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in few parts of the kingdom; for the sum expended annually upon the poor amounts, one year with another, to three hundred and fifty pounds'; that is, tó more than one-fourth part of the whole rents of the parish. Amongst the rest of our national burthens, the single tax upon the land, a new imposition, never thought of till within the last hundred years, takes more from the landed interest, than would, at the time when it was imposed, have been sufficient to maintain all the poor in the kingdom : and these two burthens were neither of them felt by the nation while the poor were maintained by the church. So many ways has the providence of God of shewing us, that he is stronger than we are ; and how little they are like to gain in the end, who mix sacrilege with their policy, and hope to enrich themselves by any act of impiety.

We can now only lament these things; we cannot correct them. We have no reason to think God will be reconciled to national sin, without national restitution; and there is less hope of that every day. The work of Sir Henry Spelman *, shewing the manifest judgments of God upon the violation of churches and the usurpation of church lands, had its effect for a time, in some instances, but it is now almost forgotten. There are, indeed, some other lesser concurring causes to increase the burthen of the poor, to which prudence might apply some remedy: these are, first the corruption of morals amongst the poor ; secondly, the indolence of persons of fortune and influence,

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* See the work of Sir IIenry Spelman, De non temerandis Ecelesiis. --- A Tract of the Rights due unto Churches. A work alarming in its subject, and unanswerable in its argument; the author of it being equally skilled in law and divinity,

who take no care of them; and thirdly, the laying of too many farms together, especially where new enclosures have taken place.

As to the first of these causes, when the state of the poor was inquired into, at the desire of govern ment, by a person of great eminence for learning, in the year 1697; he delivered it, as his opinion, to the Lords Justices, that many of our grievances, in regard to the poor, arose from the toleration of tipling in public-houses; drinking spirituous liquors at private shops; and the wandering about of idle people, as beggars, without restraint, from their proper parishes. However great these evils might be at the tine abovementioned, I fear they grew much worse afterwards. Of late years, indeed, the magistrates have been so sensible of the increase of poverty, from the increase of public-houses, 'that the number of them has been much diminished in many parts of the kingdom; and they are more cautious, than heretofore, in granting licences. I am not prepared to give you an exact history of the inn and the public-house in England. It seems there were no such common sources of corruption to the people, when travellers, in times of greater simplicity, were accommodated by charitable hospitality: and, bad as they are by their nature, they are become still much worse in practice since the common use of spirituous liquors, which is but of the last hundred years.

Another cause of our increasing rates, is that want of public spirit, and that aversion to business, which has prevailed of late years amongst our gentry; who leave the inspection of the poor wholly to their infe. riors. I knew a worthy person, of great piety, charity, and extensive learning, who was allowed to have great judgment in all national concerns, and was so well acquainted with the state of the poor, that none ever wrote better upon the subject than himself. It was an observation of his, that the rich are under a fundamental error, in supposing that the duty of alms-giving is the essential part of the comprehensive duty of charity; and so their object is rather to remove present misery, than to prevent it by encouraging piety, order, and good morals. Let gentlemen of fortune, said he, give more of their time to the

poor, though they give less of their money, and then we shall have found out the grand secret for reducing the parish rates :' the poor would then behave better, and cost less, and find themselves, much happier than they do at present*.

To these another cause may still be added, which has had the unhappy effect of damping the industry of the poor, by taking away from them the hope of bettering their condition by good inanagement: I mean the selfish practice of laying many farms into one, to save trouble and raise more money; whence it comes to pass, that labourers have not that encouragement to endeavour to advance themselves and their families as they had formerly : in some places there are no small farms left for them, and they are not able to take a large one; in consequence of which they grow desperate in their poverty; and even where there are small farms, the profits are, in a manner, eaten up in many parishes, by burthepsome rates and

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* Paupers at London take collection from many parishes, at once, under false names. A spy is deteciod la camp, by ordering all the soldiers to their tents; so these impostors might be detected by a muster, or roll-call, of ail the parishes held at the same time ; and every person so detected, should receive corporal punishment, and a brand of infamy on their forehead.

I have now enumerated, to the best of my knowledge; and without concealing any part of the truth, the several causes which have contributed to increase the number of the poor, and to render them so burthensome, that they cannot always find a provision adequate to their wants in times of sickness and inability. Societies have, therefore, been formed, the members of which undertake, in the days of their health, to make a better provision for one another, out of a common stock, than they could expect from the public, if they should ever be reduced to the necessity of applying for it. As I heartily approve of this design, and have given you my sentiments to that effect on former occasions, I shall now add such advice as may promote and secure the benefit to all those that are concerned in it; and I know not how to do this more effectually than by enforcing the exhortation of the Apostle, that each of you lay by him in store as God hath prospered him. For in order to do this, so as to keep up to the sense of the exhortation, he must be

1. Prudent ; 2. industrious; 3. sober; and 4. honest ; without which, he has no reason to expect that God will prosper him.

By prudence, I mean a proper attention to his affairs; which we call oeconomy. It is as wicked to waste what God hath bestowed, as to deny it to him that is in need ; and for this plain reason, because he who wastes what he has, will have nothing to give. Prudence in our affairs is a duty so necessary, that our blessed Lord, who was exemplary and instructive in his actions, as well as in his words, seems to have shewn a particular regard to it: Gather up the fragments which remain, said he, that nothing be lost : and if he, whose word alone was sufficient to provide

for an hungry multitude in a wilderness ; if he, I say, thought it expedient that we should make the most of his gifts, the same rule will oblige us to make the most of our own gains, and to take care that nothing be lost. It is a sort of tempting God, if we expect bim to work two miracles, when a prudent application of one would answer the end. The means were miraculous the first time the multitude were fed; but they were natural when the fragments that had been laid up were distributed. It is the care of Providence to put us in a way, and do what we cannot do for ourselves; but it must be our care to make the most of his gifts by a prudent attention to them.

A second qualification, necessary to those who would lay by any thing, is industry. Idleness is the disgrace of human kind. It was made neither for the rich nor the poor ; neither for man when he was in Paradise, nor now he is out of it. The body, the mind, and the estate, all suffer: by it. It brings diseases upon the rich, and filthiness upon the poor : it weakens all the faculties of the mind, and leaves it empty and dissatisfied ; it ruins the estate, because an idle disposition is for the most part attended with expensive inclinations, while it brings in nothing for the supply of necessary wants. Idle people are generally vicious: they are idle because they are vicious; and vice always did cost more than virtue to maintain it. Instead of having any thing to lay by, idleness expects to receive that from the labours of others, which it does not deserve from any body. The idle man is to society, what a useless limb is to the body, which must be carried or dragged along by the rest; and if he is not troublesome to-day, he will be soon: for he that has neither house ner !and, nor any useful employment, must be maintained either by beggary or by

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