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which, to uphold the supremacy of the soul, severed its connexions with the outward, and, instead of educating, starved the spirit. Surely the right use of Riches is as elevating to the soul as the right use of poverty. He who does his duty in a sphere rich with opportunities, and admitting the manifestations of every variety of sentiment, is as noble a character as he who does his duty when stationed on a limited and barren field. The one has an opportunity of manifesting only one class of virtues ; the other has an opportunity of educating and developing his whole nature, and a field of action for all the lofty energies, and for all the graceful attributes of character. The object of all enlightened civilization is to raise the standard of enjoyment among a people; to elevate the desires and tastes; to lift out of that low, animal contentment, which is satisfied with the barest supply of physical wants, to that higher style of demand for physical elegance and refinement, which connects itself with our spiritual nature, with a moral tastefulness, and with the beauty and the glory of an intellectual life. There are great moral disadvantages connected both with Riches and with Poverty ; but look to the extremes of both, and certainly we can find no reason for giving the preference to poverty as a school for character: for if the one has enervated the soul with luxury, and dulled the sympathies by indulgence, the other has destroyed the intellectual life; made the man disappear in the animal; and blotted from the human being the spiritual image of God. Economical Science is perfectly right: the only way to uplift a people is to multiply their desires; to stimulate their tastes for higher refinements; to awake the ten thousand wants of the soul in its cravings for outward beauty and good, until they would scorn the scanty and unnourishing accommodation of an ungraced and abject life: and Christianity, which wakes this activity of the spiritual nature, which fosters this moral love for the beautiful, and moulds every desire to an indefinite refinement, falls in with these teachings of Social Philosophy, and draws from the soul the moral conditions of taste and of temper, which are necessary to give effect to these Economical doctrines. And yet it was true, making allowance for the Eastern figure, that it was easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God, at the time when Jesus was speaking, was comprehended in the dispensation and doctrines of the gospel. The Kingdom of God was then the infant condition of Christianity. He who would enter into it, must depart out of all that the world had to give; he must abandon every thing to become an apostle of the truth. He must seek to be nothing more than a disciple and missionary
of Christ. He must take up his cross and follow his Master. The rich Ruler refused to be a martyr for the truth; his soul was not sublimed enough for a mission so spiritual; and Jesus, looking upon his disciples, exclaimed, “ Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the Kingdom of God!”
II. « Take no thought for the morrow, for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself.” In one view of these words the advice would be immoral—in another it is the loftiest practical wisdom, and the serenest piety. Certainly, recklessness about the morrow is no Christian duty-nor could it coexist with that intellectual activity, that wide comprehension of all our interests, that independence on the present, that superiority of the soul to the senses, which go to make up our very idea of a Christian. He who is truly a spiritually minded man, looks far before him, and sees the germs of the future in the present. Nothing more remarkably distinguishes him than his foresight, his habits of preparation for after consequences, and the very last thing he would consent to would be to leave the morrow to take care of itself. At the same time, and this distinction ought to have been marked in the translation, though he has much thought for the morrow, he has no anxiety for the morrow. He does his best, and leaves the rest to God. He knows nothing of the possible issues of the present, nor do they trouble him. He does what is right-and then, not he but God is chargeable with the consequences. It is with principles he has to deal, on principles he has to act, come out of them what may. The spirit of this passage, then, is not the spirit of recklessness, independent of prudence, but the spirit of repose after prudence—the spirit of faith in the care of Providence after every duty has been discharged, every means enforced, every economic law observed. It is the spirit of every principled mind that obeys its own convictions with a lofty and unworldly piety; and having done the right, leans on God, and discharges its heart of vain fears. It is the spirit of that text, “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and He will take care that all blessings are added unto you." And is not he who maintains this lofty trust in the best economic as well as in the best moral state-is he not in the most efficient condition for action—will he not be prepared to push his principles farther than other men—will he not attempt more, and do more, and look onwards to coming improvements with a more gladdened and gladdening eye of philanthropic vision,-because he knows that no evil can ultimately come out from views that are good, and his heart acts in energetic peace, obeying its own best light,
and following, without fear of consequences, the beckonings of truth and God ?
