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clufion, they would be attended with no Difficulty, unless it were in determining, which of these Glorious Designs fhould have the Preference. For each of them does, with abundant reason, lay claim to your Kind wishes and Liberality.
If the Education of the Children, recommended to you, * be duely confider'd, it must meet with Encouragement, wherefoever any Footsteps of Charity are to be found. For if this be a Cogent reason of fuccouring every Neceffitous Perfon, That he bears the Image of God; How juftly may They depend upon our best Affections and Affiftance, who have not yet Defaced that Image, by the habits of Sin? Or, if we fhould make an Estimate of this branch of Charity, by its Confequences; it will appear to be of the utmoft Importance: For your Favour, to thefe objects of it, adds Glory and Strength to your Countrey, contributes to the Honour of God and our holy Religion, fecures the diftreffed Innocents themfelves
* Chrift's Hofpital.
from fatal Ignorance and Pollutions, and fupplies them with the means of Salvation; which may be hazarded and finally Loft, under the Want of those advantages, which you are capable of giving.
If we transfer our Thoughts from those, who are Entring upon the Scene of Life, to others, * whofe Exquifite torments have made Life to become a Burthen to them; we fhall find new Demands upon our Charity, and those fo Reasonable and Juft, that Charity cannot reject them. If wounds and Difeafes do ly so very Heavy, even upon all the Comforts, which the Largest Fortune can fupply; How fhould we commiferate the Pains and Sickness of thofe, whofe Groans and Sighs are their only Relief. Let our Imaginations then be filled with the hideous Cries, which cannot reach our Ears; Let us mourn with them that mourn, and freely reach out Confolation unto them; under the Thoughts of those shocking hours, which are haftening towards us,
*St. Bartholomew's, and St. Thomas's Hospitals.
the hours of Sickness and approach of Death, when our Whole ftock of Comforts will be Wanted, and when this Work of Mercy will be our Principal fupport. Thus is this very Bleffing annexed to this Duty: * Blessed is he, that confidereth the Poor, or the Sick; the Lord will deliver him in time of trouble. The Lord will ftrengthen him, upon the bed of lañguishing; thou wilt make all his bed in bis fickness.
There is ftill another profpect of Mifery, which cannot but command our most tender Regard. For who is Hardy enough to withold his Compaffion and Affiftance from thofe, who are deprived of Reason; upon which depends even our Capacity of being Religious, or Happy? They who can behold these Ruins of Human Nature, without wifhing and attempting its Reparation, must themfelves be fallen from Humanity, And they are indeed no better affected to the common good of human Society, than to thofe miferable Perfons, who are Gra
*Pfal. xli. 1, 3.
ciously removed from it, that, if Poffible, they may be fafely Reftored to it again.
Laftly, If we caft our Eyes upon the Places appropriated to the Confinement and Employment of Vagrants and Vicious Perfons; * Thofe likewise will be found proper Repofitories of the Mammon of Unrighteousness. Imprisonment is as neceffary an effect of Charity, in this cafe, as Redemption from it is in others. The Jews did wifely feclude their Lepers from the most publick Places of Concourse, to prevent the mischief of spreading Infection. And by how much Mens Souls are more Valuable than their Bodies; fo much more Solicitous fhould we be to prevent the propagation of Vice than of Leprofie; which cannot poffibly be effected, if those Profligate Perfons, who are confined for their Enormities, were fuffer'd to breath in the open Air. And yet, whilft you thus abandon them from common Conversation, you do not only provide for the Prefervation of O
Bridewell, and the Work-Houfe.
thers, but likewife for their own Deliverance. You prevent their running into the Occafions of Sin, and reduce them from Idlenefs, that Fruitful parent of Vice, to an Innocent and useful courfe of Life, to Confideration, and the means of Repentance. Since then there is more joy in heaven over one finner that repenteth, than over ninety and nine Just perfons, who need no repentance; How acceptable unto God muft that Charity be, whereby the most Desperate offenders are rescued from the very Jaws of Eternal Death?
These are Unexceptionable Objects of Charity; And the Hands, through which the Effects of Charity are transmitted to them, are likewife Unexceptionable. Here is no room for that Little, Trivial fubterfuge of Uncharitable Men, which they are fo frequently infinuating, as a Cover for their Narrow and Bafe Spirits, That Charitable Gifts are often mifapplied. Here is a Sure foundation for their good works to reft upon; Let them bring in their fruits of Charity into these Treafuries; which are fo managed, that they