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noble to stand up in their defence. If they are our friends, we are bound by the most sacred ties to repel the insults offered to their good name. If they are set in authority over us, it is our duty to rescue them froin the obloquy which we know they do not merit. In all these respects we have, it must be owned at present, an'ample field for our benevolence to work in. With opportunities of doing good in this way, we are, indeed, most liberally furnished by the licence and malevolence of the age. For furely it is doing it no injustice to say, that one of its most distinguishing features is an intemperance in calumny, an indiscrimi. nate wantonness of defamation, of which ro other country, no other period even in this country, furnishes any example. It becomes, then, every friend to humanity, or even to common justice, to set himself with the utmost earneftness against this most unchristian fury of detraction. He can hardly do a greater kindness to individuals, or a more fubftantial service to the public, than by discouraging and repressing to the utmost every groundless lander, every unmerited reproach, let who will be
the object, whether in the highest employ"ments or the most private stations of life.
VI. But VI. But though in these and many other instances that might be mentioned, we may do most effential service to our fellow-creatures, yet they who have the strongest-claim on our benevolence are undoubtedly the afflicted and, distressed. To these, when pecuniary relief is. all they want, it should certainly be admini-. stered in proportion to their necessities, to our circumstances, and the right they have to expect assistance from us. But it frequently happens, that the kindness they stand in need, of is of a very different nature. Sometimes they require nothing more than a little fup-, port and countenance against some petty tyrant, that " deviseth mischief continually *.”. Sometimes they have undeservedly lost the affections of their best friend, whom they wish to regain. Sometimes they seek in vain admission to those who can alone effectually aflift them. Sometimes a load of grief lies heavy on their minds, which calls for some compassionate hand to lighten or remove it, by confolation, by advice, by encouragement, , by sympathy and condolence, by every tender care, every soothing expression that humanity
can dictate. In all these cases, and a multitude of others that might be mentioned, true benevolence will accommodate itself to the various distresses that fall in its way ; will, with a versatility truly admirable, “ be“come all things to all men,” and assume as many different shapes as there are modes of misery in the world. It will compose the differences of friends; it will arrest the violence of enemies; it will bring back the ungrateful child to a sense of his duty, the offended pa. rent to the feelings of affection ; " it will visit “ the fatherless and widows in their affliction; “it will rejoice with them that rejoice, and " weep with them that weep;" it will protect the helpless and the weak; will exert its influence, will exhaust its powers in redressing their injuries, and vindicating their rights; it will facilitate their access to the seats of justice; it will knock for them at the doors of the great ; it will raise them up friends, where they could never have thought of looking for them; it will be as Aaron was to Moses, “ a mouth to them *;" it will speak those wants which they are unable to represent, and * Ex. iv. 16.
plead for them with an eloquence which nothing can 'resist. The man of charity, in short, will not merely content himself with giving alms; he will give what people are often more unwilling to give, his attention, his thoughts, his care, his friendship, his protection. These are so many instruments of beneficence that God puts into our hands for the benefit of others. These were intended to supply the place of wealth, and will, in many cases, relieve distresses which wealth cannot reach. • To enter into a minute detail of all the various ways in which we may benefit mankind would be endless, and, indeed, in a great meafure needless. For whoever is possessed with a sincere desire to do good, will have no occafion for a monitor to suggest to him when and where he shall exert it. He will be no less quick in discerning, than eager in embracing every opportunity of exercising his benevolence. I shall therefore content inyfelf with mentioning, in conclusion, only one more way of manifesting our good will to mankind; which is in a very high degree important and beneficial; which lies as much within the seach of the lowest as the highest; and which Bb 4
yet yet both high and low are, I fear, but too apt to neglect; I mean, RECOMMENDING OUR BRETHREN TO GOD IN PRAYER, ..
Let not the Philosopher smile at this ! It is not to him I speak. HЕ, I know, is infinitely above the meanness of paying any homage to the great Creator and Governor of the world. He disdains to pray even for his own welfare ; how, then, should he ever think of imploring blessings upon others? How can he be expected to love his neighbour better than himself! He laughs at the idea of a particular providence, which regulates the minuteit movements both of the natural and the moral world, and consequently looks on prayer as the idlest and most useless employment in which a human creature can be engaged. Let us leave him, then, to the enjoyment of that comfortable state of which he has made choice; turned adrift (as he must suppose himself) into a wide world, and abandoned to the caprice of chance and fortune, without protector, guide, or comforter ; without any Almighty Friend to apply to for him, self, or those he holds most dear, when exposed to dangers, or involved in calamițies, where all