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tural passages:

seems to be exactly accordant with the language of the text. As does not always denote exact equality. Frequently it indicates equality in a general, indefinite sense; and, not unfrequently, a strong resemblance, approximating towards an equality. There is no proof, that it intends an exact equality in the text.

In many cases; for example in most cases of commutative justice, and in many of distributive justice; it is in our power to render to others, exactly, that which we render to ourselves. Here, I apprehend, exactness becomes the measure of our duty. The love, which I have here described, is evidently disinterested ; and would, in our own case, supply motives to our conduct so numerous, and so powerful, as to render selfish affections useless to us. Selfishness, therefore, is a principle of action totally unnecessary to intelligent beings, as such; even for their own benefit.

II. The Love, here required, extends to the whole Intelligent Creation.

This position I shall illustrate by the following observations:

1st. That it extends to our Families, Friends, and Countrymen, will not be questioned.

2dly. That it extends to our Enemies, and by consequence to all Mankind, is decisively taught by our Saviour in a variety of Scrip

Ye have heard, that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies ; bless them that curse you ; do good to them that hate you; and pray for them who despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father, who is in

; heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil, and on the good; and sendeth rain on the just, and on the unjust. Matt. v. 43, &c. And again; For if ye love them who love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them. But I say unto you, love ye your enemies ; and do good, and lend; hoping for nothing again: and your reward shall be great: and ye shall be called the children of the Highest. Luke vi. 32, 35. The term, neighbour, in this precept, is explained by Christ, at the request of a Scribe, in the parable of the good Samaritan: Luke x. 25: and, with unrivalled force, and irresistible conviction, is shown to include the worst and hitterest enemies. Concerning this subject the Scriptures have left no room for debate.

At the same time, it cannot but be satisfactory, and useful, to examine this subject, as it appears in its nature, and is connected with other kindred moral subjects.

It is well known, that the Pharisees held the doctrine, that, while we were bound to love our neighbour, that is, our friends, it was lawful to hate our enemies. It is equally well known, that multitudes in every succeeding age have imbined the same doctrine; and that in our own age, and land, enlightened as we are by the sunshine of the Gospel, there are not wanting multitudes, who adopt the same doctrine; and insist, not only that they may law

fully hate their enemies, but, also, revenge themselves on such, as have injured them, with violent and extreme retribution.

On this subject I observe,

1st. That the command, to love our enemies, is enforced by the Example of God.

This is the very argument, used to enforce this precept by our Saviour. Love ye your enemies ; and do good to them that hate you: and ye shall be called the children of the Highest : for he is kind to the evil and unthankful. Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father, who is in heaven, is merciful. The example of God is possessed of infinite authority. We see in it the conduct, which infinite perfection dictates, and in which it delights; and learn the rules of action, by which it is pleased to govern itself. All that is thus dictated, and done, is supremely right and good. If we wish our own conduct to be right and good; we shall become followers of God, as dear children, in all his imitable conduct, and particularly in that, which is so strongly commended to our imitation. Christ also, who has presented to our view in his own life the conduct of God, in such a manner, as to be more thoroughly understood, and more easily copied by us, has in his prayer for his murderers, while suspended on the cross, enforced the precept in the text with unrivalled energy. Nothing could with greater power, or more commanding loveliness, require us to go and do likewise.

To hate our enemies is directly opposed to the authority, and the glory, of these examples. The examples are divinely excellent and lovely: the conduct opposed to them is, of course, altogether vile and hateful. Accordingly, this conduct is exhibited to us for the purpose of commending the same precept, also, to our obedience, as the conduct of the worst of men. These love their friends, and hate their enemies; even publicans and sinners do this; and all who do this, and nothing more, bear a moral resemblance to Publicans and sinners.

2dly. If we are bound to love those only, who are friends to us, we are under no obligation to love God, any longer than while he is our friend.

If we are not bound to love our enemies ; whenever God be. comes an enemy to us, we are not bound to love Him. Of course, those who are finally condemned, are freed from all obligation to love God, because he is their enemy. In refusing to love him, therefore, they are guilty of no sin; but are thus far perfectly innocent, and perfectly excellent; because they do that, which is perfectly right. Neither the happiness, nor the excellence, of God furnishes any reason, according to this scheme, why we should regard him either with benevolence

or complacency. In the same manner, every person, in the present world, can, by committing the unpardonable sin, release himself from all obligation to love his Maker; because in this manner he renders God his enemy.



In the same manner, every person, under a sentence of reprobation, is released from his obligation to love God; and persons of both these characters are thenceforth entirely innocent and unblameable. According to this doctrine also, sinners can, and do, continually lessen their obligation to love God, in proportion as they make him more and more angry with them day by day. By advancing, therefore, in a course of opposition and disobedience to God, they advance nearer and nearer to an unblameable life and character.

3dly. According to this doctrine, good men are not bound, in ordinary cases, to love sinners.

That sinners are, ordinarily, enemies to good men, will not be questioned: that they, often, are very bitter enemies, cannot be denied. If, then, this doctrine be true; good men are, plainly, not bound to love them, nor, of course, to befriend them; to relieve their distresses ; to promote their happiness; nor to seek their salvation.

4thly. According to this doctrine, sinners are not, ordinarily, bound to love each other.

Sinners are not only enemies to good men, but to each other. In every such case, they are relieved from all obligations to love each other; and so long as they continue to be enemies, are justified not only in the sight of man, but in the sight of God also, in withholding their love, and the expression of it, from each other.

