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wiser and better, rather than what tends to SERM. divert and please them: such things men
XV. should think of, and reckon themselves oblig
Whatever things are just. A comprehensive rule. And yet it's several branches of duty. are so obvious, as to be generally known and understood. There is no necessity therefore to enlarge in the enumeration of the several parts of righteousnesse to be done, or unrighteousnesse to be avoided. The great difficulty is, to bring men to an equitable temper and disposition of mind; and to subdue self-love, and partiality, or an improper af, fection for worldly things, and their own particular interests : which often mislead them, and cause them to act contrarie to the plain-. est rules. Our blessed Lord therefore comprised and recommended this branch of duty in that one convincing and persuasive rule: All things whatever ye would that men should
ye even fo unto them. At other times, however, both Christ and his Apostles have insisted on 'particular du. ties, and enforced them with very moving considerations.
do unto you,
SERM. Here the direction is general. Whatever XV. things are just, think of them. So consider
this point, that you may perform all acts of justice, and avoid every thing unjust, unfair, unequal.
May not a regard to this rule induce fome to caution and circumspection in their deal. ings, and to avoid extending their commerce beyond the measure of their ability ? Should not wise and equitable persons take heed, not so much as to run the hazard of ruining those who depend upon them, or deal with them, or trust them? The wiseft and best of men are liable to unavoidable and unforeseen accidents. But the thinking on whatever things are just might discourage some schemes and projects, which are as likely to miscarry, as to succeed: and if not successful, may reduce a man beyond the possibility of his returning to all what he has received.
The thinking of this part of duty may also be of use to discourage and prevent an expenfive course of life, beyond the proportion of a man's income and substance. For is he to be reckoned just, who consumes in luxurie, and excesse of any kind, not only
his own patrimonie, but likewise the right Serm.
Whatever things are just, think of them. Avoid lesser as well as greater acts of injuftice. Think what is just and equitable toward those of your own familie, whether relatives, servatits, or dependents : What is fair and equitable in the way of commerce with other men your equals: What is just and due to fuperiors and governours: What regard you ought to have for the welfare of the public society, of which you are a part, in whose prosperity you are interested, by the powers of which you are protected in your commerce, and the secure poffeffion of your property. Says St. Paul to the Romans : Render therefore to all their dues, tri- Rom. xiii, bute to whom tribute is due, custom to whom custoin, fear to whom fear, honour to whom bonour. Owe no man any thing, but to love one another.
Whatever things are pure, or chaste, think
of life, and in every circumstance,
Think and consider, how you may best be able to preserve that purity, which is acceptable to God, for the honour of religion, and your own peace and comfort. Think and consult with yourselves, how you may avoid temptations, and how you may resist and overcome them, if you should unexpectedly and suddenly meet with them. Meddle not with writings where a proper decorum is neglected, or in which, under specious appearances, the worft and most dangerous poy son is infinuated. Never be present at indecent shews and spectacles, much less be at any time delighted with them, or applaud them. Decline resolutly, and with the utmost care, ensnaring and vicious conversa. tion. So far from tempting and enticing others, or contributing by any means, whatever to their being ensnared, and deluded from the paths of strict fobriety; do what lyes in your power, as you have opportunity, by the
most proper and likely, the most effectual, SERM. the most acceptable, or left offensive methods, XV. not only to preserve your own purity, but also to strengthen the wise and holy relolutions of others; that they may be stedfast in their purpose, overcome in a time of temptation, and pass through the world pure and unsullied.
Whatever things are lovely, or amiable. So the original word seems most properly to fignify. But herein, very probably, is in. cluded what is loving and friendly. For such things are usually lovely, and agreeable in the eye of the world.
All such things the "Apostle desires his Christian friends at Philippi to think of to Rom. xiv. follow after the things, that make for peace, among
themselves and others. Says the Plalmist, How good, 'and bow pleasant it is for Pf.cxxxiii brethren to dwell together in unity! It is not only a great happinesse" to those persons themselves, but it is likewise agreeable to Others to behold and observe.
It is not unlikely, that the Apostle intends here some 'exalted acts of virtue, care of the sick, bounty to the neceffitous and in