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its burdens'more tolerable. The Scripture inculcates it:" Be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous
Instead of venting our rage against even our enemies, we must comply with the Apostolic direction, "Speak evil of no man";" unless where our silence would amount to a connivance at his guilt, or prove injurious to the welfare of society.
Let not a blind and false zeal for the glory of God and the interests of religion excite in us a spirit of resentment against the opposers of the Gospel: let us rather try to recover them from the snare of the Devil, by persuasion, and the resistless argument of a holy and blameless life. A contempt of Infidels and Heretics, who are the most hurtful members of society, is contrary to the command of God, and is a breach of brotherly charity. "The servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, in meekness instructing those who oppose themselves; if God, peradventure, will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth."
3. The people of God have peculiar motives for the exercise of the most extensive forbearance. A knowledge of their own corruptions has taught them with what long-suffering God has endured the multitude of their sins and failings. A consciousness of their daily defects, arising from the continued struggle betwixt the flesh and the Spirit, is, and will be, a sufficient cause for self-abasement as long as they live. This self-loathing and humility of soul enables a gracious man more easily to submit to those provocations which set the rest of mankind in a d 1 Pet. iii, 8. • Tit. iii. 2. e f 2 Tim. ii, 24, 26.
flame. Under the worst treatment, he will say, Shall I, who deserve the sorest punishment for my sins against God, avenge myself on a fellow-worm, and pursue him with implacable wrath for every affront? The Apostle founds an argument for our forbearance under injuries, upon our own sinful state by nature:-" Put them in mind to be gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men: for we ourselves, also, were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another."
4. Again; the believer will set before his eyes the bright example of meekness which Christ displayed, under the greatest insults that malice could devise. "When he was reviled, he reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed him- ha self to Him that judgeth righteously"." Call to mind his patience during his crucifixion; and derive from it a motive to the practice of long-suffering and the compassion, even towards your most avowed foes.
5. The command of God enjoins us to put away "all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil-speaking, with all malice;" to be "no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all menk The words of Christ are designed to check every motion of improper passion or causeless anger. "Whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause, shall be in danger of the judgment; and whosoever shall say to him, Raca, ¡shall be in danger of the council; but whosoever shall say, Thou fool! shall be in danger of hell-fire'."
Surely, when we think of this awful declaration, Ch it should keep us at a distance from those angry con
Tit. iii. 1-3.
Pet. ii. 23.
Eph. iv. 31.
tentions which produce such deplorable mischiefs both in family and public circles.
6. Moreover, meekness is so highly pleasing to God, that he has promised to honour it before all men. He affirms, "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth"." It is spoken of as a distinguished excellence of a Christian, that he posseses "the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is of great price in the sight of God"."
Who, then, that dreads the Divine indignation, will not tremble to indulge in a bitter, uncharitable, the and vindictive temper, which is fraught with so ved much uneasiness to those who cherish it, and which is the spring of so many evils in society? And the who, that values the favour of God, so essential to mour happiness, will not feel ambitious to possess the grace of a meek and forgiving spirit, which is so erife honourable in his estimation? "Put on, therefore, an as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, a long-suffering; forbearing one another, and forgivnouring one another, if any man have a quarrel against " any even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye°."
ON THE FORGIVENESS OF INJURIES.
Colossians iii. 13. Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.
GOD bestows on his beloved people various graces, to answer every emergency of the Christian life: and where, in this way, much is given, much is
also required," to shew that the talents which He has
1. It is plain enough, from these positive directions, that we must not yield to a revengeful temper, but conduct ourselves with meekness under every provocation, however trying to corrupt nature; and that we should pass over small affronts and trifling injuries, in a spirit of love and Christian kindness, as unworthy of serious notice.
If your name and character have been wickedly aspersed, refute the malicious attempts of your
a Mat. xviii. 7.
b Rom. xii. 19-21.
© Col. iii. 13.
enemy, without using any abusive language of recrimination.
Should your actions be vilified, or imputed to bad motives, forgive most cheerfully the uncharitable opinions entertained concerning you; and "commit your cause unto the Lord, and wait patiently for him; and he shall bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your judgment as the noon-day.'
If grievous wrongs have been done to your person or property, such as compel you to seek legal satisfaction, discover no animosity towards the offending party; and, when you have obtained the redress you sought, instead of giving way to a malignant feeling on account of your triumph, bear it with moderation. And should your foes be in want or distress, shew your good-will towards them, by acts of sympathy, and by affording such relief, if it is in your power, as their necessities call for.
2. Do any persecute you, because you profess and faithfully adhere to the Gospel of Christ? Is 66 your name cast out as evil for his sake?" and do your nearest friends oppose and use you ill, because you prefer truth to error, and good to evil? trial, though it may severely exercise your patience, must not betray you into fits of passion and revenge; "for the weapons of our warfare are not carnal." You should rather pray for grace to bear the cross patiently, until God shall either remove it out of the way, or soften the rage of your persecutors. Amidst all their cruelty and hard usage, endeavour to maintain a spirit of the most fervent love to their souls, by praying to God for their conversion; who is able "to give them repentance unto the acknowledgment of the truth." And, with the Apostles of Christ, d Psalm xxxvii. 4-6.
* 2 Cor. x. 4, 5.