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have done towards himself if he were placed in these different circumstances of inferiority, of debt, or of exposure to punishment; and would not such procedure, if it should be adopted, subvert justice and injure society? But this is neither a fair statement of the case, nor a rational application of the rule. Our Saviour, in prescribing a moral rule of such vast extent, can never be supposed to injoin compliance with those irregular and illicit passions which it is his decided object to restrain. He cannot be supposed to annihilate the distinctions and relations of life, and the duties which they require. What prevents a master from treating his servant with equity and gentleness; what prompts a civil superior to abuse his power; what renders a creditor harsh and unrelenting; what induces a Judge to wrest law, and to pervert justice; what but the uncontrolled indulgence of selfish passions, blinding the understanding and corrupting the heart; what but the entire absence of fellowfeeling with those whom, in all these different situations, their conduct affects? The spirit of the precept then is this; "Consult your reason, your conscience, and your natural feelings; act as a master as, if you were a servant, you would wish your master, being such, to act towards you. Invested with power, consider, in the exercise of it, how you would wish it to be employed if you were subject to it. As a creditor,

exact your debt with that moderation and tenderness which you would expect to find if you were a debtor. Pronounce judgment with that justice and mercy which, if you were standing at the bar, you would desire to see displayed on the bench. In In every relation and department of life, consult not merely your own selfish feelings, but also those of others towards whom you are required to act. Remember always that you are a man, and connected with those of the same species, of the same affections and sympathies, and, according to their respective situations, possessed of the same rights with yourself, who are creatures of the same God, to whom you, as well as they, are responsible." From the moment that such sentiments are adopted, oppression, injustice, cruelty, tyranny, disappear; and mildness, candour, justice, equity, compassion, and all the most amiable social virtues succeed, and diffuse around them the influence of piety, born in heaven, and moving and acting on earth. Viewed in this light, the rule is universally applicable, and renders the natural feelings of our hearts prompters of our conduct towards others. It carries us greatly beyond the limits of strict justice, and dictates all that the most enlarged and liberal charity can inspire. It teaches to alleviate and soothe distress, to compassionate and comfort affliction, to visit and relieve sickness, to pity and supply poverty, to assist and defend

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the injured and oppressed, to vindicate and clear the character of the calumniated, to instruct the ignorant, to reclaim the vicious, to encourage and assist the industrious, to promote and reward the ingenious, the skilful, the diligent, “to rejoice with them that do rejoice, and to weep with them that weep,' to enter into all the feelings and circumstances of humanity; and, above all, to make every wise and salutary exertion for the eternal felicity of our brethren of the human race. Our religion represents us to each other as descended from one common stock, as united by the endearing ties of fraternity, as redeemed by one common Saviour, as subject to the same trials, vicissitudes, and afflictions, as call, ed to the same privileges, as enjoying the same means of everlasting salvation, as inheriting the same glorious promises, and as expecting the same eternity of bliss, of which one principal ingredient will be the enjoyment of pure, unabated, and still growing affection. Nay, it considers us as the members of Christ, our common head, as "members one of another." Thus, those disparities of rank and external circumstances which are unavoidable in our present state, are, as soon as we enter the pale of Christianity, viewed as different allotments and portions assigned to brethren, who in every other respect remain on the footing of equality, as chilb Eph. v. 30. Rom. xii. 5. Eph. iv. 25.

a Rom. xii. 15.

dren of one family, and as destined, through Christ, to share one eternal inheritance. For under the gracious dispensation of the gospel, "there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free; but Christ is all, and in all." Most cogently, therefore, does the apostle exhort, as arguing from this near connexion ; "Put on, therefore, (as the elect of God, holy and beloved,) bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, long-suffering; forbearing one another, forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. And above all these things, put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness." What stronger inducement to cultivate humanity, and to practise all that humanity inspires!

The injunction to love our enemies, so far from being extravagant, is, in fact, deeply founded in reason, and may be practised by means of the same discipline that trains us to the conscientious discharge of every other duty. We are not required to love our enemies with the same degree of affection which we entertain for our friends, or for those who have never exercised enmity towards us; but to love them, that is, not to dissolve those ties which knit man to man, and to cherish, even towards an eneiny, such

a Col. iii, 11-14,

sentiments as lead us to render him those services to which, as a human being, he is still entitled. "If thine enemy hunger," injoins the apostle, "feed him; if he thirst, give him drink; for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head." This last clause has been so interpreted, as to make it signify that, by these acts of kindness, we should aggravate our enemy's guilt. But this fierce sentiment is not that of the apostle. He here uses a metaphor taken from melting metal by fire. In like manner, our beneficent and merciful deeds shall melt our enemy's sullen soul. That this is the meaning of the sacred writer, is evident from the verse which immediately follows; "Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good." No objection has ever been urged against the Christian duty of forgiveness of injuries. Now, as soon as we have forgiven an enemy, he is, by us at least, restored to the common state of our bre thren to whom love is undoubtedly due. We are not, however, precluded from defending ourselves, by every lawful and fair means, against hostile assaults and machinations; from taking precautions for our security; and from requiring just redress. But even in taking such measures, we are never to forego every sentiment of beneyolence towards the person against whom they

Rom. xii. 20..

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