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wisely said and kindly said, for he was longer appear with a frown on his now proving her and trying her, and brow. What is the reply that the putting that faith into the fire, that it woman makes i “ Truth Lord,” I might come forth a vessel meet for contend not with thee. I am a poor the Master's service, that it might be Gentile, a dog, well aware that the found unto praise and honor and glory, Jews considered all other nations as and so it was.
logs quite unworthy of their notice. Now at this time when it seemed
Truth Lord,” I contend not with
thee. impossible to add any thing more,
Mark the ingenuity of faith. what does she say? what would some
Never was there in the world any thing of you say? The Preacher would have more ingenious. She actually turns acted just as foolish and unbelieving
round the very arguments which the a part as the weakest of you. We Saviour brought against her to bear on should probably have said, or rather his own mercy, and she carries the not perhaps have dared to have said, point, and that with Omnipotence it
self. we should probably have gone away and
O, my brethren, look at the said in our hearts, I will never apply omnipotence of faith, “ Truth Lord; there again—I was never so treated in yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which all my experience before. I have heard fall from their Master's table.” As if of his goodness to others but now I she had said, I do not ask for any can speak from experience of his cruelty great thing which that chosen and to me. I will go to my poor sick favoured Israel may ask for. I am a child and we will mourn and we will poor woman in sorrow and in trouble. die together, for Jesus of Nazareth has I only ask, that while the Israelites no pity, no tenderness. If we had
have the bread, I may be allowed the said so, we should have talked the
crumbs. Only give me one single language of blasphemy as well as the crumb for my poor dying daughter
This woman puts language of falsehood; and yet I do and I ask no more. not scruple to say it, that this
us all to shame, clergy, people, and
supernatural faith was not half so much to all. Her faith deserves to be menthe credit of the woman as to the credit tioned through the whole world and it of our Lord and Master, who all the
shall be so. It shall be told to her while supported this soul which would credit and to her honor when you and otherwise have sunk in the water. For I and every one of us shall be sleeping is there faith in the human heart? it is
in the dust. the gift of sovereign grace. There is
But I come now TO THE SAVIOUR. not a single particle of it in the na
I have dwelt long upon the woman, tural man.
It is a spiritual gift; and her faith, and her sufferings. The it is a strong thing to say, yet it is the First point that I have to notice contruth nevertheless, God Almighty gives cerning Christ is his silence where we the grace, and then rewards it as if it should not have expected it. were our own. He gives us power to answered her not a word.” When we please him, to do his will
, to bear up watching his sacred lips, hoping for
are listening to the words of Christ, under all discouragements, and then he rewards it as if forsooth, it was our
some kind expression, how it cuts one own, and while the good that is done to the heart not to hear a single word ! has been of his own operation.
It was so here" He answered her Now mark it well, the Saviour-I not a word.” speak it with reverence-the Saviour
The Second point about your Lord could hold out no longer, he could no and Master is, that he seems to plead
" He says the
that his commission had been exclu- | He can do what I cannot. I have no sively to Israel : not that he intended it power, I have told you so a thousand to be so always. Blessed be God, times, and if I live I will tell you so “ He is a light to lighten the Gentiles many times more. Others will tell as well as the glory of his people me, some of one relative, and some of Israel.” But he here pleads that another. Go and take them to Christ. “ He is not sent but to the lost sheep O, but you say Sir, we have done so of the house of Israel." Mark how often—we have done it. 0, he speaks of that house. Heaven father, his poor mother prayed for him knows that he cared for them—and I for years, and she died with his name would you all cared for them. “To the on her lips, asking God to save her lost sheep of the house of Israel he boy. And shall she pray in vain? was sent,” and he pleads this his com- No, my friends, she shall not. mission why he should do nothing. Learn that Jesus can do helpless
But the Third point is, he appears to sinners good, and that he will. Go add insult and cruelty to all his in- then, first for yourselves, and then for difference. His conduct appears to your families and friends. Take every be insulting and cruel, but it only family burthen to your Lord and Mas. appears so.
It appears so in two ter, let not one be left behind. Some ways-to our ignorance and our pride. could tell of their partners, others of Our ignorance of God's dealings, of their children, others of their brethren what is wise and what is best—and or their sisters. O, go and take them our pride, that does not like a rebuff, to the blessed Redeemer, and bear up that does not like to be put back when under all discouragements; and alwe wish to approach and draw nigh. though you do not now see an answer
But observe, Lastly, he suffers him- to your prayers, and although every self to be conquered by faith. Faith thing seems against you, onward, onpositively wins the day, even when it ward with the prayer of faith, and the is contesting with Omnipotence. Do prayer of faith shall, by and by, you doubt it? Take the words of your be found never to have been offered in Saviour himself. “O woman, great vain. is thy faith : be it unto thee as thou In conclusion, let ministers and wilt.” It is added, “ And her daugh people pray each for one another. ter was made whole from that very There are many of your families before hour.”
