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the feelings towards the action, understood. We admire it is which the character of the ac- our Lord, and in his apostles ; tion is suited to excite and to unless indeed, for such is the exercise. · In other words, it influence of habit, -even in leaves us at liberty to despise, this exhibition of it, it cxcites or to detest the sin, while it no strong emotions. But who forbids us to resist the sinner. dares to measure his own dų. But even with this limitation, ties by this exalted standard ? is every kind of resistance, How distinct is it from the and under all circumstances, prevailing morality of the forbidden ? He certainly re- christian world! We mean sists evil, who in any case not to indulge the language of bcars testimony to his own, or cant; but we may ask, was to the innocence of another. the patience and forbearance And what was the conduct of of Jesus Christ greater, under our Lord, when one of the the insults and injuries he reJewish officers' struck him ceived, than may reasonably with the palm of his hand ? " If be demanded, or than the I have spoken eyil, bear witness spirit of his religion demands, of the evil; but if well, why of his disciples? Has he, or smitest thou me ?" (John xviii. has he not, in these scenes of 23.) This was indeed the ex. injury and of provocation, given tent of our Lord's resistance.
us an example, that we should We behold him, through his walk in his steps ; that we ministry, followed, and watch- should do, as he has done ? ed, and as opportunity offered, 66 The truth is,” says Paley, persecuted by the envious, the and he will not be accused of jealous, and the malignant. cant, “there are two opposite We see him enduring all the descriptions of charatcer, uninsults and the cruelties of a der which mankind may genmock trial. He is buffeted and erally be classed. The one scourged'; for the sport of the possesses vigour, firmness, multitude, invested with the resolution ; is daring and acbadges of royalty; derided, tive, quick in its sensibilities, and spit upon.
Yet when re- jealous of its fame, eager in viled, he never reviles again ; its attachments, inflexible in when suffering, he
its purpose, violent in its rethreatens; but commits him.
sentments. self to Him who judgeth " The other is meek, yield. righteously. Is this the law ing, complying, forgiving ; of christian forbearance ? Is willing to suffer; silent and this a right interpretation of gentle under rudeness und inthe precept, resest not evil ? sult; suing for conciliation,
There is nothing at once so where others would demand unostentatious, and so impos- satisfaction ; giving way to ing, as the morality of the the pushes of impudence ; gospel; its morality, I mean, conceding and indulgent to the fairly interpreted, and well prejudices, the wrongheaded
ness, the intractability of those ought therefore a moralist with whom it has to deal. to recommend imperfections ?
• The former of these char. The instances cited by our acters is, and ever has been, Saviour in the text, are ratker the favourite of the world. to be understood as proverbial Yet so it has happened, that, methods of describing the with the founder of christiani- general duties of forgiveness ty, this latter is the subject of and benevolence, and the his commendation, his pre- temper. we ought to aim at accepts, his example; and that quiring, then as directions to the former is so, in no part of be specifically observed. its composition. This, and specific compliance with the nothing else, is the character preçepts would be indeed of designed in the following re- little value ; but the disposition markable passages.
Resist which they inculcate is of the not evil ; but whosoever shall highest No one taught forsmite thee on thy right cheek, giveness and forbearance with turn to him the other also ; a deeper sense of the obligaand if any man will sue thee at tions of these virtues, than did the law, and take away thy Paul. Yet he did not himself coat, let him have thy cloak al- neglect the means of safety,
and whosoever shall com- and of self-defence, He took pel thee to go a mile, go with refuge in the laws of his kim twain. Love your enemies; country, and in the privileges bless them that curse you ; of a Roman citizen, from a do good to them that hate you ; conspiracy of the Jews, (Acts and pray for them which xxv. 11.) and from the clandespitefully use you and per- destine violence of the chief secute you. This certainly is captain. (Acts xxii. 25.) But not common place morality. on one hand, christianity cxIt is very original. It shews cludes all vindictive motives; at least, (and it is for this puré it forbids every action, and pose we produce it,) that no every feeling of revenge, two things can be more differ. And on the other, a law suit is ent than the heroic, and the not inconsistent with the gos-, christian character.
