THE CAUSE OF THE POOR PLEADED.

Pro. 19. 7.
All the brethren of the poore hate him, how much more do his friends go far from him; he pursueth them with words, yet they are wanting to him.
Prov. 31. 11.
Open thy mouth, plead the cause of the poore and needy.
Col. 3. 14.
Above all things put on charity.
Gal. 2. 9, 10.
James, Cephas, and John would that wee should remember the poor, the same also I was forward to doe.
Dan. 4. 27.
Let my counsell be acceptable unto thee, and breake off thy sins by righteousness, and thine iniquities by shewing mercy to the poor, if it may be a lengthening of thy tranquility.
Luk. 16. 31.
And he said, if they will not heare Moses, and the Prophets, neither will they be perswaded if one rise from the dead.
Job 30. 15.
Was not my soule grieved for the poor?
Job 12. 9.
The hand of the Lord hath wrought this.

By Samuel Richardson.

LONDON, Printed by M. Simmons, for Livewell Chapman, at the Crowne in Popes-head Alley, 1653.

The Cause of the Poore pleaded.

AND the people asked him saying, what shall we doe? and hee answered and said unto them, he that hath two coates, let him impart to him that hath none, and he that hath meat, let him doe likewise,
Luk. 3. 10, 11.

If two coates, impart one; I need one, and he needeth one that hath none: and he that hath meat, let him do so likewise.

Obs. 1. We learn the cause why God hath given unto some more then unto others, is not because they need more then others, nor that they should keep it for themselves, but that they should supply the want of others, distributing to the necessities of the Saints, given to hos­pitality, Job 31. 15. Rom. 12. 13. Do good to all, Gal. 6. 10.

If two coates, let him impart, and he that hath meate let him do so likewise.

Obser. 2. Wee may not give both, nor keep both; it is the will of God, that what we can spare, or have more then our necessities require, is to be given to supply the wants and necessities of others.

If two coates, impart to him that hath none, and he that hath meate, let him do so likewise.

Obs. 3. The wants of others should be considered, & laid to heart, cared for, and supplyed by us, as if they were our owne, Job 30. 25. 2 Cor. 11. 29.

Reasons why we should impart and give to supply the wants of others, are, because

1. It is Gods command that we do so: Thus saith the Lord, deale thy bread to the hungry, Isa. 58. 7. Leave for the poor, that the poor may eate, Lev. 19. 10. & 23. 22. If thine enemie hunger, feed him, give him bread to eate; if he thirst, give him water to drink, Pro. 25. 21. Rom. 12. 20. When thou seest the naked, that thou cover him, Deu. 15. 10. Give to him that asketh thee, Mat. 5. 42. Lu. 6. 34. If thy brother be waxen poor, and fallen to decay with thee, thou shalt relieve him, and also a stranger, Lev. 27. 35. Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thy self, Rom. 13. 9.

2. Christ did so: Ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, though hee was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be made rich, 2 Cor. 8. 9. see Isa. 25. 4. He saith, learn of me, Mat. 11. 29. He that followeth not after me, is not worthy of me, Mat. 10. 38. Christ had compassion on the multitude, Mat. 15. 32. Mar. 8. 2. shouldst not thou also have had compassion, Luk. 18. 33, 34.

3. Believers did so. Cornelius gave much almes to the people, Act. 10. 1, 2▪ I brought alms to my nation, Act. 24. 17. Dorcas was full of good works, & almes deeds which she did, Act. 19. 36. 39. She stretcheth out her hand to the [Page] poore and needy, Pro. 31. 20. I was a father to the poor, Job 29. 16. The righ­teous sheweth mercy, and giveth, Ps. 37. 21. Hath given his bread to the hung­ry, & hath covered the naked with a garment, Ezek. 18. 16. Zacheus was a mi­serable, wretched, covetous extortioner; but when he was converted, immediatly he became liberall; Half my goods I give to the poor, &c. Luk. 19. 7, 8, 9. So they sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need, Acts 2. 44. 45. & 4. 32, 33, 34, 35. 37. Exo. 16. 18. 15. 2 Cor. 18. 14, 15. The righteous giveth, and spareth not, Pro. 21. 26. Beyond their power they were willing, 2 Cor. 8. 2, 3, 4. Let the same mind be in you which was in Christ Jesus, Phil. 2. 15. God grant you to be like minded one towards a­nother, according to Christ Jesus, Rom. 15. 5. Beliveers have the minde of Christ, 2 Cor. 2. 16. Phil. 2. 19, 20. They are merciful, Mat. 5. 7. Col. 3. 12. So much as we are like Christ, we love, are pittiful, and have bowels of mercy; so much as we believe, we love; love is full of labour, boun­tiful, and spareth for no cost, 2 Sam. 24. 24. How are we like Christ & his people, if we have not the same spirit, mind, & heart they have? If we walk not in their steps, and do as they did, if necessity so require?

4. What we have is Gods, Ezek. 16. 17. what we have to spare, if o­thers need the same, God hath bidden us to give it them, Pro. 25. 21. If he hath ordered it for them, it is their due, it is injustice and theft to detain it. With-hold not the goods from them to whom it is due, though there be power in thine hand to do it, Pro. 3. 27.