me, and were it proper I could say of Now what does thiS SAY TO You ? such a one,—there is a youth that I It says first, you may go to Christ for have often prayed for—there is the yourselves ; and it says, secondly, that father of a family that I have often you may go to Christ for your rela- brought before God that he may be contives and your friends. And if I knew verted. O, this would be a happy the history of every family now before night, one of the happiest of my life, me to night, what should I learn ? The if some poor thoughtless prodigal, who father in some cases would say, “O, never prayed for himself before, were Sir, I have brought my poor boy to to go out of the church door to-night, hear you, I have often wept over him with the cry from his heart, “What -I have often admonished him-he shall I do to be saved." has already broken his poor mother's My brethren, we do not meet in heart-I can do nothing for him I vain, we do not meet to amuse one have brought him here.” Go, my another; we meet to edify one another, friend, and take him to the Saviour. we meet to wait upon our Gud. And who can tell if the people now lift up doors to-night; and thus while you their hearts, if every one of you that are sleeping in your beds to-night, is called Christian, or that is a Chris- angels in heaven will be singing and tian, should now lift up his heart, that rejoicing over some sinner brought to the God of heaven may now, even God. “Verily, I say unto you there before we leave his sanctuary, pour shall be joy in heaven over one sinner out upon us some mighty blessing from that repenteth, more han over ninety above. Thus some may have to bless and nine just persons that need no reGod that they ever entered the church pentance."
DELIVERED BY THE REV. EDWARD RICE,
AT TRINITY CHURCH, TRINITY SQUARE, BLACKMAN STREET, FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE
ST. ANN'S SOCIETY, FEB. 20, 1831.
1 Corinthians, xiii. 13." And now abideth faith, hope, charity; but the greatest of
these is charity."
THROUGHOUT the whole of this chap- At the close of the chapter, however, ter, St. Paul has given us a peculiar he reminds his readers, that there are specimen of energetic eloquence. Fill- two other features in the Christian ed with that glow of Christian be- character which must be associated nevolence, which so eminently distin- with charity, though he concludes, by guished his crucified Master, he labours giving the preference to the latter. earnestly to breathe into his Corin- “ And now abideth faith, hope, chathian converts a portion of his own rity ; but the greatest of these is chawarmth. He feels his heart expand-rity.” I propose, therefore, to call ing towards his fellow-creatures—he your attention to each of these three feels that universal love was the fun- qualifications, as separately and coldamental feature of that religion which lectively adorning the character, the he had been appointed to disseminate influence, and the conduct of the true throughout the world ; and he, there- disciple of Jesus Christ, confining my. fore, inculcates the pre-eminence of self, in conclusion, more particularly charity in a strain of the clearest to the last topic. argument and the most persuasive elo- First, then, of FAITH. On this head quence, in the very commencement of there are unhappily at the present which, he tells us, that he himself, period, and have been more or less at though specially selected, and miracu- all periods, various conflicting opinions. lously summoned to the Apostolic dig- Our way, however, through these difnity—though eminently distinguished ferences of opinion is plain and clear if by the favour of his Redeemer, and we will but seek it. Faith, in its entrusted with the secrets of immor- proper and original sense, is simply tality, yet was nothing ; not only un- belief. Thus, the pagan has faith in worthy of the name of Christian, but the deities of his superstitious worship; even that of man, unless he possessed and the follower of Mahomet has faith that excellent quality of charity towards or belief in the divine mission of that all mankind.
prophet. The act, by which Abraham
obtained the favour of God, was his nity, weigh well your outward acbelieving the declaration which God tions, and, particularly, examine the made to him, in opposition to Sarah | motives that influence your conduct. his wife, who disbelieved. St. James, Ask yourselves a few such questions in one of his epistles, speaking of the as the following-Do I believe that comparative merits of faith and works, one all-good, all-wise, and Almighty asks,“ Can faith save us?” evidently Being, created me and placed me in implying mere belief; and, accord. this world? That the same Being ingly, he proceeds to direct his readers still protects me with a father's care, to show their belief of the Christian preserving me and guiding me in my covenant by their works.
