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Essays to do good 


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I. According to the common notions, and common 
practice of mankind, " doing good'* implies, what- 
ever removes pain or imparts pleasure. But this is 
evidently a mistaken view of the subject ; for pain 
is frequently a great blessing, and pleasure is fre- 
quently a serious evil. The amputation of a limb, 
though attended with severe agony, may be the 
means of saving the patient's life ; and that which 
yields the sweetest gratification to the palate, may 
speedily terminate in disease and death. The dis- 
cipline which is administered to a child may issue 
in his future and permanent advantage; while the 
indulgence of his wishes may subject him to a 
perpetuity of suffering. The continuance of that 
bodily health and that outward prosperity, on which 
most people set so much value, not seldom produces 
thoughtlessness, improvidence, immorality, and ulti- 
mate ruin ; and we sometimes observe the protracted 
maladies, and the worldly disappointments and mis- 
fortunes, which all men naturally regard with aver- 
sion, exerting such an influence on the charac- 
ter and state of those who are exercised by them, 


as to render them, what every one should desire to 
be, considerate, and virtuous, and happy. Nume- 
rous instances, in short, may be conceived, and do ac- 
tually occur, from which it must be apparent, that 
neither the mere absence of pain, nor the mere sen- 
sation of pleasure, can be properly denominated 
" good;" and that he who relieves us of the one, 
or confers upon us the other, is not, on that ac- 
count, or in that case, necessarily performing us a 
service; but, on the contrary, may be visiting us 
with an essential and irreparable injury. And it is 
unquestionably owing to the very loose and imper- 
fect ideas which are entertained on this subject, that, 
amidst all the kindness that is felt, and all the acti- 
vity which that kindness originates and keeps alive, 
so little progress is made in the improvement of 
man's condition — so little added to the aggregate of 
human happiness — so little achieved of what an en- 
lightened judgment would pronounce to be substan- 
tially and unequivocally beneficial. 

To be prepared for " doing good" with certainty, 
and in the proper sense of the expression, we must 
not merely consider the immediate results of what 
we do for such as we intend to benefit, or the 
feelings which our treatment of them has, at the 
moment, excited in their minds. We must take a 
comprehensive survey of their interests. We must, 
for this purpose, look well to their nature, to their 
final destination, to the circumstances in which they 
are placed, and to the effects which are likely to be 
produced upon them now and hereafter, by our 
counsels or our conduct. It is from the separate 
study and combined view of these particulars, that 


we are to learn the manner in which we must act, 
so as to promote the real welfare of our fellow-crea- 
tures. And in proportion to the fulness and the 
accuracy of our acquaintance with the points referred 
to, will be our success in discharging our social du- 
ties, and prosecuting our benevolent objects. 

Now, in order to obtain this knowledge, we must 
go to the word of God. We shall never acquire it, 
if we apply for it solely to our own independent 
resources. Universal experience shows, that in this, 
more than in any thing else, it is beyond the ability 
of man to come to a settled and determinate princi- 
ple. The learned and the illiterate, men of philo- 
sophy and men of business, have equally failed to fix 
the true character of what may be justly deemed the 
blessedness of our species. And, indeed, from our 
natural ignorance of the counsels of the Almighty 
respecting us, the inadequacy of our unassisted 
powers to discover these, and the undue bias which 
all our speculations receive from the moral depravity 
that perpetually cleaves to us, we could never ex- 
pect, by any efforts of our own, to ascertain, with pre- 
cision, that which mainly constitutes, or which is 
really conducive to our well-being. It is to the 
Bible that we must have recourse. One great pur- 
pose of the inspired volume is to " show us what 
is good." It by no means prevents or prohibits us 
from applying to other sources of information; it 
rather sanctions the widest range of inquiry that 
we can take, for satisfying our minds on such an im- 
portant topic. But it is its own peculiar province 
to instruct us, with clearness and with certainty, in 
that which should be accounted the true honour and 


felicity of our nature. And while, by teaching us 
what we are to choose and to pursue for ourselves, 
it teaches us what we are to be useful in communi- 
cating to others; it also affords us a multitude of 
maxims, and precepts, and examples, bearing direct- 
ly on the deportment we are to maintain in reference 
to the welfare of our brethren of mankind, in all 
that variety of relation in which they stand to us, 
and in all that variety of condition in which they 
happen to be placed. 

Appealing then to the Scriptures, we find the 
grand and all-pervading truth respecting man to be, 
that he is destined for " life and immortality." He 
is represented, indeed, as an inhabitant of this earth; 
but it is only for a short period that he is to con- 
tinue here, and when that short period is at an end, 
he enters upon an eternity of existence, which must 
be one either of happiness or of misery. His 
escape from the latter, and his attainment of the for- 
mer, are clearly pointed out as the only things 
worthy of his care or his ambition. Heaven, as 
presupposing his deliverance from destruction, and 
as implying the interminable perfection and happi- 
ness of his being, is that towards which his affec- 
tions, his views, and his labours are authoritatively 
directed or attractively beckoned; and in that mighty 
consummation of his fate, which consists in his be- 
ing made a partaker of celestial glory, all other in- 
terests which can possibly come into his contempla- 
tion, are completely absorbed and lost. Having 
gained it, he is in secure and everlasting possession 
of all that his heart can desire; bui if he lose it, un- 
mixed and irremediable wretchedness must be his 


We may safely and properly speak of heaven, 
not merely as man's chief, but as his only good. 
For supposing that he had every thing in this world 
which its votaries are accustomed to value most — 
supposing that he had its choicest gifts, unmixed with 
any of those crosses and pains by which these are 
so often rendered unavailing — and supposing that 
he not only enjoyed them in their highest styLj, and 
with the keenest relish, but enjoyed them as long as 
ever mortal was permitted to dwell in this pas- 
sing scene — supposing all this, is it indeed good in 
his estimation, or in his experience, when he comes 
to die, and to appear in judgment, and to enter on a 
state of retribution, if withal the gate of heaven be 
shut against him, and he must spend a forever in 
the abodes of misery and despair? And again, sup- 
posing that he had as little temporal gratification as 
ever fell to the lot of the most destitute of our race — 
supposing that the earth were to him nothing but a 
bleak and desolate wilderness — and supposing that, 
to the termination of his " fourscore years," he felt 
nothing but " labour and sorrow," yet what could he 
have to regret, or what could he have to desiderate, 
if all the while he were an heir of eternal life, and if 
the conclusion of it all were admission to the blessed- 
ness which is without alloy and without end? 
Amidst the sensible objects, and busy pursuits by 
which we are so apt to be engrossed, and so long as 
no adversity has befallen us, to stamp the impress of 
vanity on whatever is seen and temporal, we may not 
be very willing to acknowledge the necessity of look- 
ing beyond a present world for the good that will 
make us truly happy. But let us only recollect that 

we are destined for another state of being — let us 
only see what the best of terrestrial possessions and 
enjoyments are in the light of eternity — let us on- 
ly conceive ourselves taking the last step of life 
which shall hide from us all that now occupies our 
thoughtSj and enchants our hearts, and shall disclose 
to our eye the realities of that state in which we must 
abide through endless ages; and it will be but the 
work of a moment to convince us, that to creatures 
constituted and circumstanced as we are, there is no- 
thing good but heaven. 

This being the case, it is not difficult to under- 
stand the general duty of doing good. We en- 
deavour to do good to others when we aim at secur- 
ing their final introduction into heaven. This it is 


which distinguishes and marks the benevolent charac- 
ter, according to the discoveries made by revelation 
of the nature and destinies of man. If we have 
made it an exclusive object in exercising love to our 
neighbour, that he may at last " sit down in the king- 
dom of God," we have pursued, with respect to him, 
that good which the Scripture tells us to pursue for 
ourselves, as comprehending in it all that is fit and 
desirable for us ; and to " love our neighbour as our- 
selves" is the great and divine law of charity. But 
if we have neglected that object, or given it only a 
subordinate place, then, so far as we are concerned, 
he has not received from us any thing that is good 
— ^he has not received a single benefit that will sur- 
vive the few years of his pilgrimage, or that he can 
recollect with gratitude when he is closing his pro- 
bationary course, or that can prevent him from ac- 
cusing us of positive cruelty to his soul, in that, 


when we had it in our power to save him, we left him 
to perish. So far from having done him good, we 
have done him evil; and whatever praise we may 
have for our attention to his bodily comfort and his 
temporal prosperity, that must, ere long, give place 
to the juster decision, which will condemn us for 
allowing these to supersede in our regard the peace 
and happiness of his never-dying spirit. 

When we say, that there is nothing good but 
heaven, we must be understood as including in that 
idea all which is requisite or useful, in preparing for 
heaven ; because, when any particular means are ne- 
cessary to the attainment of an end, they must be 
considered as partaking of the importance by which 
it is recommended to us, and as entitled to the same 
kind of practical regard which it demands from us. 
Now the gospel of Christ may be considered as the 
great instrument by which sinful men can ever be 
enabled to reach the heavenly happiness. It is ap- 
pointed of God for that very purpose. It is pos- 
sessed of every quality which can be deemed essen- 
tial to its efficacy and success. And as without it 
no man can hope to be saved, so by its influence and 
power the greatest sinner may be restored to the 
station from which guilt had banished him, and be- 
come an inhabitant of the paradise above. As, 
therefore, in doing good to others, we should pro- 
pose to ourselves their final introduction into hea- 
ven, so in carrying on our work, we must study to 
make them acquainted with that plan of divine mer- 
cy by which alone their introduction into heaven can 
be accomplished. If we set aside this method of 
redemption altogether, or if we do not give it that 


prominence and operation which its Author has as- 
signed to it, we cannot be said to do them any good. 
We may cherish towards them what kindness we 
please, and we may anxiously desire that they may 
be happy at last ; but we nullify all the kindness, 
and we frustrate all the desires that we feel in their 
behalf, when we keep back from them, or do not la- 
bour to make known to them, the instituted way of 
salvation. We do good to them only when, along 
with a benevolent ambition that they may " enter into 
the joy of our Lord," we instruct them in the path 
by which it may be attained. 

And it is not sufficient for our thus doing good 
to them, that we rest contented with the mere con- 
veyance of knowledge to their minds respecting the 
Gospel. Such knowledge is indispensable, but it 
is not enough ; for a bare knowledge of the Gospel 
will never carry them to heaven. Their knowledge 
of the Gospel is a good thing, only when it is accom- 
panied with belief and obedience. And therefore, in 
striving to do them good, it will be our great concern 
that they may embrace " the truth as it is in Jesus;" 
that they may " believe with the heart unto righteous- 
ness;" that they maybe converted and purified from 
the sinfulness which disqualifies them for the presence 
of God; and that they may be diligent in the cultiva- 
tion of all those holy affections and habits by which 
they shall become " meet to be partakers of the in- 
heritance of the saints in light." Nor will we omit 
any thing by which they may be advanced or kept 
steadfast in the way that leads to Sion. Whatever 
bears upon that, whether directly or indirectly, whe- 
ther in a greater or in a less degree, must form a part 


of our labours, if we would promote their welfare. 
The instruction that " maketh wise unto salvation ;" 
the warning that would prevent backsliding or apos- 
tacy; the reproof that may check presumption, and 
deter from sin ; the comfort that makes affliction light, 
and trials tolerable; the encouragement that helps to 
encounter danger and overcome difficulty ; the exam- 
ple that both guides and animates ; the prayer that 
avaiieth much with God, and the kindliness that 
availeth much with man — all these, and these in all 
the varieties and modifications of which they are 
susceptible, enter into the Christian scheme of doing 
good, and deserve the name and appellation of be- 
nevolent works, or real services, because they are 
calculated to render those with reference to whom 
they are performed, fit for the holy exercises and the, 
lasting enjoyments of heaven. 

The principle of doing good which has been laid 
down, appears to be not only rational and scriptural, 
but quite analogous to the views that we take, and 
the course that we pursue in other cases of a less im- 
portant kind. In the vegetable kingdom, for in- 
stance, by what rule are we governed in our culture 
of any particular plant that we take under our care ? 
Do not we invariably consider its nature and habits; 
and thinking at the same time of the purposes which 
it is intended to serve, are not we studious to man- 
age it so as that its beauties may be most freely un- 
folded, or that its fruit may be produced in greater 
richness and abundance, or that its usefulness, in any 
other respect, maybe most effectually and most exten- 
sively secured? Does not the manner in which we rear 
any of the brute creation, depend on the constitution 


which God has given them, and the ends which they 
are designed to answer in his animal creation ; and 
do not we invariably accommodate our treatment of 
them to these considerations, and endeavour to ren- 
der their strength, their sagacity, their instincts, 
their bodily structure, all their characteristic proper- 
ties, whatever they may be, available to that for 
which it pleased their Maker to give them existence? 
In training up a child even for this world, is not our 
management of him regulated by the sphere in which 
he is hereafter to move, the relations in which he 
may be placed, the duties he may have to perform, 
the influence he may exercise upon those around 
him ; and do not we cultivate his faculties with a 
view to these, and study as correct an adaptation of 
the one to the other as we are able to attain, so that 
though we may be disappointed at last, the failure 
may not be owing to any unsuitable or preposterous 
treatment of our youthful charge ? And what should 
induce us to conduct ourselves towards our fellow- 
men, as if they were mere sensitive beings— as if 
they had no immortality to look to, or prepare for, 
—-as if it were their unalterable fate to enjoy a few 
pleasures, to endure a few pains, and then sink in- 
to the abyss of annihilation ? Or why should not 
we rather consider them as intended for a world of 
righteous and unerring retribution, and make all 
our dealings with them so bear upon their character, 
as that they " shall never perish, but have everlasting 
life ?" This would seem to flow naturally and neces- 
sarily from a firm belief in the truth of revelation, 
and from an accurate knowledge of what it tells us 
of the present state and future prospects of those 


rational beings, for whose guidance it has been 

It may, perhaps, be thought, that by limiting our 
definition of what is good to heaven, and preparation 
for it, we proscribe many things as evil, which rea- 
son, and Scripture, and experience, unite in pro- 
nouncing to be at once innocent and proper. A very 
few remarks, however, will be sufficient to remove 
this objection. 

Let us suppose that we seriously desire to " do 
good" to a particular individual. It will be acknow- 
ledged, surely, that our main design, at least, must 
be to make him wise and happy for eternity. But 
that being allowed, it follows of course, that what- 
ever prevents the accomplishment of that design, or 
makes its accomplishment less certain and less per- 
fect than it might otherwise be, is in his case an un- 
equivocal evil; inasmuch, as it goes to defeat in some 
measure, if not altogether, what we had principally 
in view as the good to be pursued. Now this is all 
that we plead for; and when duly considered and 
analyzed, the statement will be found to resolve it- 
self into our original proposition, and to come to this, 
that nothing is good but what is found in heaven, 
or in meetness for heaven. Every thing we do to 
the object of our benevolence, or that we confer 
upon him, must have the effect of promoting his 
eternal welfare on the one hand, or of impairing it 
on the other — it must either make him better than 
he is, or worse than he might be, in his relation to 
a hereafter. The idea of any thing whose influ- 
ence upon him in that respect will be in the middle 
state of indifference or neutrality, is quite erroneous; 


for without entering into a minute examination of its 
nature and qualities, but granting that in itself it is 
entirely free from moral guilt and debasing tendency, 
still it must be held as coming in the place of some- 
thing else that might have been done or given, 
positively and directly beneficial to him. It occupies 
the time, or the means, or the talents, that might 
have been employed in securing for him what would 
have contributed to his eternal welfare. Either it 
has the effect of depriving him altogether of a place 
in heaven, — -in which case there cannot possibly be a 
doubt that it would be an incalculable evil; or it has 
the effect of rendering his admission into heaven 
matter of dubiety, — in which case it is also, though 
not so strongly, to be deprecated; or it subtracts 
from that capacity and meetness for the happiness of 
heaven which otherwise he might have reached, — in 
which case it still partakes in some measure, and 
comparatively at least, of the nature of a mischief. 
In all these instances, our kindness, ardent and active 
as it may have been, has failed to be of real service 
to him whom we intended to benefit — just as we 
should be accounted no benefactors to a person from 
whom in mistaken, however well meant friendship, 
we have been the means of wresting an inheritance, 
or whose title to it we have involved in distressing 
ambiguity, or whose fitness for enjoying it we have 
lessened, if not destroyed. In both examples, our 
benevolence has not had its legitimate issue; and 
though designing to do much good, we have inflicted 
an unquestionable evil. 

Then, upon a consideration of all the particular 
points to which the objection refers, we shall find 


that it has no force. Some of them we shall spe- 
cify, that it may be seen not merely how little they 
bear against our general statement, but how easily, 
how fairly, and how strongly they can be made to 
support and illustrate it. 

It may be alleged, that when we promote the 
temporal prosperity of others, or their success in the 
business of life, we do them good, while in all this, 
there neither is nor can be any view to the heavenly 
state. That there frequently is no view in all this 
to their existence in heaven, is too true, and too ob- 
vious; but it is no less undeniable, that such a view 
both can and ought to be made paramount. For 
surely we act in the spirit of true wisdom, as well as 
of true kindness, when we study to promote their 
temporal prosperity and success, in the way of help- 
ing and encouraging their honest industry; and by 
God's appointment, integrity and diligence in their 
worldly calling, whatever it may be, form a part of 
that work of preparation for eternity, which is given 
them to do. And while the acquisitions of wealth, 
influence, and honour, which they are enabled to make 
by our assistance, are excellent occasions of cherish- 
ing in their minds the sentiments of gratitude and 
devotion to Him, to whose blessing they are in- 
debted for all that they possess, these, at the same 
time, provide them amply with the means of accom- 
plishing their stewardship, of furthering their own 
advancement in the paths of knowledge and virtue, 
of being serviceable to their fellow-men in every 
department of usefulness, of giving its most vigorous 
exercise to that charity which " never faileth," which 
is " the bond of perfectness, and the fulfilling of the 


Does the objection refer to those acts of kind- 
ness which we perform to the poor and afflicted? 
Alas! it is to be lamented, that these acts are too 
frequently separated from all consideration of their 
spiritual effects. But they need not, and they 
should not be thus secularised. They are calcu- 
lated to be beneficial to the souls of those whom we 
succour, as well as to their bodies and their outward 
condition. We thereby prevent them from perish- 
ing, and thus lengthen out their period for repen- 
tance and preparation; or we put their minds into 
a better and more comfortable frame than they 
would otherwise be, during the short remainder of 
their residence here, for minding " the things that 
belong to their peace." We also furnish them with 
motives of no ordinary strength for embracing the 
Gospel, when we, plainly and avowedly under its 
benign influence, sympathise with their distresses, 
supply their wants, alleviate their pains, and do 
what we can for their deliverance and consolation. 
Nothing is better fitted than such deeds of mercy, 
flowing from the constraining power of the religion 
we profess, to recommend it to the admiration, and 
the acceptance, and the love of those who are in 
this manner so much indebted to it, through our 
instrumentality. And if they are already believers, 
all our labours of Christian compassion towards 
them, tend to confirm and uphold their belief, to 
animate their trust in the providence and grace of 
their heavenly Father, to soothe their troubled 
hearts for a more peaceful and edifying contempla- 
tion of those truths by which they are to be sancti- 
fied and saved, and to enliven in them that faith. 


and to cherish in them that patience, through which 
they are to be made meet " for inheriting the pro- 

Again, If we promote their intellectual improve- 
ment, this, in all its variety, may, and should be 
so managed, as to render them wiser, and holier, 
and better prepared for inhabiting the celestial abodes. 
Every accession that is made to their knowledge 
of the phenomena of nature, of the conduct of Pro- 
vidence, of themselves, and of their fellow-creatures 
throughout the universe, will afford them more cor- 
rect, as well as more enlarged views of the cha- 
racter of God, and present to them more abun- 
dant reasons for the diligent cultivation of piety and 
virtue. The higher and the more skilful the direction 
is that we give to their mental powers, the more capa- 
ble do we make them of studying with success what- 
ever can ennoble or purify their rational nature, of 
engaging with vigour and perseverance in the ser- 
vice of Him from whom they look for their final 
reward, of discovering and of following what will 
contribute most essentially to their true interest and 
happiness, and of becoming fit associates for those 
pure and exalted intelligences that dwell in the 
world of glory. In short, by extending their in- 
formation on ail the subjects which are accessible to 
human curiosity, — by teaching them to distinguish, 
with greater facility and acuteness, between truth 
and error, — by subjecting them to that discipline 
which renders their imagination, their memory, their 
judgment, their reason, their taste, their every fa- 
culty, more competent to its peculiar operations, we 
at once multiply the materials which give scope and 


exercise to their moral dispositions, and increase 
their ability to employ these materials in such a 
manner as to quicken their progress in the path of 
excellence, and of course to produce in them a 
greater adaptation to the exercises, and a wider ca- 
pacity for the enjoyments of heaven, as a place in 
which, all sin and all imperfection being excluded, 
knowledge and understanding shall be identified, as 
it were, with purity and with pleasure. Nor are 
these consequences to be expected merely from a 
great and regular system of intellectual tuition. 
They will be proportionally experienced, in what- 
ever degree the method from which they result is 
adopted and pursued. Every new fact in creation, 
or in the events of history, with which we make 
others acquainted; every assistance we impart, in 
correcting the errors of their judgment, or in im- 
proving their powers and their modes of reasoning ; 
every new lesson, and every additional help that we 
give them, in their range over the field of science ; 
every thing of this kind, however small and insigni- 
ficant it maybe, is so far an enlargement of their re- 
sources for growing in conformity to the divine 
will, and in qualification for future felicity. Such 
acquisitions are not necessarily productive of these 
advantages, — they may prove useless, or they may 
be abused to unworthy purposes; but it is their 
proper tendency, and, when suitably directed, it is 
their certain tendency, to ameliorate the character, 
and to augment the blessedness, of those whom they 

Even in the case of amusements, which, at first 
sight, appear to have no connection with what we 


hold to be man's only good, the proposition we have 
laid down may be easily established. Man is so con- 
stituted, and so situated, that he needs relaxation 
both of mind and body, to keep his frame in health 
and vigour, and thus enable him to perform his va- 
rious moral functions with more energy, with more 
alacrity, and with more success. If such relaxa- 
tion is not needful for him, then it is clearly unlaw- 
ful, because it wastes the time and the efforts that 
should have been beneficially expended. But, on 
the supposition that his nature requires it, then, its 
being taken suitably, both as to kind, and season, 
and degree, becomes a part of his duty, and is in- 
strumental in advancing his spiritual and eternal 
well-being. And therefore when we provide him 
with it, — its character and measure being appropri- 
ate, — so far from merely gratifying his love of plea- 
sure, or his passion for trifling and vanity, we contri- 
bute to his substantial interests; and, instead of 
neglecting him as a religious being, and as a candi- 
date for immortality, we further his prosperity in 
both respects, and fill up what would otherwise have 
been a defect in that comprehensive system by which 
he is to be made at once holier here, and happier 

The doctrine for which we have been contending 
is illustrated and proved by the example of Christ. 
'* Doing good" to men, was his grand characteristic. 
And in this respect, we are commanded to take him 
for our model — not only with regard to the obliga- 
tion itself, but also with regard to the manner in 
which we are to fulfil the obligation. " Walk in 
love," says an Apostle, " as Christ also hath loved 


us, and given himself for us, an offering and a sa- 
crifice unto God."* Now, if we examine the con- 
duct of Christ, from the commencement of his 
public labours, to their termination on Calvary, we 
shall find that it was devoted minutely, and zea- 
lously, and perseveringly, to the spiritual welfare of 
mankind. He came originally into the world, for 
the single purpose of redeeming them from the guilt 
and power of sin, of restoring them to the favour 
of God, and of leading them on the way to hea- 
ven. And that gracious purpose he lived and la- 
boured, suffered and died, to effectuate, neglecting 
nothing which goodness could suggest, which wis- 
dom could devise, or which power could achieve, in 
order to secure it in all its requisite extent. This 
was the constant and ultimate object of the discour- 
ses which he delivered, of the miracles which he 
wrought, of the toils which he underwent, of the 
pains which he endured, of the decease which he at 
last accomplished. We are not aware, indeed, of one 
action that he performed, or of one word that he 
uttered, which did not, more remotely or more im- 
mediately, relate to the salvation of sinners. Even 
when he was saying and doing what seemed to go 
no further than the bodily comfort, or the present 
advantage of those to whom he was showing kindness, 
he was in fact ministering to their deliverance from 
unbelief, or to their encouragement in the paths of 
holiness. So far as his deeds of beneficence are 
recorded, they were, without almost an exception, 
of a miraculous nature; and they were expressly 

* Eph. v. 2. 


done for the purpose of converting those who wit- 
nessed them to the faith and obedience of his Gos- 
peh At least, when this was not obviously and expli- 
citly their design, they were yet expected to excite 
spiritual feelings, or to ameliorate religious charac- 
ter. A wo was denounced on certain cities, be- 
cause their inhabitants had not been brouf^ht to re- 
pentance by the mighty works done among them ;* 
the multitude, " when they saw the dumb to speak, 
the maimed to be whole, the lame to walk, and the 
blind to see, glorified the God of Israel ;"f the 
two blind men that sat by the way-side, upon their 
receiving sight, through the divine compassion of 
Christ, are said to have followed him ;J and when, 
of the ten lepers whom Christ healed, one only 
showed any symptoms of piety and gratitude. He 
was, as it were, disappointed, and said, " Were 
there not ten cleansed ? But where are the nine ? 
There are not found that returned to give glory to 
God, save this stranger."^ 

Since then Christ, in his whole doings, never 
once lost sight of the religious and moral well-being 
of mankind, and since we are to follow his footsteps 
in this as well as in all other imitable parts of his 
character, we fall short of our duty, as thus defined 
and enforced, when we limit our benevolence, in any 
case, to the mere animal gratifications, or the mere 
temporal necessities, of those whom we assist. 

It is very true, Christ was a divine messenger; 
and it was right and necessary that his care should 

* Matth. xi. 20, et seq. f xv. 31. | xx. 34. 
§ Luke x\'ii. 17, 18. 


be engrossed with the souls of those whom he had 
come to save. But still, if his deportment, in re- 
spect of benevolence, is the authoritative rule for us 
in that branch of holy living, we must conform to it 
as far as our circumstances will permit. And though 
we cannot be all expected to occupy ourselves in 
communicating direct instruction in the things of 
God, and to make it the professional business of our 
life, if we may so speak, to lead our fellow-men in 
the way of salvation, yet, if we are to " walk as Christ 
also walked," and if he walked in love, so as to keep 
his eye continually on the spiritual interests of men, 
it is not very easy to see how we should not be 
obliged to resemble him in that point, with as much 
strictness and fidelity as we should resemble him in 
meekness, and purity, and patience. It may as well 
be urged, that we need not strive at all to be merci- 
ful, as he was merciful; because his merciful dealings 
with the afflicted were all miraculous, and we cannot 
perform miracles. That could not surely be main- 
tained. And as we must do works of mercy unasso- 
ciatedwith miracles, in imitation of his works of mercy, 
which were distinguished by that superhuman attri- 
bute, so we must do our works with a constant view 
to the abiding welfare of those who profit by them, 
in imitation of his works, which were guided and 
animated by that view, not only in general, but in 
every particular case. " Walk in love, as Christ 
also hath loved us." And what is the specific in- 
stance by which the Apostle explains the import of 
his exhortation ? " And given himself for us, an of- 
fering and a sacrifice unto God." He does not 
mean, for he cannot mean, that, in showing our af- 


fection for others, we should ever dream of giving 
ourselves a sacrifice for them, in the sense in which 
Christ gave himself a sacrifice. And yet that is the 
very expression of love which he holds out for imi- 
tation ; no doubt intimating thereby, that, as the 
love of Christ was manifested in promoting the sal- 
vation of sinners, in a manner suited to their need, 
and to his ability, so our love should be manifested, 
when pursuing the very same object, in a manner ac- 
commodated to the situation and the wants of those 
whom we are to relieve, and to the more limited 
powers and opportunities of which we are possessed. 
His dying for the redemption of mankind, is put 
forth as the law and the measure of that beneficence 
which we are to practise, as believers in his doctrine; 
and nothing but want of capacity, or want of means, 
will be sustained as an apology for our refusing to 
act up to it, in all its legitimate extent. We can- 
not, like Christ, die for sinners; but, in the spirit 
by which he was actuated, we can be zealous and ac- 
tive, as instruments in prosecuting the end for which 
that " obedience unto death" was yielded. We can- 
not work miracles as Christ did, in order to influence 
the hearts of those who experience them, so that they 
may believe and repent; but we can act upon the 
principle of being kind and useful to them, in such 
a way as to furnish them with arguments for exer- 
cising the faith and the penitence to which they are 
called. We cannot devote ourselves, in the same 
mode and in the same degree that Christ did, to the 
office of a sacred and saving teacher; but we can set 
the same end before us that he pursued, and we can 
aim at it through the medium of all our social inter- 
B 24 


course, and of all our charitable efforts. And, being 
capable of all this, we may deduce our obligation to 
labour for its fulfilment, according to the measure of 
our capacity, from those very circumstances which 
are apt to be adduced as reasons for confining our 
attempts to do good within narrower bounds than 
what we have been endeavouring to establish. If 
Christ, in doing good, gave himself an offering and 
a sacrifice for sinners, does not that give such a de- 
monstration of the value of the human soul, as should 
determine us, not only to seek its salvation above all 
other things, but to omit no opportunity, and to 
withhold no exertion, by which we may be fellow- 
workers with the Redeemer, in securing for it the 
attainment of those blessings, for which he paid the 
costly price of his own blood ? If he was so intent 
on the reformation and happiness of those among 
whom he tabernacled, that he wrought miracles of 
love to reclaim them from their errors, and to bring 
them back to God, shall we not feel this to be an- 
irresistible argument for us so to regulate all our ex- 
pressions of love to our neighbours and our friends, 
as that they may produce the same salutary effects 
on their mind and condition? And if, in the course 
of his ofScial life, he made all that he said, and all 
that he did, for the benefit of man, subservient in 
some shape or other to their moral advancement, 
does not that teach us to look to the souls of our 
brethren as the objects of our unceasing concern; to 
neglect nothing which may, in that view, be made 
use of for their advantage; to govern our social con- 
duct, at all times, by a tender regard to what may 
profit them eternally: and not to " give them even 


a cup of cold water but in the name of disciples;" — 
" walking towards them in love, as Christ also hath 
loved them, and given himself for them?" 

The advantages of that interpretation of " doing 
good," which we have given, are manifold. Were 
it generally received and acted upon, what a different 
scene would the world present to our contemplation ! 
By setting ourselves, in all the movements that we 
make concerning our fellow men, to deliver them 
from sin, what a vast multitude of temporal evils 
would be swept away from the face of the earth ! — for 
it is evidently the prevalence of sin which occasions 
so much individual suffering, so much domestic 
misery, so much public calamity. By diffusin/^y the 
knowledge and influence of the Gospel, which is no 
less calculated, than it is intended by its great 
Author, to make those who embrace it, wise, and 
good, and happy, how greatly should we stimulate 
the industry of the poor, and call forth the humanity 
of the rich, and cherish among all classes of the 
people, those dispositions of mind, and those ha- 
bits of life, which, being agreeable to the law of 
God, are the certain sources of prosperity, and peace, 
and joy, both to those by whom they are cultivated, 
and to those towards whom they are exercised ! By 
thus cutting off the most copious fountain of worldly 
sorrow, and opening up the very well-springs of com- 
fort and gladness in the hearts and the habitations 
of afHicted mortals, we would secure more effectually, 
than could be done by any of those plans which are 
usually put in operation, all that is attainable in the 
work of lessening the troubles and increasing the 
happiness of our species. And while in this way 


we at once diminished the sura of human wretched- 
ness, and added to the stock of human enjoyment, 
by means of the mightiest engine of beneficence that 
can be employed in behalf of mankind, considered 
merely as to their existence in this present fugi- 
tive state, we should be accomplishing what must be 
held by the feeblest and most reluctant believer in 
revelation, to be the richest boon that can be con- 
ferred on them as beings who are destined for a fu- 
ture and never-ending state; we should be accom- 
plishing what must be regarded as far more than a 
full compensation for all the pains and grievances, of 
a temporal kind, which we might leave unallayed or 
unredressed, and as infinitely transcending all the 
best and most worthy gifts, of a temporal kind, that 
their keenest desires could imagine; we should be 
accomplishing the eternal salvation of their souls, 
their escape from the penalties of God's broken law, 
and their admission into the glories of God's hea- 
venly presence. Animated by a well-informed and 
unquenchable zeal for their spiritual and final re- 
demption, every the minutest effort that we made in 
their behalf would have a twofold direction — the one 
which is of most importance commanding, of course, 
our paramount regard — the other, which is of least 
importance, being kept in subordination and made 
subservient to it — and both combining to raise those 
who are the objects of our concern, to the highest 
possible degree of excellence, of comfort, and feli- 
city. Not only would all criminal pursuits and in- 
dulgences be banished from their system of life, as 
the robbers of its peace, and the authors of its woes, 
but there would be equally excluded those pursuits and 


indulgences, which, though free from any intrinsic 
immoraUty, are yet perfectly frivolous in themselves, 
and perfectly evanescent in their effects, — which 
have not the remotest connection with the improve- 
ment of the understanding, the purification of the 
heart, the virtue of the conduct, the health of the 
body, or the prosperity of the outvvard condition — 
which may charm, for the moment, such as are im- 
mersed in them, but are, in fact, illusory as the 
dreams of the night, and to the inanity of their own 
inherent character, add the demerit of absolutely 
wasthig and throwing away the energies, and the 
resources, and the advantages of an immortal nature. 
And in this manner divesting their situation of what- 
ever is silly, or useless, or hurtful, we should make 
no encroachment on any thing that is in the least 
essential or conducive to the prosperity of their 
earthly portion; but, on the contrary, would shed a 
brighter light on all their goings, and add a greater 
value to all their possessions, and impart a keener 
relish to all their gratifications, and render them just 
as delighted as the highest wisdom, and the strong- 
est faith, and the purest virtue, and the widest com- 
mand of God's works and bounties, could be sup- 
posed to make them. 

Such we conceive to be the sound definition of 
doing good, and the advantages attending it. Its 
advantages must, of course, be liable to many short- 
comings, and we never can expect to see it carried 
to its full issues. But it appears to us that, on the 
one hand, in proportion as we approach it in the 
actings of our philanthropy, in that proportion will 
we succeed in removing the consequences of the 


curse that has been entailed by the fall on our un- 
happy race; and that in proportion as we disregard 
it, in that proportion will we be instrumental in per- 
petuating the reign of all those evils which it so 
much annoys us to feel and to behold, and which it 
has baffled the wisest of unchristian sages either to 
alleviate or to cure. These things may sound 
strange in the ear of the worldling and the unbe- 
liever; but the principle which pervades them must 
be familiar to the minds of all who know the Gospel 
in its sanctifying, and enlightening, and consohng 
power. And though they may be despised as idle 
or enthusiastic speculations, when considered amidst 
the fascinations, and corruptions, and errors of a 
world lying in ignorance and in wickedness, yet we 
doubt not, the time is coming when their justness and 
their truth will be universally acknowledged, be- 
cause it v/ill be seen in the experience of reclaimed 
and solaced humanity: and certainly, in the eternal 
state, it will be a demonstration as clear and un- 
clouded as the light of heaven itself, that a vast ma- 
jority of those acts of kindness which are now thought 
to constitute the benevolent character, are nothing 
else than vanity — and that they, and none but they, 
received " good" from us, who by the good that was 
bestowed, had the means of safety afforded them as 
moral and responsible agents, and were enabled, when 
they departed from their earthly probation, to carry 
with them a purer and a higher meetness for the 
realms of everlasting bliss. 

II. There are many, who so far from going along 
with us in the past part of our argument, have a 


strong aversion to the exercise of spiritual charity 
altogether, on account of its supposed interference 
with the exercise of secular charity. They allege 
that our efforts for the religious prosperity of man- 
kind necessarily impair the efforts which we ought to 
make, and which would otherwise be made, for ap- 
plying a remedy to the common ills and distresses of 
our brethren: and it is even believed by not a few, 
that every sum of money which we expend, and 
every degree of exertion which we put forth, in 
sending Bibles, for instance, or missionaries, or other 
instruments of sacred instruction, to those who need 
them, are literally subtracted from the relief and 
comfort of ordinary indigence. It may be proper 
to employ a few paragraphs in exposing the ground- 
lessness and futility of this allegation. 

In reply to it M-e have to state, in the very outset, 
that whatever the effect is in point of fact, or what- 
ever the most unreasonable hypothesis may suppose 
it to be, that cannot annul our obligation, and 
must not interdict our endeavours to " do good" to 
the souls of men. If compassion be a duty at all, 
that compassion must be important and requisite 
above all others, which goes to rescue from the pres- 
sure of everlasting evils, and to secure the attain- 
ment of everlasting benefits. Either we must allow 
that the inward comfort and the eternal peace of 
men are supremely entitled to our attention and so- 
licitude, or we must hold that there is no truth in 
Christianity, no moment in its doctrines, and no 
authority in its precepts. And we put it to the 
judgment of any individual whatever, whether, if 
he believes the Bible firmly, if he loves it dearly, 


if he knows it experimentally, and if he rejoices in 
it as the message of divine grace and of spiritual 
redemption to perishing sinners, he will not regard 
it as a paramount duty, and feel an irresistible in- 
cHnation, in the exercise of that mercy which it 
equally displays and inculcates, to send it into every 
land, and into every cottage, and, if possible, into 
every heart which providence has placed within the 
reach of his beneficence. 

But we go farther, and deny that the effect really 
is what it is thought or pretended to be. We 
maintain, on the contrary, that it is a just estimate 
of the spiritual necessities of mankind, and this 
alone, which leads to correct notions, tender senti- 
ments, and benevolent conduct respecting their tem- 
poral necessities — that doing good to their souls 
is the best and only security for doing good to their 
bodies. And in proof of this we appeal to specula- 
tive argument, and especially to incontrovertible 

It is not difficult to see, that if we really believe 
man to be a moral being, and a being destined to 
endless existence, and are accustomed to regard him 
with lively interest, as capable either of unceasing 
misery, or of unceasing bhss, we cannot be indif- 
ferent to any thing which affects his feelings, his 
conduct, or his situation in the world. That very 
impulse which constrains us to attend to the welfare 
and safety of his spiritual state, will determine us 
to care for the relief and the comfort of his animal 
frame. It is the same great principle which operates 
upon both objects — the principle of love. And 
though it cannot consistently neglect either of them, 


but must pay to each a proportionate regard, yet, 
being chiefly concerned and chiefly employed with 
the former, which is the most important, it ac- 
quires such warmth, and vigour, and expansion, by 
its exercise there, that it will not rest satisfied with- 
out doing all that it can for the latter, and extend- 
ing its labours to every department where there is one 
evil to remove, or one blessing to confer. The doc- 
trine which teaches us to give instruction to the igno- 
rant, and warning to the wicked, and consolation to 
the agitated or the downcast spirit, teaches us with 
the same tenderness, and the same authority, to sup- 
ply the wants of the poor, and to heal the victims of 
disease, and to cause " the widow's heart to sing for 
joy." To all such deeds of beneficence we will give 
ourselves, as the natural and necessary result of that 
principle, which, though it carries our eye beyond 
the horizon of mortality, is intended to regulate all 
our affections and all our conduct in this lower world, 
and to make us meet for heaven, by the cultivation 
of those charities of our renewed nature, which link 
us to man and assimilate us to God. And while 
we must, along with all our attention to the higher 
and more durable interests of our fellow-creatures, 
attend with equal certainty to their present and pas- 
sing necessities, our obligation to do the one being 
derived from the same source as our obhgation to do 
the other, and while we will devote our anxieties 
and our activities to both, for the purpose of per- 
fecting our own personal character, — we will also, in 
the more generous and disinterested expressions of 
our love to them, recognise, in a practical concern 
for the latter, a most excellent and efficacious means 


of advancing the former; and thus, so far as we occu- 
py ourselves in doing good, we will strive to make 
men comfortable in time, just in proportion to the zeal 
with which we strive to make tliem fit for eternity. 

With this argument the history of benevolence 
exactly corresponds. Human calamities were never 
properly cared for till Christianity appeared; nor are 
they properly cared for in any quarter of the globe 
into which Christianity has not been introduced. 
And what is Christianity? It is a system which 
directs its principal, we had almost said its sole, at- 
tention to our spiritual circumstances; which shows 
the value of the human soul, by showing the price 
that has been paid for its redemption; which, by re- 
presenting man as the object of saving mercy, gives 
him a nobler place in the universe than he could 
otherwise have held, and creates for him a far 
deeperinterest than he could otherwise have excited; 
and which, while it inculcates the great duties of 
benevolence with the voice of divine majesty, en- 
forces and recommends them by motives that are 
connected with the love of God, with the faith of 
Christ, with the influence of the Spirit, with the ex- 
perience of heavenly comfort, and with the hope of 
life and immortality. Christianity, possessed of 
this peculiar character, distinguished by doctrines 
which refer to the deliverance of our race from guilt 
and the fears of hell, and their restoration to holi- 
ness and the expectations of heaven — distinguished 
by precepts of charity, which derive their chief beauty, 
and their most persuasive charm from the influence 
of these very doctrines — distinguished by examples 
of philanthropy, whose language and whose doings 


have an almost exclusive reference to the final destiny 
of their objects — distinguished by the awakening 
views which it gives of man's fallen state, and by 
the earnestness with which it presses this on our 
fear and our pity;~Christianity distinguished by 
these broad and over-spreading features of spiritual- 
ity, has done more in one day to alleviiite the tem- 
poral distresses of our species, than has been achieved 
by the philosophy, and the policy, and the humanity 
of the heathen, from their first beginnings down to the 
present time. And surely it may be considered as 
a settled point, that so long as Christianity prevails 
or exercises any influence, it will not cease to cher- 
ish, in those who have embraced it so cordially, as to 
be zealous for its propagation, the same sympathies 
for suffering mortals which it has awakened in all 
past ages, and to produce the same affectionate treat- 
ment of them by which it has uniformly characterised 
the true disciples of Jesus, from the very first moment 
of its establishment in the world. 

We may also refer to the history of those ex- 
traordinary exertions that have been recently made, 
for relieving the distresses and ameliorating the con- 
dition of man. Were the notion at all correct, 
that exertions for the advancement of religion in the 
world are hostile to almsgiving, and similar exer- 
cises of charity, the sums that have been expended 
on spiritual objects, must have been withdrawn from 
the promotion of those that are temporal. The 
revenues of associations instituted in behalf of the 
latter must have been diminished, and the revenues 
drawn for the support of the former must have 
been increased, in a ratio somewhat proportional, 


so far as they were derived from the generosity of 
Christians. And, in short, considering what has 
been done for disseminating the Scriptures, support- 
ing missions, establishing Sabbath schools, circulating 
tracts, (to mention no more), we should have ex- 
pected to find that little or nothing was done for the 
sick, and the poor, and the unfortunate; that institu- 
tions for the purpose of administering to the wants 
of these afflicted ones, were abandoned or neglected; 
that no means were employed to provide bread for 
the hungry, and clothing for the naked, and a re- 
fuge for the orphan and the outcast. But what is 
the fact? Why, the broad and undeniable fact is 
this, that there never was a period during which so 
much was attempted, and so much accomplished, for 
the temporal welfare of mankind ; so many societies 
formed; such personal labours undergone; such 
minute attention paid to the multifarious distresses of 
human life ; and such general and liberal contribu- 
tions of money for their alleviation and relief. 
And this unquestionably proves, that the two schemes, 
and the objects that they have in view, and the means 
by which their several ends are to be attained, are 
perfectly compatible and harmonious; or rather, 
that the one serves to give the other greater vigour, 
greater perfection, and greater success. This is the 
obvious and unavoidable inference; — unless it be 
maintained that the supporters of spiritual charity, 
and the supporters of secular charity, are two dis- 
tinct and separate classes of men ; and that these 
two different species of charity are not promoted 
chiefly by the same individuals ; and that, as 
scarcely any of the latter are to be found among 


the former, so as few of the former are to be found 
among the latter. But who can maintain this, and 
hope to receive credit, either for his fairness or his 
sagacity ? We state it as a fact, equally important 
and irrefragable in the present discussion, that those 
who are most anxious about their own religious in- 
terests, and the religious interests of others, are, at 
the same time, most concerned, most active, most 
liberal in providing for the temporal wants of their 
fellow-men. We are not entitled to say, that this 
holds universally ; but every day's observation justi- 
fies us in maintaining that it is true as a general state- 
ment, and that the exceptions to it are neither nu- 
merous nor considerable. 

