Imágenes de páginas

Secondly, I shall represent the Practicable

ness of it, by shewing the several Ways
which every Person (though in the
meanest Circumstances) is capable of

doing Good.
Thirdly, I shall make Two or Three Infe-

rences, by way of Application.
I begin with the first Thing, seriously to
recommend the Practice of doing Good..

But where shall I begin to speak, either of •the Obligations that lie upon us, or of the Benefits and Advantages that do accrue to us by doing good in our Lives? Or having begun, where shall I make an end? The Subject is fo copious, that the Study of a whole Life cannot exhaust it. The more we consider it; still the more and the weightier Arguments will present themselves to us, to engage us in it the Practice of it; and the more we practise it, still the more fhall we desire so to do, and the more happy and blessed shall we find ourselves to be.

For, to do good, is nothing else but to act according to the Frame and Make of our Beings. It is to gratify those Inclinations and Appetites that are most strongly rooted in our Natures; such as Love and natural Affection, Pity and Compassion, a Desire of Friends, and a Propensity to knot ourselves into Companies and Societies. What are all these but To many Stimuli, so many powerful Incite-, ments of Nature to put us upon doing good Offices one to another?


To do Good is the End of all those Acquisitions, of all those Talents, of all those Favours and Advantages that God hath bless'd us 1 with; it is the proper Use we are to put them

to. If we do not enıploy them this way, we are so far from being better for them, that we are much worse. What will signify our Wit and good Humour, our Strength of Reason and Memory, our Wisdom and Knowledge, our Skill in Arts, and Dexterity in managing Business, our Wealth and Greatness, our Reputation and Interest in the World; I say, what will all these signify if they do not render us more useful and beneficial to others? That which sets the Price and Value upon every worldly Blessing, is the Opportunity it affords us of doing Good. .

To do Good, seems to be the Foundation of all the Laws of Nature, the supreme universal Law; it is that by which the World is supported; and take that away, all would presently fall into Confusion. And perhaps, if it were particularly examin'd, it would be found, that all the other natural Laws may be reduced to this, and are ultimately to be resolv'd into it. It is a Question, whether there be any natural Standard, whereby we can measure the Virtue or the Viciousness of any Action, but the Influence that it hath to promote or hinder the doing of Good? This is That, that seems to stamp Virtue and Vice.

To do Good, is the great Work, for the Sake . of which we were sent into the World, and no Man lives farther to any purpose, than así .


he is an Instrument of doing good. Be our
Lives otherwise never so busie and full of
Action, yet if others receive no Benefit by
them, we cannot give ourselyes any tolerable
Account of our Time, we have in effect liv'd
idly, and done nothing.
• To do Good, is that which of all other
Services is most acceptable to God : It is that
which he hath laid the greatest Stress upon
in the Scriptures; it is that which he hath, with
the most earnest and affectionate Persuasives,
with the strongest Arguments, with the great-
eft Promises, and with the most dreadful
Threatnings, enforc'd upon us; it is that which
he hath chofen before all Sacrifices and all
Religious Worship, ftrialy so called, to be
serv'd with; it is that which he hath appoint-
ed for the great Expression both of our Thank-
fulness for his Benefits, and of our Love and
Devotion to him : Lastly, it is that which
Moses and the Prophets make the Sum of the
old Law, and Christ and his Apostles the Sum
of the New.

And very great Reason there is for it; for to do Good, is to become most like to God. It is that which of all other Qualities gives us

the Resemblance of his Nature and Per1 Joh.4.8. fections ; for perfect Love and Goodness is the

very Nature of God, and the Root of all his other Attributes ; and there was never any Action done, any Work wrought by him, throughout the vast Tracks of infinite Space, from the Beginning of Time to this Moment, but was an Expression of his Love, and an In


ftance of doing Good, (nay, I doubt not to say, the most severe Acts of his Justice and Vengeance have all been such.) And therefore with great Reason hath our Blessed Lord | told us, that the Way to become the Chil- mat. s.

44,45. dren of our Heavenly Father, is to do good

to all, with the same Freedom and Unreser- vedness that God makes his Sun to shine upon

the World. . And of this our Blessed Saviour himself was

the most illustrious Example that ever appeared in the World; so that to do Good, is

that which doth most truly and perfećtly - render us the Disciples and Followers of Jesus,

makes us really be what we pretend we are. His whole Lifé (as the Gospel tells us) was

but a continual going about doing Good. The - great Design of his coming from Heaven, and i of all that he spoke, and of all that he did,

and of all that he suffer'd upon Earth, was the benefitting of others. And he hath left it as the great distinguishing Badge and Character whereby his Disciples should be known from other Men, that they should love one another, John 13.

even as he had loved them, that is, (as his Apostle Johnn. ; expounds them) they should love and do 16. · good to that Degree, as to lay down their Lives for their Brethren.

But to do Good, is not only our greatest Duity, but our greatest Interest and Advantage,

which is that that Solomon chiefly refers to in the Text. It is certain that no Man can take a more effectual way to render his Being in the World happy and comfortable to him



(according to the ordinary Course and Event of Things) in what Condition or Circumstances foever he is placed, than to do all the Good he can in his Life; so that though a Man that lays out himself in this way, seems only to refpc&t the Good of other People, yet in true reckoning he most consults his own Profit.

For to do Good, is the natural Way to raise us Friends, who shall be oblig'd to contribute their Endeavours to thc furthering our honest Designs ; to the upholding and securing us in our Prosperity, and to the succouring and relieving us when we are in any evil CircumStances. Such is the Contrivance and the Constitution of this World, that no Man can subsist of himself, but stands in continual need of others, both for their comfortable Society, and their necessary Assistance in his Affairs. Now of all Men living, the good Man, who maketh it his Busincss to oblige all about him, is most likely to be the best befriended.

To do Good, is the trucst Way to procure to a Man's self a good Name and Reputation in the World; which as it is a Thing desirable upon many Accounts, so it is a singular Advantage to a Man for the carrying on his 1ccular Designs. Nay, to do Good, is to embalm

a Man's Name, and to transmit it with a Prov. 10. grateful Odour to Posterity. The Memory of

a good Man shall be vlefsed. And the Sense of Mankind has always been, that too much Honour could not be given to the Name of



« AnteriorContinuar »