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(according to the ordinary Course and Event of Things) in what Condition or Circumstances loever he is placed, than to do all the Good he can in his Life ; so that though a Man that lays out himself in this way, seems only to respect the Good of other People, yet in true Reckoning he most consults his own Profit.
For to do Good, is the natural way to raise us Friends, who shall be oblig’d to contribute their Endeavours to the furthering our honest Designs; to the upholding and securing us in our Prosperity, and to the succouring and relieving us when we are in any evil Circumstances. Such is the Contrivance and the Conftitution of this World, that no Man can subsist of himself, but stands in continual Need of others, both for their comfortable Society, and their necessary Assistance in his Affairs. Now of all Men living, the good Man, who maketh it his Business to oblige all about him, is most likely to be the best befriended.
To do Good , is the truest way to procure to a Man's self a good Name and Reputation in the World; which, as it is a Thing defirable upon many Accounts, so it is a singular Add vantage to a Man for the carrying on his secular Designs. Nay, to do Good, is to embalm
a Man's Name, and to transmit it with a Þrov. 10.grateful Odour to Posterity. The Memory of
a good Man shall be blessed. And the Senfe of Mankind has always been, that too much Honour could not be given to the Name of
those that have done good in their Generation.
But, which is a great deal more than all this, to do Good is the most certain effectual Means to procure the Blessing of God upon our Endeavours, and to entitle ourselves to his more especial Care and Providence, and Protection : So that, let what will come, in all Circumstances and Conditions, the good Man has the greatest Assurance, that all Things shall at least be tolerably well with him, and that he shall never be miserable. Trust in the Lord (faith David] and be doing Plal. 37. Good, so shalt thou dwell in the Land, and verily Ver. 3. thou shalt be fed.
Nay, farther, to do Good, is zo entail a Blersing upon our Children after us. I have been ib. v. 25. young, and now am old, (faith the same Pfalmift) yet saw I never the Righteous, (that is the merciful and good Man, for that is the Notion of the Word in that Place, and in most others) such an one saw I never forsaken, nor his Seed begging their Bread.
Lastly, To conclude this point, to do Good. (besides all these Advantages that attend it) is most to consult our own Peace, and to inake the best Provision pofsible for our Pleasure and Delight. Charity (as Dr. Hammond used to fay) is really a piece of Sensuality. And Epicurus himself, the great Master of Voluptuousness, would confess, that it was not only more brave, but more pleasant, to do Kind. Desses, than to receive them. And certain, ly every good Man will find it so; for as the
Exercise of Charity and Beneficence is tru. ly a Gratification of our natural Inclinations and Appetites, as any other Action or Thing that causeth Pleasure to us; so it is also a Gratification of those Appetites, which are the highest and the nobleft we have. Now, by how much the Appetite that is gratify'd is more noble and divine, by so much must the Delight that ariseth from that Gratification, be more exquisite. So that it was no very great Hyperbole of our Divine Poet, when he said, that
-All Foys go leß,
And, which is farther to be considered, it is not with this Pleasure, as it is with most others that vanish with the Enjoyment, nay, often leave Bitterness and Melancholy upon the Mind after they are gone off. For to do Good, is a permanent Pleasure, a Pleasure that will last as long as our Lives. The Memory of our good Actions will always be ac. companied with Delight and Satisfaction; when all our other past Enjoyments prove Matters of Anguish and Torment to us upon our Reflections on them, these will be a Refreshment; and the nearer we approach to Death, fill the more Comfort we shall find in them. Would we, therefore, treasure up to ourselves a Stock of lasting Peace and Joy to fupport us in all Conditions of our Life, and fo make our Passage easy at our Death, let us do all the good we can.
I think I have said enough to convince any One of the Truth of Solomon's Proposition, that there is nothing better for a Man, nothing that more concerns him, either in point of Duty or Happiness, than to do Good in his Life. Much more might be said, and what hath been said, might have been said with more Advantage, and greater Evidence, it it had been fit to inlift upon every Particular : But I will pursue this Argument no farther, but proceed to the Second General Point I propos'd; which is, To fet before
greac Duty, by shewing the several Ways which every Person, though in the meanert Circumftances, is capable of doing Good.
A great many there are, that are as strongly convinced as may be, that 'tis both their Interest and Duty to be doing Good in their Lives ; but they complain, that it is not in theic Power; they have not any Means or Opportunities for it; and they bemoan themselves fadly upon this Account, as thinking their Lives useless, because they have not those visible Capacities of being serviceable to the World, that others have.
To such as these, let me fay this in the General : There is no Condition in the World so mean and despicable, but yields us Opportunities of doing Good. There is neither Old por Young, Man nor Woman, Rich nor Poor, High nor Low, Learned nor Unlearned, buc in their Sphere, by a good Husbandry of those Talents that God has intrusted to their Care and Management, they may be very, Vol. I.
useful to others, and prove Instruments of much Good in their Generations.
This Truth St. Paul most elegantly fets forth in 1 Cor. 12. where he compares the Society of Christians to a natural Body. There he shews, that as in the natural Body there are many Members, and all those Members have not the same Dignity and Honour, nor the same Use or Office; and yet every Member (even the meanest) hath its particular Use, by which it doth real Service to the Body; nay, so useful it is, that the Body cannot be without it: So it is with the Church of Christ, and with every Body Politick. There is a Necessity both in the Church and in the State, that there should be variety of Functions and Callings, and De. grees
and Conditions. There must be some to govern, and some to be governed; there must be some more conspicuous, some more obscure; some whose Gifts and Endowments lie this way, and some whose Talents lie in another way; and yet there is not one of these but in his Degree and Station, either is or may be as useful as any that belong to the Society. So that the Eye cannot say to the Hand (as our Apostle there expresseth it) I have no need of thee. Nor again, the Head to the Feet, I have no need of you: Nay, more, those Members of the Body (as he continues) that seem to be most feeble, are yet very necessary.
To reduce the Apostle's Notion to its Par. ticulars, or to shew in how many Respects every individual Person that is a Member of