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stability, and confidence in stability, does not supersede “take heed least ye fall.” In conclusion, I would impress and affect yourminds with observing, though the whirlwind commonly sweeps along, or tosses through the air, leaves and straws, and lighter objects, while trees and buildings, and rocks, remain unmoved; dreadful are the revolutionary storms: they are the whirlwinds and tornadoes that level the forest, lay waste the city, Make the mountains, and desolate the plains.
I BESEECH you, therefore, brethren, “ in " the name of the Lord JESUS CHRIST, that “ye all speak the fame thing, that there be “ no divisions among you ; but that ye be “ perfectly joined together in the same mind, " and in the same judgement.”
THE ENEMIES OF THE GOSPEL OBJECTS OF
[Preached 11th April 1802.]
i CORINTHIANS, xiv. 22.
If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him
be Anathema Maranatha.
My object, in discoursing from these words is, first, to ascertain their meaning, and, secondly, to enforce the exhortation so explained.
CARELESS readers of this text, and of others of similar import, are in danger of misunderstanding it. Some may think that the apostle prescribes and justifies bigotry, revenge, persecution and extermination, against all who are not Christians, or whom we do not believe to be Christians: others, carelessly also, adopting this interpretation, or insiduously wresting the text to this meaning, may thereby think they are justified in criminat
ing ing the Gospel, and in blafpheming, and rejecting, the sacred Scriptures altogether.
There are two principles which all who believe in the revelations of God must readily admit: the first, that every part of Scripture properly understood, is consistent with the rest. The other, that what is less obvious must be explained by what is plain and evident to every understanding. Holding these rules of understanding or interpreting Scripture, the text cannot possibly be understood as an imprecation of destruction on every person, of what country, in what circumstances foever, who are destitute of love to the Lord Jesus Christ. For, in the first place, no imprecation against any man is permitted by our LORD. “Ye have heard 6s that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy “ neighbour and hate thine enemy; but I * say unto you, love your enemies, bless " them that curse you, do good to them who “ hate you, and pray for them who despite“ fully use you and persecute you; that ye “ may be the children of your Father which “ is in heaven ; for he maketh his fun to rise “on the evil and on the good, and sendeth
“ rain on the just and the unjust: for if ye “ love them which love you what reward “ have ye? do not even the Publicans the “ fame? and if ye falute your brethren only, “ what do you more than others ? do not “ even the Publicans so? Be ye therefore “ perfect as your Father in heaven is per“ fect.” In the same spirit says our apostle, “ Recompense to no man evil for evil : if it “ be possible, as much as lieth 6 peaceably with all men. Dearly beloved, $6 avenge not yourselves, but rather give " place unto wrath, for it is written, Ven“ geance is mine, I will repay, saith the “ LORD. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, “ feed him, if he thirst give him drink, for “ in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on “ his head : be not overcome of evil, but “ overcome evil with good.”
OBSERVE, in the next place, that to understand the text as requiring and justifying imprecations, revenge, and extermination, against all who are not Christians, is contrary to the spirit and design of the Gospel, and to the temper and conduct of its founder, and of his apostles. The Gospel, you know, finds men sinners; addresses them as finners: all men every where are commanded to repent, are exhorted and expostulated with to return from their evil ways: men of every country and every description, and of every nation, are so addressed, “ beginning at Je- rusalem," the very scene of the most enormous guilt, and where, not want of love only towards our LORD, but the most cruel and determined hatred was manifested.
I have naturally turned your thoughts to the death of Christ, upon this subject. The death of the Lord, frequently employs the meditation of Christians : “ We bear about “ with us the dying of the Lord: We glory “ in the cross of Christ.” But, does not the devout recollection, either of the object of his sufferings, or of the manner in which he endured them, extinguish all ill will, and inspire compassion and tenderness, for finners ? He died that men might not perish: he died praying for his enemies, “ Father! forgive them, they know not what “they do.” So far was St. Paul from withing, or praying, for evil on the Jewish nation, who crucified the Lord of life, that he was