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At the Parish Church of St. Andrew's, Dublin,

on Sunday the 15th of April, 1716. For
the Benefit of the Charity-School for Boys
in that Parish.

The Duty and Measure of Alms


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MARK xii. 43, 44.
And be called to his Disciples, and faith to

them, verily I say unto you, that this pour
Widow bath cast more in, than all they which

bave cast into the Treasury, For all they did cast in of their Alundance;

but she of ber Want did call in all fie bad, even all ber Living.

HIS treasury was a kind of chest in SER M. the temple, answerable to the


XVII. box fixed in some of our churches, into which m VOL. II.




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SER M. the free-will offerings were cast, for pious and
XVII. charitable uses. Jesus sitting over against it

where he could have the easiest view, and be.
holding how the people cast money into it, ob-
served a poor Woman throw in two mites ;
which by the best computation were in value
three farthings of our coin. The eyes of
others, and probably those of his Disciples
likewise, overlooked this poor contribution of
hers; as inconsiderable and below their notice,
and were intent upon the greater Sums of the
sich: But Jesus who judged not according to
appearance, called to bis Disciples; the expres-
fion shews something of solemnity, and that
he had a Matter of no small consequence to
communicate to them. And left he might
thereby have discouraged the greater offerings
of the rich, or given occasion of vanity to the
charitable Widow, he at that time imparts
what he had to say only to them; and lets
them know, that what was seemingly so
mean and despicable in itself, contained a-
bundant matter of instruction, even to them
who were to teach and reform the world:
For that this was a singular instance of an ex-
cellent and exalted charity, and of the noblest
munificence. They were to learn this para-
dox, new to them, as well as absurd and in-
credible to the Scribes and Pharisees Hypo-
crites; but full. of divine wisdom and truth to
fuch are enlightened by the Gospel:
Namely, that two Mites were more than an
hundred; and that one brafs fartbing might be




of greater intrinsick worth and value than S E R M. thousands of gold and flver.

XVII. My business at present shall be to pursue our Saviour's design in transmitting this pal-, sage down to us; and to lay this great exam-, ple before you in the best light I can for your imitation and encouragement. And this I shall do by observing the several things which it naturally suggests to us. Accordingly,

I. We learn from hence that the poorest sort of people are not exempted from this indispensable duty of almfgiving. The lowest rank of people under the law was not excused: from these offerings of God which were to be made in the Temple; and the duty of almigiving under the Gospel arises from the express command of God, Heb. xiii. :16. To do, good, and to distribute forget not, for with such Jacrifices God is well pleased. And Luke xi. 41. Give alms of such things as we have. Besides, this example before us is more immediately fitted for the poor ; and the gracious acceptance of that little gift shews us how well pleased God was with it. If any were left out of that command of doing good by diftributing, this! woman had fufficient reason to think her self of that number; being by her fex more helpless than a man, and a widow too, and not only fo but a poor one, and reduced to one farthing to live upon, and perhaps could not tell when she was like to see another. The widow and the fatherlefs are proposed in scripture as the most common and signal objects

Serm.of Charity, and yet even under this circumXVII. stance the thought it her duty to give somew thing, though it was next to nothing. If any

can pretend to be in a worse condition than this, then may they with some colour plead exemption from the performance of this great duty; for they only are excused from giving alms of such things as they have, who have nothing to give in alms,

II. The second thing we may observe from hence is, that the true Measure of our charities, in the account of God, is not the quan tity of what is given, but the proportion it bears to our fortune in the World. This is the plain import of the text, and what our Saviour expressly asserts in the case of this widow who' cast more in than all they who cast into the Treasury; nay though it is not improbable that the Disciples themselves threw something into it at the same time ; for we find, John xiii

. 29. that it was their custom to give to the poor out of the common ftock. The reason assigned for this judgment of his is because the rich caft in éx T . Iléproceúortos, of their superfluity; what was redundant and unnecessary, what could be spared, and that they might be well without. But 1the gave έκ της υπερήσεως αυτής, of what the wanted ber self ; what was to procure her not any conveniency only, but the very necessaries of life.' So that it was not a small gift out of a little, which would have equalled any thing


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