Imatges de pàgina
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“ wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil-speak« ing be put away from you, with all malice: “ And be ye kind one to another, tender. hearted, " forgiving one another, even as God in Christ “ hath forgiven you.” See also Col. iji, 12, 13.

As a nost important branch of christian duty, and a proof of the most sincere brotherly love, we are frequently exhorted, in the scriptures, to consult one another's improvement in virtue and goodnels : Rom. xiv. 19. " Let us therefore follow " after the things which make for peace, and or things wherewith one may edify another :” Heb. X. 24. “ Let us consider one another to provoke “ unto love, and to good works.”

It being our Lord's chief object to inspire just dispositions of mind, and right principles of action, which shall supersede all nice distinctions about particular rules of conduct, by leading us to feel properly upon every occasion, he gives us this one rule, which, in fact, comprehends all the duties of social life: Matt. vii. 12. " Whatsoever 16 ye would that men should do to you, do ye even • fo to them: for this is the law and the pro

phets.” An important example to this rule he also gives us with respect to candour in judging of one another, Matt. vii. 1. “ Judge not, that ye be “ not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, " ye ihall be judged: and with what measure ye “ mete, it shall be measured to you again.”.

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It is not necessary to recite the precepts of scripture which relate to the universally acknowledged duties of justice or equity, which are very full and explicit ; but I shall observe, that the obligation of compassion and charity, which is variable in itself, and which might be disputed and evaded by subtle cavillers, is frequently insisted upon both in the Old and New Testament. Some of the passages in which this duty is inculcated, are peculiarly affecting. Deut. xv.7. " If there be among you “ a poor man of one of thy brethren, within any "s of thy gates, in thy land which the Lord thy “ God giveth thee, thou shalt not harden thy “ heart, nor shut thine hand from thy poor bro66 ther: But thou shalt open thine hand wide unto “ him, and shalt surely lend him sufficient for his “ need, in that which he wanteth.” Lev. xix. g. “ And when ye reap the harvest of your land, thou " Thalt not wholly reap the corners of thy field, " neither shalt thou gather the gleanings of thy " harvest. And thou shalt not glean thy vine" yard, neither shalt thou gather every grape of " thy vineyard; thou shalt leave them for the poor “ and stranger: I am the Lord your God.” Isa. Iviii. 6. &c. « Is not this the fast that I have s6 chosen---to undo the heavy burdens, and to 6 let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every 66 yoke? Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, " and that thou bring the poor that are cast out « to thy house: when thou seest the naked, that ,"! thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself .66 from thine own flesh? Then Thall thy light “ break forth as the morning, &c.” Pf. xli. 1. « Blessed is he that confidereth the poor: the Lord “ will deliver him in time of trouble.”

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Our Saviour is far from being forgetful of a duty, which has so near a relation to that affectionate sympathy and brotherly love, which enters so much into the spirit of his gospel. Upon oc

casion of the rich making feasts for the entertain:,ment of others, as rich as themselves, he says, Luke xiv. 13. " When thou makest a feast, call " the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind ; And " thou thalt be blessed; for they cannot recom“ pense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at “ the resurrection of the just.” The apostle James, whose whole epistle is a recommendation of good works, does not omit this duty: James ii. 15. “ If a brother or sister be naked, and , destitute of “ daily food : And one of you say unto them, De“-part in peace, be ye warmed, and filled; not“ withstanding ye give them not those things 66 which are needful to the body: what doth it « profit ?" And the apostle John, whose temper seems to have been peculiarly benevolent, says, I John iji, 17. “ Whoso hath this world's good, and 5 seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his

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« bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth " the love of God in him ?”

The obligation of veracity seems to have been but weak in the heathen world, and therefore the apostles are careful to caution their christian converts very particularly on this head. Eph. iv. 25. “ Wherefore, putting away lying, speak every « man truth with his neighbour: for we are mem" bers one of another;" ch. iv. 15. “ Speaking “ the truth in love.” Col. iii. 9. “ Lie not one “ to another, seeing that ye have put off the old “ man with his deeds."

Lastly, the most explicit rules are laid down for our conduct, with respect to the various relative duties of life, as those of husband and wife, parent and child, master and servant, magistrate and subject, minister and people; recommending, in gegeneral, to superiors, a regard to equity, and an af. fectionate attention to the interest of those who are under their power; and to inferiors, a reasonable submission, and a faithful attachment to those to whom they are subject; but a detail of all the particulars is not necessary in this place. See 1 Pet. ii. 13. to the end, iii. 1—7. Eph. v. 22. to the end, vi, 1–9. Col. jii. 18. to the end, vi. 1. &c.

SEC. SECTION III.

Of the duties which respect ourselves.

W HEREAS very little account was made by

n the heathens of the duties of temperance and chastity, and in general of those duties which respect a man's government of himself, in cases where others are not immediately concerned, we find that these duties make a considerable figure in the system of the revealed will of God, and thatthe utmost purity of heart, as well as life and cons versation, is required of us in these respects. More especially, as the gentile converts had not been used to put any restraint upon their private passions, from a principle of conscience, the apostles, in writing to them, are particularly careful to enforce a regard to these virtues.

« Blessed,” says our Saviour, Matt, v. 8. “ are " the pure in heart: for they tall see God.” The apostle Paul cautions Timothy, 2 Tim. ii. 22. “ to Aee youthful lusts, and to keep himself “ pure.” 1 Tim. v. 22. To the same purpose the apostle Peter, ist ep. ii. 11. " Dearly beloved, " I beseech you, as strangers and pilgrims, abstain " from fiethly lusts, which war against the soul.” And Paul to the Ephesians, ch. v. 3. “ Fornica

" I befeechen, ist ep. ii. n. the fame purpo

oction,

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