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" thed me: I was sick, and
visited me: “ I was in prison, and ye came unto me. ” Let us consider, of whom were these multitudes to consist? Our Saviour tells us, “Of all nations :" they must likewise be of all ranks and stations ; high, and low, rich, and many that have not had bread to eat.
From whence, then, could they feed the hungry, clothe the naked, &c.? By having the heart and disposition to do it, and by feeling the woes which they could not relieve in the manner they wished. God, who knows the heart, accepts the will, though we may not have the power of carrying it into action.
The widow's mite was more acceptable than the large contributions of the wealthy. There are very few, if indeed any, situations in life, where a charitable disposition may not be, in some way or other, of use and comfort to our distressed fellow-creatures. The poor are too apt to think, that they have nothing to do with charity ; generally supposing this extenfive virtue confined solely to almsgiving : which, however meritorious in itself, and incumbent on those whom God has blessed with the power, is only a twig of that luxuriant tree. St. Paul has so beautifully and fo fully explained the meaning of the word "
charity,” that all who will read with attention the thirteenth chapter of his first Epistle to the Corinthians, will find themselves included in the duties of it. Whether high, or low, rich, or poor, every situation equally requires the attainment of those divine virtues.
The reply of the righteous, in the subsequent verses, is well worthy of attention, not only as it abounds with true humility, but shews that an upright and ingenuous spirit will not arrogate to itself undeserved merit : “ Lord, when faw we thee an hun“ gred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave " thee drink ? When saw we thee a
stranger, and took thee in ? or naked, " and clothed thee? Or when faw we “ thee fick and in prison, and came unto 66 thee?"
Their Judge, with that kindness and benignity which might be expected from him who had laid down his life to redeem them, answers: “ Verily, I say unto you, " inasmuch as ye have done it unto one “ of the least of these my brethren, ye “ have done it unto me.”
Many good people have distressed themselves when they have considered the history of those blessed Martyrs, who so gloriously overcame the severest sufferings for the honor of their Lord and Saviour, laying down their lives for his fake; they have alarmed themselves with apprehenfions that their own conduct on so tryingan occasion, would have been very different, and that they would not have acted with that fortitude and perseverance which they so much admire in the Martyrs. To such humble and well-meaning, though timid Christians, how comfortable is the prospect here held out! Can they, after this, doubt that their faithful endeavors, though imperfect, will be accepted ? — that if they strive to do their duty in that
state of life to which the Almighty has called them, they have no reason to alarm themselves, but may
rest assured that their pious wishes would have been accepted; and that they would have been enabled, by the grace of God, to fulfil any other duties he had thought proper to lay on them?
The remainder of the chapter which contains the denunciation of the wrath of their Judge against those on his left hand, or the wicked, is exactly the reverse of what I have just related: it leads us to meditate
upon the wretchedness of those who may bring themselves to so dreadful a state, that even the infinite
of their Judge cannot consistently with his justice, fave them from that punishment which they have wilfully drawn on themselves. May the God of Mercy impress these considerations so deeply on their hearts, that it may deter them from all . acts of impiety, and induce them to a steady perseverance in the great duties of religion, that, when that great and awful
day shall come, they may be found amongst the number of those on the right hand of their blessed Saviour, and be admitted to his glorious kingdom !
" 30. I can of mine ownself do nothing : as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is " just; because I seek not mine own will, “but the will of the Father which hath
“ sent me.”
With what humility does the Saviour of the world declare his commission! For though he undertook it voluntarily; tho' he was one with the Father, and might have claimed the honor due to such glorious actions, he declines it for the present: his hour was not yet arrived when he should receive all power, honor and adoration from men and angels !
" 31. If I bear witness of myself, my * witness is not true. 32. There is another that beareth Ff