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things; and it would be well for us is such things were regarded; and I have done well to propose them.
Who the author is, there is no need of enquiring. This will be unavoidably known in the vicinity : but his writing without a name (as well as not for one,) will conceal it from most of those to whom the boek may come. And the concealment of his name, he apprehends, may be of some use to the hook ; for now, not who, but what, is the only thing to be considered. *
It was vanity in one author, and there may be too many guilty of the like, to demand, “ Ubi mea legis, me agnosce.” In plain, unblushing English, “ Reader, whatever you do, account the author somebody." But, I pray, Sir, who are you, that markind should be at all concerned about you? He was almost as great a man as any ecclestiastical preferments could make bim, who yet would not have so much as his name in his epitaph; he would only have, “Here lies a shadowashes-pothing :”† There shall be no other name on this composure, “Here is a book written, or rather attempted, by one who is a shadowmashes-nobody."
However, he is very strongly persuaded, that there is a day very near at hand when books, of such a tendency as this, will be the most welcome things imaginable to many thousands of readers, and have more than one edition. Yea, great will be the army of them that publish them! M.DCC.XVI. is coming.
A vast variety of new ways to do good will be invented; " Paths” which no fowl of the best flight at noble designs has yet known; and which the vulture's
* This treatise was originally published without the name of the author.
+ Hic jacet, umbra, cinis, nihil. Hic scribit (vel scripturire studet et audet) unibra, cinis nihil.
The day is come. We have the happiness to live in an age and in a country, wherein schemes of usefulness are not only proposed and accepted, but executed. What the author's expectations were of the year 1716 are not known to the Editor.
most piercing eye has not yet seen; and where the lions of the strongest resolution have never passed.
In the mean time, North Britain will be distinguished (pardon me, if I use the term, Goshenized,) by irradiations from heaven upon it, of such a tendency. There will be found a set of excellent men in that reformed and renowned church of Scotland, with whom the most refined and extensive essays to do good will become so natural, that the whole world will fare the better for them. To these; this book is humbly presented by a great admirer of the good things daily doing among them; as knowing, that if no where else, yet among them, it will find some reception ; they will “not be forgetful to entertain such a stranger !
The censure of writing too much," (though he should go as far as Terentianus Carthaginensis tells us Varro did,) be accounts not worth answering. And pray, why not also " preaching too much ?" But Erasmus, who wrote more, has furnished him with an answer, which is all that he ever intends to give ; “ Accusant quod nimium ; fecerim; conscientia mea me accusat, quod minus fecerim, quodque lentior fuerim."
In plain English, The censure of others upbraids me ihat I have done so much; my own conscience condems me that I have done so little : the good God forgive my slothfulness!
ESSAYS TO DO GOOD.
MUCH OCCASION FOR DOING GOOD.
SUCH glorious things are spoken in the oracles of God, concerning them who devise good, that A BOOK
DEVICES may reasonably demand attention and acceptance from those who have any impressions of the most reasonable religion upon them. I am devising such a BOOK ; but at the same time offering a sorrowful demonstration, that if men would set themselves to devise good, a world of good might be done more than is now done, in this 6 present evil world.” Much is requisite to be done that the great God and his Christ may be more known and served in the world ; and that the errors which prevent men from glorifying their Creator and Redeemer may be rectified. Much is necessary to be done that the evil manners of the world, by which men are drowned in perdition, may be reformed ; and mankind rescued from the epidemical corruption which has overwhelmed it. Much must be done that the miseries of the world may have suitable remedies provided for them; and that the wretched may be relieved and comforted. The world contains, it is supposed, about a thousand millions of inhabitants. What an ample field do these afford, for doing good! In a word, the kingdom of God in the world calls for innumerable services from us. To do such things is to do good. Those men devise good, who form plans which have such a tendency, whether the objects be of a temporal or spiritual nature. You see the general matter, ap
pearing as yet but a chaos, which is to be wrought upon. 0! that the good Spirit of God may now fall upon us, and carry on the glorious work which lies before us!
THE EXCELLENCE OF WELL-DOING.
It may be presumed that my readers will readily admit, that it is an excellent thing to be full of devices to bring about such noble designs. For any man to deride or despise my proposal, “ That we resolve and study to do as much good in the world as we can,” would be the mark of so black a character, that I am almost unwilling to suppose its existence. Let no man pretend to the name of a Christian, who does not approve the proposal of a perpetual endeavour to do good in the world. What pretension can such a man have to be a follower of the Good One? The primitive Christians gladly accepted and improved the name, when the Pagans, by a mistake, styled them Chrestians ; because it signified, useful ones. The Christians, who have no ambition to be such, shall be condemned by the Pagans ; among whom it was a title of the highest honour to be termed, “a Benefactor :33 To have done good, was accounted honourable. The philosopher being asked, Why every one desired to gaze on a fair object, answered, that it was the ques. tion of a blind man. If any man ask, Why it is so necessary to do good? I must say, it sounds not like the question of a good man. The spiritual taste” of every good man will give him an unspeakable relish for it. Yea, unworthy to be deemed a man, is be, who is not for doing good among men. An enemy to the proposal, “ that mankind may
be the hetter for us," deserves to be reckoned little better than a common enemy of mankind. How cogently do I bespeak a good reception of what is now designed ! ! produce not only religion, but even humanity itself, as full of a “ fiery indignation against the adversaries” of the design. Excuse me, Sirs ; I declare, that if I could have my choice, I would never
eat or drink, or walk, with such a one, as long as I live ; or look on him as any other than one by whom humanity itself is debased and blemished. A very wicked writer has yet found himself compelled, by the force of reason, to publish this confession : « To love the public; to study the universal good; and to promote the interest of the whole world, as far as it is in our power, is surely the highest goodness, and constitutes that temper, which we call divine." And he proceeds- Is doing good for the sake of glory so divine ?” (alas ! too much human :) "or, is it not more divine to do good, even where it may
be thought inglorious ; even to the ungrateful, and to those who are wholly insensible of the good they receive ? A man must be far gone in wickedness, who will open his mouth against such maxims and actions ! A better pen has remarked it ; yea, the man must be much a stranger to history, who has not made the remark : “ To speak truth, and to do good, were, in the esteem even of the heathen world, most God-like qualities." God forbid, that there should he any abatement of esteem for those qualities in the Christian world !
THE REWARD OF WELL-DOING.
I will not yet propose the REWARD of well doing, and the glorious things which the mercy and truth of God will perform for those who devise good; because I would have to do with such as esteem it a sufficient reward to itself. I will suppose my readers to be possessed of that ingenuous temper, which will induce them to account themselves well rewarded in the thing itself, if God will permit them to do good in the world. It is an invaluable honour to do good; it is an incomparable pleasure. A man must look upon himself as dignified and gratified by God, when an opportunity to do good is put into his hands. He must embrace it with rapture, as enabling him to answer the great end of his being. He must manage it with rapturous delight, as a most suitable business,