« הקודםהמשך »
SER M. ness; where the greatest Things of the
Earth lofe all their Power of Attraction, The awful Contemplation of God's Greatness, and the Sense of our Littleness, but too powerfully impressed by the mortifying View of our Infirmities, will soon bring us to a Conviction that Pride, the great Source of intemperate Passion, was not made for Man. The due Preparation of the Heart to wait upon God in this serious and folemn Exercise will be of admirable Use to remove far from us all malicious, uncharitable and unbenevolent Thoughts. Strange!, that these should find a Place in our Hearts, but for an Hour, against Those whom we expect, to be the Associates of our Happiness to all Eternity.
Now to God the Father, &c.
SER MON XII.
The Duty of Charity stated and
PROV. iii. 27
is due, when it is in the Power of thine
O discourse upon any Duty in Ge-Serm.
neral, without applying to Particu
is little more than idle Declamation and empty Flourish : It is to let our Arrows fly at Random, when we should direct them to a certain Mark. That Charity in general is a Duty, No-body will deny : But there are Many, who, on the Account of particular Circumstances, think themselves entirely discharged from the Performance of it: Many, who, though they own the Obligation, yet disown it in it's due Degrees.
Suffer me then to consider,
SERM. I, Who are the Persons obliged to
IIdly, Who are the Persons qualified to
IIIdly, The Manner in which we ought to bestow Charity. And,
Lastly, To lay before you the Motives to this Duty.
Charity, in the most comprehensive Sense of the Word, takes in a large Compass : It extends itself to a hearty Desire and Endeavour to do all possible Good by our Heads as well as our Hands; by our Words as well as Works: By instructing the Ignorant, advising the Mittaken, reclaiming the Wicked, comforting the Afflicted, encouraging the Virtuous and Worthy, &c. Charity even takes in Piety. For, not to mention that Piety, or a Regard to the Deity, is the Foundation of Charity, or Love to our Fellow-Creatures ; exemplary Piety is one considerable Instance of doing Good: It is letting our Light swine out before Men, in order to promote that Reverence to the Deity which is the Basis of all Virtue.
No Man, of whatever Order or Condition in Life, can think himself unconcerned
in the Duty of Charity considered in this S er 21. View ; and though this be not the princi- XII. pal Point under our present Consideration,
it may help to direct us in that which is fo, and is our first Enquiry; namely,
Ist, Who are the Persons within the Ob-
One would think we should need few
This too is a Virtue whereof one would hope They would be inclined to fhew themselves more eminent Patterns ; because as their Station fits them peculiarly for it, so it denies them the Occalions of practising many Virtues of another Sort, They meet with few Affronts, or Injuries, or Oppreffions to employ the Virtues of Meekness,
S er m. Forgiveness and Patience: They experience XII. but little of hard Fortune, less of hard La
bour, and nothing at all of the Distresses of Poverty, Hunger, and Cold and Nakedness, to call forth the Virtues of Patience and Resignation and an humble Reliance on Providence.
Now what more proper Method of supplying the Absence of these Virtues in themselves, than by extending their Charity to those very Persons who do practise them,
by letting Their Bounty render the Practice of them somewhat more eafy-by allowing themselves to become, in fome Measure, the Instrument in God's Hand of rewarding them?
Their Good Deeds then ought to bear Proportion to their Abilities. GOD, who is the Fountain-Head of every good Gift, has made Them the Channels whereby Hė intends to convey his Blessings to Mankind. Their Charity may begin at Home ; but after the Stream of it has watered their own Garden, they ought not to confine it there ; but let it flow abroad to enrich the neighbouring Soil, and to dispense Plenty and Fruitfulness all around.
This is so agreeable to the common Notions of Mankind, that Every-Body condemns the mean and sordid Spirit of that Wretch; who, though God has blessed Him with Abundance, and consequently