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The Pastor's Office is of a very diffi- The one passage,
“God loveth a cult and delicate character. In hardly cheerful giver,"applied to the bequests any particular of his manifold duties of many who leave their thousands, is it more necessary to exercise true and sometimes their tens of thousands, wisdom, combined with perfect faith- to religious or other societies— would fulness, than when a minister has to for ever brand the gift as a comparadeal with wealth,-its duties and re- tively worthless appropriation of that sponsibilities as a gift ; its danger which they can enjoy themselves no as an abused and squaudered pos- longer, and which they care not to session, or an equally abused and divide amongst those who may have hoarded treasure. It is not for mi- long hoped to share in their wealth. nisters to enter into the private In far too many instances they leave affairs of their people, and to ex- of what they have never given ; and tract either from the living or the in too many an instance also, they open dying, unwilling gifts for the ser- the flood-gates of a hoarded treasure, vice of God: in their private deal- penuriously shielded from diminution ings with the wealthy of their focks, either by that proper liberality to the utmost caution and scriptural cir- their fellow-men, or that kind and cumspection must ever be observed, generous aid to those whose claims were that exhortations to alms-giving and strong and natural, which would have good works, present not the shadow saved some from many a pang, and of a resemblance to the fraud and perhaps have saved some from ruin. pillage so often practised by priests of We speak not here without the warthe Roinan communion.
rant of facts. Entirely unconnected The pulpit is the place for open
ourselves with such cases in the reattack upon the love of money—the motest degree, we yet know of insin of covetousness, which is idolatry. stances where we could hear only There the preacher is bound to de- with pain of the large amounts left claiin against that “lading with thick as bequests for the service of God. It clay," which not only is a perversion is not for
is not for us to judge the state of those of the gifts of God, and curses those who have thus, after death, allowed who do so, but which also prevents a their wealth to circulate, and to be large amount of good from being done spent in doing that good which they to the souls and bodies of men. themselves cared but in a small mea
Some instances of large and “ sure to aid in accomplishing while livnificent bequests," which the organs ing. Did these circun:stances occur in of our religious and charitable insti- the case of those who were professed tutions have from time to time re- worldlings during life, we might percorded, have led us to a consideration haps imagine that the compunctions of the subject. In some cases we have of a newly awakened conscience upon been behind the curtain, and as we a dying bed might have demanded read the records of the posthumous from the rich man or the rich woman, gifts of wealth, we have wondered that they gave to God what they had what blessings could rest either upon withheld while living, or perhaps that the givers or the gifts.
some vague idea of a heaven to be
bought, might have induced the be- alms-giving, both for the service of stowal by will of a heavy sum as a God and man, is made a matter of kind of purchase-money. But in far to-day and not to-morrow, the duties and too many a case, those who thus give, advantages of the latter it are not only members of our Churches be our lot either to discharge or enjoy, but pass current as real Christians; Work while it is called to-day, is a call dropping, it may be, into the coffers of upon the rich man to put out his motheir respective churches the occa- ney to that best of all investments, sional mite of aid, altogether out of the service of Him who gave it him. proportion to the wealth they nurse " While we have time we are to do during a long life-time. They let life, good unto all men;" and there can “the seed-time for eternity, pass be no question that this doing of good away, as far as their span of probation consists in the free, liberal, and cheeris concerned, without themselves sow- ful distribution of our wealth, while ing the seed with which they have we have it, in those divers ministrabeen entrusted, and for the right use tions that proceed out of love-love of which they are responsible. What shewed for Christ's name sake, tois done with their possessions after wards the many members of His one they are gone is no act of theirs; and body, every where, and in every vaif they have left what they kept as riety of circumstance. long as they could, God may bless His These remarks are of course not inrecovered possession, but the act of tended to apply in the slightest dethe covetous is not recorded in the gree to those, who, while they live, book of God's remembrance as a deed give openly or secretly, according to of faith and love.
