Sidor som bilder

3dly, That qur Saviour's Authority ought particularly to engage us to Love and Peace, and Reconciliation ; inasmuch, as the whole Course of his Life was the fairest Pattern and Example of it. In this Precept, he requires nothing more of us, than what he himself practised in the highest Degree. Can we think of his great Condescention in coming down from Heaven, and conversing with Sinners in the most meek, and affable manner; of his aftonishing Love, and boundless Compassion to his Enemies and Murderers ; his patient submitting to all the Sorrows and Miseries of an afflicted Life, his enduring all the Contradictions, Affronts, and Reproaches of enraged Malice; I say, can we think of these Things, and suffer our felves to be Proud and Haughty, Uncharitable, and Cruel; to be overcome with Paflion ; to be transported with Fury; to be acted by a revengeful and persecuting Spirit? Had he not been so great an Example of Mercy and Forgiveness; had he been only a Preacher of Peace and Reconciliation ; pollibly pur Obligations thereto, had not been so very great, nor our Guilt fo inexcusable; but since he hath come, and done these Things amongst us, we have no Cloak for our Sin.

Further yet, this Duty of Reconciliation, is not only recommended to us by the Authority and Practice of our Saviour, but it is enjoined as the particular Mark, as the distin


Luke 6.

guishing Chara&er of his Disciples. If ye love them which love you, what Thank bave ye? For Sinners also tove those that love them ; and if ye do Good to them that do Good to you, what thank have ye? For Sinners also do even the same. But love ye jour Enemies, and do Good, hoping for nothing again, and your Reward 32. 33. sball be great, and ye hall be the Children of the Highest. The plain Meaning

of which,

is this. When we oblige, and do Good to our Friends, and Rich Neighbours only, we do but juft s Men of other Religions do ; we consult, only our own Interest and Reputation; but if we do Good to the Poor, and Needy, if for Christ's Sake, we relicve the Friendless, and bim bac bath no Helper ;, if our Charity extends to Enemies ; if we be willing to be reconciled to those that bave injured us ; if we can beartily forgive andpray for those that have despitefully used and persecuted us, this is Thank-worthy, this is true and undissembled Christianity, this is pure Obedience to the Command of Christ. And doubtless, Great shall be the Reward of such in Heaven, they shall be called the Children of tbe Higbest. But,

2dly, Our Obligations in this Matter will further appear, if we consider the Reasonableness, and intrinfick Excellency of the Precept it self. For there is nothing conduces more to the Peace of Human Society, to the true Dignity and Perfection of our Natures; to the present Happiness and Satisfaction of our Minds.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


For is not Anger, and Malice, and Revenge, a Reproach to our Reason, and a Torment to our Thoughts? Do not these ruffle our Tempers, drink up, or rather burn up our Spirits ? Is a Man (whilft he is under the Dominion of these) in a Capacity to pursue any wife

Defign? Is he fit to converfe with Men, or to pray to God? Much less can he be fupposed prepared to die. 'Tis the Apostle's Advice. Be je angry and fin not, let not the Sun go down upon your Wrath.

Let not the Sun go doron upon your Wrath] Methinks there is a great deal couch'd in the Expression. The going down of the Sun, the Rett, and Sleep which Nature then seems to take ; the Darkness and Lonesomeness of the Night, is no improper Similitude, 'tis a pretty Emblem of our Mortality; of the cealitîg from our Labours, of reposing our Bodies in the Silence and Obscurity of the Grave; but whether we make that use of it, or no, possibly there may be more than Emblem in it; our Lives may fet with this Sun, and we may not rise to see the Light of another Day; which Consideration is of great Moment, to perswade us speedily to put off our Wrath, and Anger, left in that Ill-State, and Temper of Mind, we be fratched away.

But because this is a Cafe which happens but feldome, and for one that's carried off suddenly, and unexpectedly, Thousands die leisurely and gradually, because Men are wont to lic down in Strife, and Malice, and Un


[ocr errors]


charitableness, and rife again the next Morning the very faine Men: that which I would chief lý remark in this Matter, is this. That Men of such Spirits, and Dispositions," can never have any real Pleasure in their Lives. For what Pleasure can there be, where Love is banished, and Peace is a Stranger ?

True indeed it is, that such do enjoy the fame Mercies, and Providences in common with other Men; but they have not the same Effect and Blessing upon them z they do not smooth their Passions, and mollify their Hearts; they do not raise any devout and grateful Sense of 'that Goodness which is bestowed upon them. Like the Beasts of the Forrest, and the Savage Inhabitants of the Wilderness, they i rise early in the Morning, and seek after their Prey, and lay them down in their Dens but tbey regard not the Works of the Lord, nor consider the Operations of his Hands. Doubtlefs, 'tis one of the heaviest Judgments in this World, to be given up to an unthankful Heart, and an ill-Naturė; to a Mind void of Sense of the Religion, and the Tendernesses of Christian Charity. To be insensible of the Being, Providence, and Goodness of God, is (as I take it) what the Apostle calls, living without God in the World.

Whereas, on the other Hand, these Things make the deepest Impressions upon Ingenuous and Virtúous Minds; They afford the most delightful, the moft ravishing Reflections. Every Occurrence of Providence, every Mercy of Heaven, gives a fresh Occasion, yields a new Argument of Gratitude and Praise. li the Morning they rise from tlieir Beds, full of Devotion, and Thanksgiving to God;

of Charity; and Good-Will to Men; the Thoughts and Desires of their Hearts are as General, and unconfined as the Mercies of God; as pure and chaste, as harmless and innocent, aš kind and obliging, as the Light that shines forth

God in every Providenice of the Day, and the Night covers them in the Beds of their Innocence and Security. But

3d'y, Our Obligation to this Duty, will further appear from the Reason, And Inftitutjon of the Christian Eucharist. This, I told you in the Beginning, some Interpreters, take to be the Case pointed at by our Saviour, in these Words, When thou bringet thy Gift to the Altar. But whether it was fo, or no, (that Sacrament not being then instituted) yet eertainly, it is the strongest Obligation in tlie World to us, who live under the established Use of it. Forever since its first Inftitution, this Duty of Love, and Charity, and Reconciliátion, hath always been made the Principle Part of Preparation, for the worthy receive ing thar Holy Sacrament. That as Christians there meet together, to celebrate the greatest Instance of Love that was ever vouchfafed to the World; fo; likewife in the Acknowledge


[ocr errors]
« FöregåendeFortsätt »