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their spiritual conversation and be- others are exposed, or enable him haviour. This love of the brethren to resist them. The true believer, may easily be distinguished from therefore, will habitually aim to be an attachment to those of our own just and honest in all his dealings; party, who please us by coincidence not grasping at gains which custom of judgment, and by flattering our may have sanctioned, but which good opinion of ourselves, (which accord not with strict probity; not is only a specious modification of taking advantage of any man's igself-love); for when this is all, a norance or necessity, to circumvent man will prefer the least spiritual, or exact from him; not evading even of his own sect, to those that taxes, and leaving his neighbour to are more so; and will choose to bear a disproportionate part of them; associate with mere carnal men, not insisting on his utmost due, when who agree with him in sentiment on it would distress those that owe it; disputed points, rather than with not keeping, by a continued fraud, the most eminent believers, who that property which hath been unare of another opinion; and he will justly obtained, when he hath it in likewise always be more ready to his power to make restitution; not engage in controversy, than to hold living extravagantly, or engaging in the truth in peace and love. From perilous schemes, and thus conthese two branches of the Christian tracting needless debts, to the intemper, many others will result; jury of his creditors and family; and indeed they cannot be proved not taking his neighbour's work genuine, except by their connexion without wages, or oppressing the with the rest. poor to increase his wealth or sup

III. A disposition to be "harm- port his luxury; not concurring in less and blameless" is the genuine any plan for getting money, by effect of evangelical principles well methods which enslave the persons, understood and truly believed. expose the lives, or endanger the The real Christian will perceive souls of men; not using the too that the world is full of misery; customary impositions of trade, and that this misery, in a great which are everywhere condemned measure, springs from the crimes in Scripture, however pleaded for of men, not only as a punishment by men professing to believe it; inflicted by Divine justice, but also and which substitute the rule of as a necessary effect of them. For doing as others do to us, instead of men following the impulse of their doing as we would they should do to appetites and passions, render them- us. In short, the consistent believer selves and others wretched, and se- will conscientiously render to God, duce one another into such courses, to Cæsar, and to all the different as must end in future misery, ex-members of the community, their cept they be forsaken. His regard dues; rather choosing to give up therefore to the happiness of others, his own right, than to infringe on and of himself, as well as his zeal that of another: and though he for the glory of God, will influence will not in every instance come up him carefully to guard against every to that exactness that he proposes; thing which tends to increase the yet his attainments will habitually sum total of human misery or vice; accord with his knowledge of the and his moderation respecting world-Divine word, and his experience of ly things will place him out of the its transforming efficacy on his heart. reach of many temptations to which The same principles will influence

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him to "put away lying, and to avoid every expression that may speak truth with his neighbour;" give needless uneasiness to another; paying the strictest regard to vera- and to refrain from repeating discity, sincerity, and fidelity in all advantageous reports, though known his professions, conversation, nar- to be true, except when it is necesration of facts, and engagements. sary to prevent others from being The Christian cannot consistently deceived or injured. In these, and trifle with so sacred a matter as many other particulars, the belietruth, for the sake of a jest, a ver's principles will influence him humorous tale, or a compliment; to "avoid all appearance of evil," much less to gratify anger, malice, when it can be done with a clear or avarice, or in flattery, slander, or conscience; to take care "not to religious controversy. He will aim have his good evil spoken of;" to to avoid all prevarication and equi-"provide things honest in the sight Vocal expressions, and whatever of all ;" and to give no needless has a tendency to deceive; his "yea offence to any man. Thus he will will be yea, and his nay, nay:" he endeavour by well-doing to put to will study undisguised sincerity, silence false accusers, and to comand not, under professions of friend- pel even those that hate his religion ship, raise expectations which he to allow him to be a quiet good hath no intention or prospect of kind of a person. Alas! "in many answering: he will deem himself things we offend all;" but the conbound to punctuality and fidelity sistent Christian will excuse none to all his engagements, even when of his failures; on the contrary, he they prove injurious to him; and will condemn himself more severely he will certainly fulfil them, if it be than others do, when he is conscious required and practicable, provided of having acted wrong. Let it be he was not deceived in the grounds here also noted, that diligence in on which he made them, and no the proper business of a man's stacommand of God be violated by it tion, without meddling with such (Psalm, xv. 4). The same dispo- things as do not belong to it, is an sition of leading a blameless and essential part of a harmless conduct; harmless life, will influence him to and the consistent Christian will be those kinds and that degree of self-very frugal and provident, and subdenial, which are requisite in order mit to many hardships, rather than to avoid gratifying any inclination burthen others, or needlessly leave by disturbing the peace, corrupting his family to be maintained by the morals, or injuring the person them: the example of Christ and of another; or which may in any his apostles, as well as the precepts way tempt, weaken, or stumble of the New Testament, show, that those around him. It will equally every degree of sloth and bad mancaution him to bridle his tongue, agement, by which men are reduced and to abstain from all bitter, pro- to a disgraceful poverty, and led to voking, backbiting, or corrupting intercept what others have a prior discourse; and from all words, how- claim to, is inconsistent with Chrisever witty and ingenious, which tian principles, however zealous tend to pollute the imaginations, to such men may be for the doctrines inflame the passions, to asperse the and ordinances of religion: and reputations, or disturb the domestic surely evangelical motives should harmony of any one. Nay, con- induce us to fill up our proper stasistency requires the believer to tions as diligently, as worldly mo