If, indeed, the allegation of our opponents were 
founded on truth, we should suppose before-hand, 
that the individuals to whom this world is every 
thing would, if compassionate at ah, be greatly and 
prominently compassionate in contributing to the 
relief of temporal affliction; and we should also sup- 
pose, that those who are earnestly occupied with the 
concerns of spiritual and eternal salvation, would have 
their attention engrossed, and their sympathies ex- 
hausted by them, to the exclusion of every call that 
might come to them from the victims of worldly 
misfortune. Nothing, however, can be farther from 
the reality of the case. We see these several 
classes of men feeling and acting in a manner the very 
reverse. The men of the world, from the very na- 
ture of their system, from the selfishness of the pur- 
suits on which they are altogether bent, from the 
demands made upon their resources by the pleasures 
and amusements to which they are addicted, and the 


(leadening efFect which these, when carried to excess, 
have upon the generous feeHngs, will not listen to 
the tale of woe, and are " not grieved for any man's 
affliction :" whereas the true Christian, in the very- 
spirit of his faith, and in the exercise of his proper 
vocation, is ever ready with his consoling language, 
and his pecuniary aid, and his personal services, to 
comfort and to succour the helpless beings whom 
God has cast upon his bounty. Notwithstanding 
all that has been said of the dignity and the tender- 
ness of human nature, we are borne out by his' 
tory, and by observation, and by our Bible, in say- 
ing, that man is naturally selfish. The simple ele- 
ments of that character are implanted in his constitu- 
tion to answer wise purposes; but they are injured 
and perverted by the moral depravity which has in- 
fected him, by the temptations to which he is out- 
wardly exposed, and by the indulgences in which, 
from ignorance or from waywardness, he has been 
accustomed to seek his happiness. And this selfish- 
ness, even in its least aggravated form, but especially 
when increased, as it frequently is, by habits of dis- 
sipation or of avarice, is too firmly rooted in him to 
be extirpated by any of those ordinary forces to which 
speculative and political moralists have trusted, in at- 
tempting to accomplish his reformation. It will not 
give way to better affections, except by the applica- 
tion of some mighty, and ennobling, and generous 
influence to his heart. And such influence, as ex- 
perience teaches, belongs to the gospel, and to the 
gospel alone. Whenever that is made to bear upon 
the sinner, and carried home to him by the energy 
of divine grace, he becomes " a new creature.'* He 


puts away from him all the passions which centered 
in his own gratification. He has felt the love of 
God to his own soul; and hence he learns, and is 
persuaded to love his neighbour as himself. The pre- 
cepts, and the spirit, and the examples, and the whole 
cliaracter of revelation, enforce upon him the charitable 
lesson. From looking entirely and exclusively on "his 
own things," he comes to " look also on the things 
of others." From being indifferent to the concerns of 
his brethren, he comes to take a lively interest in all 
that relates to them. From regarding them with 
hatred or malice, he comes to cherish towards them 
the kindhest affections. And from sacrificino- their 
welfare at the shrine of personal aggrandizement, 
treating them as aliens and enemies, perhaps perse- 
cuting them with relentless violence, he comes to do 
them good with a " willing mind," and to forget the 
claims of self in his endeavours to advance the hap- 
piness and well-being of his fellow-men. And by 
the zeal and the fervour, as well as the fidelity and 
perseverance with which he labours in the cause of 
humanity, he shows that he is actuated, not so much 
by a dry sense of duty, as by the general tone and 
tendency of that doctrine in which it has been given 
him to believe as the doctrine of heavenly truth; 
which speaks of man as lost by sin, and recovered by 
grace; which has brought him individually into a 
state of spiritual light, and life, and hope; and 
which teaches him to look on the lowest and the 
poorest of his kind as creatures like himself, whom 
God has pitied, and whom Christ has died to save. 

But the opponents of spiritual charity try to 
strengthen their case, by accusing us of going to 


distant objects of a religious kind, and overlooking 
those objects of a temporal kind, which are imme- 
diately under our eye. Now, supposing this to be 
done, we say freely and decidedly, that such conduct 
is wrong, and must proceed from great weakness, or 
from a strange perversion of the benevolent affec- 
tions. But is it the fact, that Christians, who are 
compassionate to the souls of the heathen abroad, 
are not compassionate to the bodies of their brethren 
at home ? If it be the fact, does it prevail to any 
hurtful or considerable extent ? Or does it exist in 
such a degree as to be worthy of formal notice or of 
public censure, and to constitute sufficient ground for 
the general and sweeping conclusion that some would 
have us to draw from it? We can safely appeal to 
every candid observer of what is passing around us, 
when we say that it does not — that it is a mere fiction 
of the fancy — a mere bngbear, conjured up to excite 
prejudices in the minds of the timid against exertions 
and associations for religious purposes — a mere gra- 
tuitous assumption, which is not only incapable of 
being substantiated, but whose utter groundlessness 
may be demonstrated beyond the reach of controversy 
or of doubt. 

The persons whom it is the fashion to accuse of 
lavishing all their charity on the circulation of Bibles, 
and the diffusion of the Gospel in remote countries, 
are the very persons by whom the destitute sick, and 
old men, and indigent widows, and orphan children, 
are principally supported, and relieved, and educated, 
in our own country. We do not say this in the way 
of boasting of their good deeds; but we adduce it to 
repel a sophistical argument, and an injurious accu- 


sation, which have been employed to discredit their 
conduct and their cause ; and we adduce it as an un- 
deniable fact. They may be exceeded occasionally 
by men of the world, whose constitutional sympa- 
thies are conjoined with the wealth which enables 
them to be liberal. They may come short, when 
the alms which are required are necessary as the test 
and the expression of a political creed, or of a party 
attachment. They may not abide comparison, when 
the strife is about who shall sacrifice most at the 
shrine of ostentation and of fame. They may be 
equalled, when there is an institution to be looked 
after whose management brings along with it the 
sweets of patronage and influence, or which holds a 
conspicuous place in the eye and estimation of the 
world. There may be no perceptible difference be- 
tween the two classes, when there is such an appeal 
made to their humanity, by the calamities of the 
poor, as would require a heart of stone to resist it. 
But it is indelibly recorded in the history of all our 
charitable enterprises and associations, whether of a 
sacred or of a secular description, that those who 
must be branded, forsooth, as enthusiasts, because 
they feel for the souls of their brethren in every 
clime, and would send the doctrine of grace wherever 
there is a human heart to feel it, or a human habi- 
tation to be cheered by it — that they are the people 
who give as " God has prospered them," for the 
relief of human wretchedness, in its ten thousand 
forms — that they are the people who penetrate the 
recesses of our crow^ded populations, and visit the 
abodes of poverty and disease, and inquire into the 
circumstances of their miserable inhabitants, and 


mbister in person, and in tenderness, to their mani- 
fold wants — that they are the people who need not 
the gaze of the world, nor the excitement of roman- 
tic or aggravated distress, to awaken their compas- 
sions, and to quicken their alms-givings; but who 
devote themselves silently and habitually, steadily 
cind unweariedly, to the labours of a substantial and 
painstaking beneficence — that they are the people 
upon whose pecuniary contributions you can count 
with certainty, and whose individual services you 
can command almost at pleasure, where there is any 
scheme of mercy to carry forward — that they are the 
people whom difficulties do not discourage, and in- 
gratitude cannot arrest, in their career of benevo- 
lence, but who persevere in it with an ardour that 
never cools, and an activity tl:iat never stops, and 
who do so, because they act under the conviction that 
God himself is their witness and their reward, that 
the love of the Saviour calls for all the love they can 
sliow to their fellow-men, and that true charity is a 
virtue which " never faileth" in heaven, and must, 
therefore, never fail upon earth. 

But we are still told, that our doctrine, and the 
practice founded on it, cannot be right, because the 
good we do to the objects of temporal benevolence 
araono- ourselves is certain, whereas the good we pro- 
pose to do to the objects of spiritual benevolence, 
either among ourselves or in foreign parts, is at the 
best but problematical. This objection, however, if 
it be carried its legitimate length, will be found to 
go a great deal too far, and, on that account, to be 
good for nothing. If suppositions are to stand for 
arguments, there is no scheme and no conduct to 


which we might not discover valid exceptions. We 
might say, "You should not give to the poor, because 
it may lead them to be idle, dissipated, and improvi- 
dent. You should not restore a sick man, because 
he may employ his recovered health in working mis- 
chief to his fellow creatures. You should not re- 
lieve the distressed in any case, because it may be a 
motive for their friends to cast them, in such cir- 
cumstances, on the public bounty, and thus prove 
destructive of the affections of kindred. And you 
should not give assistance to a neighbour, in order 
to recover him from his embarrassments, or to ad- 
vance his honest views in trade, because, after all, he 
may not succeed." If such hypotheses were to be 
admitted as principles of action in secular things, it 
is evident that the business of the world must stop. 
And then, why they should be excluded from the 
consideration of these, and admitted into our reason- 
ing on spiritual things, is a question of which it may 
not be easy to give a satisfactory solution. 

Just see how this objection applies to certain insti- 
tutions for intellectual and religious purposes which 
we have in our own land. Have we not the institu- 
tion of schools? And is it not, in one sense, pro- 
blematical, whether the education which our children 
receive there may not be afterwards abused, as indeed 
it often is, to purposes which are to be deprecated 
as altogether foreign to their tendency and design ? 
And yet would you agree to abohsh the office of 
teachers, and pull down our seminaries of elementary 
instruction, and abandon the youth of our country to 
the dominion of ignorance ? — Have we not the in- 
stitution of churches, for the Christian edification of 


the people? And is it not problematical, also, whether 
the people shall receive and profit by the lessons that 
we convey to them? Nay, how often do we dispense 
the word and ordinances of the gospel, without any 
visible efFect I How often do we preach to those who 
hear us as if they heard us not ! And how many 
are there who will not attend our ministrations! 
And how many are there who attend them regularly, 
and yet continue ignorant, careless, and unsanctified 
to the very end ! But would you, on that account, 
propose to shut up our sanctuaries, to abrogate the 
ordinance of pastors, and to put an end to the whole 
system of external means for the support and pros- 
perity of religion? No; you would agree to none 
of these things. And why should it be, that, with- 
out any better reason, you would forbid us to send 
the word of God, and the Gospel of salvation, in 
which we ourselves rejoice, to the inhabitants of 
every region that is yet covered with the shadows 
and the darkness of spiritual death? 

It is painful to be under the necessity of descend- 
ing into such minute discussion, on a subject so plain 
and intelligible. But its practical importance, and 
the captiousness of those with whom we have to do 
in this argument, render such apparently trifling rea- 
sonings expedient, if not indispensable. We shall 
not, however, enter farther into the controversy, than 
to remark, that the reason and truth of the case seem 
to be comprised in these two simple propositions. In 
i\vejirst place, we have to perform our duty, what- 
ever be either the known or the problematical result 
of it; and our duty, as followers of Jesus, is to do 
good, according to our abilities and opportunities, 


both to the bodies and to the souls of men, leaving 
the consequences to him with whom is "the residue of 
the Spirit," and who will accomplish his own purposes, 
at his own time, and in his own way. And in the 
second place, if we do our duty in the exercise of 
spiritual, as well as of temporal charity, good will 
and must be effected. There is here nothing pro- 
blematical, more than there is in all things which lie 
in the womb of futurity, and have man's wisdom, 
and man's virtue, as the instruments of their attain- 
ment. From the constitution of human nature, and 
from the experience of human society, it is abun- 
dantly evident, that if you circulate useful know- 
ledge, you will more or less advance the improve- 
ment, and interests, and happiness, of the species, 
both individually and collectively. And surely we 
may trust the faithfulness of God, who has promised 
that the time will come when " the earth shall be 
full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters 
cover the sea," and who, as the means for attaining 
that glorious end, commanded his disciples to "go into 
the world, and preach the gospel to every creature," 
and also commands us to be zealous and active in 
pursuing the same object within the sphere of our 
influence, and according to the measure of our abi- 

It may be safely concluded, then, that spiritual 
charity and temporal charity are perfectly consistent, 
— that the former is the best security, and the most 
powerful stimulus that we can have, for the latter, 
— that those who discourage our exertions for en- 
lightening, and converting, and saving the souls of 
our fellow-men, are proportionally, though, it may 


be, unintentionally, hostile to the work of benevo- 
lence in all its forms, — that whenever we cease to 
feel for the eternal well-being of those who, of 
whatever colour, and in whatever clime, they may 
happen to be, are still " bone of our bone, and 
flesh of our flesh," then, most assuredly, our provi- 
sions for the mitigation or removal of temporal dis- 
tresses, will languish and decay, — and that no man 
could confer a higher or a richer boon on our com- 
mon charities, than by persuading all to whom they 
can look for support, to mind the things which be- 
long to their own eternal peace, and to compassio- 
nate the helpless and heart-rending case of those 
who, for want of religious instruction, are still with- 
out Christ, and " without God, and without hope in 
the world." 

III. The ground of discussion over which we 
have been travelling, is both interesting and impor- 
tant. And we trust that our remarks are calculated 
to give a just view of the duty of doing good. 
But there are several points, to which it is still of 
consequence to direct the reader's attention, in order 
that he may be guided in the discharge of that 
duty, so as to make it more worthy of his character 
as a Christian benefactor, and more extensively 
useful to those for whose advantage he performs it. 
Various errors, notional and practical, prevail con- 
cerning it, which tend very much, either to hinder 
the good that may be done, or to make the good 
that is actually done less productive of credit to its 
authors, and of benefit to its objects, than it would 
otherwise be ; — and at the removal or correction of 


these errors, we shall principally aim, in the remain- 
der of this prefatory discourse. 

]. Some people have set up an unfounded and 
unfortunate distinction between doing justice and 
doing good, by which the obligation of the one is 
made peremptory, and that of the other is made 
optional. They speak of the former as a perfect, 
and of the latter as an imperfect obligation. They 
mean by this, that it is necessary for them to be 
honest, but that it is a matter of free choice whe- 
ther they shall be charitable. And while they not 
unfrequently reduce their theory to practice, it is 
owing, in a great measure, to the currency which 
the theory has obtained, that the practice of with- 
holding kindness, even where its exercise is most 
urgently required, so generally prevails. We ob- 
serve many persons taking great merit to themselves 
when they perform a berievolent action, whereas 
they would be ashamed to receive praise for doing 
what was nothing more than equitable. We some- 
times see them, in a fit of resentment or of caprice, 
turning a deaf ear to the most imperious call of 
distress, without seeming to think, that, in doing 
so, they are violating any moral duty. And we 
sometimes see them habitually addicted to the pur- 
suits of avarice, or stinted, beyond all the bounds 
of decency, in their usefulness and their charities to 
mankind, — and all the while flattering themselves, 
that, being sober, and honest, and peaceable, and, 
as they imagine, pious, they have all the quahties 
that can be strictly demanded of them, and only 
want that which they are not obliged to possess. 

Now, such persons we deem to be greatly mis- 


taken, not only in tKeir conduct, which will be ge- 
nerally condemned, but also in the views from which 
it proceeds, or by which it is influenced, though on 
this point we do not expect a general coincidence of 
opinion. It is admitted, that there is a distinction 
between justice and benevolence. This distinction 
holds so far, as that the claims of the former, when 
there is a competition, must be preferred to the 
claims of the latter; according to the common 
adage, which is at once agreeable to Scripture, and 
founded on right reason, that " a man should be 
just, before he is generous." And it also holds so 
far, as that, while human laws can regulate the 
operations of justice, it is impossible for them to 
extend their authority, in the same way, or in the 
same measure, to the exercise of benevolence. We 
allow the distinction to go thus far, but no farther. 
It is not true, that though men are expressly and 
absolutely bound to be just, so that no considera- 
tions can excuse them for being destitute of that 
attribute, they are yet at perfect liberty to be bene- 
volent or not as they may think proper, and that they 
may give or withhold their aid, on what occasions, 
and in what degree they please. This is correct, 
only on the supposition that they are accountable to 
none but man. The moment you admit that you 
are subject and responsible to God — that moment 
you admit also, that your obligation to be just, is 
not one whit more clear and binding, than is your 
obligation to be benevolent ; for both virtues are the 
subject of his special commandment. 

In the actual display of your benevolence, in- 
deed, a great deal must, of course, and from the 


very nature of the thing, be left to your own dis- 
cretion : but it is a discretion, in the exercise of 
which you must be under the guidance of certain 
fixed principles, and for the use of which you must 
be answerable to the great Judge of the world. 
And, after all, with respect to this very discretion, 
there is not so much contrariety between justice and 
benevolence, as some may imagine. When claims 
are made upon your justice, by those to whom you 
are indebted, you employ your judgment and your 
means of research, in order to ascertain that their 
claims are correct and lawful; and it is only after 
a satisfactory determination of this point, that you 
proceed to give them what you have found to be 
strictly due. Now, we are not aware of any mighty 
difference in the case of claims that are made upon 
your benevolence. It is not required that you 
should fulfil these, without being previously con- 
vinced, by inquiry and prudent consideration, that 
they are such as are entitled to your attention. You 
are not only free, but it is expedient and proper for 
you, to see your way clearly through the imposi- 
tions that may be practised upon you, and the in- 
judicious or extravagant applications that may be 
addressed to your humane feelings ; and then, set- 
ting these aside, you come to a discreet settlement 
in your minds, as to all that is needed on the one 
hand, and as to all that you can bestow in relief on 
the other. But what we maintain is this, tliat, hav- 
ing come to this discreet settlement in your own 
minds, it is no longer a matter of hesitation or of 
self-will how you shall proceed to act. The duty 
becomes quite plain and indisputable. A voice 
c 24 


from heaven enjoins you to do good — to give as you 
have received — to "sow bountifully that you may reap 
bountifully." The opportunity of obeying that voice 
is set before you ; — the ability to obey it is conferred 
upon you. And though no human tribunal can 
call you to account for rebelHng against it, yet, at 
the tribunal of God, you must reckon with the au- 
thority of God, for refusing to obtemper his behests, 
and will find, that, in his holy judgment, there was as 
little of the true Christian in withstanding the ap- 
peals of benevolence, as there was in resisting the 
demands of justice. 

This is put beyond all doubt, by the instructions 
of that sacred volume which God has given to di- 
rect us, not how we may^ but how we must act as 
his servants and people. In it, the duty of being 
benevolent is presented to us in a variety of aspects, 
and through the medium of many illustrations: but 
it is uniformly held forth in such a light, as to show 
us that a faithful and diligent performance of it is 
indispensably requisite. It is a leading command- 
ment of the law — " Thou shalt love thy neighbour 
as thyself." It is a precept which runs through the 
whole of the Gospel, that we *' be kind one to 
another," and '' do good to all men as we have 
opportunity." It is made the test of our being 
Christ's disciples, that we " have love one to ano- 
ther." It is the prominent lesson taught by his 
example, that he " went about doing good." It is 
the proof of our belonging to God's family, that we 
" love our enemies, bless them that curse us, and 
do good to them that hate us." And it is according 
as we have, or have not, " fed the hungry," and 

" clothed the naked," and " visited the sick," and 
engaged in similar works of mercy, that we shall be 
sentenced at last to " depart into everlasting fire," 
or to " inherit the kingdom" of heaven. When 
we consider these things, and all the other great and 
important things that are said of charity in the book 
of inspiration, it is but trifling with the truth to 
talk of any imperfection being attached to the obli- 
gation of benevolence. And it is vvorse than trifling 
with the truth, for any one who professes belief in 
the Bible, to neglect the cultivation of that grace, 
when urged to it by such high sanctions, and such 
powerful motives, and to shelter themselves under 
the vain pretext that no legal enactment can either 
compel them to do good to others, or define the 
breadth and the length of the charity which they 
may gratuitously show. 

Now, my Christian friend, let me ask you if you 
have on any occasion denied assistance to the needy, 
when you were able to give it, merely because the 
rejected applicant could not get redress in a court 
of law or of equity? Remember, then, that though 
you were right in thinking that no force could be 
employed to extort from you what you refused to 
give willingly, or to give at all, and that it was wise 
to leave the matter in this unregulated shape, you 
were as unquestionably "dor'ong in thinking, that in 
using your freedom as you did, you used it inno- 
cently, or used it well. You forgot that there is 
an authority in heaven paramount to all authority 
upon earth — that this authority does, both in the 
most peremptory and in the most tender way, enjoin 
you to do good as you have opportunity — that it has 
c 2 


appointed a day of reckoning for you, and that on 
that day you must account, in an especial manner, for 
the treatment you have given to the poor and desti- 
tute. And you showed by this failure in your bene- 
volence, that if the claimant on your bounty had 
appeared before you in the character of a claimant on 
your justice, backed by no positive law, and by no 
civil power or penalties, he would not have been 
more successful in obtaining what he demanded as a 
matter of right, than he was in getting what he sup- 
plicated as a token of mercy. In this instance, had 
you looked more to Christian principle, than to poli- 
tical economy — and more to the example of your 
Saviour, than to the selfish maxims and practices of 
worldly men — and more to the liberty which God has 
given you by the Gospel, to abound in good works, 
than to the liberty which men have left you to ab- 
stain from them, — you would not have sent away the 
unhappy brother who asked from you the meat that 
was necessary to sustain his body, or the instruction 
that was necessary to nourish his soul, and congra- 
tulated yourselves that you had preserved untouched 
your privilege of withholding help from the desolate 
suppliant, though, in the assertion of that privilege, 
you had allowed him to starve for want of bread, or 
to perish for lack of knowledge. But such having 
been your conduct, and that implying in it a forget- 
fulness or disregard of the obligation under which 
Christianity has laid you to be benevolent or to do 
good, you were guilty of a great sin. Repent, 
then, of that sin, for which, in the name of our di- 
vine Master, and for your correction, we administer 
this reproof; and " go, and sin no more, lest a worse 



thing befall you." But even though your memory 
does not recall any particular instance in which you 
literally acted as we have supposed, still, if your 
general views be as we have alleged, it is impossible 
but they must have had some influence on your so- 
cial deportment; and, if you continue to hold them, 
they must, of necessity, be injurious to your charac- 
ter and to your doings as lovers of your kind. See, 
therefore, that you discard them. Embrace the 
holier and the better views that are enforced on you 
by the blessed Gospel. Consider, that it is as es- 
sential for you, in your Christian capacity, to be 
benevolent, as it is for you to be just. And often 
meditate on the various circumstances set before 
you, as constituting that obligation, in order that 
you may feel it habitually and strongly, and have 
your deportment adorned with all the beauties of 
charity and mercy. 

2. It is a very common, but a very false maxim, 
that if we do good, it is of little or no moment from 
what motives we do it. This maxim is too gene- 
rally adopted throughout the whole range of moral 
and religious duty. But we are particularly liable 
to be misled by it in the exercises of benevolence. 
Acts of kindness are of so amiable a nature, and so 
engaging an aspect; their effects are often so impor- 
tant and so striking ; they frequently call forth so 
much gratitude from those on whom they are 
wrought, and so much admiration from those by 
whom they are witnessed — that we are apt to be con- 
tented with the bare performance of them, to set 
them down as quite sufficient in themselves, and 
never to think of inquiring into the reasons and 


principles from which they have proceeded. And 
we congratulate ourselves, and are applauded by 
others, merely because we have done many things 
which are profitable to men, and although not one 
of them can be said to have originated in any piety 
of feeling or in any purity of intention. 

This is a sort of mechanical view of the subject. 
It has no relation to us as rational and accountable 
beings. It degrades the physician to a level with 
the medicine by which he cures his patient. It 
gives no more praise to the benefactor himself, than 
to the bread with which he feeds the hungry, and 
the garments with which he covers the naked. Nay, 
it confounds the disthictions of character, and makes 
the only distinctions to be those of outward condi- 
tion, — conferring the praise of benevolence on the 
rich man, because he can give much relief to the 
distressed, and withholding it from the poor man, 
because he can give none. It is doubtless true, 
that the alms which we bestow will support the poor, 
whether the bestowal of them has been prompted by 
a good feeling or by a bad one. But when speak- 
ing of those actions which compose the Christian 
character, which our divine Ruler requires of us, 
and for which we are to be responsible to him at 
last, we must look, not to effects and consequences 
only, but also to principles and motives; we must 
take the moral, not the physical view of the subject; 
we must not so much consider the assistance we have 
actually imparted, as vve must examine the state of 
mind under whose influence we inparted it. There 
is not a position in moral science, as taught in the 
Bible, and recognised by all enlightened men, more 


indubitable or better established than this. We 
know what our Saviour said of the Pharisees, who 
gave alms that they might be seen and have glory 
of the world. Their alms, as to effect, were just as 
valuable and useful as the alms of holier men; and 
yet he condemned them for their almsgiving, as if it 
had been a sin, just because it had no counterpart 
in the affections of the heart. We know what the 
apostle Paul affirms of those beneficent deeds which 
do not flow from corresponding sentiments : " Though 
I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though 
I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, 
it profiteth me nothing." And we know what we 
ourselves would think, were we to discover that the 
man to whom we had been indebted for any boon, 
had communicated it merely to serve some selfish or 
some wicked purpose of his own. We might be the 
better of his aid, but we could have no admiration 
of his virtue. And, while we would be thankful 
that he had been made instrumental in doing us 
good, we could not forbear reprobating him for his 
pretended kindness and his detected hypocrisy. 

It will follow, i-.ideed, that few, comparatively 
speaking, of those who are usually accounted bene- 
volent, possess that character in its true and scrip- 
tural import; and that in the good which the really 
benevolent do, there will be no inconsiderable por- 
tion of alloy to debase its excellence and its worth. 
But the inference, though humbling to some, and 
mortifying to many, is yet instructive, and ought to 
awaken serious concern and self-examination. For 
amidst our benevolent works, let them be as nu- 
merous and as splendid as they may, it is neither 


wise, nor holy, nor safe to forget, that while we are 
the subjects of God's government, and accountable 
to him for all our ways, he looks not merely to the 
outward deportment- — that he is not satisfied with 
rhere bodily service, however active and efficient — 
that he requires the homage and obedience of the 
heart — and that he will reject as a vain oblation 
every thing we say, and every thing we do, which 
does not emanate from the views and dispositions of 
" a right and sanctified spirit." If our doing good 
be merely to attract the notice, and gain the appro- 
bation of perishing man; if it be to secure for our- 
selves a reputation as empty, as those by whom it is 
awarded are erring and corrupt; if it be to promote 
our acquisition of worldly patronage and secular gain; 
if it be to accomplish, more easily and smoothly than 
we could otherwise do, some base or unworthy pur- 
pose; if it be to comply with the prevalent and tran- 
sitory fashion of the day, which, like other fashions, 
looks away from God and bows to the caprice of mor- 
tals; if it be to make atonement for a course of 
avarice, or for deeds of cruelty in our past life, which, 
with all our other demerit, can be atoned for only 
by the blood of Christ; if it be to impose ungener- 
ously and selfishly a debt of gratitude on the objects 
of our bounty, which we are to exact as soon as our 
interest or our humour shall dictate; if it be to please 
ourselves with the affectation of a sensibility which 
we are conscious of not possessing, or to get up a 
story of romantic distress, and of romantic benevo- 
lence, with the rehearsal of which we may flatter our 
own vanity, and awaken the sympathies of our 
friends and acquaintances;— if it be for such ends as 


these that we are kind to the unfortunate and the 
afflicted, — the unfortunate and the afflicted may be 
bettered indeed by our interposition in their behalf, 
and may celebrate us in strains of thanksgiving which 
possess the sincerity of which the benefit is destitute; 
but all this will be of no avail in the eye, and at the 
bar of the Almighty, by whom our actions and our 
motives are viewed in inseparable connection; who 
will decide our fate, as he will judge of our character, 
not by the complexion of the former, but by the 
spirit of the latter; and who will accept of none of 
our services, whether rendered to himself or to our 
fellow-men, which do not bear a submissive reference 
to his will, and issue from " a clean heart" and hea- 
ven^taught principles. 

The apostle Paul sets before us the true account 
of the matter, when he speaks of " charity out of a 
pure heart, and a good conscience, and faith un- 
feigned." We cannot do good as it ought to be 
done — -our benevolence v,'ill neither be accepted of 
God, nor form any qualification for heaven, unless 
it be the operation and acting of a renewed mind, 
such as is here described. It must be the offspring 
of a heart, purified from worldly and sinful passions — 
of a conscience that can humbly appeal to him who 
" tries tlie reins" for the sincerity of what is said, 
and the uprightness of what is done for the welfare of 
others- — and of a faith which relies with unaffected 
simplicity and earnestness on the redeeming mercy of 
Jesus Christ, which submits implicitly to his precepts, 
which follows the pattern of his life, and which 
realizes the judgment he has foretold, and the im- 
mortality he has promised. When he went about 


doincf good, nothing that was sinister attached to 
any part of his beneficent career. There was no 
mixture of selfishness or of vain-glory in the least or 
in the greatest of his works of mercy. All his con- 
duct, whether its aspect was towards the temporal or 
towards the spiritual benefit of those upon whom he 
lavished his kindness, was animated by ardent piety 
to God, and deep-felt compassion for men. And in 
every effort that we make to be useful to our breth- 
ren, we must "go and do likewise;" and strive, 
both as to the labours and the motives of our bene- 
volence, to " have the same mind in us which vvas 
in Christ, and to walk even as he also walked." 

It is in this way only that we can do justice to the 
benevolent, whatever their outward circumstances 
may be. When the mere act of giving money, or 
of making personal efforts, or of contributing in any 
similar mode to the benefit of others, is taken as 
the test of real charity, then real charity is no longer 
an attribute of character but of condition ; — he who 
can do little or nothing, because providence has 
placed him in a state of poverty, is incapable of cul- 
tivating love: and he only can possess that grace, 
who has the treasures of opulence at his disposal. 
Nothing, however, can be farther from the truth, 
more opposite to right reason, or more contradictory 
to all that Scripture tells us on this subject. Real 
charity resides in the temper and habit of the soul; 
and, though its exhibition must depend on external 
means, its existence may be as certain, and its ener- 
gy as great, and its reward as precious, when it is 
accompanied with indigence, as when it has all the 
machinery of power and wealth to vvork with. The 


widow's mite, and the disciple's cup of cold water, 
given "as to the Lord, and not unto men," are as "pre- 
cious in the sight of God," and as sure of recompense, 
as are the costliest gifts and most noble bequeath- 
ments of the rich. And when the latter flow from 
vanity, or from a compromise with conscience, or from 
any thing but the " liberal heart," then there is no 
comparison at all between the two cases, for the one 
has but the appearance and the form, while the other 
has all the spirit and the power of charity. 

Nor should it escape our notice, that as a devout 
attention to the nature of those principles and mo- 
tives by which we are governed in the exercise of 
our benevolence, is absolutely necessary in order to 
constitute it a part of our Christian character, and to 
render it the subject of a safe responsibility, so our 
doing good from right principles and motives, is the 
only adequate security that we have for doing good 
with vigour, activity, and perseverance. Let the 
ostentatious alms-giver be removed from the gaze of 
the multitude — let him be so situated, that few or 
none can observe whether he is liberal or niggardly — 
let such secrecy be imposed on his movements, as 
that his "left hand shall scarcely know what his right 
hand doeth;" — and immediately the fountain of his 
charities is dried up, or it sends forth such a scanty 
stream, as to be at once imperceptible and useless. 
Let the man who is bountiful, with the view of ac- 
quiring worldly patronage, and gathering filthy lucre, 
find that his bounties will no longer advance his se- 
cular interest; — and if he does not become oppressive 
and cruel, where he formerly showed kindness, we 
shall see him degenerating into cold indifference, or 


giving with a reluctant and parsimonious hand. 
And let him who is active, and ardent, and generous 
in conveying instruction to ignorant children, and 
putting Bibles into the hands of ignorant adults, be- 
cause such exercises of spiritual compassion have 
come into vojrue amonfj the great and the noble of 
the land, discover that these exemplars of his bene- 
volence begin to relax in their exertions, or to 
withdravi^ their support; — and he soon ceases to en- 
gage in what he once seemed to delight in, and 
leaves, v/ithout a sigh, the young and the old equally 
to perish for lack of knowledge. The considerations 
which influence these persons, and all others who 
are like-minded, are so variable in their nature — so 
dependent on external circumstances — so much con- 
nected with transient emotions, — that no confidence 
can be placed either in the abundance or in the per- 
petuity of those charitable doings which owe their 
birth to them. But the considerations which lead 
the true Christian to do good may be trusted in, as 
at once powerful and permanent. A sense of duty, 
derived from the paramount and immutable authority 
of God — gratitude to the Saviour for mercies that 
are inestimable and everlastin^r — enlitjhtened views 
of mankind afforded by the volume of divine revela 
tion, and compassionate feelings for their present 
and future happiness, awakened by the Spirit of 
love — a solemn anticipation of the reckoning which 
Christ will enter into at the last day, for the treat- 
ment which is here given to his poor members — 
and the hope of dwelling for ever in that blessed re- 
gion for whose happiness charity is the chief pre- 
paration, as it will be one fertile source of it,— 


these are the principles which actuate a genuine 
believer in his benevolent practice; and whosoever 
is impelled and regulated by such principles, must 
do good zealously, diligently, and continually. He 
will do good whether the admiring world look at him 
or not. He will do good in spite of opposition, 
and obloquy, and ingratitude. He will do good 
as often as occasion presents itself, and as long as 
the talent is intrusted with him. And, therefore, 
those are the best friends of philanthropy, who, in- 
stead of being contented with works of charity, to 
whatever motives they may be traced, are anxious 
to have the motives pure, and holy, and godlike; 
as those are the best philanthropists themselves, who 
most nearly resemble the Saviour, not only in his 
works of charity, but also in the spirit and the temper 
with which he performed them. 

3. It seems to be the opinion of some, that, while 
it is incumbent on us to do good, it is in m.any cases 
not merely allowable, but positively a duty to accom- 
plish our object even at the expense of moral virtue. 
Accordingly, they will not scruple much to commit 
a fraud, or to utter a falsehood, if that be necessary, 
for the more easy, or the more speedy attainment of 
their benevolent end. And, in particular instances, 
hey have been known to violate the principles, not 
01. xy of justice, but of humanity itself, in order to 
confer some signal favour on the persons whom they 
were desirous to assist or to protect. 

This great practical error may be traced to that 
radical defect which was considered in the last parti- 
cular we discussed. If a person's heart is not re- 
newed, and under the habitual government of worthy 


motives, he must, almost of necessity, fall into many 
inconsistencies of outward conduct. He will just 
now perform an action which is agreeahle to the di- 
vine law, and immediately after he will perpetrate 
an action which is opposed to the divine law, and 
he will do both with equal freedom and deliberation. 
Nay, as in the instance under review, he will aim at 
the achievement of what is in itself most laudable, 
by means which involve criminality and guilt; and 
thus at the same time, and in the same overt act, he 
will be chargeable with obeying, and with disobey- 
ing the will of heaven. And he is betrayed into 
such palpable contradictions just because he is still 
under the dominion of ungodliness, and is conse- 
quently the sport of every passion, and the prey of 
ev-ery temptation, whether the doings to which these 
prompt him are in their own nature right or wrong. 
Whereas, had theje been a renovation of the inner 
man, and had he resolved to do good under the im- 
pulse and direction of the new spirit which had ac- 
quired the ascendency in his mind, that same spirit 
would have prevented him from prosecuting his views 
in any manner which implied the commission of sin, 
and, indeed, would have rendered his whole charac- 
ter one undivided tribute of homage and obedience 
to the authority of God. So true is it, in the quaint 
language of Mather, that " the first horn of all 
devices to do good, is in being horn again ^^ 

In the conduct of Christ we find nothing to 
countenance the maxim, that " the end sanctifies 
the means." The testimony given to him is, that 
" he did no shi, neither was guile found in his 
mouth." And this applies to every the minutest 

portion of his character, and is intended to banish 
even the least suspicion from our minds of his hav- 
ing, on any occasion, or in any degree, deviated from 
the path of perfect purity and rectitude. Of him it 
is said emphatically, that he " vvent about doing 
good." This was the single object of his ambi- 
tion — the sole business of his life — the " one thing," 
which he pursued with ceaseless diligence, and un- 
conquerable zeal. And had it been competent for 
him as an ensample to his people, to promote his 
benevolent work by any violation of the moral law, 
so numerous were the opportunities, and so powerful 
were the temptations which he had to do this, that 
instances of it must have occurred in the course of 
his labours. Yet it does not appear that he ever 
sacrificed one personal obligation, in order to confer 
the highest boon, or to accomplish the most generous 
purpose. In all things, and at all times, he was 
" holy, and harmless, and undefiled," — incessantly 
employed in the operations of kindness, but main- 
taining in every one of them a strict and incorruptible 
integrity. Even in those few cases which look like 
a departure from this rule, there is nothing incom- 
patible with " a conscience void of oftence towards 
God and towards men.*' He was accused of break- 
ing the fourth commandment, because he allowed 
his disciples to " pluck the ears of corn," and did 
himself heal " a man which had his hand withered," 
on the Sabbath day. But allowing to this charge 
all the weight which his enemies gave it, he vindi- 
cated himself by a most satisfactory and triumphant 
explanation of the nature and purposes of that institu- 
tion, and by proving the subordination of its peculiar 


sanctity to the claims of necessity and mercy. And 
when, in disposing of the unclean spirits, from whose 
domineerinj? and outraffeous influence he had com- 
passionately delivered a poor unhappy man, he suf- 
fered them to enter into the herd of swine, so that when 
these animals perished in the sea, the property of 
their owners was destroyed, — this does not seem to 
have been done so much for the purpose of effectuating 
the cure of the demoniac, as to inflict a punishment, 
or to send a warning, where unbelief, and impeni- 
tence, and spiritual insensibility prevailed; and at 
any rate the double miracle which was thus per- 
formed, showed that Christ being " the great power 
of God," was entitled to deprive the Gadarenes of 
their possessions, if his administration required it, 
and able, if divine wisdom should see meet, to make 
ample compensation for what had been taken away. 
The whole strain of the Scriptures corresponds on 
this point with the example of Christ. Their great 
and uniform design is to make us holy. They 
therefore hold out sin, as in every form and in every 
degree, at all times and in all circumstances, that 
which we must cordially hate and scrupulously avoid. 
And it would be to stultify their own declarations, 
and to defeat their own purpose, were they on any 
ground whatever to sanction the commission of it. 
Their righteous Author commands us expressly to 
do good; and it is evidently both required and ex- 
pected of us, that in obeying that commandment, 
we should be ready to labour much, and to risk 
much, and to suffer much. Such sacrifices are ne- 
cessary to give full proof of our charitable feelings, 
and full effect to our charitable exertions. But we 


never read of any thing in the way of encourage- 
ment or permission to make a sacrifice of the slight- 
est moral obligation, even though it were essential for 
conferring the highest possible benefit on mankind. 
Indeed it is most absurd and inadmissible to suppose 
that He who is of " purer eyes than to behold ini- 
quity," and whose mercy and whose justice are alike 
employed to prevent us from indulging in it, should 
yet, when he commands us to do good, leave us at 
liberty, or make it indispensable for us, to render sub- 
mission to him in that particular, by the help of an 
act of rebellion against his own government. And 
if in any one thing more than in another, he is to be 
understood as demanding of us a rigid abstinence 
from transgression, it must be when he is enjoining 
us to lend our aid to our brethren, with the view of 
making them holy and happy as his subjects upon 
earth, and preparing them for the immaculate joys 
of his presence in heaven. Very important is the 
work of benevolence; and if we engage in it heartily 
and actively, it cannot be without its fruits in the 
well-being of those in whose behalf it is carried on, 
and without its recompense to us who are faithful to 
perform it. But surely this recompense cannot be- 
long to what implies in it an act of known and wilful 
disobedience to Him by whom it is to be bestowed; 
and these fruits can never depend for their produc- 
tion UDOD resistance to that will which " ruleth over 
all," and which forbids us " to do evil," as expressly as 
it commands us to *• do good." The Supreme Being, 
according to those delineations of his character, and 
those enactments of his authority, which are set be- 
fore us in the Bible, is too holy to sanction any 


delinquency, for any purpose, or in any case; and he 
is too wise to stand in need of such a mode of cherish- 
ing the sympathy, and securing the assistance of man 
to man. The first thing which he exacts from us 
is, that we be personally pure and virtuous, and thus 
resemble himself with whom " there is no unrighte- 
ousness" at all. This is our primary and paramount 
concern as responsible agents. And it must never 
be lost sight of, whether we be tempted by the hope 
of aggrandizing ourselves, or allured by the prospect 
of helping our brethren. It is recorded of Job, 
that he reproved his friends because they " spoke 
wickedly and deceitfully for God;"* and if it was 
wrong to act thus for the divine glory, it must be at 
least equally wrong to do it for the sake of human 
advantage. The Psalmist describes a good man as 
keeping his oath, even though he had sworn to his 
own hurt;f and surely if you are bound to keep 
your oath, at the expense of your own interests, I 
am not entitled to break mine, that I may advance 
the interests of my neighbour or my friend. And 
when certain persons had represented the Apostle 
Paul and his fellow Christians as saying, " Let us 
do evil that good may come," J he not only spurned 
away the allegation from him as a foul slander, but 
entered his solemn protest against the principle im- 
puted to him, applied though it might be to the 
display of God's perfections in the justification of 
sinners, declared all who held and acted upon it to 
be condemned, and pronounced their " condemnation 
to be just." 

* Job xiii. 7. f Psalm xv. 4. f l^om. iii. 8. 


Let it not be forgotten, then, that this condemna- 
tion lies upon those who, to forward the prosperity 
and raise the reputation of any one to whom they are 
attached, scruple not to trample on the rights, or to 
injure the good name of such as stand in the way ; 
and upon those who, that they may be largely bene- 
ficent to the needy or the ignorant, withhold pay- 
ment of the debts which they have contracted, and 
subject the family of the industrious tradesman to suf- 
fering or to want; and upon those who, that strangers 
and foreigners may enjoy a liberal share of their 
bounty, neglect to make that provision for their 
neighbours, their kindred, and their own children, 
which nature and religion demand of them ; and upon 
those who, in consulting the safety or the advance- 
ment of others, boldly utter the language of false- 
hood, or cunningly practise the arts of deceit; and 
upon those who, to decoy the uninstructed and the 
prejudiced into a perusal of the Bible, would put 
into their hands, as the word of God, that which they 
know to be contrary to the word of God; and upon 
those who, for the purpose of giving a wider dissemi- 
nation to sacred truth, hesitate not to circulate along 
with it, errors the most opposite to their own views, 
and the most dangerous to the souls of men. In 
all these instances, and in every instance of a similar 
kind, there is either a portion of disregard for the 
holiness of God, as if he could be pleased with sin, 
or indifferent to it, because it had been made an in- 
strument of charity; or there is a portion of distrust 
in the providence of God, as if one class of his crea- 
tures could not prosper and be happy, without ano- 
ther class of them involving themselves in guilt. 


And while the divine excellence is in this manner 
impeached by the error against which we are con- 
tending, a door is opened for the perpetration of 
every crime which may be made the occasion of 
good; and benevolence, thus associated, and thus 
manifested, not only ceases to be a virtue, but par- 
takes of the iniquity for which it is made a pretext, 
and excludes those who practise it from the king- 
dom of heaven, as certainly, at least, as it guides to 
the kingdom of heaven those who are made to par- 
take of its benefits. 

4. We come now to make a few remarks on what 
may be called the economy of benevolence, — a sub- 
ject which is greatly neglected and greatly misun- 
derstood, but which is of much importance, and 
deserving of a far minuter and more detailed consid- 
eration than we can here afford to give it. 

