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there be any who have honest doubts and difficulties as to any great point of faith in the Christian religion, it would be both our duty and our pleasure, to assist them to the utmost of our power. I account this one of the peculiar benefits of confirmation, that it brings ministers and their people somewhat more into personal connexion. And if, as I believe, the duties and trials and the afflictions which ministers are called to pass through, besides the benefit of their own souls, are also intended to prepare them to sympathize the better with one and with another of our people, then let us but know your difficulty; and perhaps in the school of Christ we may have been taught, or from the Scriptures we may have been shewn, what will give you assistance. But let there be none among you who trifle with the religion of Christ. It is not a manly thing to scoff at those truths which good men love, and angels admire, and at which the devils tremble. Weigh and consider the great articles of our faith. Study them, not through the medium of prejudices and misrepresentations ; but as they stand in all their simplicity and majesty, connected with all holiness and comfort in the Holy Scriptures. Study them with prayer for God's enlightening grace: and we shall, I am persuaded, see even those who were sceptical come forward, and rejoice to become, and to avow themselves through God's grace, desirous to be numbered among, his people.
May this, then, be the secret prayer of every one here present, both before leaving this place, and in the privacy of retireinent this evening : “ Lord, incline me by the great motives of thy Gospel to yield myself more and more unto thee, in body, soul, and spirit; and to become, through thy grace, the truly confirmed and decided disciple of Christ." Let that resolution thus made tonight, be registered in heaven : let it be publicly made in the confession of Christ, on all due occasions, before men. Re it solemnly from time to time, especially at the Lord's Supper. Thus live, dear brethren, as God's people, and as his redeemed servants. Thus endeavour, through his grace, to live devotedly, happily, and always rejoicing in the Lord, till death, as his messenger, shall come; and then again, in another and a sweeter sense, yield yourselves unto God.” It is your Father calls ; let your soul run at his bidding: • Father, I come: Father, into thy hands I commend, I yield, my spirit; for thou hast redeemed me, O Lord thou God of Truth."
Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others."
PHILIPPIANS, ii. 4.
“ Every one for himself, and God for us all." not this a precious maxim? And yet you continually hear it ; and it contains, it expresses, it breathes, the very soul, creed, philosophy, morality, and religion of thousands in this vile, selfish, catch-penny world. But you are not to follow the multitude to do evil, but to follow after righteousness, to follow after things by which you may edify one another, and act from principle, and Christian principle too. And therefore I bring forward this morning another maxim, and instead of saying, “ Every one for himself, and God for us all," we say, “ Every one for another, and God for us all." This was the maxim of our inspired Apostle. Witness his address to the Corinthians: “Let no inan seek his own, but every man another's wealth.” And witness the words which I have now read : “ Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others."
If I were to beg a female to be virtuous, or to urge a man not to love money, and not to steal; it would probably be deemed a charge ; at least it would be considered as an insinuation. But exhortation, be it remembered, does not always imply censure or reflection ; yea, it is not always an excitement to begin, but frequently an encouragement to persevere, and to increase, in well-doing. For when a thing is remarkable and lovely, we always wish it to be more so; and we naturally desire that excellency of every kind may have free course and be glorified. Hear the language of our Apostle to the Thessalonians : “ But as touching brotherly love, ye need not that I write unto you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another. And indeed ye do it toward all the brethren which are in all Macedonia: but we beseech you, brethren, that ye increase more and more." And to whom was the passage before us addressed ? To the Philippians; a church remarkably dear to the Apostle, and whose members were pre-eminent for the qualification here recommended. You will observe, that this is the only one of all the Apostle's epistles that contains in it nothing of blame: and nerer was there a people more disinterested than these Philippians. Observe this in one particular instance—in their liberality towards the Apostle himself: “Now, ye Philippians, know also, that in the begin ng of the Gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church communicated with me as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only. For even in Thessalonica ye sent
• On behalf of the Surrey Chapel Alms' Houses. VOL, n
once and again unto my necessity. Not because I desire a gift: but I desire
You will not wonder, therefore, that I address the same words to the people of Surrey Chapel this morning; a congregation from the very beginning distinguished by their benevolence, and the praise of whose generosity is in all the churches. Let us then consider what this admonition forbids, and what it enjoins. And while you resolve to avoid the one, and to pursue the other, may the God of peace be with you. Amen.
Let us first endeavour to explain and qualify the admonition as to WHAT IT FORBIDS. "Look not every man on his own things." Why not? Who is likely to look upon them if he does not himself? Reason and Scripture, then, combine to enforce upon us self-attention.
And therefore you may observe, in the first place, that you may, and you ought, to look upon your own things, as to the soul; to see that this be pardoned and renewed; that this has a title to heaven, and a meetness for the inheritance of the saints in light; that this be fed with the bread of life, and clothed with the garment of salvation: there, indeed, your care is to be supreme. The one question, which, above every other, you are to ask is, not "What shall I eat, and what shall I drink, and wherewithal shall I be clothed?" but, "What must I do to be saved?" The salvation of the soul, my dear hearers, is the one thing needful: and therefore you are commanded to "work out your salvation with fear and trembling :" therefore you are commanded to "labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life" therefore you are commanded, to "Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness." "Ah," says Bunyan, "when I was first awakened, nothing surprised me so much as to see how my fellow-creatures were affected by their temporal troubles: I had enough of these; but their pressure was nothing to that of my apprehension of the wrath to come: and no indulgence in any thing else could relieve me, until he said unto my soul, I am thy salvation.'"
