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A GLIMPSE, &c.
MATTHEW FRANKLIN, on the morning preceding his death, on the 9th of January, 1815, attended as usual the meeting in Pearl street, New York, to which he belonged. He made no complaint of ill health, except his having some dizziness. After an interval of silence, he arose, and repeated the following emphatic declaration of the apostle James :
6 Pure religion, and undefiled before God and the Father, is this—to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction.”
He said, “I do not apprehend that the apostle James intended to confine the duty. of Christians to this part of benevolence only, but, being desirous of establishing in the minds of the followers of Jesus, the principles of an expanded beneficence, gave this as a prominant example of what they were bound to perform. He doubtless intended to be understood, that the cherishing of those feelings of compassion and humanity, was one of the best evidences to show that men were the friends and not the enemies of our Lord and Saviour, that they were in a state of grace, and not in a state of nature. The heart of man, before it becomes the subject of grace, is absorbed in selfish
inclinations, passions, and affections. It seeks no one's good but its own. The propensities which incline it to pursue, as it supposes, its own advantage, unmindful of the good of his fellow mortals, are paramount. But when man's heart is touched and enlightened with God's Spirit, he endeavours to derive his happiness from high
He endeavours to feel for the distresses of all--he attempts to relieve and alleviate them: he seeks out the subjects of affliction, and labours to gladden the heart of the wretched.
“ This is illustrated by the parable in holy writ, respecting the good Samaritan. A certain man going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, fell among thieves, that robbed him, and wounded him, and left him half dead. A priest and a levite, in passing that way, observed him, but they had no compassion on him. They passed by, it is said, on the other side. But a Samaritan was actuated by a different spirit-by the spirit of true religion : for when he saw the sufferer, he hastened to him--He bound up
his wounds, pouring balm into them. He was not deterred from the performance of his duty, by any consideration of expense, but made provision with a liberal hand for the future necessities of hiin on whom he had pity.
“O my friends!--you ought to follow this example. You are too apt to fall short of what is required of you in this way. When I make this remark, I would not be thought to insinuate, that I am free from this imputation. When I say you too often neglect yours, I mean not that I always perform mine. I am sensible of my deficiency, and have often thought I was too inactive in the cause of benevolence. And I am persuaded that others believe that we are generally too remiss, cold, and negligent in seeking out the abodes of poverty and sorrow. We should be active, zealous, and vigilant in the pursuit of them. Those who are of my sex,
should devote tiine to prosecute this benevolent concern. And you, my friends of the female sex, should also be engaged. You are better calculated than we are, to exercise the plans of charity--You know better in what manner to make the necessary inquiries in order to discover latent afflictions, and afford consolation, and apply the proper remedies. We ought each to go there, hand in hand together.--O my friends !"-
Here he was suddenly stopped, while he was, in this way, pleading with his usual earnestness and affection, the cause of the indigent and friendless, by a mandate from the counsels of eternal wisdom; which arresting him at the commencement of a sentence, instantly closed his testimony, and shut up his mental powers in utter oblivion to the woes and sufferings of his fellow creatures. Awful lesson to all those who duly consider it.
« Smitten friends, " Are angels sent on messages of love : “ For us they languish, and for us they die. " And shall they languish, shall they die in vain."
In the ardour of his eloquence in defence of suffering humanity, this amiable philanthropist was arrested by the grim messenger death, and exclaimed, “ ( my friends!” lifting his hand to his head. Was there, or is there a minister who presumes to personify the holy divinity, and yet remains himself unholy, may that awful exclamation, “ O MY FRIENDS," cause both his ears to tingle. Is there a minister or member, who preaches or even professes to live in and Jove the truth, and yet loves the world and the things of the world, that exclamation should cause such to shudder. Is there a minister or member who professes the religion of Christ, and yet hoards up thousands, yea, tens of thousands, of superfluous dollars, while they know in their souls many hundreds of their wretched fellow worms, minor and mature, are perishing therefor? If there is, they should tremble at the afore
said exclamation : and that there is, my subsequent “ HUMBLE SOLICITATIONS," published in the Mercantile Advertiser, and published in vain, will demonstrate. Truth will neither bend nor bow to the selfish opinion and the delusive anticipations of any
God will remain the source of truth, let who will perish. The humble penitent, who confesses, deprecates, and laments his delinquency, God can, and will most assuredly pity and relieve. But the proud pharisee, who boasts in his religion, and looks with contempt, and without pity, upon his wretched and guilty neighbour, God cannot, and will not, pity or relieve.*
As my limits will not permit me to enlarge, we will suppose, for the sake of argumentation, that each of the aforesaid char. acters are called suddenly from the meeting house, or the steeple house, to the august tribunal of the immortal Divinity, to give a strict account of their ministerial labours, and of their stewardship. We will suppose the almighty Judge seated upon his great white throne, supported on the wings of cherubims, accosting them thus: “And first, ye wbo were called my ministers, and who
* There is a witness of God, in the conscience of my perrurious or hypocritical reader, who will en. force these truths in spite of his prejudice, his selfishness, or his pride.