As there are some who do good without reo^ard- 
ing the motives by which they are actuated, so there 
are others who do good without paying any adequate 
attention to the efficiency of the measures which 
they employ. In the former we observe a want of 
principle — in the latter we discover a want of wis- 
dom. And though the want of principle renders 
such as are distinguished by it more obnoxious to cen- 
sure and reproach, it is not to be concealed, that the 
want of wisdom mars, in almost an equal degree, the 
benevolence of those to whom unfortunately it at- 
taches. Evident as it is, that if we are sincere in our 
desires and our endeavours to do good, this sincerity 
will make us desire and endeavour to do as much good 
as possible, it is no less evident, that the greatest 
possible good is not to be attained by vague wishes, 


by undigested plans, by random efforts. Every one 
who is at all acquainted with the nature of charity 
— the variety of character and circumstances which 
it has to deal with — the multiplicity of forms which, 
in correspondence with these, it is called to assume 
— the different kinds of machinery with which it 
has to operate upon its objects — and the disappoint- 
ments, provocations, and discouragements it has to 
encounter in its exercise — must be sensible that 
much thought, much consideration, much inquiry, 
much discretion, and much patience, are necessary 
in order to its " having its perfect work." In all 
other cases we are careful to accommodate our means 
to our end; not merely by applying the kind of 
means that we know to be best adapted to the end 
at which we aim, but by using the means in such a 
skilful and energetic way as to gain the end most 
effectually, in a manner consistent with the security 
of other objects not less precious, and without the 
admixture of any counteracting or counterbalancing 
evils. And unquestionably in the case of " doing 
good," this rule is to be observed with fully as much 
strictness and care as in any other department of 
human activity. The mischievous eftects of disre- 
garding it must have frequently occurred to our 
notice. How often have we seen the man of bene- 
volence wasting his resources on an object which a 
little examination would have shown to be impracti- 
cable, and thus disqualifying himself from gaining 
one that was within his reach ! How often have 
we seen him employing methods for promoting his 
philanthropic purposes, which his own reflection, 
had he given it, or the good counsel of others, had 


he asked it, would have speedily satisfied him were 
utterly unsuitable and unavailing; and thus losing 
at once the benefit he proposed to confer, and the 
time and the exertions, which, if better directed, 
would have enabled him to secure it! How often 
have we seen him frittering away his attention, and 
his talents, and his activities, on such a multitude of 
different schemes, as nothing but thoughtlessness 
could hinder him from seeing to be quite beyond the 
grasp of an individual, and in this way casting from 
him advantages which would have made him a dis- 
tinguished blessing in any one channel by which he 
might have chosen to communicate his kindness ! 
And how often have we seen him, even though 
competent to a great diversity of charitable doings, 
yet so heedless with regard to what he had under- 
taken, so rash in one thing and so remiss in another, 
so little mindful of suiting his efforts to his exigen- 
cies, so ignorant of the influence of circumstances, 
so unprepared for difficulties and crosses and trials, 
and so lost amidst the conflicting demands of those 
multitudinous and ill-assorted engagements in which 
he had involved himself, that many things were but 
imperfectly done, and many things altogether ne- 
glected, — that fruitless bustle was frequently all that 
he could show for real usefulness, — and that, on the 
whole, little perceptible good was effected, in com- 
parison of what his dispositions induced him to at- 
tempt, and his capabilities and enterprizes would have 
led us to anticipate ! 

Now, to provide against such distressing failures, 
it is quite necessary that we bring our reason more 
into play — that vve study our subject with greater 


accuracy and solicitude — that we acquire all the in- 
formation respecting it that can be obtained — and 
that we prepare ourselves for the work of charity, as 
we would prepare for any other work, requiring 
exact knowledge, sound views, mature deliberation, 
and prudent management. We should take a cor- 
rect survey of the field of benevolence on which we 
are called to labour; we should consider well the 
various and contending claims that may be made 
upon us for assistance; we should try to estimate 
the extent of our outward means, and the peculiar 
fitness of our personal talents and capacities; we 
should endeavour to draw the line within which we 
need not confine ourselves, and the line beyond 
which it would be wrong or foolish to venture; we 
should be aware of the facilities which are afforded 
by our professional employments, our local situation, 
our general influence; we should ascertain the cases 
in which individual must give place to associated 
labour; we should settle in our minds certain fixed 
maxims by which we are to be guided in our plans 
and movements; we should determine what it will 
be best for us to do, how much in any given circum- 
stances we can probably achieve, where, and in what 
way, and on what occasions, we can be truly and 
can be most useful; — and thus furnished, we may 
go forth to our " labours of love," with the hope of 
doing as much good as the opportunities that present 
themselves will admit of, and as is consistent with 
that imperfection which adheres to the best of our 
schemes, and the most vigorous of our performances. 
We shall be seldomer disappointed by failure; we 
shall have less cause to regret the misapplication of 


time, and means, and faculties; we shall have fewer 
grounds of self-reproach for going wrong, by not 
being careful to go right, and for missing the object, 
which less feeling and more discretion would have 
enabled us to attain. 

It is not meant, by all this, that we should never 
offer to do good till we have made a minute inquiry, 
and given a lengthened consideration, and come to a 
logical or mercantile conclusion, concerning the par- 
ticular case that has been brought before us. Such a 
cold, elaborate, constant calculation, would operate like 
a freezing process upon our benevolence; the current 
of our benevolence would be stopped, and its warmth 
expelled ; and before it had time to recover what it 
had thus lost, the misery that required our aid may 
have proved fatal, or our power of removing it be- 
cor,ie unavailing. We would not have it forgotten, 
that charity is an affection of the heart, and not a 
faculty of the understanding; and that therefore it 
must be indulged in a freedom and a forthcoming 
which are not compatible with rigid computations, 
nice adjustments, and perpetual checks. It must 
take the lead in all benevolent operations ; it must 
be paramount in every act of kindness; and in cases 
of urgent danger or distress, it must be allowed to 
express itself, and display its energies, without wait- 
ing for any other dictate, or any other guidance, than 
what it derives from the instinct which gives it birth, 
or the inspiration which breathes upon it from hea- 
ven. But it is nevertheless true, that while charity 
is an affection of the heart, that heart beats in the 
bosom of a rational being ; and it would ill become 
us, who are endowed with such a nature, not to 


make one department of it subservient to another, 
and to put our charity so far under the control and 
direction of our reason, as to render it a more steady, 
a more painstaking, a more eflScient, and a not less 
tender and zealous friend of humanity, than it could 
possibly be, if left to its own ungoverned sensibili- 
ties. This is all that we argue for; and if the ar- 
gument is not only admitted, but is allowed to have 
a practical and habitual influence, philanthropy gains 
bv it to an inconceivable degree. 

Were it necessary to get any authoritative sanc- 
tion for the views we have been inculcating, we 
might refer you to the example of Christ. No one 
can doubt the intensity of his love to men; and yet, 
from first to last, he was regulated in the expression 
of it by the maxims of wisdom. When, under its 
impulse, he came into the world, he did not coi. e as 
\{ any time would have answered for his advent; but 
he came at the time which, by the arrangements of 
Providence, was the most seasonable that could be 
chosen. And he did not come as \{ any place would 
have suited his appearance and his work; but he 
came to the place which, from the character of the 
people that dwelt in it, and of the dispensation that 
prevailed in it, was the fittest for the fulfilment of 
his gracious designs. He did not rashly and unad- 
visedly enter upon that career of mercy which he 
afterwards pursued with so much glory to God and so 
much benefit to man; but he spent many years in 
meditating upon it, and in preparing himself for it. 
He did not waste his miraculous power, by perform- 
ing his works of wonder and compassion, wherever 
and whenever he was asked to do so, either by a 
d 24, 


malignant curiosity, or by unfeigned distress; he 
gave these manifestations of his divinity and his 
grace, only on such occasions as promised to answer 
the beneficent ends which he then contemplated. He 
did not preach and rebuke without regard to the 
temper and character of his audience, and to the spe- 
cial circumstances in which he himself was placed; 
but he spoke, or he was silent, in obedience to the 
suggestions of a prudence, which was as far removed 
from recklessness on the one hand, as it was from hu- 
mour and caprice on the other. He did not heed- 
lessly and causelessly expose his life to danger, in the 
course of his benevolent itinerancy through the land 
of Judea; but, taking a prospective view of what he 
had ultimately to suffer in behalf of those whom he 
had come to save, he sometimes withdrew himself 
from the presence and the malice of his enemies, and 
thus took care that his death should not be prema- 
ture for the redemption of the world. In short, in 
tracing the footsteps of Christ through the whole 
course of his merciful and generous enterprise, you 
will find every one of them marked by a wise and 
premeditated adaptation to the great purposes which 
his mission was intended to subserve. He always 
did what was best fitted either to promote the bene- 
ficent object that was immediately before him, or to 
accomplish the grand and ultimate purpose for which 
his benevolence had prompted him to become incar- 
nate. Charity beams through every action of his 
life; but his charity is uniformly accompanied with 
the exercise of that wisdom which is profitable to di- 
rect. We never see it, even in its most ardent moods, 
disdaining or despising the government of wisdom, 


but on tbe contrary, calling in its aid, and submit- 
ting to its guidance, as often as there is a kind word 
to be spoken, or a kind deed to be performed ; and, 
instead of being cramped by its interference, be- 
coming on that very account more efficient in its ex- 
ertions, and more successful in its results. 

We quote the example of Christ, chiefly to pro- 
tect us against the reproaches of those soft-hearted 
or warm-blooded philanthropists, whose sympathies 
are raised by the least appearance of suffering, who 
enter at once into every scheme of mercy that is pro- 
posed to them, who gratify their compassionate 
feelings by doing or giving, without reflection, what 
is merely asked, and may not be deserved; who ap- 
plaud as the only true lovers of their species such as 
are equally unthinking and indiscriminate in alms- 
deeds with themselves, and who stigmatise us as un- 
susceptible of kind sentiment, or as enemies to the 
poor and needy, because we often hesitate, and 
sometimes withhold, and because we carry with us 
through the whole range of our charities, spiritual 
and temporal, the maxims of a rational as well as a 
liberal policy. To persons of this description we 
may hold up the conduct of the Saviour, as justify- 
ing what they are so apt to condemn ; and, under the 
shelter of its high authority, we may read them les- 
sons on the economy of benevolence in relation to 
every particular exercise of that virtue in which they 
may be accustomed or disposed to indulge. 

If they are engaged in the laudable practice of 

giving alms to the poor, we would say to them, 

** Certainly ' give alms of such things as ye have;' but 

see that your gifts be not conferred on such as have 



the pretence and the appearance, hut not the reality 
of want to recommend them, and thus bestow upon 
the undeserving, what should have rewarded the 
meritorious and relieved the needy. And when, by 
your mode of rendering assistance, you can help two 
families in place of one, or can produce the effect by 
quickening their own industry, and calling forth their 
own resources instead of holding out a bounty to 
their idleness and improvidence, or can accomplish 
your object in such a way as to guard your liberality 
against abuse, and prevent the indigence from re- 
curring, and convert both the evil and its remedy into 
an instrument of spiritual benefit to those whom you 
are aiding; — then, unquestionably, give that mode 
the preference, and comfort yourselves with the as- 
surance, that though there may be as little, or even 
less of the eclat of lavishing money, there is far more 
of the virtue of doing good." 

If they are employing themselves in imparting 
education to the young, we would say to them, 
" You can scarcely be better occupied ; but suppos- 
ing that if by properly husbanding, and judiciously 
expending your funds, you can instruct a hundred in 
room of fifty; that you can get the pupils taught 
to be sound thinkers as well as good readers, and to 
acquire the principles and sentiments of Christianity 
as well as the accomplishments of arithmetic and 
penmanship ; and that while you prepare the children 
for acting a useful, and an honourable, and a religious 
part in the after period of their existence, you also 
contrive to keep up the independent spirit, and im- 
prove the moral character of their parents — would 
not you choose to have the schools that you estab- 


lish and patronize, distinguished by these qualities, 
and attended with these consequences, rather than 
to see them, on account of your carelessness, few in 
number, ill attended, worse conducted, and with the 
imposing name of seminaries of knowledge or of 
tuition, productive of no substantial advantage either 
to the young or to the old of your neighbourhood? 
You cannot hesitate to answer in the affirmative; and 
this is really nothing more nor less than what we 
would now inculcate." 

If they think proper, or are kind enough to 
reprove the wicked and to warn the careless with 
whom they happen to come in contact, we would 
say to them, " Your intention doubtless is praise- 
worthy, and much benefit has often accrued from 
such admonitions; but we advise you to exercise 
caution in this display of your benevolence also, 
for it has not seldom happened, that harm was done 
where only good was aimed at, and unless you at- 
tend to times and seasons, to places and circum- 
stances, to peculiarities of temper, and to proprieties of 
speech, then, in place of checking profaneness and vice, 
or reforming those who are addicted to them, you 
may, by forgetting your Saviour's exhortation, which 
tells you not to " give that which is holy unto the 
dogs," nor to " cast your pearls before swine," con- 
firm the wicked in their wickedness, diminish your 
own influence, bring discredit upon religion, and 
cause the " holy name by which you are called to 
be more blasphemed" than ever. 

If they are connected with those who circulate 
the Holy Scriptures among their fellow-men, we 
would say to them, " You have a title to be con- 


sidered as the noblest of benefactors; but you have 
no title to despise the counsel which would enable 
you to perform in that capacity more than you could 
otherwise do, and to perform it better. And when 
we ask you, whether you would heap Bibles on those 
who are indifferent to them, or present them to such 
as are eagerly thirsting for the gift, and well pre- 
pared for profiting by it; and whether you would not 
rather give them to the inhabitants of your own 
country, than to the inhabitants of a distant country, 
if you could not give them to both; and whether you 
would not put them into the hands of such as would 
make some sacrifice of pecuniary interest in order to 
assist in purchasing them, in preference to those, who, 
though equally able, would only receive them if gra- 
tuitously imparted? — when we propose such ques- 
tions as these, we suggest ideas of which you would 
do well to take advantage, in your attempts to dis- 
seminate the word of God, and, by reducing which 
to practice, you will merit respect for your under- 
standing, without suffering any loss in the warmth of 
your piety or in the kindness of your heart." 

Finally, if they are busy and ardent in the mis- 
sionary cause, in sending devoted men to preach to 
the Gentiles the glad tidings of salvation, we would 
say to them, " We admire your zeal and your dili- 
gence in this glorious work ; we congratulate you 
on the honourable service you have undertaken, and 
we would encourage you to persevere and to abound 
in it. But we do not think that when we urge you 
to a prudent, and skilful, and economical application 
of the means with which you are intrusted by your 
Christian brethren, we s^y what is either of little 


moment, or of inappropriate import. And you must 
not be surprised that we hold it to be fooHsh, in re- 
ference to your own general views, which are un- 
speakably excellent, to send upon your errands of 
mercy, men who are unqualified for doing the work 
assigned them, and who therefore consume the sinews 
of your institutions, without achieving any thing to 
justify the expenditure they cost you, when, for a 
little more, you might have substituted others, who, 
clothed in befitting panoply, would have waged suc- 
cessfully your warfare against ignorance and idola- 
try; — or to plant them in districts where their voice 
must be like that of one crying in an almost unpeopled 
wilderness, when there are places, as accessible at least, 
as these, whose crowded millions hold out a far more 
inviting prospect, and promise a far richer harvest of 
converts; — or to assign them their field of labour 
under the government of an unfriendly despot, (him- 
self perhaps the slave of a jealous and intolerant 
priesthood,) who has only to utter the decree, and, 
in a moment, they are banished from his domains, 
and all their expectations blasted, when they might 
have been as easily stationed where they would have 
had equal materials to work upon, and such a civil 
protection as would have encouraged their toils and 
secured what they had won; — or to squander away, 
in providing them with those personal and domiciliary 
comforts, which no true missionary can grudge to be 
without, and which often secularise his spirit, while 
they seem to increase his energy, the many thou- 
sands, which would have enabled you to add to their 
number, and to their fitness, what both in number 
and in fitness they especially required; — or to occupy 


their time in unprofitable conversation with old wo- 
men, and in equally useless reasonings with old 
priests, when they ought to have been addressing 
themselves to the more hopeful task of initiating 
the young into the elements of literature, impres- 
sing their susceptible minds with religious and moral 
truth, and thus preparing the generations that are 
to come for that reception of the Gospel, to which 
in the prejudices and habits of the generation that 
exists, they will find a mighty obstruction, if not 
an insuperable bar; — or, in fine, to act with regard 
to your whole scheme, as if it were only at its com- 
mencement, and as if you were merely feeling your 
way through its untried difficulties, and as if you 
might on that account be justified in making ro- 
mantic experiments, and excused for falling into 
egregious mistake?, when you may be justly ex- 
pected to walk in the light of a lengthened and in- 
structive experience, and, by the aid of that light, 
to avoid on the one hand those errors which have 
caused many of your best-looking enterprizes to 
terminate in vanity, and on the other hand to pur- 
sue those measures which are as much distinguished 
by the wisdom that guides, as by the zeal which 
animates them, and by which alone it is, that, 
through the blessing of the Saviour, our anticipa- 
tions of a speedy or an effectual spread of his religion 
can possibly be realized." 

5. We have scarcely left room for saying any 
thing on what relates to the universality of benevo- 
lence ; and yet we cannot wholly pass it over with- 
out remark. 

Benevolence, according to the Gospel view of it. 


is quite unlimited in its objects. It not only takes 
within its range every species of suffering, to which 
mankind are subject, and every species of benefit 
of which mankind are capable; but it embraces as 
those to whom it communicates its blessings, all the 
members of the human family, without distinction, 
and without exception. The Christian philanthro- 
pist varies the expressions of his kindness, in con- 
formity to the relations in which he stands to them, 
the characters of which they are possessed, and the 
circumstances in which they are placed. But to- 
wards all of them his sympathies are cherished, and 
from none of them are his services withheld. And 
nothing can occur in the case of any individual, 
wearing the form of man, to justify him in cherish- 
ing malice, or in refusing to do good. 

This most liberal doctrine stands opposed to the 
high-sounding and much celebrated, but self-seek- 
ing and cruel patriotism of Greece and Rome, 
which not only had no fellow-feeling with any other 
people, but systematically trampled on their rights, 
robbed them of their liberties and their property, 
and subjected them remorselessly to every severity 
of treatment, whenever it served to promote their 
own aggrandizement. It stands opposed to that 
hard and contracted spirit, by which the Jews of 
our Saviour's time were actuated in their rec^ards 
to all who were not of the house of Israel, or who, 
though of that privileged tribe, had been so un- 
fortunate as to offend or injure them, and which, 
founded on unwarranted tradition, and imbittered 
by the depravity which they cherished, made them 
often relentless to the most needy and miserable 
d 3 


suppliants of their kindness. And it stands op- 
posed to the bigotted maxims, and narrow doings of 
many among ourselves, who never cast a generous 
look beyond the little circle in which they move, 
who provide plentifully for those who immediately 
depend upon their aid, who will care for a near re- 
lative, or for a near neighbour, but are deaf to the 
cry that reaches them from a more remote claimant, 
however destitute and afflicted; and who meet every 
application for the exercise of an enlarged charity, 
by the maxim, that " Charity begins at home," and 
show by their practice, that, in their opinion, charity 
also ends there. 

All this is quite away from the teaching of Chris- 
tianity, and quite at variance with it. Nor, indeed, 
does it appear, that any thing but Christianity can 
soften the heart that is so hardened, or break down 
the barriers which thus confine and repress its best 
sympathies. But when we examine this dispensa- 
tion in all its aspects on the duties and happiness of 
men, we observe it inculcating in every possible way 
the benevolence which travels, round the globe in 
search of its objects, and overleaps all the obstacles 
and discouragements which it meets with in its hea- 
ven-directed journeyings. Besides giving us a 
clearer enunciation than we had before, of the truth 
that God is the Maker and Preserver of us all, it 
brings to light the still more affecting discovery, that 
he is the Redeemer of us all, and that the love which 
he has manifested, and the salvation v>^hich he has 
provided, have respect to men of every kindred, and 
of every tribe, of every rank, and of every condi- 
tion, throughout the wide world. And then He points 


to this exhibition of the divine character, as fur- 
nishing a model for the direction of ours, so that 
we may " be merciful, as our Father in heaven is 
merciful." Again, vi'hen we look to the conduct of 
his incarnate Son, whom he sent to die for us, to 
speak instruction, and to exemplify what he taught, 
we find that we should neither be submissive to 
that great Prophet, nor resemble that pattern of all 
excellence, unless we extended our compassions and 
our beneficence to every child of mortality whom 
Providence has placed within our reach, or commit- 
ted to our protection. Nor is it unworthy of notice 
that the duty of doing good, in this comprehensive 
sense, is not merely set before us by the Gospel, in 
the great principles from which it must emanate, 
and in the example by whicl! it is recommended, but 
it is moreover presented in the form of a command- 
ment, authoritatively announced, frequently re- 
peated, earnestly urged, and powerfully sanctioned, 
so that there is no escaping from the obligation, but 
by being insensible to the most endearing and in- 
structive manifestations of the divine love, or by 
being disobedient to the plainest and most solemn 
enactments of the divine law. 

But while Christianity thus breathes in its very 
spirit, and enjoins in its plainest precepts, and en- 
forces by its most attractive examples, the exercise 
of good-will and of good ofiices to all men, it has 
no affinity to the theory which breaks down all the 
distinctions arising from relationship, vicinage, re- 
ligious faith, country, acquaintanceship, and other 
circumstances of that kind, and teaches us to take 
within one undiscriminatincr embrace the whole hu- 

^, Ixxxiv 

man race, and even to abandon tlie certainty of 
being useful to the individuals vi^ith whom we come 
in contact, for the purpose of communicating some 
speculative advantage to our species at large. It 
is just as remote from such Utopian and impracti- 
cable notions, as it is hostile to the other extreme, 
of limiting all our kindness to those who are beside 
us, or closely allied to us. It bids us look — not 
with an equal, but — with a benevolent eye, on all 
our fellow-creatures. In this, as in every other re- 
spect, it adapts itself to our original nature, and to 
the ties by which we are necessarily united with one 
another; and, without violating or encroaching on 
any of the obligations which these impose, it re- 
quires us to feel and to act as citizens of the world. 
According to its primary lessons, we are to love 
and " provide for our own," our families, our kin- 
dred, our neighbours, our friends, our countrymen ; 
and doing good to these, agreeably to the special 
and proportional claims that they have upon us, in 
preference to such as, in the providential arrange- 
ments of our lot, are more remotelv connected with 
us, we are then to " do good to all," with such 
impartiality, as that there shall be to us " neither 
Jew nor Greek, circumcision nor uncircuracision, 
Barbarian nor Scythian, bond nor free," and that 
no distance of place, or difference of colour, — no in- 
feriority of station, or poverty of estate, — no dis- 
tinction of party, or opposition of interests, — no 
contrariety of belief, or degradation of character, 
or rancour of hostility, shall alienate one human 
being from our kind regards, or prevent us from 
imparting to him whatever comfort and whatever 
assistance the necessities of his case may demand. 


Dr. Cotton Mather, the author of the fol- 
lowing work, was distinguished for his diligence 
in " doing good." His views on the subject were 
sound ; his practice corresponded with his opinions 
and professions; and he has recorded them for the 
direction and encouragement of others. In his 
small volume, we recognize the production of a 
man of learning, of talent, and of true philanthro- 
py ; and we discover in it a concise statement of 
most of those ideas which now prevail on the inte- 
resting topic to which it refers, and the germ, as it 
were, of many of those institutions by which our 
country is at once blessed and adorned. We do 
not mean to affirm, that he is right in every senti- 
ment he expresses, or in every advice that he gives. 
He sometimes errs ; but his errors are those of a 
generous heart, and they are always so much asso- 
ciated with what is substantially excellent and wise, 
that we speedily forget them, and only remem- 
ber those sound general principles, and those admi- 
rable practical details, which so thoroughly pervade 
his pages. When he proposes to reward children 
for committing passages of Scripture to memory, 
" with silver, or gold, or some good thing," and 
when he gravely affirms, that every man should give 
at least a tenth of his income to charitable uses, we 
are disposed to wonder or to smile at what, after all, 
is nothing but a mistaken zeal for godliness and 
good works. But when we find him making this 
the grand inquiry, " How may I become a blessing 
to the world ?" and, " What may I do that right- 
eousness may dwell on the earth ?" — when we find 
him uttering such a sentence as this, " The slavish 


boisterous manner of education too commonly used, 
I consider as no small article in the wrath and curse 
of God upon a miserable world ;" — and when we 
find him not only inculcating the great duty of be- 
nevolence, but showing how every man, in every 
situation, may perform it, and applying his general 
maxims to a multitude of individual cases which 
are commonly overlooked in our plans and efforts 
for doing good, — we are strongly impressed with 
the conviction, that he was a person of singular en- 
dowments, that he had a thorough insight into the 
nature of man, and the interests of society, and 
that he combined deep piety to God with the most 
fervent and enlightened charity to his fellow-crea- 
tures. His " Essays to Do Good," are worthy 
of the perusal of every one who would be instruc- 
ted, and quickened, and animated in the work of 
beneficence. They have been of great service ever 
since they were given to the public. The celebrat- 
ed Franklin avows his obligations to them in strong 
terms : " If I have been a useful citizen, as you seem 
to think," says he, in a letter to the Author's son, 
" the public owes the advantage to that book." Many 
hints have been borrowed from this book, and era- 
bodied in individual efforts, and public institutions, 
without any acknowledgment. This omission Dr. 
Mather (had he lived to witness it,) would, we are 
sure, from the tone and complexion of his charac- 
ter, have overlooked, in the midst of his disinter- 
ested satisfaction, that some portion of the object 
he aimed at had been accomplished. And we have 
equal confidence, that he would have heartily se- 
conded our desire for more hints still being taken 


from it, even though there should be the same ne- 
glect of mentioning the source from which they 
were drawn, and paying that tribute to which the 
merit of the Author was justly entitled. It is a 
manual, from which persons of every profession, 
and in every condition, may derive the greatest 
advantage in showing " good-will to men." It 
should find a place in the shelves of every library, 
or rather on the table of every parlour, in Chris- 
tendom. And, above all, its contents should be 
familiar to the minds of all who, whatever their 
calling may be, whether sacred or secular, would 
not " run in vain, neither labour in vain," as mem- 
bers of " the household of faith," and of the great 
family of mankind. 

A. T. 

Edinburgh, Nov. 1825. 



Much necessity for doing Good, . • .49 


The excellency of good devices, ... 50 


The reward of well-doing, . . • • .52 

Men might do more good than they do, . • 54 


The diligence of men in their secular affairs, . • 57 


The diligence of wicked men in doing evil, . • 59 

Men should do good from proper principles, . . 63 

Opportimities to do good are talents for which we must give 

an account, . . . • • "^ 

Every means of usefulness should be embraced, . . 71 

On the cultivation of personal religion, . • '7*2 



On doing good in our domestic relations, . . .79 

On doing good to our neighbours, ... 99 

Brivate associations for promoting religion, . . 107 

Proposals to the Ministers of the Gospel for doing good, 1 14 


Schoolmasters have many opportunities for doing Good, 131 


Proposals to Churches for doing good, . . 137 

Magistrates possess much power for doing good, . 140 

The opportunities of Physicians for doing good, . 14® 


Ladies and men of wealth have the means of doing much good, 159 


The duty of Men in Public Stations to do good, . 174 


Societies for the reformation of manners, . . 189 

A catalogue of desirable objects for the zeal of good men to 
prosecute, ... .196 

Conclusion, ...... 202 



Among the many customs of the world with which 
it is almost necessary to comply, this is one — that 
a book must not appear without a Preface; and this 
little book willingly submits to the customary cere- 
mony. It with a Preface; however, it shall 
not be one like the gates of Mindus. But there is 
a greater difficulty in complying with another usage, 
that of an Epistle Dedicatory. Dedications are 
become such foolish and fulsome adulations, that 
they are in a manner useless : frequently they serve 
no other purpose, than to furnish the critics on 
" the manners of the age" with matter of ridicule. 
The excellent Boyle employed but a just expression 
in saying, " It is almost as much out of fashion in 
such addresses to omit giving praises, (I may say, 
unjust ones,) as it is to believe the praises given on 
such occasions." Sometimes the authors themselves 
live to see their own mistakes, and acknowledge 
them. And Austin makes the flourishes which he 
had once used in a dedication, an article of his 
" Retractations ;" and Calvin revokes a dedication, 
because he finds he had made it to an unworthy 


person. I may add, that at other times, every one 
perceives what the authors aim at, and how much 
they write for themselves, while they flatter other 
men. Another course must now be steered. 

If a book of Essays to Do Good were to be 
dedicated to a person of quality, it should seek a 
patron who is a true man of honour, and of uncom- 
mon goodness. Thy patron, O Book of Benefits 
to the World ! should be a general and most gen- 
erous benefactor to mankind — one who never ac- 
counts himself so well advanced, as in stooping to 
do o-ood to all who may be benefitted by him — one 
whose highest ambition is to abound in serviceable 
condescensions — a stranger to the gain of oppres- 
gion — the common refuge of the oppressed and the 
distressed — one who will know nothing that is base 
—a lover of all good men, in all persuasions ; able 
to distinguish them, and loving them without any 
distinction. Let him also be one who has nobly 
stripped himself of emoluments and advantages, 
when they would have encumbered his opportunities 
to serve his nation. Yea, presume upon one who 
has governed and adorned the greatest and bravest 
city on the face of the earth ; and so much " the 
delight" of that city, as well as of the rest of man- 
kind, that she shall never account her honour or 
welfare better consulted, than when he appears for 
her as a representative in the most illustrious assem- 
bly in the world ; beloved by the queen of cities, 
the fairest and richest lady of the universe. 

In one word — a public spirit. Let him, 
therefore, and on more than all these accounts, be, 
Sir William Ashhurst. For, as of old the 


poet observed, on mentioning the name of Plutarch, 
that the echo answered, " Philosophy;" so now, 
A PUBLIC SPIRIT will immediately be the echo, in 
the sense of all men, and with a repetition more 
frequent than that at Pont-Chareton, if the name 
of Sir William Ashhurst once be mentioned. 
He it is whom the confession of all men brings into 
the catalogue with Abraham and Joseph, and those 
other ancient blessings, who are thus excellently 
described by Grotius : " Men born to serve man- 
kind, who reckon it their greatest gain to have it 
in their power to do good." America, afar off, also 
knows him; the American colonies have their eye 
on the efforts of his goodness for them. Nations 
of Christianized Indians likewise pray for hira as 
their governor. To hira, the design of such a 
book will be acceptable, whatever may be the mean 
and defective manner of treating its noble subject. 
To him it wishes that all the blessings of those who 
devise good may be for ever multiplied. 

I will presume to do something that will carry a 
sweet harmony with one of the chief methods to be 
observed in prosecuting the design of this book ; 
which is, for " brethren to dwell together in unity," 
and carry on every good design with united endea- 

They will pardon me, if I take leave to join with 
him in the testimonies of our great esteem, for an 
honourable disposition to love good men, and to 
do good in the world, his excellent brother-in-law. 
The well-known name of a Joseph Thomson, 
has long been valued, and shall always be remem- 
bered, in the country where this book is published. 


God will be glorified for the piety which adorns 
him, and the " pure religion," which, in the midst 
of the world and of temptations from it, keeps him 
so " unspotted from the world." It was the maxim 
of a Pagan, Asdrubal, in Livy, " Men distin- 
guished by their prosperity, are seldom distin- 
guished for virtue." Christianity will, in this 
gentleman, give to the world a happy experiment, 
that the maxim is capable of a confutation. Be- 
cause a book of " Essays to do Good" will doubt- 
less find an agreeable acceptance with one of so good 
a mind; and 4;he treasurer of a corporation formed 
on the intention to do in America that good which 
is of all the greatest, of which Sir William Ash- 
hurst is the Governor, he also has a part in the 
humble tender of it; and it must wish unto him 
" all the blessings of goodness." 

The book now requires that some account be 
given of it. — It was a passage in the speech of an 
envoy from his Britannic Majesty to the Duke of 
Brandenburgh, many years ago : " A capacity to 
do good, not only gives a title to it, but also 
makes the doing of it a duty." Ink were too vile 
a liquor to write that passage. Letters of gold 
were too mean to be the preservers of it. Paper of 
Amyanthus or Asbestos would not be precious and 
perennous enough to perpetuate it. 

To be brief, Reader, the book now in thy hands 
is nothing but an illustration and a prosecution of 
that memorable sentence. As gold is capable of 
a wonderful dilatation, (experiment has told us it 
may be so dilated, that the hundred thousandth 


part of a grain may be visible without a micro- 
scope,) this " golden sentence" may be as much 
extended : no man can say how much. This book 
is but a beating upon it. And at the same time it 
is a commentaryon that inspired maxim, " As we 
have opportunity, let us do good unto all men." 
Every proposal here made upon it, hopes to be able 
to say, " When I am tried, I shall come forth as 

I have not been unaware, that all the rules of 
discretion and behaviour are included in that one 
word, modesty. But it will be no breach of mo- 
desty, to be very positive in asserting, that the only 
wisdom of man lies in conversing with the great 
God, and his glorious Christ ; and in engaging as 
many others as we can, to join with us in this our 
blessedness ; thereby promoting his kingdom among 
the children of men ; and in studying to do good to 
all about us; to be blessings in our several rela- 
tions; to heal the disorders, and help the distresses 
of a miserable world, as far as ever we can extend 
our influence. It will be no trespass upon the rules 
of modesty, with all possible assurance to assert, 
that no man begins to be wise till he come to make 
this the main purpose and pleasure of his life; 
yea, that every man will at some time or other be 
so wise as to own, that every thing without this is 
but folly; though, alas! most men arrive not at that 
conclusion till too late. 

Millions of men, in every rank, besides those 

whose Dying thoiigJits are collected in the " Fair 

Warnings to a Careless World," have at length 

declared their conviction of it. It will be no inj- 

e 24. 


modesty in me to say, that the man who is not sa- 
tisfied of the wisdom of making it the work of his 
life to do good, is always to he regarded with the 
pity due to an idiot. No first principles are more 
peremptorily to be adhered to. Or, do but grant 
" a judgment to come,'' and my assertion is pre- 
sently victorious. 

1 will not be immodest, and yet I will boldly 
say, The man is worse than a Pagan, who will not 
come into this notion of things : " A good man is 
a common good ;" and. " none but a good man is 
really a living man ;" and, " the more good any 
man does, the more he really lives." All the rest 
is death, or belongs to it. Yea, you must excuse 
me if I say, the Mahometan also shall condemn the 
man who comes not into the principles of this book; 
for I think it occurs no less than three times in the 
Koran, " God loves those that are inclined to do 

For this way of living, if we are fallen into a gen- 
eration, wherein men will cry Sotah ! " He is a 
fool," that practises it, as the Rabbins foretell, it will 
be in the generation wherein the Messiah comes; 
yet there will be a wiser generation, and " wisdom 
will be justified of her children." Among the Jews 
there has been an Ezra, whose head they called 
" the throne of wisdom." Among the Greeks 
there has been a Democritus, who was called So- 
phia in the abstract. The later ages knew a Gil- 
das, who wore the surname oi Sajnens : but it is 
the man whose temper and intent it is " to do good," 
that is the truly wise man after all. And, indeed, 
had a man the hands of a Briareus, they w^ould all 


be too few to do good; he might find occasions to 
call for more than all of them. The English nation 
had once a sect of men called " Bons hommes," or 
" Good men." The ambition of this book is to re- 
vive and enlarge a sect that may claim that name ; 
yea, to solicit that it may extend beyond the bounds 
of a sect, by the coming of ail men into it. 

Of all the " trees in the garden of God," which 
is there that envies not the palm-tree, out oF which 
alone, as Plutarch informs us, the Babylonians ob- 
tained more than three hundred commodities ? Or 
the cocoa-tree, so beneficial to man, that a vessel 
may be built, and rigged, and freighted, and victual- 
led from that alone? To plant such " trees of 
righteousness," and to prune them, is tlie object of 
the book now before us. 

The men who devise good, will now give me leave 
to remind them of a few things, by which they may 
be a little fortified for their grand intention; for, sirs, 
you are to pass between " Bozez" (or dirty) and 
" Seneh" (or thorny), and encounter a host of things 
worse than Philistines, in your undertaking. 

Misconstruction is one thing against which 
you will do well to furnish yourselves with the ar- 
mour both of prudence and of patience; prudence 
for the prevention of it, patience for the endurance 
of it. You will unavoidably be put upon doing many 
good things, which other people will see but at a 
distance, and be unacquainted with the motives and 
methods of your doing them; yea, they may imagine 
their own purposes crossed in what you do; and this 
will expose you to their censures. Yet more parti- 
cularly. In your essays to do good you may hap- 



pen to be concerned with persons whose power is 
greater than their virtue. It may be needful as well 
as lawful for you to mollify them with acknowledg- 
ments of those things in them, which may render 
them honourable or considerable; and forbear to 
take notice, at present, of what may be termed cul- 
pable. In this you may aim at nothing, but merely 
that you may be the more able to do them good; or, 
by their means, to do good to others: and yet, if 
you are not very cautious, this your civility may 
prove to your disadvantage; especially if you find 
yourselves obliged either to change your opinion of 
the persons, or to tax any miscarriage in them. The 
injustice of the censures upon you, may be much as 
if Paul, rebuking Felix for his unrighteousness and 
unchastity, should have been reproached with his in- 
consistency in having so lately complimented this 
very Felix, and said, he was glad he had one to be 
concerned with of such accomplishments and so well 
acquainted with the affairs of his nation. But you 
must not be uneasy if you should be thus unjustly 
treated. Jerome had written highly of Origen, as 
a man of bright endowments; at another time he 
wrote as severely against some things that he was 
(perhaps unjustly) accused of. They charged Je- 
rome with levity, yea, with falsehood : but he des- 
pised the calumny, and replied, " I did once commend 
what I thought was great in him ; and now I con- 
demn what I find to be evil in him." I pray where 
is the contradiction ? I say, Be cautious ; but I 
say again. Be not uneasy. 

What I add, is, that you must be above all Dis- 
couragements. Look for them, and with a mag- 
nanimous courage overlook them. 


Some have observed, that the most concealed, and 
yet the most violent of all our passions, is usually 
that of idleness. It lays adamantine chains of death 
and of darkness upon us. It holds in chains that 
cannot be shaken off, all our other inclinations, how- 
ever impetuous. That no more mischief is done in 
the world, is very much owing to a spontaneous 
lassitude on tlie minds of men, as well as that no 
more good is done. A Pharaoh will do us no wrong 
if he tells us, " Ye are idle, ye are idle !" We 
have usually more strength to do good, than we have 
inclination to employ it. Sirs, " Be up and be do- 
ing !" It is, surely, too soon for a " Here lies in- 

If you meet with vile Ingratitude from those 
whom you have laid under the most weighty obliga- 
tions, do not wonder at it. Into such a state of 
turpitude is man sunk, that he would bear any 
weight rather than that of obligation. Men will 
acknowledge small obligations ; but return wonderful 
hatred and malice for such as are extraordinary. 
They will render it a dangerous thing to be very 
charitable and beneficent. Communities will do it 
as well as individuals. Excess of desert turns at 
length into a kind of demerit. Men will sooner 
forgive great injuries, than great services. He that 
built a matchless castle for the Poles, for his re- 
ward, had his eyes put out, that he might not build 
such another. Such things are enough to make one 
sick of the world; but, my friend, they should not 
make thee sick of essays to do good in the world. 
Let a conformity to thy Saviour, and a communion 
with him, be sufficient to carry thee through all. 


It will be impossible to avoid Envy : " For a 
a right work," and for a good one, and especially if 
a man do many such, " he shall be envied of his 
neighbour." It is incredible what power there is in 
the pride of men to produce detraction! pride, work- 
ing in a sort of impatience, that any man should be, 
or do more than they. " The minds of men," as 
one says, " have got the vapours; a sweet report of 
any one throws them into convulsions; a foul one 
refreshes them." You must bear all the outrage of 
it ; and there is but one sort of revenge to be allowed 
you. It is observed, " There is not any revenge 
more heroical, than that which torments envy by 
doing good." 

It is a surprising passage, which a late French 
author has given us, " That a man of great merit 
is a kind of public enemy. And that by engrossing 
a multitude of applauses, which would serve to gra- 
tify a great many others, he cannot but be envied; 
and that men naturally hate what they esteem much, 
but cannot love." But, my readers, let us not be 
surprised at it. You have read, who suffered the 
ostracism at Athens; and what a pretty reason the 
country-fellow offered why he gave his voice for the 
banishment of Aristides: — " Because he was every 
where always called the just ;" and for what reason 
the Ephori laid a fine on Agesilaus: " Because he 
possessed, above all other men, the hearts of the 
Lacedemonians." You have read the reason why 
the Ephesians expelled the best of their citizens: 
" If any will excel their neighbours, let them find 
another place to do it." You have read, that he 
who conquered Hannibal, saw it necessary to retire 


from Rome, that the merit of others might be more 
noticed. My authors tell me, that, " At all times 
nothing has been more dangerous among men than 
too shining merit." But, my readers, the terror of 
this envy must not intimidate you. I must press 
you to do good, and be so far from affrighted at it, 
that you shall rather be generously delighted with 
the most envious deplumations. 

I wish I may prove a false prophet when I foretell 
one discouragement more which you will have to 
contend with; I mean — Derision. And I pray 
let not my prediction be derided. It was long since 

" For ridicule shall frequently prevail. 

And cut the knot, when graver reasons fail." 

It is a thing of late started, that the way of banter, 
and scoffing, and ridicule, or the " Bartholomew- 
fair method," as they term it, is a more effectual 
way to discourage all goodness, and put it out of 
countenance, than fire and faggot. No cruelties 
are so insupportable to humanity " as cruel mock- 
ings." It is extremely probable that the devil being 
somewhat chained up in several places, from other 
ways of persecution, will more than ever apply him- 
self to this. Essays to do good shall be derided 
with all the art and wit that he can inspire into his 
Janizaries (a yani-cheer, or, a new order, the grand 
seignior of hell has instituted.) Exquisite profane- 
ness and buffoonery shall try their skill to laugh 
people out of them. The men who abound in them, 
shall be exposed on the stage; libels, and lampoons, 
and satires, the most poignant that ever were in- 


vented, shall be darted at them ; and pamphlets full 
of lying stories be scattered, with a design to make 
them ridiculous. " In this the devil may be dis- 
covered at work." The devil will try whether the 
fear of being laughed at will not cool their zeal to 
do good, and scare it out of the world. " But let 
this rather increase your boldness and zeal." Sirs, 
'' Despise the shame," whatever " contradiction of 
sinners" you meet with; you know what example 
did so before you. " Quit you like men — be 
strong:" you know who gives you the direction. 
Say with resolution, " The proud have had me 
greatly in derision, yet have not I declined to do as 
much good as I could!" If you should arrive to a 
share in such sufferings, 1 will humbly " show you 
my opinion" about the best conduct under them; 
it is, neglect and contempt. I have a whole uni- 
versity on my side: the university of Helmstadt, 
upon a late abuse offered to it, had this noble pas- 
sage in a declaration, " Resolved, That we use no 
other remedy in this affair, than a generous silence, 
and a holy contempt." Go on to do good: and 
" Go well, — comely in your goings," like the noble 
creature which " turneth not away for any." A 
life spent in mdustrious essays to do good will be 
your powerful and perpetual vindication. It will 
give you such a well-established interest in the minds 
where conscience is consulted, that a few squibbing, 
silly, impotent accusations, will never be able to ex- 
tinguish it. If they ridicule you in their printed 
excursions, your name will be so oiled that ink will 
not adhere to it. I remember that Valerianus 
Magnus, being abused by a Jesuit, who had laboured 


(by a " modest inquiry," you may be sure!) to make 
him ridiculous, made no other defence, but only on 
every stroke adjoined, " It is a most impudent lie, 
Sir!" And such an answer might very truly be 
given to every line of some stories that I have seen 
elsewhere, brewed by another who is no Jesuit. But 
even so much answer to their folly, is too much no- 
tice of it. It is well observed that " The contempt 
of such discourses discredits them, and takes away 
the pleasure from those that make them." And it 
is another observation, " That when they of whom 
we have heard very ill, are yet found upon trial to 
be very good, we naturally conclude that they have 
a merit which is troublesome to some other people." 
The rule then is, be very good; yea, do very much 
good; and cast a generous disdain upon contume- 
lies, — the great remedy against them. If you want 
a pattern, I can give you an imperial one; it was 
Vespasian, who, when a person spake evil of him, 
said, " While I do nothing that merits reproach, 
these lies give me no uneasiness." And I am de- 
ceived if it be not an easy thing to be as honest a 
man as Vespasian. 

