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fion for himself; for no Evil can approach him. Sin and Wickedness are attended with Guilt as well as Misery, and therefore also Objects of Justice and Punishment; and it may, perhaps, be a Case attended with Difficulties, when we attempt to reconcile the Operations of Justice and Mercy, with Respect to the same Subject. But if God be a God of Mercy, as undoubtedly he is, the Conclusion must stand, that Misery, viewed by the Eye of Reason, is an Object of Compassion; and the Consequence must be, that, in the Reason of Things, Mercy is as extenfive as Misery; and not to be confined, by any particular or partial Considerations, to Misery of one Kind, or of one Man more than another. If we consider ourselves, therefore, merely as reasonable Creatures, no Reason can be assigned for excluding any Object of Misery from our Pity and Compaffion. But if we consider ourselves as Men, there is another and perhaps a more sensible Inducement to the Practice of the Works of Mercy, and which upon Examination will be found, as far as our Power of doing good goes, of like general Influence. And this arises from reflecting, that there is no Misery we see, to which we are not our
selves liable. The Cafe therefore of the Miserable is a common Case, and in some Sense every Man's own. If we find ourselves better than others, so as to avoid the Calamities which Sin and Iniquity bring upon many; or wiser than others, so as to Thun the Evils which Folly and Indiscretion draw down upon Numbers ; this is so far from being a Reason why we should despise or neglect their Sufferings, that it daily reminds us to ask of ourselves this Question, Who made thee to differ from another ? And if we answer it as we should, it will furnish us with another Reason for the Exercise of Charity, which will extend to all Men.
For, if all Men are the Sons of one common Father; if all Conditions of Life are the Appointment of one common Master; no Man can be reckoned a Stranger to us, who is Son of the fame Father, and Servant' of the same Master ; however he may, for Reasons unknown to us, be placed in a lower Condition of Life, and called to serve in a meaner Station, endowed with less and few. er Abilities.
Carry these Considerations with you into ' the World, and view the Wants and Necessities of the Poor ; listen to the Cries of
Widows and Orphans, to the Moans and Complaints of those who suffer under the Torments of Body or of Mind: take into your View the Follies and the Weaknesses of Men, who are perpetually struggling with the Inconveniences, which a little Prudence might have prevented, but which require a great Deal of Care and Sorrow either to cure, or to bear them; and think a little, what Reason, what the Sense of your own Infirmities, what the Regard due to the common Father and Master of all, require at your Hands. One duly attentive to these Reasons, could never fall into the little Confiderations, whether this miserable Man was his Countryman or Townsman, whether the other was of the same Party or Opinion with himself; for the great and true Reasons on which Mercy and Charity are founded, exclude all such little Respects and Relations.
As the Cafe stands thus upon the Foot of Reason, and the natural Sentiments of Men, so likewise have the Precepts of the Gospel bound these Duties upon us in the fame Extent.
Honour, Esteem, and Reverence, are due to those who deserve Honour, Esteem, and
. Reverence ; Reverence; but Love is a Debt due to all Men, and is a Debt never to be fully paid and exhausted. Therefore St. Paul commands, that we render to every Man bis Due, Fear to whom Fear, Honour to whom Honour is due : but when he comes to speak of Love, he varies his Style, and considers us in this Respect as Debtor' to every Man : owe no Man any Thing, but to love one another. As if he had said, all other Debts due to particular Persons, you must take Care to discharge; but Love is due to all, and you must never think of paying or clearing the Debt of Love to each other; for that is a Debt which will be owing as long as you live ; it is a perpetual Duty, and can never have an End. In the same Manner are the Precepts of Love and Mercy enjoined by our blessed Saviour in general Terms, not confining them to particular Objects, but leaving them at large, and open, to be 'applied to all Men : Blessed, says he, are the Merciful, for they all obtain Mercy. Had this been a Duty owing to any Persons, as they stand particularly related to us, our Lord would not have left this material Duty imperfect, by neglecting to specify the proper Objects of it; but having directed our
Love and Mercy to no Men in particular, we must conclude that all in general are the Objects of it.
If we consider these Laws as derived from the Author of Nature, and of the Gospel, we shall find that they proceeded from a Love as universal as that which they enjoin; the general Good of Mankind is the End provided for in these Laws. The Miseries and Calamities of Life are many, and not to be avoided; and perhaps wise Men, though they complain least, feel them most. It is a melancholy Thing to reflect how much of this Misery is of our own making, and what a great Abatement might be made in the Sorrows of Life, if every Man would but lend his Hand to make himself and the rest of the World happy. The unkind Offices we daily receive from Malice, Illnature, and Revenge, from Envy, and causea less Resentments, make a much greater Figure in the Calamities of Life, than all the Evils which the Providence of God and the Condition of human Life bring on us. And even the Calamities which cannot be avoided, might be mitigated by the kind Offices of our Brethren. And therefore to oblige Men to Charity and Mercy, is to unite them