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wish towards any man; without a lurking feeling of dislike, and enmity, and intentional revenge, which would lead us to rejoice in iniquity, to rejoice in that man's downfall, rather than in his improvement or repentance? If at this moment the precept finds us defective upon the point, seriously and habitually defective, be assured it is a point for anxious and solemn meditation. It must not be, that "out of the same mouth should proceed blessing and cursing;" a blessing for God, and a curse for our fellow. “Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet waters and bitter?" 6 A good man shows out of a good conversation, his works with meekness of wisdom.” “But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, and devilish. For where cnvying and strise is, there is confusion and every evil work.” Bear this in mind, brethren, and judge yourselves accordingly.
But suffer it to be especially pressed upon you, that there is a measure of this duty, which in this matter you owe peculiarly to those whom you regard as real Christians, those who make profession of the same faith, who partake with you of the same gracious feast of reconciliation and of love, and who are, as far as you know, living members of the mystical body of Christ, and joint heirs with you of the promised glory. Can the members of the same body have different interests? Can the hand injure the foot with impunity? If one member suffer, must not the others suffer with it? This thought, brethren, should dwell upon our hearts; and if it did, it would in many important points alter the character of our dealings with each other. Let us remember that it is the law of love which the Redeemer has established in his church and family, and it is at our peril that we disregard it. It is written, “Owe no man any thing, but to love one another;" and this precept has a special force towards “the household of faith.” Washed in the same atoning blood, and sanctificd by the same IIoly Spirit, it is sad, indeed, if there shall yet be variance, and strife, and envying, and vain glory among us. Ch! let the followers of the Lord Jesus, the meck and lowly Jesus, weep together over these evils, and diligently seek to remedy them. To a Christian on his death-bed, there will be few subjects of regret more deep, than the indulgence of these sins of the spirit, and the unjust dealing to which they lead.
CHRISTIAN MEEKNESS AND FORGIVENLSS.
By the Ri. Rev. DANIEL WILSON, D. D.,
Bishop of Calcutta.
COLOSSIANS, iii. 12, 13. Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies,
kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, long-suffering, forbearing one another, and forgiving one another; if any mən have a quarrel against any, even as Christ forgave you, so do ye.
It is the peculiarity of the Christian faith that it not only forbids the commission of sin, but enjoins the actual practice of holiness. Other systems may have atteinpted to frighten men from vice; this alone teaches them to love obedience. Nor is it merely the public and more heroic virtues which it enforces, but the retired and lowly ones also, which were little regarded by the heathen moralists, much as the happiness of mankind depends on them. Accordingly the Apostle Paul, after he had exhorted the Colossian converts in the verses preceding the text, to mortisy thosc corrupt passions which were, so to speak, the members of the old man;" proceeds in the words now read, to direct them to cultivate the opposite graces. And in doing this, he proposes, after his usual manner, those peculiar motives by which alone men can be effectually enabled to perform them. Hence in considering this subject, we must nolice,
1. The Christian graces or virtues here enjoined by the Apostle.
These are in the whole, seyen—" bowels of mercics, kindness, humbleness of mind, incekness, long-suffering, forbcaring of one another, and forgiving one another.”
They may perhaps, however, be reduced to three heads.Bowels of mercies and kindness may be classed under the more general term compassion. Humbleness of mind, meekness, and long-suffering, appear to be all parts or effects of lowliness of spirit; whilst the forbearing of one another, and the forgiving one another, may be considered under the topic of forgiveness of injuries. The first class regards our duty to others who are in misery; the second is designed to Icad us on to the proximate dutics arising from the ordinary, obligations and infirmities of life; the third carries us forward to a right conduct in respect to persons who are unjust and contumelious. These several graces are said to be put on, becausc, as garments cover and adorn the body, so do holy tempers adorn the soul. Thus in other passages of Scripture we arc exhorted to “bc clothed with bumility,” and to put on the Lord Jesus Christ; and in the verscs wbich prccede thc text, Christians are described as “pulting off the old man with his deeds, and putting on the new man, which is rencwed in knowledge after the image of Him that created him.”
