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that of other creatures, who come into the world armed with offensive and defensive powers, therefore our wise Creator has given us a tender and merciful disposition, that we might place the safeguard of our lives in the mutual assistances of one another. For being all created by one God, and sprung from one common parent, we should reckon ourselves akin, and obliged to love all mankind; and (that our innocency may be perfect) not only not to do an injury to another, but not to revenge one when done to ourselves; for which reason also we are commanded to pray for our very enemies. We ought therefore to be kind and sociable, that we may help and assist each other. For being ourselves obnoxious to misery, we may the more comforatbly hope for that help, in case we need it, which ourselves have given unto others. And what can more effectually induce us to relieve the indigent, than to put ourselves into their stead, who beg help from us? If any be hungry, let us feed him ; is be naked, let us clothe him ; if wronged by a powerful oppressor, let us rescue and receive him. Let our doors be open to strangers, and such who have not where to lay their head. Let not our assistance be wanting to widows and orphans: and (which is a mighty instance of charity) let us redeem the captived, visit and assist the sick, who are able to take no care of themselves; and for strangers and the poor (in case they die) let us not suffer them to want the conveniency of a grave. These are the offices and the works of mercy, which whoever does, offers up a true and grateful sacrifice to God; who is not pleased with the blood of beasts, but the charity of men; whom therefore he treats upon their own terms, has mercy
on them whom he sees merciful, and is inexorable to those who shut up their bowels against them that ask them. In order therefore to our thus pleasing God, let us make light of money, and transmit it into the heavenly treasures, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, nor thieves break through and steal," nor tyrants are able to seize and take it from us, but where it shall be kept to our eternal advantage under the custody of God himself.”?
Of their Unity and Peaceableness.
The primitive Christians being of such a meek, compassionate and benevolent temper as we have represented them, it cannot be thought but that they were of a very quiet disposition and peaceable conversation; and the having been so large in that, will excuse me for being shorter in this. When our blessed Saviour came to establish bis religion in the world, he gave a law suitable to his nature, and to the design of his coming into the world, and to the exercise of his government as he is · Prince of peace,' a law of mildness and gentleness, of submission and forbearance towards one another. We are commanded to follow peace with all men, to follow after the things that make for peace,
" Matt. vi. 20. ? Lact. Epitom. c. 7, p. 746. 3 Isai. ix. 6.
as much as in us lies to live peaceably with all men :'' we are forbidden all feuds and quarrels, enjoined not to revenge ourselves, but to give place unto wrath, to let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking be put away from us, with all malice, to be kind one to another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake forgives us."
These are the laws of Christianity, which whenever they are duly entertained produce the most gentle and good-natured principles, the most innocent and quiet carriage. This eminently appeared in the life of our blessed Saviour, who was the most incomparable instance of kindness and civility, of peace and quietness. We never find him all his life treating any with sharpness and severity but the scribes and Pharisees, who were a pack of surly, malicious, ill-natured fellows, and could be wrought upon by no other methods. Otherwise his mildness and humility, the affability and obligingness of his conversation, and his remarkable kindness to his greatest enemies were sufficiently obvious both in his life and death; and such was the temper of his disciples and followers, this excellent spirit like leaven spreading itself over the whole mass of Christians, turning the briar into a myrtletree, and the vulture into a dove. See the account which Justin the martyr gives of them. “We who formerly valued our money and estates before all things else, do now put them into a common stock, and distribute them to those that are in need. We who once hated each other and delighted in mutual
| Rom. xiv. 19.
2 Rom. xii. 19; Eph. iv. 31, 32.
quarrels and slaughters, and according to the custom refused to sit at the same fire with those who were not of our own tribe and party; now, since the appearance of Christ in the world, live familiarly with them, pray for our enemies, and endeavour to persuade those that unjustly hate us to order their lives according to the excellent precepts of Christ, that so they may have good hope to obtain the same rewards with us from the great Lord and Judge of all things."
But for the better understanding of this it may be useful to observe, what a remarkable alteration in this respect the Christian religion made in the world. Before Christ's coming the world was generally overrun with feuds and quarrels, mighty and almost implacable animosities and divisions reigning amongst Jews and Gentiles. The Jews looked upon the Gentiles as dogs and outcasts, refused all dealings with them, even to the denial of courtesies of common charity and civility, such as to tell a man the way or to give him a draught of water. They reproached them as the vilest and most profligate part of mankind," "sinners of the Gentiles,'' as the apostle calls them according to the usual style and title. Nor did the Gentiles less scorn and deride the Jews, as a pitiful and contemptible generation, stopping their noses, and abhorring the very sight of them if by chance they met with them. They looked upon them as an unsociable people, as enemies of all nations, that did not so much as wish well to any; nay, as haters
! Apol. ii. p. 61.
? John, iv.9.
even of mankind, as Tacitus and their enemies in Josephus represent them. The effect of all which was, that they oppressed and persecuted them in every place, trod them as dirt under their feet, till at last the Romans came and finally took away both their place and nation.'? Thus stood the case between them till the arrival of the Prince of peace;' who partly by his death, whereby he 'broke down the partition-wall’3 between Jew and Gentile, partly by the healing nature and tendency of his doctrine, partly by the quiet and peaceable carriage of his followers, did quickly extirpate and remove those mutual feuds and animosities, and silence those passionate and quarrelsome divisions, that were amongst men.
This argument Eusebius particularly prosecutes, and shows that while the nations were under paganism and idolatry, they were filled with wars and troubles, and all the effects of barbarous rage and fury; but that after the divine and peaceable doctrine of our Saviour came abroad, those differences and calamities began to cease, according to the predictions that were of him, that there should be righteousness and abundance of peace in his days ; that men should beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning-hooks; that nation should not lift up sword against nation, nor learn war any more;'4 that this must needs be in some measure the effect of his appearance, his
! Histor. lib. v. c. 4, 5, p. 535. Jos. Antiquit. Judaic. lib. xi. c. 6. 'E9oç üniktov, ágúupulov, TE Donokelav tyv αυτήν τοις άλλοις έχον, ότε νόμοις χρώμενον όμοιοις, εχθρός δε τοίς έθεσι, και τοίς επιτηδεύμασι τω σώ λαό και άπασιν ávēpúnog dvoulevềs čevog, ki mois ämois állókotov. Vid. Esther, iii. 8; Vid. Cic. pro. Flac. p. 368, tom. ii.
? John, xi. 48. 3 Eph. ii. 14. Isaiah, ii. 4.