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The Poor Never Cease

The Poor Never Cease

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Published by glennpease
BY SAMUEL HORSLEY



Deuteronomy, xv. 11.

For the poor shall never cease out of the layid :
therefore I command thee^ saying\ Thou shalt
open thine hand wide unto thy brother, to thy
poor and to thy needy in thy land.
BY SAMUEL HORSLEY



Deuteronomy, xv. 11.

For the poor shall never cease out of the layid :
therefore I command thee^ saying\ Thou shalt
open thine hand wide unto thy brother, to thy
poor and to thy needy in thy land.

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Published by: glennpease on Jun 28, 2013
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THE POOR EVER CEASEBY SAMUEL HORSLEYDeuteronomy, xv. 11.For the poor shall never cease out of the layid :therefore I command thee^ saying\ Thou shaltopen thine hand wide unto thy brother, to thypoor and to thy needy in thy land. *Since civilised society is unquestionably the lifewhich Providence designs for man, formed, as heevidently is, with powers to derive his proper happi-ness from what he may contribute to the public good,nor less formed to be miserable in solitude, by wantof employment for the faculties which something of a natural instinct prompts him to exert, — since whatare commonly called the artificial distinctions of so-ciety, the inequalities of rank, wealth, and power,must, in truth, be a part of God's design, when hedesigns man to a life in which the variety of occupa-tions and pursuits, arising from those discriminationsof condition, is no less essential to the public weal,than the diversity of members in the natural body,and the different functions of its various parts areessential to the health and vigour of the individual, — since, in harmony with this design of driving man* Preached at the Anniversary Meeting of the Sons of theClergy, May 18. 1786.H 3102
 
by his powers and capacities, no less than l)y hiswants and infirmities, to seek his ha])piness in civillife, it is ordained that every rank fnrnish the indi-vidual with the means, not only of subsistence, butof comfort and enjoyment, (for aUhou«;li the pleasuresof the different degrees of men are drawn from dif-ferent sources, and differ greatly in the elegance andlustre of their exterior form and show, yet the quan-tity of real happiness within the reach of the indi-vidual will be found, upon a fair and just comparison,in all the ranks of life the same,) — upon this viewof tlie Divine original of civil society, with the ine-qualities of condition which obtain in it, and theprovision which is equally made in all conditions forthe happiness of the individual, — it may seem per-haps unreasonable, — it may seem a presumptuousdeviation from the Creator's plan, that any shouldbecome suitors to the public charity for a better sub-sistence than their own labour might procure. Po-vertv, it may seem, can be nothing more than animaginary evil ; of which the modest never will com-plain, which the intelligent never will commiserate,and the politic never will relieve. And the com-plaint, it may seem, can never be more indecent, orless worthy of regard, than when it is used by thosewho profess to be strangers and pilgrims upon theearth, and to have a balm for all the evils of thepresent world in the certainty of their prospects in abetter country.Shocking as 1 trust these conclusions must be tothe feelings of a Christian assembly, it may never-theless be useful to demonstrate, that they have noreal connection with the principles from which theyseiiu to be drawn, — that tliev are not le.s.^ contrary103
 
to reason and to sound policy than to the feelings of philanthropy and the precepts of the Gospel. Foralthough I shall not readily admit that the proof of moral obligation cannot in any instance be complete,unless the connection be made out between the actionwhich the heart naturally approves and that which aright understanding of the interests of mankind wouldrecommend, (on the contrary, to judge practically of right and wrong, we should Jeel rather than philoso-phize, and we should act from sentiment rather thanfrom policy, ) — yet we surely acquiesce with the mostcheerfulness in our duty when we perceive how theuseful and the fair are united in the same action.I therefore undertake to prove these two things : — First, That poverty is a real evil ; which, withoutany impeachment of the goodness or wisdom of Pro-vidence, the constitution of the world actually admits.Secondly, That the providential appointment of this evil, in subservience to the general good, bringsa particular obligation upon men in civilised societyto concur for the immediate extinction of the evil,wherever it appears. " The poor shall never ceaseout of the land." And for this especial reason, be-cause the poor shall never cease, therefore it is com-manded, " That thou open thine hand wide unto thybrother ; that thou surely lend him sufficient for hisneed, in that which he wanteth."The distribution of mankind into various orders isnot more essential to the being of society, than it isconducive to the public good that the fortunes of every individual in every rank should be in a consi-derable degree uncertain : for were things so orderedthat every man's fortune should be invariably deter-mined by the rank in which he should be born, or byH 4

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