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been diminished. Let us the more cheerfully take our share of it. “ Be patient, therefore, brethren.”
3. Evils work out their remedies. This is one reason why God permits them. Our present mercantile embarrassments and their accompanying miseries, will facilitate commerce and otherwise benefit our successors. Public attention is already aroused towards one means of alleviating our difficulties; others, too, will be found, and the recurrence of such crises as the present may in time be altogether obviated. Experience is a more valuable legacy than gold; and the example of our present difficulties may profit society more than if every merchant could have transmitted his wealth to posterity without a penny's deduction. The laws under which we live are the results of long and costly experiments; our national liberty, of many protracted and tremendous struggles; and most of the inventions whose benefit we enjoy, were necessitated by our predecessors' sufferings. In like manner, our difficulties will benefit those that are to come after us. In gratitude for the advantages that have accrued to us from our forefathers' sufferings, and with the belief that ours will avail our successors, let us try to assume in feeling, that position, unpleasant though its accompaniments of troubles be, in which Providence has for a time placed us, of benefactors to posterity. Feeling this, " be patient, therefore, brethren."
4. The hardness of the times will induce reflection on human life.
This world was intended for us to become perfect through suffering. It is thus the soul is kept awake, and is invigorated for its heavenly journey. There are very few human beings, indeed, who can bear uninterrupted prosperity. The longer the world has been prosperous with them, the farther heaven seems to retire from their view; the more God gives them, the less they thank him; the more their Creator's power is exerted in maintaining their health and ministering to their wants, the more independent they feel the more entirely they “live as without God in the world.”
The active and successful tradesman, whose observance of religious institutions equals his business punctuality; who maintains in himself the ever-deepening conviction, that there are interests more important and much more urgent than those of pounds, shillings, and pence; who grows in grace as he grows in age; whose tenderness of conscience increases with the magnitude and frequency of his temptations; and whose beneficence multiplies with his wealth,—is a man whom all the world will envy for one reason, but whom many a reputed saint might envy for another and a better.
Let us hope that the number of these noble characters will be increased, when prosperity returns, by many of those that are now having the sad evidence, that this world is not meant for enjoyment merely, and, least of all, for the mere acquisition of money and gratification of the senses. Let us hope, that, driven to religious thoughts, as many must be, for consolation now, that their characters are changing really and for ever. Let us hope that that peculiar feeling of dependence on God alone, which public calamities create, will abide with us, imbuing our devotions with greater fervour, our thoughts with more piety, and remaining with us, a consecrating influence for life. Let us hope that Christian faith will sustain its professors; that, by the temper in which they take their present temporary affliction, they may be working out for themselves a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; and that there will be many, such as we know there are some, who, though compelled to enter into the present sharp competition of trade, yet anxiously keep their consciences void of offence, and who, even now that it is become a struggle for “daily bread," cherish their love of their neighbour as of themselves. May our sufferings have a Christian effect upon us all, softening our hearts towards those that are greater sufferers than ourselves. Alas! the thought of their numbers and wretchedness makes one shudder and feel faint. God help them!
May He help us all to learn the lesson which these times teach. if the world has once-oh, never may it engross us again! No, no! As surely as the heavens are above us, there—there only can our lasting treasures be laid up! As surely as we shall die and carry nothing out of the world, so surely are our characters the allimportant matter. We are at a crisis now in trade. But what are the feelings of a merchant who has lost his fortune, to those of a human being bankrupt in existence? to those of a man maddening with the consciousness of being a sinner? who, as he feels his blood stagnating in his veins, and the death-film darkening on his eyes, and his limbs stiff and cold, yet can scarcely persuade himself to pray; who, as he writhes in his last agony, feels nothing, knows nothing, but that he is not what he might have been, what God required him to be, and created him to be? No, no! the physical sufferings, the hunger, the pains, which these times inflict on all the men that endure them, are nothing to the injury, the unutterable injury, which sin inflicts on one human soul.
Oh! let every instance of anxiety which a man shows for his losses, let every complaint we hear of the badness of the times, warn us that heaven itself may be lost too; and that, bad as the times may be, a state of sinfulness is infinitely worse.