tives do the most respectable part|none) to suffer long, to forbear, forof ungodly men. give, and pursue peace with all men. IV. A disposition" to love mer- The patience and longsuffering of cy," and to be kind and liberal in God, though provoked continually; doing good, is peculiarly the effect of his exuberant kindness, in plentiChristian principles. The wealthy fully supplying the wants, and proremembering "the grace of our tecting the persons of the wicked Lord Jesus Christ," &c. (2 Cor. (Matt. v. 43-48); and especially viii. 9), are charged "to abound in his forbearance towards us when we this grace also" (1 Tim. vi. 17-19): were enemies to him, and the inex(but many things on this topic will pressible grace by which we were be discussed in an Essay on the im- made his friends; his mercy in beprovement of our talents) yet even seeching sinners to be reconciled to they "who labour, working with him; his readiness to forgive the their hands, should give to them most numerous and aggravated rethat need;" and the cup of cold bellions, and to confer all blessings water, or the widow's two mites, on every one who applies for them; may express a willing mind as de- his persevering love to believers, cidedly as the large beneficence of notwithstanding their subsequent the wealthy. But active kindness ingratitude and misconduct; the does not consist merely in giving example of Christ, "who when he a man may express much love by was reviled, reviled not again," but thwarting his own inclination or fore- prayed for his murderers with his going his ease, that he may serve dying breath (Luke xxiii. 34; 1 others that charity of which the Pet. ii. 20-24), the constant tenor apostle speaks so highly (1 Cor. of the New Testament precepts; xiii.), is especially distinguished by and the rebukes given to the disciits unfeigned desire and aim to pro- ples when they were actuated by a mote both the temporal and eternal different spirit, combine to show of good of others; and may be shown what importance this disposition is, in a vast variety of unexpensive and undeniably prove, that it is the services, and in minute self-denials, certain effect of evangelical princiaccompanied with alacrity and kind-ples, well understood, and truly be The consistent Christian, in lieved (Luke vi. 27—36; ix. 51— the lowest condition, will never want 56; Rom. xii. 14, 19-21; 1 Pet. occasion of convincing his little cir- iii. 9). If the professed Christian cle, that he wishes to do them good, only loves those who are of his own and is habitually ready to put him- sect or religion, what does he more self to trouble and inconvenience than others? Or in what does the for that purpose; while he will peculiar effect of his principles, and always be able to pray for numbers the grace given unto him, appear? to whom he can render no other Indeed, this disposition is essential service. And though the house- to the very exercise of living faith; hold of faith be entitled to the pre- and our Lord has expressly declared, ference in such works and labours that except we forgive men their of love; yet none (not even our trespasses, our heavenly Father will bitterest enemies, persecutors) are not forgive us (Matt. vi. 12. 14,15); to be excluded from them. he hath taught us to ask forgiveness


V. Christian principles will in- of God, "as we forgive them that duce a man (whilst thus endeavour- trespass against us;" so that the ing to do good to all, and harm to prayer of a revengeful man for par

