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It is food and medicine for the soul, which Christ, your Master, orders you to take. To refuse the medicine, because you are sick, is surely very foolish. If you are Christ's disciples in heart and purpose, you have no choice about the matter. He commands you to come to him; and you must either do so, or disobey him. If he had not invited and commanded us to come, you would be quite right in staying away. It would then befit such miserable sinful creatures as we are, to stand afar off, as the lepers did, and to cry to him, without daring to go near him. But he does call us: therefore to stay away is to disobey him. If he had called the ten lepers, would they not all have rejoiced in going to him? He did not call them; so nine kept away. But the tenth took courage from gratitude and love, and went to him without being called. Was Christ angry with the man? Did he bid him begone? On the contrary, he received him graciously, and sent him away in peace. too will he send you away in peace, if
you too have the heart to come to him. Think, I beseech you, of these things; lay them up in your minds; ponder them well. Remember how evil a thing it is to disobey God. Consider how blessed a thing it must needs be, to be united
and spiritually made one with the everlasting Son of God. And then, when I have next to invite you in my Master's name to his supper, I shall no longer have to say within myself, There were ten cleansed; but where are the nine?
TO THE INHABITANTS
OF GREAT AND LITTLE ALTON.
MY GOOD FRIENDS,
I dare say you will be surprised at receiving a little tract from me of my own writing: and perhaps you will be still more surprised on reading it, to find what that tract is. It is an old friend, as you will soon discover, though it comes to you under a new name. I call it an Address; but it is in fact the sermon I preached in Little Alton church the Sunday before last, on my recovery from my late illness. When I wrote that sermon, I had no thought of printing it. But it seemed to make an impression on many of you who heard it and this has led me to hope, that by having it printed, so that you can read it and ponder it quietly by yourselves, the impression may be kept alive in your hearts, and deepened to your souls good. Some time hence perhaps I may carry my plan a little further, and choose out of my Alton
sermons some ten or twelve of those which shall appear to me the best fitted to be read by your own firesides, and the likeliest to set you thinking and feeling as Christians ought to think and feel. Those sermons I shall publish, that others may have an opportunity of profiting by them as well as you. But in this tract I have been led by the occasion and the subject to say so much about myself, that a stranger could not enter into it, and feel about it, as you will. So I have printed it simply for the pleasure of distributing it in the two parishes, under the title of an Address to you.
As such, I beg you to accept it. Bear in mind, I pray you, while you are reading it, that it is not the world at large I am addressing in it it is spoken to you. Nay rather let each among you consider it as addrest to himself; and let him read it as he would a letter from a friend about a business which concerns him nearly. Believe me, the matters spoken of in this Address do concern you all very nearly indeed. Even the affectionate regard for you, my beloved friends and neighbours, which, I hope, every page breathes, even this will have its spiritual use, if it raise your thoughts from the feeble and imperfect love of one who is a sinner like yourselves, to the surpassing, the divine, the all-perfect love of our common Master and Saviour Jesus Christ, who loves us, and gave
his life for us, to redeem us, and win us to himself. This is the great, the heavenly point, on which it is the duty of a Christian minister to fix his people's hearts and minds, even on the love of Christ for them, and his desire to see them numbered among his true and faithful servants. Unless we
do this for you, we do nothing for you worth doing. My preaching, my writing, my very living among you, and serving God's house and altar, -all these things will be useless, and worse than useless to your souls, unless they raise your thoughts to Christ, and lead you through him to God the Father.
And now, what can I add more? except a
prayer, that the blessing of God may rest upon us,-upon our bodies, upon our minds, upon our souls, upon our families,-to bring us all into the right way, to watch over us, and guide us, and defend us, and forward us along the road to heaven! Such is the prayer for you, and for himself,
Of your sincere Friend and Minister,
AUGUSTUS WILLIAM HARE.
Alton Rectory, May 27, 1833.