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To the Right HONOURABLE Sir CHARLES DUNCOMBE, .. Lord Mayor of LONDON.
My LORD, T Send this Sermon; now printed, to your Lord1 hip, at whose earnest and repeated desire I preached it, for whom I profefs myself, on many aceounts, to have a particular regard; and whom Ifball at all times be ready, in all Christians services, to obey.
Iliness and other reasons, with which it is unne. eelary to trouble the world or your Lordship have Jo long retarded the publication of this discourse, that it may seem lefs proper, and seafonable, in one or two passages of it: Those I mean, where a near prospect of peace is mentioned. For it hath pleifed God, since it was preacked, to remove that great blefing further from us, and place it more out of sight : Not, I hope, without a merciful intention of giving us, in his good time, what we have net now af:d in such a flemn manner as become us; and of entanuing the i'a'1.e of the gift, dy' the delay of it. I am sure, how long fever we may wait for it, it will be bestowed muin foner than we jball deserve it.
THE Junject of this discourse is charity; and the design of it is to stir up tie minds of thoft, whom God's good providence hath blessed with great abun. dance ; and, by that means, with a power of blessing many others. On this account ( without other considerations) I could not have pitched on a name to which I might have inscribed it more properly than that of your Lordsbip. 1 ffer it to you, my Lord, with all the respect that becomes me ; and with hearty wishes, that the earthly felicities you polless, may, by your wise and gove use of them, lead to the enjoyment of those which are eternak I am
Most obedient humble Servant,
LUKE %. 32. He came, and looked on him, and pased by on the
other side. THESE Words are part of our Saviour's
T parable, concerning the traveller, that $6 fell among thieves; who stripped, and wound. 66 ed him, and left him half dead.” It happened that some passengers foon afterwards came that way, and, among the rest, a Levite , who hear.. ing the groans of the wounded person, or, per. haps, having an obscure view of him at a distance, came nearer to inform himself more particularly of the matter: And, when he had done so, stay. ed not to affift or comfort that miserable man ; but retired immediately, and pursued his journey, “ He came, and looked on him and passed by * on the other fide." It seems to be intimated in these words, that this paffenger felt some des gree of concern, at the fight of fo moving an object, and therefore withdrew himself in haste, as not being willing to indulge it. Doubtless, he was not void of all compaffion, nor wholly ignorant of his duty in such a case; but he made a shift to excufe himself from the necessity of performing it. “ His journey might require the ute “ most haste, and why should he interrupt it to « no purpose ? For he could be of no use to the « wounded person, nor had any manner of skill « in surgery: It was poffible, that the fame band « of robbers might light upon him also, if he « stayed longer in that place; or, perhaps, there
* might be a feint, a contrivance in the matter, 'to draw him into some secret ambush.” By
such pretences as these he seems to have satisfied "himself, and stifled the sentiments, which natu
ral pity and religion could not but suggest to him: " He came, and looked on the stripped and # wounded traveller, and passed by on the other * fide.” A lively image, this, of the indifference and neglect, with which too many of us too of. ten look on rèal objects of charity; and of the excuses, by which we endeavour to justify fuch neglects, and to deceive ourselves into an opinion, that they are not culpable. It shall be my business, in what follows, to consider the pleas, that are commonly made use of to this purpose, and to hew the Insufficiency and Weakness of them. For indeed, These are the most ordinary and inost effectual impediments to the exercise of charity.
Tis not, because we are ignorant of the importánt nature of this duty, and of the great stress that is laid upon it in Scripture; of the motives which invite, and of the obligations which bind us to the performance of it: I say, it is not on any of these accounts, that we neglect the practice of charity; but because we look upon ourselves as exempted from the general rule, by virtue of some false Pleas and Pretences, which we fet up; and which I shall now, therefore, particularly enumerate and examine: not without an eye, all along, on those excellent institutions of charity, which it is the peculiar design of this annual foc lemnity to promote and encourage.
promote dar delightution of gye, ai
I. And the first and chief plea, under which