Imatges de pÓgina
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dom, however trifling it may seem to a carnal mind, but what is capable of some fpiritual, and most important instruction, to all who will devote their time becomingly, to search the spirit contained in the letter. We must not act like fools then, and condemn and throw afide what staggers our mortal power, but let us be earnest to understand and keep what is indisputably profitable to all alike ; what is capable of instructing and improving the moft unlearned student. What be who runs may read to his advantage.

And as to that objection which some have made to feveral passages in the Psalms, which they affirm to be void of christian charity and fellow feeling, because the prophet appears to deal out curses upon several nations, and their pofterity ; on this subject two things are necessary to be observed, in order to remove this charge. First, that in the language of prophesy, the Psalmist doth not express his wish for their destruction, but only declares the certain future consequence of God's wrath against all his enemies. Secondly, as he was peculiarly favored by the Most High, and doubtless often inspired by the influence of the Holy Spirit, with pious zeal for the glory of the Almighty, we cannot possibly suppose him porfeffed with a spirit of malice against the persons of such people, but that he spiritually prayed for the destruction of such errors and vices as exposed them unavoidably to God's just vengeance: in the same spirit as that of St. Paul, who would have the mortal body delivered to the temporal tormentor, that the foul might be saved in the day of the Lord. And we should take further notice, that when David professes in these particular passages to hate them that hate the Lord; he hateth them with a qualified, not a malicious hatred, that is, with such a natred or abhorrence, as is consistent with the perfe£t laws of charity. But in furtber defence of these expressions, which by some are judged so very exceptionable, it may be serviceable to give you the following plain and excellent illustration of them, in the words of a most able and evangelical writer, a pious prelate of our own day. :" A faithful servant (says he). has the same interests, the same friends, the fame enemies with his master, whose cause and honor he is in duty bound on all occasions to support. A good man hates, as God himself doth; he hates not the persons of men, but their fins ; not what God made them, but what they have made themselves. We are, neither to hate the persons, on account of the vices they practise, nor love the vices for the fake of those who practise them : whoever invariably observes this diftin&tion, hath the love of God and his neighbor abiding in him ; as doubtless David had, in an eminent degree."'But this affords no warrant to us frail, creatures in any shape to utter curses upon our brethren. We have neither the spirit of prophefy, nor the spirit of holiness, which these choice instruments of Heaven professed. Being at the best, far short of such a measure of grace, and sinners against God ourselves in manifold shapes, we are taught by Him, who knew what was in the fons of men, to pray for our enemies, left in cafe, we denounce vengeance against them, we be found to call down curses on our 1

Let us always therefore pray for grace to put a wise and favorable construction on every part of scripture which may not be wholly level to our own apprehensions. Let us beseech him to purify our hearts, and enlighten our understandings, and then we may be sure, instead of difputing about Holy Writ, and, much less scoffing at it, we fhalį embark in this useful study with humility, true wisdom, and to the improvement of our lives. We shall receive its precepts with chris

own heads.

tian reverence ; we shall strive to read, mark, learn, and inwardly digeft, whatever is needful for our present peace, and future happiness. Then shall we glorify God's Holy Name and Word, while we are carefully working out our own salvation. To him, Father, Son, and Holy Ghoft, three perfons and one God, be all praise, honor and power for ever and ever. Amen.

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DISCOURSE VI.

An Homily upon Alms Deeds, and Mercifulness towards

the Poor and Needy.

GALATIANS vi. 10.

As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all

men, especially to them who are of the housold of faith.

A

MONG the various duties which Almighty

God requireth of all true christians, by which his Holy Name is most glorified, aud the faithfulness of our profession proved, none are more acceptable to our heavenly Father, none are more profitable to ourselves, none bring us nearer to the example our Blessed Lord hath fet us, than compassion and mercy towards the needy, and all that are afflicted, or in distress.

Yet such is the sowness of our fallen nature, towards any thing that is purely good and holy, that in nothing are we mure negligent, than in the uniform exercise of this heavenly quality. As therefore it is so very essential a preparation for God's favor, it concerns all, wlio profefs to be the servants of Christ, to open their eyes to the necessity of cultivating this fpirit, and

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