Page images
PDF
EPUB

removal. Beyond this my solicitude did not extend. I wished not to leave my children wealthy. To afford them the advantage of a profession, or a commencement in business, was the utmost of my desires. I had learned to deprecate the influence of worldly expectation upon the young, and my chief anxiety was to commit them in faith, to a covenant God, while I endeavoured by his grace to set before them such an example as I hoped would prove of far more advantage than silver and gold. I do not say this boastingly. The grace which enables me to discharge my duties, has made me infinitely its debtor. I never knew the happiness of religion before. To the high gratification of giving I was a stranger. And what do I now contribute, but the means which God puts into my hand — like a kind parent who has taught his children “ the luxury of doing good ;" and then gives them the opportunities for enjoying this luxury.

In relation to my temporal pursuits, I realize a degree of peace and happiness which I never knew before. The sleepless anxiety the alternate hopes and fears — the vexations and disappointments, and the frequent dread of heavy losses, and ultimate poverty, have in a very great measure lost their effect upon me. While the high privilege of having all my efforts bear upon the eternal interests of souls, furnishes the most powerful and delightful stimulus to every under taking.

For their own sakes, as well as for the benefit of a fallen world, I would urge Christians who are engaged in worldly pursuits, to inscribe upon their all, “ holiness to the Lord.”

That the purposes of God, as well as their imperative duty, demand the consecration of their secular pursuits, the Bible clearly affirms. Speaking of Tyre, the great emporium and representative of commerce, the prophet Isaiah declares "her merchandise and her hire shall be holiness to the Lord.” — Isaiah xxiii. 18. Again, he says of other places : “ Thus saith the Lord, the labour of Egypt, and merchandise of Ethiopia, and of the Sabeans, men of stature shall come over unto thee and they shall be thine.” — Isaiah xlv. 14.

Surely the isles shall wait for me, and the ships of Tarshish first, to bring thy sons from far, their silver and their gold with them, unto the name of the Lord thy God and to the holy one of Israel, because he hath glorified thee.” — Isaiah lx. 9.

David delighted to dwell upon the accession of commerce and its gains to the Redeemer's kingdom.

“ The daughter of Tyre shall be there with a gift - even the rich among the people shall entreat thy favour.” - Psalm xlv, 12.

What a privilege to be allowed to aid in the execution of God's most benevolent purposes. Who that believes he shall continue to exist in all the vigour of immortal being, not only until these purposes shall be accomplished, but while their eventful and eternal consequences are becoming developed; who that has faith like a grain of mustard seed in the grand and engrossing scenes of a future life, would refuse to be a partaker in the labour and reward of recovering a world of fallen creatures to their God?

CHAPTER XXVIII.

A MAN born to great wealth, but who had been reduced to comparative poverty, next addressed the convention.

There is an incident in Turkish history, said he, of which I never think without blushing for myself and my fellow Christians. When Mahmud the Gaznevide, the Turkish viceroy of the Caliphs, was extending his conquests in India, he came to one of the most sacred places of Hindoo superstition. An idol was there which the Brahmins held in high veneration. With an iron mace in his hand, Mahmud approached the idol to destroy it. The priests entreated him to desist from his purpose. They offered him ten millions sterling to spare the object of their reverence.

His counsellors advised the conqueror to accept the immense sum and apply it to the benefit of true believers. The haughty Turk, after listening to all their arguments, sternly replied: "your reasons are specious and strong, but never shall Mahmud appear in the eyes of posterity as a trafficker in idols."

How opposite to the spirit of multitudes who profess Christianity. True, we have not had the opportunity to test the genuineness of our religion by the proffer of so large a sum to destroy idola. try. But is it not well for many of us, that we have not been subjected to such an ordeal ? Do we not fail in a trial equally unequivocal? What difference is there in the eyes of God between accepting a bribe to perpetuate an evil, and allowing that evil to be perpetuated, when means have been committed to us to destroy it? .

To the wealthy especially does this infatuated Mahometan address a reproof. In their hands God has put a mace, and upon their consciences he has urged a command to destroy idolatry in every country. Who of us has acted with the stern and self-denying decision of this infatuated Turk? For one I plead guilty. I was born to vast possessions; my time and income were chiefly consumed upon the gratification of what I have since learned to call " the lust of the eye and the pride of life.” I argued that I was allowed to live according to my circumstances, and this proved a quietus to my conscience and a maelstrom to my revenue.

It never oco curred to me that I had the liberty, the inestimable privilege to give according to what God had entrusted to me. The world gave me credit for commendable Christian liberality, because I gave

« PreviousContinue »