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SERMON XXXI. *

THE DUTY AND REWARD OF BOUNTY TO

THE POOR.

Psal. cxii. 9.
He hath dispersed, he hath given to the poor ; his righteous-

ness endureth for ever, his horn Mall lie exalted with
honour.

or piocareatly

of such

SERM. As this whole Psalm appears to have a double intent; XXXI. one to describe the proper actions and affections of a truly Verse 1.

religious or pious man; (of a man who feareth the Lord, and delighteth greatly in his commandments ;) the other to declare the happiness of such a man's state, confequent upon those his affections and actions, whether in way of natural result, or of gracious recompence from God: so doth this verse particularly contain both a good part of a pious man's character, and some considerable instances of his felicity. The first words (He hath dispersed, he hath given to the poor) express part of his character; the latter (His righteousness endureth for ever, his horn shall be exalted with honour) assign instances of his felicity. So that our text hath two parts, one affording us good information concerning our duty, the other yielding great encouragement to the performance thereof; for we are obliged to follow the pious man's practice, and so doing we shall assuredly partake of his condition. These parts we shall in order prosecute, endeavouring (by God's affiftance) somewhat to illustrate the words themselves, to SERM. confirm the truths couched in them, and to inculcate the XXXI. duties which they imply

* This Sermon was preached at the Spital upon Wednesday in Eafter Week, A. D. 1671.

For the first part, He hath dispersed, he hath given to the poor ; these words in general do import the liberal bounty and mercy which a pious man is wont to exercise; doing which doth in good part constitute him pious, and signally declareth him such ; is a necessary ingredient of his piety, and a conspicuous mark thereof. But particularly they insinuate some things concerning the nature, the matter, the manner, and the object of those acts.

He hath dispersed, he hath given. Those words being put indefinitely, or without determining what is dispersed and given by hiin, may be supposed to imply a kind of universality in the matter of his beneficence; that he bestoweth whatever he hath within compass of his pofsession, or bis power; his ta útépXorta, (the things which Luke xii. he hath,) and his tà švóvta, (the things which he may,) 33. xi. 41. according to the prescriptions of our Lord in the Gospel. Every thing, I say, which he hath in substance, or can do by his endeavour, that may conduce to the support of the life, or the health, or the welfare in any kind of his neighbour, to the succour or relief of his indigency, to the removal or easement of his affli&tion, he may well here be understood to disperse and give. Feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the fick, entertaining the stranger, ransoming the captive, easing the oppressed, comforting the sorrowful, assisting the weak, instructing or advising the ignorant, together with all such kinds or instances of beneficence, may be conceived either meant directly as the matter of the good man's dispersing and giving, or by just analogy of reason reducible thereto : substantial alms, as the most sensible and obvious matter of bounty, was (it is probable) especially intended, but thence no manner of expressing it is to be excluded; for the same reasons which oblige us, the same affections which dispose us to bestow our money, or deal our bread, will equally bind and move us to contribute our endeavour and advice, for the sustenance and comfort of our

XXI

SERM. poor neighbour. Answerably our discourse will more ex

pressly regard the principal matter, liberal communication of our goods; but it may be referred to all sorts of beneficence.

Farther, the word dispersed intimateth the nature of his bounty, in exclusion of practices different from it. He disperseth, and is therefore not tenacious, doth not hoard up his goods, or keep them close to himself, for the gratifying his covetous humour, or nourishing his pride, or pampering his sensuality; but sendeth them abroad for the use and benefit of others. He disperseth his goods, and therefore doth not Aling them away altogether, as if he were angry with them, or weary of them, as if he loathed or despised them; but fairly and softly with good confideration he disposeth of them here and there, as reason and need do require. He disperseth them to the poor, not diffipateth them among vain or lewd persons in wanton or wicked profusions, in riotous excesses, in idle divertisements, in expensive curiosities, in hazardous gamings, in any such courses which swallow whole all that a man hath, or do fo cripple him, that he becomes unable to disperse any thing : our good man is to be understood wisely provident, honestly industrious, and soberly frugal, that he may have wherewith to be just first, and then

libera) a. Eph. iv. 28. His dispersing also (or scattering, so the * Hebrew

77?5 * word here used is otherwhere rendered: There is, faith the Prov.xi. 24.

Wife Man, that scattereth, and yet increaseth: where we may remark, that this word singly by itself, without any adjunct matter to limit or interpret it, is used to signify this kind of practice. This his disperhng, I say, also) denotes the extent of the pious man's bounty, that it is very large and diffusive, and in a manner unrestrained ; that it reacheth to many places, and is withheld from no persons within the verge of his power, and opportunity to do good. This practice commonly by a like phrase (unto which perhaps this word refers) is termed fowing : He,

i os gydę osów ze zgépar' 'xsı, pa i opinbusvov, Fw ixn. Arift. Eth. iv. 1.