5. The liberall soule shall be made fat, Pro. 11. 25.

6. They in want are our own flesh: Hide not thy selfe from thy owne flesh, 2 Tim. 2. 3. Prov. 17. 11. Not to supply their wants to our power, to be without naturall affection, 2 Tim. 3. 3.

7. Give and ye shall sin less. Break off thy iniquities by shewing mercy to the poor, Dan. 4. 27. By mercy and truth iniquity is purged, Pro. 16. 6.

8. To give is a proof of the sincerity of your love to God and man, 2 Cor. 8. 9. 24. Philem. 5.

9. Not to give, or to give sparingly is a cause of poverty. He beco­meth poor that dealeth with a slack hand, Pro. 10. 4. So to with-hold more then is meet tendeth to poverty, Pro. 11. 24.

10. To give is the way to have more. There is that scattereth, and yet encreaseth, Pro. 11. 24. Give, and it shall be given you, Lu. 6. 38.

11. What you give is not lost, but lent, God hath promised to pay it again. He that hath pity on the poor, lendeth to the Lord, and that which he hath given, will he pay him again, Pro. 19. 17. Cast thy bread upon the wa­ters, and after many dayes thou shalt find it, Ezek. 1. 3. 6. A good man shew­eth favour, and lendeth, Ps. 11 [...]. 5. Many men will trust men with thou­sands, but not God, because they do not know him.

12. To shew mercy to the poor may be a lengthening of thy tranquility, Dan. 4. 27. The mercifull man doth good to his owne soule, Pro. 11. 17.

[Page] 13. We should give, because we may come to want our selves. Give a portion to 7. and also to 8. for thou knowest not what evill shall come upon the earth. Fire may come, theeves, oppressors, sword, famine, overflowing waters, &c. may come, therfore give; for such measure as you meet to others shall be meeasured to you again. Make frends by giving to the poor, Lu. 16. 9, 10.

14. If the clouds be full they empty themselves upon the earth, Eccl. 11. 3. the very Indians, Heathen, wild Irish, give freely such food as they have to all comers; the very Lions, Wolves, &c. will not devour the prey alone, they call their fellows to what they get. Will a Lion roare in the forrest when he hath no prey? will a Lion cry out in his den, if he have taken nothing at all? Am. 3. 4. It appears when he hath taken something, he cals by roaring and crying to his fellows, to come and share in what he hath taken.

15. If you omit this duty, it will be a sin unto you, Deut. 15. 7, 8, 9, 10. Rom. 15. 26.

16. How do we love our neighbor as our selves, if we take not care for them as we do for our selves.

17. To give is a joy to the Saints. We have had great joy and consola­tion in thy love, because the bowels of the Saints are refreshed by thee, Phile. 7.

18. To give is a means to cause others to do so also. Your ministring to the Saints the forwardness of your mind hath provoked very many, 2 Cor. 9. 1, 2.

19. To give is pleasing to God and man. God loveth a cheerfull giver, 2 Cor. 9. 7. To do good, & to communicate, forget not, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased, Heb. 13. 16. An odour of sweet smel, a sacrifice acceptable, well pleasing to God, Phil. 4. 18. It pleased them to give, Rom. 16. 26. It pleaseth them that receive, it pleaseth all good people that heare of it.

20. To give is an honor & glory to God. He that honoureth him hath mercy on the poor, Pro. 14. 31. They glorifie God for their liberall distributi­on unto them, and unto all men, 2 Cor. 9. 13. They seeing your good workes, glorifie your Father which is in heaven, Mat. 5. 16. Mat. 15. 8.

Consider the evils and miseries they bring upon themselves, who have this worlds good, and doe not supply the wants of others.

1. They are guilty of all the sorrows & sufferings which their not giving hath occasioned; consider what account wilt thou be able to give of that estate God hath betrusted thee withal to supply the wants to others whom thou hast neglected, and hast and dost consume it up­on thy lusts and pleasures, ere long it shall be said unto thee, Give an account of thy stewardship, for thou maist be no longer steward, Lu. 16. 22. dost thou think that if some other had the estate thou hast, that they could not, and would not do more good with it then thou dost? many in these our days have had great estates, now they have them not; one cause is, they did not supply the want of others, therefore they are taken from them, and are in great want themselves.

[Page] 2. So long as we omit our duty herein, we cannot enjoy the sweet peace of a good conscience.

3. All your religion is vain, impure, and false. Pure religion, & un­defiled before God, is to visite the fatherless & widow in their affliction, Jam. 1. 27. Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and to bring the poor that are cast out to thy house, Isa. 58. 7, 8, 9. To love mercy, Mica 6. 8.

4. It was the sin of Sodome, that she did not strengthen the hands of the poor and needy, Ezek. 16. 49. And if we commit the same sins, may wee not expect to meet with the same punishment, fire and brimstone? or that which is worse, hardness of heart, and everlasting punishment? Mat. 24. 46. I fear this nation lieth under a curse for this sin, though many see it not, or consider it not.

5. We hurt our selves by keeping that we should give. A sore evill I have seen under the sun, namely riches kept by the owners thereof to their hurt, Eccles. 5. 13.

6. The cry of the poor is against you; God heareth their cry, and will take their part, Ps. 104. 1. Ps. 72. 12. Ps. 69. 13. If the oppressed be silent, their oppression doth cry, Ps. 12. 5.