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don is in fact an imprecation of to compassion in our hearts, and Divine vengeance on himself: he our secret prayers form an authentic hath illustrated the subject by a evidence of our love to his soul. most affecting parable (Matt. xviii. Thus the judge or prosecutor may 21-35): and he requires us to pity, and express good-will to the forgive our brethren, not only till criminal, whose condemnation is a seven times, but till seventy times debt owing to the public: thus a seven; yea, seven times a-day, if man may forgive, and show all prothe offender need it, and ask for it per lenity to the fraudulent debtor (Luke xvii. 3, 4). We are exhorted or assailant; whilst his duty to his "to put on, as the elect of God own creditors and family compel (holy and beloved), bowels of mer- him to seek legal redress for imporcy, kindness, humbleness of mind, tant injuries, or to ward off such as meekness, longsuffering; forbear- are threatened: and the zealous ing one another, and forgiving one servant of Christ may write or another, if any man have a quarrel preach against antichristian or infiagainst any, even as Christ forgave del principles, in the most energetic us" (Eph. iv. 1, 2, 31, 32; v. 1, 2, ; manner (provided he do not violate Col. iii. 12, 13). Nor is this to be the rules of truth and meekness); confined to our brethren, but to be and yet may be ready to relieve extended even to our most furious the urgent wants and to pity the persecutors, notwithstanding all miseries of those who hold them: their curses and cruelties; for "even so that they who object to such hereunto were we called." We are conduct, certainly "know not what not indeed required to place any spirit they are of;" but suppose confidence in such men, or to confer those censures to spring from warspecial favours upon them, (for the mer zeal, which are the effect of a Lord restricts his special favours haughty, bitter, violent, and vindicto his chosen people): much less tive disposition. Thus the apostle ought we to love the crimes and exhorted "the man who was endued society, or to countenance the he- with knowledge, to show out of a resy, infidelity, idolatry, or supersti- good conversation his works with tion of those who hate the Lord: meekness of wisdom;" and he addbut we may express our decided ed, "that if any had bitter envying abhorrence of their vices and errors, and strife in their hearts, they ought and oppose them with the utmost not to glory, or to lie against the firmness, and yet relieve their ur- truth" (as if the doctrine of Christ gent wants, assist them in perils were to be blamed for their misand distresses, seek their best wel-conduct): "this wisdom," says he, fare, forgive their injuries, pour "descendeth not from above, but is out our prayers for their conversion, earthly, sensual" (or natural), and answer their revilings and impreca-"devilish: for where envy and tions with mild language and good strife are, there is confusion and wishes, and persevere in endeavour- every evil work. But the wisdom ing to "overcome evil with good." that is from above" (the gift of We may lose the thoughts of a God in answer to the prayer of faith, man's ill usage of us, in considering and the genuine effect of Christian the misery he is bringing on him- principles) "is first pure, then self; and we may take a decided peaceable, gentle, easy to be enpart against him from a sense of treated, full of mercy and good fruits, duty, whilst resentment has yielded without partiality and without hy

pocrisy; and the fruit of righteous- of Scripture and the example of ness is sown in peace, of them that Christ, as he was obedient to the law make peace," for "the wrath of for us; nor may we follow even a man worketh not the righteousness prophet or apostle further than they of God" (James i. 5, 19, 20; iii. 5- followed the Lord. 18). In all cases where boasting, Christian principles therefore reviling, slander, contest for victory, will teach a man, as far as he is rash judging, misrepresentation, and influenced by them, to recede from a disposition to expose an opponent his right for the sake of peace to ridicule, contempt, or enmity, and love, in all things that consist are admitted; where anathemas, or with other duties and to " follow personal reflections foreign to the peace with all men," and " to pursue subject in hand are vented; or a after it," even when it flies from desire of punishing men for their him. He will especially endeavour religious opinions, or of withholding to promote the peace of the church, from them the common offices of and avoid whatever may disturb it; humanity, is intimated; there the he would, "if possible, live peaceaspirit of Christianity ceases, and bly with all men," and will only the same principles operate, which deviate from this rule when comkindled all the fires of pagan or papal pelled to it by his duty. He is persecution and whatever be the also a peacemaker as far as he has tenets or pretexts of persons who any influence, both among his brethindulge such tempers towards their ren and neighbours; he desires to own enemies or those of their reli- be of one mind and judgment with gion; they are (perhaps unawares) all who appear to love the Lord: imitating and sanctioning the very and if he must differ from them in evils which excite their vehement sentiment, he would differ amicably indignation. It is in vain for men and reluctantly; for he endeavours to say that they forgive and do good to "keep the unity of the Spirit in to their own enemies, and only ob- the bond of peace;" he aims to do ject to kindness shown to the ene-" all things without murmurings and mies of Christ; for how can the disputings," and nothing" through bitter persecutors of Christians be strife and vainglory;" "knowing any other than the enemies of Christ? that the servant of the Lord must And did not all those professed not strive, but be gentle towards all Christians, who anathematized, im- men; in meekness instructing those prisoned, enslaved, starved, burned, that oppose themselves." He is or massacred heretics as they called aware, that God alone can "give them, by millions, pretend that they men repentance to the acknowledgwere actuated by zeal for the hon- ing of the truth;" and that revilings our of Christ, and against his ene- and bitter sarcasms are none of the mies? In vain do men adduce a means which he hath instituted, and few passages from Scripture to sanc- on which a blessing may be expecttion such a spirit and conduct: an ed. His self-knowledge and exinspired writer might properly de-perience forbid him to disdain or nounce vengeance on the inveterate despair of others; and so long as enemies of God, and utter prophe- he deems it right to address himself cies respecting them: but such to them at all, he will do it with a exempt cases do not constitute our hope and a prayer, that they may rule of conduct, for that must be yet be saved by sovereign grace. regulated by the express precepts The same principles influence the

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