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us from the commission of mutual injury, there are, I doubt not, ten thousand, in which they originate from the most trivial causes, and are fomented by very trifling aggravations; and it will but too frequently be observed, that those enmities are the most inveterate which have arisen from the least provocation. What shall we suppose would be the consequences, if, under prejudices so hastily entertained, and dislikes so foolishly cherished, there were no law to restrain the uncharitable dictates of our hearts? Should we keep ourselves free from hatred and malice, and from the sad effects of these ungovernable passions, which would, more than probably, be truly and indeed terrible, were there no law, either humanor divine, to control our rash impulses ? On the other hand, what would be likely to follow from an implicit conformity to the precept of the text, as we have now considered it? Would not the exercise of such a christian benevolence towards one whom we had, perhaps, too hastily considered an enemy, naturally tend to quell all hostile feeling betwixt us? Would it not be likely to restore a right understanding, to promote social harmony, to induce gratitude on the one part, and general goodwill on the other? Let us remember, that “when a man's ways please the Lord, He maketh his enemies to be at peace with him.” Our good offices towards them will do Him pleasure; and whatever else might be the issue, this is, or ought to be, our sufficient reward. If we chance to be at enmity with those whom God especially befriends, and this we may be in spite of our suppositions to the contrary, shall we think that such enmities can be acceptable to him? And even though we should happen to hate those whom He may have abandoned to the delusions of their own evil thoughts, still we cannot be justified, since He has forbidden us to hate.

Are the consequences of hatred ever such as to promote even our temporal happiness? For where a person has essentially injured us, do we not more frequently disturb our own quiet, by “rendering unto him evil for evil,” and thus continually exciting him to harass and perplex us, than derive consolation from the reflection of having caused him to suffer for the wrong which he has done us? Is retribution sweeter than forgiveness? How often do the fierce satisfactions of the one stagnate into gall, whilst the balmy pleasures of the other spiritualize into “fulness of joy." Are we not much more likely to appease the animosities of any person who may have wronged us, and to establish in his heart a respect for one whom he will, perhaps, be ultimately forced to confess that he has unjustly considered his foe, if we treat him with uniform moderation, administer to his necessities, if he be in need, and endeavour to alleviate his sufferings, should he chance to be exposed to any? On the other hand, what do we gain by revenging


our wrongs ? What but distractions and heartburnings? Do we really thereby mitigate the injury received ? Do we thereby wipe out the stain of dishonour, if we have imbibed it? On the. contrary, do we not but too often render it the more indelible? Do we thereby justify ourselves in the sight of God, improve our tempers, rectify the unruly habits of our minds, or quell the turbulent emotions of our hearts ? Does revenging our wrongs ensure the practice of love towards our neighbour, the second in importance of the divine commands ? Does it not rather encourage those wild ferments of passion, which are so often the very bane of a true, lively, and practical Christianity ? Does it not even separate us from Christ himself, by keeping us in an unfit state to hold communion with Him at his holy altar ? In sum, does it not induce us to beseech our own condemnation, since we pray to God to “ forgive us our trespasses as we forgive them that trespass against



We know that we are absolutely forbidden to hate any one; for St. John

for St. John argues, that if we hate man we cannot love God. “If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar; for, if he loveth not his brother, whom he hath seen, how can he love God, whom he hath not seen ?” “Love,” says the Apostle to the Romans, “worketh no ill to his neighbour, therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law;" hatred, consequently, must be a direct violation of the law, because contraries never can produce the same results.

If we really felt towards all mankind, as our religion teaches us that we ought to feel, we should scarcely find that we had an enemy. People do not rise up into hostility against their fellow creatures because they are ready to serve them. Kindness will everywhere beget kindness, even among the most abandoned. Enmities proceed not certainly from mutual kind offices, but from mutual wrongs, or from mutual expressions of ill temper. The Christian precept, therefore, now before us, tends to promote that universal harmony and good fellowship among men, which would much abridge the miseries of this life, and, in all respects, infinitely brighten and improve the human condition. Those petty strifes and divisions which exist among us, and are fomented by the turbulent passions of men, are the proximate cause of some of the greatest moral disorders which so frequently disgrace and convulse the civil world. They are often the origin of the mightiest desolations : they have given rise to the overthrow of kingdoms and of empires. The horrible desolations of war have been frequently derived from no greater beginnings. In short, to those strifes and divisions may be referred all the grand evils of our temporal state. Still we are not affected by these appalling consequences; they are too common to arrest our notice. We look upon them as the


results of natural and unavoidable causes, and they therefore fail to influence our feelings. But we deceive ourselves; all these evils are of our own engendering. Alas! for our degeneracy! The fact is, that the elements of hatred are more mixed

up with our feelings towards our kind, than those of love. This may be a stern charge, but it is nevertheless true. If it were not so, there would be a larger interchange of good than of evil among men; it is however evident, to every one's experience, that such is not the case. We are more apt to cherish resentments, than to exercise beneficence; to judge harshly, than favourably, of those around us; to requite an enemy with injury, than reward him good for evil. We seem to think ourselves privileged to do him wrong, by whom we have been aggrieved. We too often take pleasure rather in making him feel our resentment, than in challenging his good opinion by our forgiveness.

By encouraging such dispositions, however, we excite the very worst feelings of our depraved nature; we stifle those sympathies which were implanted within us, in order that we might exercise them, as for the temporal advantage of others, so for the spiritual advantage of ourselves; for the sympathy which excites us to do good to man, promotes at the same time our acceptance with God;-we run counter not only to the precepts, but to the example, of our Divine Teacher, who

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