Let us now, for a moment, attend to the necessary, and practical, consequences of this doctrine. A moral being, whose moral conduct is such, as to justify us in withholding our love from him, cannot be regarded with indifference; but must of course be hated; and, so far as I can see, may justifiably be hated, because his character is really hateful. But if it be right to hate our enemies, it is undoubtedly right to exhibit our hatred of them in its proper expressions; such as censure, punishment, and hostilities. On this principle, mankind would contend with each other, in their public and private controversies, on the ground, that it was right; because it was dictated by conscience, and not merely by passion. He, who beheld an enemy, would be justified in hating him; and he, who was thus nated, would, on the same ground, be justified in reciprocating the hatred. To express this justifiable hatred in quarrels would be equally accordant with rectitude; and men would fight each other, on a new basis of principle. Revenge would be accounted doing God service. The persecutor, burning with

rage against the miserable victims of his cruelty, exulting in his successful ravages of human happiness, and smiling over the tortures of the rack, and the agonies of the flame, would with new confidence say, “Let the Lord be glorified.” War, instead of being the conflict of pride, avarice, ambition, and wrath, would be changed into an universal crusade of piety: and new Mohammeds would stalk through the world, to execute righteousness by

butchery, and plant truth with the sword. Every national contest would become a war of extermination. Every land would be changed, by a professed spirit of righteousness, into a mere field of slaughter ; and every age, by the mere dictates of conscience, converted into a period of unmingled and immeasurable wo.

The contrary principle, in good men, wherever they are found, is an extensive source of the peace and comfort, actually enjoyed in this unhappy world : and its influence on the consciences even of wicked men is such, as to effectuate no small quiet and comfort for themselves and others; and to prevent much of the evil, naturally flowing from this pernicious doctrine.

But the one half of the story is not yet told. Had God adopted this doctrine as the rule of his own conduct, what would, long since, have become of mankind ? Sinners never love God; but always hate him; and of consequence rebel against his government, violate his law, and oppose his designs. In other words, they are uniformly, and unceasingly, his enemies. Had God,

, then, been governed by this principle; had he hated his enemies; nay, had he exercised no love, tenderness, or compassion, for them; he must immediately have exerted his infinite power, to render them only, and eternally, miserable. In this case, no scheme of Redemption would ever have been formed for our miserable race by the Infinite Mind. The compassionate and glorious Redeemer, instead of becoming incarnate, instead of living and dying for sinners, would have clad himself only with vengeance as a cloak; and arrayed himself with anger as a robe and a diadem. Instead of ascending the cross, and entering the tomb, he would merely have trodden the wine-press alone, and trampled the people in his füry. Their blood would have been sprinkled on his garments, and stained all his raiment. The day of vengeance, only, would have been in his heart; and the year of his redeemed would have never come.

No sun would now rise upon the unjust : no rain descend upon the evil and unthankful. The Word of life would never have been revealed to mankind. The Sabbath, with its serene, peaceful, and cheering beams,

would never have dawned upon this melancholy world; nor the Sanctuary unfolded its doors, that sinners might enter in, and be saved. The voice of Mercy would never have been heard within its hallowed walls. God would never, with infinite tenderness, have called rebels and apostates to faith, repentance, and holiness, in the Lord Jesus Christ ; nor proffered pardon, and peace, to the returning penitent.

Heaven would never have opened the gates of life and glory to this ruined world. The general assembly of the first-born would never have been gathered; nor would that divine kingdom, which shall for ever increase in its peace and prosperity, its virtue and glory, ever have begun.


The fairest attribute, the peculiar excellence, of the Godhead, the divine Mercy, would neither have been unfolded, nor existed. Angels would never have sung, Glory to God in the highest; peace on earth; and good-will towards men. On the contrary, sin without bounds, and misery without end, would have reigned with an uninterrupted and eternal dominion over all the millions of the race of Adam.

From these considerations it is unanswerably evident, that all Mankind are included under the word neighbour.

3dly. This term, of course, extends to all other Intelligent beings, so far as they are capable of being objects of love ; or, in other words, so far as they are capable of being happy.

To desire the happiness of beings who cannot be happy, is to exercise our affections in vain. To desire the happiness of those, whom God has doomed for their sins to everlasting suffering, is to oppose his known, declared will. But even in these extreme cases, it is, I apprehend, our duty to feel a general spirit of benevolence towards the miserable sufferers. God has informed us, that he has no pleasure in the death of the wicked. It is undoubtedly right, and proper, for us to experience the same disposition. This doctrine may be illustrated in the following manner. we to receive tidings from God, that these unhappy beings would, at some future period, be restored to holiness and happiness; every being, under the influence of this love, would rejoice with inexpressible joy; and would find, that, instead of indulging enmity towards them, he had ever been ready to exercise a benevolent concern for their welfare.

That virtuous beings, throughout the universe, are proper objects of this love, will hardly be disputed. Of these beings, angels only are known to us; and their character, as unfolded in the Scriptures, is a complete proof of this position. To mankind they are related, merely, as intelligent creatures of the same God. Yet they cheerfully become ministering spirits for the benefit of men ; inhabitants of a distant world; of the humblest intelligent char

l acter; enemies to their Creator; and enemies to themselves. Such an example decides this point without a comment.

4thly. The Love, required in this precept, extends, in its Operations, to all the good offices, which we are capable of rendering to others.

The benevolence, enjoined by God, is, as was formerly observed, an active principle, prompting those, whom it controls, to exert themselves in all the modes of beneficence which are in their power, and are required by the circumstances of their fellow-men. Infinitely different from the cold philanthropy of modern philosophers, which spends itself in thoughts and words, in sighs and tears, its whole tendency is to employ itself in the solid and useful acts of kindness, by which the real good of others is efficaciously promoted. This philanthropy overlooks the objects which are around it.

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