pel, when it is instituted, " for “ If this disposition inculo establishing some important cated by Christ were universal, right. 2. For the procuring a the case is clear, the world compensation for some conwould be a society of friends. siderable damage. 3. For the Whereas, if the contrary dis- preventing of future injury." position were universal, it For in these cases, not only would produce a scene of unia may it be, and so it must be, versal contention. The world instituted without an emo. could not hold a generation of tion of resentment, but the insuch men.
stitution of it may be indis“ If it be said that this dis- pensable to the cause of rightcposition is unattainable, I an- ousness and truth. swer, so is all perfection. But Ainsworth on Deut. xis.
21 and Exod: xxi. 25. Light. And Mor : and Polit: philosfoot and Grotius on the text. ophy. B. 3. ch : X. Paleys Evidences. P. 2. ch: ii.
THE PROHIBITIONS OF THE GOSPEL FOR THE GOOD OF MAN.
« My yoke is easy and my ment is never to be trusted burden light." Corresponde unless we are acquainted with ent with this declaration of the the subject on which we deblessed Saviour, is the asser- cide and it is therefore intion of the apostle Paul- dispensably requisite that men “ Godliness, is profitable to all should be habituated to the things, having the promise of government of religion, and the life that now is, and of that imbibe its spirit before they which is to come.” And a. can partake of its joys or have mong the innumerable cir correct ideas of the happiness eumstances, that recommend it is calculated to afford. the christian religion to our A person who has been confayorable regard, this certain fined in total darkness during ly ought not to be overlooked, the whole period of his existhat it happily accommodates tence, would probably experiitself to our condition in this
ence much more pain than world and has a natural ten- pleasure, on being introduced dency to confer joy and please to light and yet we should ure in this life, as well as im- all immediately pronounce him mortal happiness in the life to wholly incompetent to decide
on the comparative pleasures It is true the enemies of re- of those different states, until ligion make a very different his organs of vision had representation of this subject, through long habit, become and" endeavor to persuade capable of the easy discharge themselves and others, that of those offices for which they the christian yoke is too gallo were originally created. ing and heavy to be imposed The reasons are precisely on the neck of any rational similar why we should reject being
. the opinions of men, who do Possibly men of corrupt not possess the spirit of the habits and ungovernable pas- gospel, and yet decry its presions may have felt themselves cepts as rigid and severe.fully justified in entertaining They have never possessed these sentiments concerning that state of mind, or disposithe nature of religion, because tion that would enable them ihey on some occasions felt its
to participate in the joys of rerestraints to be tedious and ligion, and in direct opposition burthensome.
to their assertions are the deBut under such circumstan- clarations of Jesus Christ and
we affirm that they are his apostles, the wise and the wholly incapable of foraing a good of every age and nation,
, correct decision. Our judge that religion, so far from oppo
The prohibitions of the Gospel for the good of Man.
sing, is in the highest degree cealment soon becomes im. friendly to our enjoyments in possible-This fatal appetite, this life" that length of days like a poison, that gradually is in her right hand, and in her pervades the system, obtains, left, riches and honour ; that supreme dominion over his all her ways are pleasantness mind ; it stifies all the feel. and all her paths are peace.' ings of nature, and breaks
Notwithstanding the insinu. down the barriers of shame. ations of its enemies, or the. In vain does he contemplate unwarrantable representations the dreadful consequences that of its mistaking friends, yet threaten him ;'in vain does be the yoke of christianity is in- resolve and re-resolve to stop comparably easier, its burden in his eareer. The loss of is infinitely lighter, than those every thing that tends to make which the world imposes.- existence desirable the tears This will be satisfactorily ap- and distresses of his family parent
if we consider-That and friends cannot check him. all those pursuits which chrisa For these apprehensions and tianity forbids, are injurious feelings become too horrible to our real happiness even in to be borne, and are drowned this life.
