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we should learn to discern genuine worth. St. Paul prays that the Philippians may approve things that are excellent". Phil. i. 10. And what St. John says, with regard to some popular notions tending to exclude solid virtue, should be often applied. "Little children "let no man deceive you; he that doeth righteousness is righteous". That man is most to be esteemed, whose conduct will bear to be most strictly examined by the eternal rules of virtue. This would apply to the indulgence of resentment on principles of false honour. When we are dazzled by a false glare of good, we shall be the more ready to palliate and overlook specious evil; as well as to undervalue humble, unpretending merit. The scriptures speak of those wicked hypocrites, who "for a shew make long prayers, though they devour widows' houses"; Luke xx. 47. and of some, who desiring "to make a fair shew in "the flesh", obstruct that religion which is seated in the heart. At the same time holy writ warns us against rash judgment. All false notions of merit have a great influence upon the most moral sort of Resentment, Indignation; and all tend to hurry us into treating men in such ways as will occasion vexation and remorse.
29. We are countenanced by Scripture in recommending the doing of good even before our sentiments are thoroughly rectified. "If thou meet thine enemy's "ox or his ass going astray, thou shalt surely bring it "back again". And so of giving assistance when the beast of burden of the man that hateth us is seen lying under his burden. Exod. xxiii. 4, 5. Solomon says,
"If thine enemy be hungry, give him bread to eat : "and if he be thirsty, give him water to drink ": Prov. xxv. 21, which precept is cited and adopted by St. Paul, Rom. xii. 20. and will hereafter be considered more particularly.
30. We were to be aware of treating every little variance as settled enmity; because the best friends have sometimes misunderstandings, which prove to be only transitory. To this may be be referred the direc tions already cited, to be "slow to wrath"; not to let the sun go down upon our wrath. Here also we may
introduce that excellent remark, "A soft answer turn"eth away wrath; but grievous words stir up anger". Prov. xv. 1.-And as first appearances cause danger, when if they were born patiently, all would end well, we may add," Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof; and the patient in spirit is better "than the proud in spirit. Be not hasty in thy spirit "to be angry". Eccles. vii. 8, 9. St Paul's advice to the Colossians can no where be introduced amiss on our present subject; "forbearing one another and for"giving one another, if any man have a quarrel (or complaint, querela,) "against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye."
31. We were to be cautious lest when we indulge our displeasure towards others, our dissatisfaction should really be with ourselves. To this is applicable whatever is said in scripture concerning reproof as causing resentment. "Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee". Prov. ix. 8. And to the same purpose we are directed by our Lord not to give "that which is holy unto the "dogs", lest they turn again and rend us. Matt. vii. 6. St. Paul has the same thought when he asks the Galatians," am I therefore become your enemy because "I tell you the truth"? Gal. iv. 16. Reproof and friendly advice are things in themselves so precious, and so deserving of approbation and gratitude, that when men resent them, they must be influenced by some inward vexation and anger at themselves; either because they have such faults as are pointed out to them; or because they are supposed to have them; or perhaps because they are at the same time unwilling to part from them, and ashamed to retain them.
32. The last rule recommended was, that we should not be rash in adopting the resentments of our friends though it was confessed, that a lively interest in the common concerns of our friends, if on good principles, and under due regulation, is praiseworthy. It is not inconsistent with our idea of Jehovah, that he should declare, "I will be an enemy unto thine ene"mies"; Exod. xxiii. 32. nor with our veneration for St. Paul, that he should ask, "who is offended and I burn
not?" 2 Cor. xi. 29.-Neither do we hesitate when we find Moses avenging an Israelite that was oppressed, and smiting his oppressors. Acts vii. 24. În these cases we feel security about the rectitude of the sympathy which was indulged; but in ordinary cases, by rashly entering into quarrels, we make ourselves accessaries to vice and injury; as well as involve ourselves imprudently in unnecessary dangers and difficulties. Such was Solomon's idea when he said, "A violent "man enticeth his neighbour, and leadeth him into the way that is not good"; Prov. xvi. 29.-" He that passeth by, and meddleth (or is enraged) with strife belonging not to him, is like one that taketh a dog by "the ears". Prov. xxvi. 17. Moreover, the rashness here meant incurs that blame which is annexed to sowing discord": Prov. vi. 14, 19. for nothing spreads discord more than mens taking up, lightly and indiscriminately, the quarrels of their friends.