Again, you may, and you ought, to look on your own things as to your bodily health. Not that you are to be finical and fanciful; afraid to put your heads out of doors; dangling about always with an apothecary at your heels: no, but to maintain a rational care of it, in the use of proper means. For health is a most invaluable blessing: it is the salt that seasons, and the honey that sweetens, every other enjoyment. It is to be valued not only on the ground of enjoyment for what would affluence be without health ?—but also on the score of usefulness. How many of the duties of life and of religion must be either
imperfectly discharged, or entirely abandoned, if the poor frame be disordered, and we, like Job, be made “ to possess months of vanity ?" The apostle, therefore, tells us that life is a part of the Christian's treasure: “Life," says he,
is yours.” The saints on earth possess one privilege above the saints in heaven : they who are glorified have lost all their opportunities of doing good : they cannot exercise candour towards those who differ from them; they cannot forgive injuries ; they cannot relieve the distressed ; they cannot instruct the ignorant; and they cannot convert the vicious.“ The grave cannot praise thee; death cannot celebrate thee; they that go down into the pit cannot hope for thy truth. The living, the living, he shall praise thee, as I do this day; the fathers to the children shall make known thy truth.” A clergyman, some time ago, in a letter pressed your preacher to publish something against the prevailing crime of suicide : but there are enough excellent things already against gross and immediate self-murder : perhaps something is necessary still to guard persons, and even some professors of religion, against killing themselves, gradually and gently, by lying late in bed, hy table indulgences, by the neglect of air and exercise, by harbouring uneasy and malignant passions. For what are all these but “ rottenness in the bones ?” “ And, therefore, though man be mortal,” says Dr. Gregory, “ I am persuaded not one individual in a hundred dies a death purely natural.”
“ What,” says Voltaire, “is a physician? A poor pitiful gentleman, who is always expected and required by his patients to work miracles."
Let us proceed to observe again, that you are not required to be regardless of your reputation. “ A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches." The man who makes free with his reputation, not only sacrifices his comfort, but his usefulness too. Character is credit; it gives weight to a man's counsel and advice. And, as a professor of religion in particular, never give place to the maxim, “I care not what people say of me.” You ought to care what people say of you : your religion is involved in it; the way of truth may be evil spoken of; the worthy name by which you are called may be blasphemed : you may prove a stumbling-block to the weak, and a distress to the strong : you may discourage the hearts, and weaken the hands, of God's ministers. A Christian is like a female, he is not only to maintain purity, but delicacy : like her, so it is with himn—to be suspected is almost as bad as to be guilty: and in both of them carelessness is a crime: and therefore, says the Apostle, “ Avoid the appearance of evil.”
Neither are you required to be careless as to the welfare of your family. With regard to this it would be enough to repeat the language of our apostle : “ He. that provideth not for his own, and specially those of his own house, hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.”
We, therefore, only remark further, that in your secular matters you may look upon your own things. You are, indeed, required to abide with God in your calling ; but the God you abide with will never make you unprincipled and imprudent, foolish and neglectful, in your worldly affairs. Never relievo an idler; (by an idler I do not mean those who would work, but cannot; but those who could work, but do not ;) but always endeavour to starve them into existence, or out of it; for they are of no use here : according to the language of the Apostle to the Thessalonians : “ When we were with you, this wa
commanded you, that if any one would not work, neither should he eat.' “ Mind thy business," says Franklin," and thy business will mind thee.” And what says Solomon? “Whoso keepeth the fig-tree shall eat the fruit thereof; 80 he that waiteth on his master shall be honoured. Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks; and look well to thy herds. For riches are not for ever: and doth the crown endure to every generation? T'he hay appeareth, and the tender grass sheweth itself, and herbs of the mountains are gathered: that is, “ Make hay while the sun shines." “ The lambs are thy clothing and the goats are the price of the field. And thou shalt have goats' milk enough for thy food, for the food of thy household, and for the maintenance of thy maidens.” “I went,” says he, “ by the field of the slothful, and by the vineyard of the man void of understanding; and, lo, it was all grown over with thorns, and nettles had covered the face thereof, and the stone wail thereof was broken down. Then I saw, and considered it well: I looked upon it, and received instruction.” (O that others would do so too!)—“Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: so shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man." You will observe that the Apostle, in addressing the Romans, calls upon them to be “ fervent in spirit; serving the Lord ;” and yet, says he, “not slothful in business.” Paul would have a tradesman a morning man; he would have him punctual, regular, obliging, active, intelligent. Why should the children of this world be wiser in their generation than the children of light? “ If a Christian man," says Mr. Newton, “ be a 'tradesman, I would have him the best in the nation; yea," says he, “ if he be but a blacker of shoes, I would have him the best in the whole parish."
To draw towards a close here. You see there is no impropriety in your looking upon your own things : but, says the Apostle, “ Look not upon your own things." How is this? Why he explains himself—you are not to look upon them exclusively or only. “ Look not every man on his own things, but every man also"-"also," this is the interpretation_“ but every man also on the things of others.” It is much, therefore, like the second commandment“ Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself:” or like the Saviour's requisition“ Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them; for this is the law and the prophets." Self-preservation, including the proinotion of our welfare, as well as the conservation of our being-has been called the first law of nature, and it is so: and if man were a solitary creature, it would be the only law of his nature. There would be no other for him to care for, but his own dear self. But now man is variously associated and related; and therefore he is made a social being, and consequently is required to be social. Therefore he is told, that “ No man liveth to himself:" and only a Cain will question this, and ask, “ Am I my brother's keeper ?"
Let us therefore notice, WHAT THE ADMONITION ENJOINS—“ Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.”
Two inquiries will here necessary: the first of which is, How we are to look upon the things of others. In answer to this we would observe that you are not to look upon them curiously, inquisitively: that is, needlessly; prying into other people's history, and into their condition and circumstances, fro