תמונות בעמוד

highway, helpless with the wounds which they had inflicted. Asier having been cruelly neglected by iwo of his own countrymen-a priest and a Levite--he was found by a Samaritan, who had compassion on him, and at no small expense of time, labor and money, provided for his necessities.* The conduct of this Samaritan was described with a view to answer the question of the lawyer. The good Samaritan had just views of the import of the word neighbor; for the lawyer was directed to “ go and do likewise.” Now let it be remembered, that between the Jews and Samaritans the most bitter enmity existed, and it will be seen that the obligations of the second great commandment bind us to regard strangers and even enemies as neighbors. In his “sermon on the mount," 100, our Lord teaches, in a very plain and impressive manner, that that affection for our fellow men which is confined to our friends, which does not reach our enemies, is worthless, and cannot receive the approbation of God.t But may not the domestic affections be exercised, when the heart is full of enmity to many of those who live beyond the limits of our families ? From the Russian campaign, Napoleon returned to his palace, reeking with the blood of his enemies. His path to Moscow was strewed with murdered foes; from thence to France he was pursued by the departed spirits of his own starved, frozen army. And yet, when this destroyer of mankind had returned to his palace, to whet anew the instruments of death, his noble biographer informs ust that his “meeting ” with the empress was “ extremely affectionate, and showed, that amidst all his late losses, Napoleon had still domestic happiness within his reach.In the affection which he thus expressed for his family, was there any Christian benevolence? any measure of obedience to the divine will ? And do we not often witness instances in which persons under the influence of malice exercise the domestic affections? Do these affections, then, necessarily imply the least degree of that regard for mankind which places their interests on a level with our own ? But nothing short of this is holiness. How frequently does patriotism, in its most striking exercises and admired forms, altogether fail of embracing the objects which the divine law requires us to love! How limited is the field in which it acts and operates! Beyond that field, how injurious is the influence it frequently exerts! And can such a sentiment be obedience to the will of him who requires us to love our enemies ?? Surely patriotism does not necessarily imply the lowest degree of true holy affection.

3. The qualities in question are often visible in irrational animals.-And here the remark may deserve attention, that mankind seem to possess estimable, amiable qualities, which may belong solely to their animal nature, and to the present state of their being. This remark is sustained by the instruction which our Lord gave to some captious Sadduces, who were trying to embarrass Him with difficulties about the doctrine of the resurrection. They presented the case of a woman who had had seven busbands; and demanded, whose wife she should be in the resurrection ? In reply to this inquiry, our Saviour assured them, that in the resurrection, they neither marry, nor are given in marriage; but are as the angels of God in heaven. The domestic relations, then, are not known in the future world. And if these relations are broken up by the grave, is it not reasonable to believe that other relations, equally appropriate to the present condition of the human family, may be forever dissolved by the same means ? May not those occasions, which generally call into exercise the qualities under consideration, be confined to this world? And in the possession and exercise of these qualities, may we not be occupying ground in common with the irrational creation ?

* Luke x. 25–37.

Mat. v. 44–47.

Scott's Nap, vol. v. p. 390.

To this view of the subject, it is no sound objection, that these qualities in mankind, are united with moral attributes. I do not deny, that they may be so exercised, as to imply Christian benevolence. We may eat and drink to the glory of God.'* What then! In hungering and thirsting, do we not occupy ground in common with merely animal beings ? And have the acts of gratifying hunger and quenching thirst in themselves any moral character? And to prove that such acts do not necessarily iinply certain moral qualities, is it not a good and substantial argument, that they are put forth by creatures, destitute of a moral nature, and therefore incapable of moral qualities? And is it not a just conclusion, that in order 10 find moral qualities, good or bad, we MUST GO BEYOND THOSE ACTS AND EXERCISES which may be aseribed to such creatures? In other words, the question, whether a man hath Christian benevolence or not, must be determined altogether by reference to other qualities, ihan the domestic affections and the feelings of humanity. The affections of bis heart must be accordant with the law of God, or he has no holiness.

Now it is notorious, that the brute creation often exhibit, in a high degree, and in very touching forms, most of those estimable qualities of which I bere speak. What a tender and lively regard for their helpless young do they manisest! What deep pity for objects in distress do they sometimes feel ! With wbat a generous attachment to their owners do they often appear to be moved ! What uncorrupt fidelity in guarding the trust committed to them do they sometimes maintain ! In witnessing these qualities in them, men are affected much in the same way, 'as by seeing them in their own species. I have been struck with a remark, which is

* 1 Cor. x. 31.

said to have fallen from the lips of a distinguished military officer. Walking forth upon the field of battle, in the evening of a day of bloody conflict, he saw a dog leap from the cloak of his dead master, with a piteous howl. An appeal equally thrilling to the sympathies of his heart, he declared, he had never selt before. Our Saviour did not hesitate to illustrate his tender regard for the people of Jerusalem, by the lively and strong attachment of a hen for her young. Yet no one, I suppose, ascribes Christian benevolence-holiness of heart, to any of the irrational animals. The qualities, then, which mankind have in common with them, do not necessarily imply the least degree af holiness.

4. The qualities in question may often be frirly traced to other motives than obedience to the divine will. --Look at yonder father. How fondly he caresses the children, whom he affectionately calls his own ! How promptly he resents whatever ill treatment they may receive! With what energy he nerves his arm to defend their rights—to cripple the hand that is stretched out to harm them! And yet ibis very father, so fond and affectionate, stubbornly refuses to sacrifice, for their benefit, the loathsome habit of drinking intoxicating liquor ! So far from ibis, he eagerly and resolutely sacrifices their best interests, their highest happiness, 10 the gratification, on bis part, of a most unnatural and ruinous propensity. Does his affectionate regard for his children necessarily imply any measure of obedience to the commands of God? Does he cherish, even toward his children, the spirit of Christian benevolence ?

