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ly comforts to those, who are in distress, but that, which might purchase for ourselves everlasting treasures in heaven. So that if we part with our money in foolish ways, we part with a great power of comforting our fellow-creatures, and of making ourselves forever blessed.
If there be nothing so glorious as doing good, if there be nothing, which makes us so like to God, then nothing can be so glorious in the use of our money, as to use it in works of love and goodness, making ourselves friends, and fathers, and benefactors to all our fellow-creatures, imitating the divine love, and turning all our power into acts of generosity, care, and kindness to such as are in need of it.
Thirdly. If we waste our money, we are not only guilty of wasting a talent, which God has given us, we are not only guilty of making that useless, which is so powerful a mean of doing good; but we do ourselves this further harm, that we turn this useful talent into a powerful mean of corrupting ourselves ; because so far as it is spent wrong, so farit is spent in the support of some wrong temper, in gratifying some vain and unreasonable desires, in conforming to those fashions and pride of the world, which,
No. 5. E
as christians and reasonable men, we are obliged to renounce.
As wit and fine parts cannot be trifled away and only lost, but will expose those, who have them into greater follies, if they be not strictly devoted to piety ; so money, if it be not used strictly according to reason and religion, cannot only be trifled away, but it will betray people into greater follies, and make them live a more silly and extravagant life, than they could have done without it. If therefore you do not spend your money in doing good to others, you must spend it to the hurt of yourself. You will act like a man, who should refuse to give that, as a cordial to a sick friend, though he could not drink it his self without inflaming his blood, For this is the case of superfluous money ; if you give it to those who want it, it is a cordial; if you spend it upon yourself in something, which you do not want, it only inflames and disorders your mind, and makes you worse, than you would be without it.
You must therefore no more conform to these ways of the world, than you must conform to the vices of the world. You must no more spend with those, who idly waște their money, as their own humour leads them, than you must drink
have rictly used
Rinnot -eople mor hare
with the drunken, or indulge yourself with the epicure ; because a course of such expenses is no more consistent with a life of charity, thani excess in drinking is consistent with a life of sobriety. When therefore any one tells you of the lawfulness of expensive apparel, or the innocence of pleasing yourself with costly satisfactions; only imagine, that the same person was to tell
you need not do works of charity ; that Christ does not require you to do good unto your poor brethren, as unto him ; and then you will see the wickedness of such advice; for to tell you, that you may live in such expenses, as make it impossible for you to live in the ex: ercise of good works is the same thing, as telling you, that you need not have any care about such good works themselves.
The ill effects resulting from the imprudent use of an €8
late, represented in the character of Flavia.
IT has been already observed, that a prudent and religious care is to be used in the manner of spending our money' or estate ; be .
cause the manner of spending our estate makes 90 great a part of our common life, and is so much the business of every day, that, accordingly as we are wise, or imprudent in this respect, the whole course of our lives will be rendered very wise, or very full of folly.
Flavia and Miranda are two maiden sisters, who have each of them two hundred pounds a year. They buried their parents twenty years ago, and have since that time spent their estate, as they pleased.
Flavia has been the wonder of all her friends for her excellent management in making so surprising a figure in sò moderate a fortune. Seyeral ladies, who have twice her fortune, are not able to be always so genteel, and so constant at all places of pleasure and expense, She has every thing, which is in the fashion, and is in every place, where there is any diversion. Flavia is very orthodoxShe talks warmly against hereticks and schismaticks, is generally at church, and often at the sacrament. She once commended a sermon, that was against the pride and vanity of dress, and thought, it was very just against Lucinda, whom she takes to be a great deal finer than she needs to be. If any one ask Flavia to do something in charity, if she like
the person, who makes the proposal, or happen to be in a right temper, she will toss him a half crown, or a crown, and tell him, if he knew what a long millener's bill she had just received, he would think it a great deal for her to give. A quarter of a year after this, she hears a sermon upon the necessity of charity ; she thinks the man preaches well, that it is a very proper subject, that people want much to be put in mind of it ; but she applies 'nothing to herself ; because she remembers, that she gave a crown sometime ago, when she could so ill
it. As for poor people themselves, she will admit of no complaints from them. She is very positive, they are all cheats and liars, and will say any thing to get relief, and therefore it must be a sin to encourage them in their evil
ways. You would think, Flavia had the tenderest conscience in the world, if you were to see how scrupulous and apprehensive she is of the guilt and danger of giving aniss.
She buys all books of wit and humour, and has made an expensive collection of all the Eng lish poets. For she says, one cannot have a true taste of any of them, without being very conversant with them all. She will sometimes read a book of piety, if it be a short one, if it be