the full measure of their yearly inIn these days of Gospel light and come, and then may provide by will, universal profession, it is not without after the proper consideration for regreat pain that these vast accumula- latives, for the appropriation of the tions and hoardings by such persons source of that income in large amounts are brought to light, when their pos- to charity. Of such there are noble sessors have been removed by death instances, who, while living, have from their long-loved treasures; and given first themselves to the Lord, we cannot but imagine that our bre- and then have accounted themselves thren in the pulpit, and that the agents but stewards of the gracious gifts of of our large societies, do not place the time, and talents, and wealth, which subject in its proper and deeply mo- He has lent them for a time. To such mentous aspect before the congrega- the beautiful language of Job, retions and individuals with whom they capitulating the blessings which fell come in contact. Too much is made upon him as he walked forth among of posthumous bequests, a false libe- those whose burden of suffering it had rality, when the period for withhold- been his joy and privilege to lighten, ing is gone for ever ; and by far too has once and again been a kindred little is brought before their people of source of secret joy. They have given the deep importance of giving while we from the overflowing of that cup of live, according to the ability which mercies which their heavenly Father God has given us.
has put into their hands; and ever as Like every thing else in Scripture, they go forth to minister to the poor, to the sick, and the dying, or dispatch who are rich in this world's good, the the secret or open gift to some chan- solemn charge “that they be ready nel through which their brethren in to distribute," and the solemn warnthe flesh may have the body warmed ing, that they who keep locked up
till and fed, and the mind enlightened, - death their golden stores, are guilty and, above all, the soul illuminated of the sin of covetousness, which is with tidings of a Saviour and His idolatry and separates from God. dying love,—they have felt “ thrice “Give WHILE YOU LIVE" must be the blessed” in the thought, that while motto for the speeches and addresses they have ministered to man, He who of our missionary and other agents ; was the Son of Man, accepts the ser- through the length and breadth of the vice as done for Him.
land they should let their voices be O that we could penetrate into the heard, plainly telling rich Christians chambers of those whose heaps of gold that present help is not only most vaare daily accumulating; whose funds, luable to their purposes and objects, and lands, and houses, are bringing but is also most acceptable to that them in a rich revenue for earth, but God who gives power to get wealth, are weighing down their souls with a and who expects His people to give weight of riches which vanishes at as freely as they have received. the magic touch of death, and leaves “ Riches take to themselves wings them poor indeed. These may think, and fly away;" a short time, and a while they in secret hug their bankers' very slight combination of circumbooks or their rent-rolls, that they stances may deprive the possessor of will one day astonish the world, and his ability to leave a shilling where gratify many a religious society by he had anticipated to bestow thoularge bequests: the world may long sands; and if the wealth remains, it have regarded them as rich Christians, has happened, and may happen again, spending little, — and that perhaps that the will may be wanting to give grudgingly and penuriously, even in a to God a fraction of what they once world which gave them their wealth; intended to set apart for His service. the societies and the Churches with The pulpit, the platform, and the which they have been connected may press, must speak loudly and plainly have for a long series of years been as to the use and abuse of riches. crippled in their means, while they These media must not fear to tell have received but scanty aid, or per- whose is the silver and the gold, and haps no aid whatever, from these for what purpose God gives to every hoarders of God's gold and silver. man what He will.
Let, then, GIVE WHILE YOU LIVE,” Again, it is not the will of God be the words which drop from the that His service should be promoted preacher's tongue, as he pleads for the by money screwed together and varied sources through which God hoarded by hands niggardly regardallows His creatures to act as Hising every outlay in the necessary exalmoners in providence, and instru- pences of life. God will have His ments in His purposes of grace. people liberal to man as well as to There ought to be no keeping back of Himself; He has given us the history this plain duty for fear of man, but of the transaction between David and the pastor must ring in the ears of all Araunah as a lesson that we are to
emulate the large heartedness of Da- not done for Him, or under proper vid in refusing to give to God that circumstances, many a “munificent which costs him nothing.
bequest,” and accepts and treasures It is a sad detraction from the value up the little mite, accompanied by the of many an offering to God, to hear it uplifted prayer that a blessing may said with truth that the givers are, or rest upon efforts to rescue man from have been, mean and penurious in distress and suffering, or souls from their dealings with their fellow-men, eternal ruin. and have given or left behind them, During the coming year let this be what they ought to have been first the motto of Christians who may in liberal with in their proper spheres of various degrees be rich,–We will give life. God looks not at the amount while living, cheerfully, what we can, only of an offering, but estimates it and leave after death what we ought; according to the motive and the cir- and all our giving shall be from love cumstances under which it is given; to Him who gave Himself for us, and He refuses many a
customary gui- hath with Himself freely given us all nea" and accepts the humble and things richly to enjoy. hard-earned shilling; He rejects, as
THE GOOD MINISTER'S STUDY,
AND FAVOURITE PASSAGE OF HOLY SCRIPTURE.