Sirs ! An unfainting resolution to do good, and 
an unwearied well-doing, is that which is now urged 
upon you. And may this little book now be so 
happy, as herein to perform the office of a monitor 
to the reader. 

I do not find that I have spent so many weeks in 
composing the book, as Descartes, though a pro- 
found geometrician, declared he spent in studying 
the solution of one geometrical question: yet the 
composure has exceeded the limits which I wished; 


and there is not one proposal in it, which would not, 
if well pursued, afford a more solid and durable sa- 
tisfaction to the mind, than the solution of ail the 
problems in Euclid, or in Pappus. It is a vanity in 
writers to compliment the readers with — *' I am 
sorry it is no better." Instead of which I freely 
tell my readers, " I have written what is not un- 
worthy of their perusal." If I did not think so, 
truly, I would not publish it : for no man living has 
demanded it of me; it is not published " to gratify 
the importunity of friends," as your authors are used 
to say; but it is to use importunity with others, in 
a point on which I thought they needed it. And, 
I will venture to say, there is not one whirasey in 
all my proposals. I propose no object but what 
the conscience of every good man will say, " It were 
well if it could be accomplished." That writer was 
in the right who said, " I cannot understand how 
any honest man can print a book, and yet profess 
that he thinks none will be the wiser or better for 
the reading it." Indeed I own that my subject is 
.worthy to be much better treated; and my manner 
of treating it, is not such as to embolden me to afifix 
my name to it, as the famous painter Titian did to 
his pieces, with a douhle/'ectl, fecit; as much as to 
sav, " Very well done!" and I must have utterly 
suppressed it, had 1 been of the same humour with 
Cimabus, another famous painter, who, if himself 
or any other detected the least fault in his pieces, 
would utterly destroy them, though he had bestowed 
a twelvemonth's pains upon them. Yet I will ven- 
ture to say, the book is full of reasonable and ser- 
viceable things; and it would be well for us if such 


things were regarded; and I have done well to pro- 
pose them. 

Who the author is, there is no need of inquirincr. 
This vvill be unavoidably known in the vicinity; but 
his writing without a name (as well as not for one,) 
will conceal it from most of those to whom the book 
may come. And the concealment of his name, he 
apprehends, may be of some usg to the book ; for 
now, not who, but what, is the only thing to be con- 

It was a vanity in one author, and there raav be 
too many guilty of the like; to demand, " Reader, 
whatever you do, account the author somebody." 
But, I pray, sir, who ^yq you, that mankind should 
be at all concerned about you ? He was almost as 
great a man as any ecclesiastical preferments could 
make him, who yet would not have so much as his 
name in this epitaph; he would only have " Here 
lies a shadow — ashes — nothing." There shall be 
no other name on this composure: " Here is writ- 
ten, or rather attempted, by one who is a shadow — 
ashes — nobody." 

However, he is very strongly persuaded that there 
is a day very near at hand, when books of such a 
tendency as this, will be the most welcome thing 
imaginable to many thousands of readers, and have 
more than one edition. Yea, great will be the army 
of them that publish them! 1716 is coraing.f 

* This treatise was originally published without the Author's 

f What may have been the Author's expectations of the year 
1716, are not known. — Ed. 


A vast variety of new ways to do good will be 
fallen upon; " paths" which no fowl of the best 
flight at noble designs has yet known; and which 
the vulture's most piercing eye has not yet seen; 
and where the lions of the strongest resolution have 
never passed. 

In the mean time. North Britain will be distin- 
guished (pardon me, if I use the term, Goshenized,) 
by irradiations from heaven upon it, of such a ten- 
dency. There will be found a set of excellent men 
in that reformed and renowned Church of Scotland, 
with whom the most refined and extensive essays to 
do good will become so natural, that the whole world 
will fare the better for them. To these, this book 
is humbly presented by a great admirer of the good 
things daily doing among them; as knowing, that if 
no where else, yet among them it will find some re- 
ception; they will " not be forgetful to entertain 
such a stranger!" 

The censure of " writing too much," (though he 
should go as far as Terentianus Carthaginensis tells 
us Varro did,) he accounts not worth answering. — 
And, I pray, why not also " preaching too much?" 
But Erasmus, who wrote more, has furnished him 
with an answer which is all that he ever intends to 
give : " The censure of others upbraids me that I 
have done so much; my own conscience condemns 
me that I have done so little: the good God forgive 
my slothfulness!" • 


1.-^-'-:-^S'.V.^lQ'^\ ^\ 



Much necessity for doing Good. 

Such glorious things are spoken in the oracles of 
our good God, concerning those who devise good, 
that A BOOK OF GOOD DEVICES, may very reason- 
ably demand attention and acceptance from those that 
have any impressions of the most reasonable religion 
upon them. I am devising such a book ; but at 
the same time offering a sorrowful demonstration, 
that if men would set themselves to devise good, a 
world of good might be done, more than is done, in 
this present evil world. It is very certain the world 
has need enough. There requires much to be 
done, that the great God and his Christ may be 
more known and served in the world; and that the 
errors which are impediments to the knowledge 
wherewith men ought to glorify their Creator 
and Redeemer, may be rectified. There requires 
abundance to be done, that the evil manners of the 
world, by which men are drowned in perdition, may 

C 24 


be reformed; and mankind rescued from the epi- 
demical corruption and slavery which has over- 
whelmed it. There needs abundance to be done, 
that the miseries of the world may have adequate 
remedies provided for them; and that the miserable 
may be relieved and comforted. The world has, 
according to the computation of some, above seven 
hundred millions of people now living in it. What 
an ample field among all these to do good! In 
a word, the kingdom of God in the world calls for 
innumerable services from us. To do such things 
is to do good. Those men devise good, who form 
any devices to do things of such a tendency; 
whether they be of a spiritual or of a temporal na- 
ture. You see the general matter, appearing as 
yet, but as a chaos, which is to be wrought upon. 
Oh ! that the good Spirit of God may now fall upon 
us, and carry on the glorious work which lies before 


The excellency of good devices. 

It is to be supposed, my readers will readily 
allow, that it is an excellent, a virtuous, a laudable 
thing to be full of devices, to bring about such noble 
purposes. For any man to deride, or to despise my 
proposal, " That we resolve and study to do as much 
good in the world as we can," would indicate so 


black a character, that I am not willing to suppose 
it ill any of those with whom I am concerned. 
Let no man pretend to the name of a Christian, 
who does not approve the proposal of a perpetual 
endeavour to do good in the world. What preten- 
sion can such a man have to be a follower of the 
Good One? The primitive Christians gladly ac- 
cepted and improved the name, when the Pagans by 
mistake styled them, Chrestians ; because it signi- 
fied, useful ones. The Christians who have no am- 
bition to be such, shall be condemned by the Pagans; 
among whom it was a term of the highest honour, 
to be termed, " a Benefactor:" to have done good 
was accounted honourable. The philosopher being 
asked why every one desired so much to look upon 
a fair object? he answered. That it was a question 
of a blind man. If any man ask, as not under- 
standing it. What is the worth of doing good 
in the world? I must say, It sounds not like the 
question of a good man. The " spiritual taste" of 
every good man will make him have an unspeakable 
relish for it. Yea, he is unworthy to be considered 
as a man, who is not for doing good among men. An 
enemy to the proposal, that mankind may be the 
better for us, deserves to be reckoned little better 
than a common enemy of mankind. How cogently 
do I bespeak a good reception of what is now de- 
signed ! I produce not only religion, but even hu- 
manity itself, as full of a " fiery indignation against 
the adversaries" of the design. Excuse me, Sirs ; 
I declare, that if I could have my choice, I would 
never eat, or drink, or walk with such a one, as 
C 2 


long as I live; or look oi> him as any other than on^ 
hy whom humanity itself is debased and blemished. 
A very wicked writer, has yet found himself com- 
pelled by the force of reason, to publish this confes- 
sion : " To love the public, to study the universal 
good, and to promote the interest of the whole world, 
as far as is in our power, is surely the highest 
goodness, and makes that temper which we call di- 
vine." And he goes on, " Is the doing of good 
for glory's sake so divine a thing?" (Alas, too much 
human^ Sir!) " or, is it not more divine to do good, 
even where it may be thought inglorious ? even to the 
ungrateful, and to those who are wholly insensible 
of the good they receive ?" A man must be far 
gone in wickedness, who will open his mouth against 
such maxims and actions. A better pen has re- 
marked it ; yea, the man must be much a stranger 
to history, who has not made the remark : " To speak 
truth, and to do good, were, in the esteem even of 
the heathen world, most godlike qualities." God 
forbid that there should be any abatement in the 
esteem of the Christian world for those quahties ! 


The reward qfwell-doirig. 

I WILL not yet propose the Reward of well-doing, 
and the glorious things which the mercy and truth 
of God will do for those who devise good; because 

I would have to do with such as will esteem it a suffi- 
cient reward in itself. I will conceive that my readers 
possess that generous ingenuity which will dispose 
them to count themselves well rewarded in the thing 
itself, if God will permit them to do good in the 
world. It is an invaluable honour to do good; it 
is an incomparable pleasure. A man must look upon 
himself as dignified and gratified by God, when an 
opportunity to do good is put into his hands. He 
must embrace it with rapture, as enabling him directly 
to answer the great end of his being. He must 
manage it with rapturous delight, as a most suitable 
business, as a most precious privilege. He must 
" sing in those ways of the Lord," wherein he can- 
not but find himself, while he is doing good. As 
the saint of old sweetly sang, " I was glad, when 
they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the 
Lord." Thus ought we to be glad, when any op- 
portunity to do good is offered to us. We should 
need no arguments to make us entertain the offer; 
but we should naturally fly into the matter, as most 
agreeable to the divine nature, whereof we are made 
partakers. It should oblige us wonderfully. An 
ingot of gold presented unto us, should not be more 
gratifying ! Think thus — Now I enjoy what I covet ; 
now I attain what 1 wish for. Some servants of 
God have been so strongly disposed this way, that 
they have cheerfully made a tender of any recom- 
pense that could be desired, (yea, rather than fail, 
a pecuniary one,) to any friend that would think for 
them, and supply the barrenness of their thoughts, 
and suggest to them any special and proper methods, 


wherein they might be serviceable. Certainly, to do 
good, is a thing that brings its own recompense, in 
the opinion of those who consider that any person 
who gives them information on any point wherein 
they may do good, is worthy of a recompense. I 
will only say, if any of you are strangers to such a 
disposition as this, and do not look upon an oppor- 
tunity to do good^ as a thing that enriches you, and 
that you are favoured of God, when he does employ 
you to do good, I have done with you, and I would 
pray such to lay the book aside; it will disdain to 
carry on any farther conversation with them. It 
handles a subject on which the house of Caleb will 
not be conversed with. It is content with one of 
Dr. Stoughton's introductions : " It is enough for 
me that I speak to wise men, whose reason shall 
be my rhetoric; to Christians, whose conscience shall 
be my eloquence." 


Men might do more good than they do. 

Though the assertion should fly like a chain- 
shot among us, and rake down all before it, yet I 
will again and again assert it, that we might, every 
one of us, do more good than we do. And there- 
fore, the first proposal I would make is to be ex- 
ceedingly humbled that we have done so little good 
in the world. I am not uncharitable in saying. 


that I know not an assembly of Christians upon 
earth which ought not to be a Bochim, on this con- 
sideration. O! tell me in what Utopia I shall find 
it. Sirs, let us begin to bring forth some good 
fruit, by lamenting our own great unfruitfulness. 
Verily, sins of omission must be confessed and be- 
wailed, else we add to their number. The most 
useful men in the world have gone out of it, cry- 
ing to God, " Lord, let our sins of omission be 
forgiven us!" Men that have made more than 
ordinary conscience about spending well their time, 
have had their death-bed made uneasy by this re- 
flection, " The loss of time now sits heavy upon 
B[ie." All unregenerate persons, are certainly, as 
our Bible tells us, unprofitable persons. It is not for 
nothing. that the comparison of " thorns and briers" 
has been used, to teach us what they are. An un- 
renewed sinner, alas ! he never did one good work 
in all his life. In all his life, did I say ? You must 
allow me to recal that word. He is " dead while 
he lives;" he is " dead in sins;" he has never yet 
begun to "live unto God:" and as he is, so are "all 
the works of his hands" — they are " dead works." 
Ah ! wretched unprofitable servant. Wonder, won- 
der at the patience of heaven, which yet forbears 
cutting down such a " cumberer of the ground." 
The best, and the first advice, to be given to such 
persons, is, immediately to endeavour to get out 
of their wofully unregenerate state. Let them 
immediately acknowledge the necessity of their 
turning to God, how unable they are to do it, and 
how unworthy that God should make them able. 


Immediately let them lift up their cry to sovereign 
grace to quicken them; and let them then try whe- 
ther they cannot with quickened souls, plead the 
sacrifice and righteousness of the glorious Saviour for 
their happy reconciliation to God; seriously resolve 
on a life of obedience to God, and resign themselves 
up to the Holy Spirit, that he may possess them, in- 
struct them, strengthen them, and, for his name's 
sake, lead them in the paths of holiness. No good 
will be done, till this be done. The Jirst-bom of 
all devices to do good, is in being bof'n again. 

But you who have been brought home to God, 
have great cause not only to deplore the dark days 
of your unregeneracy, in which you produced only 
*'the unfruitful works of darkness:" but also that 
you have done so little, since God has quickened 
you, and enabled you to do the things that should 
be done. How little have you lived up to those 
strains of gratitude, which might justly have been 
expected, since God brought you into his " marvel- 
lous light !" The best of us may mourn in his com- 
plaints and say, " Lord, iiow little good have I 
done, to what I might have done!" Let the sense 
of this cause us to loathe and judge ourselves before 
the Lord; let it fill us with shame ; and abase us 
wonderfully. How can we do otherwise than, like 
David, " water our couch vvith tears," when we con- 
sider how little good we have done ! '• O that our 
heads were waters," because they have been so dry 
of all thoughts to do good. " O that our eyes were 
a fountain of tears," because they have looked out 
so little for methods and occasions to do good. For 


the pardon of this evil-doing, let us fly to the great 
Sacrifice, which is our only expiation, and plead the 
blood of that " Lamb of God," whose universal use- 
fulness is one of those admirable properties on ac- 
count of which he is called " a Lamb." The par- 
don of our barrenness of good works being thus ob- 
tained, by faith in that blood which cleanseth from 
all sin, we shall be rescued from a condemnation to 
perpetual barrenness : the dreadful sentence, " Let 
no fruit grow on thee for ever," will be prevented by 
such a pardon. A true evangelical procedure to do 
good, must have this repentance laid in the foun- 
dation of it. We do not " handle the matter wisely," 
if a foundation be not laid thus low, and in the deep- 
est self-abasement. 


The diligence of men in their secular affairs. 

How full of devices are we for our own secular 
advantage ! and how expert in devising many little 
things to be done for ourselves ! We apply our 
thoughts with mighty assiduity to the old question 
— " What shall we eat and drink, and wherewithal 
shall we be clothed?" It is with strong application 
of thought we inquire. What shall we do for our- 
selves in our marriages, in our voyages, in our bar- 
gains, and in many other concerns, wherein we are 
solicitous to have our condition easy ? We anxiously 


contrive to accomplish our plans, and steer clear 
of numerous inconveniences, to which, without some 
contrivance, we should be obnoxious. We carry 
on the business of our personal callings, with num- 
berless thoughts how we may do them well ; and to 
accomplish our numerous temporal affairs we " find 
out witty inventions." But, O rational, immortal, 
heaven-born soul, are thy wonderous faculties capable 
ofno greater improvements — no better employments? 
Why should a soul of such high capacities — a 
soul that may arrive to " be clothed in the scar- 
let" of angels, yet "embrace a dunghill!" O let 
a blush deeper than scarlet, be thy clothing, for thy 
being found so meanly occupied. Alas ! " in the 
multitude of thy thoughts within thee," hast thou no 
disposition to raise thy soul to some thoughts — What 
may be done for God — for Christ — for my own soul, 
and for other most important interests? How many 
hundreds of thoughts have we how to obtain or se- 
cure some trifle for ourselves, for one how we may 
serve the interests of the glorious Lord, and of his 
people in the world ? How ihen can we pretend 
that we love him, or that a carnal, a criminal self- 
love has not the dominion over us ? I again come 
to a soul of heavenly extract, and smite it, as the 
angel did the sleeping prisoner, and cry, " Awake; 
shake oiF thy chains." Lie no longer fettered in a 
base confinement, and to nothing but a meaner sort 
of business. Assume and assert the liberty of some- 
times thinking on the noblest question in the world, 
'* What good may I do in the world ?" There was 
a time when it was lamented by no less a man than 


Gregory the great, the bishop of Rome — " I am 
sunk into the world !" This may be the complaint 
of a soul that minds every thing else, and rarely calls 
to mind that noblest question. Ah ! " star fallen 
from heaven," and choked in dust, rise and soar up 
to something answerable to thy original. Begin a 
course of thoughts, which when begun will be like 
a resurrection from the dead. They which dwell in 
the dust, wake and sing, and a little anticipate the 
life which we are to live at the resurrection of the 
dead, when they with vigour set themselves to think, 
" How may I become a blessing to the world ?" and 
" What may I do, that righteousness may dwell in 
the world?" 


The diligence of wicked men in doing evil. 

How much evil may be done by one wicked man 1 
Yea, sometimes one wicked man, of slender abilities, 
becoming an indefatigable tool of the devil, may do 
an incredible mischief in the world. We have seen 
some wretched instruments of cursed memory, plv 
the intention of doing mischief at a strange rate, till 
they have undone a whole country; yea, unto the 
undoing of more than three kingdoms. It is a me- 
lancholy consideration, and I may say, an astonish- 
ing one: you will hardly find one of a thousand who 
does half so much to serve God^ and Christ, and his 


own soul, as you may see done by thousands to serve 
the devil. A horrible thing! 

" O my soul, thy Maker, and thy Saviour, so 
worthy of thy love — a Lord, whose infinite good- 
ness will follow all thou doest for him, with remu- 
nerations, beyond all comprehension glorious ; how 
little, how little is it that thou doest for him ! At 
the same time, look into thy neighbourhood. See 
there a monster of wickedness, who, to his utter- 
most, will serve a master that will prove a destroyer 
to him, and all whose wages will be torments : he 
studies how to serve the devil; he is never weary of 
his drudgery; he racks his invention to go through 
with it. He shames me; he shames me wonderfully ! 
" O my God, I am ashamed, and blush to lift up 
my face unto thee." 

We read of a man " who deviseth mischief upon 
his bed; who setteth himself in a way that is not 
good." Now, why should not we be as active, as 
frequent, as forward, in devising good, and as full of 
exquisite contrivances? Why should not we be as 
wise to do good, as any are to do evil? I am sure 
we have a better cause, and better reason for it. 
My friend, though, perhaps, thou art one who makest 
but a little figure in the world — " a brother of low 
d^egree," yet, behold a vast encouragement! a little 
man may do a great deal of harm; and pray, why 
may not a little man do a great deal of good ? It 
is possible " the wisdom of a poor man" may start a 
proposal which may " save a city"-' — serve a nation ! 
A single hair, applied to a flyer that has other wheels 
depending on it, may pull up an oak, or pull down a 


It is very observable, that when our Lord Jesus 
Christ would recommend the zeal with which the 
kingdom of heaven is to be served, he did not give 
an example of honest wisdom: no, but that of an un- 
righteous and scandalous dishonesty — that of the 
unjust steward. The wisdom of our Lord in this 
is much to be observed. His design is not only to 
represent the prudence, but also the industry, the 
ingenuity, the resolution, and the heroic effort of 
the soul, necessary in those who would seek, and 
serve the kingdom of God. There is seldom to be 
found among men that vivacity of spirit in lawful ac- 
tions, which we observe in unlawful ones. The 
ways of honesty are plain to men, and require not so 
much uneasiness in managing them; but thieves 
and cheats, and men that follow courses of dishonesty, 
take ways that are full of difficulties; the turns and 
tricks with which they must be carried through them 
are innumerable: hence you find among such people 
the exercise of extraordinary subtlety; you find no 
such cunning and nimble application any where else. 
It is very emphatical, then, to borrow from thence 
the colours of heavenly wisdom ! What I now aim 
at is this — Let us endeavour to do good with as 
much application, as wicked men employ in doing 
evil. When " wickedness proceeds from the wicked, 
it is done with both hands, and greedily." Why 
may not we proceed in our usefulness " with both 
hands," and " greedily" watching for opportunities ? 
We have no occasion for any sinister arts in carrying 
on our designs to do good. God forbid that we 
should ever attempt the union of such inconsisten- 


cies ! But why cannot we carry on our designs with 
as much deep and copious thought as the men of 
evil arts ? And why may we not lay out our spirits 
with as transporting a vigour to do the things which 
are acceptable to God and profitable to men, as those 
wretches manifest, when they " weary themselves to 
commit iniquity?" To reprove certain ecclesiastical 
drones, who had little inclination to do good. Father 
Latimer used a course expression to this effect: " If 
you will not learn of good men, for shame, learn of 
the devil; he is never idle," he goes about seeking 
what hurt he may do. Indeed, the indefatigable 
prosecution of the designs of some whom the word 
of God has called " the children of the devil," may 
put us to the blush. Our obligations to do good 
are infinite: they do evil against all obligations. The 
compensation promised to them who do good, is en- 
couraging beyond calculation: they who do evil get 
nothing to boast of; but " evil pursueth the sin- 
ners." If the devil " go about," and people in- 
spired by him " go about," seeking what harm they 
may do; why may not we go about, and think, and 
seek, where and how to do good? Verily, it were 
worthy of a good angel to do so ! O thou child of 
God, and lover of all righteousness, how canst thou 
find in thy heart, at any time, to cease from doing all 
the good that can be done, " in the right ways of 
the Lord ?" Methinks, that word of the Lord may 
be a burden to us: if we have a sense of honour in 
us, it will be so — " The children of this world are 
in, (and for) their generation, wiser than the children 
of light;" yea, they pursue *' the works of darkness" 


more vigorously than any of us " walk in that light' 
with which our great Saviour hath favoured us. 


Men should do good from proper principles* 

To the title of Good Works belong those Essays 
to do Good, for which we are now urging. To pro- 
duce them, the^rst thing, and indeed, the oneihiug 
that is needful is — A glorious work of grace on the 
soul, renewing and quickening it, purifying the sin- 
ner, and rendering him "zealous of good works;" — 
" a workmanship of God" upon us, " creating us 
anew, in Jesus Christ, unto good works:" and then, 
there is needful, what will necessarily follow such a 
work — that is, a disposition to do good works, on 
true, genuine, generous, and evangelical principles. 
These principles require to be stated before we pro- 
ceed. When they are in activity they will carry us 
a great length. 

It is, in the first place, to be taken for granted, 
that the end for which we do good works must not 
be designed as the matter of our justification before 
God: indeed, no good works can be done by us till 
we are justified; until a man be united to Christ, 
who is our life, he is a dead man, and what good 
works can be expected from such a man? They vvill 
be dead works. " Severed from me," saith our 
Saviour, " ye can do nothing." The justification 


of a sinner by faith, before good worJcs, and in order 
to tliem^ is one of those doctrines which may say to 
the popish innovations, " With us are the grey- 
headed, and very aged men, much elder than thy 
father." It was an old maxim of the faithful, — 
" Good works follow; they do not precede justifica- 
tion." It is the righteousness of the good works 
done by our Saviour and surety, not our own, that 
justifies us before God, and answers the demands of 
his law upon us. We, by faith, lay hold on those 
good works for our justifying righteousness, before 
we are enabled to perform our own. It is not our 
faith itself either as doing good works, or as being 
itself one of them, which entitles us to the justifying 
righteousness of our Saviour: but it is faith alone as 
renouncing our own righteousness, and relying on 
that of Christ, provided for the chief of sinners, by 
which we are justified. All our attempts at good 
works will come to nothing, till a justifying faith in 
the Saviour shall carry us forth to them. This was 
the divinity of the ancients. Jerome has well ex- 
pressed it — " Without Christ all virtue is but vice." 
Nevertheless, first, you are to look upon it as a 
glorious truth of the gospel, that the moral law 
(which prescribes and requires good works) must by 
every Christian alive, be the rule of his life. " Do 
we make void the law through faith? God forbid: 
yea, we establish the law." The rule by which we 
are to glorify G^d, is given us in that law of good 
works which we possess (I will so express it) in the 
ten commandments. It is impossible for us to be 
released from all obligations to glorify God, by a 


conformity to this rule ; sooner shall we cease to be 
creatures. The conformity to that rule, in the 
righteousness, which our Saviour by his obedience 
to it has brought in to justify us, has for ever " mag- 
nified the law, and made it honourable." Though 
our Saviour has furnished us with a perfect and spot- 
less righteousness, when his obedience to the law is 
placed to our account ; yet it is sinful in us to come 
short in our own obedience to the law. We must 
always judge and loathe ourselves for the sin. We 
are not under the law as a covenant of works. Our 
own exactness in doing good works is not now the 
condition of our entering into life; (wo unto us if 
it were!) but still the covenant of grace holds us to 
it as our duty: and if we are in the covenant of 
grace, we shall make it our study to do those good 
works which were once the terms of entering into 
life. " The whole law of goodliness remains," was 
the divinity of Tertullian's days. There must be 
such an esteem for the law of good works for ever 
retained in every justified person — a law never to be 
abrogated, never to be abolished. 

And then, secondly, though we are justified by 
" a precious faith in the righteousness of God our 
Saviour," yet good works are required of us to jus- 
tify our faith — to demonstrate that it is indeed 
" precious faith." Justifying faith is a jewel which 
may be counterfeited : but the marks of a faith which 
is not a counterfeit, are to be found in those good 
works to which a servant of God is inclined and as- 
sisted by his faith. It is by a regenerating work of 
the Holy Spirit, that faith is wrought in the hearts 


of the chosen people; now the same work of grace 
which in regeneration disposes a man to fly by 
faith to the righteousness of his Saviour, will also 
dispose him to the good works of a Christian life; 
and the same faith which goes to the Saviour for an 
interest in his righteousness, will also go to him for 
a heart and strength to perform the good works 
which are *' ordained that we should walk in them." 
If such be not our faith it is a lifeless faith, and it 
will not bring to life. A workless faith is a worth- 
less faith. 

My friend ! suppose thyself standing before the 
judgment-seat of the glorious Lord — a needful, a 
prudent supposition; it ought to be a very frequent 
one. The Judge demands — " What hast thou to 
plead, for a portion in the blessedness of the righ- 
teous?" The plea must be, " O my glorious Judge, 
thou hast been my sacrifice. O thou Judge of all 
the earth, give poor dust and ashes leave to say. My 
righteousness is on the bench. Surely, in the Lord 
have 1 righteousness. O my Saviour, I have re- 
ceived it, I have secured it on thy own gracious of- 
fer of it." The Judge proceeds — " But what hast 
thou to plead that thy faith should not be rejected 
as the faith and hope of the hypocrite?" Here the 
plea must be, " Lord, my faith was thy work. It 
was a faith which disposed me to all the good works 
of thy holy religion. It sanctified me. It carried 
me to thee, O my Saviour, for grace to do the works 
of righteousness: it embraced thee for my Lord, as 
well as for my Saviour: it caused me, with sincerity, 
to love and keep thy commandments, and with assi- 


duity to serve the interests of thy kingdom in the 

Thus you have Paul and James reconciled. Thus 
you have good works provided for. The aphorism 
of the physicians is — " By the deeds of the arm you 
may form your judgment of the state of the heart.'* 
The actions of men are surer indications than all 
their sayings of what they are within. 

But there is yet another consideration by which 
you must be zealously affected for good works. You 
must consider them as a part of the great salvation 
which is purchased and intended for you by your 
blessed Saviour. Without a holy heart you cannot 
be fit for a holy heaven — " meet for the inheritance 
of the saints in light;" which admits no works of 
darkness; where none but good works are done for 
eternal ages: but a holy heart will cause a man to 
do good with all his heart. The motto on the gates 
of the holy city is, " None but the lovers of good 
works to enter here:" it is implied in what we read 
— " Without holiness no man shall see the Lord:" 
yea, to be saved without good works, were to be 
saved without salvation. Much of our salvation con- 
sists in doing good works. When our souls are en- 
larged, it is that we may do such things. Heaven is 
begun upon earth when we are so engaged. Doubt- 
less, no man will reach heaven who is not so per- 

I shall mention but one more of those principles 
in which good works originate; it is that noble one 
of Gratitude. The believer cannot but inquire, 
" What shall I render to my Saviour?" — the result 

of the inquiry will be, " With good works to glorify 
him." We read, that " faith worketh by love." 
Our faith will first show us the matchless and mar- 
vellous love of God in saving us; and the faith of 
this love will work on our hearts, till it hath raised 
in us an unquenchable flame of love to Him who 
hath so loved and saved us. These, these are to be 
our dispositions — " O my Saviour! hast thou done 
so much for me? Now will I do all I can for thy 
kingdom and people in the world. O ! what service 
is there that I may now do for my Saviour and for 
his people in the world ?" 

These are the principles to be proceeded on; and 
on them I will observe a notable thing. It is worthy 
of observation, that there are no men in the world 
who so much abound in good works, as those who 
have abandoned every pretence to merit in their 
works. There are Protestants who have outdone 
Papists in our day, as well as in those of Dr. Wil- 
let. No merit-mongers have gone beyond some 
holy Christians, who have performed good works on 
the assurance of their being already justified, and 
entitled to eternal life. 

I observe that our apostle, casting a just contempt 
o-n the endless genealogies, and long, intricate pe- 
digrees, which the Jews of his time counted so much 
upon, proposes in their stead " Charity, out of a 
pure heart, and a good conscience, and faith un- 
feigned;" as if he had said, " I will give you a ge- 
nealogy worth ten thousand of theirs: — First, from 
faith unfeigned proceeds a good conscience; from a 
good conscience proceeds a pure heart ; and from a 


pure heart proceeds charity to all around us. It 
admirably stated. 


Oppoi'tunities to do good are talents for ^mhicli we 
must give an account. 

It is to be feared that we seldom inquire after op- 
portunities OF DOING GOOD. Our opportunities 
to do good are our talents. An awful account must 
be rendered to the great God concerning the use of 
the talents with which he has intrusted us in these 
precious opportunities. We frequently do not use 
our opportunities, because we do not know them: 
and the reason why we do not know is, because we 
do not think. Our opportunities to do good lie by 
unregarded and unimproved; and so it is but a 
mean account that can be given of them. We read 
of a thing which we deride as often as we behold it: 
" There is that maketh himself poor, and yet hath 
great riches." This is too frequently exemplified 
in our opportunities to do good, which are some of 
our most valuable riches. Many a man seems to 
reckon himself destitute of these talents, as if there 
were nothing for him to do; he pretends he is not 
in a condition to do any good. Alas ! poor man, 
what can he do ? My friend, think again, think 
often : inquire what your opportunities are : you will 
certainly find them to be more than you were aware of. 


** Plain men, dwelling in tents" — persons of a very 
ordinary rank may, by their eminent piety, prove 
persons of extraordinary usefulness. A poor John 
Urich may make a Grotius the better for him. I 
have read of a pious weaver, of whom some eminent 
persons would say, " Christ walked, as it were, 
alive on the earth in that man." And a world of 
good was done by that man. A mean mechanic — 
who can tell what an engine of good he may become, 
if humbly and wisely applied to it. 

This, then, is the next proposal. Without 
abridging yourselves of your occasional thoughts on 
the question, often every day, " What good may I 
do ?" fix a time now and then, for more deUberate 
thoughts upon it. Cannot you find time (suppose 
once a-week, and how suitably on the Lord's day !) 
to take this question into consideration — 

What is there that I may do for the service of 
the glorious Lord, and for the welfare of those for 
*whom I ought to be concerned ? 

Having implored the direction of God, " the Fa- 
ther of lights," and the author and giver of good 
thoughts, consider the matter, in the various aspects 
of it. Consider till you have resolved on something. 
Write down the resolutions you make. Examine 
what precept and what promise you can find in the 
word of God to countenance your intentions. Review 
these memorials at proper seasons, to see how far you 
have proceeded in the execution of them. The ad- 
vantages of these preserved and revised memorials, 
no rhetoric will be sufiicient to commend them, no 
arithmetic to number them. There are some ani- 


inals of which we say, " They know not their own 
strength;" Christians, why should you be like 
them ? 


Every means of usefulness should be embraced. 

Let us now descend to particulars; but let 
it not be imagined that I pretend to give an enu- 
meration of all the good devices that may be con- 
ceived. Indeed, not a thousandth part of them can 
now be enumerated. The essay which I am making 
is only to dig open the several springs of usefulness, 
which, having once begun to flow, will spread into 
streams, which no human foresight can comprehend. 
" Spring up, O well !" so will every true Israehte 
sing upon every proposal here exhibited ; and " the 
nobles of Israel" can do nothing more agreeable to 
their own character, than to fall to work upon it. 
Perhaps every proposal to be now mentioned may 
be Hke a stone falling into a pool. Reader, keep 
thy mind calm, and see whether the effect prove not 
so that one circle and service will produce another, 
till they extend — who can tell how far ? Those 
who give themselves up to good devices, and who 
duly observe their opportunities to do good, usually 
find a wonderful increase of their opportunities. 
The gracious and faithful providence of God grants 
this recompense to his diligent servants, that he will 


multiply their opportunities of being serviceable : 
and when ingenious men have a little used them- 
selves to contrivances, in the way of pursuing the 
best intentions, their ingenuity will sensibly improve, 
and there will be more of expansion in their diffusive 
applications. Among all the dispensations of a spe- 
cial providence in the government of the world, there 
is none more uninterrupted than the accomplishment 
of that word — " Unto him that hath shall be given." 
I will say this, " O useful man! take for thy mot- 
to—To him that hath shall be given ;" and, in a 
lively use of thy opportunities to do good, see how 
remarkably it will be accomplished ; see what accom- 
plishment of that word will at last surprise thee — 
" Though thy beginning be small, yet thy latter end 
shall greatly increase." 


On the cultivation of personal religion, 

" Call not that man wise whose wisdom begins 
not at home." Why should not the charity of which 
we are treating " begin at home ?" It observes not 
a due decorum if it do not so ; and it will be liable to 
great exceptions in its pretensions and proceedings. 
This, then, is to be made an early proposal. 

First, Let every man devise what good may be 
done for the correction of what is yet amiss. In his 
OWN HEART AND LIFE. It is a good observation 


of the witty Fuller: '^ He need not complain of too 
little work, who hath a little world in himself to mend." 
It was of old complained, " No man repented him, 
saying, What have I done ?" Every man upon earth 
may find in himself something that wants mending; 
and the work of repentance is to inquire, not only 
" What we have done?" but also, " What we have 
to do?" Frequent self-examination is the duty and 
the prudence of all who would know themselves, or 
would not lose themselves. The great intention 
of self-examination is to find out the points wherein 
we are to "amend our ways." A Christian that 
would thrive in Christianity, must be no stranger to 
a course of meditation. Meditation is one of the 
master's requisite to make a " man of God." One 
article and exercise in our meditation should be to 
find out the things wherein a greater conformity to 
the truths upon which we have been meditating, 
may be attempted. If we would be good men, we 
must often devise how we may grow in knowledge 
and in all goodness. Such an inquiry should often 
be made: " What shall I do, that what is yet lack- 
ing in the image of God upon me, may be perfected ? 
What sliall I do, that I may live more perfectly, 
more watchfully, more fruitfully before the glorious 

And why should not our meditation, when we 
retire to that soul-enriching work, of forming the 
right thoughts of the righteous, conclude with some 
resolution ? Devise now, and resolve something to 
strengthen your walk with God. 

With some devout hearers of the word, it is a 
D 24 


practice, when they have heard a sermon, to think, 
" What good thing have I now to ask of God with 
a special importunity?" Yea, they are accustomed 
to call upon their children also, and make them an- 
swer this question: " Child, what blessing will you 
now ask of the glorious God ?" And charge them, 
then, to go and do accordingly. 

In pursuance of this piety, why may not this be 
one of the exercises which shall go to make a good 
evening for the best of days ? On the Lord's-day 
evening, we may make this one of our exercises, to 
employ our thoughts seriously on that question: 
" If I should die this week, what have I left undone 
which I should then wish I had been more dihgent 
in doing ?" My friend, place thyself in dying cir- 
cumstances, apprehend and realize thy approaching 
death. Suppose thy last hour arrived: thy breath 
failing, thy throat rattling, thy hands with a cold 
sweat upon them — only the turn of the tide ex- 
pected for thy expiration. In this condition, " What 
wpuldst thou wish to have done more than thou hast 
already done for thy own soul, for thy family, or for 
the people of God ?" Think ! do not forget the 
result of thy thoughts ; do not delay to perform 
what thou hast resolved upon. How much more 
agreeable and profitable would such an exercise be 
on the Lord's-day evening, than those vanities to 
which that evening is too commonly prostituted, and 
all the good of the past day defeated! And if such 
an exercise were often performed, O ! how much 
would it regulate our lives; how watchfully, how 
fruitfully would it cause us to live : what an incredi- 


ble number of good works would it produce in the 
world ! 

Will you remember. Sirs, that every Christian is 
a " temple of God!" It would be a service to 
Christianity, if this notion of Christianity were more 
frequently and clearly cultivated. But certainly, 
there yet remains very much for every one of us to 
do, that the temple may be carried on to perfection, 
repaired, finished, purified, and the top stone of it 
laid, with shoutings of " Grace, Grace !" unto it. 

As a branch of this piety, I will recommend a 
serious and fruitful improvement of the various dis- 
pensations which the Divine Providence obliges us 
to take notice. More particularly : Have you re- 
ceived any special blessings and mercies from the hand 
of a merciful God ? You do not suitably express your 
thankfulness ; you do not render again according to 
the benefit that is done unto you, unless you set 
yourself to consider, " What shall I render unto 
the Lord?" You should contrive some signal thing 
to be done on this occasion; some service to the 
kingdom of God, either within yourself, or among 
others, which may be a just confession and remem- 
brance of what a gracious God has done for you. 
This is what the " goodness of God leadeth you 
to." I ask you. Sirs, How can a good voyage, or 
a good bargain, be made without some special re- 
turns of gratitude to God? I would now have a 
portion of your property made a thank-offering, by 
being set apart for pious uses. 

Whole days of thanksgiving are to be kept, when 
the favours of God rise to a more observable height. 
D 2 


Christians of the finer mould keep their private ones, 
as well as bear part in the public ones. One exer- 
cise for such a day is, to take a list of the more re- 
markable succours and bounties with which our God 
has comforted us : and then, to contrive some suit- 
able acknowledgments of the glorious Lord, in en- 
deavours to serve him, and this by way of gratitude 
for these undeserved comforts. 

On the other hand ; you meet with heavy and 
grievous afflictions. Truly, it is a pity to be at the 
trouble of suffering afflictions, and not get good by 
them. We get good by them, when they awaken 
us " to do good;" I may say, never till then ! When 
God is distributing sorrows to you, the sorrows still 
come upon some errands ; the best way for you to 
find that they do not come in his anger, is to consi- 
der what the errands are. The advice is, that when 
any affliction comes upon you, you immediately con- 
sider, '* to what special act of repentance does this af- 
fliction call me? What miscarriage does this af- 
fliction find in me, to be repented of?" And then, 
while the sense of the affliction is yet upon you, 
solicitously inquire, "to what improvement in godli- 
ness and usefulness does this affliction call me?" 
Be more solicitous to gain this point than to get 
out of your affliction. O ! the peace that will com- 
pose, possess, and ravish your minds, when your af- 
flictions shall be found yielding the " fruits of right- 

Luther did well to call afflictions " the theology 
of Christians." This may be a proper place to in- 
troduce one direction more. We are travelling 



through a malicious, a calumnious, and abusive 
world. Why should not malice be a "good in- 
former?" We may be unjustly defamed; it will 
be strange if we are not frequently so. A defa- 
mation is commonly resented as a provocation. 
My friend, make it only a provocation to do 
good works ! The thing to be now directed is this. 
Upon any reproach, instead of being transported into 
a rage at Shimei, retire and patiently inquire, " Has 
not God bidden such a reproach to awaken me to 
some duty ? To what special instance or service of 
piety should I be awakened by the reproach that is 
cast upon me?" One thus expresses it: "The 
backbiter's tongue, like a mill-clack, will be still 
moving, that he may grind thy good name to pow- 
der. Learn, therefore, to make such use of his 
clack as to make thy bread by it ; I mean, so to 
live, that no credit shall be given to slander." Thus 
all the abuses you meet with, may prove to you, in 
the hand of a faithful God, no other than the 
strokes which a statuary employs on his ill-shaped 
marble ; only to form you into a more beautiful 
shape, and make you fitter to adorn the heavenly 
temple. Thus you are put into a way to "shake 
off a viper" most advantageously ! Yea, I am go- 
ing to show you, how you may fetch sweetness out 
of a viper. Austin would have our very sins included 
amongst the " all things" that are to " work toge- 
ther for good." Therefore, first, I propose, that 
our former barrenness may now be looked upon as 
our obligation and incitement to greater fruitfulness. 
But this motion is too general; 1 will be more par- 


ticular. I would look back on my past life, and 
call to mind what singular outbreakings of sin have 
blemished it, and been the reproach of ray youth. 
Now, by way of thankfulness for that grace of God 
and that blood of his Christ, through which ray 
crimes have been pardoned, I would set myself to 
think, " What virtues, what actions, and what 
achievements for the kingdom of God, will be the 
most contrary to my former blemishes? And what 
efforts of goodness will be the noblest and most pal- 
pable contradiction to the miscarriages with which 
I have been chargeable?" Yet more particularly, 
" What signal thing shall I do, to save others from 
dishonouring the great God by such miscarriages as 
those into which I myscW once fell?" I will study 
such things; perhaps the sincerity and consolation 
of repentance cannot be better studied than by such 
a conduct. 

You must give me leave to press this one more 
point of prudence upon you. There are not a few 
persons, who have many hours of leisure in the 
way of their personal callings. When the weather 
takes them off their business, or when their shops 
are not full of customers, they have little or nothing 
to do. Now, Sirs, the proposal is, " Be not 
fools," but redeem this time to your own advantage 
— to the best advantage. To the man of leisure, 
as well as to the minister, it is an advice of wis- 
dom, " Give thyself to reading." Good books of 
all sorts may employ your leisure, and enrich you 
with treasures more valuable than those which the 
way and the work of your callings might have pro- 


cured. Let the baneful thoughts of idleness be 
chased out of our minds. But then also, let some 
thoughts on that subject, " What good may I do ?" 
come into them. When you have leisure to think 
an that subject, you can have no excuse for neglect- 


On doing good in our domestic relations. 

The Useful man may now, with great propriety, 
extend and enlarge the sphere of his well-doing. 
My next proposal, therefore, shall be, Let every 
man consider the relation in which the sovereiorn 
God has placed him ; and let him devise what good 
he may do, that he may render his relatives the 
better for him. One great way to prove ourselves 
really good, is to be relatively good. It is by this, 
more than by any thing else, that we " adorn the 
doctrine of God our Saviour." It would be excel- 
lent wisdom in a man, to make the interest which 
he has in the good opinion and affection of others, 
an advantage for inducing them to engage in God's 
service. He that has a friend, will show himself 
friendly indeed, if he think, " Such a one loves 
me, and will hearken to me; to what good shall I 
take advantage from hence to persuade him ?" 

