinful men? We read in the tain the mind of God towards man? Scriptures, brethren, that the eternal My brethren, the question is no light Son of the Father—the brightness of thing. There are persons who tell the Father's glory and the express us that we can learn of God from his image of his person—he hath declared outward works in the natural world; God. “No man hath seen God at but what can we learn ? Undoubtedly, any time, the only begotten Son, who we may learn that God is; but can is in the bosom of the Father, he hath we learn what he is? Can we learn declared him.” He hath come forth what his feelings are towards us? from the bosom of the Father, and
The information derived from the come into this world-he hath come natural world is unsatisfactory; it is into the visible creation that God's
creatures might see in him the mind -he that hath analyzed the feelings of God towards them. In the cha- of Jesus—he that hath traced the racter, in the language, in the conduct steps of Jesus—he that hath marked of Jesus Christ, we behold an index the tender sympathy of Jesus towards of the mind of God behind it—as it the afflicted mother, towards the were, the dial-plate which marks the weeping father—he that hath marked movement of the main-spring that is the ready reception that Jesus gave to invisible.
the poor thief, to the harlot, to the The character of Jesus Christ is publican, to every denomination of the outward and visible manifesta- sinners that he met in the streets of tion, to the world, of the heart of Jerusalem, or in the villages of Galilee the living God, from whom he came. - he that hath stood upon the Mount It is only here that we learn the true of Olives and seen the Saviour weepcharacter of our God. You have ing over the devoted city, and crying, heard already, that no man hath seen “Oh, Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that God at any time, and yet Jesus says, killest the prophets, and stonest them when Philip asked him to shew him which are sent unto thee, how often the Father, and said, “ Lord, shew would I have gathered thy children us the Father, and it sufficeth us. together, even as a hen gathereth her Jesus saith unto him, have I been so chickens under her wings, and ye long time with you, and yet hast thou would not”-he, my brethren, who not known me, Philip ?-he that hath has done this—has been tracing, anaseen me hath seen the Father ; and lyzing, examining, recognizing, and how sayest thou, then, shew us the becoming acquainted with the very Father ?" At first there seems some- heart, mind, the very soul of the thing like a contradiction in the words; | living God towards every man.
But but observe, my dear brethren, how it how God should have so loved man, is. The light wbich comes directly should be so tender, and kind, and from the throne of God is too power- affectionate, so willing to receive and ful for human vision. Even the sun, so willing to save-how the character the work of God's hands, is too of Christ should, indeed, be a faithful powerful, in his meridian splendour, for index of the mind of God; and how the eye of man to gaze upon; but we the world should continue as it is, after can see objects all around us ; here, at having such a revelation of God made this time, in this house, we can see to it; here is a mystery of ungodliness. the various objects around us, and it is to reach the root of this, to give some by the sun ; but then the light of the explanation of this, I must direct your sun is reflected upon those objects—it attention to the true nature of man's has fallen upon creation, in creation alienation from and enmity againt God. here it is softened and reflected from the Now, my brethren, let it be born in visible objects around, so that it comes mind, let it be carefully observed, that in such a way as is suited to our vision. there never was a man created but one.
The light from the throne of God has The whole human substance, compos. come upon creation in Jesus Christ. ing now the whole human race, was There it has assumed a form suited to created in one lump, and the hand of our vision; there, therefore, we are creation has never yet been extended taught to look, and there to recognize to the production of human substance. the true character of the living God. As every tree of the field was formed He that hath seen Jesus—he that hath in its full size, with its seed in itself, recognized the true character of Jesus and every beast of the field in like
manner, so man was formed of full, course inferior to Christ; but, in provgrowth, with his seed in himself, and ing Aaron to be inferior to Melchise. there never was a man created since. dic, mark how he does it. He tells All we are branches of one parent us of Abraham's meeting Melchisedec, root, unfoldings out of one parent bud. and recognizing his superiority, reWe are not separate creations, each ceiving a blessing from him, and paystanding distinct from the other, each ing tithes to him of all his spoil, now allowed to choose for himself—to he says, without controversy, he that choose whether he will stand or fall, receiveth the blessing is inferior to him whether he will have good or evil. No, who giveth it. But “ Levi,” said he, my brethren, evil was chosen in the who is the head of the priesthood of root, in the bud; and the very first | Aaron, “Levi was yet in the loins of moment of our unfolding into the dis- his father when Melchisedec met him." tinctness of personal existence is a mo- Levi's father was not born at the time, ment of evil. We are conceived in nor his grandfather, yet the apostle sin, we are born in iniquity. The first declares in this verse—the tenth verse breath we breathe is infected with the of the seventh chapter of the epistle to taint of the hospital in which our pa- the Hebrews that Levi was in the rents are, and we come at once under loins of his father when Malchisedec the full influence of the contagion. met him.”
The idea is the same, Nay, more than this, that which is “Unto the fourth generation.” In born of the flesh is flesh; the branch this statement which I have now conis like the root, the unfolding is like veyed to you concerning the whole the bud, the stream is like the foun- human race, the statement in the fifth tain ; as soon as we be born we go chapter of Romans is general—the idea astray.
is particularized in the seventh of HeThis statement, my brethren, lies at brews; and we maintain, on sound the root of much theological explana- Scriptural authority, that we have rea. tion. Allow me, therefore, to confirm son for saying that the whole race it by referring you to two passages of sinned in Adam ; so that it is not holy Scripture. The first is in the merely that we follow the example of fifth chapter of the epistle to the Ro- Adam, as the Pelagians vainly think, mans, the twelfth verse, where the and as our Scriptural church article Apostle Paul says, that “As by one condemns, but that we are all guilty man sin entered into the world, and in Adam's guilt, as well as involved death by sin ; and so death passed in Adam's contagion and ruin. upon all men, for that all have sinned.” See, then, my brethren, where we And, in order to assist us in the inter- have come to, and in what condition pretation of these words, “all have we find ourselves, without any act or sinned," I refer you to a passage in choice of our own—I mean without the seventh chapter of the epistle to any act or choice of our own in disthe Hebrews, where the apostle is tinct personality. It was the deli. arguing concerning the superiority of berate act, it was the choice and the the priesthood of Christ over the wickedness of Adam in the aggregate. priesthood of Aaron. In order to con- And now, observe, the human race is firm that statement, he quotes those to be considered in two points of view, passages of Scripture which declare and as such it is addressed in the Christ to be a priest after the order of Scriptures—it is addressed as God Melchisedec. He then proves Aaron made it, “Behold, it was very good" to be inferior to Melchisedec and of -and it is addressed as it marred