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one narrow spot, but with an open hand disseminates SERM. it, with an impartial regard distils it all about. He XX stints it not to his own family or relations; to his neighbours, or friends, or benefactors ; to those of his own sect and opinion, or of his humour and disposition; to such as serve him, or oblige him, or please him; whom some private interest ties, or some particular affection endears him to; but scatters it indifferently and unconfinedly toward all men that need it; toward mere strangers, yea, toward known . enemies; toward such who never did him any good, or can ever be able to do any; yea, even toward them who have done evil to him, and may be presumed ready to do more b. Nothing in his neighbour but absence of need, nothing in himself but defect of ability, doth curb or limit his beneficence. In that 2 Cor. viii. Topcovnía, (that proclivity and promptitude of mind,) Ubicunque
bomo est, which St. Paul speaketh of, he doth good every ibi benefiwhere: wherever a man is, there is room for his c
est. Sen. de wishing well, and doing good, if he can: he observes Vit. B.cap.
24. that rule of the Apostle, As we have opportunity, Gal. vi. 10. let us do good unto all men. So the pious man 13. hath dispersed. It follows,
He hath given to the poor. These words denote the freeness of his bounty, and determine the principal object thereof: he not only lendeth (though he also doth that upon reasonable occasion; for, A good Psal. cxii.5. man, as it is said before in this Psalm, sheweth mercy, and lendeth; and otherwhere, The righteous Ps. xxxvii. is ever merciful, and lendeth; he, I say, not only 20 sometimes willingly lendeth) to those who in time
b 'Ear ions Tivà kakās páo xorta, undèy nepiepyúčou no1t6v čxer sè 86καίωμα της βοηθείας, του κακώς παθείν αυτόν του Θεού έστι, κάν "Έλλην, ką, 'lovdaños. Chrys. in Heb. Orat. 10.
2 Cor. ix.
to want. Prov. xxii. 16.
SERM. may repay, or requite him; but he freely giveth to
to the poor, that is, to those from whom he can expect Qui diviti, no retribution back. He doth not (as good and donat, petit. He that giv- pious, he doth not) present the rich : to do so is but eth to the rich shall a cleanly way of begging, or a subtile kind of trade;
me it is hardly courtesy; it is surely no bounty ; for xii. such persons (if they are not very sordid or very
careless, and such men are not usually much troubled with presents) will, it is likely, overdo him, or at least will be even with him in kindness. In doing
this, there is little virtue; for it there will be small -33, reward. For, If you do good to them who do good
to you, (or whom you conceive able and disposed to requite you,) Tola zápis, what thanks are due to you? For that, saith our Saviour, even sinners (even men notoriously bad) do the same : And if you lend to them from whom you hope to receive, what thanks have you? For sinners even lend to sinners, to receive as much again. All men commonly, the bad no less than the good, are apt to be superfluously kind in heaping favours on those whom fortune befriends, and whose condition requires not their courtesy ; every one almost is ready to adopt himself into the kindred, or to screw himself into the friendship of the wealthy and prosperous c: but where kindred is of use, there it is seldom found; it is commonly so deaf, as not to hear when it is called ; so blind, as
not to discern its proper object and natural season, Pror. xvii. (the time of adversity, for which a brother is born.)
Men disclaim alliance with the needy, and shun his
acquaintance; so the Wise Man observed, All the SERM. brethren of the poor do hate him ; how much more XXXI. do his friends go far from him? Thus it is in vul- Prov. xix. gar practice: but the pious man is more judicious, et ngáodio more just, and more generous in the placing of his musicas favours ; he is courteous to purpose, he is good to rx those who need. He, as such, doth not make large entertainments for his friends, his brethren, his Luke xiv.
12, 13, 14. kindred, his rich neighbours; but observes that precept of our Lord, When thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind, and thou shalt be blessed: for they cannot recompense thee; thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just. Thus the pious man giveth, that is, with a free heart and pure intention bestoweth his goods on the indigent, without designing any benefit, or hoping for any requital to himself; except from God, in conscience, respect, and love to whom he doeth it.
It may be also material to observe the form of speech here used in reference to the time: He hath dispersed, and he hath given; or, He doth disperse, he doth give; (for in the Hebrew language the past and present times are not distinguished :) which manner of speaking may seem to intimate the reality, or the certainty, and the constancy of his practice in this kind; for what is past or present, we are infallibly secure of; and in morals, what one is said to have done, or to do, is always understood according to habit or custom. It is not, He will disperse, he will give ; that were no fit description of a good man; to pretend to, would be no argument of piety; those words might import uncertainty, and delay in his practice. He that saith, I will give, may be fallacious in his professions, may be inconsistent with
SERM. his resolutions, may wilfully or negligently let slip
1X1the due season of performing it. Our good man is 'Erixius noi not a Doson, or Will-give, (like that king of MaceAllow us in ayyarızis don, who got that name from often signifying an incrovezes di tention of giving, but never giving in effect ;) he not
xi. only purposes well, and promises fairly for the future, Plut. in., but he hath effectually done it, and perseveres doing Paulo Æmil.
it upon every fit occasion. He puts not his neighbour into tedious expectations, nor puts him off with fri
volous excuses, saying to him, as it is in the ProProv. iii.28. verbs, Go, and come again, and to-morrow I will
give, when he hath it by him: he bids him not Jam. ii. 16. have patience, or says unto him, Depart in peace,
when his need is urgent, and his pain impatient, when hunger or cold do then pinch him, when sickness incessantly vexeth him, when present straits and burdens oppress him; but he affordeth a ready, quick, and seasonable relief.
He hath dispersed, and given, while he lives, not reserving the disposal of all at once upon his death, or by his last will; that unwilling will, whereby men would seem to give somewhat, when they can keep nothing; drawing to themselves those commendations and thanks, which are only due to their mortality; whenas were they immortal, they would never be liberal : No; it is, he hath freely dispersed;
not an inevitable necessity will extort it from him; Avarus, nisi it cannot be said of him, that he never does well, cum mori.
ipecie but when he dies; so he hath done it really and
He also doth it constantly, through all the course of his life, whenever good opportunity presents itself. He doth it not by fits, or by accident, according to unstable causes or circumstances moving him, (when
bodily temper or humour inclineth him, when a sad SERM. object makes vehement impression on him, when XXXI. shame obligeth him to comply with the practice of others, when he may thereby promote some design, or procure some glory to himself,) but his practice is constant and uniform, being drawn from steady principles, and guided by certain rules, proceeding from reverence to God, and good-will toward man, following the clear dictates and immutable laws of conscience. Thus hath the pious man dispersed, and given to the poor : and let thus much suffice for explicatory reflection upon the first words.
The main drift and purport of which is, to represent the liberal exercising of bounty and mercy to be the necessary duty, the ordinary practice, and the proper character of a truly pious man; so that performing such acts is a good sign of true piety; and omitting them is a certain argument of ungodliness. For the demonstration of which points, and for exciting us to a practice answerable, I shall propound several considerations, whereby the plain reasonableness, the great weight, the high worth and excellency of this duty, together with its strict connection with other principal duties of piety, will appear. And first, I will shew with what advantage the holy scripture represents it to us, or presses it upon us. 1. We may consider, that there is no sort of duties 1. Head of
a discourse. which God hath more expressly commanded, or more earnestly inculcated, than these of bounty and mercy toward our brethren : whence evidently the great moment of them, and their high value in God's esteem may be inferred. Even in the ancient law, we may observe very careful provisions made for engaging men to works of this kind, and the perform
BARROW, VOL. II.