This will take place more particularly where the 
endearing ties of natural relation give us an inter- 
est. Let us call over our several relations, and 


let us devise something that may be called heroical 
goodness, in our discharging them. Why should 
we not, at least once or twice a week, make this 
relative goodness the subject of our inquiries, and 
of our purposes ? Especially, let us begin with 
our domestic relations^ and " provide for those of 
our own house," lest we deny some glorious rules 
an^l hopes of the Christian faith, by our negligence. 

First; In the conjugal relation, how agree- 
ably may those who are thus united, think on these 
words : " What knowest thou, O wife, whether 
thou shalt save thy husband? or. How knowest 
thou, O man, whether thou shalt save thy wife ?" 

The HUSBAND will do well to think, " What 
shall I do, that my wife may have cause for ever to 
bless God for having brought her to me ?" And, 
" What shall I do, that in my deportment towards 
my wife, the kindness of the blessed Jesus towards 
his church may be imitated ?" That this question 
may be the more perfectly answered. Sir, ask her to 
assist you in answering the question ; ask her to tell 
you what she would have you to do. 

But then the wife also will do well to inquire, 
" Wherein may I be to my husband a wife of that 
character — ' She will do him good, and not evil, all 
the days of her life ?' " 

With my married friends, I will leave an excel- 
lent remark, which 1 find in the memorials of GeT" 
vase Disney^ Esq. — " Family passions cloud faith, 
disturb duty, darken comfort." You will do the 
more good to one another, the more this remark is 
considered. When the husband and the wife are 


always contriving to be blessings to each other, I 
will say with Tertullian^ " Where shall I find 
words to describe the happiness of that marriage ?" 
O happy marriage ! 

Parents ! O how much ought you to be de- 
vising, and even labouring, for the good of your 
children! Often consider, how to make them 
" wise children;" how to carry on a desirable edu- 
cation for them, an education that shall render them 
desirable ; how to render them lovely and polite, 
and serviceable to their generation. Often consi- 
der, how to enrich their minds with valuable know- 
ledge; how to instil into their minds generous, gra- 
cious, and heavenly principles ; how to restrain and 
rescue them from the " paths of the destroyer," 
and fortify them against their peculiar temptations. 
There is a world of good that you have to do for 
them. You are without natural affections, (Oh ! 
be not such monsters !) if you are not in a conti- 
nual agony to do for them all the good that lies in 
your power. It was no mistake of Pacatus Drepa- 
nius, in his panegyric to Theodosius : " We are 
taught by nature, to love our sons almost more than 

I will prosecute this subject, by transcribing a 
copy of PARENTAL RESOLUTIONS, which I have 
somewhere met with. 

I. At the birth of my children, I would use all 
due solemnity in the baptismal dedication and con- 
secration of them to the Lord. I would present 
them to the baptism of the Lord, not as a mere 
formality; but, wondering at the grace of the in- 


finite God, who will accept my children as his, I 
would resolve to do all I can that they may he his; 
I would now actually give them up to God, entreat- 
ing that the child may be a child of God the Fa- 
ther, a subject of God the Son, and a temple of 
God the Spirit ; that it may be rescued from the 
condition of a child of wrath, and be possessed and 
employed by the Lord, as an everlasting instrument 
of his glory. 

II. My children would no sooner become capa- 
ble of attending to my instructions, but I would 
often admonish them to be sensible of their baptis- 
mal engagements to be the Lord's; often remind 
them of their baptism, and of the duties to which it 
binds them. 

Often I would say to them. Children, you have 
been baptised ; you were washed in the name of 
the great God ; now you must not sin against him ; 
to sin, is to do a very filthy thing. You must 
every day cry to God, that he would be your Fa- 
ther, your Saviour, your Leader ; in your baptism, 
he promised that he would be so, if you sought un- 
to him. Child, you must renounce the service of 
Satan, you must not follow the vanities of this 
world; you must lead a life of serious religion: in 
your baptism, you were bound to the service of 
your only Saviour. What is your name ? — You 
must sooner forget this name that was given you in 
your baptism, than forget that you are a servant of 
Jesus Christ, whose name was put upon you in your 

III. Let me daily pray for my children with 


constancy, and fervency, and agony; yea, let me 
daily mention each of them by name before the 
Lord. I would importunately beg for all suitable 
blessings to be bestowed upon them ; that God 
would give them grace, and give them glory, and 
withhold no good thing from them ; that God would 
smile on their education, and give his good angels 
charge over them, and keep them from evil, that it 
may not grieve them ; that when their father and 
mother shall forsake them, the Lord may take them 
up. Most importunately would I plead that pro- 
mise in their behalf: " The heavenly Father will 
give his Holy Spirit to them that ask him." O 
happy children, if by asking, I may obtain the Holy 
Spirit for them ! 

IV. I would early entertain the children with 
delightful stories out of the Bible. In the talk of 
the table I would go through the Bible, when the 
" olive plants about my table" are capable of being 
so watered. But I would always conclude the story 
by some lessons of piety, to be inferred from them. 

V. I would single out some scriptural sentences 
of the greatest importance; and some also that con- 
tain special antidotes to the common errors and vices 
of children. They shall quickly get these golden 
sayings by heart, and be rewarded with silver or 
gold, or some good thing, when they do it. Such as 

Psalm cxi. 10. — " The fear of the Lord is the 
beginning of wisdom." 

Matthew xvi. 26. — ** What is a man profited, if 
he gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?" 


1 Timothy i. 15. — " Jesus Christ came into the 
world to save sinners ; of whom I am chief/' 

Matthew vi. 6. — '' Enter into thy closet, and 
when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father 
which is in secret." 

Eccles. xii. 14. — " God shall bring every work 
into judgment, with every secret thing.'' 

Ephesians iv. 25. — ''Put away lying, speak every 
one the truth." 

Psalm cxxxviii. 6. — " The Lord hath respect 
unto the lowly, but the proud he knoweth afar off." 

Romans xii. 17, 19. — " Recompense to no one 
evil for evil. Dearly beloved, avenge not your- 

Nehemiah xiii. 18. — " They bring wrath upon 
Israel, by profaning the sabbath." 

A Jewish treatise, quoted by Wagenseil, tells us, 
that among the Jews, when a cliild began to speak, 
the father was bound to teach him that verse, Deut. 
xxxiii. 4. " Moses commanded us a law, even the 
inheritance of the conffrecration of Jacob." O let 
me betimes make my children acquainted with the 
law which our blessed Jesus hath commanded us ! 
It is the best inheritance I can confer on them. 

VI. I would early cause my children to learn the 


catechism. In catechising them, I would break the 
answer into many smaller and appropriate questions; 
and by their answer to them, observe and quicken 
their understandings. I would connect every truth 
with some duty and practice; and expect them to 
confess it, consent to it, and resolve upon it. As 
we go on in our catechising, they shall, when they 
are able, turn to the proofs read them, and tell me, 
what they prove, and in what manner. Then I will 
take ray opportunity to put more nice and difficult 
questions to them, and improve the times of conver- 
sation with my family, which every man usually has, 
or may have, for conferences on religious subjects. 

VII. Unsatisfied would I be, till I may be able 
to say of my children. Behold, they pray ! I would 
therefore teach them to pray. But after they have 
learned a form of prayer, I will press them to pro- 
ceed to points which are not in their form. I will 
show them the state of their own souls; and on 
every discovery inquire of them, what they think 
ought now to be their prayer. I will direct them 
every morning to take one or two texts out of the 
sacred Scriptures, and form them into a desire, 
which they shall add to their usual prayer. When 
they have heard a sermon, I will repeat to them the 
main subject of it, and ask them thereupon, what 
they have now to pray for. I will charge them with 
all possible cogency, to pray in secret, and often say 
to them. Children, I hope you do not forget my 
charge to you about secret prayer; your crime is 
very great, if you do. 

VIII. I would betimes do what I can to form a 


temper of benignity in my children, both towards 
one another and towards all others. I will instruct 
them how ready they should be to communicate to 
others a part of what they have; and they shall be 
encouraged when they discover a loving, cour- 
teous, and benevolent disposition. I will give them 
now and then a piece of money, that with their own 
little hands, they may dispense to the poor. Yea, 
if any one has hurt or vexed them, I will not only 
forbid all revenge, but will also oblige them to do a 
kindness, as soon as may be, to the vexatious per- 
son. All coarseness of language or behaviour in 
them, I will discountenance. 

IX. I would be solicitous to have my children 
expert, not only at reading properly, but also at 
writing a fair hand. I will then assign them such 
books to read, as I may judge most agreeable and 
profitable ; obliging them to give me some account 
of what they read; but will keep a strict eye on 
them, lest they should stumble on the devil's library, 
and poison themselves with foolish romances, novels, 
plays, songs, or jests, " that are not convenient." 
I will set them also, to write out such things as may 
be of the greatest benefit to them; and they shall 
have their blank books neatly kept on purpose to 
enter such passages as I recommend to them. I 
will particularly require them now and then to com- 
pose a prayer, and bring it to me, that so I may dis- 
cern what sense they have of their own everlasting 

X. I wish that my children may very early feel 
the principles of reasoji and honour working in them; 


and that I may carry on their education, chiefly on 
those principles. Therefore I will wholly avoid that 
fierce, harsh, crabbed usage of the children, that 
would make them tremble and abhor to come into 
my presence. I will treat them so, that they shall 
fear to offend me, and yet heartily love to see me, 
and be glad of my returning home when I have been 
abroad. I would have it looked upon as a severe 
and awful punishment for a crime in the family, to 
be forbidden for a while to come into my presence. 
I would excite in them a high opinion of their fa- 
ther's love to them, and of his being better able to 
judge what is good for them, than they are for them- 
selves. I would bring them to believe that it is best 
for them to be and to do as I would have them. 
Hence I would continually state to them what a 
charming thing it is to know the things that are ex- 
cellent, and more so to do the things that are vir- 
tuous. I would have them to propose it as a re- 
ward of good behaviour at any time; " I will now 
go to my father, and he will teach me something 
that I knev/ not before." I would have them afraid 
of doing any base thing, from a horror of the base- 
ness of it. My first animadversion on a smaller 
fault shall be, an expression of surprise and wonder, 
vehemently expressed before them, that ever they 
should be guilty of doing so foolishly, with an ear- 
nest hope that they will never do the like again, and 
excite in them a weeping resolution that they will 
not. I will never use corporeal punishment, except 
it be for an atrocious crime, or for a smaller fault 
obstinately persisted in. I would ever proportion 

the chastisements to the faults; not punish bitterly 
for a very small instance of childishness; and only 
frown a little for some real wickedness. Nor shall 
my chastisements ever be dispensed in passion and 
fury; but I will first show them the command of 
God, by transgressing which they have displeased 
me. The slavish turbulent manner of education too 
commonly used, I consider as no small article in the 
wrath and curse of God upon a miserable world. 

XI. As soon as we can, we will advance to still 
higher principles. I will often tell the children what 
cause they have to love a glorious Christ who has 
died for them ; how much he will be pleased with 
their well doing ; and what a noble thing it is to fol- 
low his example, which example I will describe to 
them. I will often tell them that the eye of God is 
upon them; that the great God knows all they do, 
and hears all they speak, I will frequently tell them 
that there will be a time, when they must appear be- 
fore the judgment seat of the holy Lord; and they 
must noiv do nothing which may then be an occasion 
of grief and shame to them. I will set before them 
the delights of that heaven which is prepared for 
pious children, and the torments of that hell which 
is prepared for wicked ones. I v/ill inform them of 
the good offices which the good angels perform for 
little ones who have the fear of God, and are afraid 
of sin; how the devils tempt them to do bad things; 
how they hearken to the devils, and are like them 
when they do such things; and what mischiefs they 
may obtain permission to do them in the world, and 
how awful it would be to dwell among the devils, in 


the " place of dragons." I will cry to God, that 
he may make them feel the power of these princi- 

XII. When the children are of a proper age for 
it, I will sometimes closet them, have them with me 
alone, and converse with them about the state of 
their souls; their experiences, their proficiency, their 
temptations; obtain their declared consent to every 
article in the covenant of grace; and then pray with 
them, earnestly imploring that the Lord would be- 
stow his grace upon them, and thus make them wit- 
nesses of the agony with which I am travailing to 
see the image of Christ formed in them. Certainly 
they will never forget such exercises. 

XIII. I will be very watchful and cautious about 
the companions of my children. I will be very in- 
quisitive to learn what company they keep. If they 
are in danger of being insnared by vicious company, 
I will earnestly pull them out of it, as brands out of 
the burning; and will try to find for them proper 
and useful companions. 

XIV. As in catechising the children, so in the 
repetition of the public sermons, I would use this 
method : I would put every truth into the form of a 
question, to be answered with yes, or no. By this 
method I hope to awaken their attention, as well as 
enlighten their understandings. And thus, I shall 
have an opportunity to ask, Do you desire such and 
such a grace of God ; with similar questions. Yea, 
by this I may have an opportunity to demand, and 
perhaps to obtain, their early, frequent, and, why 
not, sincere consent to the glorious articles of the 


new covenant. The Spirit of grace may fall upon 
them in this action, and they may be seized by him, 
and possessed by him as his temples, through eter- 
nal ages. 

XV. When a day of humiliation arrives, I will 
make them know the meaning of the day; and after 
some time given them to consider of it, I will re- 
quire them to tell me, what special afflictions they 
have met with, and what good they hope to get by 
those afflictions. On a day of thanksgiving, they 
shall also be made to know the intent of the dayg 
and after consideration, they shall inform me what 
mercies of God to them they take special notice of, 
and what duties to God they confess and resolve to 
perform under such obligations. Indeed, for some- 
thing of this importance ; to be pursued in my con- 
versation with the children, I would not confine my- 
self to the solemn days, which may occur too seldom 
for it; but, particularly, when the birth-days of any 
of the children arrive, I would then take them aside, 
and remind them of the age, which, having obtained 
help of God, they have attained; how thankful they 
should be for the mercies of God, upon which they 
have hitherto lived; and how fruitful they should be 
in all goodness, that so they may still enjoy their 
mercies. And I would inquire of them, whether 
they have ever yet begun to mind the work for 
which God sent them into the world; how far they 
understand the work; what attempts they have made 
to perform it; and how they design to spend the rest 
of their time, if God still continue them in the 


XVI. When the children are in any trouble or 
sickness, I will take advantage of this, to set before 
them the evil of sin, the cause of all our trouble; 
and how fearful a thing it will be, to be cast among 
the damned, who are in unceasing and endless trou- 
ble. I will set before them the benefit of an inte- 
rest in Christ, by which their trouble will be sanc- 
tified to them, and they will be prepared for death, 
and for fulness of joy in a happy eternity after 

XVII. I incline, that among all the branches of 
a polite education, which I would endeavour to give 
my children, each of them, the daughters as well as 
the sons, may have such an acquaintance with some 
useful trade or business, (whether it be painting, or 
the law, or medicine, or such other occupation, to 
which their own inclination may lead them) that 
they may be able to provide for themselves a com- 
fortable subsistence, if they should ever be brought, 
by the providence of God, into destitute circum- 
stances. Why should not they, as well as Paul 
the tent-maker? Children of the highest rank may 
have occasion to bless the parents who made such a 
provision for them. The Jews have a saying which 
is worthy of being remembered : — " Whosoever 
teaches not his son a trade, does, in elFect, teach him 
to be a robber." 

XVIII. As early as possible, I would instruct 
my children in the chief end for which they are to 
live; that so they may, as soon as possible, begin to 
live, and their youth not be altogether vanity. I 
would show them that their chief end must be to ae- 


knowledge the great God and his glorious Christ, 
and to bring others to acknowledge him ; and that 
they are never acting wisely nor well, but when they 
are so doing. I would show them what these ac- 
knowledgments are, and how they are to be made. 
I would make them able to answer the grand ques- 
tion, " For what purpose do they live, and what is the 
end of the actions that employ your lives ? Teach 
them how their Creator and Redeemer is to be 
obeyed in every thing, and how every thing is to be 
done in obedience to him. Instruct them how even 
their diversions, their ornaments, and the tasks of 
their education, must all be designed to fit them for 
the further service of Him to whom I have devoted 
them, and how, in these also, his commandments 
must be the rule of all they do. I would therefore 
sometimes surprise them with an inquiry, " Child, 
what is this for ? Give me a good account why you 
do it." How comfortably shall I see them " walk- 
ing in the light," if I may bring them wisely to an- 
swer this inquiry; and what " children of the light" 
they will be ! 

XIX. I would sometimes oblige the children to 
retire, and ponder on that question: *' What should 
I wish to have done, if I v/ere now dying ?" And 
having reported to me their own answer to the ques- 
tion, I would take occasion from it, to inculcate 
upon them the lessons of godliness. I would also 
direct and obhge them, at a proper time, seriously to 
realize their own appearance before the awful judg- 
ment seat of the Lord Jesus Christ, and to consider 
what they have to plead, that they may not be sent 


away into everlasting punishment; what they have 
to plead, that they may be admitted into the holy 
city. I would instruct them what plea to prepare ; 
first, show them how to get a part in the righteous- 
ness of him who is to be their judge, by receiving it 
with a thankful faith, as the gift of infinite grace to 
the distressed and unworthy sinner: then show them 
how to prove that their, faith is not counterfeit, by 
their continual endeavour in all things, to please 
Him in all things who is to be their Judge, and to 
serve his kingdom and interest in the world. And 
I would charge them to make this preparation. 

XX. If I live to see the children arrive at a mar- 
riageable age, I would, before I consult with heaven 
on earth for their best accommodation in the married 
state, endeavour the espousal of their souls to their 
only Saviour. I would, as plainly and as fully as I 
can, propose to them the terms on which the glori- 
ous Redeemer will espouse them to himself, in 
righteousness and judgment, favour and mercies for 
ever; and solicit their consent to his proposal and 
overtures; then would I go in to do what may be 
expected from a tender parent for them, in their tem- 
poral circumstances. 

From these parental resolutions, how reasonably, 
how naturally may we pass on to say. 

Children, the fifth commandment confirms all 
your other numberless and powerful obligations often 
to inquire, " Wherein may I be a blessing to my 
parents?" An ingenuous disposition would make 
this the very summit of your ambition, to be a credit 
and a comfort to your parents; to sweeten, and, it 


may be, to lengthen the lives of those from whom, 
under God, you have received yours. And God the 
Rewarder, usually gives to such dutifulness, even in 
this life, a most observable recompense. But it is 
possible, you may be the happy instruments of more 
than a little good to the souls of your parents; (will 
you think how?) Yea, though they should be pious 
parents, you may, by some delicate methods, be the 
instruments of their growth in piety and in prepara- 
tion for the heavenly world. O thrice happy children, 
who are thus favoured ! Among the Arabians, a 
father sometimes takes his name from an eminent 
8on, as well as a son from his reputable father. 
Truly, a son may be such a blessing to his father, 
that the best surname for the glad father would be, 
" the father of such a one." 

Masters, yea, and Mistresses too, must have 
their devices how to do good to their servants; how 
to make them the servants of Christ, and the chil- 
dren of God. God, whom you must remember to 
be " your Master in heaven," has brought them, 
and placed them in your family. Who can tell for 
what good he has brought them? What if they 
should be the elect of God, fetched from Africa and 
the Indies, and brought into your families, on pur- 
pose that, by means of their situation, they may be 
brought home to the Shepherd of souls? O that 
the souls of our servants were of more account to us ! 
that we might give a better demonstration that we 
despise not our own souls, by doing what we can for 
the souls of our servants, and not using them as if 
they had no souls ! How can we pretend to Chris- 


tianity, when we do no more to christianize our ser- 
vants? Verily, you must give an account to God 
concerning them. If they be lost through your ne- 
gligence, what answer can you make to " God, the 
Judge of all?" Methinks, common principles of 
gratitude should incline you to study the happiness 
of those by whose obedient labours your lives are so 
much accommodated. Certainly, they would be the 
better servants to you, more faithful, honest, indus- 
trious, and submissive, for your bringing them into 
the service of your common Lord. 

But if any servant of God may be so honoured 
by him, as to be made the successful instrument of 
obtaining from a British parliament, an act for the 
christianizing of the slaves in the plantations ; then 
it may be hoped, something more may be done than 
has yet been done, that the blood of souls may not 
be found in the skirts of our nation, a controversy of 
heaven with our colonies may be removed, and pros- 
perity may be restored ; at all events, the honour- 
able instrument will have unspeakable peace and joy, 
in the remembrance of his endeavours. In the mean 
time, the slave trade is a spectacle that shocks hu- 

** The harmless natives basely they trepan, 
And barter baubles for the souls of men; 
The wretches they to Christian climes bring o'er, 
To serve worse heathens than they did before." 

I have somewhere met with a paper under this 
title, the resolution of a master; which may 
here be properly introduced : — 

I. I would always remember, that my servants 


are, in some sense, my children ; and by taking care 
that they want nothing which may be good for them, 
I would make them as my children ; and, as far as 
the methods of instilling piety into them, which I use 
with my children, may be properly and prudently 
used with my servants, they shall be partakers iu 
them. Nor will 1 leave them ignorant of any thing, 
wherein I may instruct them to be useful in their 

II. I will see that my servants be furnished with 
Bibles, and be able and careful to read the lively 
oracles. I will both put Bibles and other good and 
proper books into their hands, and allow them time 
to read; but will assure myself that they do not mis- 
spend this time. If I can discern any wicked books 
in their hands, I will take away from them those 
pestilential instruments of wickedness. They shall 
also write as well as read, if I am able to bring them 
to it. And I will give them, now and then, such 
things to write, as may be for their greatest advan- 

III. I will have my servants present at the reli- 
gious exercises of my family; and will drop either in 
the exhortations, or in the prayers, of the daily sa- 
crifices of the family, such passages as may have a 
tendency to quicken a sense of religion in them. 

IV. The business of catechising, as far as the age 
or state of the servants will permit to be done with 
decency, shall extend to them also. And they shall 
be concerned in the conferences in which, in the re- 
petition of the public sermons, I may be engaged 
with my family. If any of them, when they come 


to me, have not learned the catechism, I will take 
care that they do it, and give them a reward when 
they have done it. 

V. I will he very inquisitive and solicitous about 
the company chosen by my servants; and with all 
possible earnestness rescue them from the snares of 
evil company, and forbid their being the " com- 
panions of fools." 

VI. Such of ray servants as may be capable of 
the duty, I will employ to teach lessons of piety to 
my children, and recompense them for so doing. 
But I would, by a particular artifice, contrive them 
to be such lessons as may be for their own edifica- 
tion too. 

VII. I will sometimes call my servants alone, talk 
to them about the state of their souls; tell them how 
to close with their only Saviour ; charge them to do 
well, and " lay hold on eternal life;" and show them 
very particularly how they may render all they do 
for me, a service to the glorious Lord ; how they 
may do all from a principle of obedience to him, and 
become entitled to the " reward of the heavenly in- 

I add the following passages as an Appendix to 
these resolutions : — 

" Age is nearly sufficient, with some masters, to 
obliterate every letter and action in the history of a 
meritorious life ; and old services are generally bu- 
ried under the ruins of an old carcass." And " it 
is a barbarous inhumanity in men towards their ser- 
vants, to account their small failings as crimes, with- 
out allowing their past services to have been virtues. 
£ 24. 


O God, keep thy servants from such worse than base 
ingratitude !" 

But then, O servants, if you would obtain " the 
reward of the inheritance," you should set yourselves 
to inquire — " How shall I approve myself such a 
servant that the Lord may bless the house of my 
master the more for my being in it?" Certainly, 
there are many ways in which servants may become 
blessings. Let your studies, with your continual 
prayers for the welfare of the families to which you 
belong, and the example of your sober carriage, ren- 
der you such. If you will remember but four words, 
and attempt all that is comprised in them — obedi- 

be the blessings, and the Josephs of the families to 
which you belong. Let these four words be dis- 
tinctly and frequently recollected; and perform cheer- 
fully all you have to do, on this consideration — that 
it is an obedience to heaven, and from thence will 
have a recompense. It was the observation even of 
a Pagan, " that a master may receive a benefit from 
a servant;" and, " What is done with the affection 
of a friend, ceases to be the act of a mere servant." 
Even the maid servants of the house may render 
an unknown service to it, by instructing the infants, 
and instilling into their minds the lessons of good- 
ness. Thus, by Bilhah and Zilpah, may children be 
born again; the mistresses may, by the travail of 
their handmaids, have children brought into the king- 
dom of God. 

I proceed — Humanity teaches us to take notice 
of all our kindred. Nature bespeaks what we call 


a " natural aiFection" to all who are akin to us; to 
be destitute of it is a very bad character; it is a brand 
on the worst of men, on such as forfeit the name of 
men. But Christianity is designed to improve it. 
Our natural affection is to be improved into a religi- 
ous intention. Make a catalogue of all your more 
distant relatwes. Consider them one by one; and 
make every one of them the subject of your " good 
devices." Consider: " How may I pursue the good 
of such a relative? By what means may I render 
such a relative the better for me?" It is possible 
you may do something for them which may afford 
them cause to bless God that ever you were related 
to them. Have they no calamity under which you 
may give them some relief.? Is there no tempta- 
tion against which you may give them some caution ? 
Is there no article of their prosperity to which you 
may be subservient? At least, with your affection- 
ate prayers, you may go over your catalogue; you 
may pray for each of them successively by name; and 
if you can, why may you not also put proper books 
of piety into their hands, to be durable remembrances 
of their duties to God, and of your desires for pro- 
moting their good? 


On doing good to our neighbours, 

Methinks this excellent zeal should be ex- 
tended to our NEIGHBOURHOOD. Neighbours! you 


should stand related to each other; and you should 
contrive how others may have cause to rejoice that 
they are in your neighbourhood. " The righteous 
is more excellent than his neighbour;" but we shall 
scarcely consider him to be so, unless he be more 
excellent as a neighbour: he must excel in the du- 
ties of good neighbourhood. Let that man be bet- 
ter than his neighbour, who labours most to be a 
better neighbour — to do most good to his neigh- 

And here, first the poor people that lie wounded 
must have oil and wine poured into their wounds. 
It was a charming trait in the character which a mo- 
dern prince had acquired — " To be in distress, is to 
deserve his favour." O good neighbour! put on 
that princely, that more than royal quality. See who 
in the neighbourhood may deserve thy favour. We 
are told that " pure religion and undefiled (a jewel 
not counterfeited, and without a flaw) is, to visit the 
fatherless and widows in their affliction." The or- 
phans and the widows, and all the children of afflic- 
tion in the neighbourhood, must be visited and re- 
lieved with all agreeable kindnesses. 

Neighbours ! be concerned that the orphans and 
the widows in your neighbourhood may be well pro- 
vided for. They meet with grievous difficulties, 
with unknown temptations. When their nearest 
relatives were still living, they were, perhaps, but 
meanly provided for: what then must be their pre- 
sent solitary condition? Their condition should be 
well considered; and the result of the consideration 
should be — " I delivered the orphan who had no 


helper, and I caused the widow's heart to smg for 


In the same way — All the afflicted in the neigh- 
bourhood are to be considered. Sirs ! would it be 
too much for you, once in a week at least, to think — 
" What neighbour is reduced to pinching and pain- 
ful poverty, or impoverished with heavy losses? — 
What neighbour is languishing with sickness, espe- 
cially if afflicted with severe disease, and of long 
continuance? — What neighbour is broken-hearted 
with sad bereavements, perhaps with the loss of de- 
sirable relatives? — What neighbour has a soul vio- 
lently assaulted by the enemy of souls?" and then, 
think, " What can be done for such neighbours?" 

You will pity them. The evangelical precept is, 
" Have compassion one of another — be pitiful." It 
was of old, and ever will be a just expectation, " To 
him that is afflicted, pity should be shown;" and let 
our pity to the afflicted draw out our prayer for them. 
It were a very lovely practice for you in the daily 
prayer of your closet every evening to think, " What 
miserable object have I seen to-day, for whom I may 
do well now to beseech the mercies of the Lord?" 
But this is not all; it is possible, nay probable, that 
you may do well to visit them; and when you visit 
them, comfort them; carry them some good word, 
which may raise gladness in a heart stooping with 
heaviness. And, lastly: Render them all the assist- 
ance which their necessities may require. Assist 
them with advice; assist them by applying to others 
on their behalf; and if it be needful, bestow your 
alms upon them; " Deal thy bread to the hungry; 


bring to thy house the poor that are cast out; when 
thou seest the naked, cover him:" at least, exercise 
Nazianzeii's charity — " If you have nothing else to 
bestow upon the miserable, bestow a tear or two upon 
their miseries." This little is better than nothing. 

Would it be amiss for you, always to have lying 
by you, a list of the poor in your neighbourhood, or 
of those whose calamities may call for the assistance 
of the neighbourhood ? Such a list would often fur- 
nish you with matter for useful conversation, when 
you are conversing with your friends, whom you may 
thus " provoke to love and to good works." 

I will go on to say, be glad of opportunities to do 
good in your neighbourhood: yea, look out of them! 
lay hold on them with a rapturous assiduity. Be 
sorry for all the sad circumstances of your neighbour 
which render your doing good to them necessary; 
yet, be glad, if any one tell you of them. Thank 
him who gives you the information, as having there- 
in done you a very great kindness. Let him know 
that he could not, by any means, have more gratified 
you. Show civility to your neighbours, whether 
by lending, by watching, or by any other method 
you are able, and be happy you can do so. Do this 
willingly, and with a pleasant countenance; " Let 
your wisdom cause your face to shine." Look upon 
your neighbours, not with a cloudy, but with a serene 
and shining face; and shed the rays of your courtesy 
upon them^ with such affability, that they may see 
they are welcome to all you can do for them. Yea, 
stay not until you are told of opportunities to do 
good, but inquire after them and let the inquiry be 


solicitous and unwearied. The incomparable plea- 
sure of doing kindness, is worth a diligent inquiry. 

There was a generous Pagan, who counted a 
day lost, in which he had not obliged some one — 
" Friends, I have lost a day !" O Christian, let us 
try whether we cannot contrive to do something for 
one or other of our neighbours, every day that 
passes over our heads. Some do so; and with a 
better spirit than ever actuated Titus Vespasian. 
Thrice in the Scriptures we find the good angels re- 
joicing; it is always at the good of others; to rejoice 
in the good of others, and especially in doing good 
to them, is angelical goodness. 

In devising for the good of your neighbourhood, 
a particular motion I have to make is, that you will 
consult their spiritual interests. Be concerned lest 
the " deceitfulness of sin" should destroy any of your 
neighbours. If there be any idle persons among 
them, endeavour to cure them of their idleness: do 
not nourish and harden them in it, but find employ- 
ment for them; set them to work, and keep them to 
work; and then be otherwise as bountiful to them as 
you please. 

If any poor children in the neighbourhood are 
without education, do not suffer them to remain so. 
Let care be taken that they may be taught to read 
their catechism, and the truths and ways of their 
only Saviour. 

Once more. If any in the neighbourhood are 
taking to bad courses, affectionately and faithfully 
admonish them; if any are enemies to their own 
welfare, or that of their families, prudently dispense 


your admonitions to them ; if there be any prayer- 
less families, never cease to entreat and exhort them, 
till you have persuaded them to set up the worship 
of God in their famihes. If there be any service 
of God or of his people, to which any one requires 
to be excited, tenderly excite him to it. Whatever 
snare you perceive any of them exposed to, be so 
kind as to warn them of their danger. By furnish- 
ing your neighbours with good books, and obtaining 
their promise to read them, who can tell how much 
good you may do them ! It is possible, you may, 
in this way, with ingenuity and efficacy, administer 
such reproofs as your neighbours may need, and this 
will not hinder your conversation with them on the 
same subjects, in which they require your particular 

Finally, if there be any bad houses, which threat- 
en to debauch and poison the neighbourhood ; let 
your charity induce you to do all you can for the sup- 
pression of them. 

That ray proposal " to do good in the neighbour- 
hood, and as a neighbour," may be more fully formed 
and followed, I will conclude with reminding you 
that much self-denial will be necessary for the exe- 
cution of it; you must be armed against all selfish 
and sinister intentions in these generous attempts. 
You must not make use of your good actions as 
persons who pour water into a pump, to draw up 
something for themselves. This may be the mean- 
ing of our Lord's direction — " Lend, hoping for no- 
thing again." To lend a thing, is, properly, to hope 
that we shall receive it again; and this probably refers 


to the ERANiSMOS, or Collation, usual among the 
ancients, of which we find frequent mention in anti- 
quity. If any man by a fire, shipwreck, or other 
disaster, had lost his estate, his friends used to lend 
him considerable sums to be repaid, not on a certain 
day, but when he should find himself able to repay it, 
without any inconvenience. Now persons were so 
selfish that they would rarely lend on such occasions, 
to any, unless they had some reason to hope they 
should again recover their money, and that the 
persons to whom it was lent, should also requite 
their kindness, if they should ever need it. 

But then, there is something still higher required 
of you; that is, " Do good to those neighbours wha 
have done hurt to you." So saith our Saviour, " Love 
your enemies ; bless them that curse you; do good 
to them that hate you, and pray for them that des- 
pitefully use you, and persecute you." Yea, if any 
injury have been done you, consider it as a provoca- 
tion to confer a benefit on him who hath done it. 
This is noble 1 It will bring much consolation. 
Another method might make you even with your 
froward neighbours ; but this will place vou above 
them all. It were nobly done. If at the close of 
the day when you are alone, you made a particular 
prayer to God for the pardon and prosperity of any 
person, by whom you have been injured through 
the day ; and it would be nobly done, if, in looking 
over the catalogue of such as have injured you, you 
should be able to say, (the only intention that can 
justify your keeping a catalogue of them) There is 
not one of these, to whom I have not done, or at- 


tempted to do, a kindness. Among the Jews them- 
selves, the Hasideans made this daily prayer to God, 
" Forgive and pardon all who distress us." Chris- 
tians, exceed them : yea, Justin Martyr tells us they 
did so in primitive times — " They prayed for their 

But I will not stop here ; something higher still 
is required; that is, Do good to those neighbours 
who will speak evil of you after you have done it. 
" Thus," saith our Saviour, " ye shall be the chil- 
dren of the Highest, who is kind to the unthank- 
ful, and to the evil." You will frequently find 
Monsters of Ingratitude ; and if you distinguish a 
person, by doin^ for him more than you have done for 
others, it will be well if that very person do not injure 
you. O the wisdom of Divine Providence, in so or- 
dering this, that you may learn to do good on a di- 
vine principle — good, merely for the sake of good ! 
*' Lord, increase our faith !" God forbid that a 
Christian faith should not come up to a Jewish. 

There is a memorable passage in the Jewish re- 
cords. There was a gentleman, by whose generosity 
many persons were constantly relieved. One day 
he asked the question : " Well, what do our people 
say to-day?" The answer was, " Why, the peo- 
ple partook of your kindness, and then blessed you 
very fervently." " Did they so ?" said he, " Then 
I shall have no great reward for this day. Another 
time he asked the same question — " Well, and 
what say our people now ?" They replied, " Alas ! 
good Sir, the people enjoyed your kindness to-day, 
and afterwards they did nothing but rail at you." 


" Indeed!" said he, " then for this day I am sure 
that God will give me a good and a great reward." 
Though vile constructions and harsh invectives 
should be the present reward of your good offices for 
the neighbourhood; yet be not discouraged ; "Thy 
work shall be well rewarded," saith the Lord. If 
your opportunities to do good extend no further, yet 
I will offer you a consolation, which one has thus ele- 
gantly expressed: " He who praises God only on a 
ten-stringed instrument; whose authority extends 
no further than his family, nor his example beyond 
his neighbourhood, may have as thankful a heart 
here, and as high a place in the celestial choir here- 
after, as the greatest monarch, who praises God upon 
an instrument of ten thousand strings, and upon the 
loud sounding organ, having as many millions of 
pipes as there are subjects under him. 


Private associations for j^romotiiig religion. 

We cannot dismiss the offices of good neigh- 
bourhood, without offering a proposal, to animate 
and regulate private meetings of religious persons, 
for the exercises of religion. It is very certain that 
where such private meetings have been maintained, 
and well conducted, the Christians who have com- 
posed them have, like so many " coals of the altar," 
kept one another alive, and maintained a lively 


Christianity in the neighbourhood. Such societies 
have been strong and tried instruments, to uphold 
the power of godliness. The giving up of such so- 
cieties has been accompanied with a visible decay of 
godliness : the less they have been loved or regarded 
in any place, the less has godliness flourished. 

The rules observed by some associated fami- 
lies may be offered with advantage on this occasion. 
They will show us what good may be done in a 
neighbourhood by such societies. 

1. It is proposed, That about twelve families 
agree to meet (the men and their wives) at each 
other's houses in rotation, once in a fortnight or a 
month, as shall be thought most proper, and spend 
a suitable time together, in religious exercises. 

2. The exercises of religion proper for such a 
meeting are : for the brethren in rotation to com- 
mence and conclude with prayer ; for psalms to be 
sung; and for sermons to be repeated. 

3. It were desirable, for the ministers, now and 
then, to be present at the meeting, and pray with 
them, instruct and exhort them, as they may see oc- 

4. Candidates for the ministry may do well to 
perform some of their first offices here, and thereby 
prepare themselves for further services. 

5. One special design of the meeting should be, 
with united prayers, to ask the blessing of heaven 
on the family where they are assembled, as well as 
on the rest ; that with the wondrous force of united 
prayers, " two or three may agree on earth, to ask 
such things" as are to be done for the families, by 
" our Father which is in heaven." 


6. The members of such a society should consi- 
der themselves as bound up in one " bundle of 
love ;" and count themselves obliged, by very close 
and strong bonds, to be serviceable to one another. 
If any one in the society should fall into affliction, all 
the rest should presently study to relieve and sup- 
port the afflicted person in every possible manner. 
If any one should fall into temptation, the rest 
should watch over him, and, with tlie " spirit of 
meekness," with " meekness of wisdom," endeavour 
to recover him. It should be like a law of the 
Modes and Persians to the whole society — that 
they will, upon all just occasions, affectionately give, 
and as affectionately receive mutual admonitions of 
any thing that they may see amiss in each other. 

7. It is not easy to reckon the good offices which 
such a society may do to many others besides its 
own members. The prayers of such well-disposed 
societies may fetch down marvellous favours from 
heaven on their pastors; whose lives may be pro- 
longed, their gifts augmented, their graces bright- 
ened, and their labours prospered, in answer to the 
supplications of such associated families. The in- 
terests of religion may be also greatly promoted in 
the whole flock, by their fervent supplications; and 
the Spirit of Grace mightily poured out upon the 
rising generation; yea, all the land may be the bet- 
ter for them.. 

8. The society may, on special occasions, set 
apart whole days for fasting and prayer before the 
Lord. The success of such days has been some- 
times very remarkable, and the savour which they 


have left on the minds of the saints who have en- 
gaged in them, has been such, as greatly to prepare 
them to " show forth the death of the Lord," at his 
holy table , yea, to meet their own death, when God 
has been pleased to appoint it. 

9. It is very certain, that the devotions and also 
the conferences carried on in such a society, will not 
only have a wonderful tendency to produce the 
" comfort of love" in the hearts of good men to- 
wards one another; but their ability will also thereby 
be much increased, to serve many valuable interests. 

10. Unexpected opportunities to do good will 
arise to such a society, especially if such a plan as 
the following were adopted : — That the men who 
compose the society, would now and then spend half 
an hour by themselves, in considering that question, 
What good is there to be done P More particularly. 

Who are to be called upon to do their duty, in 
coming to special ordinances ? 

Who are in any peculiar adversity; and what 
may be done to comfort them? 

What contention or variance may there be among 
our neighbours ; and what may be done for healing 

In what open transgressions do any live? and 
who shall be desired to carry faithful admonitions to 

Finally, What is there to be done for the advan- 
tage and advancement of our holy religion ? 

In the primitive times of Christianity, much use 
was made of a saying, which was ascribed to Matthias 
the Apostle : " If the neighbour of an elect or godly 


man sin, the godly man himself has also sinned." 
That saying was intended to point out the obligation 
of neighbours watchfully to admonish one another. 
O how much may Christians associated in religious 
societies do, by watchful and faithful admonitions, 
to prevent their being " partakers in other men's 
sins!" The man who shall produce and promote 
such societies, will do an incalculable service to the 

He shall also do much good who shall promote an- 
other sort of society, namely, that of young men 


These, duly managed, and countenanced by the 
Pastor, have been incomparable nurseries to the 
churches. Young men are hereby preserved from 
very many temptations, rescued from the " paths of 
the Destroyer," confirmed in the " right ways of the 
Lord," and much prepared for such religious exer- 
cises as will be expected from them, when they shall 
themselves become householders. 

1 will here offer some orders which have been ob- 
served in some such societies. 

1. Let there be two hours at a time set apart, 
and let two prayers be offered by the members in ro- 
tation ; between which, let there be the singing of 
a psalm, and the repetition of a sermon. 

2. Let all the members of the society resolve to 
be charitably watchful over one another; never to 
divulge each other's infirmities; always to give in- 
formation of every thing which may appear to call 
for admonition, and to take it kindly when they are 


3. Let all who are to be admitted as members of 
the society, be accompanied by two or three of the 
rest, to the minister of the place, that they may re- 
ceive his holy counsel and directions, and that every 
thing may be done with his approbation ; after 
which, let their names be added to the list. 

4. If any person thus enrolled among them, fall 
into a scandalous iniquity, let the rebukes of the so- 
ciety be dispensed to him; and let them forbid him 
to come among them anymore, until he suitably ex- 
press and give evidence of repentance. 

5. Let the list be once a quarter called over; and 
then, if it appear that any of the society have much 
absented themselves, let some of the members be 
sent to inquire the reason of their absence; and if no 
reason be given, but such as intimates an apostacy 
from good beginnings, and if they remain obstinate 
after kind and faithful admonitions, let them be dis- 

6. Once in three months, let there be a collection, 
if necessary, out of which the necessary expenses of 
the society shall be defrayed, and the rest be em- 
ployed for such pious uses as may be agreed on. 

7. Once in two months, let the whole time be 
devoted to supplications for the conversion and salva- 
tion of the rising generation; and particularly for the 
success of the Gospel in that congregation to which 
the society belongs. 

8. Let the whole society be exceedingly careful 
that their conversation, while they are together, after 
the other services of religion are over, have nothing 
in it, that may have any taint of backbiting or vanity. 


or the least relation to the affairs of government, or 
to things which do not concern them, and do not 
serve the interests of holiness. But let their con- 
versation be wholly on matters of religion, and those 
also, not disputable and controversial subjects, but 
points of practical piety. With this view, questions 
may be proposed, on which, in order, each may de- 
liver his sentiments; or, they may go through a 
catechism; and every one, in rotation, may hear all 
the rest recite the answers; or they may otherwise 
be directed by their Pastor, to spend their time pro- 

9. Let every person in the society consider it as 
a special task incumbent on him, to look out for some 
other hopeful young man, and to use all proper 
means to engage him in the resolutions of godliness, 
until he also shall be united to the society. And 
when a society shall in this manner be increased to a 
fit number, let it form other similar societies, who 
may hold a useful correspondence with each other. 

The man who shall be the instrument of establish- 
ing such a society in a place, cannot comprehend 
what a long and rich train of good consequences may 
result from his exertions. 

And they who shall in such a society carry on the 
duties of Christianity, and sing the praises of a glo- 
rious Christ, will have in themselves a blessed ear- 
nest that they shall be associated together in the 
heavenly city, and in the blessedness that shall 
never have an end. 



Proposals to the Ministers of the Gospel for doin^ 


Hitherto my discourse has been a more general 
address to persons of all conditions and capacities. 
I have proposed few devices, but those which are 
equally suitable to private persons, as to others. We 
will now proceed to address those who are in more 
public situations. And because no men in the world 
are under such obligations to do good as the minis- 
ters OF THE GOSPEL, " it is necessary that the 
word of God should be first spoken unto them." 

