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sorrow, his reflections on the beneficial results of this affliction, -on the repentance it had produced, the distinction. between this and worldly sorrow, — his generous energy in enumerating the several instances in which this good effect had appeared; yea, what carefulness "it wrought in you, yea what clearing "of yourselves, yea what indignation, yea what fear," and the animating conclusion, that " in all things they had "proved themselves to be clear in the "matter;"-all afford a proof of his being on the watch to lay hold of any possible occasion on which to build instruction, as well as to graft consolation.


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No one ever possessed more nearly in perfection, the virtuous art of softening the severity of the censure he is obliged to inflict; no one ever more combined flexibility of manner with inflexibility of principle. He takes off the edge of reproof by conveying it negatively.


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give a single instance out of many, when he thought some of his converts had acted improperly, instead of saying I blame you, he adopts a mitigating phrase, "I praise you not." This address would prepare them to receive with more temper the censure to which it is an introduction.

Of this Christian condescension each successive example furnishes us with a most engaging and beautiful model for our own conduct. With what keen regret does he allude to the necessity under which he had been of animadverting se verely on the atrocious instance of misconduct above-mentioned! With what truth and justice doth he make it appear that reproofs, which are so painful to the censor, are a more certain evidence of friendship than commendations, which it would have given to him as much joy to have bestowed, as to them to have received! An important admonition to all,

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all, to those especially whose more imme diate concern it is to watch over the conduct of others, that though this most trying duty should never be neglected by them, yet that the integrity which obliges them to point out faults, should be exercised in a manner so feeling as to let the offender see, that they have no pleasure in adopting harsh measures; of this truth they give the surest proof by the joy with which, like the apostle, they welcome the returning penitent back to virtue.

Observe the delicacy of his distinctions, -he wrote to them out of much affliction and anguish of heart; not that he wished to grieve them by a display of his own sorrow, but that they might judge by it of the abundant love he had for them. ́ Nor does he, as is the vulgar practice, blame a whole community for the faults of individuals: I am grieved but in part, that I may not overcharge you all. Mark B 5


his justice in separating the offending party from the mass. Is not this a hint against an indiscriminate mode of attack? Do we not occasionally hear one audience addressed as if it were composed entirely of saints, and another, as if all were grossly impenitent sinners?

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Having received sufficient proofs of the obedience of the community in inflicting the punishment, and of the penitence of the offender in submitting to it, he was now not only anxious for his restoration, but for his comfort. He sets a most amiable example of the manner in which the contrite spirit should be cheered, and the broken heart bound up. No one was ever more studious than Saint Paul, to awaken contrition; none more eager to heal its pangs.

Want of consideration is an error into which even good men sometimes fall. They do not always enter intimately into the

the character and circumstances of the persons they address. Saint Paul, writes to his friends like one that felt, because. he partook, the same fallen humanity with them; like one who was familiar with the infirmities of our common nature, who could allow for doubt and distrust, for misapprehension and error; who expected inconsistency, and was not deterred by perverseness; who bore with failure where it was not wilful, and who could reprove obduracy without being disappointed at meeting with it. In Saint Paul, the heart of flesh was indeed substituted for the heart of stone.

Our spiritual strength is invigorated by the retrospection of our former faults. Saint Paul's tenderness for his converts was doubtless increased by the remembrance of his own errors; a remembrance which left a compassionate feeling on his impressible heart. It never, however, led him to be guilty of that mischievous B 6


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