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ratified with his blood those doctrines which he delivered to mankind.
From the general tendency among men to imagine a reciprocal cause of grievance upon frivolous grounds, and to resent all the little imaginary wrongs which these fictitious grievances may represent to their angry minds, arises an almost endless catalogue of offences, wherein may be traced all the different shades of guilt, from the most trivial miscarriages, even to the blackest crimes. What, permit me to ask, is the distinguishing mark of a sincere and practical Christian ?—" is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thine house!—when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him, and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh ?”—and this without any distinction of friend or foe; acting upon the evangelical principle of universal benevolence,
Seeing then that we are so prone to become enemies one of another, and seeing also the lamentable consequences to which this unhappy propensity but too frequently leads, could our blessed Saviour have given, or his Apostles have enforced, a more salutary-I will say, a more necessary precept, than that of requiting evil with good ? If generally acted
upon, it would more directly tend to produce a universal harmony among human societies, than all the golden maxims put together, which have been so industriously selected from the stores of heathen morality.
However difficult it may appear to the stubborn and perverse passions of men, to put this into potential operation, it is nevertheless within the compass of our means as well as among our duties; and if it were practised, under God's grace, we might again see partially realized upon earth, that beautiful picture of temporal felicity, which prophecy has announced to us as to be consummated before Christ's kingdom upon earth shall cease“ when the wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid, and the calf, and the young lion, and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them. When the cow and the bear shall feed, when their young ones shall lie down together, and the lion shall eat straw like the ox, and the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice den, and the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.”
Do not all of us receive continual marks of favour from God? Does not every blessing proceed from Him? Without the indefatigable care of His Providence, what would become of all the myriads of beings, whose interests that Providence provides for and superintends? Has not our ransom from eternal death been paid by his beloved Son, who “ bore our griefs and carried our sorrows,” “nail
ing them to his cross,” and, for our sakes, “triumphing over them in it”? Who is there among us that does not hope to “enter into his joy” hereafter? Can any of us, however, say that we have not frequently wronged, provoked—nay constantly sinned against Him who has done so much for us in this life, and to whom we look for such ineffable enjoyments in another? Have we not made ourselves his enemies, by frequently rebelling against him? Do we not then virtually deny our own right to expect His favour and forgiveness, if we refuse to bestow ours upon our enemies in this world ? If the Almighty were to act upon our principles, when we deviate from the divine precept of the text, what would be our probable condition in eternity? Let us think on these things. Let us seriously consider what advantages we gain by encouraging feelings of love, even towards those who have wronged us, and what hazards we run by giving way to emotions of hatred. And may such reflections so actuate our conduct here, that at the day of general reckoning at the bar of Heaven, where all, of every nation, and kindred, and tongue, shall stand before their Omnipotent Judge, we shall not fear to be reproached with a neglect of duty towards our neighbour, whether he have been friend or foe.
THE UNREASONABLENESS OF MURMURING
AGAINST THE DIVINE JUDGMENTS.
LAMENTATIONS OF JEREMIAH, III. 39.
“ Wherefore doth a living man complain, a man for the
punishment of his sins ?”
There are, perhaps, few virtues less general than a patient submission to the visitations of Providence, when they affect our comforts in this world. We murmur and repine, where we should obey and fear. Whence, then, may we inquire, arises this disposition in man to act so contrary to moral necessity, to think so lightly of the blessings of Providence, to assail so often, by his complaints, the just dispensations of Heaven, when a patient obedience is so evidently the only becoming character of a creature in relation to his Creator ?
Nay, but, О man, who art thou, that repliest against God ? shall the thing formed, say to him that formed it, why hast thou made me thus ?”
This disposition arises, amongst other causes,