(A leaf from a Portfolio.) What ought a christian minister's of Ballaugh, in the Isle of Man. At study to be, but a sanctuary for inter- page 19 of that sermon, Mr. Stowell course with the " Father of Lights ?” says, “ There was no passage of Scrip
- holy ground, consecrated by prayer, ture which more frequently dwelt and other pious exercises, to the ser- upon his mind and glowed upon his vice of the Redeemer ? What, but a tongue, than ‘God is LOVE ! This dispensary of light, and life, and happi- most touching sentence, printed in ness? What, but the storehouse of an large characters, and surrounded with almoner of God's bounty—of “the rays of light, was hung up in his pribread of life which cometh down vate study,--that retreat which had from heaven?” Sho not its sa- so often proved to him the House credness inspire feelings of venera
of God and the gate of Heaven,'tion; saying to the multitude,- whilst you could not enter, but it “ Stand off. ye vulgar, nor profane visible in the life of him who so de
met your eye; scarcely was it less With bold, unhallow'd sounds, this holy lighted in the sentiment; it lightened scene ?"
his every load, endeared his every Ought not its walls to reflect the duty, made self-denial pleasant, and images of virtue within, and echo the infused a sweetness into the bitterest voices of truth without?
cup allotted him to drink,-constrainThoughts like these, and reflections, ing him, even amid gushing tears and the writer was led to entertain, by thrilling agony, to say, Father, * Thy reading a sentence or two in a fun- will be done!' ral sermon, preached sometime ago The same emphatic words, if conby the Rev. Hugh Stowell, of Sal. stantly imprinted on the memory of ford, on occasion of the death of his “ the man of God," or blazoned on most excellent father, formerly rector his study wall, so as continually to meet his stedfast look, would help to keep alive a spirit of piety in his heart, and furnish words that burn. There is true inspiration in such an apothegm, and motive which alone is sufficiently powerful to carry him successfully through all his duties, and support him under every trial. It will render him equal to surmount all the difficulties which lie in his way, and constrain him to attempt and accomplish great things, as it is indispensable to the formation of the truly great man. There is light in it to illuminate every book of Holy Scripture; and light strong enough to reach every path along which the missionary and the minister have to toil. The eye which rests upon that will kindle into brightness, and beholding it, will receive fresh accessions of spiritual fervour, to convey warmth and stimulus to “ the imer man." Let this then be the motto, and the all-absorbing maxim of the New Year, to guide and direct all our
efforts for the public weal,-"God is
trations : The foundation of our scheme of
doctrine : The font of our ethics in respect
to God and man: The pattern and rule of our conduct
to one another : The great fact to be realized in
our personal experience : The pervading spirit of all our en
deavours to reform disorders in Church and State, and of our aims to reconcile differences, and attain that perfection, which we may humbly and prayerfully hope to arrive at, even amidst the jarring elements of human minds, and the prejudices of education and of system.
PRESBYTER R. Advent, Dec. 8th, 1851,
WHY IS THE OUTPOURING OF THE SPIRIT Withheld?
OUR valued friend and beloved bro- There is, doubtless, an important ther in Christ, the Rev. J. Haldane sense in which the outpouring of the Stewart, has lately renewed his “In- Spirit has been already vouchsafed. vitation for United Prayer for the The Spirit was poured out, from the Outpouring of the Holy Spirit," on full and blessed Fountain of Divine the first day of the new year. This and Sovereign grace and mercy, on Invitation he has now repeated every the Day of Pentecost, -as the comyear, for fifteen years. It must be mencement of a new Dispensation, nearly twice as long since he first the Dispensation of the Spirit, began to call the special attention of which continues till this day. The Christians of all denominations, both Spirit has never been withdrawn altoat home and abroad, to the necessity gether; but, in different measure at of such prayer. And there can be no different times, has manifested His doubt that, about the time when these power and grace in quickening, sancremarks will reach them, many will tifying and comforting the members be either engaged in, or preparing of the Mystical Body of Christ. Somefor, those special exercises of devotion times (as at the blessed period of the to which our dear brother has invited Reformation) this outpouring has
It may not, therefore, be an un- been more evident and abundant : at suitable time to direct attention to others, it has been, in a measure, rethe enquiry, How far these long con- strained. So that, properly speaking, tinued and repeated prayers have what we should ask and seek is, a been answered in a manifest and more evident and abundant outpourabundant outpouring of the blessing ing of the Spirit—something that which we have been seeking ? partakes of the character of a pente