7. Ye have not the love of God in you, 1 Cor. 3. 17. Pro. 29. 7. Whoso hath this worlds goods, & seeth his brother in need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? Whatsoever you or any think or say, it is not in you at all, 1 Joh. 3. 17. If you did love, you would supply the wants of your brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death, vers. 14. 15.

8. What you have is unclean to you, Luk. 11. 41.

9. The Lord will not hear your prayer. Whoso steppeth his ears at the cry of the poor, he shall cry himself, but shall not be heard, Pro. 12 13. He hath forsaken the poor, Lev. 20. 19.

10. Ye are not subject to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but ye oppose and deny the same, 2 Cor. 9. 13, 14. Taking vengeance on them that know not God, & that obey not the Gospel, who shall be punished with everlasting de­struction from the presence of the Lord, 2 Thes. 1. 8, 9. This is your porti­on; for he that is not merciful, hath not the spirit of Christ, & he that hath not the spirit of Christ is none of his, Rom. 8 9.

11. You bring the judgment of God upon your selves, and upon your posterity. Let his days be few, his children fatherlesse, and his wife a widow; let their children be vagabonds, and beg their bread; let the extortioner catch all that he hath, let the stranger spoile his labour, let there he none to ex­tend mercy to him, neither let there be any to father his fatherlesse children; let his posterity be cut off, let their name be blotted out, Because he remembred not to shew mercy, but persecuted the poor, Ps. 109 8. to 16. For the oppression of the poor, & sighing of the needy, now will I arise saith the Lord, Ps. 12. 5. Because he hath oppressed and forsaken the poor, sarely they shall not feele qui­etness in the fulness of his sufficiency, he shall be in straits, Job 20. 19. to 25. [Page] If I have with-held the poor from his desire, or have caused the eyes of the wi­dow to faile, or have eaten my morsel my self alone, and the fatherless have not, eaten thereof: If I have seen any perish for want of cloathing, if his loyns have not blessed me, if he were not warmed with the fleece of my sheep, let my arme fall from my shoulder blade, and mine arm be broken from the bone, Job. 31. 16. 23. Go too now ye rich, weep & howl for the misery that is coming upon you, your riches are corrupt, your garments motheaten, your gold & your silver, and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eate your flesh as it were fire, Jsa. 5. 1, 2, 3. Wee to them that are at ease, and drink wine in bowles, and are not grieved for the afflictions of Joseph, therefore they shal go into captivity, Am. 6. 1. 7, 8. They are waxen fat, they judg not the cause, the cause of the fa­therles, yet they prosper, and the right of the needy do they not judge; shall not I visite for these things saith the Lord? shall not my soul be avenged on such a Nation as this? Jer. 5. 28, 29. I am sore displeased with the Gentiles that are at ease, for I was a little displeased, and they helped forward the affliction, Zech. 1. 15. He shal have judgment without mercy that shewed not mercie, Iam. 2. 13.

12. You are they against whom shall be pronounced that most ter­rible and dreadful sentence of Go ye cursed. He shall say to them, depart from me yee cursed into everlasting fire prepared for the Devil and his angels; for I was a hungry, and ye gave me no meat, thirsty, and yee gave me no drinke, a stranger, and ye took me not in, naked and ye cloathed me not, sicke & in prison, and ye visited me not, these shall go into everlasting punishment, Mat. 25. 41 46.

Oh that men would hear, and be perswaded to their duty herein, Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we perswade men, 2 Cor. 5. 11. To whom shall I speak & give warning, that they may hear. Behold their ear is un­circumcised, they cannot hearken, behold the word of the Lord is to them a re­proach, they have no delight in it, Jer. 6. 10. But whoso is wise will consider these things. They that regard the word of the Lord wil be perswaded, if they have but two coats, to impart, and he that hath meat to do likewise to those that have none; as you desire not to have the omission thereof brought against you at the last day, let it be your care to feed the hungry, cloath the naked, take them into your houses, or provide dwelling for them. Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thy self, Lev. 19. 18. Mat. 19. 19. (a hard lesson for those in these last days, wherein the love of many waxeth cold to God and man) if he need, and cannot help himself, I am to care for him, and provide for him, as I would doe for my self, else how do I love him as my selfe; love is liberall in giving, for he that loveth, is wholy drawn to the service of him whom he lo­veth: we are willing to share in all that Jesus Christ hath, though we deserve it not; it is but equal that he in his and others should share in all we have, if they deserve it not; we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren, 1 Joh. 3. 16, 17. Aquila & Precilla, who for my life laid down their own necks, Rom. 16. 3. 4. If so then we are to lay down our estates for them, for that is less, Pro. 21. 26. Praying us with much intreaty to receive the [Page] gift, 2 Cor. 8. 2, 3, 4. It is not so now, many need to be prayed with much intreaty [to give] to supply the wants of others, it cannot but be a great grief to all good men, that the poor should want bread, yea & some of our brethren and sisters, if we belong to Christ, should be so neglected (that many a dog is better provided for then they are) and that contrary to the word of the Lord. I wonder at that seeming com­fort & peace of conscience some have that so abound in great plenty, who fare like Dives, deliciously every day, and have all things in ex­cesse, while others are in great extreamity and want, the destruction of the poor their poverty, Pro. 10. 15. Two or 3 l. lent to an industrious man, might preserve a family from sinking; I have heard sad stories of the great extreamities of some who beg not. We ought to part with our superfluities, to supply others conveniences, and with our conve­niences, to supply others necessities, yea and to part with some part of that which is necessary for us, to supply others in their extreamities; those that wil not do so, wil not sel their possessions (much less dye for their brethren) to feed the hungry belly, and cloath the naked body of Jesus Christ, who is hungry & naked, Mat. 24. 42, 43. Christ and his peo­ple are one, Heb. 2. 11. 1 Cor. 12. 12. If ye neglect them, ye neglect him, if ye grieve them, ye grieve him; if ye refuse to help them, ye refuse to help him; if ye afflict them, ye afflict him. In all their afflictions he was af­flicted, Isa. 63. 9. In as much as ye did it to one of these, ye did it to me, Mat. 24. 44. He that receiveth you, receiveth me, Mat. 10. 40. How canst thou say thou lovest Jesus Christ whilst thou hast cloaths, and food enough and to spare, and givest Christ none, or the worst; the Jews give to the poor the best of what they have, because God is to have the best; what is given to the poor for Gods sake, is given to God.

