Imatges de pÓgina
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want, and will not ftretch our hand to raise
him from his forlorn condition?
Yet we pro-
fefs a law, that not only recommends charity,
but obliges us to practife it; that promises to
reftore, in heaven, a hundred-fold, whatever we
lay out upon our diftreffed brethren on earth.
Oh! at how cheap a rate may we buy heaven !
Certainly it is worth not only an alms, but a
thousand worlds. Do we not deferve to lose it,
if we refufe fo fmall a trifle to purchase it?

A Samaritan, that is, a man of another religion, a fchifmatick, and heretick, paffed the fame way the fad and unexpected fpectacle moved him to compaffion. He draws near the expiring patient; he dreffes his bleeding wounds ; and, not content with this charitable office, he recommends him to the care of another, and promifes to bear all the expences of his recovery.

Our Saviour has, in this parable, drawn a scheme of chriftian charity, and recommends it to his followers, with the greatest emphasis imaginable. He teaches firft, that no difference of religion, no animofity, no intereft excufe us. The Samaritan, who did the charitable office, was a fchifmatick; the wounded perfon a Jew: and there was fuch a divifion between these two people, that they would have no commerce one with the other. Regard not therefore the religion of a diftreffed brother, but his want; and proportion your charity to his neceffity, and your own ability. Secondly, He teaches us, not only to drop a tranfient alms for a prefent relief, but to take care for the future, as much as our circumftances will permit. The Samaritan was not content to bind up his wounds; he provided for his cure. He laid down money for the prefent expence, and promised to reimburfe all, at his return, for the future. This is to carry charity VOL. II. O

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to its perfection, but not beyond the bounds Christ prescribes.

Love your neighbour as yourself, fays our bleffed Saviour: I am not his disciple unless I do. I am not a Chriftian, unless I affift him. If I hate my brother, God will hate me. If I excufe his failings, God will excuse mine; and if I pardon an injury, God will pardon my fins. For he has declared, we fhall receive the fame treatment from him, our brethren receive from Interest therefore obliges us, as well as duty, to love and cherish our neighbour; to be tender of his reputation; to bury in filence those failings we cannot excuse ; to pardon all injuries, and forget them.

us.

Oh! how far has my practice fwerved from my duty! Have I not tranfgrefs'd this great law of charity in almost every point? Inftead of excufing my neighbour's faults, have I not even condemned his virtues, and given a malicious turn to his most innocent actions? Charity commands me not to mention even his publick crimes; yet I have revealed his moft fecret mifcarriages, and have made them the fubject of my diverfion and raillery. Like the Priest and Levite in the gospel, I have paft by my wounded brother without concern, and rather widened his wounds by infult and outrage, than clofed them by mercy and pity.

O God! treat me not with that feverity, I have treated my diftrefs'd brethren: I confefs I have tranfgrefs'd my duty to them, and the law of charity you have impofed upon me. But I promife, for the future, to lay down all averfion, to hate no body, but to love all for your fake, who have redeemed them with your most precious blood, and entitled them to your glory.

EPISTLE

EPISTLE to the Galatians, Chap. iii. Verfe

16. Now to Abraham and his feed were the promifes made. He faith not, and to feeds, as of many; but as of one, and to thy feed, which is Chrift.

17. And this I fay, that the covenant that was confirmed before of God in Chrift, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot difannul, that it should make the promise of none effect.

18. For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promife: but God gave it to Abraham by promife.

19. Wherefore then ferveth the law? it was added because of tranfgreffions, till the feed should come, to whom the promife was made, and it was ordained by angels in the band of a media

tor.

20. Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is one.

21. Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousnefs fhould have been by the law.

22. But the fcripture hath concluded all under fin, that the promife by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.

The MORAL REFLECTION.

SOM

COME innovations had raised diffenters among the converts of Galatia, and perfuaded many, that the obfervation of the old law was fufficient for falvation; and that the embracing of the gofpel did not take away the obligation of fubmitting to all the ceremonies and precepts of Mofes.

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Mofes. And altho' the apoftle had taught them the contrary, and confirmed his doctrine with miracles; yet falfe teachers arofe, and vented their errors, which feveral embraced, in oppofition to St. Paul, with eagernefs, and defended with heat and passion.

If there arofe herefies and fchifms in the times of the apoftles, what wonder there are fo many in ours! But as St. Paul called the Galatians mad, O foolish Galatians, for abandoning the faith he taught, to follow the prophane notions of upftart preachers; fo thofe of our days are no lefs blameable, who run after every new doctrine, however oppolite to that of Christ.

To difabule the Galatians, as to the fufficiency of the Mofaic law for falvation; and to prove the neceffity of the gofpel, the apostle tells them, To Abraham and his feed were the promifes made. He faith not, and to feeds, as of many, but as of one, And to thy feed, which is Chrift. The The promife therefore God made to Abraham, in reward of his faith and obedience, was, that all nations fhould be bleffed by Jefus Chrift; and that the inheritance of heaven is not the fimple price of the obfervance of the Mofaic law, but a mere gratuity founded on the promise God made to Abraham, to give the world a Meffias (a Redeemer) who, by his death, would cancel all the fins of the world, and intitle all, that believed in him, to the inheritance of heaven. For if the inberitance be of the law, it is no more of promife.

Oh! what an honour to Abraham, that the expected Meffias fhould be born of his race! But what a favour, that God fhould fend his only Son to redeem mankind from the flavery of fin, and the bondage of Satan! We were all loft, and nothing could reprieve us, but God's goodness,

not

goodness, which we had abufed by the highest ingratitude: we deferved nothing at his hands, but the punishment due to our offences. But be caft an eye of mercy on us, and fent a Redeemer, not only to deliver us by his death, but to inftruct us by his life. What gratitude ought we to return the Father for fending his Son? What love to the Son, for taking upon him fo hard a precept? He gain'd nothing by our falvation: he loft nothing by our damnation. He was infinitely happy before we were, and would continue in that happy state, tho' we returned to our firft nothing. Ought we therefore to confecrate to his honour, every member of our bodies, every power of our fouls? We are his by a thousand titles; and confequently fhould live only to him. But, Oh! by a ftrange injuftice, we live for every thing but him. We divide our hearts and our time among the creatures, and wholly forget God the Creator. Intereft, pleafure, and ambition run away with our hearts, and our time: to thefe idols we facrifice all that is moft dear, a happy eternity, that contains all that is good, all that is defirable and we expofe ourfelves to the utmost rigour of everlafting torments. Oh! my Lord and my God, withdraw my heart from all wordly pleafures, that have nothing amiable but the name, nothing charming but the appearance. Fix it wholly on thee in thy fervice alone it can find content, and preferve its in

nocence.

If the inheritance of heaven was given us, not. by the law, but by the merits of the Meffias ; St. Paul afks, why the law was given, and he anfwers; It was added because of tranfgreffions.

Some take from this paffage occafion to accufe God of cruelty, as if he made the Jewish 0 3

law,

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