« PreviousContinue »
E R M O N
Preached before the
LOUD MAYOR, &c.
St. Bridget's Church,
On Eafer-Tuefday, April i*t ijf
To the Right Honourable
Sir Charles Duncombe,
. „ LQrd Ma^qy of London.
ISend this Sermon* now printed, ,to your Lordship, at .who/s earnest and repeated desire J preoched it, for whom I profess myself, on many accounts, ts hax-e a particular regard; and .whom JJball at all times be ready, in alt Christiansservicest to obey.
"t'' i )' '. j.''
Illnefs and other reasons, with which it is unneeejfary to trouble the world or your Lordship have Jo long retarded the publication of this discourse^ that it may seem less proper, and seasonable, in tne or tiro passages of it: Those I mean, where a near prospect of peace is mentioned. For it hath pie feu God,' firice it was preached, to remove that great blessing further from us, and place it nitre out of fight: Not, I hope, without a merciful intention of givin* us, in his good time, what ne have Wit now ajiid in luch aslemn manner as become us\ end of enhancing lie value ol tie gift, ty the delay tf it. J am Jure, how longs .ever we may wait fer it, it will be bestoued mucri souer than wtjhull deserve it.
TH£ Juseil of this discourse is charity s and the design of it is to stir up tl e minds ol thof, whom Cod's good providence hath blessed with great abun* dance; and, by that means, with a sower ofblessing many others. On this account (without other considerations) I could mt have pitched on a name t» which I might have inscribed it more prof eriy than that of your Lordship. J rsser it to you, my hard, with all the respctl that becomes me; and •with hearty wishes, that the eat th'y fehcities you possess, may. by your wise and good use of thtm, lead to the enjoyment os those which are eternal. I sun
Most obedient humble Servant,
June n, 1709.
LUKE LUKEx. 3a.
tti came, and Inked on him, and pajsed by m the ether fide.
THESE Words arc part of our Saviour's parable, concerning the traveller, that' *' fell among thieves; who stripped, and wounded him, and left him half dead." It happened that some passengers soon afterwards came that' way, and, among the rest, a Levitt; who hearing the groans of the wounded person, or, perhaps, having an obscure yiew of him at a distance, came nearer to inform himself more particularly of the matter: And, when he had done so, stayed not to assist or comfort that miserable man \ but retired immediately, and pursued his journey, *' He came, and looked on him. and passed by "on the other std«." Jt seems to be intimated, in these words, that this paflenger felt some degree of concern, at the sight of so moving aa object, and therefore withdrew himself in haste, as not being willing to indulge it. Doubtless, he was not void of all compassion, nor wholly ignorant of his duty in such a case; but he made a shift to excuse himself from the necessity of performing it. "His journey might require the ut"most haste, and why should he interrupt it to "no purpose? For he could be of no use to thfl "wounded person, nor had any manner of skill ** in surgery: It was possible, that the fame band ** of robbers might light upon him also, if he "stayed longer in that place i or, perhaps, there w "might
** might be a feint, a contrivance in the matter, "to draw him into some secret ambufli." By such pretences as these he seems to have satissied himself, and stisled the sentiments, which natural pity and religion could not but suggest to him: •* He came, and looked on the stripped and wounded traveller, and passed by on the other * side." A lively image, this, of the indisference and neglect, with which too many of us too often look on real objects of charity; and of the excuses, by which we endeavour to justify such neglects, and to deceive ourselves into an opinion, that they are not culpable. It shall be my businds, in what follows, to consider the pleas, that are commonly made use of to this purpose, and to ihew the Insusficiency and Weakness of them, lor indeed, These are the most ordinary and most esfectual impediments to the exercise of charity. Tis not, because we are ignorant of the important nature of this duty, and of the great stress that is laid upon it in Scripture; of the motives which invite, and of the obligations which bind us to the performance of it: I fay, it is not on any of these accounts, that we neglect the practice of charity; but because we look upon ourselves as exempted from the general rule, by virtue of some false Pleas and Pretences, which we set up j and which I shall now, therefore, particularly enumerate and examine: not without an eye, all along, on those excellent institutint *s charity, which it is the peculiar design of this annual solemnity to promote and encourage.
I. And the sirst and chits plea, under which