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acquainted with the state of the poor, that none ever wrote better unon the subject than himself. It was an observation of his, that the rich are under a fundamental error, in supposing that the duty of alms-giving is the essential part of the comprehensive duty ofcharity; and so their object is rather to remove present misery, than to prevent it by encouraging piety, order, and good morals. Let gentlemen of fortune, said he, give more ef their time to the poor, though they give less of their money, and then we shall have found out the grand secret for reducing the parish rates :' the poor would then behave better, and cost less, and find themselves, much happier than they do at present*.
To these another cause may still be added, which has had the unhappy effect of damping the industry of the poor, by taking away from them the hope of bettering their condition by good management: I mean the selfish practice of laying many farms into one, to save trouble and raise more money; whence it comes to pass, that labourers have not that encouragement to endeavour to advance themselves and their families as they had formerly: in some places there are no small farms left for them, and they are not able to take a large one; in consequence of which they grow desperate in their poverty; and even where there are small farms, the piofits are, in a manner, eaten up in many parishes,,by burthensome rates and taxes.
* Paupers at London take collection from many parishes, at once, under false names. A spy is detected iii acump, by ordering all the soldiers to their tents; so ttiese impostors might be detected by a muster, or roll-call, of all the parishes held at tb» tame time; and every person so detected, should receive corporal punishment, and a brand of infamy on their forehead.
I have now enumerated, to the best of my knowledge; and without concealing any part of the truth, the several causes which have contributed to increase the number of the poor, and to render them so burthensome, that they cannot always find a provision adequate to their wants in times of sickness and inability. Societies have, therefore, been formed, the members of which undertake, in the days of their health, to make a better provision for one another, out of a common stock, than they could expect from the public, if they should ever be reduced to the necessity of applying.for it. As I heartily approve of this design, and have given you my sentiments to that effect on former occasions, I shall now add such advice as may promote and secure the benefit to all those that are concerned in it; and I know not how to do this more effectually than by enforcing the exhortation of the Apostle, that each of you lay by him in store as God hath prospered him. For in order to do this, so as to keep up to the sense of the exhortation, he must be
1. Prudent; 2. industrious; 3. sober; and 4. honest; without which, he has no reason to expect that God will prosper him.
By prudence, I mean a proper attention to his affairs; which we call ceconomy. It is as wicked to waste what God hath bestowed, as to deny it to him that is in need; and for this plain reason, because he who wastes what he has, will have nothing to give. Prudence in our affairs is a duty so necessary, that our blessed Lord, who was exemplary and instructive in his actions, as well as in his words, seems to have shewn a particular regard to it: Gather up the fragments which remain, said he, that nothing be lost; and if he, whose word alone was sufficient to provide for an hungry multitude In a wilderness; if be, I say, thought it expedient that we should make the most of his gifts, the same rule will oblige us to make the most of our own gains, and to take care that nothing be lost. It is a sort of tempting God, if we expect bim to work two miracles, when a prudent application of one would answer the end. The means were miraculous the first time the multitude were fed; but they were natural when the fragments that had been laid up were distributed. It is the care of Providence to put us in a way, and do what we cannot do for ourselves; but it must be our care to make the most of his gifts by a prudent attention to them.
A second qualification, necessary to those who would lay by any thing, is industry. Idleness is the disgrace of human kind. It was made neither for the rich nor the poor; neither for man when he was in Paradise, nor now he is out of it. The body, the mind, and the estate, all suffer by it. It brings diseases upon the rich, and filthiness upon the poor: it weakens all the facultiep of the mind, and leaves it empty and dissatisfied; it ruins the estate, because an idle disposition is for the most part attended with expensive inclinations, while it brings in nothing for the supply of necessary wants. Idle people are generally vicious: they are idle because they are vicious; and vice always did cost more than virtue to maintain it. Instead of having any thing to lay by, idleness expects to receive that from the labours of others, which it does not deserve from any body. The idle man is to society, what a useless limb is to the body, which must bd earned pr dragged along by the rest; and if he is not troublesome to-day, he will be soon: for he that has neither house nor land, nor any useful employment, must be maintained either by beggary or ty working in the dark, when other men are asleep : therefore, such people ought to be strictly watched; and every society has a right against them on a principle of self-defence; for he who does them no good, will very soon do them some mischief. In a neighbouring nation, celebrated for few virtues besides those of frugality and industry, they endure no idleness amongst them; so you see no beggars about their streets, and very seldom hear of any executions for felony. If any poor man turns idle, and admonition does him no good, they take the following method to make him work: they confine him in a large cistern, into which the water runs so fast, that unless he pumps it out with all his might for several hours, it will prevail over him and drown him. Our schools of labour are called houses of correction ; but the place where this discipline is exercised, is called the bettering house; and if the first trial does not make a man better, they give him a second ; and so on, till he is brought to reason with himself: then he discovers, that it will be less trouble to earn his living by moderate labour, than to do such hard work and get nothing by it. This, however, is a way of teaching men as we teach brutes, by compulsion. How much better is it to hearken and learn as children do, and be bettered by the instructions of wisdom | Go, then, to the ant, thou sluggard, consider her ways and be wise : which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest. But now, thirdly, I am to remind you, that he who would lay any thing by for charity, must be temperate. No man will ever be able to do much good to others, who does not lay some restraint upon himself. Intemperance is hurtful to the rich; but it is ruinous to the poor: and alas! we have too many examples of it in all places; of men who spend all they have upon themselves, and sometimes more than they have, and, live more like swine than Christians. If there should be any such here present, may God give them grace to understand rightly the miserable bondage into which they have been betrayed by ungoverned appetites; while, instead of fancied indulgence, they find nothing but real misery; the ingredients of which are the three great evils of human life, sickness, guilt and poverty. If we were to follow some people of the lower class of life, to observe how they live, particularly those who are employed in handicraft trades, in the great metropolis of this kingdom; we should see them wprking hard for a few days, then taking their wages, and giving themselves up for as many days more to idleness and intemperance in a public-house. There they meet with others as idle as themselyes; who are pome upon the same errand, to waste their time and their money. They sit till all is spent, and, perhaps, till their senses are gone together with their money; but if not so bad as that, their consciences are wounded, and their peace of mind is destroyed; so that they have not one moment of rational enjoyment In the mean time, if we were to see the unhappy wife of one of these free-livers, we should find her at home, with her poor, ragged, helpless children about her, hungering and thirsting for the fruit of their father's labour; with which, he is all the while abusing himself in other company. When all is gone, and he has time to think a little, the distress of his family stares him in the face • he is entertained with bitter accusations, which he has brought upon him