Our part is to choose out the most deserving objects, and the most likely to answer the ends of our charity, and, when this is done, all is done that lies in our power: the rest must be left to Providence.
It is proper that alms should come out of a little purse, as well as out of a great sack; but surely where there is plenty, charity is a duty, not a courtesy: it is a tribute imposed by Heaven upon us, and he is not a good subject who refuses to pay it.
Are we not to pity and supply the poor, though they have no relation to us? No relation? That cannot be. The gospel styles them all our brethren: nay, they have a nearer relation to usour fellow-members; and both these from their relation to our Saviour himself, who calls them his brethren.
It is indeed the greatest insolence imaginable, in a creature who would feel the extremes of thirst and hunger if he did not prevent his appetites before they call upon him, to be so forgetful of the common necessities of human nature as never to cast an eye upon the poor and needy. The fellow who escaped from a ship which struck upon a rock in the west, and joined with the country people to destroy his brother sailors and make her a wreck, was thought a most execrable creature; but does not every man who enjoys the possession of what he naturally wants, and is unmindful of the unsupplied distress of other men, betray the same temper of mind?