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5. Let us consider that we have the greatest Assurance that all Actions of that nature shall be amply rewarded; and the contrary Uncharitableness and Hard-heartedness punished (a). If ye
forgive Men their Trespasses, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you : But if ye forgive not Men their Trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your Trespasses.
6. Lastly, It will be found, that the contrary Practices proceed always from some base Principle or other; such as Pride, Frowardness, Cruelty, Jealousy, Cowardise, Ingratitude, Moroseness, and the Want of Generosity. But I shall not spend your Time now to describe it in it's proper Colours : Our Saviour insists more fully on our Duty to Enemies in the Words immediately following; and therefore I shall here dismiss this Text, after I have drawn this one Corollary or Inference, namely,
That if we are to carry ourselves so kindly and obligingly to our very Enemies, as to supply them when they are in Want, and to lend our Help and Assistance to them, according to their several Occasions and Neceflities; then surely we are much more obliged to do so to others, particularly to our Friends, to whom we are under greater Qbligations of Gratitude. Some indeed do not restrain the Words, as I have done, to our Duty to those that have injured us, as I think the Context directs, but interpret them in a greater Latitude, for a general Duty to all Men, and so perhaps our Interpreters understood them. But though I think the other the righter Way, this you see will fairly
(a) Mat. vi. 14, 15.
follow from it by way of Consequence; and so I recommend it, and leave it with you. Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee, turn not thou away. I shall conclude with that excellent Collect of our Church.
O Lord, who has taught us that all our Doings without Charity are nothing worth, send thy Holy Ghost, and pour into our Hearts that most excellent Gift of Charity, the very Bond of Peace, and of ali Virtues ; Without which, whosoever Liveth, is counted Dead before thee. Grant this for thy only Son Jesus Christ's sake.
Now to him, with the Father and the Holy Ghoft, be all Praise
SE R M.
That ye may
MATT. V. 43 re have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy Neighbour and hate thine Enemy. . But I say unto you,
your Enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you,
and perfecute you. Ver. 45. That
be the Children of your Father which is in Heaven, for be maketh bis Sun to rise on the Evil, and on the Good, and sendeth
Rain on the Just, and on the Unjust. Ver. 46. For if ye love them which love you, what
Reward have ye? Do not even the Publicans the fame? Ver. 47. And if ye salute your Brethren only, what
do you more than others? Do not even the Pub
licans fo? Ver. 48. Be ye therefore perfect, even as your
Father which is in Heaven is perfect.
The First Sermon on this Text.
Saviour gives of the Scribes and Pharisees, their defective Interpretation of the Law of Mofes ; namely, in the Matter of Love and Charity,
which they restrained to their Neighbour, in the narrow Notion they had of that Word, understanding thereby one of the fame Nation or Religion ; which love our Saviour commands here to be extended to all Mankind, even our bitterest Enemies.
In the Words I have read, we have these three Things to be considered. I. The
The corrupt Interpretation of the Duty of Love and Charity, as it had been taught by the Jewish Doctors at the 43d Verse. re have heard that it hath been said, thou shalt love thy Neighbour and hate thine Enemy.
II. Our Saviour's Correction and Improvement of that Doctrine, by extending it to all, even our bitterest Enemies, at the 44th Verse. But I say unto you, love your Enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate for them which dispitefully use you, and persecute you.
III. · The Confirmation of this Doctrine, by some Arguments taken from the Example of God, and the greater Perfection required of Chriftians, than of either Jews or Heathens, from thence to the End of the Chapter.
1. I begin with the corrupt Interpretation of the Duty of Love and Charity, as it had been taught by the Jewish Doctors. Ye have heard that it bath been said, thou shalt love thy Neighbour and hate thine Énemy. As to the loving of our Neighbour, it is exprefly found in the Law of Mofes. But for the hating of our Enemy, there is no such Thing exprefly to be found there; and therefore it is most probable, this was the Comment of the Scribes and Pharisees, which they put upon
the Law, rather than found in it. Yet that there was somewhat to give Colour to this Sense, cannot be denied. For, 1. The Jews were expresly commanded to treat the ancient Inhabitants of the Land as Enemies. They were forbid to make any Covenant, or to enter into any Affinity with them; nay, they were commanded to Smite and Destroy them utterly, and not shew them Mercy; as ye may see in the vii. Chap. of Deut. at the Beginning. And as for the Amalekites, they were commanded to blot out the Remembrance of them from under Heaven (a). 2. The Reafons given for these Severities, extended a great deal farther than the hating and destroying those particular Nations ; for, by a Parity of Reason, they would reach to all that injured their Nation, and all that were not of their Religion, but addicted to any Idolatrous Worship, so as to endanger their spreading of their Idolatry among them, or their Children; for these were given as the Reasons of the Severity to those Nations appointed to Destruction. TheReason of the Severity against Amalek, was the Opposition they had met with from him, when they came out of Egypt, Deut. xxv. 17. Remember what Amalek did unto thee by the Way, when ye were come forth out of Egypt : How he met thee by the Way, and Smote the hindmost of thee, even all that were feeble behind thee, when thou wast faint and weary : And be feared not God Therefore it shall be, when the Lord thy God hath given thee Rest from all thine Enemies round about, that thou shalt blot out the Remembrance of Amalek
(a) Deut. xxv. 19.