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"And a certain man, lame from, his mother's womb, was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms of them that entered into the temple." — Acts 3:2.

What an object of distress was here! Some, if they are poor, are strong and healthful, and limbs and labour are sufficient for them. And some, if they are sickly and infirm, have wealth, or relations and friends that can afford them support. But here penury and helplessness are combined. The sufferings of some are accidental, and endured for a season only; but this man's affliction entered the world with him, and upwards of forty years he hath endured the calamity.

What a vale of tears is this earth! To what a variety of evils are the human race exposed! Oh, could we see all; could we see a little of the millionth part! What is a burial-ground, a field of battle, a hospital, every dismembered, disordered body, but a commentary upon sin as the text? For sin

"Brought death into the world, and all our woe."

Can we see such a case as this, and not be thankful for our exemption and preservation? Shall we say, He deserved to be such a cripple; but I did not? Rather, shall we not say. By the grace of God, I am what I am?

Such an instance of misery is presented to try our disposition. The eye affecteth the heart, and was designed to do it. None but a Priest or Levite will pass by on the other side. Such sights will attract the notice of the humane, and the merciful, and move all his bowels of compassion, and put in requisition all his powers of relief. Job, even with regard to his prosperity, which too often makes men insensible and careless, could make this appeal: "When the ear heard me, then it blessed me; and when the eye saw me, it gave witness to me: because I delivered the poor that cried, and the fatherless, and him that had none to help him. The blessing of him that was ready to perish came upon me: and I caused the widow's heart to sing for joy." "I was eyes to the blind, and feet was I to the lame."

As the only expedient of this poor wretch was begging, so, to give him an advantage, they placed him daily at the Beautiful gate of the temple, to ask alms of them that went in. This was wise. Surely he who is going to seek mercy, will be ready to show it. Surely he who is going to pray for pardon will not be unforgiving and implacable. "Therefore, if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath aught against thee, leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift." What communion hath light with darkness? What fellowship can the cruel and uncharitable have with him who is love itself?

Piety without benevolence is hypocrisy. "If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also." The tongue of men and angels, without charity, is as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. The gift of prophecy, the understanding of all mysteries, and all faith so that we could remove mountains, would be nothing without charity. How such a man, whatever be his profession, can be a partaker of divine grace, perplexed even an inspired Apostle. "Whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?"

How well he adds, "My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth."

"And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him."

Morning Exercises For Everyday In The Year
By Rev. William Jay

 
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