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our intimate and familiar friend : for every one that is not our enemy, is not fit to be our friend; much less one that hath been our enemy, and perhaps is so still. There must be a great change in him that hath been our enemy, and we must have had long experience of him, before it will be fit, if ever it be so, to take him into our friendship.

All that now remains is, to make some inferences from the discourse which I have made upon this argument, by way of application. And they shall be these four.

1. If we think it fo very difficult to demean ourselves towards our enemies, as the Christian religion doth plain. ly require us to do, to forgive them, and love them, and pray for them, and to do good offices to them; then certainly it concerns us in prudence to be very careful how we make enemies to ourselves. One of the first principles of human wisdom, in the conduct of our lives, I have ever thought to be this, to have a few intimate friends, and to make no enemies, if it be possible, to our, felves." St. Paul lays a great stress upon this, and presseth it very earnestly: for, after he had forbidden re venge, Rom. xii. 17. Recompense to no man evil for evil ; as if he were very sensible how hard a matter it is to bring men to this, he adviseth in the next words to pre. vent, if it be possible, the occasions of revenge ; Ý 18. If it be possible, and as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men ; that is, if we can avoid it, have no enmity with any man: and that for two weighty reasons.

The first I have already intimated : Because it is so very hard to behave ourselves towards enemies as we ought. This we shall find to be a difficult duty to flesh and blood: and it will require great wisdom and confideration, and humility of mind, for a man to bring down his spirit to the obedience of this command; for the fewer enemies we have, the less occasion will there be of contesting this hard point with ourselves.

And the other reason is, I think, yet plainer and more convincing: Because enemies will come of themselves, and let a man do what he can, he shall have some. Friendship is a thing that needs to be cultivated, if we would have it come to any thing; but enemies, like ill weeds, will spring up of themselves, without our care

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and toil. The enemy, as our Saviour calls the devil, will sow these tares in the night; and, when we least discern it, will scatter the feeds of discord and enmity among men; and will take an advantage, either from the envy or malice, or the mistakes of men, to make them enemies to one another : which would make one wonder to see what care and pains some men will take, to provoke mankind against them ; how they will lay about them, and snatch at opportunities to make themselves enemies, as if they were afraid to let the happy occasion Rip by them. But all this care and fear surely is needless. We may safely trust an ill-natured world, that we shall have enemies enough, without our doing things on our part to provoke and procure them.

But, above all, it concerns every man in prudence to take great care not to make personal enemies to himself: for these are the forest and the surest of all other, and, when there is an opportunity for it, will sit hardest upon us. Injuries done to the publick are certainly the greatest; and yet they are many times more easily forgiven, than those which are done to particular persons : for when revenge is every body's work, it may prove no body's. The general wrongs which are done to human society, do not so sensibly touch and sting men, as personal injuries and provocations. The law is never angry or in passion; and it is not only a great indecency, but a fault, when the judges of it are fo. Heat of prosecution belongs to particular persons; and it is their memory of injuries, and desire to revenge them, and di-ligence to set on and sharpen the law, that is chiefly to be dreaded : and, if the truth were known, it is much to be feared, that there are almost as few private as publick acts of oblivion passed in the world, and they commonly pass as flowly, and with as much difficulty, and not till the grace and good effect of them is almost quite loft.

II. If we ought to be thus affected towards our enemies, how great ought our kindness, and the expreslions of it, to be to others ? to those who never disobliged us, nor did us any injury by word or deed; to those more especially, who stand in a nearer relation to us; to our natural kindred, and to our spiritual brethren, to whom we are so strongly linked and united by the common bond of Christianity; and, lastly, to our benefactors, and those who have been beforehand with us in obligation for all these are so many special ties and endearments of men to one another, founded either in nature or religion, or in common justice and gratitude. And therefore, between all these and our enemies, we ought to make a very wide and sensible difference in our carriage and kindnefs towards them. And, if we do not do so, we represent our Saviour as an unreasonable lawgiver, and do perversely interpret this precept of his, contrary to the reasonable and equitable meaning of it. For whatever degree of kindness is here required towards our enemies, it is certain that so much more is due to others, as, according to the true proportion of our tie and obligation to them, they have deserved at our hands; nothing being more certain, than that our blessed Saviour, the founder of our religion, did never intend by any precept of it to cancel any real obligation of nature, or justice, or gratitude, or to offer violence in the least to the common reason of mankind.

