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“There is that scattereth, and yet increaseth ; and there is that withholdeth more than is meet, and it tendeth to poverty. “ This duty is intended to prove us, if we are sincere in our professions of attachment to the Lord's cause ; and to improve us, for we are blessed in giving, and made better thereby, The regulation also is most reasonable. There is something for every one to do, and every one should do his part ; each is required to give, and every one should contribute his portion.
God loves to give, and therefore he created receivers ; only receivers, for all his creatures receive, and receive their all from him. The Lord Jesus loved to give, and therefore he never refused an applicant; but said, " It is more blessed to give than to receive. He loves to see his children like himself in this particular, and therefore we read, “God loveth à cheerful giver." He has given the command, “ Every man shall give as he his able ;" he has set the example, giving us life, and breath, and all things; he affords us oppor. tunities, and says, ye have opportunity, do good;" and he has given a promise, «Give, and it shall be given unto you.” The Lord Jesus carries out the requirement, when he meets with his people, for he never appears among them empty, and he gives as he is able, as the Lord his God, has blessed him. Beloved, let us be liberal, especially to God's
It is the way to thrive, for “ the liberal shall be made fat.” It is the way to
provide for the future, for Paul calls it “laying up in store :" hear his words in reference to the rich, which qualified by our subject will apply to all, and each of us, “ charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not high-minded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us all things richly to enjoy ; that they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; laying up in store for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.” 1 Tim. vi. 17-12. Let us then, seek grace from the Lord, to carry out this duty; and looking upon ourselves as God's stewards, take heed that wedo not waste,oranlawfully hoard, our Master's goods. If the Lord's poor apply to us, he sends them. If the Lord's cause appeals to us, he speaks in that appeal, and he only asks for his own. No nigo gardly professor, should ever expect to be happy. No wasteful professor should ever expect to succeed. Butthe liberal soul shall be made fat, and while others are in straits, God will see to it that he has enough.
"How long shall thy vain thoughts lodge within thee?"-JEREM. iv. 14
E arevery much influenced by ourthoughts. Habitual and cherished thoughts, shew the state of the heart, and regulate the feelings and the conduct.' Thoughts suggested and resisted, are not ours, nor are we accountable for them. But thoughts, however we become possessed of them, if adopted, encouraged, and relished, are ours, and we are held responsible for them. If we give them a lodging, if we allow them to find a home within 08, they are ours. God notices our thoughts, reproves us for our thoughts, and judges us by our thoughts; as it is written, “ As he thinketh in his heart, so is he.” Vain thoughts shew a vain state of mind, and lead to vanity and confusion ; therefore the Lord puts the question, "How long shall thy vain thoughts lodge within thee?"
We have all at times vain thoughts, and they are injurious to us, and dishonourable to God. Let us glance at a few of them. It is rain to think of being saved, but by the Lord Jesus Christ alone ; or of being saved by the Lord Jesus Christ, except by simple faith in him. Groans, tears, cries, and human efforts, are all vain ; faith, and faith in Christ alone,
It is vain to look for peace, or expect solid satisfaction of soul, but as we look away from everything within us, and without us, and look to Christ alone; the eye must be taken off duties, feelings, and everything else, and be steadily fixed on Christ alone, or there can be no solid peace. It is vain to think of enjoying the Lord's comforting presence, if we walk contrary to him, or are found out of his way; it is when we yield ourselves to God, and keep his commandments, that he meets us, and fills us with joy. It is vain to expect to enjoy spiritual comfort, while we wilfully neglect any known positive duty; but in keeping his commandments, there is a great reward. It is vain to think we are so fortified against sin, or Satan, that there is no need for fear, watchfulness, or daily crying to the strong for strength; for so soon as we do so, sin will overcome us, and Satan will find an occasion against us. It is vain to think, that while we indulge in any, the least sin, that grace will prosper in the soul; the black frost does not more surely cut up the tender plant, than indulged sin causes our grace to wither and decline. It is vain for a believer to think of sinning, without being detected and made to suffer for it; God may hide their sin, from their fellow Christians, but he will soundly chastise them for it. is vain to think of receiving any blessing in ordinances without prayer, and having the eyes up to the Lord; in his sovereignty, the
Lord may send us a blessing, but we have no right to expect one. It is vain to think that the Lord needs to be moved and turned towards us by our tears and wrestlings, for though he approves of deep feeling and earnestness in prayer, and therefore honours it; his heart is towards us, and glows with infinite love to us, before we begin to pray; yea, our very tears and pleadings, prove his love, being produced by his own Spirit within us. It is vain to think of passing through the world, orarriving in heaven, without conflicts, trials, and tribulations ; for it is God's decree and the Saviour's testimony, that we must pass through them. It is vain to think that the performance of one duty, will justify or excuse us in neglecting another; each duty has its place, importance, and design, and each claims our attention and regard. It is vain to think that the world, or light, frothy professors, will love and esteem us, or enjoy our company, if we are really spirituallyminded, and walk closely with God. It is vain to think that the old man will die, or the conflict between the flesh and the spirit cease, until we are called up to stand before our Saviour's face, and enjoy his glorious presence and perfect love There will be a warfare within, and trials without, requiring the exercise of faith, courage, and self-denial, until the last-until we are absent from the body, and present with the Lord.
Have we any of these, or similar vain