« PředchozíPokračovat »
and observation; and therefore I do, in their behalf, appeal to your own knowledge, and very senses, which persuade more powerfully than any arguments. If the moving objects themselves, with which you familiarly converse, be not eloquent enough to raise compassion, mere words, I fear, will scarce be effectual. However, for the sake of those, who have not such affecting opportunities, and yet may be well inclined to works of mercy, somewhat I shall say of the several instances of charity.
There is a variety in the tempers even of good men, with relation to the different impressions they receive from different objects of charity. Some persons are more easily and sensibly touched by one sort of objects, and some by another : but there is no man, who, in the variety of our charities, may not meet with that which is best suited to his inclination, and which of all others he would most desire to promote and cherish. For here are the wants of grown men, and children; of the soldier, the seaman, and the artificer; of the diseased, the maimed, and the wounded; of distracted persons, and condemned criminals; of sturdy wandering beggars, and loose disorderly Jivers; nay of those who counterfeit wants of all kinds, while they really want nothing but due correction and hard labour. And surely scarce any man, who hath a heart capable of tenderness, can come and look on all these sad spectacles at once, without extending a merciful hand to relieve any of them.
Some may delight in building for the use of the poor; others, in feeding and clothing them, and in taking care that timual arta be tanght them: ume iss providing physic, discipline, or exercise, for their bodim; othta, in procuring the improvement of their miode by wwfal knowledge; me may please theinelves in redreasing the muchiefs occasioned try the wicked poor, others, in prevent ing the miseriets, by becuring the innocence of children, and by imparting to them the invaluable blering of a virtuous and pion education: finally, pomnc may place their chur satiafaction in yiving meretly what is to be distributed; others, in be. ing the open and avowed instruments of making and inspecting, sich distributions. And whoever in particularly disposed to any one or more of these methods of beneficence, thay, within the compass of our different schemes of charity, find room enough to exercise los Christian compassion. To go over them particularly
Hast thou been educated in the fear of God, and a strict practice of virtne. Was thy tender age fenced and guarded every way from infection, try the care of wire parents and masters And shall not a grateful relish of thy own great felicity, in that respect, render three ready and eager to procure the ratne happiness for other who equally need it! Shall it not make thee the common girardian, as it were, of poor orphans, whose minds are left as unclothed and maked altogether, as their bodies, and who are exposed to all the temptations of ignorance, want, and idlenes.
Art thou a true lover of thy country? zealous for its religions and civil interests, and a cheerful contributor to all those public expenses, which have been thought necesary to secure them against the attempts of the common enemy and oppressor? Is the near prospect of all the blessings of peace welcome and desirable to thee? and wilt thou not bear a tender regard to all those who have lost their health and their limbs, in the rough service of war, to secure these blessings to thee? Canst thou see any one of them lie by the way, as it were, stripped, and wounded, and half dead, and yet pass by on the other side, without doing as much for thy friend as that good Samaritan did for his enemy, when he had compassion on him, and went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him?
Have thy reasoning faculties been eclipsed at any time by some accidental stroke? by the mad joys of wine, or the excess of religious melancholy? by a fit of apoplexy, or the rage of a burning fever? and hast thou, upon thy recovery, been made sensible to what a wretched state that cala. mity reduced thee? and what a sad spectacle, to all thy friends and acquaintance, it rendered thee? And shall not this affliction, which thou hast felt thyself, or perhaps observed in others, who were near and dear to thee, shall it not lead thee to commiserate all those who labour under a settled distraction? who are shut out from all the pleasures and advantages of human commerce, and even degraded from the rank of reasonable crea. tures ? Wilt thou not make their case thine ? and take pity upon them, who cannot take pity upon themselves? Wilt thou not contribute, to the best of thy power, towards restoring the defaced image of God upon their sonls; or, if that cannot be
done, towards supporting them, for a while, under a charitable confinement, where human nature may be rescued from that contempt to which such objects expose it?
Once more. Hast thou suffered at any time by vagabonds and pilferers ? hath the knowledge or opinion of thy wealth exposed thee to the attempts of more dangerous villains? Have thy unquiet slumbers been interrupted by the apprehension of nightly assaults, such as have terrified, and perhaps ruined some of thy unfortunate neighbours? Learn from hence duly to esteem and promote those useful charities, which remove such pests of human society into prisons and workhouses, and train up youth in the ways of diligence, who would otherwise take the same desperate courses : which reform the stubborn by correction, and the idle by hard labour; and would, if carried to that perfection of which they are capable, go a great way towards making life more comfortable, and property itself more valuable.
OF OUR OBLIGATIONS TO THE COUNTRY AND
THE PLOUGH. THERON, a man of wealth and figure, but unac. quainted with philosophic science, sat in the midst of his friends of both sexes in a stately room with rich variety of furniture. Among other conversation, Theron was complaining that he had heard it often said, how much we were all indebted to the country and the plough; but, for his part, he knew no obligation that we had to that low rank of mankind, whose life is taken up in the fields, the woods, and the meadows, but that they paid their rents well, that the gentlemen might live at their ease.'
Crito, a philosopher present, was pleased to seize on this occasion, and entertained the audience with a surprising lecture of philosophy.
• Permit me, Theron,' said he, to be an advocate for the peasant, and I can draw up a long account of particulars for which you are indebted to the field and the forest, and to the men that cultivate the ground, and are engaged in rural business. Look around you on all the elegant furniture of the room, survey your own clothing, cast your eyes on all the splendid array of the ladies, and you will find that except a few glittering stones, and a little gold and silver, which was dug out of the bowels of the earth, you can scarcely see any thing that was not once growing green upon the ground, through the various labours of the planter and the ploughman.
• Whence came the floor you tread on, part whereof is inlaid with wood of different colours ? whence these fair pannels of wainscot, and the cornice that encompasses and adorns the room? whence this lofty roof of eedar, and the carved ornaments of it? Are they not all the spoils of the trees of the forest? were not these once in the verdant standards of the grove or the mountain ?
What are your hangings of gay tapestry? Are they not owing to the fleece of the sheep, which borrowed their nourishment from the grass of the meadows? Thus, the finery of your parlour once was grass ; and should you favour me with a turn into your bedchamber, I could show you that the curtains, and the linen, and the costly coverings