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1 to uncertain Riches. But what are we then to trust Gais in, if not in these Things? This i St. Paul a fi frews in the Words following, which make ;'
The Third Instance of the Rich Man's Duty, w Let them (faith he) trust in the living God, who is giveth to all Men richly to enjoy. The Senfe of ve it is this; Let them, from the Bottom of their
Hearts, acknowledge God to be the Author R.}and Giver of all that they possess: How d much foever their Heads projected, or their
Hands laboured, or their parents and Friends
were kind to them, yet it is the Providence of one of the Almighty to which they owe all. The
fame Divine Foresight and Contrivance that
Rich, and of his Infinite Goodness, gives to 'tin all that fear him, even to the Poor as well as of the Rich, all Things to enjoy ; and though ito to the one more plentifully, yet to the other ce? perhaps with as much Content, though not in wi so great Abundance. ..
The Fourth and last part of the Rich Man's pol Duty here mentioned, concerns the right Use of that Wealth that God hath given him. Now the right Use of Riches, according to the Text, doth consist in these Things ; That those that have them do Good with them, that they be rich in good Works, that they be ready to distribute, willing to communicate. · If we suppose every one of these distinct Phrases in the Text, to denote a diftinét Thing, then we are to give this Account of the Passage, That St. Paul here useth a Gradation in his Speech, begins with the lowest and most general Expressions of Charity, and fo goes on to higher Degrees of it; in each following Phrase intending to say something more great or particular than what he had said in the former, which is a most'nsual and elegant Scheme of Rhetorick. According to this Account, (as the Words are very capable of it) there are Four Things here prefcribed to the Rich Man, in the Use of his Riches.
1. That he do Good with them, that is the most general Point ; that is, that he employ them fome way or other for the Benefit of others. He muft not live to himself alone, he must design greater Things than the get
ting an Eftáte, or the raising a Family; if others be not advantaged by him, he is rich to no Purpose. And therefore it will concern him to do Kindnesses and good Offices where he can; to be liberal and hospitable. to 'oblige his Friends and Relations all ways possible, to assist all about him with his Counfel, to encourage them by his Example; in a Word, to make use of that Interest and Reputation that his Fortune hath given him above others, to do Kindnesses to them.
2. He must not think it fufficient to do this Good: now and then, upon particular and more rare Occasions; but he must abound in Acts of Goodness: That is the Meaning of the Apostle's second Expression of being rich in good Works. He must To study and improve in the Art of doing Good, that his good Deeds do equal his Riches; nay, the Words import that his true Riches are only placed in, and to be measured by his good Deeds. He is not
to think himself farther rich than he is rich - in good Works. The more plentifully God
hath blessed him with worldly Wealth, the more diligent and industrious and solicitous he must be to do Good with it; otherwise he is poorer than those that perhaps he now and then out of Charity relieves. And, .
3. Lest this doing Good, and being rich in good Works, should only be interpreted of doing such Kindnesses and good Deeds that cost us nothing but the Expence of our Time, or the Employment of our Pains, or the Use of our Interest with others; the Apostle adds this
farther Thing; that the Rich Man must be teady to distribute; that is, very free to parti with his Money, according to the Proport tion God hath blessed him with, upon eyery Occasion of real and useful Charity : 1. Whe's ther that Charity be of a: niore Publick Nam ture;, as for. Instance, when it is expressed for the advancing Religion and the Service, of God, or for the making standing Provision for the Poor ; or finally, any way for the serving the Necessities, or incrcasing the Conveniencies of the Place where we live, by any publick useful Benefaction : Ori 2. Whether this Charity be of a more private Nature, extending no farther than to particular Persons that come in our way, whom we are convinced to be real Objects of it; to these likewise we must be ready to distribute; every poor nccessitous Person hath a Right to Part of what we have, if we can really satisfy qurselves, that our Alms will do him a real Good, and will not be any great Prejudice to us. But, :.:4. And Lastly, The Apostle adds another
Thing to all this; and that is, that the Rich Man must be willing to communicate. If the Sense of this Phrase be different from the former, it will seem to import yet a higher De. gree of Liberality. It will import, that Rich Men should be of such publick Spirits, and so little esteem their Wealth their own, that it Thould in a manner be made a common Thing, wherein all should share as there was Occafion. This is the Notion of noivuvia, or com
municating,' as it was used in the Beginning of Christianity. - St. Luke in Acts 2. having told us that the first Christians continued in the Apostles Doctrine, and in communicating, prefently explains what he meant by that Communion. All (faith he, v. 44.) that believed were together, and had all Things common, and sold their Pollespons and Goods, and parted them to all Men, as every Man had need.
God be thanked, the Church of Christ is not now in such Circumstances, that it is either needful or reasonable, precisely, to observe the Practice of those Times as to this Matter. We are not only not obliged to part with the Propriety of our Estate, and to live in common, as the first persecuted Chriftians did, but we should be highly indiscreet, not to say injurious, both to ourselves and the Publick, if we did. But this, notwithstanding their Practice, and the Charge here laid upon us, to be communicative, will thus far oblige us, viz. that we Christians should always retain that publick generous Spirit that they in the first Times were acted with. We should sit so loose from the World, and so unconcerned in the Distinction of meum and tuum, that we should make it our Business to do good with what we have, thinking our Wealth best employed, when it is put to that Use. And when the Cause of God, and the common Interest of our Christian Brethren do require it, we should then as freely part
with all we have, as our Predeceffors in Chrii ftianity did ; following herein the Precept of