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The superior philosophy of Christ teaches, that revenge should give no pleasure to one of his disciples: “ Ye have heard, says he, " that it hath been said in old times, thou « shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine « enemy. But I say unto ye, love your “ enemies, bless them that curse you, do “ good to them that hate you, and pray for 5 them that despitefully use you and perse« cute you, that ye may be the children of 66 your Father which is in Heaven, who, su6 perior to every principle of anger and re6 venge, makes his sun to rise on the evil 66 and on the good, and sendeth rain, alike <6 on the just and on the unjust.” There is no exhortation which could more effectually tend to make wars cease in all the world, to knap the spear, and break the bow in sunder, and to burn the chariot in the fire, or in few words to associate and harmonize mankind.
In fine, by Christianity we are not only forbidden the indulgence of every passion injurious to society, but we are positively enjoined the practice of every virtue which can render man a benefit to himself or others. Would men be governed entirely by divine, they would not need the coercion of human laws; but as the effects of the latter are immediate and corporeal, they are often better attended to than the former, the rewards and punishments of which, are remote and spiritual : how weak mortal institutions have been, to stem the torrent of universal corruption of manners, when the over-ruling influence of true religion has been wanting, both the Jewish and the Roman histories strongly evince. It is the duty, therefore, of all, public as well as private men, to support religion by precept and example; human laws may make men not wicked, but the impulse and the restraint of divine laws are required, to make them good.
To the Almighty Being, for creation and Providence, but especially for the clear assurance of immortality, for the redemption and civilization of mankind by the grace and truth which came by Christ Jesus his Son, be. all honour and glory.
[Preached for the Benefit of the Bath Hospital, 1799.]
MARK XII. 44. For all they did cast in of their abundance ;
but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living. UR Saviour having, by a long discourse
in the Temple at Jerusalem, rebuked the hypocrisy and infidelity of the Pharisees, and foretold the approaching calamities of the Jewish nation, went and sat himself down opposite the treasury, a place so called, because in it were deposited the voluntary contributions of the worshippers, who came up to the feasts; and the money thrown into it, was employed to buy wood, for the altar, salt, and other necessaries, not provided for in any other way. The Jews considered this act as a piece of laudable and becoming piety, as a respect for God and his holy temple; 'but it became in time, an usual thing; persons who were rich, distributed from pure habit, from ostentation, or inconsiderate profusion; their offerings were the mere effects of vanity and custom, Not such were the motives of this poor widow; they proceeded from a sense of duty and a regard for God and his service; her offering came from the heart, it was not the refuse of abundance, but the sparings of poverty and of self-deprivation. Our Saviour was so well pleased with the uncommon liberality (for he discovered by his divine intuition, both the sum she put in, and her attendant sensations), that he called his Disciples, to be witnesses of her piety; he pointed out to them the superior estimation of her gift, that it is not the extent of our charity, but the motive with which it is given, Q3