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SERM. tions for the insulter, in return for death
"' reviled, he reviled not again ; when he
their breasts to those bad passions, resent- SERM.. ment and revenge: the truth is, that how- in ever inclined to forgive, they pusillanimously suffer themselves to be deterred from it from a fear of being despised by the world, from a dread of sinking in the opinion of their fellow mortals, of beings, whose superiority they are under no obligation to acknowledge, and who, when courted with the utmost attention, can confer no valuable or lasting reward; of beings, who ignorantly judge what they have never examined, or partially determine what they do not understand. He that can descend to sue for the favour of such frail creatures at the price of his innocence, who can suffer their praises to induce him to disobey the great Governor of the world, has little reason to be proud of the greatness of his mind, and must surely, when he awakens to reflection, Vol. II. T
SERM. become despicable in his own eyes, and XVIII.
shrink with shame at the remembrance of his folly and cowardice.
The utmost perfection, to which humanity can arrive, is a constant and determinate pursuit of virtue, without any regard to present danger or advantage. Let us not then turn to the right hand or to the left, either swayed by the applauses, or terrified by the censures of the world; but let us go straight on in that path, which the author of our religion has marked out, and which our own conscience will tell us leads to life and happiness: let no false opinion of dignity or honour deter us from mercy and forgiveness, and invite us to resentment. Of him who hopes to be forgiven, it is indispensably necessary that he forgive; no motive then ought to have the least weight when put in competition with this. On this virtue of forgiveness
eternity is suspended, and to him who re- SERM.
XVIII. fuses to practise it, the throne of mercy in is inaccessible, and the Saviour of the world has been born in vain.