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a little recollection, are hurt by the wretched baseness of a selfish spirit. A man of this character is his own tormentor; for selfishness begets envy, envy malevolence, and malevolence tor

Whence the philosopher, seeing 'a spiteful fellow look sad, wittily said, he knew not what to think was the cause of his melancholy, whether some disaster of his own, or some good fortune of another. What are they then doing who void of all generosity (it may be added justice and humanity too) obstinately refuse obedience to the admonition in our text? They are in arms against their whole species; hostile to all social con nections, domestic, civil, and religious; and—strange infatuation ! enemies to themselves.

2. To the duties of benevolence we are obliged by the express command of God.

That great Being hath signified his will to us two ways, namely, by the light of nature, and by the holy scriptures. As to the former, if the reasoning under the last head be just, then that reasoning is the voice of God. He has established these relations among mankind, and endowed us with capacities to perceive their fitness to the ends of their appointment, and the duties resulting from them. By so doing, therefore, he has authoritatively required of us the fulfilment of these duties, and every failure therein is not only an injury done to our fellow, creatures, but a direct violation of the command of our Creator, thus signified to us by the dictates of nature.

But, as our reason is enervated and depraved by the general apostacy of mankind, and so through weakness and prejudice we err; he has given us a second edition of the law of nature in the Bible. Here we are commanded to love the Lord with all our heart, and soul, and strength; and to love our neighbour as ourselves a. And here we have these relations particularly explained, and the obligations resulting from them urged upon us by a variety of motives the most interesting and important. If we stand at the foot of Mount Smai, we hear the law pronounced by the blessed God himself with a majesty and terror that cannot fail of exciting the profoundest reverence and dread. If we go to the prophets for instruction, we have not only the positive declarations of the divine will, but such reasonings there

a Luke x. 27.

on as are level to the plainest understanding, and addressed to all the feelings of the human heart. If, again, we sit at the feet of the divine Jesus to receive the law at his lips, we have the whole system of mural obligation laid open to our view, with a clearness and pathos that infinitely surpasses what was to be met with in the schools of philosophers, or the colleges of Jewish teachers. The apostles too, under the immediate inspiration of the Holy Spirit, fail not to exhort us to the duties we owe one another, and to


upon us by those sublime motives peculiar to the gospel, which they were commissioned to publish throughout the whole world. If then the Scriptures are the word of God, it is his command, signified to us in the most plain and authoritative manner, that we look not every one on his own things only, but every man also on the things of others. And wilful disobedience to such authority cannot fail to expose men to the heaviest punishment.

3. Our obligations to the duties of benevolence receive the noblest support from the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Such is the admirable construction of the gospel that it throws light upon

the duties we owe one another, and enflames our breasts with a holy emulation to excel all around us in the discharge of them. The apostle had no sooner given the admonition in our text, but he felt himself transported almost into an ecstasy by this divine argument, which instantly rose to his view. Let this mind, says he, be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus : who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men. And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. What divine philanthropy was this! We had broken the law of our creation, had torn asunder the sacred obligations of social duty, were become selfish, malevolent, and diabolical, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another. It was fit then that the resentments of Heaven should be expressed against such guilt, that the authority of the supreme Governor of the world should be publicly asserted, and that the general good of his universal empire should be maintained. But it were earnestly to be wished, mercy would at the same time

say, that some at least of these miserable delinquents might escape the tremendous consequences of their guilt, and be restored to a capacity of again enjoying the exalted pleasures of social life in their highest perfection. But how are these objects to be attained ? No human mind surely could devise an expedient. Or, if imagination could have suggested the grand expedient which hath been adopted, it would yet have been incredible that there should exist love in heaven of such magnitude as to carry it into effect.

But such love there was in the bosom of God. Hear, O hear the tidings with wonder and joy!

