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haps both together sitting in filent dejection, or agitated with all the violence of grief. At one time we hear the plaintive voice of the friendless solitary mourner-at another, the united crics of a numerous starving family. Turn to the one hand, and feeble tottering old age requests fupport-turn to the other hand, and the deserted infant, or neglected youth, requires a kind interpofition. These, and many similar cases of urgent necessity, claim the attention and care of the compassionate and generous. On such occasions, how does the man of libcral charity feel and act? Is theatrical representation necessary to rouse his sensibilities ? Must he learn from the fictitious tale of misery to compassionate real distress ? Must his heart be taught by the tongue of the pathetic orator to move with sentiments of generous sympathy ? No! well-attested facts are suflicient to call them forth to the most seasonable and effectual exertions; or he repairs to the house of the mourners, and seeing, with his own eyes, and hearing, with his own ears, he mingles his tears with theirs--his heart overflows with the tenderest emotions, and his hand readily adininisters 'according to his abilities. Amidit such various scenes of sorrow, that which
overwhelms him most is, that he cannot extend his help to all. This, however, checks not the ardour of his charity, but prompts his wisdom and prudence to contrive how he may most usefully divide his labours of love. He cannot think of devoting them entirely to one, or a very few, because thus they might receive too much, and others too little. But while he can. not be confined within a very small circle, both prudence and charity forbid his taking too wide a range, lest he should defeat his own benevolent purposes; by extending thus too far, his means would prove unequal to the end. Much may be given away, and yet lose its effect, by being divided into so many small parts that almost none receive material benefit. He there. fore considers who are the most needy, the most worthy, and what are their different resources, and he adapts his charity to their state and character. He clothes the naked, or feeds the hungry, or comforts the disconfolate, or educates the friendless youth, or administers counsel to the ignorant, the perplexed, and the unexperienced. Full of desire to answer all demands, when his own funds are insufficient, he thinks it not mean nor troublesome to ask assistance, and plead the
cause of the destitute. He does not stop to inquire, who is my neighbour? By the ties of hu. manity he feels his heart knit to the whole human race. While he looks up with devotion and gratitude to their common parent, he looks around him with kind and tender attachment, and says, “ Are we not all his offspring ?”— These amiable and humane dispositions rise to a still more exalted benevolence, under the experienced influence of the divine Saviour's grace and benignity. In one affectionate embrace the Christian clasps the whole world. Even to enemies and strangers he wishes to stretch his relieving beneficent hand. Though no returns in kind should be made, nay, though acts of generosity or friendship should meet with infenfibility and ingratitude, the ardour of his liberal charity cannot be damped, or diverted from the honourable pursuits of goodness and mercy.
Lastly, That may well be called liberal charity, which is designed to promote the greatest possible good. If it be charity to grant a temporary relief to individuals, a permanent provision made or supported upon principles of public utility, and put under proper management, must be the expression of a richer libe. rality. If the occasional aids of sympathy affording a seasonable service to men racked with pain, or pining under infirmity and want, be charity, how is the charity increased, when the means of preserving and promoting health are plentifully furnished ? lf, besides comforting and helping afslicted old age, we also take the helpless young under our care, and form them to habits of fobriety and industry; if we do every thing in our power to render them virtuous, happy, and valuable members of society,
till more if we extend our concern for their welfare to their spiritual and eternal interests, such benevolent designs and pursuits must be prompted and animated by the liberal mind that deviseth liberal things. Every instance of effectual relief to the afflicted, the needy, or the oppressed, is in itself an act of generosity; but the greater the evil and danger from which we are delivered, and the greater the safety and good to which we are raised, the more highly we admire the means of our distinguished escape and advantage. When we consider sin in its own nature, and certain eternal consequences, the greatest pollible evil is then before our eyes. But for it, no other evil could have existed : By it the name of God hath been dishonoured, human nature degraded, the world subjected to every calamity, and all mankind to eternal punishment. Here is the dreadful source of all human woe, and this moral evil is universal. " All have “ finned, and come short of the glory of God;" and we know that “ the wages of fin is death,” eternal death. " What then shall we do to be “ saved,” and to save our brethren ? Does the heart heave, and the tear drop, in the presence of the afflicted and the dying ? What rivers of tears should run down our eyes, when we see the wicked forget God, forsake his laws, and destroy themselves ? To convert a sinner, is to fave a soul from death. " What shall it profit a “ man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose “ his own soul ? Or what can a man give in ex“ change for the soul ?” Is there then no charity in the world to exert itself in this most important sphere? Or is the redemption of the soul fo precious, that it must cease for ever, because no man, however opulent and well disposed, can offer a sufficient ransom for himself, or for his brother? How must we extol the charity which brings relief in a crisis so awful and important?