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and may be read with profit, if we | it necessary to profane the name of bear in mind the fact that our Sa- God in order to give point to our viour forbids not only much swear- assertions, or to impress other men ing, but all swearing of the kind with an assurance that we mean what and character described.—“Accus we say. Such language is degradtom not thy mouth to swearing, nei- | ing to any man; and much more is it ther use thyself to the naming of the unworthy of a Christian. It has been Holy One. For as a servant that is well observed that profane swearing continually beaten shall not be with “has done no man any good. It is out a blue mark; so he that swear | disgusting to the refined; abominaeth and nameth God continually shall | ble to the good; insulting to those not be faultless. A man that useth with whom we associate ; unprofitamuch swearing shall be filled with ble, needless, and injurious in soiniquity, and the plague shall never ciety; and sinful in the sight of depart from his house: if he shall God. God will not hold the prooffend, his sin shall be upon him : fane swearer guiltless." and if he acknowledge not his sin, I say unto you that ye resist not he maketh a double offence: and if evil.-How plain and positive is our he swear in vain he shall not be in- Saviour's command against the spirit nocent, but his house shall be full of and the practice of revenge! He calamities. There is a word that is teaches us that “Christians ought clothed about with death; God grant rather to suffer a double wrong than that it be not found in the heritage to seek a private revenge. Christof Jacob; for all such things shall be ianity obliges us to bear many injufar from the godly, and they shall ries patiently, rather than to revenge not wallow in their sins. Use not one privately." thy mouth to intemperate swearing, Under the Gospel, as well as unfor therein is the word of sin." der the law, the magistrate " bears Ecclus. xxiii. 9-13.
not the sword in vain ;” “he is the Let your communication be Yea, minister of God, an avenger to execute yea ; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is wrath ;” Rom. xiii. 4. But while more than these cometh of evil, or, offenders are to be publicly punished from the evil one.—Honesty, truth, for the good of suciety, private reand fairness in our words and deal- | venge is forbidden, and the spirit of ings are indispensably requisite to | malice, enmity, and hatred is to be wards the Christian character; and banished from every Christian breast. a man who evidently lives under the Self-defence, indeed, when life is in influence of Christian principle is danger, is not prohibited ;—but this easily believed by every one around is a very different thing from the dehim. His word is sufficient. And sire or act of retaliation for petty it seems to indicate a consciousness wrongs, or for injuries merely as such. of insincerity, a conviction that our The spirit and meaning of our Saword is good for nothing, if we think viour's precept may be easily understood. “The sum of all is, that like God,-how great an honour and Christians must not be litigious ; a happiness ! small injuries must be submitted to, Pray for them that despitefully use and no notice taken of them; and if | you, and persecute you." When we the injury be such as requires us to meet with ill usage we have an opseek reparation, it must be for a portunity of showing our conformity good end, and without thought of both to the precept and to the exrevenge. Though we must not in- , ample of Christ by praying for them vite injuries, yet we must meet them who thus abuse us. If we cannot cheerfully in the way of duty, and otherwise testify our love to them, make the best of them. If any say yet in this way we may do so withFlesh and blood cannot pass by such out ostentation, and it is such a way or such an affront, let them remem as we surely dare not dissemble in. ber that Flesh and blood shall not in We must pray that God will forgive herit the kingdom of God."
them,—that they may never fare the Give to him that asketh thee; and worse for anything they have done from him that would borrow of thee, against us,—and that God would turn not thou away. Let us be will make them to be at peace with us." ing to comply with this command, - Let us never forget those words “ remembering," as St. Paul says, of our suffering Redeemer, “ Father, “the words of the Lord Jesus, how forgive them, for they know not what he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.”—It is a good rule He maketh his sun to rise on the evil concerning alms, that they should and on the good ; and sendeth rain on be given “cheerfully, sincerely, dis- the just and on the unjust.-" There creetly, proportionally, universally, is nothing greater than to imitate in obedience to God's command, and God in doing good to our enemies. with an eye to his glory."
All the creatures of God pronounce I say unto you, Love your enemies. a sentence of condemnation on the -Here is a plain and peculiar pre revengeful: and this sentence is writcept of the Gospel. The duty which ten by the rays of the sun, and with it enjoins is, doubtless, difficult in the drops of rain, and indeed by all itself;—but let us consider the mo- the natural good things, the use of tives which our Saviour urges,-let which God freely gives to his eneus consider the love of him who mies.” loved us, and gave himself for us | If ye love them which love you, what while we were yet enemies,-let us reward have ye?-_"He who loves live in dependence on his heavenly only his friends, does nothing for grace, and keep ever in view the God's sake. He who loves for the prize of our high calling, -and then sake of interest or pleasure, pays we shall find the fulfilment of this himself. God has no enemy which heavenly injunction not only possi- he hates, but sin. We should have ble, but easy and delightful. To be no other.”
Ne'er from truth his lips depart, Sacred held within his heart; Slanders ne'er his tongue employ, Nor another's fame destroy:
He will not his neighbour wrong
He, great God, a welcome guest,
$ XVIII. CHAP. VI. 1–8.
Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect. --Let your obedience extend not merely to one portion of your duty, but to the whole, in its various parts. In particular, let your good-will and charity be felt and manifested, not only towards a few more immediate favourites, but towards all men with whom you have anything to do, or as far as you are able to benefit them.