Surely many would give much, and enough to supply the wants of others; but until things be put into some good way & order; if some who have great estates should sell them, and give all away, it would soon come to nothing. If the poor were set to work, &c. and the rich joyntly help, the poore might be comfortably provided for without burdening any; it were better to wear less costly apparel, to fare hard­er, cut off needless expences, then not to supply the wants of others.

Defend the poor and fatherless, Ps. 82. 3. Deliver them, & oppress not the poor, for he that is higher then the highest regardeth it, Eccl. 5. 8. The Lord maketh poor, Iam. 2. 17. The poor are despised, Lam. 2. 6. Eccl. 9. 19. ha [...]ed, Pro. 14. 20. & 19. 7. taxed, Ezek. 22. 29. Oppressed, Am. 4. 1. They buy the poor, Am. 8. 6. tread upon them, Am. 5. 11. grind their faces, Jer. 3. 15. & 10. 2. vex them, Ezek. 22. 29. devour them, Hab. 2. 14. As it was then, so it is now, but know for all these things God shall bring thee to judgment, Eccl. 11. 2. The wants, necessities, and miseries of others have not been enough considered, & laid to heart, and helped; the poor able to work, are suffe­red to beg, the impotent, aged, and sick, are not sufficiently provided [Page] for, but almost starv'd with the allowance of 3 d. and 4 d. a piece a week; why cannot this Nation set their poor on work, and provide ne­cessaries for those poor not able to work as well as Holland? that there may be no begging in England, nor just complaint by reason of want; this were a good work, a blessed work, very comfortable, of great ne­cessity, attainable & honorable to this Nation, very acceptable to God, and to those in want, and to all good men. The Lord preserve those precious and blessed men who have power and hearts to do so, great good for those who cannot help themselves, God shall give them a full reward, 2 John 8. Surely God wil greatly bless them that further so blessed a work; God delights in mercy more then in sacrifice. A merciful man is strucken to the heart with the miseries of others, and is compelled to help them if he can. Let no man seek his own things, but eve­ry man anothers wealth, 1 Cor. 10. 24. Mordecai seeking the wealth of his people, Est. 10. 3. When this Nation shall seek the wealth thereof, that each may enjoy the same mercies and comforts which they desire for themselves, England shall be indeed a Common-wealth. Many say they have little enough for themselves, wives and children, all seek their own thing [...], Phil. 1. 2. They are lovers of themselves, 2 Tim. 3. 2. The wicked rich man was all for himself; Soul take [thou] thine ease [thou] bast goods laid up for many years, Luk. 12. 19. he laid up all for self; they leave their substance to their babes, Ps. 17. 14. They put wife and children into their Wils, but leave out Christ and his children, because they love wife and babes more then Christ; but know, He that loveth father or mother more then me, is not worthy of me; and he that loveth son or daughter more then me, is not worthy of me, Lu. 10. 37, 38. If any man come to me, & hate not his fa­ther, and mother, and wife, and children, yea and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple, Lu. 14. 26. Behold we have forsaken all and followed thee, Mat. 19. 27. 29. Knowing in our selves that we have in heaven a better, and an induring substance, Heb. 10. 34. 2 Cor. 4. 18.

He that provideth not for his family is worse then an infidell. If thou art a believer, Christs family is thy family, Eph. 3. 15. Heb. 2. 6. They are thy brethren and sisters; brethren and sisters are ever counted of one stock, kindred, and family, and brethren are to provide for their brethren, Lev. 25. 25. Num. 27. 11. Lev. 27. 35. If we be all members of one body, we should think the discomodities of our brethren pertain to our selves: men do wel to provide for wife and babes, but not then when the pre­sent necessities of others cannot be supplyed without the same; how did they in the 2. and 4th of the Acts provide for their families, wives, and babes, when they sold their houses and lands, and gave away all the mo­ney: Were they worse then Infidels because they were more carefull to supply the present wants of the Saints, then to provide for themselves, wives and children? 2 Cor. 8. 14. The leaving great estates to children, makes them so much the greater sinners, to spend their dayes in pride, [Page] pleasure, idleness, uncleanness, tyranny and oppression, and in all ex­cesse of wickednesse, but this the rich father will not believe. If men be not able to give, it is excepted according to that a man hath, 2 Cor. 8. 12. We should labour, working with our hands to have to give to him that nee­deth, Eph. 4. 28. Many spend so much on their lusts, that they are not able to supply the wants of others; The lusts of the flesh, the lust of the ey [...], and the pride of life are chargeable, they devour all, and make poor, they are able to spend thousands a year. One said I have 12000. a year, yet I want money as much as another man; One sinner destroyeth much good, Eccl. 11. 18. Rom. 18. 18. They have sought out many inventions, Eccl. 7. 29. to consume their estates.

