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SERM. tions for the insulter, in return for death
XVIII.
in he gave redemption : -" When he was

"' reviled, he reviled not again ; when he
“ suffered, he threatened not.” Nor did
his amiable disposition forsake him when
in his dying agonies — his last prayer was
for his murderers—" Father, forgive them,
for they know not what they do.” The
same virtue has also in general made a
part of the character of those illustrious
persons, whom history hath handed down
to us as most worthy of her encomiums;
clemency and reconcileableness have added
a lustre to all their other virtues.
. Since there are so many motives to for-
giveness,-since our quiet in this world,
and our happiness in the next, depend
upon it,---since it is recommended to us
by the example of holy and illustrious
men, of our Saviour Christ, and of God
himself,-it seems extraordinary that any
should be found, who will give a place in

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

become

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

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.

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