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elusion, they would be attended with no Difficulty, unless it were in determining, which of these Glorious Designs should have the Preference. For each of them does, with abundant reason, lay claim to your Kind wishes and Liberality.
If the Education of the Children, recommended to you, * be duely considered, it must meet with Encouragement, wheresoever any Footsteps of Charity are to be found. For if this be a Cogent reason of succouring every Necessitous Person, That he bears the Image of God; How justly may They depend upon our best Affections and Assistance, who have not yet Defaced that Image, by the habits of Sin? Or, if we should make an Estimate of this branch of Charity, by its Consequences; it will appear to be of the utmost Importance: For your Favour, to these objects of it, adds Glory and Strength to your Countrey, contributes to the Honour of God and our holy Religion, secures the distressed Innocents themselves from fatal Ignorance and Pollutions, and supplies them with the means of Salvation; which may be hazarded and finally Lost, under the Want of thofe advantages, which you are capable of giving.
* Christ's Hospital.
If we transfer our Thoughts from thofe, who are Entring upon the Scene of Life, to others, * whofe Exquisite[torments have made Life to become a Burthen to them; we shall find new Demands upon our Charity, and thofe so Reasonable and Just, that Charity cannot reject them. If wounds and Diseases do ly so very Heavy, even upon all the Comforts, which the Largest Fortune can supply; How should we commiserate the Pains and Sickness of thofe, whofe Groans and Sighs are their only Relief. Let our Imaginations then be filled with the hideous Cries, which cannot reach our Ears; Let us mourn with them that mourn, and freely reach out Consolation unto them; under the Thoughts of thofe shocking hours, which are hastening towards us,
* St. Bartholomew';, and St. Thomas'; Hospitals.
the the hours of Sickness and approach of Death, when our Whole stock of Comforts will be Wanted, and when this Work pf Mercy will be our Principal support. Thus is this very Blessing annexed to this, Duty: * Blessed is be, that considereth she Poor, or the Sick; the Lord will de-. liver him in time of trouble. The Lord •will strengthen him, upon the bed of languishing^ thou wilt make all his bed in fas sickness.
There is still another prospect of Misery, f which cannot but command our most tender Regard. For who is Hardy enough to withold his Compassion and Assistance from those, who are deprived pf Reason-, upon which depends even pur Capacity of being Religious, or Happy? They who can behold these Ruins pf Human Nature, without wishing and attempting its Reparation, must thenv selves be fallen from Humanity, And they are indeed no better affected to the common good of human Society, than to those miserable Persons, who are Gra
* PsaLxli. 1,3. tBethlem,
ciously removed from it, that, is Possible, they may be safely Restored to it again.
Lastly, If we cast our Eyes upon the Places appropriated to the Confinement and Employment of Vagrants and Vicious Persons; * Those likewise will be found proper Repositories of the Mammon of Unrighteousness. Imprisonment is as neceflary an effect of Charity, in this case, as Redemption from it is in others. The Jews did wifely seclude their Lepers from. the most publick Places of Concourse, to prevent the mischief of spreading Infection. And by how much Mens Souls are more Valuable than their Bodies; so much more Solicitous should we be to prevent the propagation ofVice than of Leprosie; which cannot possibly be effected, if those Profligate Persons, who are confined for their Enormities, were suffer'd to breath in the open Air. And yet, whilst you thus abandon them from common Conversation, you do not only provide for the Preservation of O
* Bridewell, and tht Work-House.
thers, but likewise for their own Deliverance. You prevent their running into the Occasions of Sin, and reduce them from Idleness, that Fruitful parent of Vice, to an Innocent and useful course of Life, to Consideration, and the means of Repentance. Since then there is more joy in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, than over ninety and nine Jufi persons, who need no repentance; How acceptable unto God must: that Charity be, whereby the most Desperate offenders are rescued from the very Jaws of Eternal Death?
These are Unexceptionable Objects of Charity; And the Hands, through which the Effects of Charity are transmitted to them, are likewise Unexceptionable. Here is no room for that Little, Trivial subterfuge of Uncharitable Men, which they are so frequently insinuating, as a Cover for their Narrow and Base Spirits, That Charitable Gifts are often misapplied. Here is a Sure foundation for their good works to rest upon; Let them bring in their fruits of Charity into these Treasuries; which are so managed, that