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so far from being in danger to be lost or thrown away, that they are no better way secur'd to Us than by being dispens'd to the Indigent and Needy: and that this Duty is attended with all the Blessings of this Life.
I shall mention but a few Texts out of many that assure us of this infallible Truth. And ift, as soon as Moses had given that remarkable Command in Deuteronomy is. of Giving Willingly and plentifully to the Poor, he thus enforces it: Because for this thing the Lord thy God sball bless thee in all thy Works, and in all that thou puttest thine band unto. He that giveth unto the Poor, says the Wiseft of Men, shall not lack: and again, The liberal Soul Mall be made fat, and he that watereth shall be water'd also bimself, Prov.11.25. Nor is this a transient but a durable Blesfing, nor enriches only the Present but
provides for Posterity. David tells us from his own Experience; I have been Young and now am Old, yet have I not seen the Righteous, that is the Charitable, forsaken, nor his Seed begging their Bread, Pf. 37.25. And his Son Solomon assures us, A good Man leaves an Inheritance to his Children's Children, and the Wealth of the Sinner is laid up for the Fuft; but He that by unjuft Gain encreaseth his Substance, be fball gather it for Him that will pity the Poor. 'Tis the Son of Sirach's advice therefore, Ecclus 29. 11. Lay up thy Treasure ac
cording to the Commandments of the Most High, and it shall bring thee more Profit than Gold. Riches that are kept profit not in the day of Wrath, but Jbut up Alms in thy Storehouses, and it shall deliver Thee from all Affli&tion, it shall fight for Thee against thine Enemys better than
mighty Meild or strong Spear. Can any One, that reads these and many other the like Texts and pretends that he believes the Scri. pture to be the Word of God, have the least Apprehension that his Charity should ever make even his Worldly Condition worse, or wast or diminish his Substance ? Nay, can any One that is a true Believer of God's Word doubt, but that by Exercising this Godlike Virtue he shall increase, or at least bless and sanctify what he has ?
But further adly. It is an Unreasonable Miftruft to fear that our Alms or Good Deeds to the Poor, tho' never so liberal, if within the compass of Prudence and Discretion, which few have need in this Case to be advis'd not to transgress, should ever bring any Man into Want or Distress. Let every One consult his own Experience, and consider if this be not true in what he has observ'd in the World. Who ever knew an Eftate impair'd by Charity? by Love of our Brethren? But by Love of Ourselves, how many? By Luxury, by Prodigality, by Love of the World, by the very Desire of encreas
ing and multiplying, how many? These are the ways that Providence has taken care fhould destroy Riches, that the Sin may appear in the Punishment, and the Cause in the Effect. These are the Wings that Riches most usually take to themselves, when they fly away, and then as the Wise Man speaks, what Profit bas he that labour'd for the Wind Eccles. 5. 16. The best and secureft way to fix these Uncertain and Fleeting things even in a Worldly Sense is to lay 'em up where it is impossible they should be lost." Whatever is bestow'd in Charity is still our Own, the Satisfaction of having done Good lives within us, and can never be ftollen or spent. Quas dederis folas semper habebis Opes, was the Saying even of an Heathen. The Riches that we give are those Only that we shall always have. What Care, what Caution do the wealthy Worldlings take about Securities? and yet how often is all their Care and niceft Circumspection defeated, and all their Riches fo cautiously Secur'd dwindled into a notch'd Stick or an useless piece of Parchment and Wax? But what is beftow'd on the Poor and Needy is ever Ours, fubject to no Casualties of Water or Fire, and out of the Reach of a breaking Banker or fraudulent Conveyancer, fo Ours as even still to bless and encrease the Heap out of which it was taken.
But there is yet a more valuable and certain Reward for this Duty ; namely, that which every Faithfull Christian knows to be resery'd for it in the World to come. Let us not therefore, as St Pauls exhorts, be weary in well doing, for in due season we hall reap, if we faint not.
For lastly, tho' many days have past and we yet meet with no Return here, let us not faint or be discourag'd. There shall at last come a day, when our long Expectation shall be abundantly satisfy'd, and the Delay of our Reward more than compenfated by the Greatness and Excellency and Eternity of it. That day shall come when the Grand Inquisition which our Judge will make shall be not How frequent or How long our Prayers have been, or what Powerfull Preachers with what eagerness we have follow'd; not how often we have said unto him, Lord, Lord; not what Edifying Difcourses we have listen'd to, or even made'; not so much what good Things we have said or heard, as what we have done? What Acts of Mercy and Charity we have exercis'd to our distress d Brethren upon Earth, What Hungry we have fed, what naked we have cloath'd, what Sick, what Prisoners we have visited ? It shall then be made manifest iņ the Sight of Angels and Men, how
high a Value our gracious Mafter puts upon the leaft of these Services perform'd in Sincerity and Love. When a few perishing earthly Things shall intitle us to Immortal Riches and Everlasting Glory, nay even a Cup of cold water to a Kingdom. When We shall hear that joyfull Sentence, Come Ye blessed of my Father inherit the Kingdom prepar'd
for You from the Beginning of the World; For I was an hungry, and ye gave me meat ; thirsty, and ye gave me drink ; naked, and ye cloathed me. We shall then to our unspeakable Comfort find how prudent a Forecast it was to remove in time our Effects hence where we have no abiding, and to transferr ’em into the Country where we were to live for Ever; to lay up before hand Treasures in Heaven, and by the righteous Use of the Mammon of Unrighteousness secure to Ourselves an Everlasting Habitation.
To which God of his Infinite Mercy bring us all, thro' Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom with the Father and the Holy Ghost be ascribd, as is most due, all Might, Majesty, and Dominion, both now and for evermore. Amen.