III. “Sell what thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in Heaven, and come take up the cross, and follow me.” Certainly to sell what one has, and to give to the poor, would not be the best way now to serve either the poor or Christ. These are not the gifts that would make Christians of the poor, elevated, independent, self-directed moral beings. Charity blesses the poor only when it works out for them a salvation, through the emancipation of their spiritual nature; only when it lifts them out of poverty through knowledge, instead of maintaining them in poverty, through alms. And is not this the way in which Christianity blesses the poor? Does it not foster the noble spirit of self-dependence? Does it not frown on the servility or the selfishness that lives upon bounty, and takes from the hands of another what your own hands might have created for yourself? Are not all its lessons on the side of reflection, and energetic prudence, and that loftiness of soul, which leans upon itself and scorns to live on favours ? Would not a true disciple of Jesus be the very last to endure the disgrace of an existence pensioned on the charities of other men ? Does not the ascendancy of the moral nature always carry along with it this high pride of character, this intolerable loathing of a condition of dependence? Would not a true disciple of Jesus have a certain nobility of soul, a certain delicacy of the moral sentiment which would make him the very last to violate that Christian and Apostolic commandment, “ If a man will not work neither should he eat?" Would he not have a command over his passions? Would he not have an idea of dignity and of duty, a predominance of his spiritual over his animal nature, and with these a habit of looking forwards, which would practically place him in harmony with all the severest teachings of economical science; and though the man knows nothing of the laws of political economy, only suppose that he has the tastes, and the delicacies, and the moral honour of a Christian, and his sense of what is becoming and respectable, his Christian nobility and refinement, though he be the humblest of the humble, would make him blush at the thought of drawing from others what he ought to draw from himself; of waiting on the providence of man, instead of on the providence of God; and though he is entirely ignorant of the expositions of social science, yet because he is morally he will also be economically right. Then there are still some gifts which a man should sell all that he has in order that he may be able to bestow upon the
poor. There is the charity that sheds knowledge on the soul, and trusts the awakened spirit that it will work out a physical regeneration. There is the charity that preaches the gospel to the poor, that makes them Christians, and trusts to their Christianity that it will make them prudent, honourable, reflective, and independent. Education is pre-eminently the Charity of a Christian. It saves the body through the mind. It alone blesses without degrading. It alone relieves without multiplying the sources of misery. It makes the man the agent of his own salvation. It makes the fruit good because the tree is good; the outward life right, because the inward spirit is instructed. A man may well sell all that he has, should it be necessary, and give this to the poor, and lay up for himself great treasures in Heaven. But verily, he who labours in this cause, will still find that Christian philanthropy is a path of sacrifice ; all established interests will be his active persecutors; he must be prepared for opposition, more hard to contend with than parting with his possessions; he must sell all that he has of ease for the sake of principle; he must take up his cross and follow his master.
There is a class of social theorists who have connected the name of Christianity with some of the crudest and most ephemeral speculations of modern benevolence. Their favourite idea is that of a community of property, and a co-operative equality of conditions, and they fancy they have found a type of such a system of society, in that state of the Christian Church when the Apostles had all things in Common, neither said any of them, that aught of the things which he possessed was his own. Strange that men should reason from peculiar circumstances as if they were universal, and draw permanent principles from passing and singular occasions! Well did it become the first apostles of Christ to be a band of brothers, to have all things in common; and disengaged as far as possible from all other cares, to surrender themselves soul and body to their great Ministry and Mission! But Christianity has no doctrine of artificial equality. It is too true to human nature to force the varying tastes and capabilities of men into an uniform of system. He who knew what is in man, knew well that if such an artificial system was attempted, there are principles in human nature which would break the mould. Christianity prescribes no outward institutions, but it contains in its great principle of human brotherhood, the germ or seed of all social progress. That spirit of Christian love and brotherhood has outrun the demonstrations of social science, and indicated coming changes, coming bonds of union and of mutual blessing among the families of men, which Political Philosophy has not yet discovered the means of accomplishing. The spirit of Christ points to visions of social regeneration, which the wisdom and science of man have not yet the power of realizing. The prophecies are dated, and they shall have their accomplishment; Christianity has long ago supplied us with the principle, and all that we want is the means. The spirit of love urges on the spirit of social and economical Philosophy, and a Christian Philanthropy must wait until science is sufficiently instructed to execute her plans of brotherhood and love. Let men be Christians, and Science might cease from many a laboured demonstration; the spirit of Jesus would antedate the conclusion. Let men be brought under the soulfelt conviction that all we are brethren, and God our Father in Heaven, and all the evils that afflict Society, the vices, the graspings, the envyings, the monopolies, the struggles to rise upon the necks of others, would disappear at once. Let there be a right moral condition in the bosom of individuals, and there will be a right, social, and economic condition in the whole community. Let us be but Christians, and we shall be, in the spirit of our characters, Political Economists and Social Philosophers, though we know not one word of these sciences. Christianity contains them all in its bosom. Let the poor be but Christians, and they will scorn a condition of dependence, and rather work to the bone than be the pensioners of Charity, and have a moral taste, and an ascendancy of sentiment over sense, and a thirst in their souls for better things, that will preserve them from the animal degradation of reckless appetite. Let the Rich be Christians, and it will bring them not only into a better Christian, but into a better Economic communion with the poor, and substitute for the Charity of Poor Laws the Charity of Instruction. Let the poor be Christians, and the basement of our civilization would not be so lost to all the hopes and prospects of its better lifeso degraded and brutalized, that it seems to cry out against man and God. Let the rich be Christians, and the pinnacles of our civilization would not be so removed in sympathies from their suffering brethren, so insensible to the wants and cries of children of the same God. Let the poor be Christians, and though they know nothing of the Laws that regulate wages and profit, labour and capital, their moral tastes and their moral abstinence would enable them to command economically their full share of the wealth of the world, and to rise through the elevation of their desires, on the scale of moral beings. Let the rich be Christians, and they will rejoice in this process, and hold out the hand of brotherhood to help it on, and neither by private selfishness nor by public profligacy, by cupidity, nor by the recklessness of dis