Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

those that have done good in their Gene. ration.

But, which is a great deal more than all this, to do Good is the most certain effectual Means to procure the Blessing of God upon our Endeavours, and to entitle' ourselves to his more especial Care and Providence, and Protection : So that, let what will come, in all Circumstances and Conditions, the good Man has the greatest Assurance, that all Things shall at least be tolerably well with him, and that he shall never be miserable. Trust in the Lord (faith David) and be doing Good, so Pfal. 27 shalt thou dwell in the Land, and verily thou Ver. 3. shalt be fed.

Nay, farther, to do Good, is to entail a Blefsing upon our Children after us. I have been Ib. v. 25. young, and now am old, (faith the same Psalmist) yet saw I never the Righteous, (that is the merciful and good Man, for that is the Notion of the Word in that Place, and in most others) such an one saw I never forsaken, nor his Seed begging their Bread.

Lastly, To conclude this point, to do Good (besides all these Advantages that attend it) is most to consult our own Peace, and to make the best Provision possible for our Pleasure and Delight. Charity (as Dr. Hammond used to fay) is really a piece of Sensuality. And Epicurus himself, the great Master of Voluptuousness, would confess, that it was not only more bravę, but more pleasant, to do Kindnesses, than to receive them. And certainly every good Man will find it so ; for as the

Exercise

Exercise of Charity and Beneficence is truly a Gratification of our natural Inclinations and Appetites, as any other Action or Thing that causeth Pleasure to us; so it is also a Gratification of those Appetites, which are the highest and the noblest we have. Now, by how much the Appetite that is gratify'd is more noble and divine, by so much must the Delight that ariseth from that Gratification, be more exquisite. So that it was no very great Hyperbole of our Divine Poet, when he said, that

-- All Foys go less, Than that one Joy of doing Kindnesses.

And, which is farther to be considered, it is not with this Pleasure, as it is with most others that vanish with the Enjoyment, nay, often leave Bitterness and Melancholy upon the Mind after they are gone off: For to do Good, is a parmanent Pleasure, a Pleasure that will last as long as our Lives. The Memory of our good Actions will always be accompanied with Delight and Satisfaction: when all our other past Enjoyments prove Matters of Anguish and Torment to us upon our Reflections on them, these will be a Refreshment: and the nearer we approach to Death, still the more Comfort we shall find in them. Would we, therefore, treasure up to ourselves à Stock of lasting Peace and Joy to support us in all Conditions of our Life, and so make our Passage easy at our Death, let us do all the Good we can.

I think

I think I have said enough to convince any one of the Truth of Solomon's Proposition, that there is nothing better for a Man, nothing that more concerns him either in point of Duty or Happiness, than to do Good in his Life. Much more might be faid, and what hath been said, might have been said with more Advantage, and greater Evidence, if it had been fit to inlist upon every - Particular : But I will pursue this Argument no farther, but proceed to the Second General Point I propos'd: which is to set before you the Practicableness of this great Duty, by shewing the several Ways which every Person, though in the meanest Circumstances, is capable of doing Good.

A great many there are, that are as strongly convinced as may be, that 'tis both their Interest and Duty to be doing Good in their Líves; but they complain that it is not in their Power, they have not any Means or Opportunities for it, and they bemoan themfelves fadly upon this Account; as thinking their Lives useless, because they have not those visible Capacities of being férviceable to the World that others have." ; . To such as these, let me say. This in the

general: There is no Condition in the World ; fo mean and despicable, but yields us Opportu

nities of doing Good. There is neither Old nor Young, Man nor Woman, Rich nor Poor, High nor Low, Learned nor Unlearned, but in their Sphere, by a good Husbandry of those Talents that God has intrusted to their

Care and Management, they may be very 1. Vol. I.

useful

useful to others, and prove Instruments of much Good in their Generations.

This Truth St. Paul most elegantly sets forth in 1 Cor. 12. where he compares the Society of Christians to a natural Body. There he shews, that as in the natural Body there are many Members, and all thofe Members have not the same Dignity and Honour, nor the fame Use or Office; and yet every Member (even the meanest) hath its particular Uie, by which it doth real Service to the Body; nay, so useful it is, that the Body cannot be without it: So it is with the Church of Christ, and with every Body Politick. There is a Necessity both in the Church and in the State, that there should be variety of Functions and Callings, and Degrees and Conditions. There must be some to govern, and some to be governed ; there must be some more confpicuous, some more obscure; some whose Gifts and Endowments lie this Way, and fome whose Talents lie in another Way; and yet there is not one of these but in his Degree and Station, either is or may be as useful as any that belong to the Society. So that the Eye cannot say to the Hand (as our Apostle there expresseth it) I have no need of thee. Nor again, the Head to the Feet, I have no need of you : Nay, more, those Members of the Body (as he continues) that seem to be most feebk, are yet very necessary.

To reduce the Apostle's Notion to its Par'ticulars, or to shew in how many Respects every individual Person that is a Member of

. a So

[ocr errors]

à Society, is necessary to the Publick and either doth, or may serve the Weal of it, and so do Good in his Life, is a Task too great for me to undertake at this Time ; let it suffice at the present, to propose to you these General Heads.

First of all, None can want Opportunities of doing Good that is in a Capacity of performing any Acts of Mercy or Charity, striąly fo called, whether that Charity be shewn to the Bodies or Souls of Men. Now the Instances and Expressions of this Way of doing! Good are infinite, as infinité as are the Wants and Necessities of Mankind. . • To the Bodies of Men we do Good, whenever we contribute to the relieving and easing them of the outward Pressures and Wants, and Necessities they lie under : such as Sickness, Pain, Poverty, Hunger, Nakedness, Debts, Imprisonment, or any other outward Affliction that falls upon them; whether that Ease and Relief be effected by our Purse, or by our Counsel and Advice, or by our Labour and Pains.

And sure some of these Three Things, there is none so mean or inconsiderable in the World, but it is in his power to benefit his poor Neighbour with.

To the Souls of Men we do good, whenever by our Discourses or other Endeavours, we make Men better or wiser ; when we instruct the Ignorant, when we satisfy the Doubtful, when we reduce those that are misled by Error, when we establish the Weak,

G 2

when

of

« AnteriorContinuar »