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ON THE GREAT CHRISTIAN LAW OF RECIPROCITY BETWEEN MAN AND MAN.
"Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them; for this is the law and the prophets."-MATT. vii. 12. ...............................143
ON THE DISSIPATION OF LARGE CITIES.
"Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience."-Ephes. v. vi.
ON THE VITIATING INFLUENCE OF THE HIGHER UPON THE LOWER ORDERS OF SOCIETY.
"Then said he unto the disciples, It is impossible but that offences will come: but wo unto him through whom they come! It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones."-LUKE xvii. 1, 2.
ON THE LOVE OF MONEY.
"If I have made gold my hope, or have said to the fine gold, Thou art my confidence; if I rejoiced because my wealth was great, and because mine hand had gotten much; if I beheld the sun when it shined, or the moon walking in brightness; and my heart hath been secretly enticed, or my mouth hath kissed my hand: this also were an iniquity to be punished by the judge: for I should have denied the God that is above."-JOB XXXI. 24-28.
ON THE MERCANTILE VIRTUES WHICH MAY EXIST WITHOUT THE INFLUENCE OF CHRISTIANITY.
"Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things."-PHILL. iv. 8.
THE Apostle, in these verses, makes use of certain terms, without ever once proposing to advance any definition of their meaning. He presumes on a common understanding of this, between himself and the people whom he is addressing. He presumes that they know what is signified by Truth, and Justice, and Loveliness, and the other moral qualities which are included in the enumeration of our text. They, in fact, had words to express them, for many ages antecedent to the coming of Christianity into the world.
Now, the very existence of the words proves, that, before the gospel was taught, the realities which they express must have existed also. These good and respectable attributes of character must have been occasionally exemplified by men, prior to the religion of the New Testament. The virtuous and the praiseworthy must, ere the commencement of the new dispensation, have been met with in society-for the Apostle does not take them up in this passage, as if they were unknown and unheard of novelties-but such objects of general recognition, as could be understood on the bare mention of them, without warning and without explanation.
But more than this. These virtues must not only have been exemplified by men, previous to the entrance of the gospel amongst them-seeing that the terms, expressive of the virtues, were perfectly understood-but men must have known how to love and to admire them. How is it that we apply the epithet lovely to any moral qualifi cation, but only in as far as that qualification does in fact draw towards it a sentiment of love? How is it that another qualification is said to be
of good report, but in as far as it has received from men an applauding or an honourable testimony? The Apostle does not bid his readers have respect to such things as are lovely, and then, for the purpose of saving them from error, enumerate what the things are which he conceives to possess this qualification. He commits the matter, with perfect confidence, to their own sense and their own apprehension. He bids them bear a respect to whatsoever things are lovely→ nor does he seem at all suspicious, that, by so doing, he leaves them in any darkness or uncertainty about the precise import of the advice which he is delivering. He therefore recognizes the competency of men to estimate the lovely and the honourable of character. He appeals to a tribunal in their own breasts, and evidently supposes, that, antecedently to the light of the Christian revelation, there lay scattered among the species certain principles of feeling and of action, in virtue of which, they both occasionally exhibited what was just, and true, and of good report, and also could render to such an exhibition the homage of their regard and of their reverence. At present, we shall postpone the direct enforce