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faith St. Paul, which foweth Sparingly, Mall also reap SERM. Sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully, Mall also XXX1. reap bountifully. Now, he that soweth, having chosen a 2 Cor. ix. good soil, and a fit season, doth not regard one particular 6,10,,

Gal. vi. 7, spot, but throweth all about so much as his hand can 8. hold, so far as the strength of his arm doth carry. It is nov. xi. likewise called watering ; (He that watereth, faith Solo- Prov. xi. mon, shall be watered himself :) which expression also 25. seemeth to import a plentiful and promiscuous effusion of good, dropping in thowers upon dry and parched places; that is, upon persons dry for want, or parched with affii&tion. So the good man doth not plant his bounty in one small hole, or spout it on one narrow spot, but with an open hand disseminates it, with an impartial regard distils it all about. He stints it not to his own family or relations; to his neighbours, or friends, or benefactors; to those of his own feet and opinion, or of his humour and disposition; to such as serve him, or oblige him, or please him; whom some private interest ties, or some particular affection endears him to; but scatters it indifferently and unconfinedly toward all men that need it; toward mere strangers, yea, toward known enemies ; toward such who never did him any good, or can ever be able to do any; yea, even toward them who have done evil to him, and may be presumed ready to do more b. Nothing in his neighbour but absence of need, nothing in himself but defect of ability, doth curb or limit his beneficence. In that apo Jupice, (that proclivity and promp- 2 Cor. viii. titude of mind) which St. Paul speaketh of, he doth good Ubicunque every where: wherever a man is, there is a room for his homo eft,

ibi benefiwishing well, and doing good, if he can : he observes that cio locus rule of the Apostle, As we have opportunity, let us do,

lo Vit. B. cap. good unto all men. So the pious man hath dispersed. It 24...

Gal. vi. 10. follows,

2 Cor. ix. He hath given to the poor. These words denote the 13.

.de 26.

b 'Eà, idms tirà xaxãs wúcxovra, pridiy ariprigyásy domóveicu do Soxaíwp.com vs Sex9ies, rẽ say wasĩ dirév=T8 Đo is, xảy °EAA%, xảy 'Idoaơ. Chryf. in Heb. Orat, 10.

rich shall

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34.

SERM. freeness of his bounty, and determine the principal object

XXXI. thereof: he not only lendeth (though he also doth that Pfal.cxii. s. upon reasonable occasion ; for, A good man, as it is said

before in this Psalm, Meweth mercy, and lendeth; and Pfal. xxxvii. Otherwhere, The righteous is ever merciful, and lendeth;

he, I say, not only sometimes willingly lendeth) to those who in time may repay, or requite him; but he freely

giveth to the poor, that is, to those from whom he can Qui diviti expect no retribution back. He doth not (as good and donat, petit. pious, he doth not) present the rich: to do so is but a He thatgiv.P. eth to the cleanly way of begging, or a subtile kind of trade; it is surely come"

he hardly courtesy; it is surely no bounty; for such persons to want. (if they are not very fordid or very careless, and such men Prov. xxii.

are not usually much troubled with presents) will, it is likely, overdo him, or at least will be even with him in

kindness. In doing this, there is little virtue; for it there Lukevi. 33, will be small reward. For, If you do good to them who do

good to you, (or whom you conceive able and disposed to requite you,) wola zápis, what thanks are due to you? For that, faith our Saviour, even finners (even men notoriously bad) do the same: And if you lend to them from whom you hope to receive, what thanks have you ? For finners even lend to finners, to receive as much again. All men commonly, the bad no less than the good, are apt to be fuperfluously kind in heaping favours on those whom fortune befriends, and whose condition requires not their courtesy ; every one almost is ready to adopt himself into the kindred, or to screw himself into the friendship of the wealthy and prosperous c: but where kindred is of use, there it is feldom found; it is commonly so deaf, as not

to hear when it is called ; so blind, as not to discern its Prov. xvii. proper object and natural season, (the time of adversity,

for which a brother is born.) Men disclaim alliance with « Prov. xiv.

the needy, and sun his acquaintance; so the Wise Man EU TÁToto

Toate observed, d All the brethren of the poor do hate him; how τα φίλων δ' υδέν, ήν τις dusuch. Eurip.

1 oray i hai anh ở đày, xen Aav; 'Aạxi vào alse; i oiày coiA 96aw. Eurip. in Oreft.

Tüv ebruyoúrtwv spártes tisi ovyysvešs.

17.

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