Be perfect. What are we to understand by this, in the full Christian sense of the expression ? “What is the perfection of which man is capable while he dwells in a corruptible body? It is the complying with that kind command, ‘My son, give me thy heart,' It is the loving the Lord his God with all his heart, and with all his soul, and with all his mind. This is the sum of Christian perfection; it is all comprised in that one word Love. The first branch of it is the love of God; and as he that loves God loves his brother also, it is inseparably connected with the second, • Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.' Thou shalt love every man as thy own soul, as Christ loved us."
—“Lord, have mercy upon us; and write all these thy laws in our hearts, we beseech Thee."
Of Almsgiving, and Prayer.
Take heed that ye do not your || alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward || of your Father which is in heaven.
2 Therefore 'when thou doest thine alms, || do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
3 But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth :
4 That thine alms may be in secret : and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.
5 And when thou prayest,
thou shalt not be as the hypo | The approbation of God they have crites are : for they love to pray | not honestly desired and sought. standing in the synagogues and
Their hypocrisy is an abomination in the corners of the streets,
in his sight. They must prepare to
be cast out from his presence with that they may be seen of men.
fearful and overwhelming displeaVerily I say unto you, They sure. have their reward.
When thou doest alms, let not thy 6 But thou, when thou pray- left hand know what thy right hand est, enter into thy closet, and doeth ; - a proverbial expression, when thou hast shut thy door, me
meaning, do it as secretly as pospray to thy Father which is in
sible, and so explained by our Sa
viour in the words following,—that secret; and thy Father which
thine alms may be in secret,—and seeth in secret shall reward thee
more fully by the foregoing senopenly.
tence, Take heed that ye do not your 7 But when ye pray, 'use not alms before men, to be seen of them.vain repetitions, as the heathen “ The thing which is here forbidden, do: 'for they think that they is not barely the doing good in the shall be heard for their much
sight of men ; this circumstance speaking.
alone, that others see what we do,
makes the action neither worse nor 8 Be not ye therefore like
better ; but the doing it before men unto them: for your Father
to be seen of them,—with this view, knoweth what things ye have from this intention only. I say, need of, before ye ask him. from this intention only; for this 1 Or, rigkleousness, Deut. xxiv. 13. Ps. cxii. 9. Dan. may, in some cases, be a part of our
intention: we may design that some of our actions should be seen, and
yet they may be acceptable to God. READER. Verily I say unto you, We may intend that our light should They have their reward.-Hypocrites, shine before men, when our conthat is to say, persons who pretend science bears us witness, in the Holy to religious feelings or intentions Ghost, that our ultimate end in dewhich they do not really possess, for signing that they should see our the sake of attracting the observa good works is “ that they may glotion, or gaining the applause, of rify our Father which is in heaven." men, may succeed in obtaining that But take heed that ye do not the phantom reputation which they co- least thing with a view to your own vet --but let them expect nothing glory. Take heed that a regard to more. They have sought the honour the praise of men have no place at which cometh from man; and let all in your works of mercy. If you them be content if they obtain it. seek your own glory, if you have any
design to gain the honour that com- | the great congregation. But when eth of men, whatever is done with thou desirest more largely and more this view is nothing worth; it is not | particularly to make thy requests done unto the Lord: he accepteth it known unto God, whether it be in not.
the evening, or in the morning, or at And when thou prayest, thou shalt noon-day, 'enter into thy closet and not be as the hypocrites are.—Most shut thy door.' Use all the privacy offensive in the sight of heaven is thou canst; only leave it not unostentatious prayer, or ostentatious done, whether thou hast any closet, piety of any kind whatever.—The any privacy, or not. Pray to God, hypocritical Jews made long prayers, | if possible, when none seeth but in order to obtain the reputation of He; but, if otherwise, pray to God. eminent sanctity. Sometimes, per | Thus 'pray to thy Father which is haps, they had in view not merely in secret;' pour out all thy heart bepraise, but profit. They hoped to fore him; "and thy Father which be not only commended, but trusted, seeth in secret, shall reward thee on account of their apparent godli- openly.'” ness; and so to find opportunity of When ye pray, use not vain repetimaking gain. How many are the tions as the heathen do.—“Do not perverse and corrupt motives which use abundance of words without may lead men to perform the out- meaning; think not that the fruit of ward acts of religion! Let us re- your prayers depends on the length member that “purity of intention is of them. destroyed by a view to any temporal The thing here reproved is not reward whatever. If we repeat our simply the length, any more than prayers, if we attend the public wor- the shortness, of our prayers; but, ship of God, if we relieve the poor, first, length without meaning; the with a view to gain or interest, it is speaking much, and meaning little not a whit more acceptable to God, or nothing; the using (not all repethan if it were done with a view to tions, for our Lord himself prayed praise. Any temporal view or mo- thrice, repeating the same words, tive, any design but that of promot but) vain repetitions, as the heathen ing the glory of God, and the happi- did, reciting the names of their gods ness of men for God's sake, makes over and over: secondly, the thinking every action, however fair it may to be heard for our much speaking ; appear to men, an abomination unto the fancying that God measures the Lord."
prayers by their length, and is best But thou, when thou prayest, enter pleased with those which contain into thy closet, and when thou hast the most words." shut the door pray to thy Father | And thy Father, which seeth in sewhich is in secret.-—"There is a time cret, shall reward thee openly.--How when thou art openly to glorify solemn, and yet, to a pious man, God, to pray to and praise him in how delightful is the thought that