Such are the rules which were laid down for our practice. As they are supported by scripture, and as our comparisons of Scripture with the remarks arising from observation, have now run out into considerable length, it may be as well to abridge the remainder; especially as many of the passages which we have quoted, apply to more points than one; and therefore, a continuation of our plan might occasion repetitions, which would become tedious.
33. The hindrances to observing good practical rules may be reduced to some way of over-valuing and therefore sparing ourselves: to obviate which we should request the free advice of our friends: "only by pride "cometh contention: but with the well advised is " wisdom". "He that is of a proud heart stirreth up "strife". "Faithful are the wounds of a friend : but "the kisses of an enemy are deceitful". Prov. xiii. 10. and xxviii. 25.-xxvii. 6. That in order to avoid the influence of self-deceit we should examine ourselves, is the direction of St. Paul. "Examine yourselves whe"ther ye be in the faith, prove your own selves". 2 Cor. xiii. 5. And it was to answer the same purpose
that the Psalmist prayed to his God to examine him. "Examine me O Lord, and prove me: try_out my "reins and my heart". Psalm xxvi. 2. "Try me, "O God, and seek the ground of my heart: prove me, "and examine my thoughts". Psalm cxxxix: 23.
Nor need we want scriptural caution against hypocrisy in the expression of anger. "The words of his "mouth were softer than butter, having war in his "heart his words were smoother than oil, and yet be they very swords". Psalm lv. 22. This caution is not only against being deceived by the smooth anger of others, but against deceiving ourselves: for a hypocrite will sometimes say,, I did not give the man an angry word', when he provoked the person he addressed, as as much as he could; and when his affected gentleness aggravated the provocation. See Jer. xvii. 9.
34. In order to illustrate what we laid down, we supposed some Objections to be urged against it. One, that the directions were so indefinite as to be liable to much evasion. Our answer to this belonged as much to scripture as to the Law of Nature. Honesty and fairness of heart and mind are as necessary for the performance of revealed duties as any others: the seed sown in the good ground corresponds to those, who "in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, "keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience". Luke viii. 15. If Duties are enjoined in ever so plain a manner, there will always be room for the "testimony of "our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, "not with fleshly wisdom", 2 Cor. i. 12. we have performed them.
35. Another objection was, that forgiving injuries is impracticable, because if we were known to act on such a principle, our rights, in person and property, would be continually invaded. Our first answer to this was, that punishment is not always wrong; the truth of which has been abundantly proved from Scripture. We next balanced motives, to forbear injuries and to repeat them, on the different suppositions of punishment and forgiveness; and we found the balance to preponderate in favour of forgiveness:-but this rea
soning wants no confirmation from scripture; because it is a defence of the Christian doctrines of loving enemies and pardoning offenders; and would be as proper in a commentary on the New Testament, as in a system of morality. We may nevertheless mention a few passages by the way.
We have said that the fear of man is an unsteady principle of action; this brings to mind that passage where religious fear is compared with the fear of man : "fear not them which kill the body, but are not able "to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to "destroy both body and soul in Hell". A passage of much the same import with ours, if taken in one light; for ours describes the fear of God as permanent, and as a solid ground of good conduct; but the fear of Man as fragile and not to be depended upon, though it sometimes may be used as a motive.
36. Mutual natural benevolence, which we said would return if not prevented, seems implied in such precepts as the following; "love as brethren".-" Be
kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly "love". 1 Pet. iii. 8. Rom. xii. 10. "A friend loveth "at all times". Prov. xvii. 17. or uniform love is the mark of a friendly disposition.
The gratitude and affection arising from being forgiven is expressed in St. Luke's account of two debtors, intended to convey a general sentiment. "which of "them will love him most?"" I suppose that he to "whom he forgave most"." Thou hast rightly "judged". Luke vii, 42, 43.
The prudence of connexions with the placable man is thus supported: "Make no friendship with an angry man: and "with a furious man thou shalt not go", Prov. xxii. 24.
That a merciful being may even intimidate, appears from a passage already produced; "There is mercy "with thee; therefore shalt thou be feared". See also Rom. ii. 4.
How discord naturally grows and spreads, has been