Page images


respect, render thee ready and eager to procure the fame happiness for others, who equally need it ? fhall it not make thee the common guardian, as it were, of poor orphans, whose minds are left as uncloathed and naked altogether, as their bodies; and who are exposed to all the temptations of ignorance, want, and idleness?

Art thou a true lover of thy country? zealous for its religious and civil interests? and a chearful contributor to all those public expences which have been thought neceffary to secure them, against the artempts of the common enemy and oppressor? is the near prospect of all the blessings of peace welcome and desirable to thee? and wilt thou not bear a tender regard to all thofe, who have lost their health and their limbs in the service of war, to fecure these blessings to thee? Canst thou fee any one of them lie by the way, as it were, “ stripped, and wounded, and half “ dead;" and yet " pass by on the other fide," without doing as much for thy friend, as that good Samaritan did for his enemy, when he had “ compafion on him, and went to him, and « bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, “ and brought him to an inn," (or house of coma mon reception, so the word, Slærfoxtrov, signifies) and “ took care of him."

Have thy reasoning faculties been eclipsed ar any time by tome accidental stroke? by the mad joys of wine, or the excess of religious melancholy? by a fit of an apoplexy, or the rage of a burning fever? and haft thou, upon thy recovery, been made sensible, to what a wretched state that calamity reduced thee? and what a sad spectacle,


to all thy friends and acquintance, it rendered thee? And shall not this amfiction, which thou haft felt thyself, or perhaps obferved in others, who were near and dear to thee; shall it not lead thee to commiferate all those, who labour under a settled distraction who are shut out from all, the pleasures and advantages of human commerce, and even degraded from the rank of reasonable creatures ? wilt thou not make their case thine? and take pity upon them, who cannot take pity upon themselves ? wilt thou not contribute, to the beft of thy power, either towards restoring the defaced image of God upon their souls; or (if that cannot be done) towards supporting them, for a while under a charitable confinement, where human nature may be rescued from that contempt, to which such objects expofe it?

Once more; hast thou suffered at any time by vagabondsand pilferers? hath the knowlege or opi nion of thy wealth exposed thee to the attempts of more dangerous and bloodỹ villains ? have thý pnquiet slumbers been interrupted by the apprehenfion of nightly affaults, such as have terrified, and perhaps ruined fome of thy unfortunate neighbours ? Learn from hence duly to esteem and promote thofe useful charities, which remove such pests of human society into prisons and work-houses, and train up youth in the ways of diligence, who would otherwise take the fame defperate courses: Which reform the ftubborn by correction, and the idle by hard labour, and would, if carried to that perfection of which they are capable, go a great way towards making life


more comfortable than now it is, and property itself more valuable.

These are the several ways of beneficence, which you are now called upon to practise. Many arguments might be urged to induce you to it : But I am sensible I detain you too long; and therefore fhall use but one.; however, such an one as is equal to many, and cannot but have great weight with all that call themselves Christians. It is this - That our blefied Saviour went before us, in the practice of every one of these four instances of well-doing, which I have now recommended to you.

His compaflion and benignity towards little children, is observed by all the Evangelists; and with fuch circumstances as thew, that he laid great stress upon this kind of charity, and did, in a peculiar manner, recommend it to all his fol. lowers. For, when « his disciples rebuked those “ who brought young children unto him, he was "displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little .*. children to come unto me, and forbid them " not; for of such is the kingdom of God. “Verily I say unto you; Whosoever shall not " receive the kingdom of God, as a little child, ! " he fhall cot enter therein. And he took them

up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and “ blefied them," Mark X. 13, 14, 15, 16. it was impoflible for him to have shewed a greater ten- derness and concern for the infant-state, than by what he faid and did on this occasion. And, leit we should ftill be apt to disdain such humble offi: ces, and not to think thein of importance fuffici. ent to employ our thoughts; he further allures VOL. II.



[ocr errors]

us, that the care of these little ones is committed to ministring spirits, who attend continually on this very thing -."1 say unto you, that in heaven “ their angels do always behold the face of my “ Father which is in heaven,” Matth. xviii. 10. And we cannot surely think it beneath us, to share with those glorious beings, in such an adminiftration !

As to the cure of the diseased, the maimed, and the infirm, it was his familiar and every day's employment; I must work the works of him “ that sent me” (says he, in relation to these very cures) “ whilst it is day; the night cometh, when “no man can work:” John ix. 4. And therefore the very last miracle he did, before his day of working expired and he left this world, was the healing the ear of the high priest's servant, whom St. Peter had wounded.

His compaflion towards the distracted and lunatic, appears in divers instances: For such many of those demoniacs seem to have been, whom he healed in great numbers. The descriptions which the evangelists give of these wretched objects, and of the several fymptoms with which their maladies were attended, are very particular and moving, and thew, that both our blessed Lord and the holy pen-men of his story were deeply affected with them. Hear the account, given by St. Mark, of one initance of this kind; “ the man “ with an unclean fpirit, whose name was Lee gion! He had his dwelling among the tombs, “ and no man could bind him, no not with s chains; because he had been often bound with « ferters and chains; and the chains had been

“ plucked « plucked afunder by him, and the fetters broken “ in pieces; neither could any man tame him. “ And always night and day, he was in the moun“ tains and in the tombs, crying, and cutting him“ self with stones," Mark v. 2, 3, 4, 8C. Our Saviour took pity on him; and we find him soon afterwards “ lítting at Jefus feet, cloathed, and in

his right mind.”

Nay, he himself was pleased to set us a pattern also ot that severe charity, which consists in corporal punishment and correction. For, when he saw the outward court of the temple profaned by ungodly merchandise; He, who was meekness and mildness itself, “ made a scourge of small “ cords, and drove these buyers and sellers out “ of the temple, and overthrew their tables,” John ii. 15. This he is expresly said to have done, at two several pafsovers; and with so remarkable a degree of holy warmth and indignation, as made his disciples apply to him what the Psalmist had said, The zeal of thine house hath eiten me up! John ii. 17;

Ye fee, brethren, what a divine warrant you have, for abounding in all those offices of charity, which are this day proposed to you; and which the Saviour of the world did not himself in person disdain to exercise. « If therefore there be “ any confclition in Chrift, if any comfort of • love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any « bowels and mercies; fulfil ye” the work to which ye are invited and appointed; Phil ii 1. « Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of another! Let « this mind be in you, which was also in Ch. ist Je

X 2


« PreviousContinue »