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Serý ture of Inconsistencies, and such a shame. IX. ful Mistrust of Providence, and Abuse of

Common-Sense, that barely to mention it, - is sufficient to expose it: And then these

yery People, when they die, by as strange, and undefigned a Sort of kindness, leave their Substance to they know not whom, for no other reason, than because they cannot keep it any longer. But after all, tho' we may not withhold Good from them to whom it is due, yet we may yrithhold it from them to whom it is not due: For they who are able to help themselves, and such there are, who nevertheless refuse to do so, can never be entitled to that Good, which it is in their own Power to help themselves to, and which should they receive, they must of neceffity rob those, to whom the Scripture has given a Title to it. The Rod of Justice is the greatest Charity that can be bestowed on them, who by their voluntary Necessities impose upon Mankind, and deprive those who are truly necessitous of that Help and Alistance, which they would otherwise enjoy. They certainly are the


only Objects of Charity whose Necessities SERM. are not of their own making, such as they

could prevent, or can deliver themselves
from. The Impotence of Old Age, just
dropping into the Duft, and hastening to
put off its earthly* Tabernacle, calls upon
us to supply the Defects of Nature, and if
possible, to give some Respite and Refresh-
ment to the short Remains of Life. They
who-labour under any grievous Diforder of
Body, whether they be old or young, loud-
ly call for Succour ; having besides their
Pain a pinching Necessity likewise to strug-
gle with:. But more especially they whom
these Misfortunes have befallen in the Set-
vice of their Country, have a juft and
equitable Claim to our Affiftance, and to
share with us in the common Bleffings they
have been so inftrumental in procuring us.
Nor are they to be forgotten, whom God
has afflicted with a troubled Mind, whose
Reafon, if any there be, is kept under by
exorbitant ráging Passions, and left to the
extravagant Guidance of unaffifted Nature.

Since I am describing to you the several
Objects of Charity, indulge me a few


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SERM. Words, while I recommend to you one
IX. thing more, in which your Charity would

be exceedingly well bestowed, I mean in
the Education of Youth. Every one knows,
and has seen, and some indeed to their
Sorrow, the dismal Consequences that have
attended the Want of Education in our
Youth. Young People are prone enough
to Vice, notwithstanding any Restraints
that are put upon them, even under the
Influence of Virtue and Religion ; but
when they are let alone to follow their In-
clinations without Controul, they rush on
adventrous in the Paths of Sin till Old
Age, if some unlucky Accident does not
take them off before, hardens them into
a reprobate and stupid Infidelity, so that,
for want of remembring their Creator in
the Days of their Youth, the Evil days
come upon them, and the Years draw
nigh; when they fball say, I have no Plea-
fure in them: But when they are timely
accustomed to virtuous Habits, and by
good Instructions trained up in the way
wherein they should go, they will not
easily depart from it, but grow, as in


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Years, fo in Grace, till they come unto a SERM.

IX. perfect Man, unto the Measure of the Stature of the Fulness of Chrift:

Having proved that Charity is a Debt, and how far it is timited and restrained, I shall, Secondly, proceed to bring fome Arguments to perswade you chearfully to dif

charge it.

And First, We should be always ready to help and affist our Fellow-Creatures in their Wants and Neceffities, because it is what we would expect of them, if we were in their Condition, and they in ours; and therefore it would be unreasonable to deny them that, which we should think unreasonable for them to deny us.

Secondly, We should take Care chearfully to discharge this Duty of Charity, because we do not know how foon it may be our own Case to want Assistance ourselves. No one can tell how it may please God to deal with him, and what Condition he may be in before he dies, however profperous and successful he


be at present; and then if he hath stopped his Ears at the Cry of the Poor, he also shall




SERM. self, but shall not be heard: For what IX.

can he expect of God in his Adversity, who refused him any Acknowledgment in his Prosperity? Or what can he expect from Men, when he himself refused to grant what he is now obliged to ask? But if he hath been accustomed to Acts of Charity and Beneficence, and hath not shut his Ears upon the Cries of the Poor and Needy, happy is he, the Lord shall deliver him in the time of Trouble. A charitable Man when he is under Afidions is sure to be pitied by all Men, and to draw Compassion from that stony Heart that seldom shewed any before: For Nature is not so far degenerated, but it must love and admire that Divine Temper of Mind, that delights in doing Good, and shew the greater Compassion to it when in Distress.

Thirdly, A third Argument I shall make Use of to perswade you to a chearful Difcharge of this Debt is the Encouragement that attends it; for tho' Charity is a Debt which we are obliged to discharge, yet because it is always accompanied with such a lovely Frame of Mind, such Pity, such


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