The Son of God arrays himself in human flesh, and regardless of his honour, emolument and case, as a man, voluntarily offers his life, amidst unparalleled indignities and sufferings, a victim to provoked justice for our accumulated guilt. What an instance of disinterested benevolence this! the astonishment of angels and men ! He looked not on his own but our things. He pleased not himself, but suffered the reproaches of them that reproached his Father to fall upon him a. So he has stamped an authority upon the obligations resulting from social connections, which the infliction of the most tremendous punishment on the immediate violaters of these obligations could never have done. And so he has possessed us of an argument to look every one on the things of others, which, methinks, it should be impossible for the human heart not to feel. Behold, Christian, your Saviour bleeding on the cross, to expiate the offences you have committed against the laws of humanity, compassion, and love; and say whether you ought not to forgive those who have injured you, to draw a veil of charity over the frailties and mistakes of your offending brethren, to commiserate the distresses of the afflicted, and to do the utmost in your power to diffuse happiness among all around you.

4. The example of men eminent for their public spirit, comes next to be considered, in order to animate us to our duty.

Many instances of this sort we meet with in profane history; though, alas ! it must be acknowledged, that the benevolence for which the wiser heathens, most of them, were so renowned, was disgraced with not a little vanity, self-applause, and regard for their own interest. The Scriptures, however, furnish us with truly illustrious examples of this description, which demand our most grateful recollection, and our most careful imitation.

a Rom. xv. 3.

Moses the man of God holds a high rank in the list of those, who sought pot their own things but the things of others. He chose rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season a ; and cheerfully renounced all pretensions to the crown of Egypt, that he might become the deliverer of his oppressed brethren the Israelites. And when the rebellion of that perverse people against God, and their ungrateful murmurings against him, had like to have brought down instant vengeance upon their heads; such was his public spirit, that he interposed all his influence with Heaven on their behalf, and with a generosity that scarce admits of a parallel, thus passionately expresses himself on the occasion, Now, O Lord, if thou wilt, forgive their sin : and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written b. The flattering prospect of the erection of his own family into a great nation, upon the ruins of this people who so justly deserve ed to be devoted to destruction, could not subdue the unconquerable attachment he felt to their interest c. And so far was he from wishing to accumulate all the honours, peculiar to the prophetic character, to himself and a few others, that he most sincerely wished that all the Lord's people were prophets d. In short, his story exhibits to our view one continued series of the most disinterested and painful exertions for the good of mankind. A great many other examples I might mention of men of a public and benevolent spirit, whose characters and actions shine with distinguished lustre in the book of God, such as Joshua, Gideon, David, Jeremiah, Daniel, Nehemiah, and others.

The apostles too were all of them famous for their unwearied attention to the public good, and none among them more so than he who spoke the language of the text. His life was a striking comment on the passage before us. So far was he from looking on his own things, that amidst his zeal for the glory of God and the salvation of men, he lost almost all idea of his own private and personal interests. And it was with a view not to acquire applause, but to conciliate the regards of the Corinthians

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a Heb. xi. 25.
c Exod. xxxii. 10.

6 Exod. xxxii. 32.
d Num. xi. 29.



to his ministry, and thereby promote their welfare, that he gives them such a recital of his sufferings and actions, as shews him to have been of all men the most disinterested and benevolent. In labours, says he, I have been more abundant : in stripes above measure : in prisons more frequent: in deaths oft. Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was 1 stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck : a night and a day I have been in the deep. In journey. ings often, in perils of water, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren, in weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and naked

Besides those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches, Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is offended, and I burn not a? Nor must I forget to mention a passionate expression that drops from his pen, when speaking concerning his countrymen the Jews, which breathes the noblest patriotism, and shews him to have been cast in the same mould with his great ancestor Moses : I have greut heaviness, says he, and continual sorrow in my heart. For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ, for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh b.

But the temper and conduct of our Lord Jesus Christ, when here on earth, exhibit the most striking features of that character we mean to recommend and wish you to attain. Of the great object of his mission, which was generously to offer his life a sacrifice for sin, we have already spoken. His actions, during the course of his public ministry, are what we have now in view. And these were the most benevolent that can be imagined. Did he seek his own things, when at the age of twelve years he disputed with the doctors in the temple? Wist ye. not, says he to his parents when they sought him sorrowing, that I must be about my Father's bụsiness c ? Did he consult his own interest, when proof against all the insidious attacks of Satan, and all the flattering prospects of worldly wealth and grandeur, he devoted himself to the painful service of the ministry? Did he court the applause of men, when he boldly set himself to opa 2 Cor. xi. 23-29,

b Rom. ix. 2, 3.

c Luke ii. 49.

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