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(i. e. judicially; for the woman's answer was not true in any other sense.) She said, no man, Lord: and Jesus said unto her, neither do I condemn thee,” (i. e. in the same sense, or as a judge.) John viii. 10, 11.
VII. Purity and simplicity of Divine worship.
“When ye pray, use not vain repetitions as the heathen do; for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not ye therefore like unto them; for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of before you ask him : after this manner therefore pray ye, Our Father," &c. Matt. vi. 7-9.
“ The hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth, for the · Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a spirit, and they that worship him, must worship him in spirit and in truth.” John iv. 23, 24.
VIII. Estimating of actions by the intent and not the effect.
“ And Jesus sat over against the treasury (i. e. for pious uses,) and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury; and many that were rich cast in much; and there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing; and he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, verily I say unto you, that this
poor widow hath cast more in than all they which have cast into the treasury, for all they did cast in of their abundance ; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.” Mark xii. 41-44.
IX. Extending of morality to the regulation of the thoughts.
“ I say unto you, that whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her, hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” Matt, v. 28.
“Out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, &c.-these are the things which defile a inan.” Matt. xv. 19, 20.
X. The demand of duty from mankind proportioned to their ability and opportunities.
“That servant which knew his lord's will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes ; but he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes ; for unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required ; and (i. e. as) to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.” Luke xii. 47, 48.
XI. The invitations to repentance.
“ Then drew near unto him all the publicans and sinners for to hear him; and the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, this man receiveth sinners and eateth with them ; and he spake this parable unto them, saying, what man of you having an hundred sheep, if he loose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go
after that which is lost till he find it? and when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders rejoicing; and when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost. I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons which need no repentance.” Luke xv. 1—7.
“And he said, (i. e. upon the same occasion,) A certain man had two sons; and the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me; and he divided unto them his living: and not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living; and when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land, and he began to
be in want; and he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed swine, and he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat, and no man gave unto him; and when he came unto himself, he said, how many hired servants of my father have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger? I will arise and go to my father, and I will say unto him, father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, and am no more worthy to be called thy son, make me as one of thy hired servants. And he arose and came to his father, but when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him; and the son said unto him, father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son: but the father said to his servants, bring forth the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet; and bring here the fatted calf and kill it ; and let us eat and be merry, for this my son was dead, and is alive again, he was lost, and is found.” Luke xv. 11-24.
The Gospel maxims of loving our neighbour as ourselves, and doing as we would be done by, are much superiour rules of life to the to wpezou of the Greek, or the honestum of the Latin moralists, in forming ideas of which, people put in or left out just what they pleased ; and better than the utile, or general expediency of the modern, which few can estimate.—As motives likewise, or principles of action, they are much safer than either the love of our country, which has oftentimes been destructive to the rest of the world; or friendship, the almost constant source of partiality and injustice.
His manner also of teaching, was infinitely more affecting than theirs ; as may be known by comparing what we feel, when we rise up from reading the parables of the good Sumaritan, of the Pharisee and publican, the servant who when he was forgiven by his master, would not forgive his fellow-servant, the prodigal son, the rich man who laid up stores, Luke xii. 16–21:~by comparing, I say, these with any thing excited in us, on reading Tully's Offices, Aristotle's Ethicks, or Seneca's Moral Dissertations.
No heathen moralist ever opposed himself, as Christ did, to the prevailing vices and corruptions of his own time and country. Matt. v. vi. vii. xxiii. Luke xi. 39– 44.—The sports of the gladiators, unnatural lust, the licentiousness of divorce, the exposing of infants and slaves, procuring abortions, publick establishment of stews, all subsisted at Rome, and not one of them condemned or hinted at in Tully's Offices. The most indecent revelling, drunkenness and lewdness, practised at the feasts of Bacchus, Ceres, and Cybele, and their greatest philosophers never remonstrated against it.
The heathen philosophers, though they have advanced fine sayings and sublime precepts in some points of morality, have grossly failed in others; such as the toleration or encouragement of revenge, slavery, unnatural lust, fornication, suicide, &c. e. g.
Plato expressly allowed of excessive drinking at the Festival of Bacchus.
Maximus Tyrius forbade to pray.
Socrates directs his hearers to consider the Greeks as brethren, but Barbarians as natural enemies.
Aristotle maintained that nature intended Barbarians to be slaves.
The Stoicks held that all crimes were equal.
All allow and advise men to continue the Cicero,
idolatry of their ancestors. Epictetus, Aristotle, 7 Both speak of the forgiveness of injuries as Cicero, Smeanness and pusillanimity.
These are trifles to what follows. Aristotle* and Plato, both direct that means should be used to prevent weak children being brought up.
Cato commends a young man for frequenting the stews.
Cicero expressly speaks of fornication as a thing never found fault with.
Plato recommends a community of women: also advises that soldiers should not be restrained from sensual indulgence, even the most unnatural species of it.
Xenophon relates without any marks of reprobation, that unnatural lust was encouraged by the laws of several Grecian states.
Solon, their great lawgiver, forbade it only to slaves.
Diogenes inculcated, and openly practised the most brutal lust.
Zeno, the founder, and Cato the ornament of the Stoick philosophy, both killed themselves.
Lastly, the idea which the Christian Scriptures exhibit of the Deity, is in many respects different from the notion that was then entertained of him, but perfectly consonant to the best information we have of his nature and attributes from reason and the appearances of the universe.-The Scriptures describe him as one, wise, powerful, spiritual, and omnipresent; as placable and impartial, as abounding in affection towards his creatures, over-ruling by his providence the concerns of mankind in this world, and designing
See Dr. Priestley's Institutes of Natural and Revealed Religion, vol. ii. sect. 2, 3.