in deeper intoxication. His Those ancient philosophers, reputation is gradually blastwho confined their specula- ed; his affairs disordered ; tions to this present state of his constitution broken down ; existence ; and even Epicurus he becomes an object of perhimself, the sole principle of petual mortification and diswhose philosophy was please gust to his friends, and he ure, strongly inculcated upon sinks prematurely into the their disciples, the necessity gravema prey to horror, desof temperance and modera- pair, and the wretched victim tion. They taught that pleas. of his own folly. ure, to be obtained, must not. If there is any vice, that pebe sought with too much avid- culiarly degrades -human naity; and to be long enjoyed, ture, it is debauchery. - It enmust be tasted with caution. ervates ai the same time, the
What philosophy recom- body and mind. It entirely mended, christianity enjoins, obliterates every elevated and and enjoins too with the most benevolent sentiment, and solemn sanctions, that we may makes its subject the slave of thus obtain our highest happi- the most selfish and degrading ness. To be convinced of this appetites. What then are the let us view but for a moment, enjoyments of a mind continuthe progress of vice in either ally agitated by the most bruof its forms. Take for exam.' 'tal and debasing passions, and ple intemperance-a vice, a- sunk to the lowest point of inlas, as common as it is de famy and degradation ? grading. Its unhappy subject 66 Whenever the love of is at first seciet and solitary gaming becomes a passion," in its indulgence-but con- says Logan, “ farewell to tran. Vol. VI. No. 10.
quillity and virtue. Then suc- Does avarice confer a cheerceed days of vanity, and nights ful serenity to the mind ; or of care ; dissipation of life ; does it cloud it with anxiety, corruption of manners ; inat- and render it the sport of the tention to domestic affairs ; conflicting passions of desire arts of deceit, lying, cursing, and fear? and perjury.
At a distance, Ambition seldom crowns its poverty, with contempt at her votaries with those honours heels, and in the rear of all, which allured them to the race despair bringing a halter in of worldly greatness. Envy her hand.”
is ever ready to blast their Are we not then much in- fairest expectations. The long debted to religion, which pre- wished for prize, which apsents the most powerful re- peared just within their grasp, straints to indulgences fa- may be spatched. Men fretal ? indulgences, which in quently appear to be caught prospect scarcely deceive, and up from the crowd by the in possession bring ruin and whirlwind of popular favor, death.
merely to render their fall But religion not only pro- more conspicuous and dishibits these vices but also a graceful. And after all his devotion or excessive attach- profusion of expense, of inment to any pleasure, howev. trigue, of exertion and anxie. er innocent it may be general- ty, the votary of worldly honly esteemed. A life devoted ours has usually the mortifito frivolous amusements and cation to find at the close of unmarked by active duties is life, that he has been running highly censured in the gospel in an enchanted circle, and
and if there be 'any of this has just arrived at the precise description who may peruse point, from which he started this-we would ask, whether in the commencement of his the intervals of amusement do not leave you a prey to list- Thus if we will consider alessness and stupidity-wheth- ny of those pursuits which reer your highest enjoyments ligion forbids, we shall invariare not embittered by some ably discover, that they all trifling circumstances ; some terminate in disappointment petty competition, that dis- or pain. At the precise point appoints and disturbs you ; where, religion interposes to whether you are not frequento check our pursuit, then our ly disgusted with your amuse. happiness ends and misery ments and yourself ; whether begins. The precepts of in fact you are not frequently christianity never prohibit any reminded by your painful ex- enjoyment, unless that prohiperience, that happiness is on- bition has a manifest tendency ly to be found in quietness and on the whole, to produce our composure, and is absolutely greatest happiness, even in inconsistent with bustle and the present life. But our hodissipation of mind ?
ly religion not only forbids