progress through life? Do I believe This is the original meaning of the that the only Son of this Almighty word faith ; but, as applied to the Being came down from heaven, and Christian in most parts of the New dwelt amongst men, and died upon Testament, and in the service of our the cross, as an atonement for my sin, church, it has obtained a more ex- as well as those of my fellow sinners ? tended signification. So that it ap- Do I believe that the Spirit of God pears in itself not merely an act of be- hovers over me unceasingly, strengthlieving in God the Father, the Son, ing my weakness, comforting my deand the Holy Ghost, but also, of spair, infusing into me good desires, embracing the offers of mercy made to and confirming me in holy resolutions? us in the Gospel; and applying our Am I truly grateful to this Father who understandings to ascertain the will of protects me—this Son who died for heaven, with a deep and heart-felt me-and this Holy Spirit which sancdesire for performing that will to the tifies me? Am I determined to imbest of our power. This is the faith prove these inestimable advantages to which St. Paul speaks of as justifying the glory of God, and the salvation of a sinner; and this, doubtless, is the my own soul? If your conscience refaith which is alluded to in the chapter turns you a favourable answer to these under contemplation.
enquiries, you may rest assured that If, however, my brethren, you are you have that faith in you which St. really and sincerely anxious about the Paul laboured to excite, and which, if great business of your salvation—if you persevere in the pursuit, will you are humbly and heartily desirous finally lead you to the kingdom of God. of treading that path which the Scrip
But, if there are any amongst you, tures point out to you as leading to who feel that you have not this subheaven, you will not stop to cavil stantial, this productive, this unquesabout the meaning of the word, or en
tionable faith within you, let me advise danger your own salvation, and perhaps you to lose not an instant in applying that of others, by discussions useless yourselves to the acquisition of it. at the best, and generally injurious. There will be a time when you will Your Saviour has given you a rule, by find that nothing in this world was which you may always discover, equivalent to it—when your Saviour's whether or not you have the true faith words will appear to you too true, that
“ By their fruits,” says he, if you should gain the whole world “ye shall know them.”
and lose your own soul it will profit Judge, therefore, yourselves by this you nothing. Hasten, then, to cultiinfallible criterion, looking to your vate those pious affections which are own minds, observe, what is the state comprized in the faith of Christ. Be of your feelings with regard to eter- earnest in this your day to learn the
things which pertain to your peace, | pretended friends, or the loss, the bitremembering that the night is fast ter loss, of real ones, unless
felt coming upon each of you, when it will an inward and unspeakable comfort be too late to begin to work.
from the consideration, that these are The Second grace, which the Apos- but the troubles of a moment, that tle mentions is that of hope; and he they are the affectionate chastenings of has very properly mentioned it after your heavenly Father, and that they faith, as it arises from it, and depends will procure for you a crown of glory? entirely upon it. No sooner does the It was the want of this cheering soul embrace and adopt, through faith, hope that rendered the life of many an the great truths of the Gospel, than it enlightened heathen, before the times feels itself expanded with hope, the of the Gospel, a dreary and desolate blessed hope of life and immortality. wilderness. Their judgment was too Rescued from the shackles of infidelity, enlarged, and their taste too refined, or the darkness of ignorance, it now to allow of their participating in the breathes freely the delightful atmos- | low and senseless gratifications of their phere of Christian confidence and fellow mortals. They looked for enChristian love. It now sees clearly joyments more worthy of the immortal its own nature, and its future destina- spirit, but, alas, they could find none. tion. Eternity opens to its view, it They attempted to dive into futurity, sees the way that leadeth to it, and but they could not. Before them all learns to tread that way, with humi- dark and impenetrable; and lity indeed, and with fear, but yet with around them was nothing that could hope. Delightful indeed is the pros- clear the obscurity from the scene. pect of the Christian, and sweet the Thus they lived in uncertainty, and expectation that illumines his heart. they died without hope. Some of No dreary anticipations, no dark and them, indeed, when sated with the awful uncertainties, spread a gloom follies, or harassed with the troubles around him. He sees the goal in the of life, hesitated not to throw off an distance before him, and he knows that existence with which they felt themhe can reach that gaol because his God selves dissatisfied, which, in ignorance has told him so.
of their immortal destination, they did But we shall perceive more distinct- not conceive themselves bound to prely the full value of this hope, if we
serve after it had become disagreeable consider, for a moment, what this life to them. Not knowing who it was would be without it. How could you that placed them at their post of life, endure the vain and restless bustle they thought themselves justified in which surrounds you—the empty va- abandoning that post whenever it benities which the cares of this world came tiresome or dangerous ; and they oblige you to pursue the unsubstan- rushed, therefore, into eternity unbidtial and unsatisfactory enjoyments den and uninvited, little imagining with which your better judgment is whither their desperation was carrying often disgusted, unless you knew, that them. How thankful, my brethren, all these are but the noxious weeds ought we to be, when we think of that disfigure the path to a real and these things, for the life that we enan eternal happiness ? Or how would joy, and the hope that we are peryou bear the sufferings which so often mitted to cherish. Ours is no desart oppress you, the pangs of disease, the journey, our God accompanies us, and anxieties of business, the failure of points to us the road. Do we faint ? your dearest hopes, the ingratitude of he supports us. Do we fear? he re