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embarrassment, that division of human affairs which falls to their management. But let this arrangement be annihilated, let there be no division of mankind into families, no separate economy, no suitable allotment of business, and the immediate consequence would be universal waste, profligacy, and ruin.
III. It is the ordination of Providence, that every individual should have an immediate and pressing inducement to labour.— Without this, it is demonstrable that mankind would never have made any advance in improvement of any kind ; that conse quently, we must have wanted the acquirements, the industry, the arts, the institutions, which gladden and adorn human existence. Without an inducement, and such an immediate and pressing inducement, as comes home to the understanding and heart of all, to labour in all the ways in which man can benefit himself or others, it is certain that the earth would remain uncultivated, that the world would soon be thinly peopled, and that the few inhabitants on its surface would be idle, ignorant, and miserable.
But this immediate and pressing inducement to voluntary labour is only to be found in that peculiar interest, which, from the constitution of his nature, man feels in that which he calls his own, He is formed to love others; but he is also so formed, that he cannot but love himself, and value what he reckons conducive to his happiness. He is also so made, that those who are united to him by a family relation, who are the objects of his natural affections, he considers as his own, as himself, whose well-being he feels himself bound to promote. It is from thence he
derives the most powerful motives to laborious and painful exertion; and that he is prompted to such a uniform exercise of his talents and energies, as makes him a voluntary benefactor to his fellow-creatures. Hence I notice,
IV. That genuine disinterested benevolence regards those as its first objects, who, from proximity, relationship, or moral worth, have peculiar claims. "Do good,” says the Apostle, “ unto all men, as ye have opportunity, but especially to those who are of the household of faith.” If it be the desire of that love which is the fulfilling of the law to do the greatest good possible, and this surely must be the dictate of genuine disinterested benevolence, then, every man must begin at home, with the members of his own family, with the poor, the, ignorant, the wretched, in his vicinity, with the division of the church of Christ with which he is connected, with his kindred and country. By sighing over the thraldom and misery of distant nations, and by neglecting the wants of those within our reach, we are wasting our benevolence, if benevolence it can be called, on those whom we cannot benefit, and leaving unoccupied the important sphere of duty and of usefulness in which Providence invites us to move. We attempt to invert that order which the ordination of heaven has fixed for the exercise of our benevolence, and the discharge of its duties; and, thus, it would seem that we would fain improve on the plans of infinite wisdom and goodness, as if we were wiser and more compassionate than He who formed us.
In exact proportion as we exercise true benevolence
to those within our reach, is it proved that we should shew it to those at a distance, provided it were in our power to do so. It is thus only, and not by use. less lamentations over distant distresses, and idle declamation concerning the perfectibility of human nature, that we cherish that love which is the true spring of all social virtue. It is comparatively few of the human race that we can personally benefit; for the rest we can only shew our benevolence by our wishes and prayers, and by contributing, as we have opportunity, to the diffusion of that glorious Gospel which is the declaration of peace on earth, and goodwill towards men. It was thus that good men of old acted, while they expressed their earnest desires for the happiness of the whole family of mankind : “God be merciful unto us and bless us, and cause his face to shine upon us; that thy way may be known upon earth, thy saving health among all nations."
" There is a scale of benevolent desire, which corresponds with the necessities to be relieved, and our power of relieving them; or, with the happiness to be afforded, and our power of affording happiness. How many opportunities have we of giving delight to those who live in our domestic circle, which would be lost before we could diffuse it, to those who are distant from us ! Our love, therefore,-our desire of giving happiness,-our pleasure in having given it, are stronger within the limits of this sphere of daily and hourly intercourse, than beyond it. Of those who are beyond this sphere, the individuals most familiar to us are those whose happiness we must always know better how to promote, than the happiness of stràn
gers, with whose particular habits and inclinations we are little, if at all acquainted. Is it possible to perceive this general proportion of our desire of giving happiness, in its various degrees, to the means which we possess, in various circumstances, of affording it, without admiration of an arrangement so simple in the principles from which it flows, or at the same time so effectual, -an arrangement which exhibits proofs of goodness in our very wants, of wisdom in our very weaknesses, by the adaptation of these to each other, and by the ready resources which want and weakness find in these affections which everywhere surround them, like the presence and protection of God himself.
This is the necessary fruit of benevolence; and will spring forth, wherever benevolence has its abode. It consists of a variety of minute and kindly offices, which necessarily vary with the varying circumstances of human life. It is, when genuine, the effect of the principle of beneficence, and not merely of natural affection.
This virtue, which softens and adorns all our social virtues, shews itself, not only by a regard to the wants, but by a deference to the feelings of others. The
* Brown's Lectures, vol. iii. p. 343.
individual in whose bosom the gentle virtues of humanity abide, glows with good will to every living thing; he remembers that the path which leads to the tomb is already sufficiently darkened by the shadow of death, though he should not unnecessarily aggravate the gloom;-and that while he and his fellow-candidates for eternity are within a few paces of the boundary which will unite or separate them for ever, he ought to shew them all the kindness in his power while advancing thither.
In many, the wish to promote the happiness of mankind by a kind and courteous demeanour, discovers itself only at distant intervals, and on great occasions. They seem to feel only when affliction makes a loud appeal to them; or when they are surrounded with spectators to applaud their beneficent exertions ;—forgetting that the happiness of man is made up, not by a few acts of generosity, but by the frequent, and, in many cases, undefinable offices of daily life ;—and that the continued exercise of humanity, and the endearing tones of affection, are productive of far more substantial good, than the sacrifice of a splendid fortune without them.
Humanity is exercised towards the lower animals, as well as in regard to mankind.
“A righteous man,' that is, a virtuous humane man, “will regard the life of his beast.” His love to universal happiness will shew itself in his kind and gentle treatment of the whole animated creation. In this respect, he will derive the rule of his conduct from the description which the pen of inspiration gives of the bounteous conduct of the Parent of all, in regard to all the crea