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But it must be allowed, that Charity is naturally the Duty rather of the Rich than the Poor. And if it be the Duty of the Poor to give to Charity out of the little their Hands can earn ; how much more will it be expected from such, to whom God has given more than enough? Who are appointed Stewards over his Houshold, and are entrusted with the good Things of the World, that they may use them to the Honour and Glory of his Name, and to the Comfort and Relief of their poor Brethren? He has given you plentifully, and made the Things you enjoy to be your own; he has secured to you your Possessions, and commanded that no Man rob or steal from you, on purpose that you may
your Love by the Freedom of your Offering. Look down and behold the Toil and Labour of Mankind, how in the Sweat of their Brow they eat their Bread; how their Hands are galled with Work, and their Shoulders with Burdens : And then look up to him, who has exempted you, and given you a Life full of Ease and Comfort ; and reflect what it is you owe to this kind, to this bountiful God. The Time will come when you must quit your Lands and your Houses; when you
fhall be Suitors for Mercy and Favour : Make to yourselves therefore Friends of the Mammon of Unrighteousness, that when all shall leave and forsake you, you may be received into the Habitations of Righteousness, where there is Mercy, and Peace, and Joy for
1 PETER iv, 8.
And above all Things have fervent Charity
among yourselves; for Charity Mall cover the Multitude of Sins,
eK*HE Exhortation in the. Text
being joined with other ExhorT
tations to Sobriety, and Watch
fulness in Prayer, to HospitaX22*8*
lity, and to a faithful Use and Exercise of the Gifts and Graces of God bestowed on the several Menibers of the Church; and yet, being introduced in this distinguishing Manner, Above all Things have fervent Charity among yourselves, plainly
Thews, how highly the Apostle esteemed this great Virtue of Charity; and that it is the Perfection of a Christian, the very
Life and Soul of all other Duties, which without this are empty Performances, and of no Value in the Sight of God.
This Excellency of Charity, which we collect from the peculiar Manner in which St. Peter recommends it to the Practice of Christians, is fully and expressly set forth by St. Paul in the 1 Cor. 1 3. where speaking in his own Person, he says, Though I speak with the Tongues of Men and of Angels, and have not Charity, I am become as founding Brass, or a tinkling Cymbal. And though I have the Gift of Prophecy, and understand all Mysteries, and all Knowledge ; and though. I have all Faith, so that I could remove Mountains, and have no Charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all
my Good's to feed the Poor, and though I give my Body to be burned, and have not Charity, it profiteth me nothing. It is to be observed, that St. Paul does not merely compare and prefer Charity before all spiritual Gifts and Attaininents, before Liberality and Almsgiving; but he declares; that these without Charity are nothing, of no Value in the Sight of God, of no Profit to the Salvation