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And although no saving effect should be produced at the time, yet they are at least prepared for it; and, consequently, when the minister comes to instruct them, he finds he has something to work upon, he finds materials ready to his hand. Thus Sunday Schools are a kind of nurseries for the Church, in which tender shoots are fostered and nourished, until they are fit to be transplanted into the house of God, where they flourish in all the rich luxuriance of maturer age, till at length they are finally gathered into everlasting habitations above.
And here I cannot help expressing the satisfaction, I have more than once felt, in witnessing the good effects that have been produced by our own School. Several young persons have been pointed out to me, with the remark that they were educated there, who are now a credit both to it and themselves, and are a living testimony to the world of the blessing which attends the discipline of such sacred and useful institutions.
Again and again, too, it has been a delight to me, to observe the general good feeling that exists towards our School. It is a subject in which few feel uninterested, and scarcely ever have I perceived any thing like unconcern, when it has formed the topic of conversation a clear proof this, that twenty-three years' experience have tended only to twine the hearts of the neighbourhood closer round it. And here I feel myself bound to offer my humble and heart-felt thanks to those of our Christian brethren, who do not usually assemble with us, for their kind and generous conduct in closing their own places of worship on this occasion.* This does credit both to them and their principles. And may God grant that all such like sympathy, and mutual Christian love, may daily increase ! + It has increased of late, and I trust will do, until all
* Both the Wesleyan Methodists, and the Independents, closed their Chapels on the occasion.
+ “In the great body of Protestant Dissenters, who hold, in common with ourselves, the fundamental doctrines of the Gospel, I perceive no symptoms of increased hostility to the Established Church. On the contrary, indications, I think, may be discerned, of a mitigated dislike, a more candid interpretation of our ministerial labours, and a readier disposition to co-operate with us in the promotion of those objects, which do not immediately involve the question of our religious differences.”
“Sometimes even in cases where those differences appear to be involved. I am bound to notice the liberality with which some opulent Dissenters have contributed to the erection of Churches and Chapels. In my own Diocese I would specify the instance of Plaistow Chapel, in the parish of West Ham.”
Bishop Blomfield's (liarge to the Cergy of London, p. 7. & S.
badges of distinction are banished, and there is but one heart and one aim. And it is surely a mark of no ordinary importance, as promising the fulfilment of such a wish, that the fields of religious controversy are now left unoccupied, except by a few troublesome spirits whom nothing can tame; and that Christians are now overlooking the minor points in which they differ, and fixing their attention on the grand ones in which they agree. Lord, hasten the time when there shall be but one signal in the Christian camp, and that signal universal love !
To conclude: may a recollection of God's love towards these little ones warm our hearts, and dilate our affections, with something of a kindred flame! Let us obey the injunction of our blessed Lord, “Be ye therefore merciful, even as your Father which is in heaven is merciful.” And let us testify the sincerity of our compassion, by making some small sacrifice, seeing he has made so great a one. If he did not think his own beloved Son too much to give for their salvation, surely we cannot think a trifle of our money or our time too much to give, to forward the same blessed purpose. And one would suppose that, independent of every other consideration, the very honour of being thus fellow-workers with God, as it is somewhere expressed, ought to be sufficient both as a
stimulus and a reward in such a labour of love. And O think, my brethren, what an honour it must be to do any thing, however small, or in however confined or humble a sphere, towards the achievement of that mighty purpose, which occupied the counsels of the Eternal Trinity, which was ushered into the world by angels, which was propagated by miracles, which is now contemplated with rapturous joy by the hosts of heaven, and for which Christ laboured, and suffered, and died !
“Let the same mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God, yet made himself of no reputation, but took upon him the form of a servant....and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross," for us miserable sinners. And if we would but contemplate, seriously, this our Saviour's example, it would pro duce two very salutary impressions on our minds. It would humble us, and check that pride and self importance which are too congenial to the human heart, especially when cherished by rank or worldly affluence, but which will one day wither, like the leaves of a flower beneath the winter's blast. For the time will soon come, when all earthly distinctions must for ever cease_when the peasant will be as great as the prince—when the poor child, the offspring of adversity, trained up in the humble forms of the village school, will be on a level with the favourite of fortune fostered in the lap of luxury and the seats of learning—and when our happiness will depend, not on the amount of wealth we have possessed, but on the use we have made of the talents, be they great or small, which God has committed to our trust.
Another good effect resulting from an attentive view of the Saviour's example is this : it impregnates the soul with some faint similitude of that benevolence to mankind, which he himself exhibited, particularly with regard to their spiritual necessities. He was at all times ready to heal the sick, to strengthen the weak, to relieve the destitute, to comfort the distressed, and to supply the bodily wants of all who came in his way. But in doing these things, he had an ulterior object in view: and that was, to benefit the souls of men; nor did he ever neglect an opportunity of furthering this his great design.
Indeed, the miracles of mercy, which Christ wrought for the temporal necessities of his followers, are so numerous and varied, and they crowd upon us in such close succession, that, while we read the account of them, there seems some danger