Page images

one hundred thousand confirmed dram-drinkers, who drink, on an average, two glasses of spirits a day, which, allowing only 1 d. per glass, makes £1250 daily spent in dram-drinking, which, in a single year, amounts to the enormous sum of £456,250, or nearly half a million of pounds, which is nearly double of what is contributed by all the Bible and Missionary Societies of Britain. And shall less than the twelfth part of the population of London spend such an enormous sum in such vicious and degrading practices, and shall the whole inhabitants of Britain not raise the one half of it for promoting the most glorious and important object to which our aims can be directed? A most glaring deficiency in Christian principle and liberality must exist, where such incongruities occur; and, it is now more than time for Christians to ask themselves, what they have been doing with their money. A laboring dramdrinker can devote two shillings a week, or nearly five guineas a year, to his demoralizing habits, while a wealthy Christian, with five times his income, contents himself, perhaps, with the contribution of a single guinea, or even less, for promoting the kingdom of Christ, and the eternal salvation of men! Such an inconsistency ought no longer to exist among those who assume the Christian name. Let them either take their stand at once, among the men of the world, who attempt to serve both God and mammon, or come forward like noble champions of the cross, and consecrate to the honor of God, treasures worthy of the sublime and glorious unkertaking, which they are called upon to achieve.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][merged small]



Every improvement in society is brought about by exertion, and by the diligent use of those means which are best calculated to promote the end intended. Christianity was introduced into the world, and rapidly extended over many nations, by the unwearied labors of the apostles, who travelled into remote countries, submitting to numerous hardships dangers and privations, and “ counted not their lives dear to them, so that that they might testify the gospel of the grace of God," and promote the salvation of men. Had the same holy ardor which animated those first ambassadors of the Prince of Peace, been displayed by their successors, the world would have been in a very different state from that in which we now behold it. It is owing to our apathy and inactivity as Christians, that so many immoralities and unholy principles are to be found displaying their baneful effects around us, and that so litile has been done for the advancement of society, and the evangelization of heathen nations. If we wish to behold a work of reformation going forward, and Zion beginning to appear“ beautiful and glorious in the eyes of the nations," we must arouse ourselves from our indolence, and seize upon every means by which vice and every malignant principle may be counteracted and thoroughly subdued. And as covetousness lies near the foundation of most of the evils connected with general society, and with a profession of Christianity, it becomes us to use every rational and Christian

mean, which may have a tendency to crush its power, , and to promote the exercise of opposite affections. Some of the means by which this unholy principle may be subdued, have already been alluded to, and embodied in the form of motives and arguments addressed to the consciences of professors of religion. In addition to these, I shall suggest only two or three particulars.


1. Frequent preaching on this subject, and occasional public sermons for the purpose of illustrating itshould be resorted to for the purpose of counteracting this malignant affection.

There is perhaps no mode by which so powerful an impression may be made on any subject, on the minds of Christians in general, as by the viva voce discourses, of a respected, eloquent, and enlightehed preacher, especially if his discussions be enlivened by vivid representations of sensible objects, and appeals to striking facts connected with his subject. Such appeals can scarcely be altogether resisted by persons impressed with religious principle; and it is to be regretted, that Christians have not more frequently, in this way, been stirred up to a performance of their duty. Nor ought it to be considered as deviating from the preaching of the gospel, when such subjects are introduced into the pulpit

. For, they are intimately connected with the progress of Divine truth; and the gospel can never extensively take effect, nor its principles be fully acted upon in Christian society, till such subjects be pointedly and publicly brought forward, and undergo the most serious and solemn consideration. But it requires to be carefully attended to, that no preacher come forward publicly todenounce covetousness, and to attempt to stir up Christians to liberality, who is himself known, or suspected to be under the influence of a worldly. or avaricious disposition. The most vivid representations, and the most pathetic appeals of such a preacher would only rebound from the hearts of his audience, like an

arrow from a wall of marble. For how could a man who is continually aspiring after wealth, living in splendor, yet grumbling on account of the smallness of his income, and who seldom gives in proportion to his ability to any philanthropic object; how could such a one expect, by the most splendid oration, to produce a deep and moral impression upon his hearers ?. For example, in this, as well as in every other case, would have a more powerful effect than precept.

A few months ago, I was conversing with a gentleman on this subject, who mentioned several honorable examples of liberality connected with the congregation of which he is a member; some of whom, who only occupied a medium station in life, contributed to the amount of twenty and thirty pounds yearly for public religious purposes, so that the whole congregration raised £500 or £600 annually for missionary and other purposes, besides the regular maintenance of the gospel among themselves. His minister, he said, maintained the principle, that every Christian should, at least, devote the one-tenth of his income for religious purposes. I asked him the amount of the minister's stipend, and was informed, that it was at least £450 per annum. I then inquired, if his minister set an example to his hearers by acting in accordance with his own principle, and if it was a fact that he devoted £45 per annum to religious and philanthropic objects? The reply was, “I am sure he does not." “ To what amount, then, does he contribute for such purposes ?” “ About eight or ten pounds annually, at the utmost." " If this be the case," I replied, “I should scarcely have had the effrontery to inculcate such a principle upon others; and I was given to understand, that, in this case, the discrepancy between his conduct and the principle admitted, was beginning to be particularly marked. Why should ministers, particularly those who have handsome incomes, consider themselves as exceptions to a general rule? If they do not set an example of liberality in their conduct, all their instructions on this point will go for nothing, and be only as “a sounding brass or tinkling cymbal."

« PreviousContinue »