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or strong. Drink may be allow'd, or indulg’d to any Kings, Princes or Nobles, in a mode. rate Way; it ought much less to be deny’d, or more plentifully afforded to those miserable Wretches, and the meaner fort of Mankind; who are at the point of perising, or being lost for Want of fuch reviving Allowances and preserving Refreshments. 'Tis the most generous Ad of Charity, to comfort and relieve such necessitous Starv'lings; who are in immi. nent Danger of Death, and whose Lives are almost overwhelm'd with Grief of Heart, and Trouble of Mind. A King, of ordinary Compallion or Clemency, will never refuse, out of his Royal Bounty, to succour the Needy, and support the Comfortless in any deplorable Circumstances ; either of Want, Persecution or Im. prisonment. Strong Drinks and healing Cor. dials are more requisite Helps, or properer Remedies for him that labours under these mi. serable Conditions, Misfortunes, Refraints, Oppressions or Indispositions of Life'; than for Peers, Princes, or crown's Heads, that fit at the Helm basking themselves in the Sun both of Honout and Pleasure ; folacing with the richest Juices of the Grape ; indulging themselves beyond Nea cessity; enjoying the perfectest Health of happy Constitutions; and wanting no such extraordinary Reliefs, either to support or strengthen Nature. Give these superfluous Consolations and Restoratives to the poor Infirmaries of languishing Invalids, or disabled Soldiers. Send them away to the Hospitals of the Sick and wounded in Spirit. Let the Man a-perishing drink the best, the strongest and the most generous Wines moderately ; to take away the Heaviness of his Heart, and to cure the Mao
ladies of his dispirited Body, as well as the Grief of his impoverish’d, dejected or despair
Healthful Persons, that roll in Wealth and revel in Welfare, have not Half so great an Occasion for such unnecessary Indulgences.
OME Interpreters have taken upon them
to restrain this Expression of Men ready to perish, to some particular Malefactors; as if it signify'd only such as were under Sentence of Death, condemn’d for some heinous Crimes, or actually a-carrying to the Place of Execution: supposing it a Custom to give those poor Creatures a comforting Draught of Wine, or a Glass of some other strong Liquor, to support their Spirits from sinking by the Way, and fainting under the Prospect of a dismal Approach ; or else alluding to the more degenerate Practice, in the Jewish Common-Wealth, of granting those dying Offenders fome intox. icating Potion, to make them insensible of the pain of their Punishments. But I shall rather chuse to believe, according to the most learned Expositors; that it imports all Perfons, in general, without any Limitation, reduc'd to extreme Poverty, and the miserable Want of common Necessaries for their Well-Being. The Hebrews, Syrians and Grecians have all understood it in this Sense. And the latter Part of this Verse, as well as the next, fully explains it so, beyond Exception and Cavil. Now, according to Dr. Patrick's Commentary, this Precept gives us an exact " Account of " their Condition, to whom a larger Quantity than
" ordinary, of Wine or strong Drink, is fit to be " allow'd. Not to Kings; who have innumerable “ Ways to relieve their Cares, and to divert their " Minds, when any Thing troubles their Heads, " or afflicts their bodies. But to poor miserable “People, that are ready to faint under their
heavy Burthens and Oppreffions. For whom this " is a present Relief, and the only Succour fome"times they are capable of receiving ; when they
are in a very melancholy Mood, or desponding Circumstances of Distress. And they that are of such a forrowful Temper, or otherwise made exceeding sad, can better bear a great Deal of
Wine, without any Disorder; than the Sanguine, " and they who are gay and merry in the full In
joyment of all carthly Satisfactions to their "Hearts-Content. To be brief! In this unli. mited Acceptation, it couches the most divine, commendable, and beneficial Do&trines in the whole Systeme, either of Religion or Morality.
Í. CHARITY is the Queen of all Christian Virtues; the Mistress of Salvation with a good Faith, and the greatest Grace of the Universe, in doing Good to Mankind; consider'd either in our Love towards God, or in our Regard towards our Neighbour. He is amiable above all Things for his own Sake; for his infinite Goodness, Omniscience and Power. We are indebted to him for our Life, Motion and Being, either Temporal or Eternal; and are only poor, insolvent, unprofitable Creatures: when we have done all we can here to serve him, and to discharge our Duty. We can pay him nothing but what is his own, what is his Due, and what falls infinitely short of the Obligation. Heaven and Earth ; Fire, Air
and Water, all demand our good will and Gratitude ; the whole Worship, Devotion and Adoration both of our Souls and Bodies, for the omnipotent sovereign Creator of them all out of nothing. To Be ; Ay, that alone requires all the Glory, as well as Affe&tion we are Masters of, and more Amazement. The Mystery shews the Disability of our Performance. We cannot acquit ourselves in any kind or Proportion for his manifold Blessings; but only by an absolute Love, entire Resignation, and perfect Obedience to his divine Pleasure, or indispensable Commands.
in the next Place, it is a principal Injunation upon all Christians, to love their FellowCreatures as their Brethren, or their Neighbours as themselves, next after God; by conferring of Benefits upon the Necessitous; by doing all manner of good Offices to the Comfortless; and by redressing with Acts of Kindness, or Gifts of Charity, the Grievances of the Distressed. We are highly oblig'd to succour all afflicted and unfortunate Sufferers for Con. science-Sake, according to our utmost Ability. Charity commands us to exhilarate the Hearts of the Poor, to revive their Spirits, and to preserve their Bodies from starving. 'Tis our Duty to prevent their Despairing of Relief, as well as perishing for want of it in the Ex pectation. Delay and Suspence are the most profess’d Enemies of this prevalent, pious Virtve. And if a Glass of Wine, Ale or Brandy, can easily contribute any Thing towards their Preservation ; who would grudge such a small Matter out of Hand, but the most uncharitable Churl, or hardest-hearted Miser in the World? Giving of Alms, without doubt, is
not only a divine Obligation, a sacred Relief, or a kind Present to the Poor upon Earth; but must also justly be esteem'd a most acceptable Oblation to God himself, laid up in Heaven. There is the great Treasury of all good Things, true Riches and everlasting Happiness. 'Tis only giving away a Trifle at present, to receive an immense Sum of Wealth hereafter ; a more exceeding Weight of Glory in a future State. By this Means we may turn our Money, which is the common Instrument of Avarice Below, into an Occasion of Mercy Above, and vaster Advantages of Felicity than this Life can afford. Let the Rich theretore treat the Poor with Compassion and Relief, not with Conkempt and close-fifted Repulses. Whạt sige nifies a Morfel of Bread out of their Abundance, or a Draught of strong Drink out of the Affluence of their plentiful Fortunes? What Harm would a round Sum do out of such People's Pockets? It would be no more mifs’d than a Drop of Water out of the Ocean, or the South Sea; if those that deal in it, had any Charity left in Company with their Riches. And peradventure it may happen to be some of their own Cases another Time, to stand in Need of an Alms; for Fortune is fickle, and they are accountable to higher Powers.
II. LIBERALITY, in the next Place, is one of the most generous spirited Virtues in Morality, that moves a Man's Heart to dispose freely of his Goods of Fortune or the Body; according to the best Rules of Discretion and Reason. It makes him proportion and adjust his Bounties to his Ability, without any Mistake, Profuseness or Vain-Glory. Upon this Consideration, he bestows his Money upon thofe