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his death, entered into a solemn covenant with God, that all future additions to his wealth should be sacredly devoted to charitable uses. After this, as riches poured in upon him from every quarter, he commenced building and endowing alms houses and chapels for the poor, investing property for their support when he was dead, and in every way possible ninistering to their necessities; and notwithstanding all, he left to his family who survived him, a very large estate. Samuel D- Esqr., in the county of Berks, England, who also lived more than a century ago, was perhaps the most liberal man of his age. He literally honoured God with his substance," and endeavoured to "do good to all." And yet, so far from being ruined or impoverished by his extensive charities, he was greatly enriched. More than double the estate which he received from his fathers, he was enabled to bequeath for the benefit of his children. -Dr. Hammond, whose name has been mentioned in another part of this discourse, was himself an eminent example of that liberality which he so strongly inculcated. He devoted annually a tenth of all his income for charitable purposes; and this he was accustomed to set apart and dispose of, before even his personal wants were supplied. He also was not impoverished by his beneficence, but died in the enjoyment not only of honours, but of wealth.

It would be easy to multiply instances of this nature-and instances taken, as well from the charitable who are now living, as from those who are dead. But it is believed to be unnecessary. They are too frequently occurring in the present age of charitable effort, to require a particular detail.—It has, I think, been made to appear, both from the reason of the thing, from the express promises of Jehovah, from

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the decisions of wise and good men in all periods of the Church, and from a somewhat extended appeal· to facts, that "the liberal soul shall” indeed " be made fat"; and that the safest way in which to become rich is to be truly and consistently liberal.

REFLECTIONS.

1. From the description which has been given of true Christian liberality, there is reason to believe that the nature of this virtue has been not unfrequently mistaken. Some have mistaken liberality for prodigality. They have supposed that in order to be liberal, they must riot upon the bounty of their Maker, and live in an expensive and extravagant manner. Others have mistaken liberality for a heedless indifference as to the value of wealth. They have supposed that in order to be liberal, they must care little about their worldly concerns; must feel above troubling their minds with such trifles; and must be willing to lavish their estates, without much regard to objects, or to consequences. And with such views of liberality, persons have found a difficulty in classing it even among the virtues; and a still greater difficulty, in accounting for the promises which are made to it in the word of God.-But from the remarks which have been made, it appears that these views of liberality, are altogether erroneous. The truly liberal man is not a prodigal, or a spendthrift, or one who has no care or thought for the things of this world. He knows and feels the valule of wealth, and is honestly but diligently occupied in the pursuit of it.

The difference between the covetous, and the truly liberal, is not this-that the one class care for the

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things of this world, and are engaged in seeking and securing them, while the other have no such cares or engagements; but it is rather this-the covetous are laboring exclusively for themselves. They have no desire for riches, except as these are supposed to stand in some way connected with their own personal good. But the liberal are seeking and pursuing wealth, as an instrument of good to others; and as a means of rendering them more highly and extensively useful. The covetous are never willing to part with their property, however loud or imperious the call; but the liberal hold theirs at the disposal of Providence, and are always ready to part with it, when duty and conscience require.

Were the nature of true Christian liberality better understood, not only its excellence, but the propriety of those promises which are made to it in the Scriptures, would be more readily perceived and admitted. It would be seen to result, as well from the nature of the case, as from the Divine promise and blessing, that "the liberal soul should be made fat,” and that the consistent practice of liberality should be the way to wealth.

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2. If the way to be rich is to be liberal, then coyetousness may be expected ordinarily to end in poverty. Covetousness is a "withholding more than is meet;" but this, it is expressly asserted in the sentence preceding the text, "tendeth to poverty." It does so, for several reasons. Covetousness is in most cases the property of a little mind-one which is incapable of extending itself to large and liberat views, and consequently of deriving those worldly advantages, which such views of things are capable of affording. It is usually attended by a contractedness of scheme and effort, and the adoption of a narrow

truckling policy, which are any thing rather than the road to wealth. It leads also to a degree of meanness, if not dishonesty, in the pursuit of its object, which is almost sure to defeat itself. Besides, it tends necessarily to excite envy, disgust, and hatred; to increase the number of enemies, and diminish that of friends; and thus cut off very many advantages, for the promotion of temporal prosperity and comfort. And more than all; covetousness may be expected to end in poverty, because it is highly sinful, and is fitted to provoke the desolating curse and judgments of the Almighty. If, as the Wise Man has well decided, "the blessing of the Lord maketh rich;" with equal propriety it may be said, the curse of the Lord maketh poor. As he has all the sources of wealth at his disposal, and can open them in mercy upon those who "honor him with their substance;" so he can cut them off, and dry them up, in judgment upon those who pursue a different course. He can commission his tempests to sweep their forests; or his fire to consume their dwellings; or his drought to parch their fields; or his bottomless ocean to swallow up their wealth. Though they "sow much," he can cause them to "bring in little ;” and although they "earn wages," and "put them in a bag," he can cause it to be " a bag with holes." And as God is infinitely able to do all this, so it may be expected he will do it, in regard to the covetous. "Covetousness," he hath himself said, "is idolatry.” It is dreadfully evil in his sight, and tends perhaps more than any other sin, to provoke his desolating judgments, and involve those who practise it in poverty and trouble.

3. The subject to which we have attended is fitted, I think, to remove several mistakes, and to afford in

struction and encouragement, relative to the great work of spreading the gospel. The advancement of this work, which is a prominent object of charity and effort at the present time, is certainly a great and glorious object, one altogether worthy of the prayers and efforts, and the liberality of Christians. And it is one which the God of heaven cannot fail to approve. The cause of the gospel is his own cause, and he must approve all well intended and wisely directed efforts to carry it forward. If the liberal towards any object may expect his blessing, those doubtless may expect it, who liberally contribute for the spread of the gospel.

Some persons appear disquieted at the exertions which are Now making, for the universal diffusion of the true religion. They think the friends of religion make too much of it; and they are too frequently called upon for contributions. They wonder why things cannot be suffered to remain, as they have been in years and centuries that are past. They almost wish that their lot had been cast in some former age; or that the present exertions and sacrifices for the advancement of the gospel had been postponed till a later period.-All complaints of this nature, whether uttered or felt, proceed evidently upon the principle that the gospel is a burthen, and that every thing they do for the promotion of it is so much taken from them and lost. But this principle, it will be perceived, is in palpable opposition to the Scriptures, and to the views which have been given in this discourse. "The liberal soul shall be made fat, and he that watereth shall be watered also himself." He who holds his property at the disposal of Providence, and is willing to bestow it cheerfully and liberally, for the promotion of great and worthy ob

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