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SERM. under so great impediments, discouragements, and XXXI. distresses) should be supported, supplied, and relieved by particular liberality. No words that I can devise will be so apt to affect and move you, as the case itself, if you please to consider it: hear it therefore speaking, and, I pray, with a pious and charitable disposition of mind attend thereto : A true report, &c.

For this excellent pattern of pious bounty and mercy, let us heartily thank Almighty God; let us humbly implore God's blessing on the future management of it; let us pay due respects to the worthy promoters thereof, and pray for rewards upon them, answerable to their charitable care and industry employed therein; let us also according to our ability perform our duty in following and furthering it for encouragement to which practice, give me leave briefly to reflect upon the latter part of my text; which represents some instances of the felicity proper to a bountiful person, or some rewards peculiar to the exercising the duties of bounty and mercy.

The first is, His righteousness endureth for ever. These words are capable of various senses, or of divers respects; they may import, that the fame and remembrance of his bounty is very durable, or that the effects thereof do lastingly continue, or that eternal rewards are designed thereto; they may respect the bountiful man himself, or his posterity here; they may simply relate to an endurance in God's regard and care; or they may with that also comprehend a continuance in the good memory and honourable mention of men. Now in truth, according to all these interpretations, the bountiful


man's righteousness doth endure for ever, that is, SERM. very lastingly, (or so long as the special nature of the case doth bear,) in any sense; or for an absolute perpetuity in some sense: the words in their plenitude do naturally and without straining involve so many truths; none of which therefore we think fit to exclude, but shall briefly touch them all.

1. As for future reputation and fame, (which that it in part is intended here, that which precedes, The righteous shall be had in everlasting remembrance, doth argue,) it is evident, that it peculiarly attends upon this practice: the bountiful person is especially that just man, whose memory is blessed, (is per' Prov. x. 7. ykwμíw, as the Greek renders it; that is, is prosecuted with commendations and praises.) No spices can so embalm a man, no monument can so preserve his name and memory, as works of beneficence; no other fame is comparably so precious, or truly glorious, as that which grows from thence: the renown of power and prowess, of wit or learning, of any wisdom or skill, may dwell in the fancies of men with some admiration: but the remembrance of bounty reigns in their hearts with cordial esteem and affection; there erecting immoveable trophies over death and oblivion, and thence spreading itself through the tongues of men with sincere and sprightly commendations. The bountiful man's very dust is fragrant, and his grave venerable; his name is never mentioned without respect; his actions have always these best echoes, with innumerable iterations resounding after them: His goods shall be established, and the congregation shall declare his alms, Ecclus. xxxii. 11. This was a true friend to mankind; this was a real benefactor

SERM. to the world; this was a man good in earnest, and XXXI. pious to good purpose.

2. The effects of his righteousness are likewise very durable: when he is departed hence, and in person is no more seen, he remains visible and sensible in the footsteps and fruits of his goodness; the poor still beholds him present in the subsistence of himself and his family; the sick man feels him in the refreshment which he yet enjoys by his provision; he supervives in the heart of the afflicted, which still resents the comfort, and rejoices in the ease, which he procured him; all the world derives benefit from him by the edification it receiveth from his example; religion obtaineth profit and ornament, God himself enjoyeth glory and praise from his righteousness.

3. His righteousness also endureth in respect to his posterity. It is an usual plea for tenacity and parsimony, that care must be had of posterity, that enough must be provided and laid up for the family : but in truth this is a very absurd excuse; and doing according thereto is a very preposterous method of proceeding toward that end; it is really the greatest improvidence in that respect, and the truest neglect that can be of our children: for so doing, together with a seeming estate, we entail a real curse upon them we divest them of God's protection and benediction, (the only sure preservatives of an estate;) we leave them heirs of nothing so much as of punishments due to our ingratitude, our infidelity, our impiety and injustice both toward God and man: whereas by liberally bestowing on the poor, we demise unto them God's blessing, which is the best inheritance; we recommend them to God's special care, which is the best tuition; we leave them God's protection and provi

dence, which are a wealth indefectible and inex- SERM. haustible; we constitute God their guardian, who XXXI. will most faithfully manage, and most wisely improve their substance, both that which we leave to them, and that which we gave for them to the poor; we thereby in good part entitle them to the rewards appropriate to our pious charity, our faith, our gratitude, our self-denial, our justice, to whatever of good is virtually contained in our acts of bounty; to omit the honour and good-will of men, which constantly adhere to the bountiful man's house and family. Prov. xiii. 22. A good man leaveth an inheritance to his children's children. It is therefore expressly mentioned in scripture as a recompense peculiar to this virtue, that security from want and all happiness do attend the posterity of the bountiful person: He is ever merciful and lendeth, and his Ps. xxxvii. seed is blessed, saith David of him generally: and David also particularly observed, that in all the course of his long life he could find no exception to the rule: I have been young, and now am old; yet Ps. xxxvii. have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging their bread.



4. His righteousness also endureth for ever in the perpetual favour of God, and in the eternal rewards which God will confer upon him, who, out of conscience and reverence toward God, out of good-will and kindness toward his brother, hath dispersed, and given to the poor. God will not, as the apostle Heb. vi. 10. saith, be unjust to forget his labour of charity in ministering to his poor brother: from the seed which he hath sown to the Spirit, he shall assuredly Gal. vi. 8. reap a most plentiful crop of blessings spiritual; he shall effectually enjoy the good foundation that he 1 Tim. vi. hath stored up: for the goods he hath sold and de


SERM. livered, he shall bona fide receive his bargain, the XXXI. hidden treasure and precious pearl of eternal life; Matt. xiii. for this best improvement of his talent of worldly Matt. xxv. riches, he shall hear the Euge bone serve, Well


21, 23.

done, good and faithful servant, enter into thy master's joy: he shall at last find God infinitely more bountiful to him, than he hath been unto the poor.

Thus when all the flashes of sensual pleasure are quite extinct; when all the flowers of secular glory are withered away; when all earthly treasures are buried in darkness; when this world and all the fashion of it are utterly vanished and gone, the bountiful man's state will still be firm and flourishing, and his righteousness shall endure for ever.


It follows, His horn shall be exalted with honour. A horn is an emblem of power; for in it the beasts' strength, offensive and defensive, doth consist; and of plenty, for it hath within it a capacity apt to con1 Sam. xvi. tain what is put into it; and of sanctity, for that in Kings i. it was put the holy oil, with which kings were consecrated; and of dignity, both in consequence upon the reasons mentioned, (as denoting might, and influence, and sacredness accompanying sovereign dignity,) and because also it is an especial beauty and ornament to the creature which hath it; so that this expression (His horn shall be exalted with honour) may be supposed to import, that an abundance of high and holy, of firm and solid honour shall attend upon the bountiful person. And that so it truly shall, may from many considerations appear.

1. Honour is inseparably annexed thereto, as its natural companion and shadow. God hath impressed upon all virtue a majesty and a beauty, which do command respect, and with a kindly violence extort

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