Once again, in the spirit of this week’s book giveaway (for which there still remains time to enter) I am posting an excerpt from A Plea for Alms, one of the six sermons published in “The Fight of Faith Crowned”.
In this sermon, Watson explains how charity runs along two different channels: “charity to the souls of others and charity to the temporal needs of others.” As Christians, we ought to be concerned with both.
On charity to the soul, Watson utters these gracious but challenging words:
“Charity to the souls of others is a spiritual alms. Indeed, this is the highest kind of charity. The soul is the most precious thing. It is a vessel of honor, a bud of eternity, a spark lighted by the breath of God, a rich diamond set in a ring of clay. The soul has the image of God to beautify it—and the blood of God to redeem it. It being, therefore, of so high a descent, sprung from the ancient of days, and of so noble an extraction, that charity which is shown to the soul must be the greatest.
This is charity to souls—when we see others in their sins, and we pity them. If I weep (says Augustine) for that body from which the soul is departed, how should I weep for that soul from which God is departed! This is charity to souls—when we see men in the bondage of sin—and we labor by counsel, admonition or reproof to pull them out of their dreadful estate, as the angels did to Lot in Sodom. “Hurry! Get out of here right now, or you will be caught in the destruction of the city! When Lot still hesitated, the angels seized his hand and the hands of his wife and two daughters and rushed them to safety outside the city!” Genesis 19.”
“When shall we see a resurrection of charity, which seems to lie dead and buried? Surely it will not be, unless God works a miracle upon men’s hearts. May the good Lord by His Spirit cleave the rocks in our bosoms so that the water of repentance and the wine of charity may flow forth!”
You can read the whole thing here.
Good word about the 2 channels of charity. Too often it is one to the exclusion of the other.
Petra Hefner says
Charity to the soul, the highest kind of charity! Yes, temporal needs must be met too, but do we really understand that they are temporary indeed and that something far greater is at stake? Great post!
Oh, this is good! So often it seems the church is focused solely on a “social gospel” often leaving souls by the wayside.
Paul Dare says
Fantastic. I’m printing this and sticking it in the book I’m currently reading (http://darefamily.wordpress.com/2011/01/12/how-personal-are-the-poor-to-you/) as it directly relates. Stearns argues that we aren’t preaching and spreading the whole gospel if we’re not also actively ministering to the physical needs of suffering people.
Thanks for bringing this Puritan gem to our notice!