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SER M. to us, in an infinitely greater degree, in our XVII. neceffities both temporal and eternal. This

he has exprefly commanded us by our Saviour and his Apoftles, and it fills almost every page both of the Old and New Teftament, that it is the return he principally expects from us for all the benefits that he has done unto us. This he declares he will accept as the best expreffion of our Love towards him, and as if the benefit of it had accrued immediately to himfelf: He that hath pity on the poor, lendeth unto the Lord: and look, what he layeth out, it shall be paid him again, Prov. xix. 17. and inasmuch as ye have done it to the leaft of thefe my Brethren, faith our Saviour, ye have done it unto me, St Matt. xxv. 45. Concerning This, the great Enquiry will be made at the day of Judgment; and according to our behaviour in this particular, will the final Sentence, as our Saviour himself has described to us the Solemnity of that great day, be principally determined: I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a franger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye cloathed me: I was fick, and ye vifited


me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. SER M. Not as if any other good or evil Action XVII. fhould then be over-looked by the eye of the All-feeing Judge; but to intimate to


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that a charitable or uncharitable difpofition, is a principal and ruling part of a man's character; the moft confiderable Teft of the whole frame and temper of his Mind; with which all other Virtues or Vices refpectively, will almoft neceffarily be connected. To the performance of This Duty, God has in Scripture annexed the promise of more and greater rewards, than are specified in the Exhortations to any other fingle Virtue; and to the Neglect of it are made proportionably, the greatest of Threatnings; that be shall have judgment without mercy, who hath showed no mercy, and that whofo ftoppeth his ears at the cry of the poor, he alfo fhall cry himself, but shall not be heard. In the Characters given of good men in Scripture, their exercise of this Duty of Charity, always makes a principal part of their commendation: I delivered the poor that cried, fays Job, and the fatherless, and him that had none to help bim:

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SERM.bim: The bleffing of him that was reaXVII. dy to perifh came upon me, and I cauin Jed the Widows heart to fing, ch. xxix.

ver. 12. and in the New Teftament, the Character of Cornelius; to whom God vouchfafed to fend an Apostle on purpose with a fingular Commiffion; and on whom the Holy Ghoft fell, even before his Baptifm; was, that he was a devout man, and one that feared God, and gave much ́alms to the people. To conclude this Head; As in all forts of things, the whole kind úfually receives its denomination from that part which is most excellent; fo the word Righteoufnefs in general, is frequently used in Scripture to fignify Mercy and Charity in particular; and Charity is af firmed by St Paul to be the End of the Commandment; and that he that loveth his Brother, hath fulfilled the whole Law.


2dly; WITH refpect to our Neighbour, the Obligations we are under to practise this excellent Duty, are likewife great and many. We are all partakers of the fame common nature, and are therefore under the fame ties of common humanity. God has made of one blood, as St Paul expreffes


it, all nations of men, for to dwell on all SER M. the face of the Earth, Acts xvii. 26. and therefore the command in the Text is thus expreffed, that we hide not ourselves from our own Flesh. We are All subject to the fame Infirmities, All liable to fall under the fame misfortunes, All obnoxious to the fame Wants; and therefore have All of us reafon to exercise that compaffion, which no man knows but he may stand in need of himself. The merciful man, faith Solomon, doth good to his own Soul; but he that is cruel, troubleth his own Flesh, Prov. xi. 17. and the Prophet Ifaiah, exhorting men to the exercife of Charity, expreffes it by not hiding themselves from their own Flesh, Is. lviii. 7. God is equally the common Father of us all; and in his Government of the World, accepteth not the perfons of Princes, nor regardeth the rich more than the poor; for they are all the work of his hands. The rich and the poor, faith the wife man, do meet together; the Lord is the Maker of them all, Prov. xxii. 2. So we in like manner, are to make no diftinction of Perfons; not by behaving ourselves alike towards

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SER M. all; but by performing with like chear. XVII. fulness our refpective duty towards all, according to their feveral Circumstances; fhowing with equal readinefs compaffion to the Poor, as we do refpect to the Rich, and Honour to thofe in Power and Authority. God has in the whole an equal regard to all his Creatures; but in the prefent State has made an unequal diftribution of temporal Bleffings, that one man's abundance fhould fupply another man's want, that there might be an equality, 2 Cor. viii. 14. By an Equality the Apoftle does not mean, that Christians are obliged to bring themselves all to a Level; (though the first Converts indeed did fo, for reasons particular to thofe times;) but He means that there ought to be among them fuch mutual affistance and relief, as that the wants and neceffities of all, may be proportionably fupplied.

THE Chriftian Religion has fuper-added particular Arguments to the general ones drawn from nature and reafon, to inforce our Obligation to this Duty. We have one Lord, one Faith, one Baptifm, one Bady, and one Spirit, even as we are called

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