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cure their Maladies, redress their Grievances, or give them Subsistence under all their disa consolate Necessities. Her Charity is so extensive and universal, that it diffuses it self to the farthest Parts, and spreads like the Sun all over the World, with its cherishing Beams or kinder Influences. Every virtuous Person she hears of in Affliction and Poverty, is immediately intitled to the comfortable Supplies of her Purse, without Distinction. If he passes in View by the Door of her House, or meets her en passant in the Streets, he is sure never to go away empty-handed or unreliev'd. If he suffers for Conscience-Sake, his Exigencies are only the greater Exercises of her Virtue, and stronger Incitements of her Liberality. His Poverty makes her rich in good Works, and causes her but to abound the more in her Bounty. Besides, The oftentimes gives with both Hands too, as the Text hints, in the plural Number, over and above Expectation: thereby doubling or multiplying her Deeds of Charity to the poorest Sufferers. And then again, no Distance of Time or Place can outreach her Charity, or shorten her Arm. It arrives out of Hand; and goes the greatest Lengths of her Riches, Power or Capacity. It extends to the farthest known Parts of the Earth, and is not bounded on this Side Heaven; for the Memorial of it is recorded in the everlasting Books. Above, if I may be allow'd to speak so metaphorically. In fine, the extraordinary Acts of her Generosity, next to a pious Profuseness, finish her Character, crown her Glory, and accomplish her Happiness with the loudest Honours, Praises, and Prayers of thankful reliev'd Indigents in this world.
YHARITY, in its general Acceptation of
Love, seems chiefly to consist in the good Offices of Asistance and Forgiveness: the One re. lating to thë Necessities of our Friends and Exie gencies of our Neighbours, in Point of Distress; and the Otber, as plainly regarding the Injuries of our Foes and Offences of our Enemies, in Point of Revenge. In that Sense, we Christianis are oblig'd to relieve, fuccour and comfort the Former: in this, wé are as much bound to love and bless the Latter, or intirely to forgive them, and do them Good for Evil; not to retaliate, but requite their worst Treatment, or wickedest Returns with Kindness. But the old Moralists, among the Jews, scarce ever carry'd their Chas rity up to that Degree of Perfection, in this last Signification. They talk'd of an Eye for an Eye, and a' Tooth for á Tooth, by Way of insisting upon a specifical Punishment, or a revengeful Recompence. And yet we find that the wifet Antients were very generous, discreet and honourable, in revenging of Injuries with Disdain. The Philosophers made a common Pra&ice on't: Good may be drawn from the worst of Enemies, says Xenophon, as the sweetest Honey is made by the Bees from the bitterest Thyme, and some of the best Medicines come from the most poisonous Serpents. Theophrastus asserts, that Revenge hurts our selves more than it does our Enemies Harm.' Cicero advises to contemn Injuries, rather than contend with them for Mastery. A Spirit of Revenge reigning in our splenetick Breasts, how sweet soever by the Proverb, is only a felf-willid or malevolent Discomposure of Mind, that ruf
fles our own Tempers, and disconcerts oor fedatest Thoughts, for the Satisfaction of others out of the Reach on't. There can be no right Way of repelling Injury by private Force, or discretionary Violence, but only by publick Lappi and stated Fuftice : Sinn detruderfor duugar, as Phocylides morally dire&ts. Plutarch calls an Éne. my á School-Master, whether selfish or severe, that costs us nothing for teaching us Experience ; but Caution and Prudence against his future Treacheries. The Reproaches of a profess'd Enemy are ridiculous, and no Disreputation. His Tongue is no Slander, that deserves Credit. He that gives the Lie in Conversation, is the Liar himTelf, against the Rule of good Manners. No Affront is sufficient for a Duel by the foundest Reason. O Dueller! The Sword is the King's only, and not thine. No Indignity can be Provocation enough to take away Life, either in hot or cold Blood; nor can it ever justify Murder, but among common Bravo's, Bullies and AsSaffines. Socrates and Plato, both Master and Scholar of the greatest wisdom, went farther yet, and agreed, that no Revenge was either lawful or reasonable. Better receive, than do Evil; better take, than give Offence; better suffer, than fin, are the soundeft Maxims of humane Politicks, Religion or Philosophy. The noblest Point of Honour and Magnanimity, is to bear the most violent or arbitrary Outrages with Patiences A Man hews more Bravery and Courage in generously forgiving, than invidiously revenging a Wrong. The belt Revenge is Contempt, and ic generally proves the greatest Conqueror. For when an Enemy finds himself defpis'd, he thinks himself almost half-morder'd. Tis next to cuto ting his Throat, not to be thought worthy of
another's Anger, or a vindi&ive Word.
