Imágenes de páginas

a cry

fer. So you perceive, my friends, that to raise

about all men being equal in this world, is vain and foolish talking; and to take any measures to produce such an effect, would be boch senseless and wicked; equally contrary to the happiness of society, and the will of God, who has thought proper to make society such as it is. But, although God has been pleased to place some men in a better situation than others, during the short term of this life (for after it is over, all men are equal;) yet He has not left them to their own fancy in disposing of the larger share of worldly goods which He has bestowed

them. He has given them riches, it is true; nor, however, that they may waste and squander them away ; but enjoy them in a reasonable way, to his glory, and the good of their poorer brethren in the flesh; that they may give. “ the fragments" of their fortunes to those who are in want; not that they may imitate the behaviour of Dives in the parable, who s fared sumptuously every

day," and let the poor sick Lazarus perish at his gate ; but follow the example of Job, in his prosperity,

" who delivered the poor " that cried, and the fatherless, and him that " had none to help him ; who caused the " widow's heart to sing for joy; .who was “ eyes to the blind, and feet to the lame,

upon them.

" and a father to the poor.” Nor can I help observing, that the manner in which the rich of our own country use their possessions, is, in numerous instances, to the glory of God, to the credit of themselves, and the good of their needy fellow-creatures. There may, indeed, be examples of wicked waste and vain expense among them, because, in every rank of mankind, there are the good and the bad, the wise and the foolish ; but sure I am, you will readily allow, that a very great number of our people of fortune are charitable, generous, humane, and compassionate. Look round you, my brethren, and see how many hospitals there are to relieve the sick; alms-houses, to receive the aged; schools, to instruct the children of the poor; public subscriptions, to assist the needy; and private charities, to remove want; and comfort the distressed. Nay, from a late account of the charities, in London, it appears, that in that city alone the following numbers of the poor, old and young, are relieved; and assisted or improved either in body or in mind, from the purses of those to whom God has given a large proportion of this world's good; " more than 30,000 do

patients are adınitted, every year, into the “ London Hospitals ; about 15,000 child

ren receive education, without expense to

[ocr errors]


“their parents; and 13,000 poor persons : “are supported in alms-houses."

The words of the text, however, convey an admonition, not only to the rich, but also to the poorer classes, against waste of provisions, or of the means of purchasing them. They apply, in the first place, to servants of every description, amongst whom, it is to be feared, there'is, frequently, too little regard paid to "the fragments that are left," of property which is pot their own. Now all persons hired, or employed by others, are put into a situution of trust ; and many things are necessarily given into their care, which they may either purloin, or waste, or destroy; and that without the knowledge of those who employ them. This, to bad people, is a great temptation ; and has induced many to take advantage of the trust reposed in them, and either to defraud their employers of their property, or to be so careless in the manner of using it, as to injure or destroy it.

There is no doubt, that crimes of this description may be committed, with. out being discovered by man ; though, when they are found out, the law of the land punishes them with the greatest severity, because it considers them as breaches of trust. But, my brethren, although they may escape the observation or punishment of men

like ourselves ; there is, notwithstanding, an eye that beholds, and an arm that will revenge, all such secret wickedness. Nothing can be hidden from the knowledge of that GOD,“ with whom we have to do ;" for he is about our paths, and about our beds, “ and spieth out all our ways.” In his boly word, He has given the clearest and strongest commands to persons in a state of service, to act with uprightness, honesty, fidelity, and respect, to those who are their masters upon earth ; not " with eye-service," (not merely when the eye of their employer is upon them,),but “ from the heart;" doing their duty conscientiously, “as to the LORD, “ and not unto man;" being as careful of what is entrusted to their care, as if it were their own ; neither injuring, in any way, their employers themselves, nor suffering them to be injured by others. Upon this principle it is, that even “, the fragments of every day's provision must be an object of their care. They are to see that“ nothing “ be lost." The very “ crumbs that fall « from the rich man's table,” if gathered up by his servants, may be useful to those who are in want. In a large establishment, there must' necessarily be much that is not consumed ; and if servants are careful of these remains, and not wasteful in other respects,

[ocr errors]

they may enable their masters, by their faithfulness and economy, to do an infinite deal of good among the needy and the wretched; which the greatest fortune will not be able to do, if servants are careless, wasteful, or extravagant.

But the words of the text apply, in the second place, to the poor,, who are not in domestic service. Many, perhaps, will be apt to say, that the poor man has not an opportunity of wasting the fragments of his provisions, because he has scarcely sufficient to satisfy his wants. But, my friends, you may be wasteful in more ways than one; and if that money, or those gains of labour, which ought to provide for the comfort of yourselves and families, are consumed in siitful indulgence, you will be as guilty of abusing the goodness of God, as the man of Jarge fortune is, in throwing his property away in wicked extravagance. You may readily suppose, that I have in my mind that method of wasting the profits of your toil, which is too common ainong the lower classes of people in the present day; spending them in “strong drink,” and in houses where no soul is benefited by the “waste," but the man that is making a fortune by your folly and vice. Could people, who are guilty of this wicked waste, be but once sen


« AnteriorContinuar »