Certainly they who are " men of God," should 
be always at work for God, Certainly, they who 
are dedicated to the special service of the Lord, 
should never be satified, but when they are in the 
most sensible manner serving him. Certainly, they 
whom the Great King has brought nearer to himself 
than other men, should be more unwearied than 
others, in endeavouring to advance his kingdom. 
They whom the word of God calls angels, ought 
certainly to be of an angelical disposition; evermore 
disposed to do good, like the good angels; — minis- 
ters ever on the wing to " do His pleasure." It is 
no improper proposal, that they would seriously set 
themselves to think, " What are the points wherein 
I should be wise and do good, like an angel of God? 
Or, if an angel were in the flesh, as I am, and in 


such a post as I am, what methods may I justly 
imagine that he would use to glorify God?" What 
wonderful offices of kindness would the good angels 
delight to do for such their fellow servants!" We 
must call upon our people, " to be ready to every 
good work." We must go before them in it, and 
by our own readiness at every good work, show them 
the manner of doing it. " Timothy," said the 
Apostle, " be thou an example of the believers." 
It is a true maxim, and you cannot think too fre- 
quently of it — " The life of a minister is the life of 
his ministry." And there is another maxim of the 
same kind — " The sins of teachers are the teachers 
of sins." 

Allow me, sirs, to observe, that your opportunities 
to do good are singular. Your want of worldly 
riches, and generally of any means of obtaining them, 
is compensated by the opportunities to do good, with 
which you are enriched. The true spirit of a minis- 
ter will cause you to consider yourselves enriched, 
when those precious things are conferred upon you, 
and to prize them above any lands, or money, or 
temporal possessions. " Let my abundance con- 
sist in works ; I heartily allow an abundance of 
riches to whoever desires them." Well said, brave 
Melancthon ! 

It is to be hoped, that the main principle which 
actuated you, when you first entered upon the evan- 
gelical ministry, was a hope to do good in the world. 
If that principle was then too feeble in its operation, 
it is time that it should now operate more vigorously, 
and that a zeal for doing good should now " eat up" 
your time, your thought, your all. 


That you may be good men, and be mightily in- 
spired and assisted from heaven to do good, it is 
needful that you should be men of])rayer. This I 
presume will be allowed. In pursuance of this in- 
tention, it appears very necessary that you should oc- 
casionally set apart whole days for prayer and fasting 
in secret, and thus perfume your studies with extra- 
ordinary devotions: they may be also accompanied 
with the giving of alms, to go up as a memorial be- 
fore the Lord. By such means, you may obtain, 
together with the pardon of your unfruitfulness (for 
which, alas ! we have often occasion to apply to the 
great sacrifice,) a vast improvement in piety and 
sanctity; which is of great importance to form a use- 
ful minister: " Sanctify them in (or for) thy truth," 
said our Saviour. They should be sanctified^ who 
would become instruments for the propagation of the 
truth. You may obtain such an influence from hea- 
ven upon your minds, and such an indwelling of the 
Holy Spirit, as will render you grave, discreet, hum- 
ble, generous, and men worthy to be " greatly be- 
loved." You may obtain those influences from above 
that will dispel the enchantments, and conquer the 
temptations which might otherwise do much mischief 
in your neighbourhood. You may obtain direction 
and assistance from heaven for the many services to 
be performed, in the discharge of your ministry. 
Finally, you may fetch down unknown blessings on 
your flocks, and on the whole people, for whom you 
are to be the Lord's remembrancers. 

Your public prayers, if well composed, and well 
adapted, will be excellent engines to " do good." The 


more judicious, the more affectionate, the more argu- 
mentative you are in them, the more you will teach 
your people to pray. And I would ask, how can 
you prosecute any intention of piety among your 
people more effectually, than by letting them see you 
praying, weeping, striving, and in an importunate 
agony before the Lord, that you may obtain the 
blessing for them? 

The more appropriately you represent the various 
cases of your people in your public prayers, the 
more devoutly sensible you will make them of their 
own cases; and it will wonderfully comfort them. 

The prayers you offer at baptisms, may be so 
managed as greatly to awaken in the minds of the 
people, a sense of their baptismal obligations. What 
effusions of the Holy Spirit may your people expe- 
rience, if your prayers at the table of the Lord, are 
as Nazianzen describes his father's to have been — 
Made by the Holy Spirit of God. 

Your sermons, if they be well studied, as they 
•^ ought to be, from the consideration of their being of- 
ferings to God, the great King, as well as to his peo- 
ple, will " do good" beyond all expression. The man- 
ner of your studying them, may very much contribute 
to it. It is necessary that you study the condition oi' 
your flocks; and bring them such truths, as will best 
suit their present circumstances. In order to this, you 
will observe their condition, their faults, their snares, 
and their griefs; that you may speak a word in sea- 
son ;" and that, if any thing remarkable occur among 
your people, you may make a suitable improvement 
of such a providence. You may divide your people 


into classes, and consider what lessons of piety may 
be inculcated on the communicants, on those who 
are under the bonds of the covenant; what should 
be addressed to the aged; to the rich, to the poor, 
to the worldly, and to those who are in public situa- 
tions; what consolations to the afflicted; and what 
instruction to each, with respect to their personal 
caUings. Above all, the young must not be for- 
gotten; you will employ all possible means to culti- 
vate early piety. Yea you may do well to make it 
understood, that you would willingly be informed, 
by any persons or societies in your flocks, what sub- 
jects they may wish to hear expounded. By giving 
them sermons on such subjects, you will at least very 
much edify those who requested them; and it is pro- 
bable, many other persons. 

In studying your sermons, it might be profitable, 
at the close of every paragraph, to pause, and en- 
deavour with ejaculations to heaven and self-exami- 
nation, to feel some impression of the truths contained 
in that paragraph on your own soul, before you pro- 
ceed any farther. By such a practice, the hours 
which you spend in composing a sermon, will prove 
to you so many hours of devotion: the day in which 
you have made a sermon, will even leave upon your 
mind such a savour as a day of prayer commonly does. 
When you come to preach the sermon, you will do 
it with great liberty and assurance; and the truths 
thus prepared will be likely to come with more sen- 
sible warmth and life upon the auditory; — from the 
heart and to the heart ! A famous preacher used 
to say, " I never dare to preach a sermon to others, 


till I have first got some good by it myself." And 
I will add, that is the most likely way to render it 
useful to others. Let the saying of the ancients be 
remembered, " He who trifles in the pulpit shall wail 
in hell ;" and let the saying of a modern not be for- 
gotten, " Cold preachers make bold sinners." 

How much good may be done, sirs, by your visits 1 
It would be well for you to impose it as a law upon 
yourselves, " Never to make an unprofitable visit." 
Even when you pay a visit merely for the sake of 
civility or entertainment, it would be easy for you to 
observe this law: "That you will drop some sen- 
tence or other, which may be good for the use of 
edifying, before you leave the company." There 
have been pastors who were able to say, they scarcely 
ever went into a house among their people, without 
some essay or purpose to do good in the house be- 
fore they left it. 

The same rule might very well be observed with 
such as come to us, as well as with those whom we 
visit. Why should any of our people ever come 
near us, without our contriving to speak something 
to them that may be for their advantage? Peter 
Martyr having spent many days in Bucer's house, 
published this report of his visit — " I dare afiirm, 
that I always left his table more learned than before." 
I make no doubt that the observation of this rule 
may be very consistent with an affable, and, as far as 
is suitable, a facetious conversation. But let it be 
remembered, that " What are but trifles in the 
mouth of the people, are blasphemies in the mouth 
of the priest." 


But, sirs, in your visits you will take a particular 
notice of the widow, the orphan, and the afflicted, 
and afford them all possible relief. The bills put 
up in your congregation will assist you to find out 
who need your visits. 

If any peculiar calamity hath befallen any of them, 
it is a suitable time to visit such a person, to direct 
and persuade him to hear the voice of God in the 
calamity, and to comply with the intent and errand 
upon which it comes. 

Another very proper time for a visit is, when any 
special deliverance has been received. Those should 
be admonished to think of some remarkable manner 
in which they may express their thankfulness for the 
deliverance: nor should you leave them, until such 
a determination be made. 

The handmaids of the Lord, who are near their 
hour, may on this account, be very proper objects 
for your visits. At such a time they are in much 
distress; the approaching hour of trouble threatens 
to be their dying hour. The counsels that shall 
exactly instruct them how to prepare for a dying 
hour, will now, if ever, be attentively listened to: 
and there are precious promises of God, upon which 
they should also now be taught to live. To bring 
them these promises will be the work of a " good 
angel," and will cause you to be welcomed by them 
as such. 

Catechising is a noble exercise; it will insen- 
sibly bring you into a way to " do good," that sur- 
passes all expression. Your sermons will be very 
much lost upon an uncatechised people. Nor will 


your people mind so much what you address to them 
from the pulpit, as what you speak to them in the 
more condescending and familiar way of applying 
the answers of the catechism. Never did any 
minister who catechised much repent of his labour ; 
thousands have blessed God for the wonderful suc- 
cess which has attended it. The most honourable 
man of God should consider it no abasement or abate- 
ment of his honour, to stoop to this way of teaching. 
Yea, some eminent pastors in their old age, when 
other labours have been too hard for them, have, 
like the famous old Gerson, wholly given themselves 
up to catechising; though there have been others, of 
whom that renowned chancellor of Paris, in his trea- 
tise, " Of Drawing Children to Christ," makes a sad 
complaint: " So degrading is it now esteemed by 
many, if any of our divines, or celebrated literary 
men, or dignitaries in the church, apply himself to 
his work." 

Those pastors who so love a glorious Christ as to 
regard his word, " Feed my lambs," will vary their 
methods of carrying on this exercise, according to 
their various circumstances. Some have chosen the 
way of pastoral visits; and from the memorials of 
one who long since did so, and afterwards left his 
advice to his son upon this subject, I will transcribe 
the follov/ing passages on Pastoral Visits : — 

You may resolve to visit all the families belong- 
ing to your congregation, taking one afternoon in a 
week for that purpose : you may give previous notice 
to each family, that you intend to visit them. And 
on visiting a family, you may endeavour, with as 
F 24 


forcible and respectful addresses as possible, to treat 
w'itb every person particularly about their everlasting 

First, you may discourse with the elder people 
upon such points as you think most proper for them. 
Especially charge them to maintain family-prayer; 
and obtain their promise of establishing it, if it has 
been hitherto neglected; yea, pray with them, that 
you may show them how to pray, as well as obtain 
their purposes for it. You may likewise press upon 
them the care of instructing their children and ser- 
vants in the holy religion of our Saviour, to bring 
them up for him. 

If any with whom you should have spoken, are 
absent, you may frequently leave one or two solemn 
texts of the sacred Scripture, which you may think 
most suitable for them ; desiring some one present 
to remember you kindly to them, and from you to 
recommend to them that oracle of God. 

You may then call for the children and servants; 
and putting to them such questions of the catechism 
as you think fit; you may, from the answers, make 
as lively applications to them as possible, for engag- 
ing them to the fear of God. You may frequently 
obtain from them promises relating to secret prayer, 
reading of the Scriptures, and obedience to their 
parents and masters. You may also frequently set 
before them the proposals of the New Covenant, after 
you have laboured for their conviction and awaken- 
ing; till with floods of tears, they expressly declare 
their consent to, and their acceptance of the pro- 
posals of the covenant of grace, which you have set 
before them. 


Some of the younger people you may order to 
bring their Bibles, and read to you from thence two 
or three verses, to which you may direct them : this 
will try, whether or not they can read well. You 
may then encourage them to think on such things as 
you remark from the passage for their admonition, 
and never to forget those " faithful sayings" of God. 
You may sometimes leave with them some serious 
question, which you may tell them they shall not 
answer to you but to themselves: such as, " What 
have I been doing ever since I came into the world, 
about the great errand upon which God sent me into 
the world?" " If God should now call me out of 
the world, what would become of me throughout 
eternal ages?" And, " Have I ever yet by faith 
carried a perishing soul to my only Saviour, both for 
righteousness and salvation ?" 

You will enjoy a most wonderful presence of God 
with you, in this undertaking ; and will seldom leave 
a family without many tears of devotion shed by all 
sorts of persons in it. As you can seldom visit more 
than four or five families in an afternoon, the work 
may be as laborious as any part of your ministry. 

My son, I advise you to set a special value on 
that part of your ministry, which is to be discharged 
in pastoral visits. You will not only do good, but 
also get much good, by your conversation with all 
sorts of persons, in thus visiting them " from house 
to house." And you will never more " walk in the 
Spirit," than when you thus walk among your flock, 
to do what good you can amongst them. 

In your visits an incredible deal of good may be 


done, by distributing little books of piety. You 
may, without much expense, be furnished with such 
books to suit all occasions: books for the old and 
for the young — for persons under afflictions or de- 
sertions — for persons under the power of particular 
\ices — for those who neglect household piety — for 
sea-faring persons — for the erroneous — for those 
whom you would quicken and prepare to approach 
the table of the Lord — for those who come to have 
their children baptized; and catechisms for the ig- 
norant. You may powerfully enforce your admoni- 
tions, by leaving suitable books in the hands of those 
with whom you have conversed; you may give them 
to understand, that you would be still considered as 
conversing with them by these books, after you have 
left them. And in this way you may speak more 
than you have time to do in any personal interview; 
yea sometimes, more than you would wish. By good 
books a salt of piety is scattered about a neighbour- 

Pastors, uphold and cherish good schools in 
your towns ! But then be prevailed upon occasion- 
ally to visit the schools. That holy man, Mr. 
Thomas White, made a proposal, " That able and 
zealous ministers would sometimes preach at the 
schools; because preaching is the converting ordi- 
nance; and the children will be obliged to hear with 
more attention than they often do in the public con- 
gregation; and the ministers might here condescend 
to such expressions as might work most upon them, 
though not so fit for a public congregation." I 
have read the following account of one who was 


awakened by this advice to do such things: " At 
certain times he successively visited the schools. 
When he came to a school, he first offered a prayer 
for the children, as much adapted to their condition, 
as he could make it. Then he went throuu;h the 
catechism, or as much of it as he thought necessary; 
making the several children repeat the several an- 
swers: but he divided the questions, that every ar- 
ticle in the answers might be understood by them; 
expecting them to answer. Yes, or No, to each 
question. He also put to them such questions as 
would make them see and own their duties, and 
often express a resolution to perform them. Then 
he preached a short sermon to them, exceedingly 
plain, on some suitable Scripture, with all possible 
ingenuity and earnestness, in order to excite their 
affectionate attention. After this, he singled out a 
number of scholars, perhaps eight or ten, and bid 
each of them turn to a certain Scripture, which he 
made them read to the whole school; giving them to 
see by his brief remarks upon it, that it particularly 
related to something which it concerned the children 
to take notice of. Then he concluded with a short 
prayer for a blessing on the school and on the 

While we are upon this subject, I would request 
that you visit the poor as well as the 7^ich; and often 
mention the condition of the poor, in your conversa- 
tion with the rich. Keep, Sir, a list of them; and 
recollect, that though the wind does not feed any 
body, yet it turns the mill which grinds the corn, 
which may feed the poor. When conversing with 


the rich, you may do this for the poor who are on 
your list. 

In visiting the poor, you will take occasion to dis- 
pense your alms among them. These alms, you 
will, with as much contrivance as possible, make the 
vehicles for conveying to them the admonitions of 
piety; yea, means and instruments of obtaining from 
them some engagements to perform certain exer- 
cises of piety. All ministers are not alike furnished 
for alms, but all should be disposed for them. They 
that have small families, or large interests, ought to 
be shining examples of liberality to the poor, and 
pour down their alms upon them, like the showers 
of heaven. All should endeavour to do what they 
can in this way. What says Nazianzen of his rev- 
erend father's alms-deeds? They will find that the 
more they do (provided it be done with discretion) 
the more they are able to do ; the loaves will mul- 
tiply in the distribution. Sirs, this bounty of yours 
to the poor, will procure a great esteem and success 
to your ministry. It will be an irrefragable demon- 
stration that you believe what you speak concerning 
all the duties of Christianity, but particularly of lib- 
erality, a faithful discharge of our stewardship, and 
a mind <^eaned from the love of this world: it will 
demonstrate your belief of a future state; it will 
vindicate 3*ou from the imputation of a worldly man: 
it will embolden and fortify you, with much assur- 
ance, when you call upon others to do good, and to 
abound in those sacrifices with which God is well- 

You will do well to keep a watchful eye on the 


disorders which may arise and increase in your neigh- 
bourhood. Among other ways of suppressing these 
things, you may form societies for the suppression 
of disorders : obtain a fit number of prudent, pious, 
well-afFected men, to associate with this intention, 
and employ their discretion and activity, for your 
assistance in these holy purposes. 

One of the rules given for the minister is, " Give 
thyself to reading." Sirs, let Gregory's Pastoral, 
and Bowles's Pastor Evangelicus, form a portion of 
your reading. And then, if you read Church His- 
tory much, (particularly the Prudentia Veteris Ec- 
clesise, written by Vedelius,) and especially the lives 
of both ancient and modern divines, you will fre- 
quently find methods to do good, exemplified. You 
will then consider how far you may " go and do 

How serviceable may ministers be, to one another, 
and to all the churches, in their several associations! 
Many things of general advantage to all their flocks 
might be devised. Indeed, it is a pity that there 
should ever be the least occasional " meeting of 
ministers," without some useful thing proposed in it. 

Nero took it very ill, that Vespasian slept at his 
music : it is very much to be wished that the sin of 
sleeping at sermons were more guarded against, and 
your sleepy hearers reproved; if indeed they may be 
called hearers^ who miserably lose the good of your 
ministry, and perhaps the good which you might 
have particularly designed for them, who, at the 
time of your speaking what you prepared for them, 
were seized with a horrible spirit of slumber before 

your eyes. Will no vinegar help against the nar- 
cotics that Satan has given to your poor Eutychuses? 
or cannot you bring that civility into fashion among 
your hearers, to wake one another ? 

Finally, After all the generous essays and labours 
to do good that may fill your lives, your people will 
probably treat you with ingratitude. Your salaries 
will be meaner than even those at Geneva. They 
will neglect you ; they will oppress you; they will 
withhold from you what they have promised, and 
you have expected. You have now one more op- 
portunity to do good, and so to glorify your Saviour. 
Your patience, O ye tried servants of God, your 
patience will do it wonderfully ! To bear evil, is 
to do good. The more patient you are under ill 
usage, the more you exhibit a glorious Christ to 
your people, in your conformity to your adorable 
Saviour. The more conformed you are to Him, 
the more prepared you are, perhaps, for some amend- 
ment in your condition in this world— most certainly 
for the rev/ards of the heavenly world, when you 
shall appear before the Lord, who says, " I know 
thy works and charity, and service, and faith, and 
thy patience." 

This was the character, you know, of Ignatius, 
'" that he carried Christ about with him, in his 
heart:" and I will say this, if to represent a glorious 
Christ to the view, and love and admiration of aU 
people, be the grand intention of your life ; if you 
be a star to lead men to Christ; if you are exqui- 
sitely studious, that the holiness and yet the gentle- 
ness of a glorious Christ may shine in your conver- 


sation ; if in your public discourses you do with 
rapture bring in the mention of a glorious Christ in 
every paragraph, and on every occasion where he 
is to be spoken of, and if in your private conversa- 
tion you contrive to insinuate something of his 
glories and praises, wherever it may be decently in- 
troduced: lastly, if when you find that a glorious 
Christ is the more considered and acknowledged by 
your means, it fills you with wonderful satisfaction, 
with " joy unspeakable and full of glory," and you 
exclaim, " Lord, this is my desired happiness !'* 
truly. Sirs, you then live to good purpose — you 
do good emphatically ! 

There was a worthy minister, whom the great 
Cranrner designed for preferment, and he gave this 
reason of his design — " He seeks nothing, he longs 
for nothing, he dreams about nothing, but Jesus 
Christ." Verily, such " men of Christ" are " men 
of God;" they are the favourites of heaven, and 
shall be favoured with opportunities to do good 
above any men in the world ; they are the " men 
whom the king of heaven will delight to honour," 
and they are the Gaons of Christianity. 

If I reserve one thing to be mentioned after 
Jinally, it is because I doubt whether it should be 
mentioned at all. In some reformed churches they 
do not permit a minister of the gospel to practice as 
a physician, because either of these calhngs is gen- 
erally sufficient to employ him fully, who faith- 
fully follows it : but, the priests of old, who pre- 
served in the archives of their temples the records 
of the cures which had been thankfully acknowledged 
F 3 


there, communicated from thence directions for 
cures in similar cases among their neighbours. Nor 
has it been an uncommon thing in later ages for 
clergymen to be physicians. Not only such monks 
as Aegidius Atheniensis and Constantius Afer, but 
bishops, as Bochelt and Albicus, have appeared in 
that character. Thus Herbert advises that his 
" Country minister'' (or at least his wife,) should 
be a kind of physician to the flock ; and we have 
known many a country minister prove a great bles- 
sing to his flock by being such. If a minister at- 
tempt any thing in this way, let him always make 
it a means of doing spiritual good to his people. It 
is an angelical conjunction, when the ministers of 
Christ, who do his pleasure, become also physicians 
and Raphaels to their people. In a more populous 
place, however, you will probably choose rather to 
procure some religious and accomplished physician 
to settle in your neighbourhood, and make medical 
studies only your recreation ; yet with a design to 
communicate to your Luke whatever you meet with 
in reading worthy of his notice, and at times unite 
your counsels with him for the good of his patients. 
Thus you may save the lives of many, who them- 
selves may know nothing of your care for them. 



Schoolmasters have many opportunities for doing 

From the tribe of Levi, let us proceed with our 
proposals to the tribe of Simeon ; from which there 
has been a frequent ascent to the former. The 
Schoolmaster has many opportunities of doing 
good. God make him sensible of his obligations ! 
We read, that " the little ones have their angels." 
It is hard work to keep a school; but it is a good 
work, and it may be so managed as to be like the 
work of angels : the tutors of the children may be 
like their " tutelar angels." Melchior Adams pro- 
perly styled it — '' An office most laborious, yet 
most pleasing to God." 

Tutors ! will you not regard the children under 
your wing, as committed to you by the glorious 
Lord with a charge of this import? "Take them, 
and bring them up for me, and I will pay you your 
wages." Whenever a new scholar comes under 
your tuition, you may say, " Here, my Lord sends 
me another object, for whom I may do something, 
that he may be useful in the world." O suffer 
little children to come unto you, and consider what 
you may do, that of such may be the kingdom of 
heaven ! 

Sirs, let it be your grand intention — to instil into 
their minds the documents of piety. Esteem it as 


their chief interest, and yours also, that they may so 
know the Holy Scriptures as to become wise to sal- 
vation, and know the Saviour, whom to know is life 
eternal. Embrace every opportunity of dropping 
some honey from the rock upon them. Happy the 
children, and as happy the master, where they who 
relate the history of their conversion to serious piety 
may say, " There was a schoolmaster who brought 
us to Christ." You have been told — " Certainly 
it is a nobler work to make the little ones know their 
Saviour, than know their letters." The lessons of 
Jesus are nobler things than the lessons of Cato. 
The sanctifying transformation of their souls would 
be a nobler acquirement than to be able to construe 
Ovid's Metamorphoses. He was a good school- 
master, of whom the following testimony was given: — 

" Young Austin wept, when he saw Dido dead ; 
Though not a tear for a dead soul he had. 
Our Master would not let us be so vain, 
But us from Virgil did to David train. 
Textors Epistles would not clothe our souls ; 
PauVs too we learned; we went to school atPaurs." 

Catechising should be a frequent, at least a 
weekly exercise in the school; and it should be con- 
ducted in the most edifying, applicatory, and admo- 
nitory manner. In some places, we are informed, 
the magistrate permits no person to keep a school, 
unless he produces a testimonial of his abihty, and 
particularly of his disposition to perform the work of 
Religious Catechising, 

Dr. Reynolds, in a funeral sermon for an emi- 
nent schoolmaster, has the following passage, worthy 


to be written in letters of gold: — " If grammar- 
schools have holy and learned men set over them, 
not only the brains, but also the souls of the chil- 
dren might there be enriched, and the work both of 
learning and of grace be early commenced in them." 
In order to this, let it be proposed, that you not 
only pray with your scholars daily, but also take oc- 
casion, from the public sermons, and from remark- 
able occurrences in your neighbourhood, frequently 
to inculcate the lessons of piety on the children. 

Tutors in the colleges may do well to converse 
with each of their pupils alone, with all possible so- 
lemnity and affection, concerning their internal state, 
concerning repentance for sin, and faith in Jesus 
Christ, and to bring them to express resolutions 
of serious piety. Sirs, you may do a thousand 
things to render your pupils orthodox in sentiment, 
regular in practice, and qualified for public service. 

I have read this experiment of a tutor. He 
made it his constant practice in every recitation, to 
take occasion, from something or other that occur- 
red, to drop at least one sentence that had a ten- 
dency to promote the fear of God in their hearts. 
This sometimes cost him a great deal of study, but 
the good effect sufficiently recompensed him for it. 

I should be pleased to see certain classical au- 
thors received into the grammar-schools, which are 
not generally used [there, such as Castalio in the 
Latin tongue, and Posselius in the Greek ; and I 
could wish, with some modern writers, that *''a north- 
west passage" were found for the attainment of La- 
tin ; that instead of a journey which might be des- 


patched in a few days, they might oot be obliged to 
wander, like the children of Israel, many years in 
the wilderness. I might state the complaint of 
Austin, " that little boys are taught in the schools 
the filthy actions of the Pagan gods, for giving an 
account of which," said he, " I was called a boy of 
promise ;" or the complaint of Luther, *' that our 
schools are Pagan more than Christian." I might 
mention what a late writer says — " I knew an aged 
and eminent schoolmaster, who, after keeping a 
school about fifty years, said with a sad countenance, 
that it was a great trouble to him that he had spent 
so much time in reading Pagan authors to his scho- 
lars ; and wished it were customary to read such a 
book as Duport's verses on Job, rather than Homer, 
&c. I pray God, to put it into the hearts of a wise 
parliament to purge our schools; that instead of 
learning vain fictions, and filthy stories, they may 
become acquainted with the word of God, and with 
books containing grave sayings, and things which 
may make them truly wise and useful in the world." 
But I presume little notice will be taken of such 
proposals as these. I might as well not mention 
them, and it is with despair that I do mention them. 
Among the occasions for promoting piety in the 
scholars, one in the Writing Schools deserves pe- 
culiar notice. I have read of an atrocious sinner 
who was converted to piety, by accidentally seeing 
the following sentence of Austin written in a win- 
dow: — " He who has promised pardon to the peni- 
tent sinner, has not promised repentance to the pre- 
sumptuous one." Who can tell what good may be 


done to the young scholar, by a sentence in his 
copy-book? Let their copies be composed of sen- 
tences worthy to be had in everlasting remembrance 
— of sentences which shall contain the brightest 
maxims of wisdom in them, worthy to be written on 
the fleshly tables of their hearts, to be graven with 
the point of a diamond there. God has blessed 
such sentences to many scholars ; they have done 
them good all their days. 

In the Grammar School also, the scholars may 
be directed, for their exercises, to turn into Latin 
such passages as may be useful for their instruction 
and establishment in the principles of Christianity, 
and furnish them with supplies from " the tower of 
David." Why may not their letters be on such 
subjects as may be friendly to the interests of 

I will add, it is very desirable to manage the 
Discipline of the school by means of rewards as 
well as punishments. Many methods may be in- 
vented of rewarding the diligent and deserving ; and 
a boy of an ingenuous temper encouraged by the 
expectation of reward, will do his best. You es- 
teem Quintilian. Hear him : " By all means be spar- 
ing of stripes, and rather urge on the boy by praise, 
or by the distinctions conferred on others." If a 
fault must be punished, let instruction, both to the 
delinquent and to the spectator, accompany the cor- 
rection. Let the odious nature of the sin which 
required the correction be declared; 'and let nothing 
be done in passion, but with every mark of tender- 
ness and concern. 


Ajax Flagellifer may be read in the school; he is 
not fit to be the master of it. Let it not be said of 
the scholars, they were brought up in " the school 
of Tyrannus." PHny says, that bears are the bet- 
ter for beating: more fit to have the management 
of bears than of ingenuous boys, are those masters 
who cannot give a bit of learning without giving a 
blow with it. Send them to be tutors of the fam- 
ous Lithuanian school at Samourgan. The harsh, 
fierce, Orbilian way of treating children, too com- 
monly used in the schools, is a dreadful curse of 
God on our miserable offspring, who are born " chil- 
dren of wrath." It is boasted sometimes of a school- 
master, that such a brave man had his education 
under him ; but it is never said, how many who might 
have been brave men, have been ruined by him ; 
how many brave wits have been dispirited, con- 
founded, murdered by his barbarous way of manag- 
ing them. I have met with the following address, 
and I will conclude with it as one of great impor- 
tance : — 

" Tutors, be strict; but yet be gentle too ; 

Don't by fierce cruelties fair bopes undo. 

Dream not, that they who are to learning slow, 

Will mend by arguments in Ferio. 

Who keeps the Goldeii Fleece, O, let him not 

A Dragon be, though he three tongues have got. 

Why can you not to learning find tlie way, 

But through the province of Severia P 

'Twas Moderatus who taught Origen, 

A youth who proved one of the best of men. 

The lads with honour first, and reason, rule ; 

Blows are but for the refractory fool. 

But, O, first teach them their great God to fear ; 

An Euge, so from God and them you'll hear." 



Proposals to Churches for doing good. 

We have already proposed to the Pastors of 
Churches various vvays of doing good; we shall now 
lay before the Churches some proposals of well- 
doing, in which they may do well to join their pas- 

Days of Prayer, occasionally observed by the 
churches, for the express purpose of obtaining the 
sanctifying influences of the Spirit of God on the 
rising generation, have had a marvellous efficacy in 
producing a religious posterity in the land, and " a 
seed accounted to the Lord for a generation." Such 
an acknowledgment of the necessity and excellency 
of supernatural grace, would be a very probable pre- 
parative and introduction to the communication of it. 
And when the children see their parents thus ear- 
nestly seeking the grace of God for them, it would 
have a natural tendency to awaken them to an ear-y 
nest seeking of it for themselves. The sermons also 
preached by the ministers on such solemn occasions, 
would, probably, be very awakening ones. That 
this proposal has been so little attended to, is lamen- 
table and remarkable ; but — *' They all slumbered 
and slept." 

There is another proposal which has been ten- 
dered to all our churches, and attended to in some of 
them : — 


That the several churches having, in an instru- 
ment proper for the purpose, made a catalogue of 
such things as have indisputably been found amiss 
among them, do with all seriousness and solemnity- 
pass their votes. That they account such things to 
be very offensive evils, and that, renouncing all de- 
pendence on their own strength to avoid such evils, 
they humbly implore the help of divine grace to as- 
sist them in watching against the said evils both in 
themselves and in one another : and that the com- 
municants frequently reflect upon these their acknow- 
ledgments and protestations, as perpetual monitors to 
them, to prevent the miscarriages by which too many 
professors are so easily overtaken. 

It has been considered, that such humble recog- 
nitions of duty will not only be accepted by our God, 
as declarations for him, upon which he will declare 
for us; but also, that they are the way of the new 
covenant, for obtaining help to perform our duty. 

A particular church may be an illustrious pillar of 
the truth, by considering what important truths, and 
what part of the kingdom of God, may call for spe- 
cial, signal, open testimonies; and they may excite 
their pastors to the composing, and assist them in the 
publishing of such testimonies. It is probable that 
God would accompany such testimonies with a mar- 
vellous efficacy to suppress growing errors and evils. 

A proposal of this nature may be worthy of some 
consideration : — 

1. It were desirable that every particular church 
should be furnished with a stock, that may be a con- 
stant and ready fund for the propagation of religion; 


and that every minister would use his best endea- 
vours, both by his own contribution, according to his 
ability, and by applying to well-disposed persons un- 
der his influence, to increase the stock ; either in the 
way of collections publicly made at certain periods, 
or in the way of more private and occasional commu- 

2. This evangelical treasury may be lodged in the 
hands of the deacons of the respective churches in 
which it is collected; who are to keep exact accounts 
of the receipts and disbursements; and let nothing 
be drawn from it, without the knowledge and con- 
sent of the church to which it belongs. 

3. The first and main intention of this evangeli- 
cal treasury is to be, the propagation of religion : 
and therefore, when any good attempts are to be made 
on un evangelized places, the neighbouring ministers 
may consult each of the churches, what proportion 
they may allow out of their evangelical treasury, to- 
wards the support of such a noble undertaking. 

4. This evangelical treasury may be capable of 
being applied to other pious uses, and especially to 
such as any particular church may think proper, for 
the service of religion in their own vicinity. Such 
as the sending of Bibles and catechisms to be dis- 
persed among the poor, where it may be thought 
necessary. Likewise, giving assistance to new con- 
gregations, in their first attempts to build meeting- 
houses for the public worship of God with scriptural 
purity, may be one object for this evangelical trea- 

Query — Our churches have their sacramental col- 


lections, and it is not fit indeed that they should be 
without them. The primitive Christians did the 
same : Justin Martyr informs us of the " collections,'* 
and Tertullian of the " gifts of piety" which were 
made on these occasions. May not our churches do 
well to augment their liberality in their grateful and 
joyful collections at the table of the Lord, and to re- 
solve that what is now collected shall be part of their 
evangelical treasury; not only for the supply of the 
table and the relief of the poor, but also for such 
other services to the kingdom of God as they may, 
from time to time see cause to countenance ? 


Magistrates possess much power for doing good. 

From ecclesiastical circumstances, which, in such 
a subject as the present, may with the utmost pro- 
priety claim the precedency, we will make a transi- 
tion to POLITICAL. Now — " Touch the mountains 
and they will smoke !" O when shall wisdom visit 
princes and nobles, and all the judges of the earth, 
and inspire them to preserve the due lustre of their 
character, by a desire to do good on the earth, and 
a study to glorify the God of heaven ! The oppor- 
tunities which rulers possess for doing good, are so 
evident, so numerous, and so extensive, that the 
person who addresses them, cannot but be over- 
whelmed with some confusion of thought, where to 


begin, when to conclude, or how to assign a fit or- 
der to his addresses. Indeed, the very definition 
of government is, " A care of others' safety." Sirs, 
from whom have you received this power? " You 
could have no power at all, except it were given you 
from above." Certainly what is thus received from 
God, should be employed for God. " Be wise now, 
therefore, O ye kings; be instructed, ye judges of 
the earth : serve the Lord with fear," lest you forget 
and offend him who has made you what you are. 
Kiss the feet of the Son of God, lest he be dis- 
pleased at the neglect of your duty. Do not kindle 
the wrath of him who is " the blessed and only Po- 
tentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords." 
What is the name of a magistrate? The name 
which he that made him has given him is, " the 
minister of God for good." His empty name will 
produce a sad crime, if he do not set himself to " do 
good," as far as ever he can extend his influence. 
Is he a vicegerent for God, and shall he do nothing 
for God? Gross absurdity ! black ingratitude ! Is 
he one of those whom the word of God has called 
gods? Gods who do no good, are strange gods, 
not gods, but another name too horrible to be men- 
tioned, belongs to them : such rulers we may call 
gods " that have mouths but they speak not; eyes 
but they see not; noses but they smell not: and 
hands but they handle not !" Government is called, 
" The ordinance of God;" and as the administration 
of it is to avoid those illegalities which would render 
it no other than a violation of the ordinance ; so it 
should vigorously pursue those noble and blessed 


ends for which it is ordained — the good of mankind. 
Unworthy of all their other flourishing titles, be 
they what they will, are those rulers who are not 
chiefly ambitious to be entitled benefactors. The 
greatest monarch in Christendom, one who by com- 
putation has fourscore millions of subjects, and whom 
the Scripture styles, " The head over many coun- 
tries," is in the sacred prophecies called, " A vile 
person:" so indeed is every magistrate who does 
not aim to do good in the world. Rulers who make 
no other use of their superior station than to swagger 
over their neighbours, command their obsequious 
flatteries, enrich themselves with those spoils, of which 
they are able to pillage them, and then wallow in 
sensual and brutal pleasures, are the basest of men. 
From a sense of this the Venetians, though they 
allow concubines, yet never employ a tradesman 
whom they observe to be excessively addicted to sen- 
sual gratifications; esteeming such a character to be 
good for nothing. Because a wretched world will 
continue indisposed to the kingdom of the glorious 
and only Saviour, and say of our Immanuel, " We 
will not have this man to reign over us;" it is there- 
fore very much put into the hands of such selfish, 
sensual, and wicked rulers. "While the deserved 
curse of God remains upon an impious and infatuated 
world, but few rulers will be found who will seriously 
and strenuously devise its good, and seek to be bless- 
ings to it. Rulers also are often men whose lives 
are not worthy of a prayer, nor their deaths of a 
tear. Athanasius has well answered the question. 
Whence is it that such worthless and wicked men 


get into authority? " It is," says he, '' because the 
people are wicked, and must be punished with men 
after their own hearts." Thus, when a Phocas was 
made emperor, a reHgious man complaining to hea- 
ven, " Why hast thou made this man emperor?" 
received this answer, " I could not find a worse." 
Evil rulers are well reckoned by the historians among 
the effects " of divine vengeance ;" they may go into 
the catalogue with the sword, the pestilence, and fire. 
One man may be worse than all three. Such bring 
up the rear in the train of the " pale horse" — " the 
beasts of the earth." 

" O our God, our God, when will thy compas- 
sions to a miserable world appear in bestowing upon 
it good rulers, able men, men of truth, fearing God, 
and hating covetousness ! O that the time were 
come, when there shall be a ruler over men, the Just 
One, thy Jesus, ruling in the fear of God! He shall 
be as the light of the morning, when the sun riseth'; 
under him the mountains shall bring peace to the 
people, and the little hills by righteousness, and ac- 
cording to his word, make our exactors righteousness, 
and our officers peace. Hasten it in thy good time 
O Lord ! How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost 
thou not judge, and make the kingdoms of this world 
thy own, and remove them that corrupt the earth, 
and in a great chain bind up him who pretends that 
the kingdoms of the world are his, and those who 
are the rulers of the darkness of this world!" 

All you that love God, add your Amen, to has- 
ten the coming of this day of God. 

In the mean time, it cannot be expressed how 


much good may be done by the chief magistrate of a 
country who will make the " doing of good" his chief 
intention. Witness a Constantine, a Theodosius, or 
a Gratian. The first of these, notwithstanding the 
vast cares of the empire to engage his time, yet 
would every day, at stated hours, retire to his closet, 
and on his knees offer up his prayers to the glorious 
God. But then, that he might recommend this 
duty to the world, this admirable emperor caused his 
image on all his gold coins, and his pictures and sta-^ 
tues, to be made in a praying posture, with his hands 
extended, and his eyes lifted up to heaven. O im^ 
perial piety ! to behold such a prince, one would think 
were enough to convert a world ! It would be so, 
if it were not for the dreadful energies of one, who 
is become by the wrath of God, " The prince of this 
world !" I say, the virtuous example of such a king 
is almost enough to reform whole nations ; it carries 
with it irresistible charms, by which the whole world 
is attracted and won upon. A prince exemplary for 
piety, like the sun shining in his meridian strength, 
sheds the rays of heaven with a most .penetrating 
force upon the people, " rejoicing under his wings." 
Such an instance is now uncommon ; but it will not 
be so in the approaching age, when " the Kings 
of the earth shall bring their glory and honour" into 
the holy city. A little piety in princes makes a 
glaring show; the eyes of their subjects are dazzled, 
and their minds ravished with it. What would be 
done by a degree of piety in them, that should bear 
a proportion to the degree of their dignity, and if 
their piety were as much above that of other men as 


their station ? Roll on, ye ages, to bring about such 
admirable spectacles ! 

What a vast influence might such princes have on 
the reformation of the world, and consequently on its 
felicity, by dispensing preferments and employments 
to none but such as were recommended to them by 
their virtue! If good men generally were put into 
commissions, and none but good men made com- 
manders at sea, or on shore, what a rnighty change 
for the better would the world irameoiately be bles- 
sed with ! I will beg leave to say that it would be 
a most comprehensive service to a nation to get them 
unfettered from any test that may render honest and 
faithful men incapable of serving them. And I will 
take the liberty of saying, that displaci7ig a few of- 
Jicer^s on account of their being vicious, would do 
more to improve the state of a depraved nation, than 
a i\\o\}iS2iX\di proclamations against vice, not followed 
with any enforcements. 

Good laws are important engines to prevent much 
evil in the world; indeed, they reach none without 
doing some good to them ; all, therefore, who have 
any share in the legislation, should be concerned to 
enact such laws as may prove of permanent advantage. 
The representatives of a people, in their parliaments 
or assemblies, will do well to think " What is there 
still defective in our laws, leaving the iniquities or 
the necessities of men unprovided against?" and 
" What further laws may be proposed, to advance 
the reign of righteousness and holiness?" There 
have been laws (and sometimes none of the best, 
which have rendered the names of those who enacted 
G 24. 


them immortal: but the remembrance of "the man 
who first proposed a good law,'' is far more honour- 
able than a statue erected to his memory. But, 
Sirs, if your fellow-men forget such an action, it will 
not fail of a recompense in God's remembrance, or 
your own. You know whose prayer it was — 
" Think upon me, my God; for good, according to 
all that I have done for this people." 

Magistrates may do an unknown good by coun- 
tenancing worthy ministers. To settle and support 
such " men of God" in a place, is to become, I may 
say, the grandfathers of all the good which those 
men do in the place. Their consultations and com- 
binations with able, faithful, zealous ministers, may 
produce better effects than any astrologer ever fore- 
told of the most happy conjunction. When Moses 
and Aaron unite to do good, what cannot they effect? 
Queen Elizabeth admired the happiness of Suffolk, 
in her progress through the country, where she ob- 
served a remarkably good understanding to subsist 
between virtuous magistrates and faithful ministers. 

Briefly; We will observe a decorum in our pro- 
posals, and not suppose inattention or incapacity in 
those to whom we offer them. It shall only be pro- 
posed, that, since magistrates are usually men of 
abilities, they would sometimes retire to a serious 
contemplation on that generous question, " What 
good may I do in the world?" and (assisted by the 
implored grace of heaven,) observe what they are 
themselves able to find out as part of that good which 
they are to perform in serving their generation. 

If I mistake not, old Theognis had a maxim, 


which ought never to be forgotten — " When the ad- 
ministration of affairs is placed in the hands of men, 
proud of command, and devotqjd to their own private 
gain, depend upon it the people will soon become a 
miserable people." I propose that this maxim be 
carefully remembered, and this mischief avoided. 

I have yet one thing more — " Thinkest thou 
this, O man that judgest, that thou shalt escape the 
judgment of God?" — Let the judges of the people 
remember that God will one day bring them into 
judgment. O that rulers would realize this declar- 
ation to themselves — that they must give an account 
to God of the administration of their government ! 
Sirs, the great God, before whom the greatest of 
you all is but as a worm of the dust, will demand 
of you — " Whether you were faithful in the dis- 
charge of your office? — What you did for his king- 
dom in your office ? Whether you did what you 
could that the world might be the better for you?" 
If you would often take this awful subject into your 
consideration, and O what reason have you to do so, 
it could not but quicken you to the performance of 
many actions, which would be " no grief of heart" 
to you another day. He was one of the best rulers 
in the world, who thus expressed himself — " What 
shall I do when God riseth up; and when he shall 
visit, what shall I answer him?" Even Abubeker, 
the successor of Mahomet, when his people expos- 
tulated with him for walking on foot, when he took 
a view of his army, said, " I shall find my account 
with God for these steps." He has less Christianity 
than a Mahometan, who is utterly unmindful of 
G 2 


" the account he must give to God for the steps 
which he takes." 

How prosperously did the afFairs of Neo-Caesaria 
proceed, when Basil, who lived there, could give this 
account of the governor — " That he was a most 
exact observer of justice; yet very courteous, oblig- 
ing, and easy of access to the oppressed : he was 
equally at leisure to receive the rich and the poor; 
but all wicked men were afraid of him. He utterly 
abhorred the taking of a bribe; and, in short, his 
design was to raise Christianity to its primitive dig- 
nity !" A Mahometan captain-general, whose name 
was Caled, once said to a Christian — " It does not 
at all become men in eminent stations, to deal de- 
ceitfully, and descend to tricks.'* It is a miserable 
thing indeed, when Christians in eminent stations 
will do such things ! 


The opportunities of Physicians for doing good. 