Bet to do any Mischief to our vileft Enemies in Heat and Choler, is to be reveng'd of our selves, and recoiling the Injury, with a Vengeance, on our own Heads. It is like revenging Death upon our own lives, and turning it the wrong Way. We ought not to be judges in our own private Cafes. We are none of the Twelve at Westminster. Hall. The Law is open and publick. There Justice and Punishment take place. I must not rob a Thief to be reveng'd of him, nor make Reprisals that Way, to recover my Right. If a Masty-Dog bites me, or an Afs gives me a Blow, must'I take out a Writ, or bring an Action against them ; to fhew that I am their Competitor or Equal ? If I am mock'd, or scoffingly reproach'a, muft I mimick the Buffoon of a Fool for Company? If I am dishonour'd, or disgrac'd by a Poultron, must í honour him with my Refentments upon the fame Level? If he revile, or vilify me with his backbiting Tongue in private, must I rail by his Example, and not speak well of the Wretch ; to make him asham'd of Himself in publick? If he hate, or perfecute me without Occasion, must not I love the spiteful Brute; to be unlike him, as a Toad and a Tyger that has lost his Teeth, and spit his venom? The greatest Enemies may sometimes be made the best Friends, by Discretion. We ought to bless them that curse us, for a Reconciliation ; and to conquer them with Christianity : by do. ing them Good for Evil, Right for Wrong, and heartily wishing them well in the World. We are oblig’d-to prayfor their Conversion here, and Forgiveness hereafter to Salvation ; if not allo for their temporal Prosperity, and feculár Welfare in the mean Time. We ought to wish them all
Happiness, and every Thing, according to the famous Advice of juft Antisthenes, but Valour, Power, and ill will enough to do us a farther Mischief. This is a kind of vindi&tive Charity ; it overcomes all Insults through Patience, kills with Kindness, and triumphs by Submission. It always turns to the Disadvantage of the Vanquißer, and gives the Glory of the Vi&tory to the Vanquished, by the Right of Christian Warfare, or spiritual Conqueft. Not to seem too tedious by these Quotations. In short, the blesfed Jesus Himself forgave Fudas, for our Example, who betray'd the Lord of Life to his Cruci.. fixion. But Charity, in giving to the Poor, andarfisting the Needy in their Wants, is the chief Drift, and main Subject of our present Discourse.
RELIGIOUS Charity then, the greatest of the facred Graces, becomes a virtuvus Woman's natural Choice, almost as well as acquir'd by Divinity, or given by God. It is an infallible Criterion of her incomparable Goodness; but not exclusive, either of Faith or of Hope. All the Three of Course fall regularly into the Compofition of her Christian Character and Profession. And, although this be the Last of them in Nomination, fhe makes it the First in her Ele&ion; to confummate the Glory of the other Two in Practice. She believes it to be the chief Ornament of her Mind, as well as Happiness of her Life, to allist the poor and the Needy, by her extraordinary Beneficence, to the utmost of her Fortune or Ability; in order to finish her universal Love towards all Mankind, labouring under the common Calamities of the World. But then she carries her Charity still on to a bigher Pitch of Perfection, than meer Morality could ever get reach; by forgiving her Enemies, as well as relieving those of the Houshold of S 2