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III. Hence we learn the excellency and reasonableness of the Christian religion, which hath carried our duty fo high in things which do fo directly tend to the perfection of human nature, and to the peace of human society; and which, if all things be rightly considered, are most agreeable to the clearest and best reason of mankind : so that those things which were heretofore looked upon, and that only by fome few of the wiser fort, as heroical instances of goodness, and above the common rate of humanity, are now by the Chri an religion made the indispensable duties of all mankind. And the precepts of no other religion, that ever yet appeared in the world, have advanced human nature so much above itfelf, and are so well calculated for the peace and happiness of the world, as the precepts of the Christian religion are: for they strictly forbid the doing of injuries by way of prevention; and, in case they happen, they endeavour to put a present stop to the progress of thein, by Co severely forbidding the revenging of them.

And yet, after all this, it must be acknowledged to be a very untoward objection against the excellency and VOL.II,

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efficacy efficacy of the Christian religion, that the practice of fo many Christians is so unequal to the perfection of these precepts. For who is there in the changes and revolutions of human affairs, and when the wheel of provi. dence turns them uppernost, and lays their enemies at their feet, that will give them any quarter? nay, that does not greedily seize upon the first opportunities of revenge, and, like an eagle hungry for his prey, make a sudden stoop upon them with all his force and violence; and, when he hath them in his pounces, and at his mercy, is not ready to tear them in pieces ?

So that after all our boasts of the excellency of our religion, where is the practice of it? This, I confefs, is a terrible objection indeed; and I must intreat of you, my brethren, to help me to the best answer to it: not by any nice distinctions and speculations about it, but by the careful and honest practice of this precept of our religion.

This was the old objection against philosophy, That many that were philosophers in their opinions, were faulty in their lives : but yet this was never thought by wise men to be a good objection against philosophy. And unless we will lay more weight upon the objections against religion, and press them harder than we think it reasonable to do in any other case, we must acknowledge likewise that this objection against religion is of no force. Men do not cast off the art of physick, because many physicians do not live up to their own rules, and do not themselves follow those prescriptions which they think fit to give to others : and there is a plain reason for it; because their swerving from their own rules, doth not necessarily signify, that their rules are not good, but only that their appetites are unruly, and too hard and headstrong for their reason; nothing being more certain than this, that rules may be very reasonable, and yet they that give them may not follow them.

IV.' The fourth and last inference from this whole discourse Tall be this, That, being convinced by what hath been said

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of the reasonableness of this duty, we would resolve upon the practice of it, whenever there is occasion offered for it in the course of our lives, I need not to put you in mind, that

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there is now like to be great occasion for it; I shall only say, that whenever there is so, nothing can be tied more strictly upon us than this duty is.

It hath often been a great comfort and confirmation to me, to see the humanity of the Protestant religion, so plainly discovering itfell, upon so many occafions, in the practice of the profeíTors of it. And, setting afide all other advantages which our religion hath been evidently shewn to have above Popery in point of reason and argument, I cannot for my life but think that to be the belt religion, which makes the best men, and, froin the nature of its principles, is apt to make thein fo; most kind, and merciful, and charitable; and most free from malice, and revenge, and cruelty.

And therefore our bleiled Saviour, who knew what was in man better than any man that ever was, knowing our great reluctance and backwardness to the practice of this duty, hath urged it upon us by such forcible and almost violent arguments, that if we have any tenderness for ourselves, we cannot refuse obedience to it. For he plainly tells us, that no sacrifice that we can offer will appease God towards us, so long as we ourselves are implacable to men : 23. of this chapter, If thou bring thy gift to the altar," and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought again't thee; leave thy gift be. fore the altar, and go thy way : first go and be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift. To recommend this duty effectually to us, he gives it a preference to all the positive duties of religion : Firit go and be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift. Till this duty bé discharged, God will accept of no service, no facrifice at our hands. And therefore our liturgy doth with great reason declare it to be a necessary qalification for our worthy receiving of the sacrament, that we be in love and charity with our neighbours; because this is a moral duty, and of eternal obligation, without which no positive part of religion, such as the facraments are, can be acceptable to God; especially fince, in this blessed facrament of Christ's body and blood, we expect to have the forgiveness of our fins ratified and confirmed to us; which how can we Y 2

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