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every creature under heaven, and leaves not one misery unalleviated, one grievance unredressed. But all excellent as it is, let not this, let not any single virtue, engross our whole attention. Let us not confine ourselves to the easy, the delightful, the reputable works of beneficence, and neglect the other great branch of moral duty, SelfDenial; no less necessary and important, but much more difficult, and which, therefore, stands in need of every possible argument in its favour to recommend and support it. Let us no longer make invidious and unjust distinctions between these two kindred virtues. In nature, in reason, in the sight of God, in the Gospel of Christ, self-government is of equal value with social duties. They equally tend to the perfection of our own minds and the comfort of our fellow ereatures. The same rewards are in Scripture promised to both; the same penalties are denounced against the violation of both; and there is so strict and intimate a union between them, that the cultivation or neglect of the one, must necessarily lead, and has, in fact, always
ultimately led, to the improvement or depravation of the other. What then God and nature, as well as Christ and his apostles, have joined together, let no man dare to put asunder. Let not any one flatter himself with the hope of obtaining the rewards, or even escaping the punishments of the Gospel, by performing only one branch of his duty. Let him not imagine, that the most rigorous severity of manners can excuse him from the exercise of undissembled love to God and to mankind; nor, on the other hand, let him suppose, that under the shelter either of devotion or of benevolence, he may securely indulge his favourite passions; may compound, as it were, with God for his sensuality by acts of generosity, and purchase by his wealth a general licence to sin. Let him not, in short, content himself with being only half a Christian. Let him visit, as often as he pleases, the fatherless and the widows in their affliction. Let his piety be fervent, and his faith sincere. But let him, at the same time, take care, as he values his salvation, that he keep himself unspotted from the world. - -
2 Kings iv. 1.
THY SERVANT, MY HUSBAND, IS DEAD, AND THOU KNOWEST THAT THY SERVANT DID FEAR THE LORD: AND THE CREDITOR IS COME TO TAKE UNTO HIM MY TWO SONS TO BE BOND-MEN.
HPHE unhappy sufferer, who makes this most moving complaint, was the widow of one of the sons of the prophets, whose distress Elisha immediately relieved by the miraculous increase of her pot of oil. It will not be easy to find in any writer, sacred or profane, a more piteous story, or a case more applicable to the occasion of the present meeting. I cannot therefore do better than leave it upon your minds in that concise and affecting simplicity in which it is here related, whilst I proceed to recommend the distressed Widows and Children of the English Clergy to your benevolent protection.
* Preached at the anniversary meeting of the Sons of the Clergy, May 9, 1776.
The nature and design of the several charitable institutions which have now brought us together, are, I presume, so well understood in this place, that there can be no need to take up any of your time in explaining them.* The generous support they have hitherto met with demands our most grateful acknowledgments; and in order to keep this friendly disposition towards us alive and warm in your breasts, I shall attempt to show that the clergy of the church of England have, both on account of their public services, and (with respect to too large a part) their private necessities, a peculiar claim to your kind attention and assistance.
* But it may not perhaps be generally known that there are three distinct societies formed for the Benefit of the indigent widows and children of the Clergy, and all closely connected with each other.
The first and principal is The Corporation for the Relief of the poor Widows and Children of Clergymen, established by Charter in the reign of King Charles the Second. The funds of this charity are employed chiefly in giving pensions to the widows of the clergy.
The second, which rose not long after, is The Society of the Feast of the Sons of the Clergy, consisting of the company annually assembled under that name at St. Paul's Church, and Merchant-Taylors' Hall. The money collected at those two places is wholly expended in apprenticing out the children of necessitous clergymen. The expences of the music and the feast are generously defrayed by the stewards of that society.
The third is The Society of Stewards and Subscribers for .maintaining and educating the poor Orphans of the Clergy till of age to be put Apprentices.
This society was formed in the year 1749. It is composed of those who have been stewards of the former society, and any others who chuse to become members of it. It is supported by annual subscriptions of one guinea each, and maintains two schools, one for boys and the other for girls, in which the orphans of the clergy are educated till they are of sufficient age to go out to apprenticeships.
If we go back to the early ages of Christianity, our own Ecclesiastics had their share, with others of the sacred order, in first introducing the light of the Gospel into this country, and in sacrificing to its advancement, their ease, their health, their fortunes, their lives. When in aftertimes, by a variety of concurrent causes, this kingdom was, in common with all
It might be of use if a short and clear account of these societies was printed in a small tract, describing their nature and design, together with the proper time and method of applying to them for relief, and the persons to whom such applications should be made. >