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wholly the other Way, from a wrathful Spirit and Pronenefs to Revenge. And therefore he chuseth to express himself in the strongest and most forcible Manner on the Side of Patience and Forbearance j and urgeth Men to it in general Terms without descending to particular Exceptions and Limitations, which he knew every Man would be forward enough to make for himself. And, if they had been particularly mentioned, probably many would have been apt to take Advantage of them, and to plead Christ's Authority for justifying their Resentments.
Other Maxims of our Saviour might be mentioned, which are also delivered in a general Way. A remarkable one of this Kind we have, Matt. v. 42. Give to bint that ajketh thee, arid from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away j or, as it is expressed, Luke vi. 30. Give to every Man that afketh of thee. It is evident that the Meaning cannot be, that we should, without Discretion or Distinction, give to every Man that hath the Confidence to ask us, whether we are able to give it or not, and whether he really wants it or not. But our Saviour, without expressly mentioning such Limitations, as the Nature of the Thing, and every Man's own Sense, will easily suggest to him, N 2 chuseth chuseth rather to express it in a very general unlimited Way, the better to guard against the narrow Notions of the yews, who were very apt to confine their Benevolence within scanty Bounds. An Instance of this Narrowness we have in that Advice of the Author of the Book of EccleJiajlicus, a Book otherwise full of excellent Morality, Ecclejiaflicus xii. 4, 5. Give to the good Man, and help not a Sinner. Do well unto him that is holy, but give not unto the Ungodly. Hold hack thy Bread, and give it not unto him, lejl he overmaster thee thereby: For else thou Jhalt receive twice as much Evil for all the Good thou Jhalt have done unto him. And he repeateth it again, Ver. 7. Give unto the Good, and help not the Sinner. It is evident, that, under the Pretence of these Limitations, the kind Offices of Humanity and Charity might be refused to a great Part of Mankind: But our great heavenly 'Teacher urgeth our Beneficence in the most extensive Terms, without such Limitations as he well knew would in a great Measure defeat his Design. He plainly signifieth, by his Manner of expressing himself, that we must be ready to do Good to all Men, as far as we have an Opportunity for it, when we are sensible they stand in Need of our Assistance, and it is in our Power to help.
them. Thus he requireth us to lend, hoping for nothing again. Luke vi. 35 /. e. we must not only be ready to lend and to do Good to others where we expect a Return, but even in Cafes where we have little Prospect of their being able to repay us, or to requite our Kindness, and to return one Benefit for another. This is noble disinterested Charity and Benevolence. And such Maxims are becoming the Saviour of the World, who himself gave an Example of the most exalted Benevolence and Love to Mankind that can possibly be conceived. I would conclude this Head with observing, that, since we have so many excellent Maxims of our blessed Lord set before us in the Gospel, full of Wisdom and Instruction, delivered in a concise and comprehensive Way, we should often consider them, and endeavour to get them fixed in our Memories and our Hearts. Let us treasure up those sacred Principles, and excellent Summaries of Religion, which our Saviour hath taught us, and not content ourselves with admiring them, but have them ever ready to guide and influence our Practice ; and then will their Beauty arid Usefulness most convincingly appear. It is for this Purpose that they are recorded in the sacred Volumes, that from thence they may be transcribed into the Frame and Temper os our Souls. The Word of Christ should dwell richly in us; then mall we be made to know Wisdom in the hidden Parts, and shall grow up in a Conformity to the holy "Jesus, and have the fame Mind in us that was in him; which will be a happy Assurance to us, that we shall Jloortly be with him where he is, to behold and share in his heavenly Glory.
On the Excellency of our Saviour s Teaching.
John vii. 46.
— Never Man spake like this Man.
IN discoursing on these Words, several Observations have been made upon the Excellency of our Saviour's Teaching. We have considered the great Importance of the Things which he taught, and their practical Nature and useful Tendency; the unparalleled Dignity and yet Plainness and Familiarity with which he taught; his unwearied Assiduity and Diligence in this great Work, which caused him to lay hold of N 4 every