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may release the citizen from the duty of voluntary benefaction; except indeed so far as what the law takes from him diminishes his means of spontaneous liberality. What the laws claim from him for public purposes, he is indeed not to consider as his own: What remains after the public claims are satisfied is his property; out of which he is no less obliged to contribute what he can to the relief of poverty, than if no part of what is taken out of his nominal property by the law were applied to charitable purposes. For the fact is, that after the law hath done its utmost, that most interesting species of distress which should be the especial object of discretionary bounty goes unrelieved. The utmost that the law can do is confined to the poverty of the lowest rank of the people: Their old age or their debility it may furnish with the shelter of a homely lodging, with the warmth of coarse but clean apparel, and with the nourishment of wholesome food: Their orphans it should cherish, till they grow up to a sufficiency of strength for the business of husbandry, or of the lowest and most laborious trades.

But to the poverty of the middle and superior orders, the bounty of the law, after its utmost exactions, can administer no adequate relief.

Thanks be to God, that heavy as our public burdens are, of which the legal provision for the poor is among the greatest, they seem to be no check upon the charitable spirit of this country; in which free bounty is still dispensed with a wide and open hand. Witness the many large and noble edifices, the pride and ornament of this metropolis, many raised, all enriched, by voluntary contribution and private legacy, for the supply of every want, the mitigation of every disaster, with which frail mortality is visited, in every stage and state of life, from helpless infancy to withered age: Witness the numerous charitable associations in all parts of the country, among all descriptions of the people: Witness the frequent and ample contributions to every instance of private distress, once publicly made known: Witness the pious associations for the support of distant missions, and the promotion of Christian

knowledge: Witness this annual celebrity, the prosperity of this charitable institution, and the numbers now assembled here. For I trust it is less the purpose of our present meeting to feast the ravished ear with the enchanting sounds of holy harmony (which, afford indeed the purest of the pleasures of the senses), than to taste those nobler ecstacies of energizing love of which flesh and blood, the animal part of us, can no more partake than it can inherit heaven. They are proper to the intellect of man, as an image of the Deity; they are the certain symptoms of the Christian's communion with his God, and an earnest of his future transformation into the perfect likeness of his Lord..

Although every species of distress, not excepting that which may have taken rise in the follies and the vices of the sufferer, is an object of the Christian's pity (for the love of Christ, who died for his enemies, is our example; and the beneficence of our heavenly Father, who is kind to the evil and the unthankful, is the model of our charity), yet our joy in doing good must then be the

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most complete, when innocence is united with distress in the objects of our bounty, when the distress is out of the reach of any other help, and when in the exercise of the general duty we fulfil the special injunctions of our Lord. In the distress which our present charity immediately regards, we find these circumstances united. The widow and the orphan are our objects: Their claim to misery is in the common right of human nature; it stands not on the ground of guilt and ill-desert: And for those widows and those orphans, in particular, whose cause we plead, should we be questioned by what means their condition hath been brought thus low, we will confidently answer, By no sins of their husbands or their parents more than of their own. It is peculiar to the situation of a clergyman, that while he is ranked (as the interests of religion require that he should be ranked) with the higher orders of the people, and is forbidden by the ecclesiastical law, under the severest penalties, to engage in any mercenary business, which might interfere with the duties of his sacred calling, and derogate in the eyes of the multitude from

the dignity of his character,—his profession, in whatever rank he may be placed in it, the least of any of the liberal professions furnishes the means of making a provision for a family. It may be added with great truth, that what means the profession furnishes, the cleric who is the most intent upon its proper duties, the most addicted to a life of .study and devotion, is the least qualified to improve. Hence it will oftener happen to the families of clergymen than of any other set of men, and it will happen perhaps oftenest to the families of the worthiest, to be left in that state which by the principles established in the former part of this discourse is poverty in the truest import of the word,—to be left destitute of the means of earning a livelihood in the employments for which they are not disqualified by the laudable habits of their previous lives.

This evil in the domestic life of the minister of the gospel, I will venture to predict, no schemes of human policy ever will remove. Grand in the conception, noble in the motives which suggested it,

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