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going to a country, where they would find ease and plenty, is no very weak evidence against those flowery tales, which were, and which still are, made use of to inveigle the ignorant and discontented across the Atlantic. Another circumstance, which cannot possibly be misrepresented, might, one would think, serve as a complete refutation of those tales, to wit: The laws of several of the United States, require, that the captain and owners of vessels, in which emigrants arrive, shall enter into bonds for the payment of the expense of maintaining all such of the said emigrants as may become chargeable to any parish during the first year of their residence in America: a precaution, which, it must be obvious to every one, grew out of the necessity of the case, and was dictated by the heavy charges, which parishes were put to on account of the miseries of these misguided and unfortunate wretches. But, I like to make our enemies speak for themselves, and speak out too. Doctor Priestley enters into some detail of the blessings of emigration; he is an emigrant himself, and speaks from experience. Let his countrymen, then, listen to him with patience. They will learn an useful lesson ; they will find, that a livelihood is no where to be obtained without labour, and that they are much more likely to acquire competence and happiness by industry and contentment at home, than by a voyage to a foreign country.
Thou shalt not oppress a stranger; for ye know the heart of a stranger.
EXODU, 23. 9.
Love ye, therefore, the stranger. For ye were strangers in the land of Egypt.
DEUTERONOMY 10, 19,
FROM these passages in the books of Moses, recommending to the Israelites the case of strangers, as peculiarly entitled to their compassion and kind offices, since they had themselves been strangers; permit me, who am myself a stranger among you, to recommend to your favourable notice, and charitable assistance, the various strangers, or emigrants, from different parts of Europe, and the West India Islands, who are now crowding to the shores of America.
In the scriptures, the case of the stranger frequently accompanies that of the fatherless and ri. dor, as being often equally destitute, and standing in equal need of assistance; and therefore having a natural claim upon those who have it in their power to give them assistance, though they should not have been in the same situation themselves. For all persons, who have the common feelings of men, may form an idea of distress, though they should not have felt one particular species of it; and from a principle of benevolence, natural to CC4
all men, may be moved to give relief. But they who themselves have had experience of distress, and especially of distress of the same kind, may be expected to enter with more feeling into the case, from their having a clearer idea of it, and therefore to afford a more prompt and effectual relief.
Now all of you who now hear me, may be expected to have this sympathy for strangers, and emigrants, in some degree ; since, if not yourselves, yet your fathers, or not very remote ancestors, were also strangers, and not in a distant country, as Egypt was with respect to the Israelites, but in this very country in which we are now met. We should, therefore, behave to one another, in this land in which we may all be said to be equally strangers, as brethren; brethren, not merely as partaking of the same human nature, but brethren in affliction, difficulty and trials. And therefore those who, by the favour of a kind providence, have surmounted their difficulties, and now find themselves at their ease, with something more than is necessary for the supply of their own wants, should remember those who are yet struggling with theirs, and give out of what they can well spare to him that needeth.
This is agreeable to the excellent plan of divine providence, which has wisely appointed this life to be a state of discipline to us all, and which, with equal wisdom, makes the greatest use of men as the instruments of this discipline for the improvement of men. For this reason it is that some are rich, and others poor; some knowing, and others ignorant; some powerful, and others weak. Not that the Supreme Being, our common parent shews any partiality to one more than another, or distinguishes any persons as his favourites, by this unequal distribution of his gifts; but because the good, and especially the moral good, of the whole,
requires that there should be these distinctions. His design evidently is that these advantages should be more equally distributed by the parties themselves, since that will have a better effect than if it had been done immediately by himself.
The rieh, therefore, reflecting on the wise intentions of providence, should not suppose that they have an absolute, exclusive right to their superfluity; the wise should not be wise for themselves alone, nor should the powerful protect themselves only from insults and injuries. Our common parent had far other and more extensive views in appointing this inequality. It was no less than to bind all the parts of the great whole more strictly together, to make the one more dependant upon the other; and by an exchange of good offices, easy to some, and necessary to others, give scope to the increase of generosity on one side, of gratitude on the other, and of benevolence on both; thus to advance them in real dignity and excellence of character, and thereby bring them to a near resemblance to himself, the pattern of all perfection and excellence, to him who is supremely, and strictly speaking, alone good, as being the source of all goodness, who is good to all, and whose tender mercies are over all his roorks.
Had all men been equally well provided for, they would have been independent of one another, and of course unsocial and unfriendly, and therefore might have been disposed to avoid, rather than to court, that society of which they stood in no need; and a spirit of envy and hatred, might have been the result. But the wants of some teach them humility, patience, and gratitude, excellent moral qualities; and the sight of distress softens the heart, and excites to acts of kindness in others, which strengthens the principle of benevolence; and thus meliorates the disposition.
Consequently, the characters of both are im. proved, and it is not easy to say which is the more so, by this circumstance of inequality in the distribution of the gifts of providence.
Let not the rich man make a boast of his charity, as if he gave what he was under no obligation to give. For, strictly speaking, it is a debt which he owes to the needy. Benevolence being the great law of our natures, and the happiness of all being the great object of the divine government, whatever it be that promotes this end, is the proper duty of all, according to their respective abilities, to contribute to it; and any person is guilty of a breach of trust who refrains from doing it. All the good that any man can do, he ought to do. The Divine Being, our common parent, expects it of him, as a member of his large family; and if he judge the world in righteousness, as he assuredly will, he will punish the person who does less than it was in his power to do, as having neglected a duty that was incumbent on him.
In whatever manner any person becomes possessed of wealth, it is the gift of God. If it have accrued to him from superior ingenuity, or superior industry, that very superior ingenuity and spirit of activity, are alike the gift of God, who makes one man to differ, in these respects as well as others, from another man: so that, as the apostle says (1 Cor. 4. v. 7.) God may say to any man: What hast thou, that thou hast not received ? and if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it? Consequently, not to make that disposition of our wealth which the giver of it intended that we should, is to be guilty of ingratitude to God, and real injustice to man.
It is to act the part of an unfaithful steward. For in this light, and no other, ought we to consider ourselves