Obj. None doe their duty herein.

Answ. That will not excuse any; we are to follow the word of the Lord, and not men that walk contrary to it; if none obey God, the greater is thy sin not to do it.

Obj. I would give, but I feare I shall want my selfe.

Ans. If you keep what you have, you may want the comfort of it, and the blessing of it, and the peace of conscience. You had better give and want it, then keep it and sin, but the Lord saith, He that giveth to the poor shall not lacke, Pro. 28 27. In the dayes of famine they shall have e­nough, Job 5. 20. If you cannot trust him for your bodie, how do you, or how can you trust God with your soul, which is the greater trust; It's only the unbelieving heart wch saith, Can God furnish a table in the wilderness? Can he give bread also? Ps. 78. 19, 20. Take no thought, saying, what shall we eate, or what shall we drinke, or wherewith shall we be cloathed. Your heavenly father knoweth that ye have need of these things, all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow, for to morrow shall take thought for it selfe, sufficient to the day is the evill thereof, Mat. 6 31.

Some say they know none in want, but it will not be sufficient to say so; so they will say, Lord, when saw we thee hungry and naked, [...] 25. They knew no such thing, nor did they enquire, nor come wh [...]re they might have seen it. Luk. 9. 23. They were willingly ignorant. The righ­teous considereth the cause of the poor, but the wicked regardeth not to knowe it, Pro. 29. 7.

Many say professors of Religion are as covetous and miserable as o­thers; some have two or three great places of profit besides their owne estates, but little good they do: Alas, what answer shall we give to this, save only that there are many professors of Religion that are not possessors of it; they have not heard Christ, and so not learned of him as the truth is in Jesus, therefore they have not known God, nor the pow­er or Religion: If indeed they were converted, and had the spirit of Christ, they could not but be mercifull and liberall, witness Zacheus, and they in the 2d and 4th of Acts.

[Page] These are the last times indeed men generally are all for themselves, and some would set up such: Having a forme of Religion without the pow­er of it, deceiving themselves and others, whose end is destruction, who minde earthly things, Phil. 3. 19. They pant after the dust of the earth, Amos 2. 7. After these things seeke the Gentiles, Mat. 6. 23. Those who are risen with Christ, set their afections on things above, and not on things on the earth, Col. 1, 2. The power of religion and godliness lieth in the practise of it, Jam. 1. 22. By this shall all men know yee are my Disciples if ye love one ano­ther, Joh. 13. 25. Every one that loveth is borne of God, 1 Joh. 4. 7. Where love is, there is no lack. If we have it, we will not suffer, nor can we endure they should want whom we love.

We desire again the Ordinance of God & of the Gospel, of relieving the poor, and that we might be much and often touched with a com­passion and fellow feeling of the sufferings of others. Do you not think that it is the will of God that the poor, distressed, and miserable should be relieved; if you believe it, why then do you not do it.

It seems some think they provide well enough for the poor, when they allow some that are destitute 3 d. a week to keep them; some have 4 d. a week; I knew one of 80. years old wholy destitute, had 8 d. a week for a sufficient allowance;That is 4. [...] a weeke [...]elling (but [...]ere shal it [...] had so in [...]) ndon) a [...]my a week [...] apparel, a [...]any a week [...], washing, [...]penny a [...]ek firing, [...]enny a [...]eke for [...]ate and [...]inke. [...]f [...] selves [...]re confi­ [...]d to thi [...]owance [...]w soone [...]ould we be [...] of it; [...]e poor not [...] to work, [...]ed & sicke [...] London, [...] at least [...], a week [...]. but it is not sufficient to give some­thing, unless they have sufficient for their need. Thou shalt not harden thy heart, nor shut thy hand from thy poor brother, but thou shalt open thine hand wide unto him, and shalt surely lend him sufficient for his need in that which he wanteth, Deut. 15. 7, 8. So they parted their goods to all men as every man had need, Acts 2. 44, 45. Neither was there any among them that lacked, distribu­tion was made according as he had need, Act. 4. 34, 35. 37. If ye give not those things that are needfull to the body, what doth it profit, Jam. 2. 16. 1 Joh. 3. 17. That their abundance might be a supply of their want, that there might be an equality, 2 Cor. 8. 13, 14. I say not such an equality for every one to [...], and wear, and fare alike, but that the necessities of every one may [...] supplyed; yet it may be observed, that when God sed his people in [...]e wilderness, there were among them Princes and Rulers; God [...]ould, but would not provide more, nor better for them then others, [...]e meat for all, one Manna; also God prescribed a like measure, a ho­mer for each man; the poorest in the wilderness could, and did eat as good Manna, and as much as others; what else doth it signifie to us be­sides his bounty, but this, that it is the will of God that there should not be any inequality of living among his people, Ex. 16. 16, 17, 18. Also that we should not think any thing too much nor too good for the meanest of the Saints; for Manna is called Angels food, and meat from heaven.

