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serve him better? Wronged indeed by his enemies he has been, but he has suffered nothing, and has nothing to fear. That is true—and we will drop the parallel, admitting that though his provocation is infinitely greater than oirs, the case is thus far dissimilar. But it is only to take it up again where no one can gainsay the likeness. There was a circumstance in which Deity itself became the compeer of humanity, and placed itself within reach of the creature's enmity. It came into the power of man-strangely, we confess, yet it is trueto do what he would with his benefactor-not in impotent bravado while the wide expanse of the universe lay between them—a space that his arrows might traverse, but theirs could not-but hand to hand, face to face-he the weak and they the strong—be the servant and they the masters. How the malevolence of his enemies then became manifest, let the story of his existence upon earth declare. His enemies were not ope—they were not two
-a few among the many from whose hatred he could take refuge in the bosoms of those that loved him. No man loved him, according to our estimate of love; for in his worst extremity all forsook him. His enemies were not strangers, who owed him nothing, and could have nothing of him. He came to his own-his own by ages of preference miraculously evinced towards them—and he came with blessings in his full right hand, to pour abundantly on all who would receive them. Yet still they hated him. Can any of us tell of wrongs like his? God as he was, he came, too, susceptible of human feelings; and we may be assured, that in exact proportion as his nature was more exalted, more pure and impeccable than ours, by so much more acute would be his feelings; as we find it in the different gradations of character among ourselves. And that he did feel the bitterness of mortal enmity, let his sorrows and his sufferings prove: for whence else came they? That countenance marred more than any man's, those drops of unnatural sweat, the anguished breaking of his yet unpierced heart—let these prove to what degree he was capable of feeling the malice of his enemies. And can we still say that to love our enemies is impossible, that the requirement is unreasonable and cannot be complied with? How possible it was the sacred Preacher knew, by the sad experience of that very hour in which he issued the command. For there was he, sitting in the midst of his own world, the most hated being in it; persecuted, and reviled, and about to be destroyed; surrounded by enemies who meditated his destruction, and followers who were ready to forsake him at its approach. And it was for love he came there and it was for love he sate upon that mount and spake. Love was in his bosom the only rival of the grief that reigned there; and it seemed that they increased and grew together. Love shed tears for his persecutors that he shed not for himself; and while his enemies held such wide possession of the earth, that he found not where to shelter his own head, love found him space enough to scatter blessings so profusely, he seems not to have regarded on what heads they lighted. And when he came to the 'extremity we spake of, and had no more to do but to offer his last prayer, what was the tenour of it? “Father, requite them?” That would have been our's--that would have been what we call just and natural—but it was not his.
And surely now. we can no more deny that it is possible to love an enemy; and if it be difficult to us, it is not that in the nature of things it is so, but that in us there is some disposition that creates the difficulty, and offers resistance to the divine command. Thence arises, as it appears to me, the closing injunction that bids us overcome the imperfection in ourselves which is all the difficulty in the way of our obedienoé to these precepts, and assimilate our dispositions to his, to whom it had proved so possible to love his bitterest foes. And in enjoining this, the Saviour assumes that there is reason why those to whom he was speaking, his disciples,
should in this be distinguished from others, and exchange the resentful nature which in common with others they originally had, for one more assimilated to that of their heavenly Father. As if he saw them ready to declare, as we do, that they could not love their enemies, he seems, as it were, thus to interrupt their thoughts : “ That is your imperfection; and imperfection in this kind is sin; and sin must be resisted and subdued, until you be perfected. For if it be not so, what are you more than others? What do you, to lay claim to a greater name, and a better principle, and a higher destiny? Publicans and sinners can plead their nature-heathens can love as selfish nature dictates. What is the new profession you have taken up, the new dignity with which you have been invested as the children of God, the new name you have assumed as the followers of Christ, if you are still to use the excuse of your debasement, and indulge the propensities of your degradation ?" To apply it in few words to ourselves, what has redeeming grace and mercy done for us, if we continue in disposition even as others, and hold ourselves excused by saying it is our nature?
