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always to be great and opulent. Happiness, God be praised, is not annexed, and is not confined, to the fuperior stations of life. There is a great difference between possessing the good things of life, and enjoying them.
Whatever be his rank in life, the meek man bids the fairest chance for enjoying its advantages. A proud and passionate man puts his happiness in the power of every fool he meets with. A failure in duty or affection from a friend, want of respect from a dependant, and a thousand little circumstances, which a candid man would overlook, disturb his repoíe. ( He is perpetually on the fret, and his life is one scene of anxiety after another.) On the other hand, the meek is not disturbed by the tranfactions of this scene of vanity. He is disposed to be pleased at all events. Instead of repining at the success of those around him, he rejoices in their prosperity; and is thus happy in the happiness of all his neighbours. Such are the blessed effects of meekness on the character. This beam from heaven kindles joy within the mind : it spreads a serenity over the countenance, and diffuses a kind of sunshine over the whole life. It puts us out of the power of accidents. It keeps the world at a due distance. It is armour to the mind, and keeps off the arrows of wrath. It preserves a sanctuary within, calm and holy, which nothing can disturb. Safe and happy in this afylum, you smile at the madness of the multitude. You hear the tempest raging around, and spending its strength in vain. As this virtue contributes to our happiness here, so it is also the best preparation for the happiness which is above. It is the very temper of the heavens. It is the dispofi-,
tion of the saints in light, and angels in glory; of that blessed society of friends, who rejoice in the presence of God, and who, in mutual love, and joint hofannahs of praise, enjoy the ages of eternity,
To conclude : There is hardly a duty enjoined in the whole book of God, on which more stress seems often to be laid, than this virtue of meekness. ." The " Lord loveth the meek.-The meek will he beauti. “ fy with his falvation. He arises to save the meek c of the earth.” Christ was sent to preach “ glad
tidings to the meek.” Upon this our Lord rests his own character. “ Learn of me, for I am meek." In the epistles of Paul, there is a remarkable expresfion : “ I beseech you by the meekness and the gen“ tleness of Christ.” The Holy Ghost too, is called “the Spirit of Meekness.” Implore then, O Christian ! the assistance of the Divine Spirit, that he may endow you with this virtue, and that you may show in your life the meekness of wisdom.
-Deal thy bread to the hungry :-hide not thyself from
thine own flesh.
Why there are so many evils in the world, is a question that has been agitated ever since men felt them. As God is poffefsed of all perfections, he could have created the universe without evil. To him, revolving the plan of his creation, every benevolent system presented itself; how came it then to pass, that a Being, neither controlled in power, nor limited in wisdom, nor deficient in goodness, should create a world in which many evils are to be found, and much suffering to be endured ? It becomes not us, with too presumptuous a curiosity, to assign the causes of the Divine conduct, or with too daring a hand, to draw aside the veil which covers the councils of the Almighty. But from this state of things, we see many good effects arise. That industry which keeps the world in motion; that fociety, which, by mutual wants, cements mankind together; and that charity, which is the bond of
perfection, would neither have a place nor a name, but for the evils of human life. Thus the enjoyments of life are grafted upon its wants; from natural evil arises moral good, and the sufferings of some contribute to the happiness of all. Such being the state of human affairs, charity, or that disposition which leads
us to supply the wants and alleviate the sufferings of unhappy men, as well as bear with their infirmities, must be a duty of capital importance. Accordingly it is enjoined in our holy religion, as being the chief of the virtues. There is no duty commanded in Scripture, on which so much stress is laid, as on the duty of charity. It is assigned as the test and criterion by which we are to distinguish the disciples of Jesus, and it will be selected at the great day, as being that part of the character which is most decifive of the life, and according to which the last sentence is to turn. Charity, in its most comprehensive sense, signifies that disposition of mind, which, from a regard and gratitude to God, leads to all the good in our power to man. Thus, it takes in a large circle, extending to all the virtues of the social, and many graces
of the divine life. But as this would lead us into a wide field, all that I intend at present is, to consider that branch of charity which is called Almsgiving ; and, in treating upon it, shall, in the first place, Show you how alms ought to be bestowed'; and, secondly, Give exhortations to the practice of this duty.
The first thing proposed was, To show you what is the most proper method of bestowing charity. this inquiry is the more necessary, as, in the neighbourhood of great cities, we are always surrounded by the needy and importunate, and it is often difficult to distinguish those who are proper objects of charity, from those who are not.
The best method of bestowing charily upon the healthy and the strong, is to give them employment. Almighty God created us all for industry and ac
tion. He never intended that any man upon the face of the earth should be idle. Accordingly, he hath placed us in a state which abounds with incentives to industry, and in which we must be active, in order to live. One half of the vices of men take their origin from idleness. He who has nothing to do, is an easy prey to the tempter. Men must have occupation of one kind or other. If they are not employed in useful and beneficial labours, they will engage in those which are pernicious and criminal. To support the indolent, therefore, to keep those idle who are able to work, is acting contrary to the intention of God, is doing an injury to fociety, which claims a right to the services of all its members, is defrauding real objects of charity of that which is their proper due, and is fostering a race of fluggards, to prey upon the vitals of a state. But he is a valuable member of society, and merits well of all mankind, who by devising means of employment for the industrious, delivers the public from an useless incumbrance, and makes those who would otherwise be the pests of society, useful subjects of the commonwealth. If it be merit, and no small merit it is, to improve the face of a country; to turn the desert into a fruitful field, and make the barren wastes break forth into finging ; it is much more meritorious to cultivate the deserts in the moral world ; to render those who might be otherwise pernicious members of fociety, happy in themselves, and beneficial to the state ; to convert the talent that was wrapt up in a napkin into a public use ; and by opening a new source of industry, make life and health to circulate through the whole political body. Such a person is