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der those whom he never saw wise unto salvation : and no doubt numbers will for ever bless God for these his pious and charitable endeavours.
But though, his liberality had this for its grand object, yet it was by no means conducted on an exclusive principle. He aimed to adorn and recommend, as well as to spread, the religion which he professed, and to show its genuine tendency in bis own conduct towards all men. In subserviency to this design, and from the most enlarged and expanded philanthropy, he supported and patronized every undertaking which was suited to supply the wants, to relieve the distresses, or to increase the comforts of any of the human species, in whatever climate, or of whatever description ; provided it properly fell within his sphere of action. Indeed, there was scarcely any public or private charity, of evident utility, to which he was not, at one time or other, in some measure a benefactor. So that he plainly observed the command,“ to do good to all men, especially to them that are of the household of
And here it should especially be noted, that his beneficence was not always withheld, even on account of the extreme wickedness of those who were to receive the advantage of it: but that he was guided, in this respect, by the prospect of doing them good, either in respect of their temporal or eternal welfare ; as might be abundantly proved, were it necessary, by many striking instances. This, with kindness to enemies, forms a distinguishing feature in the Christian character, and can only be produced by those principles of religion which he embraced. And though this peculiarity is here only just hinted at, yet it is hoped it will be carefully considered, being of great importance in order to a right understanding of the subject of this dis
It is in the next place worthy of observation, that this friend of mankind, in the exercise of his beneficence, not only contributed his money, (which often, is done to very little purpose,) but he devoted his time and thoughts very much to the same object : doing good was the great business of his life, and may more properly be said to have been his occupation, than even his mercantile engagements, which were uniformly considered as subservient to that nobler design.
To form and execute plans of usefulness; to superintend, arrange, and improve upon those plans; to lay aside such as did not answer, and to substitute others in their place; to forin ace quaintance, and collect intelligence for this purpose; to select proper agents, and to carry on correspondence, in order to ascertain that his bounties were well applied : these, and similar concerns, were the hourly occupations of his life, and the ends of living which he proposed to himself; nor did he think that any part of his time was spent either happily or innocently, if it were not in some way instrumental, directly or indirectly, to the furtherance of useful designs. Admitting, therefore, that this was his plan of life, (which is in fact indisputable,) and that the means he used were Scriptural and proper, it must follow, that the sum total of good which he did to mankind, by persevering in these habits during many years, must exceed all computation, and can only be ascertained at the great day of account and retribution,
As a proof how much bis business was rendered subservient to bis beneficence, it may be remarked, that he not only made the gains of his commerce, in a great degree, a fund for the support of his charity ; but his commerce itself was often an introduction to the knowledge of the wants, calamities, and
deplorable condition of mankind in distant regions of the earth; and a medium through which to communicate to their necessities ; and to circulate among them the word of God, and other means of instruction, for the benefit of their immortal souls.
To support such numerous and expensive designs of usefulness, without embarrassing his affairs, or .. interfering with the real interests of his family, he observed a strict frugality in his expenses.
It was not necessary for him to live in that style which those that are distinguished by titles or high offices deem requisite to their rank and character; and he had no relish for parade and magnificence : thus his very hospitable, but simple manner of life, left a large surplus out of his income, the chief part of which constantly flowed into the channel of his beneficence: and, having tasted the delight of doing good, and finding it " more blessed to give than to receive," or to expend in any
he abounded in it with increasing satisfaction. At the same time, the God of truth verified to him his word, which saith, “there is that scattereth, and yet increaseth :" for, so far from being impoverished by his extraordinary liberality, his estate was considerably augmented, with the fairest character for integrity and probity; his children are amply provided for, and reflect, with greater satisfaction on the sums that their honoured father expended in doing good, than even on those, by which he hath left it in their power to emulate his example.
Frugality like this is worthy of our most attentive and serious consideration. In fact it laid the foun: dation of his extraordinary liberality; and the want of it, perhaps even more than a defect in benevolence, is what so much contracts men's ordinary scale of doing good. Strict economy on the one hand, and profuse bounty on the other, are quali
ties which seldom unite in one character, nor is it reasonable to expect that they should. The man of benevolence, being afraid of avarice, is commonly free in his own expenses : thus his wealth is preoccupied ; and though his heart may be large, yet his means are found inadequate. On the other hand, the economist, who reserves a fund that might be sufficient for the execution of the largest designs of beneficence, commonly takes too much delight in accumulating, to part with his wealth by proportionate liberality. To be plain, frugal, and self-denying, in all matters of private expense, and yet liberal in supplying the wants of others, is a combination of different excellencies in one character, which will seldom be found, except where true Christian principles posa sess and govern the heart. In this case, habitual moderation and expanded benevolence grow from the same root; and where the person in whom they unite is in affluent circumstances, they cannot fail of producing such effects as we have been considering.
Indeed, it may be added, that the expenses, even of benevolent men, are so much governed by the fashions and customs of the world, that they are greatly cramped in following the dictates of their own hearts.
But the excellency of religion appears conspicuous in this also: for it releases nen from this servile subjection to the humours and opinions of mankind, and forbids the usual emulation in superfluous expense. Thus it supplies a fund whereby that spirit of philanthropy which true piety always increases, may be largely gratified ; and which being once gratified, will seldom fail to become still more expansive.
Having made these observations upon the most public and popular part of the character which we are contemplating, I would mention, as a second culiarity, his exact attention to religious duties.
Men of light and inconsiderate minds are apt to conceive that such strictness has little or no connexion with the exercise of beneficence; not koowing that the love of God, which induces to, and is advanced by these devotional exercises, when practised without formality or hypocrisy, always pro-. motes, in a proportionable degree, the love of our neighbour also. Mr. Thornton, however, spent much of his time, especially during the latter part of his life, in retirement and religious duties. The Lord's day was appropriated to these uses, and entirely rescued from the avocations of ceremonious visits, and even of cominon hospitality. He found much pleasure in public worship and in family religion : and, therefore, it is not surprising, that, having once contracted those habits which seem stiff and singular at the first; he should afterwards ad. here to them, when he found that they tended to improve his heart, to establish his faith, to promote the enjoyment of life, and to comfort him in his
declining years, and in the prospect of his approachsing dissolution. Nor could it be expected, that he who employed himself so much in distributing Bibles, and in propagating Christianity in distant nations, should neglect the religious instruction of his own household ; or should endure that those habits of irreligion, which are so generally disregarded in servants, should be contracted and continued in his own view, and within the sphere of his own immediate influence.
He was also exact and punctual in the private exercises of the closet; he daily read the sacred Scriptures with great reverence and attention; and he adhered to rules which he had formed for himself, from a deliberate consideration of their importance; but, at the same time, he avoided observation, or the affectation of austerity. His meals were