THE LISTENER.-No. XXV. I was travelling once over a distant land-a land it had been by the way I travelled, of bleakness, and barrenness, and danger. If sometimes I had loitered where there were flowers budding, fair as the first and fairest of our Spring, while I yet waited in expectation of their blowing, I saw them wither in the sunshine, fade and pass away. If ever amid the parched and thirsty soil, I had looked upon the bursting of a pure, clear spring, quickly there came to it some unclean thing, and muddied and polluted what had risen so pure. And often as beneath some shadowing tree, I had laid down to rest, or ever I had shod myself again to hasten forward, the cold north wind had come and stripped that tree, and robbed
it of its beauty and of its shade. It was a wretched land, and they that dwelt in it were like the land they dwelt in. Their well-seeming virtues rarely bore the bloom they promised, but failed at the moment of expected fruition—their wisdom, however rife it seemed to flow, flowed not far before it became mixed with error and empoisoned-their enjoyments were the evanescent verdure that could not outstand the first cold touch of sorrow. And surely I had felt pity for them as I passed, and mourned that they had not a better land to dwell in.
Having travelled thus some considerable way, I reached a spot, seeming more fair for the rude path that led to it, and beautiful in the contrast of its fertility with the coldness and barrenness of the land I had passed
There was no barrier, that I perceived, between them; and yet were they distinct as the darkness of night from the broad light of noon. Why the inhabitants of the adjacent country did not pass on to it, I perceived not: but I concluded it was appropriated property -the hereditary possession, probably, of a people too powerful to need a land-mark, or an armed out-work against the encroachments of their neighbours. Certainly I saw that no desire was manifested on either part, to take possession of the other's land ; and unequal as seemed to me the destiny of each, each appeared contented to abide their portion. I entered with delight on the rich scenery of this pleasant land. I do not know that I need particularly to describe it: it was like the best spots in our native country—those that industry has toiled to cultivate, and some tasteful hand has taken pleasure to adorn. It was like to those wide, estates, that being appropriated to some powerful and rich possessor, who finds his pleasure in them and does with them what he will, manifest in every part the influence of his interference. It was no fairy-land I speak of, where magick suns gave birth to golden fruits, or necromantic power charms the elements to stillness. But it was one where forethought had provided every thing, caution had secured every thing, and whatever were the natural ills to which it lay exposed, some defence against their influence, or remedy for their mischiefs, had carefully been provided. The blossoms of their gardens died like others--but their departing beauty left the fruit to ripen richly on the stem. The sun of their day-time went down like others, and often went down in clouds—but the damps of their night were like the waters of affliction to the bosom of submission, the better for its tears. When the tree that adorned it withered in the blast and passed away, there came a friendly watcher and planted another as lovely in its place. The menacing weeds sometimes came up, indeed; but quickly the eye of the inspector marked them, and put in his keen-edged tools to their destraction. Like our most highly cultured grounds, its paths were made straight, and its rough places were made smooth--the threatening tempest passed it over harmless, and the winds that rocked its habitations to their base, found them too strongly founded for destruction--the dwellers in them slept secure in danger.
The inhabitants of this happy region, I observed, were many; and they seemed to know the value of their estates. They did not live on them in idle luxury, waiting the productions of a soil that, rich as it was, would surely so have disappointed them: but they cultivated it in cheerful expectation of no uncertain harvest. Though they enjoyed its good in common, it was not in wild misrule, the lawlessness of promiscuous possession. Each one had his place, and each one had his task; and if the proportion of each was not the same, it showed a fair adjustment to his powers, his industry, or his deserts : it was enough to suffice him till time and circumstance should bring him elevation in the scale: there was enough for all; and all were secure they should not be deprived of the possession, unless they willingly departed to some other residence.
When I had staid some time with this people, I found that they too had a character something in conformity to