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that in Europe, in Asia, in America, and I believe in Africa, thousands of voices are raised with one consent, and for “Zion's sake they will not hold their peace, and for Jerusalem's sake they will not rest, till the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth.” When I look to the mighty efforts which have characterized these late years, I am constrained to think-and if it be enthusiasm, I bless God that he has permitted me to indulge it; but it is not enthusiasm, it is sober and rational conviction—I am constrained to believe that the success of those efforts has been given as an answer to the prayers of those many thousands who have made the cause of Christ the subject of their special petitions. This is one method of taking advantage of the door of opportunity
2. Again: An open door is set before you to improve the opportunity by personal exertion.
Brethren, the very purpose for which the benefits of Christianity have been brought to you, is that “you should not live unto yourselves, but unto him who died for
you and rose again;" and it is said in another place, “none of us liveth to himself.” There is not a man or woman in this congregation, making a part of the Church of Philadelphia, but who has influence over others; and there is not one but who could bring some accession to the cause, and thus come to “the help of the Lord against the mighty.” Time was, my brethren, when the Israelites were captives to Jabin, king of Canaan, but by the word of the Lord they were roused to assert their liberty, and under the prophetic direction of Deborah, the wife of Lapidoth, they were called to throw off the
ignominious yoke. The tribes readily assembled in their embattled hosts, but the tribes of Reuben, of Asher, and of Dan, more distant from the immediate scene of persecution, refused to leave their homes to assist their afflicted brethren. The battle was fought without them, and without them was the victory won. Then, when they had returned, they raised a song of triumph, and as the tide of inspiration rolled along, thus sang Deborah—"Praise ye the Lord for the avenging of Israel, when the people willingly offered themselves.” She then recapitulates the tribes who thus offered themselves to the cause of God; but when she comes to mention the tribes of selfish Reuben, Dan, and Asher, she breaks into the mournful strain—“Reuben, why abodest thou among the sheep-folds to hear the bleating of the flocks ? Dan, why didst thou remain in the ships ? Asher, why continuedst thou on the shore ?” “Zebulon and Napthali were a people that jeopardized their lives unto the death in the high places of the field. The kings came and fought, then fought the kings of Canaan in Taanach by the waters of Megeddo. Curse ye Meroz, said the angel of the Lord, curse ye bitterly the inhabitants thereof, because they came not to the help of the Lord; to the help of the Lord against the mighty.”
Would you, my brethren, prefer to resemble the ungrateful and selfish tribes of Reuben, of Dan, and of Asher? Was the deliverance of Israel from the yoke of Jabin, king of Canaan, a matter of greater moment than is the deliverance of your brethren from the captivity of sin and ignorance, and superstition and death? Strive then, by your personal influence, and endeavour with others to advance
the cause of Christ. It is your duty, founded on the benefits of Christianity which have been brought and laid as a free gift at your very doors. Refuse that exertion, refuse that personal influence and endeavour, and on the inspired scroll of prophecy is written—"Curse ye Meroz, curse ye bitterly the inhabitants thereof, because they came not to the help of the Lord; to the help of the Lord against the mighty." But offer yourselves, like the other tribes of Israel, willingly to God, and shall be written—"They that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that help to turn many to righteousness, as the stars for ever and ever.”
3. You can, my friends, help forward the cause of Christ by your pecuniary contributions.
That this is the duty of Christians it would be an insult to attempt to prove. I boldly and fearlessly assert, that if you believe the Scriptures, you cannot doubt it. It is there written in the clearest and most positive language; and benefits done to a suffering brother with a proper motive, are represented as done to Christ himself. However little you may reflect upon it, brethren, yet you are but stewards of the bounty which God has bestowed upon you, and for the exercise of that stewardship you must render up an account to God. It is useless to keep back this truth; the wealth which you enjoy is not your own.
It is given you of God for the purpose of employment to the good of your fellow men; and when in an effort to advance the increase of the religion of Jesus, you are asked for a pecuniary contribution, you are but asked to give a portion of that for the whole of which you are indebted to God, and for every farthing of which you must answer
unto God. But I will not detain you on this point. I have said that you could assist the cause of Christ by your generous contributions. Of this you must be fully aware; because it is through the medium of Bible and missionary exertions that the cause of Christ is to be advanced, and to effect these purposes of singular importance, pecuniary agency is to be employed. Tell me, ye who call yourselves by the name of Christians, if there be no binding obligation in the express commands of the Scripture “ to do good and to distribute?” Tell me if there is no moral and Christian suasion in the question—“If any man see his brother have need, and shutteth up his compassions from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him ?" Tell me if there is no awfulness in the description of our Saviour of the process of the judgment—“Inasmuch as ye did it not to the least of these, ye did it not to me.
Depart ye cursed ?" Tell me is there not rapture in the contemplation of the sentence—“Inasmuch as
did it to the least of these, ye did it unto me?"
With prayers, with personal efforts, and with pecuniary exertions you may, and I am persuaded you will, improve this open door. The object of all the means employed, is to convey to those who are perishing the news of salvation. It is to furnish every family upon the face of this whole earth with the word of God, written in its own language, and to send to every neighbourhood a preacher of the cross of Christ. That object will not be accomplished until every idol temple shall have been utterly abolished and a temple to Jehovah erected in its room; until this aarth, instead of being a theatre on which mortal beings are preparing by crime for eternal
condemnation, shall become one universal temple in which the children of men are learning the anthems of the blessed above, and becoming meet to join the general assembly and Church of the first born whose names are written in heaven; and that object will not be completed until
One song employs all nations, and all cry
Members of the Church of Philadelphia, from the habitation of his holiness, the Lord Jesus Christ looks down upon you, and as he calls to your minds your highly privileged political condition, your blessed country, your opportunities, he says, in a language which cannot be misinterpreted—Behold, I have set before you an open door, and as you value the eternal interests of men, and as ye estimate my favour, let not the opportunity be neglected. If you have hitherto been backward and lukewarm, be so no longer. If you have not as yet drunk in of the spirit of the age, go now to the living fountain. The Bible, the Missionary, the Tract, the Sundayschool, are all so many mighty methods by which this door of opportunity may be improved. I do covet for this nation, and I do covet for my fellow citizens, that in the great march of the Gospel they may no longer lag behind.
My country, rouse
Of thy lethargic slumbers.