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up your whole time; so that idleness, which is the bane and destruction of virtue, doth not lead you into the neighbourhood of sin : your passions are cooler, by not being inflamed with excess, and therefore the gate and the way that lead to life, are not so strait or so narrow to you, as to those who live among all the allurements to wicked
To serve God with the best of your care and understanding, and to be just and true in your dealings, is the short sum of your duty, and will be the more strictly required of you,
because nothing lieth in the way to divert you from it.
Thirdly, It is plain from what I have said, that you of the lower rank have no just reason to complain of your condition : because, as you plainly see, it affordeth you so many advantages, and freeth you from so many vexations, so many distempers both of body and mind, which pursue and torment the rich and powerful.
Fourthly, You are to remember and apply, that the poorest person is not excused from doing good to others, and even relieving the wants of his distressed neighbour, according to his abilities; and if you perform your duty in this point, you far outdo the greatest liberalities of the rich, and will accordingly be accepted of by God, and get your reward : for it is our Saviour's own doctrine, when the widow gave her two mites. The rich give out of their abundance; that is to say, what they give, they do not feel it in their way of living : but the poor man, who giveth out of his little stock, must spare it from the necessary food and raiment of himself and his family. And therefore our Saviour adds, “ That the widow gave more than all who went before her; for she gave all she had, even all her living;” and so went home utterly unprovided to supply her necessities.
Lastly, As it appeareth from what hath been said, that you of the lower rank have in reality a greater share of happiness, your work of salvation is easier, by your being liable to fewer temptations; and as your reward in heaven is much more certain than it is to the rich, if you seriously perform your duty, for yours is the kingdom of heaven : so your neglect of it will be less excusable, will meet with fewer allowances from God, and will be punished with double stripes ; for, the most unknowing among you cannot plead ignorance in what you have been so early taught, I hope so often instructed in, and which is so easy to be understood, I mean the art of leading a life agreeable to the plain and positive laws of God. Perhaps you may think you lie under one disadvantage, which the great and rich have not; that idleness will certainly reduce you to beggary : whereas those who abound in wealth, lie under no necessity either of labour or temperance, to keep enough to live on. But this is indeed one part of your happiness, that the lowness of your condition in a manner forceth you to what is pleasing to God, and necessary for your daily support. Thus your duty and interest are always the same.
To conclude; Since our blessed Lord, instead of a rich and honourable station in this world, was pleased to choose his lot among men of the lower condition ; let not those on whom the bounty of Providence hath bestowed wealth and honours, despise the men who are placed in an humble and inferior station; but rather with their utmost power, by their countenance, by their protection, by just payment of their honest labour, encourage their daily endeavours for the virtuous support of themselves and their families. On the other hand, let the poor labour to provide things honest in the sight of all men; and so, with diligence in their several employments, live soberly, righteously, and godlily, in this present world, that they may obtain that glorious reward promised in the gospel to the poor, I mean the kingdom of heaven.
That there be no complaining in our streets. Happy
is the people that is in such a case. It is a very melancholy reflection, that such a country as ours, which is capable of producing all things necessary, and most things convenient for life, sufficient for the support of four times the number of its inhabitants, should yet lie under the heaviest load of misery and want; our streets crowded with beggars, so many of our lower sort of tradesmen, labourers, and artificers, not able to find clothes and food for their families.
I think it may therefore be of some use to lay
* This is not very properly styled a sermon; but, considered as a political dissertation, it has great merit, and it is highly worthy of the subject, and the author. Most of the circumstances here founded upon, as the causes of national distress, are the subject of separate disquisitions in those political writings connected with Ireland. But they are here summed up, and brought into one view, and the opinions expressed form a sort of index to the Dean's terets upon the state of that country.
before you the chief causes of this wretched condition we are in, and then it will be easier to assign what remedies are in our power, toward removing at least some part of these evils.
For, it is ever to be lamented, that we lie under many disadvantages, not by our own faults, which are peculiar to ourselves, and of which no other nation under heaven hath any reason to complain.
I shall, therefore, first mention some causes of our miseries, which I doubt are not to be remedied, until God shall put it in the hearts of those who are the stronger, to allow us the common rights and privileges of brethren, fellow-subjects, and even of mankind.
The first cause of our misery is, the intolerable hardships we lie under in every branch of trade, by which we are become as hewers of wood and drawers of water, to our rigorous neighbours.
The second cause of our miserable state is, the folly, the vanity, and ingratitude, of those vast numbers, who think themselves too good to live in the country which gave them birth, and still gives them bread; and rather choose to pass their days, and consume their wealth, and draw out the very vitals of their mother kingdom, among those who heartily despise them.
These I have but lightly touched on, because I fear they are not to be redressed, and besides, I am very sensible how ready some people are to take offence at the honest truth; and for that reason, I shall omit several other grievances, under which we are long likely to groan.
I shall therefore go on to relate some other causes of this nation's poverty, by which, if they