May the times enforce the lesson which we here assemble to learn, that heaven is our only proper home, and that earth is worth little but as it helps us to it. Yes, there is a world to come, awaiting us. There are employments there, which crave our preparation. There is a God there, who beseeches us to draw nigh to him. Christ is there, anxious for his disciples. The angels are there, watching us as we vacillate betwixt heaven and hell. Now, now “ be the day of our salvation.” Now may the spirit of Christ possess us,--that spirit of truth, of purity, of piety, and of love—that spirit that will enrich, that will bless us, when all the wealth that is accumulated here shall be wasted--when our warehouses, that are the magazines of nations, shall have been emptied never to be filled again--when the fires that now emit those streaming volumes of smoke, shall have been quenched to be lit no more- when not one out of the crowds that now press along our streets shall either do or lack work—when this busy town shall have become, what greater towns than it are now, but a naine only—nay, and even when the great globe itself shall be but a recollection, for “the earth, and the works that are therein, shall be burned up.” God, Christ, heaven, and the holy and benevolent Spirit, man's fittest preparation for its
blessedness, these are life's realities, and for these let us live.
As to society, let us do our duty towards it; and for the rest, trust in Providence. Why should we fear? Christ died for it, and his Father watches it.
66 The kingdom is the Lord's, and he is the Governor among the nations." Yes; the fortunes of our race are its Creator's charge-His charge, who not only discerns the feelings of the solitary worshipper, as he kneels in sacred stillness, but who also evermore perceives the tendencies of the great multitude, which no man can number, of all nations, and kindreds, and peoples, and tongues-His charge, who comprehends all individuals, all nations, all times, all places, and all events--His charge, who maintains undimmed the brightness of the cherubim and seraphim, and who has watched, to their present high perfection, the adoring hosts of heaven-His charge, whose omnipotence has been the perpetual companion of our earth in its yearly wanderings round the sun, and whose eye will be upon its orbit till itself and the heavens are no moreHis charge, whose omniscient spirit already hears the acclamations which the angelic host will sometime raise, saying, “ The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign for ever and ever.” Glorious consummation! Towards wbich, both the world's history and our lives are tending, and which is accomplishing itself even in our temptations and sorrows. “ Be patient, therefore, brethren."
REVIEW. The Obligation of a City to Care for and Watch over the
Moral Health of its Members; with Remarks on the Life and Character of the Rev. Dr. Tuckerman, Founder of the Ministry at Large. A Discourse delivered at the Warren- Street Chapel, Boston, U. S. Jan. 31, 1841. By W. E. Channing, D.D. Glasgow: Hedderwick & Son. Edinburgh: Oliver & Boyd. London: Simpkin, Marshall, & Co.
This is a Discourse worthy to be deeply and seriously pondered by all to whom the moral health of the community is dear, and to whom the moral elevation of the masses appears to be a Christian duty. Public attention is happily awakening to questions regarding the physical health and comfort of the people; contemporaneous should the questions be made, and combined should be the efforts which society should be stimulated to put forth in regard to them. This discourse by Dr. Channing, will do much, we trust, towards effecting this desirable result; and therefore we rejoice in its republication in the form before us. The beautiful and affecting instance of devotedness to the great work of lifting up the fallen, and regarding the sinner as a brother-of practical faith in human nature—and that even from the direst moral ruins, the good and the true may be made to spring forthwhich this discourse exhibits, in the life and actions of Dr. Tuckerman, will do much to dissipate those false views of man, and especially of the wicked, which tend to the continuance of the degradation and debasement of thousands. All who wish to educate and purify their fellow-creatures, and to learn the means by which both may be accomplished, and a thirst for Christian excellences be excited among the poverty-stricken and the sinful, will read this discourse; and when they have read it, will join heart and hand in the establishment and support of institutions,
like that of the Ministry at Large,” is so blissful and benignant. The instrumentality employed must be something very different, however, from the machinery by which “ Town Missions” have in general been characterised. The agents selected by them have usually been theological striplings, more anxious for sectarian than practical objects, and better capable of denouncing a heresy than soothing the heart of the mourner, or speaking peace to the wounded spirit. Men of high moral feeling, of cultivated Christian excellences, are those only who are adapted to this mission-men of experience, of knowledge of human nature, its history, its wrongs, its capacities for good, its power of redemption. Society would speedily present different moral aspects, were such ministers at large going about doing good. And to excite society to the performance of its too longneglected duty in this respect, nothing can be better than this discourse by Dr. Channing.