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generales, but it meafoning, toes, all whichis rule be
you, do ye even fo to them. This universal rule of moral behaviour follows a particular precept, to ask importunately of God the things we want ; en-, couragement to which is given from human conduct. For men do not perversely give a stone to the hungry man who begs a loaf of bread, nor a. ferpent to him who asks a fish: The inference is therefore stronger, that infinite goodness, and infinite wisdom, will not give evils to men that pray for goods. Then follows the general and noble rule of human conduct : Therefore all things, whatsoever ge would, that men Nould do to you, do ye even fo to them. Not that the connecting particle therefore is illative from the former in a logical sense; for a general conclusion cannot follow from particular premises; but it means an ending or determinatia. on of that kind of reasoning, to save the trouble of mentioning many other instances, all which are sup. plied by that one general rule. Or if this rule be supposed to come at the conclusion of the whole Sermon on the mount, not as an inference from a particular precept, it still amounts to the fame; for it is a general rule, substituted in the place of many particular precepts, that might be given,
And thus, in the same chapter of St. Matth. 1, 2, after the precept, Judge not, that ye be not judged, comes the reason: For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged. And what follows is not to be thought merely a repetition of the reason, but a general rule of behaviour, as properly connected to the precept and reason given, as if it had (therefore] prefixed, as in the former instance ; for it has what is equivalent to it, the connecting particle and: And, that is, not only in the case of judging others, but as a general rule in all other cases of human behaviour, with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. . But it is still more to the purpose to observe, that ale is connected with another rule of a gene
ral meaning in St. Mark, and both made use of to enforce another precept, that of hearing the word of God: If any man bave ears to bear, let him bear : And be said unto them, take heed what yé bear ; with what measure ye mete, it hall be measured to you : And unto you, that hear, all more be given : For be that hath, to bim fall be given ; and he that bath not, from him fall be taken, even that which be bath. No more shall be observed from this pafsage at present, than that these rules, being applied together to one precept, and also to different precepts and parables" (for this shall be made to ap. pear in the fequel of this discourse), are general in their sense, and do imply the measure and rule of Divine conduct towards man : For if they were not so, they could not fuit variety of occasions, and with truth be applied to examples and duties, evidently distinguished from each other. " · From the words thus explained, these things offer themselves to be considered;
· First, The moral governor of the world will act 1. towards moral Beings, as they act towards one
Secondly, There is one moral rule of behaviour to
all sorts of moral beings. 'voin
- Thirdly, This is remarkably exemplified in the
Divinity itself assuming humanity, and per1. forming perfect obedience to moral duties ; -*. and thereby shewing both what morality is in .. the Deity, and what human nature should afni pire to, in imitating the Divine morality."
First, The moral governor of the world will act towards moral beings, as they act towards one ano
HE móral Governor of the world not only
treats all moral beings according to equi: 1 table rules of morality, but also desires to have his treatment of them approved, to the end that all persons may be satisfied, and that every mouth may be stopped. . . Are not my Ways equal ? Are not your ways unequal ? Being the lauguage of God by the mouth of Ezekiel, is a clear appeal, from the corrupt behavi our, and prejudiced opinions of mankind, to human reason properly exerting itself : For although vitious and abandoned creatures may find matter of dispute against the equity of providence, the children of wisdom shall always justify the Divine conduct ; and that from just reasoning, drawn from the merit or demerit of moral beings : Not that any reasoning can be accurate enough, to account for every particular instance of providential behaviour ; but, as in human characters, the greatest number of a man's actions procure him either the title of Good or Bad; the most frequent instances of providence being evidently just, are a sufficient reason, to every unprejudiced person, to believe all the ways of providence to be equal. The Psalmist expresses his belief of this matter in the following manner: Therefore hath the Lord recompensed me according to my righteousness, according to the cleanness of my hands in his eye fight.- With the merciful thou wilt sew thyself merciful; with the upright man, thou wilt: Thew thyself upright ; with the pure, thou wilt hew thyself pure, and with the froward thou wilt jhero thyself froward; that is, as a merciful man behaves to his fellow.creature, so will God behave to him; as the froward man behaves to another man, so will God behave to him. Though the word froward' be a term signifying
lità spebaõ diaspé tecs Sept. 5 po@dos Perversus, callidus, diaspéow perverto, diftorqueo.
a bad sort of men, yet the pfalmift very elegantly applies it to God, not to denote any badness of dif position (which it would be impious to suppose), but a similarity of external behaviour. .. One general rule of equity, which our Saviour
gives in the New Testament, is, whatsoever ye would, that men should do to you, do ye even fo to them ; which though expressing a rule of behaviour drawn from the substitution of the acting man, into the place of him, to whom the action is performed, yet is it connected, as related by St. Matthew, to the divine conduct : If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more mall your Father, which is in Heaven, give good things to them that ask him? Therefore all things, whatsoever ye would, that men jould do to you, do ye even ro to them.
And it is observable,, that this part of the divine conduct, to which this rule is connected, is itself also deduced : from human conduct, chat is, the ai nalogy between divine and hunian actions. What man is there of you, wbom if his son ask bread, will i be give him a stone ? or, if he ak a fish, will be give him a serpent ? If ye then, being evil, know bow to give good gifts, is the acknowledgement of human conduct : How much more fall your Father, 'which is in Heaven, give good things to them that afk him ? is the inference and declaration of the divine conduct. Therefore all things, whatsoever ye would, that men should do to you, do ye even fo to them ; for this is the law and the prophets ; for this rule concains all the moral part of the revelations of God to man, respecting our duty towards our neighbour ; and is the sum of true religion, righteousness, and equity ; being not only the rule which is to ascer: tain the practice of men towards one another, but is also the measure of the divine actions towards men.
which conducted Fifts" ye ibene appa
So that this passage of scripture is of two uses to us; not only to shew us, that general rules of behaviour are given in the place of many particular precepts (supposing it either connected to the last precept of the divine sermon on che mount, or to them all, as has been considered,) but also to thew the similarity between the divine and human conduct, in such manner, chat one may be made use of, to explain the other.
Now this rule of justice is exceedingly reasonable, whether we consider it between man and man, or between God and man : For, in every action towards a neighbour, a man should consider himself as agent and patiene: In the latter respect, he can easily fee, what he would have done, and thereby he knows what in the other should be done : He may consider himself both as judge, and the object of justice: Such, therefore, as his integrity is to determine equitably, such will the conduct of mankind probably be towards him in this life (which is the natural reward of virtue); such also will the conduct of God certainly be towards him, in the final and eternal reward of all virtue. For the rule may as properly be expressed, Therefore all things, what. Soever ye would, that God bould do to you, do ye é.
ore all things chay
ven foto mould, that God
'. If this precept be considered as one general conclusion from the whole sermon on the mount, it is itself the law and the prophets, or the sum of all righteous behaviour, implying both the rule of duty between man and man, and the rule of justice between God and man; the latter of which is as reasonable as the former: For let a man consider himself in the double capacity of agent and patient; as a subject bound by laws, and as a moral gover. nor, and final distributer of rewards and punishments ; and in one case, he must see, what is reaso. nable for him to do, by feeing, what, in the other, he would require to be done ; and, consequently he