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department; and all of them concur in forming one noble comprehensive plan of national charity. But this plan can never be carried into execution without the aid of the wealthy and the great. The Corporation has indeed a fund of its own ; but this fund, without occasional donations and benefactions, would be ùery inadequate to the objects that stand in need of its assistance. As to the other two humane societies, one of which educates the poor orphans which the other places out in the world, these, I say, are entirely supported by voluntary contributions and subscriptions; and you will not, I am sure, through an ill-judged parsimony, “suffer any of our “ little ones to perish.” *
Yet, notwithstanding the apparent utility, and even necessity, of these benevolent foundations, their friends have with no small concern observed, that they have for some time past been rather losing ground than gaining it. For this, various reasons have been assigned; but none, I apprehend, of sufficient weight to abate any thing of our ardour in support of such
* Matt. xviii. 14.
generous designs. It has been thought by some, that there is now the less need for a general contribution of this nature, for the widows and children of the clergy, because there are in particular dioceses several local institutions of the same kind. It is true there are; but they are not near so universal as might be wished: they reach only, I conceive, to a small part of the kingdom, and their operation is of course confined within a narrow compass. But were they much more numerous than they are, were they even spread through every part of the island, yet still this original parent of them all ought to be preserved and fostered with religious veneration and care. For the growing increase of expence in many necessary articles of life, makes a proportionable increase in the wants of the poorer clergy, which by this means keep pace with the provisions made in their favour; and they can but ill spare the loss of any assistance, whether general or. local, which they have been accustomed to receive.
There is still another circumstance which may have contributed to the decrease of
our collections, and that is, the great number of other public charities of various kinds, which have of late years been established in this kingdom. And if this is really the case, we must not, we do not, complain. If others cannot be benefited but by our loss, we are content. But when we find ourselves in the very centre of the richest commercial city in the world *, we cannot possibly entertain the least apprehensions on this head. In any other place, perhaps, there might be room to fear that the stream of beneficence, when divided into several new channels might forsake the old. But be these channels ever so numerous, your liberality can fill them all. It is as inexhaustible as your wealth, which is daily flowing in upon you from every quarter of the globe, and can enrich and fertilize a vast variety of different regions at the same time. Let then other charities spring up in whatever numbers they will ; we look not upon them with an envious or a jealous eye; we consider them not as
* This sermon was preached in St. Paul's church, in the presence of the Lord Mayor, Aldermen, &c. of the city of London.
rivals, but as sharers, in your bounty, which is able to embrace both them and us. Far from wishing to discourage, far from wishing to depreciate, other benevolent institutions, and to form invidious comparisons between them and ours, we sincerely wish them, on the contrary, all imaginable success, in full confidence that in a capital like this it will not, it cannot, be any obstruction to our own. You yourselves are our witnesses, that there are none more ready to countenance every humane design than the English clergy.* There is hardly one public charity to be named, that has not some of our order amongst its friends and supporters ; and if we have any gifts of eloquence, any powers of persuasion to boast, they are always ready at your call to recommend every generous plan that you think fit to patronize; your schools, your hospitals, your sick, your prisoners, your
• One very recent and remarkable proof of this ought not to be passed over in silence. Mr. Hetherington, a private clergyman, gave birth, within these few years, to a new and most judicious species of charity. He established an annual provision for fifty blind persons, and appropriated, in his lifetime, to this excellent purpose, a fund of twenty thousand pounds.
poor. That assistance, then, which we are ever disposed to give, we now hope in our turn to receive. Strike out into as many different paths of benevolence as you please ; yet desert not, we beseech you, the old, the tried, the approved one, to which you have been so long accustomed. This charity * has always been your favourite child; it has been born and bred amongst you; you have hitherto nursed and cherished it with the tenderest care ; do not now abandon it to the wide world, where it is not yet strong enough to make its way without your help.
You have seen, I trust, upon the whole, that they for whose families we beg relief, « are worthy for whom you should do this t:" that those on whom they depended for support, and whose help they have lost, were both by profession and by principle, most useful members of society; and yet were unable to leave their children any other inheritance than that of extreme poverty, aggravated by the remembrance of happier days, and by minds susceptible
* Including the three different branches of it above-mentioned, pp. 152, 153.
+ Luke vii. 4.