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evil, that envieth no good, and that, if an enemy hunger, feedeth him, and, if he thirst, giveth him to drink *.

The love of fame, the pride, the vanity, and the ostentation, which so perpetually vitiate the deeds and the motives of men, have no part in the composition of this divine virtue. The respect, the admiration, and the applause of the world, have nothing to do with its temper and its views. It is of a spirit wholly above the world, and it looks to God only, his favour and his will

, for its recompence and its obligation. “With whatsoever measure

ye mete, it shall be measured to you again; " and when thou doest thine alms, let not thy right “ hand know what thy left hand doeth, that thine “ alms may be in secret; and thy father which seeth “ in secret shall reward thee openly t.” “ But if " thou doest thine alms before men, ye have no “ reward of your father which is in heaven f."-Such is the pure and unostentatious nature of genuine charity. Superior to the unstable and uncertain, or, if stable and certain, the inadequate recompence of the world, it yet listens to the sigh that is heaved in the poor man's cottage; and it goes forth to do good by stealth, with the elevating persuasion that it is beheld by that eye which never slumbers nor sleeps, and is sanctioned by that wisdom which delights in the oblations of mercy.

Other virtues are enjoined in the Gospel, with a frequency and fervour that imply their importance in the scale of duty. But charity, in which, indeed,


* Epist. Romans xii. 16, 18; and to Corinth. xiii. 7. In these two chapters the apostle completes his picture of charity.

+ Matt. vii. 2; vi. 3, 4. I Matt. vi. 1.

all other virtues are included, calls forth the peculiar zeal and eloquence of the Apostle.

« Thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal, thou shalt not bear “ false witness, thou shalt not covet, and, if there be

any other commandment, it is briefly compre“ hended in this saying, namely, thou shalt love thy “ neighbour as thyself*.” All else, the tongue of men and of angels, the understanding of all mysteries and of all knowledge, the spirit of prophecy, the gift of faith, so that we may remove mountains, without charity is nothing worth. " Whether there “ be prophecies, they shall fail, whether there be

tongues, they shall cease, whether there be know

lėdge, it shall vanish away. For we know in part, “ and we prophesy in part, and when that which is

perfect is come, that which is imperfect shall cease. “ But charity shall never fail. And now abideth

faith, hope, and charity, these three, but the greatest of these is charity t.”

How beautiful and how forcible is language like this. Charity shall never fail! The pomps and glories of the world shall expire in the grave.

Time and nature shall sink into one common tomb. Faith shall be lost in vision, hope in certainty, prophecy in accomplishment, and all virtue, and all gifts, and all acquirements, without charity, shall be nothing worth. But charity shall abide with us for ever. In this world it shall be our guide. It shall soothe and cheer us with happy recollections amid the pangs

of dissolution. It shall 'accompany us to the regions of immortality. It shall attend us to the tribunal of heaven. It shall flourish with us through all eternity; and it shall bring down upon our souls the

* Epist. Rom. xiii. 9, 10.

+ Epist. Corinth. xiii. 1, 2, 3.

reward promised to the good and faithful servant, "even the blessing of the Lord for evermore.”

II. The law of the Gospel, which, in its primary precepts is thus beautiful and wise, is 'restricted by no partial favour to a sect or a race. In all other religions we are struck by the occasional accommodation of their precepts to local prejudices and habits, to political interests and views, or to popular humours and superstitions. The legislator is perpetually governed by some consideration of climate, some form of the times in which he lives, some pre-established error of the people, whom it is his object to conciliate, or some design originating in his own selfishness or ambition; and the frail and fallacious doctrines adapted by ignorance or artifice to time and place, to a moment and to a spot, are, accordingly, substituted for the essential laws of universal and of eternal truth. Whereas the Christian code embraces the world. Unadulterated by the viciousness of human policy, and utterly superior in its aim to all the designs of human ambition, it descends not to accommodate itself to the petty and transitory institutions of a period or of a district, to the established errors of religious persuasion, or to the little attachments of national prejudice. It moulds the Christian, not into the creature of a creed, but into the brother of his species. The law, which says to him, thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, instructs him that the unbeliever as well as the believer, the Gentile as well as the Christian, the stranger from the uttermost parts of the earth, as well as the associate of his family and his bosom, are entitled to the good and generous offices which it prescribes. Is there want, or sorrow, or ignorance, or discord ? No matter in whom they exist, he is, as far as possible, to feed, to alleviate, to enlighten, or to compose them; and the servant as he is of a master who legislated and lived for mankind, to mankind he is to extend himself in the affections of brotherhood, and in the zeal and fervour of charity.

The Greek and the Roman were educated for republics which considered all other nations as the legitimate objects of war, of pillage, and of oppression. The Gospel, on the contrary, breathes the spirit of universal harmony and good will. It not only denounces, with a sublime energy, all those passions of revenge, of retaliation, and of violence, which arm man against man in ferocious conflict *; but seeks to substitute for them a placability not to be exhausted by reiteration of offence, and a humanity which even to an enemy stretches out the right hand of fellowship and of love. “ Ye have heard " that it hath been said, an eye for an eye, and

a tooth for a tooth; but I say unto you, bless them " that curse you, do good to them that hate you,

, “ and pray for them who despitefully use you and

persecute you t." And, when our Saviour was rejected in the village of the Samaritans, and two of his disciples required of him whether they should call down fire from heaven to consume the guilty ; what was his reply? “Ye know not what manner of spirits

* Les anciens elevoient des temples a la vengeance ; cette passion, mise aujourd'hui au nombre des vices, etoit alors comptée parmi les vertus. Dans un siècle trop guerrier pour n'etré pas un peu feroce, l'unique moyen d'enchainer la colere, etoit d'attacher le deshonneur a l'oubli de l'injure, de placer toujours la tableau de la vengeance a cote du tableau de l'affront. De L'Esprit. Discours. ii. ch. xix. 137, 8. The ferocity is admitted; but what is the justification offered by the philosophy of Helvetius !

* Matt. v, 4, 5, 6.

ye are of. The Son of Man is not come to destroy men's lives but to save them !”—Thus, in opposition to the narrow wisdom of all preceding legislators, , thus does the New Covenant address itself to the children of men, in the language of pure and unlimited benevolence. What would be the result of such doctrines, if they were not resisted in their tendency by the vile vices and passions of our nature, we may safely conjecture. Righteousness and peace would prevail over the earth. Discord would be softened into amity and mercy. Men would learn to consider themselves as partners in one common interest, subjects of one common sovereign, and children of one common father; and all Christian nations, moulded into one tranquil family, and bound together by one bond of reciprocal good-will, would participate, with the affectionate intercommunity of brethren, the blessings of peace, and the gifts of providence.

To the diffusion of this placable and benignant temper the Gospel contributes, by the views which it opens of the divine nature, and the mercies which it tenders of divine acceptance. The religious doctrines harmonize with the moral precept, and the harmony is never broken by a discordant tenet. God is not exhibited to a sect only, arrayed in mercy and in grace. The paternity which embraces one, embraces all. The same sun which shines, and the same dews which fall, on the few, shine and fall on the many. There is no distinction at variance with the universal brotherhood of man. All human beings, of all generations, are intended to be participants of the same privileges of grace and favour. The voice which invites men to the temple of salvation, addresses itself to the whole world, and for the whole world the blood of the Son of Man was shed upon the cross, and the

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