Any one may see, that numerous motives, besides obedience to God, may lead men to cherish and maintain such qualities as veracity and honesty. May not a shrewd and observant worldling have discovered the soundness of the maxim, ibat honesty is the best policy? And may he not, from mere worldly motives, from a regard to his present interests and reputation, act upon this maxim ? Veracity and honesty he may find among ihe most effectual means of increasing bis wealth, and brightening his fame. And while such motives may produce such qualities, do not multiplied facts clearly show, that these qualities are often the actual result of motives such as have been mentioned ? How frequently, when by any means reputation is lost, do men cease to be honest and veracious! A very slight temptation will draw them aside from the path of rectitude. —Now, if these qualities may, and osten must, be traced to other motives than obedience to the divine will, a child can see that they do not necessarily imply the least degree of Christian benevolence.

5. The qualities under consideration often exist in mankind separate from each other, and from other qualities, which are clearly essential to holiness.—It is a striking remark of Dr. Paley, that " when our duties are recited” in the New Testament, " they

are put collectively, that is, as all and every of them required in the Christian character.And if we mark the bearing of express statements in the sacred volume, it will appear, with the greatest clearness, that where some seatures of the Christian character are wanting in any given case, no holiness exists. In the passage already quoted from the epistle of James, we are taught, that true obedience embraces all the divine commands; that he, who refuses to obey any one of the requisitions of the law, whatever in other respects he may seem to be, has no cordial regard to the will of God. He cannot, then, have any Christian benevolence.

In the epistle to the Hebrews, we are taught, that “ Without faith, it is impossible to please God."* Here then, we have one trait of Christian character, so essential, that without it, that character cannot be formed. Whatever valuable and amiable qualities a person may exbibit, he cannot secure the divine approbation without faith. Moral worth-Christian benevolence, then, cannot exist without faith; for did they thus exist, they would certainly secure the divine approbation. Every kind and degree of moral goodness must awaken the complacency and draw forth the smiles of our heavenly Father. Hence, if His smiles are not bestowed—if His complacency is not awakened, the conclusion is inevitable, that no moral beauty is presented to His eye. But who will deny that, in multiplied instances, the amiable qualities under consideration bave been exhibited by men devoid of Christian faith? Have not the most determined infidels—have not avowed atheists, often been distinguished for the exercise of the domestic affections? Have they not expressed, in attractive forms, the sentiments of humanity and of patriotism ? Have they not sometimes been remarkable for honesty and veracity, in their intercourse with those around them? At the same time, they scorned and opposed the Christian religion. They trode upon the record of its truths. They reviled and persecuted its cordial and devoted adherents. They had no faith in the Christian revelation. Hence we have divine authority for the conclusion, that God withheld from them His approving smiles. They had no moral worth. Surely, then, the possession of such qualities as they exhibited, does not necessarily imply the least degree of Christian benevolence.

Let the facts, which have been given under the above particulars he now placed together; and how firm and broad a foundation do they lay for the doctrine under consideration. The qualities in hand often not only do not reach the most important interests of the object toward which they are directed, but are so exercised as to injure those interests; they reach only a part of mankind; are visible in irrational animals ; may be fairly traced,

* Heb. xi, 6.

in many instances, to other motives besides obedience to God; and often exist in mankind separate from each other, and from other qualities, which are clearly essential to holiness.

III. The doctrine in question derives the firmest support from the sacred Scriptures. The Apostle Paul presents a supposition, which bears with great clearness and force upon the point in hand. Though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing."* This statement of the Apostle could have no force—it would not be intelligible, if the feelings of humanity, and kindred qualities, necessarily implied any degree of holiness. In immediate connection, the Apostle has given at considerable length, a description of that charity, which is essential to moral goodness. Upon a single feature of this description, it may be proper to insist. “ Charity rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth.Here the word truth, is used in direct opposition to the word iniquity; as in some other connections, it means virtue or pietya state of mind, and a course of life, conformed to the divine requirements.* But how often do those, who rejoice in iniquity and loathe the truth, exhibit, in a striking manner, the domestic affections, patriotic sentiments, and the feelings of humanity! The sailor at his cups hears the cry of distress. His compassion is awakened. He rushes to the water's edge, and sees a child struggling with agony, in the angry surge. With a horrid oath upon his lips, he plunges into the water; and, at the hazard of his own life, rescues that of the little sufferer. Who is not moved with admiration at such an exhibition of the feelings of humanity! How deep and strong the tide of compassion which gushed from the sailor's heart ! And yet that sailor was a drunkard—was profane. Had he aught of that charity which rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth ?-How often have those, who had been greatly distinguished for the warmth and strength of their patriotic feelings, been notorious for “rejoicing in iniquity." How often have they not only “cast off sear and restrained prayer," but indulged themselves in open, shameful vices! How often have they been notorious for sabbath-breaking and profaneness! With what eagerness have they sometimes plunged into the most loathsome excesses of dissipation and debauchery! And will it be said in behalf of such men, that they “rejoice not in iniquity, but rejoice in the truth?” Surely not. Then we have the decision of the Apostle Paul, that however they may be distinguished for their patriotisın, (so called) they are devoid of charity-of that benevolence, without which holiness cannot exist.

There are few passages of the New Testament, more familiar than the story of the amiable young ruler. He was so truly amiable, as to attract the love of Jesus. It is clear froin the connec* 1 Cor. xiii. 3.

* See Rom. i. 8. VOL. III.-NO. IV.


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