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aster such a declaration as this, to flatter themselves with the hopes of getting to heaven, without abounding in the offices of charity. Twas chiefly to rouse men up into a sense of their duty and danger in this respect, that our Saviour uttered the parable of the rich man and Lazarus. The rich man is not blamed m the parable, as having made use of any unlawful means to amass riches, as having thriven by fraud and injustice, or grown fat upon the spoils of rapine and op— preffion: All that is there laid to his charge is, That he was "cloathtd with purple and sine "linen, and fared sumptuoufly every day," without regarding the wretched condition of Lazarus, who was laid at his gate; and who is faid, indeed, to have desired to feed of the crumbs which "fell from his table," but is not faid to have obtained what he desired. And even this want of humanity to an object so pityable and moving, did, it seems, deserve to be punished with everlasting torments. Hear and tremble, all ye who "have this world's good, and fee your brother "have need, and shut up your bowels of com"passion from him," i John iii. 17.
But I believe far better things of all, and know far better things of many, that compose this audience; for I fee here, the worthy governors and encouragers of those public and useful charities, which are a greater ornament to this city than all it wealth and spledor i and do more real honour to the reformed religion, which gave birth to them, than redounds to the church of Rome, from all those monkish and superstitious foundations, os which flie vainly boasts, and with which she dazzles the eyes of ignorant beholders.
We live at a time, when popery, which is so far shut out by our laws as not to be able to reenter openly, is yet stealing in privately by the back-door of atheism, and making many other secret and unperceived advances upon us. Its emisfaries are very numerous, and very busy in corners, to seduce the unwary. A nd among all the popular pleas, which they employ to this purpose, there is none more ensnaring (I speak what I know, by experience) than the advantageous representations they make of the public charities, which abound in their communion. Many ways there are of exposing the vanity of such pretences: but I have found none more successful, than to direct the persons, who are struck with the speaious appearances of charity in that church, to the real and substantial effects of it in ours; those noble mpnuments of glory to God, and good-will to men, which the piety of our protestant ancestors raised; and which have since received as great additions and improvements, as the renouned city itsels to which they belong. I mention them together, because I take the one of them to have sprung, in some measure, from the other; and the present prbsperous estate of this great emporium to be owing, not more to the industry of its inhabitants, than to those shining instances of charity in which they excel; there being no surer way towards increasing riches, than by sharing them with the poor and the needy.!
I have not room to give you a complete view of what hath been expended in such charitable disP 2 tributions tributions within the walls of this city, since the lime of our blessed refornlation, when these goodly plants were lirst set, which have since, by due watering and culture, so wonderfully grown and flourished: You'may guess at the prodigious sum to which such' ah estimate would amount, When you have heard, what hath been here done for the poor by the sive hospitals and the work>hbuse, within the. compass of one year, and towards the end of a long, expensive warwhich, however it may have drained bur wealth in other respects, yet hath (thanks be to God) not exhuusted, and scarce diminished, our charity. I shall give you a short account os\two reports, which were read at large to you yesterday.
[Here an abjiraft of those resorts was read.]
Tis not necessary to plead very earnestly in behalf of these charities; they speak sufficiently for themselves, by a silent, but powerful eloquence, that is not to be withstood. There is such a native comeliness and beauty in well-designed works of benesicence, that they need only be shewed, in order to charm all that behold them. Particularly these, of which you have had an account, are such wise, such rational, such benesicial institutions, that it is impossible for a good man to hear them repesented, without wishing them all mariner of success ; and as impossible for one that is both rich and good not to contribute to it. To relieve the helpless poor; to make sturdy vagrants relieve themselve s; to hinder idle hands from being mischievous to the common-wealth; nay, to employ
them sot that they may be of public service; to restore limbs to the wounded, health to the sick* and reason to the distracted; to educate children in an honest, pious, aud laborious manner; and, by that means, to sow a good seed, of which perhaps another age, and another race of men, may reap the benesit; these are things of so evident use, of so consessed an excellence, that it would, be an affront to men's understandings to go about to prove it.
Besides, the vigilance of those who preside over these charities, is so exemplary, their conduct so irreproachable, that persons disposed to do good in these instances, can entertain no suspicions of the misapplication os their bounty; but are almost as sure, that what they give will be made use of to its proper end, as they are that the end itself is good, for which they bestow it. It is a mighty check to benesicent tempers to consider, how often good designs are frustrated by an ill execution of them; and perverted to purposes, which, could the donors themselves have foreseen, they would have been very loth to promote. 15ut it is the peculiar selicity of charitablyminded persons in this place, to have no objectons of that kind to struggle with. AII they have to consider is, What portion of their wealth they design for the uses of the poor; which they may then chearfolly throw into one of these public repositories; secure, that it will be as well employed as their hearts can desire, by hands well versed in the labour of love, and whose pleasure it is to approve their own beneficence to the pub
lie, lie, by a careful management and distribution of other men s charity.
This gives benefactors an opportunity of doing their alm.', with that self-denying secresy, which, our Lord recommends, and which 'greatly enhances the present pleasure and the future reward, of them For we may then fafely conceal our good deeds from the public view, when they run no hazard of being diverted to improper ends, for want of our own inspection. Hence it is, that these public charities have been ail along supplied and sed by private springs; the heads of which, have sometimes been wholly unknown. And I take it to be an argument of God's peculiar blessing upon them, that the expencesof some of them do always much exceed their certain annual income; but seldom, or never, their casual supplies. I call them casual, in compliance with the common form of speaking; though I doubt not but that they owe their rise to a very particular direction of povidence. The overseers of these bounties seem to me, like those who live on the banks of the Ni'e s who plough up their ground, andsow their seed, under a consident expectation, that the soil will in due time be manured by the overflowing of that river, though they neither see, nor know the true cause ol' it.
May God touch the hearts of all that are able to contribute to such works of mercy, and make them as willing as they are able ! In order to excite their christian compassion, I need use no other motive than that which the text suggests; that the Lord Jesns will look upon whatever we do of diis kind, as done to himself; " inasmuch