The Physician has also many opportunities of 
doing good, and of rendering himself " a beloved 
physician;" we shall also offer our advice to him that 
he may become so. 

Zaccuth, the Portuguese, who, among many other 
works, wrote " A history of the most eminent phy- 
sicians," after he was settled in Amsterdam, submit- 
ted to circumcision, and thereby evinced, that for the 


thirty preceding years of his life, he had only dis- 
sembled Christianity at Lisbon; yet, because he 
was very charitable to poor patients, he was much 
esteemed. We now apply ourselves to those whose 
love to Christianity, we hope, is " without dissimu- 
lation." From them there may be expected a charity 
and a usefulness, which may entitle them to a re- 
membrance in a better history than that of Zacutus 
Liisitanus — in that " book of life," in which a name 
will be esteemed far more valuable than any which 
are recorded in the " VitcE Illustrium Medzcoriim" 
— The lives of illustrious physicians — where Peter 
Castellanus has embalmed so many of that profes- 

By serious and shining piety in your own example, 
you will bear a glorious testimony to the cause of 
God and religion. You will glorify the God of na- 
ture, and the only Saviour. Your acquaintance 
with nature will indeed be your condemnation, if you 
do it not. Nothing is so unnatural as to be iiTeli- 
gious, " Religio Medici'* (the religion of the phy- 
sician) has the least reason of any under heaven to be 
an " irreligion." They have acted the most unrea- 
sonable part, who have afforded occasion for that 
complaint of Christians — " Where there are three 
physicians, there are three atheists." It is sad to 
observe, that when we read about the state of the 
RepJiaim in the other world, i\iQ physicians are, by 
so many translators (they think with too much cause) 
carried into it. It is very sad to reflect that the 
Jews imagined they had reason to say — " Optimus 
inter medicos ad gehennam" — " The best of the 


physicians go to hell." For this severe sentence, they 
assign the following cause — " For he is not warned 
by diseases; he fares sumptuously, and humbles not 
his heart before God; sometimes he is even acces- 
sary to the death of men, when he neglects the poor, 
whom he might cure." — A sad story, if it be true ! 

Sirs, you will never account yourselves such adepts 
as to be at a stand in your studies, and make no fur- 
ther progress in your inquiries into the nature of 
diseases and their remedies. " A physician arrived 
at his full growth" — looks dangerously and omi- 
nously. Had the world gone on with nothing but an 
Esculapms, furnished only with a goat whose milk 
was pharmacT/, and a dog, whose tongue was surgery, 
we had been in a miserable state. You will be dili- 
gent and studious and inquisitive; and read much, 
think more, and pray most of all; and be solicitous to 
invent and dispense something very considerable for 
the good of mankind, which none before you had 
discovered. Be solicitous to make some addition to 
the treasures of your noble profession. Though 
you may not obtain the honour of being a Sydenham, 
yet " to do something" is a laudable ambition. 

By the benefit they expect from you, and by the 
charms of your polite education and proper and pru- 
dent conversation, you are sometimes introduced 
into the familiar acquaintance of great men. Per- 
sons of the first quality entertain you with freedom, 
and friendship, and familiarity. Probably you be- 
come, under the oath of Hippocrates, a kind of 
confessors to them, (as indeed for several ages, the 
confessors were usually the physicians of the people) 


— With what an advantage for doing good does this 
furnish you ! The poor Jews, both in the eastern 
and western parts of the world, have procured many- 
advantages to their nation by means of their coun- 
trymen, who have risen to be physicians to the 
princes of the countries in which they resided. Sirs, 
your admission " to feel the pulse" of eminent per- 
sons, may enable you to promote many good inter- 
ests : you are persons of that education that you 
need not be told that: you will soon perceive excellent 
methods in which good may be done, if you will 
only deliberate upon it: — " What good proposals 
may I make to my patient, that he may do good in 
the world ?" If you read what Gregory Nazianzen 
writes of his brother Csesarius, a famous and respect- 
able physician, you will doubtless find your desires 
excited to act in this manner. You know how ready 
the sick are to hear of good proposals ; and how 
seasonable it is to urge such upon them, when the 
commencement of recovery from sickness calls for 
their gratitude to the God of their health. And 
for persons also who are in health, you may find 
" seasonable times to drop a hint." 

Physicians are frequently men of universal learn- 
ing : they have sufficient ability, and sometimes op- 
portunity, to write books on a vast variety of sub- 
jects, whereby knowledge and virtue may be greatly 
advanced in the world. The late epic poems of a 
Blackmore, and Cosmologia Sacra of a Grew, are 
recent examples: mankind is much indebted to those 
learned physicians ; the names of such noblemen 
are immortalized ; they need no statues, nor need 


they mind the envy of a modern Theophrastus. A 
catalogue of books written by learned physicians, on 
various subjects, besides those of their own profes- 
sion, would in itself almost make a book. In the 
great army of learned physicians who have published 
their labours on the " word which the Lord has 
given," and for the service of his church, and of 
the world, I humbly move that the incomparable 
Zuinger and Gesner may appear as field-officers. 
A city Tauris were too mean a present for physi- 
cians of such merit. I propose them to imitation, 
that many may follow such examples. You know 
that Freher has brought on his theatre, nearly five 
hundred famous physicians with some account of 
their lives and works; there are very few Britons 
among them, and none at all that lived to the end 
of the former century. What a vast addition might 
there be since made to that " list of honour," from 
the British nations ! May an excellent ambition 
to be enrolled in it, excite those who have abihty, 
to " do worthily !" 

Physicians have innumerable opportunities to 
assist the poor, and cure them gratis. It was a 
noble saying of Cicero — " Fortune can give nothing 
better than the power, nature nothing more excel- 
lent than the will, to save many." But I will set 
before you a higher consideration than that, with 
which a Pagan Kirker was ever acquainted. Sirs, 
the more charity, compassion, and condescension 
with which you treat the poor, the nearer will you 
approach to the greatest and highest of all glories ; 
I say the greatest and highest of all glories — I mean 


an imitation of your adorable Saviour. You will 
readily say, " Why should I think that mean in 
me, which was decent in Christ ?" In comparison 
of this consolation, it will be a small thing to say 
to you, that your coming among the poor, will be 
to them like the descent of the Angel of Bethesda. 
We will not presume to prescribe to you, what good 
you shall do to the poor, and by what generous 
actions you shall bear their sicknesses and infirmi- 
ties ; but we enter an objection against your taking 
any fees for your visits on the Lord's day, because 
the time is not yours, but the Lord's. 

When we consider how much the lives of men 
are in the hands of God ; what a dependance we 
have on the God of our health, for our cure when 
we have lost it ; what strong and remarkable proofs 
we have had of angels, by their communications or 
operations, contributing to the cure of the diseases 
with which mortals have been oppressed, of which 
I could relate astonishing instances ; and the mar- 
vellous efficacy of prayer for the recovery of a sick 
brother who has not sinned a " sin unto death," — 
what better thing can be recommended to a physi- 
cian who desires to " do good," than this — To be a 
man of prayer. In your daily and secret prayer, 
carry every one of your patients, by name, as you 
would your own children, to the glorious Lord our 
healer, for his healing mercies: place them, as far 
as your prayers will do it, under the beams of the 
" Sun of Righteousness." And as any new case of 
your patients may occur, especially if there be any 
difficulty in it, why should you not make your par- 


ticular and solicitous application to heaven for direc- 
tion : — " O Lord, I know that the way of man is 
not in himself, nor is it in man that walketh, to di- 
rect his steps; nor in man that healeth, to perform 
his cures." Hippocrates advised physicians, when 
they visited their patients, to consider whether there 
might not be something supernatural in the disease. 
Truly, in some sense, this is always the case, and 
should be so considered. " What a heavenly life 
might you lead, if your profession were carried on 
with as many visits to heaven, as you pay to your 
patients !" One Jacob Tzaphalon, a famous Jew of 
the former century, published at Venice, a book in- 
tituled, " Precious Stones." There are several 
prayers in the book, and among them a pretty long 
one, " For physicians when they go to visit their 
patients." That expression of the Psalmist, " Thou 
hast made me wiser than mine enemies," may be 
read — *' Thou hast made me v^'isefrom mine ene- 
mies." " We should learn, even from an enemy." 
" O Christianity, thou wilt certainly outdo Judaism 
in thy devotions!" 

We read that " Heaviness in the heart of man, 
maketh it stoop; but a good word maketh it glad." 
*' A cheerful heart doeth good like a medicine; but 
a broken spirit drieth up the bones." Baglivi is 
not the only physician who has made the observation, 
" That a great many of our diseases, cither arise 
from, or are fed by a weight of cares lying on the 
minds of men. Some diseases that seem incurable, 
are easily cured by agreeable conversation. Disorders 
of the mind first bring diseases on the stomach; and 


so the whole mass of blood gradually becomes in- 
fected; and as long as the mental cause contmues^ 
the diseases may indeed change their forms, but they 
rarely quit the patients." Tranquillity of mind will 
do wonderful things towards the relief of bodily ma- 
ladies. It is not without reason that Hofman, in 
his dissertation, " Des Moyens de Vivre Long- 
temps," insists on tranquillity of mind as the chief 
among the "ways to live long;" and that this is the 
meaning of that passage, " The fear of the Lord 
tendeth to life." They who have practised the 
" art of curing by expectation," have made experi- 
ments of what the mind will do towards the cure of 
the body; by practising the " art of curing by con- 
solation." I propose then, that the physician en- 
deavour to find out, by all possible ingenuity of con- 
versation, what matter of anxiety there may have 
been upon the mind of the patient, and which has 
rendered his life burdensome. Having discovered 
the burden, let him use all possible ways to take it off. 
Offer him such thoughts as may be the best anodynes 
for his distressed mind; especially the " right 
thoughts of the righteous," and the means of ob- 
taining composure upon religious principles. Give 
him a prospect, if you can, of some deliverance from 
his distresses, or some abatement of them. Excite 
in him as pleasing thoughts as possible: scatter the 
clouds, and remove the loads with which his mind is 
perplexed; especially by representing and magnify- 
ing the mercy of God in Christ to him. It is pos- 
sible. Sir, that in this way also, you may find out 
occasions for the abundant exercise of goodness, by 


tloing yourself, or by bringing others to do kindness 
to the miserable. 

What should hinder you from considering the 
soitls of your patients; their spiritual health; what 
they have done, and what they have to do, that they 
may be on good terms with heaven ! You may, 
from their natural disorders, affect your own mind 
and theirs also, with a sense of our corresponding 
moral ones. You may make your conversation with 
them a vehicle for conveying such admonitions of 
piety, as may be most needful for them; that they 
may be found neither unprepared for death, nor un- 
thankful and unfruitful, if their lives should be 
spared. This you may do, without any improper 
intrusion on the office of the minister; on the con- 
trary, you may at the same time do many a good 
office for the minister, as well as for the patient; and 
may inform the minister, when, where, and how he 
may be very serviceable among the miserable, with 
whose condition he micrht otherwise not be ae- 
(juainted. The " art of healing" was, you know, 
first brought into a system by men who had the 
'^ care of souls," and I know not why they who pro- 
fess and practice that noble art should wholly cast off 
that care. Perhaps you remember to have heard of 
a king who was also a physician, (for other crowned 
heads, besides Mithridates, Hadrianus, and Constan- 
tinus Pogonatus have been so,) and who gave this 
reason why the Greeks had diseases which remained 
among them so much uncured — " Because they ne- 
glected their souls, the chief thing of all." For my 
part, I know not why the physician should wholly 
neglect the souls of his patients. 


I will detain you no longer. You are not igno- 
rant, that medicine once was, and in many unevan- 
gelized parts of the world is still, esteemed a thing 
horribly magical. Celsus relates, as a part of the 
Egyptian philosophy current in his time, that the 
body of man was divided into thirty-six parts, each 
of which was the peculiar allotment and possession 
of a demon; and this demon was invoked by the 
Magi to cure diseases of the part that belonged to 
him. Even in Galen's time we find Egyptian Le- 
gerdemain practised: he himself writes of it. From 
Egypt other countries became acquainted with this 
art: hence medicine were called 'pharmaca. The 
Oriental nations had their Teraphim for the cure of 
diseases: hence the same Greek word signifies both 
to worship and to cure; and the " cure of diseases" 
is reckoned by Eusebius one main article of the 
Pagan theology. God used all proper means to 
prevent his people from having to do with such sort 
of men or of means. He recommended to them the 
study of nature, and of natural remedies. Thus, 
after the example of Solomon, they studied botany, 
and had their apothecaries, who were to furnish them 
with materials for medicines. The princes of Judea 
had, as Pliny informs us, their medicinal gardens. 
Probably Naboth's vineyard might have such a one 
in it; which might be the reason why Ahab so co- 
veted it. Joiara, the son of Ahab, repaired thither 
to be cured of his wounds. An excellent physician, 
in a late composition with which he has favoured the 
public, supposes that the sin of Asa, when he 
" sought not unto the Lord, but unto the physi- 


cians," was both occasioned and aggravated by this, 
that there were at that time none but magical phy- 
sicians. But others have thought that some of 
Asa^s ancestors had been medically disposed, and 
were students in the art of healing. From hence 
might come the name of Asa, which in'Chaldee, 
means physician. On this account, perhaps, this 
king might have the greater esteem for those who 
were skilled in medicine, and might put such a con- 
fidence in them as to neglect the glorious God, the 
only author and giver of health. What I aim at in 
this paragraph is, shortly to encourage a conduct the 
reverse of all tliis ; that my honourable Asa, (such 
the son of Sirach has taught me to call him) would 
himself continually go to God our Saviour, and as 
far as possible, bring all his patients to him also. 

Finally. — An industrious and ingenious gentle- 
man of your profession, has a passage in a preface to 
his Pharmacopoeia Buteana, which I will here insert, 
because very many of you can speak the same lan- 
guage ; and by inserting it, I intend to increase the 
number : — 

" I know no poor creature that ever came to me, 
in the whole of my practice, that once went from me 
without my desired help, gratis. And I have ac-* 
counted the restoration of such a poor and wretched 
creature, a greater blessing to me, than if I had ob- 
tained the wealth of both the Indies. I cannot so 
well express myself concerning this matter, as I can 
conceive it, but I am sure I should have been more 
pleased, and had a greater satisfaction in seeing such 
a helpless creature restored to his desired health, 


than if I had found a very valuable treasure. As I 
can never repent of the good which I have done in 
this way, I resolve to continue it, for I certainly 
know that I have had the signal blessing of God at- 
tending my endeavours." 


Ladies and men of wealth have the means of doing 
much good, 

" I WILL get me unto the rich men, and will 
speak unto them," for they will know the ways to 
" do good," and will think what they shall be able 
to say when they come into the judgment of their 
God. An English person of quality, quoting that 
passage, " The desire of a man is his kindness," in- 
vited me so to read it, " The only desirable thing in 
a man is his goodness." How happy would the 
world be, if every person of quality were to become 
of this persuasion ! It is an article in my commis- 
sion, " Charge them that are rich in this world, that 
they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready 
to distribute, willing to communicate." In pursuance 
thereof, I will remind rich men of the opportunities 
to " do good," with which God, who gives power to 
get wealth, has favoured and enriched them. It is 
a very good account that has been sometimes given 
of a good man: " He knew no good in the wealth 
of this world, but the doing of good with it." Yea, 


those men who have Lad very little goodness in them, 
yet in describing " the manners of the age," in which 
perhaps they themselves have had too deep a share, 
have seen cause to subscribe and publish this prime 
dictate of reason: " We are none the better for 
any thing, barely for the propriety's sake; but it is 
the application of it that gives every thing its value. 
Whoever buries his talents betrays a sacred trust, 
and defrauds those who stand in need of it." Sirs, 
you cannot but acknowledge that it is the sovereign 
God, who has bestowed upon you the riches which 
distinguish you. A devil himself, when he saw a 
rich man, could not but make this acknowledgment 
to the God of heaven : " Thou hast blessed the 
work of his hands, and his substance is increased in 
the land." It is also to be hoped, that you are not 
forgetful that the riches in your possession are some 
of the talents of which you must give an account to 
the glorious Lord who has intrusted you with them: 
and that you will give your account with grief, and 
not with joy, if it should be found that all your 
estates have been laid out to gratify the appetites of 
the flesh, and little or nothing of them consecrated 
to the service of God, and of his kingdom in the 
world. It was said to the priests of old, when the 
servants were assigned them; " Unto you they are 
given as a gift for the Lord." The same may be 
said of all our estates; what God gives us, is not 
given us for ourselves, but '' for the Lord." 
" When gifts are multiplied on our head, the reasons 
for gifts from our hand are also multiplied." Indeed 
there is hardly any professor of Christianity so vicious 


that he will not confess that all his property is to 
be used for honest purposes, and part of it for pious 
uses. If any plead their poverty to excuse and ex- 
empt them from doing any thing this way, — O thou 
poor widow with thy two mites, eternized in the his- 
tory of the Gospel, thou shalt "rise up in the judg- 
ment with this generation, and shall condemn it ;" 
and let them also know, that they take a course to 
condemn and confine themselves to etevnal jjoverti/. 

But the main question is, what proportion of a 
man's income is to be devoted to pious uses ? And 
now, let it not seem a " hard saying," — if I tell you 
that a tenth paj't is the least that you can bring 
under a more solemn dedication to the Lord; for 
whom indeed, in one sense, we are to lay out our 
all. A farthing less would make an enlightened 
and considerate Christian suspicious of his incur- 
ring the danger of sacrilege. By the pious uses 
for which your tenths are thus challenged, I do not 
intend only the maintenance of the evangelical mi- 
nistry, but also the relief of the miserable, whom 
our merciful Saviour has made the receivers of his 
rents; together with all that is to be more directly 
done for the preserving and promoting of piety in 
the world. Since there is a part of every man's 
revenues due to the glorious Lord, and to pious 
uses, it is not fit that the determination of what part 
it must be, should be left to such hearts as ours. 
My friend, thou hast, it may be, too high an opi- 
nion of thy own wisdom and goodness, if nothing 
but thy own carnal heart is to determine how and 
what proportion of thy revenues are to be laid out 


for Him, whom thou art so ready to forget when he 
has filled thee. But if the Lord himself, to whom 
thou art but a steward, has fixed on any part of our 
usual income for himself, as it is most reasonable 
that he should have the fixing of it, certainly a tenth 
will be found the least that he has called for. A 
tenth is the least part in the first division of num- 
bers, which is that of units. Grotius remarks it, 
as the foundation of the law of tithes: " Almost all 
nations reckon by tens." It is but reasonable, and 
the very light of nature will declare for it, that the 
great God, who with a seventh day is owned as the 
Creator, should with a tenth part be owned as the 
possessor of all things. We do not allow him so 
much as the leasts if we withhold a tenth from him : 
less than that, is less than what all nations make the 
least. Certainly to withhold this, is to withhold 
more than is proper. Sirs, you know the tendency 
of this. Long before the Mosaic dispensation of 
the law, we find that this was Jacob's vow : " The 
Lord shall be my God, and of all that thou shalt 
give me, I will surely give the tenth unto thee." 
It seems that we do not sufficiently declare that 
" the Lord is our God," if we do not give a tenth 
to him. And how can we approve ourselves " Is- 
raelites indeed," if we slight such an example as 
that of our father Jacob. I will ascend a little 
higher. In one text we read of our father Abra- 
ham " giving Melchizedek the tenth of all." In 
another text we read of our Saviour Jesus, " Thou 
art a priest for ever, after the order of Melchizedek." 
From hence I form this conclusion — The rights of 


Melchizedek belong to our Jesus, the royal high 
priest now officiating for us in the heavens. The 
tenths were the rights of Melchizedek; therefore 
the tenths belong to our Jesus. I do in my con- 
science believe that this argument cannot be an- 
swered; and the man who attempts to answer it, 
seems to darken the evidence of his being one of the 
true children of Abraham. 

I renew my appeal to the light of nature: to na- 
ture thou shalt go. It is very certain that the an- 
cient Pagans used to decimate for sacred uses. 
Pliny tells us, that the Arabians did so. Xenophon 
informs us, that the Grecians did so. You find the 
custom to be as ancient as the pen of Herodotus can 
make it. It is confirmed by Pausanias and Diodorus 
Siculus ; and a whole army of authors besides 
Doughty, have related and asserted this. I will 
only introduce Festus, to speak for them all: " The 
ancients offered the tenth of every thing to their 
gods." Christian, wilt thou do less for thy God 
than the poor perishing Pagans did for theirs? " O, 
tell it not" — but this I will tell; that they who have 
conscientiously employed their tenths in pious uses, 
have usually been remarkably blessed in their estates, 
by the providence of God. The blessing has been 
sometimes delayed, with some trial of their patience. 
Not for any injustice in their hands; their prayer has 
been " pure." And their faith of the future state 
has been sometimes tried, by their meeting with 
losses and disappointments. But then, their little 
has been so blessed as to be still a competency ; and 
God has so blessed them with contentment, that it 


has yielded more than the abundance of many others. 
Very frequently too, they have been rewarded with 
remarkable success, and increase of their property; 
and even in this world have seen the fulfilment of 
those promises—" Cast thy grain into the moist 
ground, and thou shalt find it after many days." 
" Honour the Lord with thy substance: so shall thy 
barns be filled with plenty." History has given us 
many deHghtful examples of those who have had 
their conscientious decimations followed and rewarded 
with a surprising prosperity of their affairs. Ob- 
scure mechanics and husbandmen have risen to estates, 
of which once they had not the most distant expec- 
tation. The excellent Gouge, in his treatise, en- 
titled, " The surest and safest way of thriving," has 
collected some such examples. The Jewish proverb, 
" Tithe, and be rich," would be oftener verified, if 
oftener practised. " Prove me now herewith, saith 
the Lord of hosts, if I will not pour out a blessing 
upon you." 

But let the demand of " liberal things" grow 
upon you; a tenth I have called the least ; for some 
it is much too little. Men of large estates who 
would not " sow to their flesh, and of the flesh reap 
corruption," may and will often go beyond a decima- 
tion. Some rise to ^ fifth; and the rehgious Coun- 
tess of Warwick would not stop at any thing short of 
a third. Gentlemen, who are my readers, would 
perhaps excuse me if I were to carry them no higher 
than this, and to say nothing to them of a Johannes 
Eleemosynarius, who annually made a distribution of 
all to pious uses; and having adjusted his afiairs. 


said, " I bless God that I have now nothhig left 
but my Lord and Master Christ, whom I long to 
be with, and to whom I can now fly with unentangled 
wings." Yet I will mention to them the example 
of some eminent merchants, who, having reached 
moderate and competent estates, have resolved never 
to be richer. They have carried on brisk and ex- 
tensive trades, but whatever profits raised their in- 
comes above the fixed sum, they have entirely 
devoted to pious uses. And were any of them losers 
by this conduct? Not one. 

The Christian emperor Tiberius II. was famous 
for his religious bounties ; his empress thought him 
even profuse in them. But he told her that he 
should never want money so long as, in obedience to 
the command of a glorious Christ, he should supply 
the necessities of the poor, and abound in religious 
benevolence. Once, immediately after he had made 
a liberal distribution, he unexpectedly found a migh- 
ty treasure, and there were tidings brought to him 
of the death of a vastly rich man, who had bequeath- 
ed to him all his wealth. Humbler men can relate 
very many and interesting anecdotes of this nature, 
even from their own happy experience. I cannot 
forbear transcribing some lines of my honoured 
Gouge on this occasion : 

" I am verily persuaded that there is seldom any 
man who gives to the poor proportionably to what 
God has bestowed on him ; but, if he observe the 
dealings of God's providence towards him, he will 
find the same doubled and redoubled upon him in 
temporal blessings. I dare challenge all the world 
to produce one instance (or, at least any considera- 


ble number of instances) of a merciful man, whose 
charity has undone him. But, as living wells, the 
more they are drawn the more freely they spring and 
flow ; so the substance of charitable men frequently 
multiplies in the very distribution : even as the five 
loaves and few fishes multiplied, while being broken 
and distributed, and as the widow's oil increased by 
being poured out." 

I will add a consideration which, methinks, 
common humanity will feel as a powerful motive. 
Let rich men, who are not " rich towards God," 
especially such as have no children of their own to 
make their heirs, consider the vile ingratitude with 
which their successors will treat them. Sirs, they 
will hardly allow you a tombstone ; but wallowing 
in the wealth which you have left, complain that you 
left it to them no sooner ; they will insult your me- 
mory and ridicule your economy and parsimony. 
How much wiser would it be for you to do good with 
your estates while you live, and at your death to 
dispose of them in a manner which may embalm 
your names to posterity, and be for your advantage 
in the world to which you are going. That your 
souls may enjoy the ease and the good of paradisai- 
cal reflections, at the same time that others are in- 
heriting what you have left to them. 

I will only annex the compliment of a certain 
person to his friend, upon his accession to an estate: 
" Much good may it do you; that is, much good 
may you do with it." 

I hope we are now ready for Proposals ; and we 
shall set ourselves to " devise liberal things." 

Gentlemen ! It is said of old, 7'es est sacra miser. 


To relieve the necessities of the poor is a thing ac- 
ceptable to the compassionate God, who has given 
to you what he might have given to them, and has 
given it to you that you might have the honour and 
pleasure of imparting it to them; and who has said, 
" He that hath pity upon the poor, lendeth unto 
the Lord." The more you regard the command 
and example of a glorious Christ in what you do this 
way, the more assurance you have that in the day of 
God you shall joyfully hear him saying, " You have 
done it unto me." And the more humble, silent, 
reserved modesty you express, conceahng even from 
the left hand what is done with the right, the more 
you are assured of a great reward in the heavenly 
world. Such liberal men, it is observed, are gener- 
ally long-lived men; and at last they pass from this 
into everlasting life. " The fruit acquits the tree." 
The true Lady is one who feeds the poor, and re- 
lieves their indigence. The name of a Lady in the 
original has the following signification : — It was at 
first Leafdian, from Leaf or Laf, which signifies a 
loaf of hread^ and D'ian to serve. So that the terra 
implies one who distributes bread. In the days of 
primitive Christianity, ladies of the first quality 
would endeavour to find out the sick, visit hospitals, 
see what help they wanted, and assist them with an 
admirable alacrity. What a " good report" have 
the mother and sister of Nazianzen obtained from 
his pen, for their unwearied bounties to the poor ! 
Empresses themselves have stooped to relieve the 
miserable, and never appeared so truly great as when 
they thus stooped ; and when they stooped, it was to 
do some good to others. Angels they do so. 


A very proper season for your alms is, wlien you 
keep your days of prayer ; that your prayers and 
your alms may go up together as a memorial before 
the Lord. Verily, there are prayers m alms ; and, 
" Is not this the fast that I have chosen, saith the 
Lord?" The expression of the beggar among the 
Jews was, " Deserve something by me :" among us 
it might be; " Obtain something by me." 

There is a certain city, in which every house has 
a box hanging by a chain, on which is written, 
" Think on the poor;" and they seldom conclude a 
bargain without putting something into the box. 
The deacons have the key, and once a quarter go 
round the city, and take out the money. When 
that city was in imminent danger, a man of no great 
character was heard to say, " That he was of opinion, 
God would preserve that city from being destroyed, 
if it were only for the great charity which its inha- 
bitants express to the poor." It is the richest city 
of the richest country, for its size, that ever exist- 
ed : a city which is thought to spend, annually, in 
charitable uses, more than all the revenues which the 
fine country of the Grand Duke of Tuscany brings 
in to its arbitrary master. " The hand of the poor 
is the treasury-box of Christ." 

When you dispense your alms to the poor, who 
know what it is to pray, you may oblige them to 
pray for you by name, every day. It is an excellent 
thing to have " the blessing of those who have been 
ready to perish," thus coming upon you. Observe 
here a surprising sense in which you may be " pray- 
ing always." You are so, even while you are sleep- 


ing, if those whom you have thus obUged are pray- 
ing for you. And now look for the accompHshment 
of that word — " Blessed is he that considereth the 
poor; the Lord will preserve him, and keep him 
alive, and he shall be blessed upon the earth." 

Very frequently your alms are dispersed among 
such as very much need admonitions of piety. Can- 
not you contrive to mingle a spiritual charity with 
your temporal bounty ? Perhaps you may discourse 
with them about the state of their souls, and obtain 
from them (for which you have now a singular ad- 
vantage) some declared resolutions to do what they 
ought to do. Or else you may convey to them Ht- 
tle books, which they will certainly promise to read, 
when you thus entreat them. 

Charity to the souls of men is undoubtedly the 
highest, the noblest, and the most important charity. 
To furnish the poor with Catechisms and Bibles, is 
to do for them an incalculable good. No one knows 
how much he may do by dispersing books of piety, 
and by putting into the hands of mankind such trea- 
tises of divinity as may have a tendency to make 
them wiser or better. It was a noble action of some 
good men, who, a httle while ago, were at the charo-e 
of printing thirty thousand of the " Alarm to the 
Unconverted," written by Joseph Alleine, to be all 
given away to such as would promise to read it. 
A man of no great estate has been known to give 
away, without much trouble, nearly a thousand books 
of piety every year, for many years together. Who 
can tell, but that with the expense of less than a 
shilling, you may, Sir, « convert a sinner from the 
H 24 


error of his ways, and save a soul from death." A 
worse doom than to be " condemned to the mines," 
lies upon that soul who had rather hoard up his mo- 
ney than employ it on such a charity. 

He who supports the office of the evangelical 
ministry, supports a good work, and performs one; 
yea, in a secondary way, performs what is done by 
the skilful, faithful, and laborious minister. The 
encouraged servant of the Lord will do the more good 
for your assistance : and what you have done for him, 
and in consideration of the glorious Gospel preached 
by him, you have done for a glorious Christ ; and you 
shall " receive a prophet's reward." Luther said, 
'' What you give to scholars, you give to God him- 
self." This is still more true, when the scholars are 
become godly and useful preachers. 

I have read the following passage: " It was for 
several years the practice of a worthy gentleman, in 
renewing his leases, instead of making it a condition 
that his tenants should keep a hawk or a dog for 
him, to oblige them to keep a Bible in their houses 
for themselves, and to bring up their children to read 
and to be catechised." Landlords! It is worthy of 
your consideration, whether you may not in your 
leases insert some clauses that may serve the king- 
dom of God. You are his tenants in those very 
freeholds in which you are landlords to other men. 
Oblige your tenants to worship God in their families. 

To take a poor child, especially an orphan left in 
poverty, and to bestow education upon it, espe- 
cially if it be a liberal education, is an admirable cha- 
rity; yea, it may draw after it a long train of good, 


and raay interest you in all the good that shall be 
done by him whom you have educated. 

Hence also, what is done for Schools, for Col- 
leges, and for Hospitals, is done for the general 
good. The endowment or maintenance of these 
is at once to do good to many. 

But alas! how much of the silver and gold of the 
world is buried in hands where it is little better than 
conveyed back to the mines from whence it came ! 
Or else employed to as little purpose as what arrives 
at Hindostan, where a great part of the silver and 
gold is, after some circulation, carried as to a fatal 
centre, and by the Moguls lodged in subterraneous 
caves never to see the light again. " A Christian 
of good faith and hope does not such things." 

Sometimes elaborate compositions may be prepared 
for the press, works of great bulk, and of greater 
worth, by which the best interests of knowledge and 
virtue may be considerably promoted in the world: 
they He, like the impotent man at the pool of Beth- 
esda; and are likely to remain neglected, till God 
inspire some wealthy persons nobly to subscribe to 
their publication, and by this generous application of 
their wealth, to bring them abroad. The names of 
such noble benefactors to mankind ought to live as 
long as the works themselves; and where the works 
do any good, \vhat these have done towards the 
publishing of them, ought to be " told for a memo- 
rial" of them. 

I will carry this subject still farther. The saying 
may seem to carry some affront in it, that, " idle 
gentlemen, and idle beggars, are the pests of the 


commonwealth." But they who are offended at it 
must quarrel with the ashes of a bishop, for it was 
Dr. Sanderson's. Will you then think, Sirs, of 
some honourable and agreeable employment? I 
will mention one. The Pythagoreans forbade men's 
" eating their own brains," or, " keeping their good 
thoughts to themselves." It is an observation of 
the incomparable Boyle, that " as to religious 
books, in general, those which have been written by 
laymen, and especially by gentlemen, have (ceteris 
paribus) been better received, and more effectual, 
than those published by ecclesiastics. We all know 
Mr. Boyle's were so. It is no rare thing for men 
of quality so to accomplish themselves in languages 
and science, that they have become prodigies of 
literature. Their libraries also have been stupendous 
collections, approaching towards Vatican or Bodleian 
dimensions. An English gentleman has been some- 
times the most " accomplished person in the world." 
How many of these (besides a Leigh, a Wolsely, or 
a Polhill) have been benefactors to mankind by their 
incomparable writings ! It were greatly to be wished 
that persons of wealth and elevated conditions would 
quahfy themselves for the use of the pen as well as 
of the sword, and deserve this encomium — " They 
have written excellent things." An English person 
of quaUty, in his treatise, entitled, " A View of the 
Soul," has the following passage — " It is certainly," 
says he, " the highest dignity, if not the greatest 
happiness, of which human nature is capable in the 
vale below, to have the soul so far enlightened, as 
to become the mirror, or conduit, or conveyer of 


God's truth to others." It is a bad motto for men 
of capacity — " My understanding is unfruitful." 
Gentlemen, consider what subjects may most properly 
and usefully fall under your cultivation. Your pens 
will stab atheism and wickedness more effectually 
than other men's. If out of your " Tribe" there 
come " those who handle the pen of the writer," 
they will do uncommon execution. One of them 
has ingenuously said — " Though I know some 
functions^ yet I know no truths of religion, which, 
like the Showbread, are only for the priests." 

I will address to you but one proposal more, and 
it is this — that you would as Ambrosius did his Ori- 
gen, wisely choose a friend oi shining abilities, of 
warm affections, and of excellent piety (a minister of 
such a character if you can,) and entreat him, yea 
oblige him to study for you, and suggest to you, op- 
portunities to do good. Make him, as I may say, 
your monitor. Let him advise you, from time to 
time, what good you may do. Let him see that he 
never gratifies you more than by his advice Qn this 
subject. If a Davidhave a seer to perform such an 
office for him, who may search for occasions of doing 
good, what services may be done for the temple of 
God in the world ! 

There seems no need of adding any thing but 
this, that when gentlemen occasionally meet to- 
gether, why should not their conversation correspond 
with their superior station? Methinks they should 
deem it beneath persons of their quality to employ 
the conversation on trifling impertinences, or in such 
a way that, if it were secretly taken in short hand, 


they would blush to hear it repeated — " Nothing 
but jesting, and laughing, and words scattered by the 
wind." Sirs, it becomes a gentleman to entertain 
his company with the finest thoughts on the finest 
themes; and certainly there cannot be a subject so 
worthy of a gentleman as this — What good is there 
to be done in the world? Were this noble subject 
more frequently started in the conversation of gen- 
tlemen, an incredible good might be done. 

I will conclude by saying — You must accept of 
any public service, of which you are capable, when 
you are called to it. Honest Jeans has this pun- 
gent passage : " The world applauds the prudent 
retirement of those who bury their parts and gifts in 
an obscure privacy, though they have a fair call, both 
from God and man, to public employment; but the 
terrible censure of these men by Jesus Christ at the 
last day, will discover them to have been the most 
arrant fools that ever lived on the face of the earth." 
The fault of not employing our talent for the public 
good, is justly called, " A great sacrilege in the 
temple of the God of Nature." It was a sad age of 
which Tacitus said, " Indolence was wisdom." 


The duty of Men in Public Stations to do good. 

It will be recollected, that one of our first propo- 
sals was, that every one should consider " What is 


there that I can do for the service of God and the 
welfare of man?" It is to he hoped that all offi- 
cers, as such, will conform to what has been pro- 
posed. It should be the concern of all officers, from 
the emperor to the cnomotarch, to do all the good 
they can; there is, therefore, the less occasion to 
make a more particular application to inferior oncers 
of various kinds, who all have opportunities to do 
good, more or less, in their hands. However, they 
shall not all have reason to complain of being ne- 

In some churches there are Elders, as in primi- 
tive times, the church had its elders, who " rule 
well," though they do not " labour in the word and 
doctrine." It becomes such elders often to inquire, 
" What shall I do to prevent strife, or any other 
sin, that may become a root of bitterness in the 
church; and that Christ and hoUness may reign in 
it; and, that the ministry of the pastor may be 
countenanced, encouraged, and prospered?" Their 
visits of the flock, and their endeavours to prepare 
the people for special ordinances, may be of great 
advantage to religion. 

There are Deacons also, to whom the temporal af- 
fairs of the church are intrusted. It would be well, if 
they would frequently inquire: — " What, may I do 
that the treasury of Christ may be increased? What 
may I do that the life of my faithful Pastor may be 
rendered more comfortable? W^hat members of the 
flock do I think deficient in their contributions to 
support the interests of the Gospel, and shall I say 
* with great boldness in the faith' to them?" 

In the STATE there are many officers, to whom 


the most significant and comprehensive proposal that 
can be made would be, To consider their oaths. If 
they would seriously ponder, and faithfully perform 
the duties to which their oaths oblige them, a great 
deal of good would be done. But we must a little 

As the Representatives of any place have op- 
portunities to do good to the people at large, they 
should accordingly consider what motions to bring 
forward for their good, and they should be particu- 
larly solicitous for the good of that place which has 
elected them. 

Those whom we call the " select men" of a 
town, will disappoint just expectations, if they do 
not diligently consider, " What shall I do that I 
may be a blessing to the town which I am now to 

Grand-jurymen may very profitably consider, 
" What growing evils or nuisances do I discover 
which I shall do well to make known?" They 
should hold their consultations upon these matters, 
as men in earnest for the good of the country. In- 
deed all jurymen should be good men. Our old 
compellation of a neighbour by the title of good man, 
has this origin; it was as much as to say, one quali- 
fied to serve on a jury. Let them, therefore, main- 
tain this character, by doing good, and by contriving 
how they may do it. 

Why should Constables be excused from these 
obligations? Their name (Constabularius) was first 
derived from the care of " making unruly horses 
stand well together in the stable." Sirs, you have 
many opportunities to do good by being ** masters 


of restraints," in your walks and otherwise, to un- 
ruly cattle. What are vicious persons, though per- 
haps, in honourable stations, but like the beasts ! 
Well-disposed constables have done wonderful things 
in a town, to maintain good order. I entreat you, 
therefore, to turn your thoughts and your consulta- 
tions to inquiry, " What good may I do?" 

Where Tithing-men are chosen and sworn, 
they may do more than a little good, if they will 
conscientiously perform their duty. Let them well 
study the laws which lay dovv^n their duty, and let 
them also often consider, " What good may I do?" 
Let them consult with one another at certain times, 
in order to find out what they have to do, and to as- 
sist and strengthen one another in doing it. — I have 
done with the civil list. 

Military Commanders have their opportuni- 
ties to " do good." They do this in an eminent 
degree when they cherish exercises of piety in their 
several companies and regiments, and when they re- 
buke the vices of the camp with due severity. Might 
not societies to suppress these vices be formed in the 
camp, to very good purpose, under their inspection ? 
And if the soldiers ask, " What shall we do ?" all 
my answer at present is, Sirs, consider what ?/o?^ 
have to do. 

Commanders at sea have their opportunities 
also. The more absolute they are in their com- 
mand, the greater are their opportunities. The 
worship of God seriously and constantly maintained 
aboard, will be of great importance. A body of 
good orders hung up in the steerage, and carefully 
enforced, may produce consequences for which all 


the people in the vessel may at least have reason to 
be thankful. Books of piety should also be taken 
aboard, and the men should be desired to retire for 
the perusal of them, and for other pious exercises. 

But whilst our book seems to have so far dis- 
charged its office and design of a counsellor as to 
leave no further expectations, a considerable number 
of persons present themselves to our notice, who 
might justly complain, if among these proposals to 
do good, they should remain unnoticed. Some 
whom we do not find among those who addressed 
the blessed morning-star of our Saviour for his di- 
rections, yet are now found among those who in- 
quire, " And what shall we do?" I refer to the 
GENTLEMEN OF THE LAW, who have that in their 
hands, the end of which is, " To do good;" and 
the perversion of which from its professed end is one 
of the worst of evils. 

Gentlemen, your opportunities to do good are 
such, and your liberal and gentlemanly education 
gives you such advantages, that proposals of what you 
may do, cannot but promise themselves an obliging 
reception with you. And even with common pleadeis 
at the bar, I hope that maxim of the law will not 
be forgotten : " The situation of a lawyer is so dig- 
nified, that none should be raised to it from a mean 
condition in life." , Things are not come to such a 
state that an honest lawyer should require a statue, 
as the honest publican of old did, merely on the 
score of rarity. You may, if you aim at it, be en- 
titled to one on the score of universal and merito- 
rious usefulness. 

In order to your being useful, Sirs, it is neces- 


sary that you should be skilful; and that you may 
arrive at an excellent skill in the law, you will be 
well advised what authors to study. The well ad- 
vised on this point may have much wisdom. The 
knowledge of your own statute-law is incontestably 
needful. The same may be said of the common- 
law, which must continually accompany the execu- 
tion of it. Here, besides useful dictionaries, you 
have your Cooks, and Vaughan, and Wingate, 
and Daltons, and Kebles, and many more, with 
with whom you may converse. I am sorry to find a 
gentleman, about the middle of the former century, 
complaining of the English law, " that the books 
of it cannot be perused with any deliberation, under 
three or four years, and that the expense of them is 
very great." I do not propose so tedious and diffi- 
cult a task; for the civil law must also be known by 
those who would be well acquainted with legal pro- 
ceedings. Huge volumes, and loads of them, have 
been written upon it; but among all these, two small 
ones, the Enchiridion of Corvinus^siud Arthur Duck's 
Treatise De iisu et authoritate juris civilis, at leasts 
should be consulted, and digested by every one who 
would not be an ignoramus. I will be still more 
free in declaring my opinion. Had I ^earning 
enough to manage a cause of that nature, I should 
be very ready to maintain it at any bar in the world, 
that there never was known under the cope of hea- 
ven, a more learned man, than the incomparable 
Alstedius. He has written on every subject in 
the whole circle of learning, as accurately and as 
exquisitely as those who have devoted their whole 
lives to the cultivation of any one particular subject. 


The only reason why his compositions are not more 
esteemed is, the pleonasm of his worth, and their de- 
serving so much esteem. To hear some silly men, with 
a scornful sneer, talk as if they had sufficiently set 
him at nought, by a foolish pun on his name — AlVs 
tedious, is to see the ungrateful folly of the world; 
for co7iciseness is one of his peculiar excellencies. 
They might more justly charge him with any thing 
than tediousness. This digression only serves to 
introduce a recommendation of this excellent man's 
" Jurisprudentia," as one of the best books a law- 
yer can be acquainted with. I shall wrong it if I 
say, " It is much in a little:" I must say, " It is all 
in one." 