It is not enough to do some good, or much good, unles we do all the good we can; we should render according to what we have received, 2 Chr. 32. 35. To whom much is given, much is required, Luk. 12. 48. We need to [Page] provoke one another to love & good works, especially in these days, where­in the love of many waxeth cold to God and man; that although there be many places where there is a famine of the word, yet how few are there that wil break unto them the bread of the Gospel; it is great mer­cy to do it, yea the greatest mercy that men can shew. For where no vi­sion the people perish, Pro. 29. 28.

Many give so little, because they think the having abundance of ri­ches will make their lives more sweet and comfortabl. This is a great mistake, because riches pierce them through with many sorrows, 1 Tim. 5. 9, 10. They are vexation of spirit, Eccl. 14. 16, 17. & 2. 11. The more sorrows and vexation of spirit, the lesse comfortable life also. The a­bundance of the rich will not suffer him to sleep, Eccl. 5. 12. His life cannot be comfortable that wants sleep, his heart taketh not rest in the night, Eccles. 2. 23. When riches encrease, they are encreased that eate them; what good to the owner, save only the beholding with their eyes, Eccles. 5 11. What is one the better for that others eat, so men vex themselves with a sore travell to get riches that they shall not spend, Eccl. 1. 13. & 2. 17. But a stranger eateth it, Eccl. 6. 2. and who that stranger is he know­eth not. They heape up riches, but know not who shall gather them, Ps. 39. 6. Eccl. 1. 3, 4. Surely they are disquieted in vain. I shall leave it to the man that shall come after me, and who knoweth whether he shall be a wise man or a fool, Eccl. 2. 18, 19. What hath man of all his labour wherein he hath laboured un­der the sun, vers. 22. Neither saith he, for whom do I labour, and bereave my soule of good, Eccl. 4. 8. To the sinner he giveth travell to gather and to heap up, that he may give to him that is good before God, this also is vanity and vex­ation of spirit, Eccl. 2. 26. A man may have riches, and not have power to eate thereof, Eccl. 6. 2. Riches cause envy. Isaac waxed great, & the Philistims envied him, Gen. 26. 12, 13, 14. Riches cannot satisfie; he that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver, nor he that loveth abundance with encrease, Eccl. 5. 10. & 4. 8. These riches are called filthy lucre, T [...] 11. They are the portion of the wicked, Psal. 37. 16 Eccl. 5. 11. Psa [...] 12. A man may have them, and yet be miserable, poor, blind and [...]ked, if not rich towards God, Luk. 12. 21. If not rich in faith, Jam [...] 6. and good works. Worldly riches are vanity, Eccl. 5. 10. They [...] not durable, Pro. 8. 18. They are not for ever, Pro. 28. 24. They have wings, and they often flye away, Pro. 25. 5. Ʋncertaine riches, 1 Tim. 6. 17. They profit not in the day of wrath, Pro. 11. 4. Zeph. 1. 8. They pe­rish, Eccl. 5. 14. A good name is rather to be chosen then riches, Prov. 22. 1. The reproaches of Christ are greater riches, Heb. 11. 26. Take heed and be­ware of covetausness, for a mans life consisteth not in the abundance of riches which he possesseth, Lu. 12. 15. Also if men did see the evill and sin that riches cause and doe us, wee should not be so unwilling to part with them as we are. Riches are called the mammon of unrighteousnesse, Lu. 6. 9. because they cause much sin and unrighteousness; they cause pride. [Page] Thy heart was lifted up because of thy riches, Eccl. 28. 5. Pride and high­minded, Pro. 18. 23. They boast themselves in the multitude of their riches, Psal. 49. 6. They cause covetousnesse; for the more men have, the more they desire, Heb. 13. 5. Hee hath swallowed downe riches, Job 20. 15. 18. Riches fill men with cares to get, to keep, to improve them, & with fears of losing them, Lu. 8. 14. 33. & 21. 34. It is harder for them that have riches to enter into the Kingdom of God then others. It is easier for a camell to goe through the eye of a needle, then for a rich man to en­ter into the Kingdom of heaven, Mat. 19. 21. to 26. Mar. 10. 24, 25. They cause to oppress; Do not the rich men oppresse you? Jam. 2. 6. They cause the h [...]art to be set on them, Psal. 62. 10. and to trust in their wealth, Ps. 49. 6. 1 Tim. 6. 17. Ps. 52. 7. The rich mans wealth is his strong City, Pro. 10. 15. Riches cause to despise Christ and his poor Saints: A man of sorrows, acquainted with griefs, he is despised and rejected of men: We hid as it were our faces from him, he was despised, we esteemed him not, Isa. 53. 3. Yee have despised the poore, Jam. 2. 6. The rich oft choose for their com­panions such as are rich, though worldly wicked and covetous, whom God abhorreth, Psal. 10. 3. See the companions of the Saints, Heb. 10. 33. Psal. 119. 36. Rom. 1. 9. The rich will no more be admonished, Eccl. 4. 19. Riches cause to erre from the faith, 1 Tim. 6. 10. And to deny the faith rather then to suffer and loose all, Luk. 18. 28. Riches choake the word, and cause it to become unfruitful, Mat. 13. 22. Mar. 4. 19. Riches hin­der men from receiving and obeying the Gospel, Lu. 18. 22, 23, 24. and hinder many from preaching the Gospel. Riches hurt them that keep them, Eccl. 5. 13. They hinder believing; they have too much sense to have much faith. Riches cause men to desire, and seek, and to receive honour one of another. How can ye believe, seeing ye receive honour one of another, Joh. 5. 44. Riches cause persons to flatter themselves. I said in my prosperity I shall never be moved, Ps 30. 6. Who shall bring me downe? O [...]e. 3. Riches cause others to flatter the rich, and to put them upon [...] ways of pride and pleasure to please them, Ps. 5. 9. Riches cause to deny God: Lest I be full and deny thee, Pro. 30. 8, 9. Riches cause those that have them not to be reproved, and so suffer sin upon them, Lev. 19. 19. A sore evill; they cause men to be wise in their own con­ceits, Pro. 28. 11. and not to visit the poor Saints, Mat. 25. 43. Riches cause persons to be idle, and to take their ease, Am. 6. 1. and to settle upon their lees, Jer. 48. 11. Riches cause them less to seek God, & lesse to serve him, and less to mind, love and delight in God, and in things above. Riches cause spiritual deadnesse and coldness in Religion, and unwillingness to die. Riches and prosperity cause men to be hard-hearted, careless, and insensible of the wants of others, so as not to weep with them that weep. Riches cause gluttony, intemperance, ex­cesse, sin, diseases, sicknesse, pain, death. Riches are a snare into divers [Page] temptations, into many foolish and hurtfull lusts, which drown men into destru­ction and perdition, 1 Tim. 6. 9. Riches greaten mens sin and condemna­tion. Many shall curse the day that ever they had so many thousands and hundreds a year; for had they not been so rich, they had never commited half so much sin; we cannot hold God and riches, if ye hold to the one, ye despise the other; ye cannot serve God and Mammon. This rich men will not beileve, Lu. 16. 13. They think they may easily well agree, and that they may seek and serve both. If we were of Agurs mind, we would part with riches as freely & willingly as ever we re­ceived them. Solomon did not so much as ask riches, God did not like that he should, 2 Chron. 8. 11. Good Agur would not have riches, therefore he prayeth against them, saying, give me not riches, Pro. 30. 9. It is not a sin to be rich, but it is a sin to keep riches when others and the Saints suffer and perish for want of them; there is a woe pronoun­ced against the rich, though they mind it not, regard or consider it not. Woe to you that are rich, for ye have received your consolation, Lu. 6. 24. Dives thou hast received thy good things in this life, Luk. 16. 25. Woe to him that ladeth himself with thicke clay, Hab. 2. 8. The Lord saith, Labour not to be rich, Pro. 23. 4. Riches is not, ver. 5. Love not the world, nor the things of the world: If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him, 1 Joh. 2. 15. The love of money is the root of all evill, 1 Tim. 6. 10. Riches are externall, and appertain (nothing to the mind) to vi­olence in getting, in keeping: Strong men retain riches. If riches make themselves wings, and flye away, men intend to fly after them.