The Apostle begins with enjoining a tender compassion for the miscrics and wants of others. We are to put on lowels of mercies, to cultivatc that decp and rcal sympathy for the calamitics of our fellow.creatures, which kindies the whole soul, and opens and touches the very heart. The expression is common in the Holy Scriptures, and especially in the Old Testament. It denotes, not only the act of relics, but the most tender affection in affording it. The Apostle places this first, because it is from hence that all benevolent actions should flow. The sympathetic commisscration of Christian love is often of itself a greater support to the afflicted than any mere external gift. The objects of this virtuc are those who have no hclper, as the widow and the orphan; and in gencral lhe poor, the sick, and those who arc overwhelmed with any sudden calamity. As osten as such are placed in our way, like the wounded traveler in our Lord's parablc, we are to have "compassion" on them, and “ go and bind up their wounds, pouring in oil and winc." Apathy and hardness of heart, are, least of all suitable to a Christian, who owes every thing himself to the compassion of God, and who is taught to be affected with the evils of those who partake of the same nature with him, since he may himself have need in turn of the like sympathy. We sin, not in having affections, but in using them amiss. IIc “that hath this world's goods, and sccth his brother have nced and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?" It is no sufficient discharge of this duty to give alms cven with profusion: we must “visit the widow and fatherless in their atlliction;" we must see for ourselves, as opportunity allows, the case of woc; we must “weep with them that
; weep;" we must have compassion one of another," and " be merciful, even as our Father which is in heaven is mcrciful.”
The Apostle goes on in our text from the affection to the action -"put on kindness;" for deeds of benevolence must ever be united with - bowels of mercies." Real compassion does not display itself in the refinement of a fastidious car, but in the emotions of a feeling heart. Words of pity without correspondent sympathy and actual relief, where we can afford it, are pretence and mockery. We arc to “ lovc, not in word or in tongue, but
• , in deed and in truth.” The two together constitute the Christian's duty towards the atilicted-a heart prompt to feel, a band kind to relieve.
The second class of virtues enjoined in the text, are those which arise from our ordinary obligations in life, and the numerous infirmitics which attend them. They may be comprehended under lowliness of spirit. The first is humility, for this is the parent of all good actions. Pride is the poison of the soul: it hardens the hcart; it is the cause of contention; it is the enemy of all the duties which we owe to others, and is directly opposed to that disposition which bcars with iis crrors and weaknesses.
6 God resistcth the proud, but he giveth grace unto the humble.” The man who has truly repented of sin and received with decp selfabasement the incffable " gist of righteousness” in Christ Jesus, will be prepared to “walk humbly,” first with his reconciled God, and then with all around him. Such a penitent lias the sced and preparation of all other graces. le considers that if he has in himself any thing good, it proceeds not from his own power, but from the mercy of God; that this good is very little compared with what he ought to have, and what others have; that it has been misused in various ways, and is so mingled with sin and
infirmity as itself to need the Divine forgiveness. A true Christian will therefore never take occasion from his works of charity of being vain and presumptuous; but will conduct himself with humbleness of mind, will "condescend to men of low estate," will reckon himself to be “ unworthy of the least of God's mercies," and will be ready, like his Lord, to wash the feet of his fellow-disciples.
Meekness and long-suffering are the daughters of humility. Christian meekness is not a merely natural softness and tenderness of mind, which commonly crrs as much on the side of sinful compliance as other dispositions do on that of severity, but is a supernatural grace which renders a man tractable in his common intercourse with others, which prevents him from being soon exasperated with their follics, or smaller faults, and which moderates anger, so as to repress that which is unjust, and to temper that which is right and lawful. “The meek shall inherit the earth.” Nothing so much tends to make life pleasant and tranquil amidst the little vexations and disappointments, which human frailty perpetually occasions, even in the best regulated families, as this engaging disposition. For, since we do not live with perfect men, but with those who are fallible, and who have very different judgments and tempers, mcckness is, as it were, a shield thrown around us, which blunts or turns aside the shafts of prejudice and unkindness.
To more considerable faults, however, we are to oppose longsuffering, which differs from the former grace chiefly as it may secm to regard continued and more harassing intirrities, or even injuries done us by others. Meckness bears with the daily and ordinary mistakes of those around us; long-suffering endures protracted and heavier evils. It is easy, and especially when we arc before the eyes of others and have the hope of speedy relief, to meet a short and occasional inconvenicnce with a Christian temper. But a long and unremitting annoyance, something that crosses our turn of mind or interferes with our plans, that presses hard upon us, that wounds in the most tender part, ard seems to us to be the most grievous and painful occurrence possible; this is often a rigorous trial of religious principle. To excrcise longsuffering on such an occasion, to view the band of God in the permission of it, to pray for the right use of it in extinguishing our