A lawyer should be a scholar. It is vexatious 
that the emperor Justinian, whose name is now on 
the laws of the Roman empire, (because it was by 
his order that Trihonian made his hasty, and some 
say fallacious, collection of them, from the two thou- 
sand volumes, into which they had been growing for 
a thousand years) is by Suidas called " Analphabe- 
tos — one who scarcely knew his alphabet." It is 
vexatious to find Accursius, one of the first commen- 
tators on the laws, fall, through his ignorance, into 
so many gross mistakes : and when a sentence of 
Greek occurred in the text, unable to afford any 
better gloss than this, — " This is Greek which can 
neither be read nor explained." Though the thing 
was but a trifle, it was no honour to those writers on 
the Pandect not to know of what gender the name 
was. It was strange, that when the subject was 
" Of the signification of words," the great interpre- 
ter of it should leave as a maxim, De verhehm non 


curat Juris consuUus, However, a Bartolus has not 
so roughened your study, as a Budoeas has polished 

But, Sirs, when you are called upon to be wise, 
the chief design is, that you may be wise to do 
good. Without such a disposition, " doth not their 
excellency which is in them go away? They die 
even without wisdom." A foundation of piety must 
first be laid ; an inviolable respect to the holy and 
just and good law of God. This must be the rule 
of all your actions ; and it must particularly regulate 
your practice of the law. You are sensible that it 
was always the custom of the civil law to begin with 
— " A Deo Optimo maximo" — " To the most high 
and gracious God:" nor was it unusual for the in- 
struments of the law to begin with XP the first two 
letters of XPi:STOS, the name of Christ. The hfe of 
the lawyer should have its beginning there, and be 
carried on with a constant regard to it. The old 
Saxon laws had the Ten Commandments prefixed to 
them — Te7i Words, in Two Tables, of infinitely 
greater value than the famous Twelve Tables, so 
much admired by Tidly and other writers of antiqui- 
ty; in the fragments of which, collected by Baldwin 
and others, there are some things horribly unrigh- 
teous and barbarous. These are to be the^r^^ laws 
with you ; and, as all the laws that are contrary to 
these are ipso facto null and void, so, in the prac- 
tice of the law, every thing disallowed by these 
must be avoided. The man whom the Scripture 
calls a lawyer, was a Karaite, or one who strictly 
adhered to the written law of God, in opposition to 
Pharisee and the Traditionist, I know not why 


every lawyer should not still be, in the best sense, 
a Karaite, By manifesting a reverence for the di- 
vine law, both that of reason, and that of superad- 
ded Gospel, you will do good in the world beyond 
what vou can imagine. You will redeem your ho- 
nourable profession from the injury which bad men 
have done to its reputation ; and you will obtain a 
patronage for it, very different from that which the 
Satyr in the idle story of your Saint Evona has as- 
signed to it. 

Your celebrated Ulpia7i wrote seven books, to 
show the several punishments which ought to be in- 
flicted on Christians. It is to be hoped that you 
will invent as many services to be done to the cause 
of Christianity; services to be performed for the 
kingdom of your Saviour, and methods by which to 
demonstrate that you yourselves are among the best 
of Christians. 

I am not sure that our Tertulhan was the gentle- 
man of that name, who hath some Consulta in the 
Roman Digesta ; which Grotius and others will not 
admit: yet Eusebius tells us that he was well skilled 
in the Roman laws : and in his writings you find 
many law terms, particularly " Prescriptions against 
Heretics," which were, as we learn from Quintil- 
lian and others, the replies of defendants to the ac- 
tions of the plaintiffs. I propose that others of the 
faculty study all possible " Prescriptions" against 
those who would injure Christianity, and " apolo- 
gies" for the church and cause of our Saviour. But, 
Sirs, it must first of all be done in your own virtuous, 
exact, upright conduct, under all temptations. 

The miscarriages of some individuals, however. 


must not bring a blemish on a noble and useful pro- 

But, yet many will be ready enough to allow the 
justness of the following censure, which occurs in a 
late publication, entitled, " Examen Miscellaneum ;" 
" A lawyer who is a knave, deserves death more than 
a robber; for he profanes the sanctuary of the dis- 
tressed, and betrays the liberties of the people." 
To avoid such a censure, a lawyer must shun all 
those indirect ways of " making haste to be rich," 
in which a man cannot be innocent : such ways as 
provoked the father of Sir Matthew Hale to aban- 
don the practice of the law, on account of the ex- 
treme difficulty of preserving a good conscience in 
it. Sir, be prevailed upon constantly to keep a 
court qfcJiancery in your own breast; and scorn and 
fear to do any thing but what your conscience will 
pronounce consistent with, and conducing to — " Glo- 
ry to God in the highest, peace on earth, and good- 
will towards men." The very nature of your pro- 
fession leads you to meditations on " a judgment to 
come." O that you would so reaUze and antedate 
that judgment, as to do nothing but what you veri- 
ly believe will be approved in it ! 

This piety must operate very particularly in the 
pleading of causes. You will abhor. Sir, to appear 
in a dirty cause. If you discover that your client 
has an unjust cause, you will faithfully advise him 
of it. The question is, " Whether it be lawful to 
use falsehood and deceit in contending with an ad- 
versary?" It is to be hoped that you have deter- 
mined it like an honest man. You will be sincerely 
desirous that truth and justice should take place. 


You will speak nothing which shall be to the preju- 
dice of either. You will detest the use of all un- 
fair arts to confound evidences, to brow-beat "mt- 
7iesses, or to suppress what may give light in the 
case. You have nothing to object to that old rule 
of pleading a cause : " When the guilt of the party 
is clearly proved, the counsel ought to withdraw his 

I remember that Schusterus, a famous lawyer and 
counsellor, who died at Heidelberg in the year 1672, 
has an admirable passage in his epitaph : 

" Moi'ti proximus vocem emisit ; 
Nihil se unquam suasisse consilio, 
Cujus jam jam moriturum peniteret.'* 

" When at the point of death he could say, I 
never in the whole course of my practice gave an 
opinion of which I now repent." A lawyer who 
can leave the world with such language as this, is a 
greater blessing to the world than can be expressed. 

I cannot encourage any gentleman to spend much 
time in the study of the Canon laW; which Baptista a 
Sancto Blasio has found to contradict the civil law in 
two hundred instances. The decrees, the decretals, 
the Clementines, and extravagants, which compose the 
hideous volumes of that law, would compel any wise 
man to make such an apology for his aversion to it 
as one once made : " I cannot, Sir, feed on that 
which is vile." Agrippa, who was a doctor of that 
law, said of it, " It is neither o/'God nor for him : 
nothing but corruption invented it; nothing but ava- 
rice has practised it." Luther began the Refor- 
mation with burning it. Nevertheless, there is one 
point much insisted on in the canon law, which well 


deserves your serious consideration; that is— resti- 
tution. When men have obtained riches not by 
right, or have heaped up wealth in any dishonest 
and criminal ways, a restitution will be a necessary 
and essential part of that repentance which alone 
will find acceptance with heaven. The solemnity of 
this thought may stand like an " angel with a drawn 
sword" in your way, when you may be under a 
temptation to go after the " wages of unrighteous- 
ness." Our law was once given to us in French. 
Many of you, gentlemen, know the modern French 
as well as the ancient, Mons. Placette has given 
you a valuable treatise of Restitution, in which there 
is a chapter, " Of the cases in which counsellors are 
obliged to make restitution." In that chapter some 
persons will find a sad Bill of Costs taxed for them : 
and, among other very true assertions, this is one: 
" S'il exige une recompense excessive et dispropor- 
tionee a ce qu'il fait, il est obhge a restituer ce qu'il 
prend de trop." In plain English: "Excessive fees 
must be disgorged by restitution." This should be 
thought upon. 

It is an old complaint, " that a good lawyer is 
seldom a good neighbour." You know how to con- 
fute it, gentlemen, by making your skill in the law 
a blessing to your neighbourhood. It was affirmed 
as long ago as in the time of Sallust, " Towns were 
happy formerly, when there were no lawyers ; and 
they will be so again when the race is extinct;" but 
you may, gentlemen, if you please, be a vast acces- 
sion to the hcTppiness of your neighbourhood. 

You shall have some of my proposals for it, in a 


historical exhibition. In the life of Mr. John Cot- 
ton, the following passage is related concerning his 
father, who was a lawyer: " That worthy man was 
very remarkable in two most imitable practices. One 
was, that when any of his neighbours wishhig to sue 
another, applied to him for advice, it was his custom, 
in the most persuasive and obliging manner, to attempt 
a reconciliation between both parties; preferring the 
consolation of being a peace-maker, to all the fees 
which he might have obtained by blowing up the dif- 
ferences. Another was, he was accustomed, every 
night, to examine himself, with reflections on the 
transactions of the past day ; and if he found that 
he had neither done good to others, nor got good 
to his own soul, he was as much grieved as ever 
the famous Titus was, when he complained in the 
evening, " My friends ! I have lost a day." 

What a noble thing would it be for you to find 
out oppressed widows and orphans ; and as such can 
appear only " in forma pauperis ;" and are objects 
in whose oppression " might overcomes right," ge- 
nerously plead their cause! " Deliver the poor and 
needy, and rid them out of the hand of the wicked" 
—it will be a glorious and a God-like action ! 

Wealthy persons, about to make their wills, fre- 
quently ask your advice. You may embrace the 
opportunity of advising them to such liberality in 
behalf of pious purposes, as may greatly advance the 
kingdom of God in the world. And, when you 
have opportunity, by law, to rescue " the things that 
are God's" from the sacrilegious hands of those men 
that would " rob God," it may be hoped that you 


will do it with all possible generosity and alacrity. 
O excellent imitation of our glorious advocate in the 
heavens ! 

Is there nothincr to be amended in the laws? Per- 
haps you may discover many things yet wanting in 
the laws; or mischiefs in the execution or appli- 
cation of them, which ought to be better provided 
against; or mischiefs which annoy mankind, against 
•which, no laws are yet provided. The reformation 
of the laws, and more laws for the reformation of the 
world, are greatly called for. I do not say that our 
laws could be so reduced, that, like those of Geneva, 
they might be contained in five sheets of paper; but 
certainly the laws may be so corrected, that the 
world may more sensibly and generally enjoy the 
benefit of them. If some lawyers, that are ''men of 
an excellent spirit," would employ their thoughts 
this way, and obtain the sanction of the legislature 
to them, all the world might feel the benefit of it. 
An honest gentleman, more than fifty years ago, 
wrote " An Examination of the English Laws," 
worthy of your consideration in the present day. 

Your learning often qualifies you to " write ex- 
cellent things," not only in your own profession, 
but also on numerous other entertaining and edify- 
ing themes. The books which have been written 
by learned lawyers, would, in number, almost equal 
an Alexand7^ian Library. Judge by a Freherus's 
catalogue, or by a Pryn's performances. What rare 
and valuable works have been written by a Hale, a 
Grotius, and a Selden I Sirs, you may plead the 
cause of religion, and of the reformation, by your 


well-directed pens; and perform innumerable ser- 
vices. There is one, at this day, who, in his " His- 
tory of the Apostles' Creed," and of his accounts 
of the primitive church, has obliged us to say, " he 
has offered like a king to the temple of the King 
of heaven." May the Lord his God accept him ! 

But I must come to a close. Should you be 
called, Sir, to the administration of justice, in the 
quality of a judge, you will prescribe to yourself 
rules, like those which the renowned Lord Chief 
Justice Hale so religiously observed, as to become 
a bright example for all who occupy the seat of judi- 
cature. The sum of those rules were — 

" That justice be administered uprightly, deliber- 
ately, resolutely. 

" That I rest not on my own understanding, but 
implore the direction of God. 

" That in the execution of justice, I carefully lay 
aside my own passions, and not give way to them, 
however provoked. 

" That I be wholly intent on the business I am 

" That I suffer not myself to be prepossessed with 
any judgment at all, till all the business, and both 
parties, are heard. 

By such methods to do good, to serve the cause 
of righteousness, and introduce the promised age, 
in which " the people shall all be righteous," the 
least of those glorious recompenses will be, the es- 
tablishment of your profession in such a reputation, 
as many imcomparable persons in it have deserved, 
and that the most prejudiced persons in the world, 


when seeking to find blemishes in it, will be forced 
to bring in an Ignoramus. 


Societies for the reformation of manners. 

Reforming Societies, or Societies for the Sup- 
pression of Vice, have begun to grow into esteem, and 
it is one of the best omens that appear in the world. 
" Behold, how great a matter a little (of this heavenly) 
fire kindleth !" Five or six gentlemen in London 
associated, with a heroic resolution, to oppose that 
torrent of wickedness which was carrying all before it 
in the nation. More were soon added to their num- 
ber; and though they met with great opposition from 
" wicked spirits," incarnate, as well as invisible ones, 
and some in " high places" too, yet they proceeded 
with a most honourable and invincible courage. 
Their success, if not proportioned to their courage, 
was yet far from contemptible. In the punishments 
inflicted on those who transgressed the laws of mo- 
rality, many thousands of sacrifices were offered to 
the holiness of God. Hundreds of houses, which 
were the porches of hell, and the scandal of the 
earth, were soon suppressed. A remarkable check 
was given to the raging profanity; and the Lord's 
day was not so openly and horribly profaned as be- 
fore. And among other essays to do good, they 
scattered thousands of good books, which had a ten- 


dency to reform the evil manners of the people. It 
was not long before this excellent example was fol- 
lowed m other parts of the British empire. Virtu- 
ous men of various ranks and persuasions, became 
members of the societies. Persons high and low, 
Churchmen and Dissenters, united; and the union 
became formidable to the kingdom of darkness. The 
report of the societies flew over the seas, and the pat- 
tern was imitated in other countries. Men of wis- 
dom in remote parts of Europe, made this joyful re- 
mark upon them, " That they occasion unspeakable 
good, and announce a more illustrious state of the 
church of God, which is to be expected in the con- 
version of Jews and Gentiles." America, too, be- 
gins to be irradiated with them. 

I shall here recite an account, formerly present- 
ed to the public, of what may be effected by such 
societies : — 

" What incredible advantages will accrue to reli- 
gion from reforming societies, if the disposition to 
promote them should not unhappily languish ! And 
if religion flourish, and iniquity dare no longer show 
itself, what prosperity of every kind, and in every 
thing, would be the consequence ? A small society 
may prove an incomparable and invaluable blessing 
to a town whose welfare should become the object of 
their watchful attention: they may be as a garrison 
to defend it from the worst of its enemies; they may 
speedily render it " a mountain of holiness, and a 
dwelling of righteousness, that shall enjoy the most 
gracious presence of the Lord." The society may 
assist in promoting the execution of those wholesome 


laws, by which vice is discouraged. Offenders 
against those laws may be kept under such vigilant 
inspection, that they shall not escape a due punish- 
ment for their offences; the effects of such chastise- 
ments may be, that the rebuked and censured sin- 
ners will be reclaimed from their sins; or, at least, 
the judgments of God, which may be expected where 
such sins are indulged, will be diverted. " When 
we judge ourselves, the judgments of God will be 
averted." Swearing and cursing will not infect the 
air. Men will not reel along the streets, transformed 
into swine by drunkenness. The cages of unclean 
birds will be dissipated. They whom idleness ren- 
dered dead while they lived, will have an honest em- 
ployment provided for them, by which they may earn 
an honest livelihood. And the Lord's day will be 
visibly kept holy to the Lord, which will irradiate a 
place with a most lovely holiness and happiness. 

" Vice is a cowardly thing ; it will soon shrink 
before those who visibly and boldly oppose it. If 
any laws, necessary to remedy what is amiss, be yet 
wanting, the society may procure the legislative 
power to assist them, that due provision for their 
execution may be given by our lawgivers. What 
is defective in the bye-laws of the town may soon 
be supplied. The election of such officers as may 
be faithful and useful to the public, may be very 
much influenced by the society. If any persons 
be notoriously defective in their duty, the society 
may, by suitable admonitions and remonstrances, 
cause those defects to be amended. If any fami- 
lies live without family worship, the pastor may be 


informed by tlie society, who will visit them, and 
exhort them no longer to remain in their atheism. 
If any are in danger of being led away by seducers, 
or other temptations, care may be taken to warn 
them. Schools of various kinds may derive advan- 
tages from such a society. Charity schools may 
be erected, inspected, and supported. Books, con- 
taining the salt of heaven, may be sprinkled all over 
the land, and the '' savour of truth" be diffused 
about the country. Finally, the society may find 
out who are in extreme necessity, and either by 
their own liberality, or that of others, may procure 
assistance for them. 

" We know that a small society may effect 
these things, because we know that hey have been 
done, and yet the persons who did them have been 
concealed from the world. To minds with any ge- 
nerosity or ingenuity, which elevates them above 
the dregs of mankind, no other argument to form 
such a society will be needful, than the prospect of 
so much usefulness. These things will strongly 
recommend themselves to well-disposed men, and 
they will think it an honour to belong to a society 
that pursues such excellent designs." 

The recital of these passages may be sufficient to 
introduce the following proposal : 

That a proper number of persons in a neigh- 
bourhood, whose hearts God hath touched with a 
zeal to do good, should form themselves into a soci- 
ety, to meet when and where they shall agree, and 
to consider — " What are the disorders that we may 
observe rising among us ; and what may be done, 


either by ourselves immediately, or by others 
through our advice, to suppress those disorders ?" 
That they would procure, if they can, the presence 
of a minister with them; and every time they meet, 
present a prayer to the Lord to bless, direct, and 
prosper the design. That they would also procure, 
if possible, a Justice of the Peace, to be a member 
of the society. That half-yearly they choose two 
stewards, to despatch the business and messages of 
the society, and manage the votes in it, who shall 
nominate their successors when their term is ex- 
pired. That they would have a faithful treasurer, 
in whose hands their stock of charity may be depo- 
sited ; and a clerk to keep a suitable record of their 
transactions aid purposes: and, finally, that they 
carry on their whole undertakings with as much mo- 
desty and silence as possible. 

In a town furnished with several such societies, 
it has been usual for them all to meet together once 
a-year, and keep a day of prayer; in which they 
have humbled themselves for doing so little good, 
and entreated the pardon of their unfruitfulness, 
through the blood of the great Sacrifice ; and im- 
plored the blessing of heaven on those essays to do 
good which they have made, the counsel and con- 
duct of heaven for their future attempts, and such 
influences of heaven as may bring about that refor- 
mation which it was not in their power to accom- 

I will conclude this proposal by reciting those 
points of consideration, which may be read to the 
societies, at their meetings, from time to time, with 
I 24 


a proper pause after each of them, for any member 
to offer what he pleases upon it. 

1 . Is there any remarkable disorder in the place, 
which requires our endeavours for the suppression 
of it ? and, In what good, fair, likely way may we 
attempt it ? 

2. Is there any particular person, whose disor- 
derly behaviour may be so scandalous and notori- 
ous, that it may be proper to send him our charita- 
ble admonition ? or, are there any contending per- 
sons whom we should exhort to quench their con- 
tentions ? 

3. Is there any particular service to the interests 
of religion, which we may conveniently desire our 
ministers to take notice of? 

4. Is there any thing which we may do well to 
mention and recommend to the Justices, for the fur- 
ther promotion of good order? 

5. Is there any sort of officers among us unmind- 
ful of their duty, to such a degree that we may 
properly remind them of it? 

6. Can any further methods be devised that ig- 
norance and wickedness may be more chased from 
our people in general ; and that domestic piety, in 
particular, may flourish among them? 

7. Is there any instance of oppression or fraudu- 
lence in the dealings of any sort of people, which 
may call for our efforts to rectify it. 

8. Is there any matter to be humbly recommended 
to the legislative power, to be enacted into a law for 
the public benefit ? 

9. Do we know of any person languishing under 


severe affliction, and is there any thing we can do 
for the succour of that afflicted neighbour ? 

10. Has any person a proposal to make, for our 
further advantage and assistance, that we may be in 
a better and more regular capacity for prosecuting 
these intentions ? 

My Reader — " Look now towards heaven, and 
tell the stars, if thou be able to number them ;" 
yea, tell first the leaves of a Hyrcanian forest, and 
the drops of the Atlantic ocean — then tell, how 
many good things may be done by societies of men, 
having such points of consideration always before 

And yet, when such societies have done all the 
good they can, and nothing but good, and walk on 
in a more unspotted brightness than that of the 
moon in heaven, let them expect to be mahgned and 
libelled as "a set of scoundrels, who are maintained 
by lying, serve God for unrighteous gain, ferret 
whores for subsistence, and are not more zealous 
against immorality in their informations, than for it 
in their own practice; avoiding no sin in themselves, 
and suffering none in others." I suppose that they 
who pubUsh their censures on " The manners of the 
age," mil thus express their malignity, because they 
have done so. Sirs ! " add to your faith, courage," 
and be armed for such trials of it. 




A catalogue of desirable objects for the zeal of good 
men to prosecute. 

We will not propose that our Essays to do Good 
should ever come to a close ; but we will now put 
an end to our tender of proposals for them; I shall 
therefore conclude with a Catalogus Desideratorum^ 
or a mention of some obvious and general services 
for the kingdom of God among men, to which it is 
desirable that religious and ingenious persons should 
be awakened. 

A catalogue of desirable objects for the zeal of 
good men to prosecute: — 

I. The propagation of the holy and glorious reli- 
gion of Christ ; a religion which emancipates man- 
kind from the worst kind of slavery and misery, and 
wonderfully ennobles it ; and which alone prepares 
men for the blessedness of another world. Why is 
this no more attempted by its professors ? Protes- 
tants, will you be outdone by Popish idolaters? O 
the vast pains which those bigots have taken to 
carry on the Romish merchandize and idolatry ! 
No less than six hundred clergymen, in the order 
of the Jesuits alone, have, at several times, within a 
few years, embarked for China, to win over that 
mighty nation to their bastard Christianity. No 
less than five hundred of them lost their lives in the 
difficulties of their enterprise ; and yet the survivors 


go on with it, expressing a sort of regret that it fell 
not to their share to make a sacrifice of their lives 
in attempting the propagation of their religion. 
" O my God, I am ashamed, and blush to Hft up 
my face to thee, my God!" It were but a Chris- 
tian, a grateful, and an equal return, and who can 
tell what prosperity might be the recompense, if our 
trading companies and factories would set apart a 
more considerable part of their gains for this work, 
and would prosecute it more vigorously. The pro- 
posal which Gordon has made at the end of his 
" Geography," that all persons of property would 
appropriate a small part of their wealth to this pur- 
pose, should be more attentively considered. What 
has been done by the Dutch missionaries at Ceylon, 
and what is doing by the Danish missionaries at Mala- 
bar, one would imagine sufficient to excite us to imi- 
tate them. 

If men of zeal for evangelizing and illuminating 
a miserable world, would learn the languages of 
some nations which are yet unevangehzed, and wait 
on the providence of heaven to direct them to some 
apostolical undertakings, and to bless them therein, 
who can tell what might be done ! We know what 
Ruffinus relates concerning the conversion of the 
Iberians, and what Socrates mentions concerning the 
things done by Frumentius and Aedesius in the in- 
ner India. 

On this subject there are two things worthy of 

1. It is the opinion of some Seers, that until the 
temple be cleansed, there will be no general ap- 


pearance of the nations to worship in it. And the 
truth is there will be danger until then, that many 
persons, active in societies for the propagation of 
religion may be more intent on propagating their 
own little forms, fancies, and interests, than, the 
more weighty matters of the gospel. Yea, it will 
be well if they be not, unawares, imposed upon, 
to injure the cause of Christianity where it is 
well established, while places in the neighbourhood 
wholly unevangelized may lie neglected. Let us 
therefore do what we can towards the reformation 
of the Church, in order to its enlargement. 

2. It is probable that the Holy Spirit will be 
again bestowed on the Church for its enlargement, 
in operations similar to those by which, in the first 
ages, Christianity was planted. The Holy Spirit 
who has withdrawn from the apostate Church will 
come and abide with us, and render this world like 
a " watered warden." His irresistible influences 
will cause whole " nations to be born in a day." 
He will not only convert, but unite his people. By 
him, God will " dwell with men." Would not our 
" heavenly Father give his Holy Spirit" if he were 
more earnestly entreated of him ! 

n. It is lamentable to observe the ignorance and 
wickedness yet remaining, even in many parts of 
the British dominions: in Wales, in the Highlands, 
and in Ireland. Are the Gouges all dead ? There 
are pretended shepherds in the world, who will never 
be able to answer before the Son of God, for their 
laying so little to heart the deplorable circumstances 
of so many people whom they might, if they were 


not scandalously negligent, bring to be more ac- 
quainted with the only Saviour. And there might 
be more done, that some of the American colonies 
may no longer be such Cimmerian ones. 

III. Why is no more done for the poor Greeks, 
Armenians, Muscovites, and other Christians, who 
have little preaching, and no printing among them? 
If we were to send them Bibles, Psalters, and other 
books of piety in their own language, they would be 
noble presents, and God only knows how useful 

IV. Poor sailors, and poor soldiers call for our 
pity. They meet with great troubles, and yet their 
manners seldom discover any very good effects of 
their trials. What shall be done to make them a 
better set of men? Besides more books of piety 
distributed among them, other methods must be 
devised. " An ass falls, and the first who comes 
lifts him up: a soul is on the brink of ruin, and not 
a-handis stretched out." Let Austin awaken us. 

V. The Tradesma?i's library should be more en- 
riched. We have seen " Husbandry Spiritualized;" 
the employm.ent of the " Shepherd Spiritualized;" 
" Navigation Spiritualized;" and the " Weaver," 
also furnished with agreeable meditations: — to spread 
the nets of salvation for men in the way of their per- 
sonal callings, and to convey pious thoughts in the 
terms and branches of their daily business, is a real 
service to the interests of piety. A book also that 
shall be an " Onomatologia Monitoria," a '• Re- 
membrancer from names," and shall advise people 
how to make their names become the monitors of 


their duty, might be of much use to the christened 
world. And a book which shall be " The Angel 
of Bethesda," giving instructions in what manner to 
improve in piety, by the several maladies with which 
any may be afflicted; and at the same time inform- 
ing them of the most experimental, natural, and 
specific remedies for their disorders, might be very 
useful to mankind. 

VI. Universities which shall have more Collegia 
Pietatis in them, like those of the excellent Franc- 
kius in the Lower Saxony. O that such institu- 
tions we^e more numerous ! Seminaries in which 
the scholars may have a most polite education, but 
not be sent forth with recommendations for the 
evangelical ministry, till upon a strict examination it 
be found that their souls are fired with the fear of 
God, the love of Christ, a zeal to do good, and a 
resolution to bear poverty^ reproach, and all sorts of 
temptations, in the service of our holy religion. Such 
characters would be the wonders of the world; and 
what wonders might they do in the world! 

Let Charity Schools also ** increase and multiply." 
Charity schools which may provide subjects for the 
great Saviour, blessings for the next generation. 
Charity schools, not perverted to the ill purpose of 
introducing a defective Christianity. 

VII. It is the part of wisdom to observe and pur- 
sue those things which, so far as we understand by 
the books of the sacred Prophecy, are to be the 
works of our day. When the time had arrived that 
Antichrist should enter his last " half-time," one 
poor monk proved a main instrument of wresting 


from him half his empire. Thus to fall in with the 
designs of Divine Providence, is the way to be won- 
derfully prospered and honoured. One feeble man 
thus seizing the opportunity may do wonders. 
The works of our day I take to be as follows: 

1. The revival of Primitive Christianity; to study 
and restore every thing of the primitive character. 
The apostacy is going off. The time for cleansing 
the temple comes on. More Edwards would be 
vast blessings, when the primitive doctrines of Chris- 
tianity are corrupted. 

2. The persuading of the European powers to 
shake off the chains of popery. Let this argument 
be used: there is no popish nation but would, by 
embracing the Protestant religion, not only intro- 
duce itself into a glorious liberty, but also would 
double its wealth immediately. It is strange that 
this has not been more attended to. Sirs, let it be 
prosecuted with more demonstration. A certain 
writer has shown, that the abolition of popery in 
England, is worth at least eight millions sterling to 
the nation annually. Let this argument, arising 

from interest^ be tried with other nations. 

3. The formation and quickening of the people 
who are to be " The stone cut out of the mountain." 
In this, as in some other things, " None of the 
wicked shall understand; but the wise shall under- 
stand." God will do his own work in his own time 
and in his own way; and Austin says, " It is ad- 
visable to withhold part of what I meant to say, 
because of men's incapacity to receive it." 




" The zeal of the Lord of Hosts will perform 
these things:" a zeal inspired and produced by the 
Lord of Hosts in his faithful servants, will put them 
upon the performance of such things. Nothing has 
yet been proposed that is impracticable: " I mention 
not things of great difficulty, but such as are pos- 
sible." But Eusebius has taught me, " It is truly 
noble to do great things, and yet to esteem yourself 
as nothing." Sirs, while pursuing such a course of 
actions, which have a true glory in them, and which 
are far more glorious than all the achievements of 
which those bloody plunderers whom we call con- 
querors have made a wretched ostentation; and, 
perhaps, made inscriptions, like those of Pompey on 
the temple of Minerva, — still humanity must crown 
the whole. Without this they are all nothing: 
nothing, without a sense that you are nothing, and a 
consent to be so considered. You must first, most 
humbly acknowledge to the great God, " that after 
you have done all, you are unprofitable servants;" 
and make your humble confession that you have not 
only done that " which was your duty to do," but 
also, that you have fallen exceedingly short of doing 
your " duty." If God should abase you with very 
dark dispensations of his providence, after all your 
indefatigable and disinterested " essays" to glorify 
him, humble yourselves before him; yet abate noth- 
ing of your exertions. Persevere, saying, my God 


will humble me, yet will I glorify him. Lord, thou 
art righteous. Still will I do all I can to serve thy 
glorious kingdom. This act of humiliation is indeed 
comparatively easy. There is one to be demanded 
of you, of much greater difficulty; that is, that you 
humbly submit to all the discredit which God may 
appoint for you among men. Your adorable Savi- 
our was one who always " went about doing good." 
Mankind was never visited by such a benefactor: and 
yet we read never was any one so reviled. Had he been 
the worst malefactor in the world, he could not have 
been treated in a worse manner. He expostulated, 
and inquired, " For which of my good works do you 
thus treat me?" Yet they persevered: they hated 
him, they reproached him, they murdered him. 
Austin very tiuly said, " A sight of our Lord's 
cross is a certain cure for pride." It will also be a 
remedy for discouragement: it will keep you from 
sinking, as well as from being lifted up. You are 
conformed to your Saviour in your watchful endea- 
vours to " do good," and to be " fruitful in every 
good work." But your conformity to him yet lacks 
one thing; that is, to be " despised and rejected of 
men;" and patiently to bear the contempt, the ma- 
lice, and the abuse of a " perverse generation." 
One of the fathers, who sometimes wanted a little of 
this grace, could say, " Nothing makes us so agree- 
able in the sight of God and man, as to rise high by 
our good actions, and yet sink low in humihty." 

It is an excellent thing to come to nothing in your 
own esteem. If you hear the hopes of unfriendly 
men that you will come to nothing; hear it with as 


much satisfaction as they can hope for it. In this 
sense embrace eocincmitioii and annihilation. A 
person who had been a famous " doer of good," was 
much affected with the picture of a devout man, to 
whom a voice came down from heaven, " What 
wouklst thou have me do for thee?" To which he 
rephed, " Nothing, Lord, but that I may be per- 
mitted to suffer contempt for thy sake." Sirs, let 
it be seen somewhere else than m picture: be your- 
selves the reality: and thus " let patience have its 
perfect work." 

I hope you have more discretion than to imagine 
that because you are never weary of well-doing, you 
will therefore be universally well spoken of. No ; 
it will be just the contrary. To do well, and to 
hear ourselves evil spoken of, is the common expe- 
rience, and should be our constant expectation. 
And for this unreasonable thing, many reasons may 
be given. It will be impossible to do much good, 
but some persons will account themselves injured 
by what you do. You will unavoidably serve some 
interests to which others are indisposed. It is also 
the nature o£ mad men to take up strange prejudices 
against their best friends, and to be averse to none 
so much as to them. Now we may every where see 
those concerning whom we are told, " Madness is in 
their hearts." This will appear in their unaccounta- 
ble prejudices against those who most of all seek 
to do them good. Then " he teareth me in his 
wrath who hateth me; he gnasheth upon me with 
his teeth: mine enemy sharpeneth his eyes upon 
me." A benefactor will perhaps be honoured as the 


Liiidians worshipped Hercales, by cursing and 
throwing stones. The wrath of God against a sin- 
ful and miserable world, has likewise its operation in 
this grievous matter. If men who are always intent 
on doing good, were so generally beloved and esteemed 
as they ought to be, they would become instru- 
ments of doing more good than the justice of heaven 
can yet allow to be done for such a world. The 
world is neither worthy of them, nor of the good 
which they endeavour to perform. To deprive the 
world of that good, mankind must be permitted to 
entertain a strange aversion to those persons who 
would fain do it. This cramps and fetters them, 
and defeats their excellent purposes. 

Nor is the devil idle on this occasion. The man 
who shall do much good, will thereby do much harm 
to his empire. It would be surprising if the devil 
should not " seek to devour," or take an exquisite 
revenge upon such men of God. And unless God 
should lay an uncommon restraint upon that " wicked 
one," such is " the power of the adversary," and so 
great an influence has he over the minds of multi- 
tudes, that he will powerfully and bitterly revenge 
himself upon any remarkable " doer of good:" he 
will procure him a troop of enemies, and whole vol- 
lies of reproaches. But, O thou servant of God, 
by Him thou shalt " run through a troop ;" by thy 
God thou shalt *« leap over a wall." We should 
be so far from wondering that wicked men are vio- 
lently disaffected at the man who does much good; 
that they spread so many false reports, and write so 
many libels to his disadvantage, as even the incom- 


parable Calvin suffered from them; that we ought 
rather to wonder the devil does not make this world 
hotter than a Babylonish furnace for him : too hot 
for his continuing in it. Sirs, if you will do much, 
it is very likely that the devil may sometimes raise 
upon your opportunities to do good, such a horrible 
tempest as may threaten their utter ruin. You 
may fear to have your serviceableness — the " apple 
of your eye" struck out : you may be driven to 
prayers, to tears, and to frequent fasting in secret 
on this account. Prostrate in the dust, you must 
offer up your supplications with strong crying and 
tears, to Him that is able to save your " opportuni- 
ties of doing good from death:" you must cry out, 
*' O deliver my soul," my serviceableness, "from the 
sword, my darling from the power of the dog !" 
The words of the great Baxter are to the purpose, 
and worthy to be introduced on this occasion : 

" The temptations and suggestions of Satan, yea, 
and often his external and contrived snares, are such 
as frequently to give men a palpable discovery of his 
agency. Whence is it that such wonderful succes- 
sive trains of impediments are set in the way of al- 
most every man that intends any great and good 
work in the world? I have, among men of my own 
acquaintance, observed such wonderful frustrations 
of many designed excellent works, by such strange 
unexpected means, such a variety of them, and so 
powerfully carried on, as both of itself convinced me 
that there is a most vehement invisible malice per- 
mitted by God to resist mankind, and to militate 
against all good in the world. Let a man have any 


work of the greatest natural importance, which tends 
to no great benefit to mankind, and he may proceed 
without any extraordinary impediment. But let him 
have any great design for the common good, in things 
that tend to destroy sin, to heal divisions, to revive 
charity, to increase virtue, to save men's souls, yea, 
or to the public common felicity; and his impedi- 
ments shall be so multifarious, so far-fetched, so 
subtle, so incessant, and in spite of all his care and 
resolution, usually so successful, that he shall seem 
to himself like a man that is held fast, hand and 
foot, while he sees no one touch him ; or that sees a 
hundred blocks brought and cast before him in his 
way, while he sees no one do it." 

I have transcribed this passage for the purpose of 
preparing you to expect opposition. O thou doer 
of good, expect a conflict with wicked spirits in high 
places, to clog all the good thou dost propose to do. 
Expect their ceaseless endeavours to overwhelm thee 
by instilling into the minds of men vile ideas con- 
cerning thee, and by putting into their mouths ca- 
lumnies against thee. These will be some of their 
devices to defeat all thy proposals : '' Be not igno- 
rant of Satan's devices." 

Yea, and if the devil were asleep, there is malig- 
nity enough in the hearts of wicked men themselves, 
to render a man who wishes to do good very offen- 
sive and troublesome to them. They are the off- 
spring of him who " slew his brother, because his 
works were righteous ;" and they will malign a man 
because he is useful to other men. Indeed, " To 
be spoken ill of by the wicked is to be praised." 


Wicked men will curse a man because he is a bles- 
sing. O base and wicked disposition ! 

I happened once to be present in the room where 
a dying man could not leave the world until he had 
lamented to a minister, whom he had sent for, the 
unjust calumnies and injuries which he had often 
cast upon him. The minister asked the poor peni- 
tent what was the occasion of his abusive conduct ; 
whether he had been imposed upon by any false re- 
ports. The man made this horrible answer : " No, 
Sir; it was nothing but this; I thought you were a 
good man, and that you did much good in the 
world, and therefore I hated you. Is it possible, is 
it possible," said the poor sinner, " for such a sin- 
ner to find pardon ?" Truly, though other causes 
may be assigned for the spite and rage of wicked men 
against a fruitful doer of good, yet I shall not be 
deceived if I fear that frequently a secret antipa- 
thy to the kingdom of God Hes at the bottom of it. 
Or, in proud men it may frequently be pale envy, 
enraged that other men are more useful in the 
world than they, and vexing themselves with worse 
than Sicilian torments, at the sight of what God 
and man do for other men. " They see it and are 
grieved." " Sirs, he is not a good man who has 
not goodness enough to call forth envy and hatred." 
But, now for such causes you must not "think strange 
of the trial," if men " speak evil of you," after you 
have done good to many, yea, to those very persons 
who thus speak. It will not be strange if you should 
" hear the defaming of many ;" if the men who do 
not love the holy ways of the Lord in his churches, 


should have no love to you ; if javehns should be 
thrown at you with the most impetuous rage; and if 
pamphlets filled with falsehood and slander should be 
published against you. God may wisely and in 
much faithfulness permit these things, " to hide 
pride from you." " O, how much of that deadly 
poison, pride, still remains within us ; for which no- 
thing short of poison is an antidote !" Alas ! while 
we still carry about us the grave-clothes of pride, 
these rough hands are the best that can be employed 
to pull them off. If you should meet with such 
things, you must bear them with much meekness, 
much silence, great self-abasement, and a spirit to 
forgive the worst of all your persecutors. " Being 
defamed, you must entreat." Be well pleased if 
you can redeem any opportunities to do good. Be 
ready to do good even to those from whom you suf- 
fer evil. And when you have done all the good in 
your power, account yourself well paid if you es- 
cape as well as the crane did from the wolf; if you 
are not punished for what you do. In short, be in- 
sensible of any merit in your performances. Lie in 
the dust, and be willing that both God and man 
should lay you there. Have your spirit reconciled 
to indignities. Entertain them with all the calm- 
ness and temper imaginable. Be content that 
three hundred in Sparta should be preferred before 
you. When envious people can fix upon you no 
other blemish, they will say of you, as they said of 
Cyprian, that you are a proud man, because you do 
not jog on in their heavy road of slothfulness. Bear 
this also, with a yet more profound humility. It is 


the last efFort usually made by the dying " pride of 
life," to bear the charge of pride with impatience. 

Ye useful men, your acceptance with your Saviour, 
and with God through him, and your recompense in 
the world to come, are to carry you cheerfully through 
all your " essays" at usefulness. To be "repro- 
bate for every good work," is a character from which 
it will be the wisdom of all men to fly, with the 
greatest dread imaginable. But then, to be " always 
abounding in the work of the Lord" is the truest and 
highest wisdom. It is the " wisdom which is from 
above, full of mercy and good fruits." The slug- 
gards who do no good in the world, are " wise in 
their own conceit;" but the men who are diligent in 
doing good, can give such a reason for what they do, 
as proves them to be really wise. Men " leave off 
to be wise," when they leave off to " do good." 
The wisdom of it appears in this: it is the best way 
of spending our time ; that time is well spent which 
is spent in doing good. It is also a sure and plea- 
sant way, effectually to bespeak the blessings of God 
on ourselves. Who so likely iojind bless wgs as the 
men that are blessings P It has been said, " He 
who lives well, always prays." And I will add, 
*' He who acts well, prays well." Every action we 
perform for the kingdom of God, is, in effect, a 
prayer for the blessing of God. While vve are at 
work for God, certainly he will be at work for us and 
ours: he will do for us far more than ever vve have 
done for him; "more than we can ask or think." 
There is a voice in every good thing that is done ; 
it is this: " O do good unto those that are good !" 


Thus my Bonifacius again comes to bear the name 
of Benedictus^ also. Yea, and there may be this 
more particular effect of what we do : while we em- 
ploy our invention for the interests of God, it is very 
probable that we shall sharpen it for our own. We 
shall become the more wise for ourselves, because 
we have been "wise to do good." And of the man 
who is compared to a " tree that brings forth fruit," 
we read, " Whatsoever he doeth shall prosper." 
Nor can a man take a readier way to " live joyfully 
all the days of the life of his vanity, which God 
hath given him under the sun:" for, in this case, our 
life is not thrown away in " vanity," nor do we " live 
in vain." My friend, " Go thy way," and be joy- 
ful, " for God accepteth thy works." Our " few 
and evil days" are rendered much less so, by our do- 
ing good in every one of them, as it rolls over us : 
yea, the Holy Spirit of God, who is the quickener 
of those who " do good without ceasing," will also 
be their " Comforter." Every day in which we are 
active for the kingdom of God, will be in some de- 
gree a day of Pentecost to us ; a day of the Holy 
Spirit coming upon us. The " consolations of 
God" will not be small with the man who is full of 
contrivances for God, and for his kingdom. In 
short, we read, " the valleys are covered over with 
corn; they shout for joy, they also sing." We 
may be in low circumstances, but if we abound in the 
fruits of well-doing, and if we bless many with our 
services, we shall find our valley " covered over with 
corn." W^hen this is the case, we shall " shout for 
joy, and also sing." The consciousness of what we 


do, and of vvhat we aim to do, will be a " continual 
feast" to us. " Our rejoicing is this, the testimony 
of our conscience." " And a good action is its own 
reward." Yea, the pleasure of doing good is inex- 
pressible, is unparalleled, is angelical: it is a most 
refined pleasure, more to be envied than any sensual 
gratification. Pleasure was long since defined, 
" The result of some excellent action." It is a sort 
of holy Epicurea7iism. O most pitiable are they 
who will continue strangers to it ! 

When the useful man comes to his Nimc dimittiSi 
then he who lived beloved, shall die lamented. It 
shall be witnessed and remembered of him, " That 
he was one who did good in Israel:" — an epitaph, 
the glory of which is beyond that of the most stately 
pyramid ! Then the calumniators who once endea- 
voured to destroy his reputation, shall have only the 
impotence of their own defeated malice to reflect 
upon. And a Thersites will not have a more disad- 
vantageous article in his character than this, " That 
he was an enemy to such a Ulysses.'^ But what 
shall be done for this good man in the heavenly 
xwrld! His part and his work in the city of God 
are at present incomprehensible to us : but the 
" kindness" which his God will show to him in 
the " strong city," will be truly " marvellous." 
Austin, writing on this city, exclaimed, " How 
great will be the felicity of that city, where no evil 
will be seen, no good concealed." His attempts 
to fill this world with " righteous things," are so 
many tokens for good to him, that he shall have a 
share and a work in that world vv^herein shall dwell 


nothing but " righteousness." He will be intro- 
duced into that world, with a M^elcome from the 
mouth of the glorious Jesus, which will be worth a 
thousand worlds — " Well done, good and faithful 
servant!" And, O! what shall be done for him ! 
He has done what he could for the " honour of the 
King of Heaven ;" and every thing shall be done for 
him that can be done for one whom the " King- of 
Heaven delighteth to honour." 

I will give you the whole summed up in one word: 
" Mercy and truth shall be to them that devise 
good." Children of God, there is a strain of 
" mercy and truth" in all the good that you devise. 
You devise how to deal mercifully and truly with 
every one, and to induce every one to do so too. 
And the mercy and truth of God, which are now 
for ever engaged on your behalf, will suffer you to 
" lack no good thing," and will hereafter do you 
good beyond what the heart of man can yet conceive. 
A faithful God, a Saviour of great faithfulness, has 
promised it — " The mouth of the Lord hath spoken 

I have not forgotten the words used by the ex- 
cellent Calvin, when the order for his banishment 
from ungrateful Geneva was brought to him: " Most 
assuredly, if I had merely served man, this would 
have been a poor recompense: but it is my happiness 
that I have served Him who never fails to reward 
his servants to the full extent of his promise." 

I will conclude with a testimony which I will 
ever adhere to. It is this: Were a man able to write 
in seven languages — could he daily converse with 


the sweets of all the liberal sciences to which the 
most accomplished men generally make pretensions 
— were he to entertain himself with all ancient and 
modern history; and could he feast continually on 
the curiosities which all the different branches of 
learning may discover to him: even this, and much 
less the grosser delights of sense, would not afford 
the ravishing satisfaction which he might find in re- 
lieving the distresses of a poor miserable neighbour; 
and which he would find much more in doing any 
extensive service to the kingdom of our great Sa- 
viour in the world, or by his efforts to redress the 
miseries under which mankind is generally languish- 


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