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SER M. pairs of that great temple at Jerusalem; in
ply of oyl and incense for the worship of
VIII. Having shewn you the excellency of a publick charity in general, and of this in particular, which is now promoting, I shall in the last place observe to you, from the words of the text, the exact notice which is taken by God how all people from the richest to the poorest discharge themselves in the performance of this great duty of alms-giving. A little before the words of the text it is said, that Christ beheld, óxdos as it is in the original, the multitude or crowd of people throw in their money; and yet so curious was he, and had so sharp an eye upon every one of them, that he could form an exact judgment upon the quantity of each person's alms, and the heart it was given with; infomuch that he could single out this poor woman, who in appearance gave the least of any one there, for the subject of his remark, so full of divine wisdom and instruction; and could pronounce that the had cast more in than all they who caft
into the treasury. This one farthing did not SER M. escape his view, and he was so far from over- XVII. looking it, that he has published it to the whole world for all future generations; insomuch that wherefoever the Gospel is preached, this also that this woman bath done, is told for a memorial of ber.
Here then is a corban or treasury for you who have abundance to give plentifully ; and for you
who have but a little, to give of that little. Though Christ is not visible here in person, and that we cannot see him, yet he is even now looking on, and beholds what every one contributes. Little did that woman imagine who was then present, applauding her at the very instant, and saying in effect, well done, thou good and faithful servant. But we know that the same all-seeing eye which is every where bebolding the evil and the good, is now upon us, and that every farthing which is now given, and upon the like occasions, will be weighed in the scale; and a most exact scrutiny made what proportion it bears to our worldly substance, and what that secret difposition of the heart is with which it is given. Let us learn from hence to take care that the Smaller contributions of the poor are not found to out-weigh the greater offerings of the rich. Let us learn rather to exceed in our charities, and fail on the furer side, than have them found light in the ballance when the great day of account comes. If we fall short in the
performance of this duty, how then will these
SERM. two mites of a Jewish woman rise up in judgXVII. ment against the narrow, scanty, and I may U say beggarly alms of too many christians, who
are directly opposite to the spirit of the Gofpel, and of this woman; rich in money and worldly substance, but poor in good works?
Her contribution was to the repairs of the temple only; what is given upon this occasion is for the building up and beautifying many temples of the living God. That temple was but wood and stone, and in a few years (as it seems from Luke xxi, 6. our Saviour obfeives upon
this very occasion) there was not to be left of it one stone upon another : But these are fo many Spiritual and immortal souls, made to last for ever; and every one of them of greater value in the fight of God, than Solomon's in all its glory. That was built only for a type of Christ; these are all made after the very image of God, and are to be formed into the real likeness of Christ's glorified body, She
gave for providing of sacrifices and incense, and the support only of a ceremonial worship; but what is now given, is for the presenting many living facrifices boly and acceptable unta God, and for promoting of a reasonable service and evangelical holiness.
She acted wholly from the dark rudiments of the law which gave a prospect only of a tempor al reward, the great motive of the old testament; such as be who giveth unto the poor Mall not lack, Prov, xxviii
. 27. And again, The liberal soul hall be made fat, Prov. xi. 25. And, cast thy bread
upon the waters, and after many days thou shalt Serm. find them. But she was ignorant of those clear XVII. revelations which we enjoy under the Gospel ; she had not learnt that our alms, like those of Cornelius, come up for a memorial before God, Acts x. 4. That they are a treasure laid up in the Heavens, that faileth not, Luke xii.
33. That they are the purchase of an eternal weight of glory; and that we shall surely be recompensed for them at the resurrection of the juft. Nor was she expresly told that when the Son of man shall come in bis glory, and all the boly Angels with him, and shall ft upon the throne of bis glory; and when before bim fall be gathered all nations, that this of alms-giving is the
great distinguishing duty upon which the separation of the Meep from the goats is found
and the only instance to be inserted in the last joyful welcome, come ye blessed of my Father, inberit the kingdom prepared for you from the beginning of the world, &c. But least of all did this woman know, that all such deeds of charity are in the account of God as if done to the very person of Christ himself: In as much as ye have done it to one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
Behold then, you who have learnt all this, a number of those little ones in a very literal sense, who are prepared to be so many advo- , cates for
you in that great day; who will plead loudly that charity shewn to them, which your modesty would conceal; they will then șise up and call you blessed, and own the sea,
SER M. fonable benefaction. That they were helpless XVII. or fatherless children, and that you took com
pasion on them; that they were naked and you cloathed them; that they were ignorant and you instructed them; that you faved them from want and beggary; from a life of misery, and fin, and wickedness; nay many of them from prison and Mameful deaths ; and were the happy instruments of saving their souls. One would think all good christians should rejoice to have such a fund as this to cast their alms into, that they may come in for a share in the reward for all that great, and publick, and lasting good, which must be the effect and confequence of this most prudent kind of beneficence. Remember that all you spend in the vanities and pleasures of this life perisheth with the using, and that when death or the great change at the last day comes, we shall be in a moment stripped of all but what is given in good works, and charitable uses : Thus much we have made for ever our own ; it is put out of the power of fate; and cast into a treafury which will remain untouched, when the whole world is consumed in flames.