The measure we meet to supply the wants of others, is not the same that we measure to our selves, they are divers, and divers measures are a­bomination to the Lord, Pro. 20. 10.

Comfort to all who in obedience to God, and for his sake give freely, & c| to supply the wants of others.

1. You are like Jesus Christ, and his people in so doing.

2. You have the prayers of the Saints for you. The Lord give mercie to the house of Onisiphorus, for he oft refreshed me, 2 Tim. 1. 16. 2 Cor. 9. 13, 14. Eph. 1. 14, 15. Ps. 69. 33. & 71. 12.

3. Your bountifulnesse causeth thanksgiving to God, many thanksgivings to God, 2 Cor. 9. 12, 13.

4. All things are clean to you. Give almes of such things as yee have, and behold all things are clean to you, Luk. 11. 41.

5. You are happy: He that hath mercy on the poor, happy is he, Pro, 14. 21. and blessed, for he giveth his bread to the poor, Pro. 22. 9.

6. Your righteousnesse remaineth for ever: He hath dispersed abroad, he hath given to the poor, your righteousness remaineth for ever, Psal. 112. 9. 2 Cor. 9. 9. Also the merciful man doth good to his own soul, Pro. 11. 7.

7. You shall not want, Pro. 28. 27. Job 5. 20.

[Page] 8. The blessed promises of this life, and that to come are for you: He that hath a bountifull eye shall be blessed, for he hath given of his bread to the poor, Pro. 29. 9. Blessed is he that considereth the poor, the Lord will de­liver him in time of trouble. The Lord will preserve & keep him alive, he shall be blessed upon the earth, and thou wilt not deliver him unto the will of his e­nemies. The Lord will strengthen him upon the bed of languishing; thou wilt make all his bed in his sicknesse, Ps. 41. 1, 2, 3. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy, Mat. 5. 7. Deale thy bread to the hungry, cover the naked: Then shall thy light breake forth as the morning, and thy health shall bring forth speedily, and thy righteousnesse shall goe before thee. The glory of the Lord shall be thy rearward; then shalt thou call, and the Lord shall answer thee, thou shalt cry, and he shall say here I am, Isa. 58. 7, 8, 9. Give him for this thing; the Lord thy God shall blesse thee in all thy workes, in all thou putt­est thy hand unto, Deut. 15. 10.

