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- . OF THE SEconD CLAss OF VIRTUES CONNECTED WITH
THE DUTY OF MAN Tow ARDS HIMSELF.
THE virtues which regulate our desire of external good have been spoken of; we are next to consider those which are exercised in the resistance to, or the endurance of evil.
These virtues are fortitude and patience.
FoRTITUDE is chiefly conspicuous in repelling evil, or in regarding its approach with equanimity. Josh. i. 6, 7, 9, have not I commanded thee? be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed. Heb. xi. 32, &c. the time would fail me to tell of Gideon, &c. who through faith subdued kingdoms. Psal. iii. 9. I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people that have set themselves against me round about. See Psal. xviii. 32, &c. xxiii. 4. though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for thou art with me. xxxvii. 12, &c. the wicked plotteth against the just ...... the wicked have drawn out the sword...... their sword shall enter into their own heart. xlvi. 1, 2, God is our refuge and strength...... therefore will we not fear, though the earth be removed. lvi. 11. in God have I put my trust; I will not be afraid what man can do unto me. See also cxviii. 6. cxii. 7, 8, he shall not be afraid of evil tidings. Prov. iii. 24, 25. when thou liest down, thou shalt not be afraid. xxiv. 5, 6. a wise man is strong; yea, a man of knowledge increaseth strength. xxviii. 1. the righteous are bold as a lion. Isai. xli. 10, fear thou not, for I am with thee. li. 7, fear ye not the reproach of men, neither be ye afraid of their revilings. v. 12. I am he that comforteth you; who art thou that thou shouldest be afraid—? Dan. iii. 16, they said to the king.... we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. Matt. x. 28, &c. fear not them which kill the body—. The great pattern of fortitude is our Saviour Jesus Christ, throughout the whole of his life, and in his death. Luke xiii. 31, &c. go ye and tell that foa, Behold, I cast out devils, and I do cures to-day and to-morrow, and the third day I shall be perfected. John. xi. 7, 8. his disciples say unto him, Master, the Jews of late sought to stone thee, and goest thou thither again? 2 Tim. i. 7. God, hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind... I John ii. 14. I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one. Opposed to fortitude are, first, timidity. Psal. xxvii. 1. Jehovah is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear? Prov. x. 24. the fear of the wicked, it shall come upon him. xxv.26. a righteous man falling down before the wicked, is as a troubled fountain and a corrupt spring. xxviii. 1. the wicked flee when no man pursueth. xxix. 25, the fear of man bringeth a snare. Isai. xli. 13, 14. fear not, thou worm Jacob. Nehem. vi. 11. should such a man as I flee ? Matt. xxiv. 6. ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled. Rev. xxi. 8. the fearful and unbelieving....shall have their part in the lake that burneth—. Secondly, rashness, which consists in exposing ourselves to danger unnecessarily. Prov. xiv. 16. a wise man feareth and departeth from evil; but the fool rageth, and is confident. This fault is exemplified in Amaziah, 2 Kings xiv. 8, come, let us look one another in the jace; and in Josiah, 2 Chron. xxxv. 20–22. he sent ambassadors unto him, saying ....nevertheless Josiah would not turn his face from him—. Christ has taught us to avoid it by his example. John vii. 1. he would not walk in Jewry, because the Jews sought to kill him. xi. 53, 54. Jesus therefore walked no more openly among the Jews, Matt. x. 23. when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another.
PATIENCE consists in the endurance of misfortunes and injuries. Psal. lxix. 7. for thy sake I have borne reproach, shame hath covered my face. Prov. xi. 12. he that is void of wisdom despiseth his neighbour; but a man of understanding holdeth his peace. xvii. 27. he that hath knowledge spareth his words, and a man of understanding is of an excellent spirit. xix. 11. the discretion of a man deferreth his anger. Eccles. vii. 21. also take no heed unto all words that are spoken, lest thou hear thy servant curse thee. Isai. l. 7, 8. I have set my face like a flint—. Matt. v. 39. resist not evil, but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. 1 Cor. vi. 7. why do ye not rather take wrong 2 1 Thess. v. 14. be patient towards all men. See above, on patience towards God. Compensation for injuries, nevertheless, is occasionally exacted even by pious men. Acts xvi. 37, they have beaten us openly uncondemned, &c.
The opposites to this are, first, impatience and effeminacy of temper. Prov. xxiv. 10, if thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small.
Secondly, an hypocritical patience, which voluntarily inflicts upon itself unnecessary evils. This is exemplified in the prophets of Baal,
1 Kings xviii. 28, they cut themselves after their manner with knives; and in the flagellations of the modern Papists.
Lastly, a stoical apathy; for sensibility to pain, and even lamentations, are not inconsistent with true patience; as may be seen in Job and the other saints, when under the pressure of affliction."
* This distinction is well illustrated in the character of Samson, throughout the drama which bears that name.
Hitherto we have treated of the duties of charity and justice owing from man To HIMSELF; we are next to consider the same virtues as exercised towards our NEIGHBour.
CHARITY TowARDs ouR NEIGHBOUR consists in Loving HIM As ourSELVEs. Lev. xix. 18. thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself; I am Jehovah. 1 John iv. 11. beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. Under the name of neighbour are comprehended all to whom we have the opportunity of rendering service or assistance. Luke x. 36, 37. which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him— ? he that shewed mercy on him; as in the present instance the Samaritan showed mercy on the Jew, although estranged from him in so many respects.
Chiefly however believers: Gal. vi. 10. as we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them that are of the household of faith; inasmuch as, in addition to the ordinary tie of affinity, we are connected with them by a spiritual bond: Eph. iv. 3. endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. Next in degree are those most closely allied to us by relationship or friendship. Rom. ix. 3. I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh; who are Israelites—. 1 Tim. v. 4. let them learn first to show piety at home, and to requite their parents; for that is good and acceptable before God.
Even our enemies are not to be excluded from the exercise of our charity, inasmuch as they are not excluded from our prayers. Exod. xxiii. 4, 5, if thou meet thine enemy's or or ass going astray, &c. Prov. xxv. 21, 22. if thine enemy be hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he be thirsty, give him water to drink; for thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head, and Jehovah shall reward thee. See also Rom. xii. 14, 20. Matt. v. 44. love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you—. Matt. vi. 15. if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. Luke xxii. 51. he touched his ear and healed him. xxiii. 34. Father, forgive them—. Rom. xii. 17. recompense to no man evil...for evil. v. 21. be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good. 1 Thess. v. 15. see that none render evil for evil unto any man. 1 Pet. iii. 9. not rendering evil for evil. We are taught the same by the example of God himself. Matt. v. 44. love your enemies ..... that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven. Rom. v. 8. God commendeth his love towards us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
The opposite of this virtue is, first, uncharitableness towards our neighbour. James ii. 15, 16. if a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, &c.
Secondly, hypocritical charity. Matt. vi. 2–4, when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do—.
Thirdly, an excessive and preposterous love. 1 Sam. ii. 29. thou honourest thy sons above me—. xvi. 1. how long wilt thou mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him 2. Matt. x. 37. he that loveth father or mother more than me, is not worthy of me. -