9. You shall have a great reward. If thine enemie hunger give him bread to eate, if he be thirsty, give him water to drinke, and the Lord shall reward thee, Pro. 25. 21, 22. Love your enemie, do good, lend, hoping for nothing a­gain, and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the most highest, Luk. 6. 34, 35. This promise is not to any Usurer; for if hee lends, he looks for something again, and not only for the principall, but for more then he lent, he hopes for use. Whosoever shall give a cup of water to drinke in the name of a Disciple, because he belongs to Christ, verily I say unto you he shall in no wise loose his reward, Mar. 9. 41. see Mat. 19. 20. Mar. 10. 10. Thine almes are come up for a memoriall, they are had in remem­brance in the sight of God, Act. 10. 4. 31.

10. You shal have treasure in heaven, Mat. 19. 21. Lu. 18 22. Come ye bles­sed of my father, receive the kingdome prepared for you; for I was an hungry, and ye gave me meat, naked and ye cloathed me, sicke and in prison, and yee came unto me, Mat. 25. 34, 35, 36.

There are Statutes as good as can be desired for the poor if executed, the Statue 43. Eliz. 2. Provide to raise weekely, or otherwise of every inhabitant such summs of money as they shall thinke fit for a stocke to set the poor on worke (and to compell them to worke) and towards the necessary reliefe of poor not able to worke to distresse and sale of goods, or imprison without baile or mainprize till he have paid the same. Yet for these many years the poor are neglected, and suffered to beg contrary to the statutes: Yea, they suffer great misery, and run to ruine, and yet both Magistrate, Minister, and people are silent, and content to have it so, this is a sore evill.

Thear the Town of Maidstone and the City of Dorchester, and a few other places, the poore are set to worke▪ and provided for without begging. Oh that London, &c. would doe so also, That there be no complaining in our streets, Psal. 144. 14. But in stead of help­ing the poor, there be that rob the poor. One Justice of Peace gave in his account of the poors money 500. pound short, this can be p [...]oved. If men fearing God and ha­ting covetousnesse, were appointed to receive that which would be voluntary given to effect this good worke; there would be stock enough to set the poor on work, and to supply all wants The people of this Nation have been so bountifull, that a Law was made to restrain them, fearing that all the whole L [...]d would be given to the poor, the Papist may rise up against many of this generation. It is a sad thing that they should be more forward upon a bad principle, then a Christian upon a good one. I hope it will [Page] not be long till those in Authority will consider the cause of the poor and help it. It is possible we may see some as willing to help o [...]hers as to help themselves, and to pro­voke others to do so: the poor daily increase and multiply; in time, if you prevent it not, they will be able and willing to order you and your estates as they think fit. Take care, and provide work and things necessary for the poor. Surely there is no worke in the world that men will give more freely unto then this.

Worthy Oliver Cormwel deserves great honour and imitation, he gives more mony to the poor then any I have heard of in our days, thousands a year. I would the Rich would follow his steps; it is expected the Lord will use him with some others who have the same spirit, and mercifull heart to do great things for the good of this Nation, especially to ease [...]he oppressed, and to help them that cannot help themselves, and that all honest and wel-minded people shall blesse God for them, and for what they have done; the benefit and good thereof will more & more appear to the glory of God, and the welfare of this Nation. He hath put down the mighty from their seate, and exalted them of low degree, Lu. 1. 52. Let every soule be subject to the higher Powers, there is no power but of God, Rom. 13. 1. Those against whom none are able to prevail, are the greatest and higest power.

Those who have the greatest power, are the fittest, and most able to protect and govern: honour & obedience is due to them that protect.

God hath by this Army protected, saved our estates and lives. Such Rulers are to be desired, who feare God, and have power and good principles. In reason we may expect a continued safety from them who have been a meanes to procure the liberty we enjoy, rather then from others, who under the title of Authority would undo us. Did not the late Parliament order treble damages for not paying of tithes, and erect a tribunall to punish all that did preach without ordination of the said Hierarchy and their Priests, which themselves have declared to be Antichristian. There doth not appear more love to God, to his people, and to this Nation, then in the Officers of the Army.

They deserve the greatest honour and trust among men that have suffered, been wounded, and shed their blood for this Nation, have freely offered for Gods sake, and for our sakes their lives and estates to save ours. I pray you give us leave to owne and speak well of them who have saved our estates and live [...].

God doth not put the power into the hands of any, so much for their sakes as for others; the honour, safety, welfare, peace, comfort, happinesse, and glory of this poore Nation they ought to seek and prefer before their own. I trust the Lord hath put it into the hearts of those who have the power over us, to say, we will doe this, and see this done; we will not seeke our own things, but every one anothers welfare, as 1 Cor. 10. 24. and each one to say as Gideon, I will not rule over you, the Lord shall rule over you, Judg 8. 23.

Behold I come quickly, and my reward is with me, to give every one ac­cording as his worke shall be, Rev. 22. 21.

FINIS.

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