« PreviousContinue »
cited, should be continued on our account. This is, indeed, a grievous offence: an offence, which, in all public or private quarrels, deservedly meets with reprobation. That it is contrary to general or individual happiness, will soon be found; that it is contrary to religion, is seriously and fatally true.
As men, we are loudly called upon, to love one another. " Have we not all one “ 'father? hath not one God created us?” The heart of the good man feels warm towards all the human race: and if
breast is so savage as to return evil for good, like the Saviour who redeemed all, he says, “ Father ! forgive them, for they know not 4 what they do!"
This argument might be branched out to an almost interminable length, but the importànce of the precept, renders the discussion frequent; and however different may be the practice of the world, few there are who are enemies to the principle. It is needless to say, that in this case, obedience is the very spirit of religion. Thus St. Paul both describes and recommends this effect
of christianity: “put on, therefore, as the “ elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of
mercy, kindness, meekness, long-suffering, forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man hath a quarrel
against any; even as Christ forgave you, “ so also do ye.”
In every instance implacable enmity meets with our steady and unqualified condemnation. But there are two cases which stand forward with daring fronts, and present themselves as the most guilty enemies of peace : ' I mean domestic and political quarrels.
1. As a greater degree of kindness may reasonably be expected from a near and dear relative, or a bosom friend, than from a stranger, so the offence of the former strikes the breast with sharper pangs. “ not an enemy,” says David,
proached me, then I could have borne “ it; but it was thou, my companion, my “ guide, mine own familiar friend !” But what !- because he was my brother, my friend, shall I be more implacable on that account? The reverse ought to be my con
66. It was " that re66 If
duct. If my struggle be greater, so will be my conquest. What says our Lord,
thy brother trespass against thee, go and " tell him his fault between thee and him " alone"-silence and secresy are least apt to irritate or offend on these delicate occasions" if he shall hear thee, thou hast
gained thy brother;" if he will not hear thee, thou hast acquitted thine own soul; but cease not to pray for his welfare, and endeavour, by every means, to promote his temporal and eternal interest. Leave the denunciation, or infliction of vengeance, to him in whose hand is the well-aimed thurderbolt. God knows on whose head it may light; but let our hands be cleansed froin sin, and our hearts from malice.
ye become as little children"-innocent and harmless as they are-"ye shall in no
case enter into the kingdom of heaven.”
II. While we look around us in the present age of the world, and see the devastation of
many lately flourishing nations, and hear the dreadful crash of kingdoms, surely we need no other argument to convinceus of the fatal effects of political aniniosities.
your enemies”-in this case would be an healing balm to myriads of mankind. Pray God avert the melancholy effects of party spirit in this often-favoured Isle ! The calm sequestered eye cannot but often fill, at the sight of public danger, arising from the baleful passions of pretended friends. They are not the cool collected opinions of wise counsellors which are heard, but the depreeiating rancour of private and personal resentment. It is not always to save a country that declamation raises her voice, but to overturn the foundations of established governments, and seek plunder among the ruins. To effect this, we listen to expressions which shock our ears. " As much as “ I detest him," said one great orator lately of another, in the midst of the of the nation, “I detest him still more for " this.”—Is this the language of decency, is it the language of placability, is it the language of a Christian? I would not tolerate this in any party. Calm, or even warm discussions, religion forbids not, on subjects of importance. But personal enmities at all times, and on all occasions, are contrary
to decorum; and far, far froin the duty of christianity.
My pen will not cease on this subject, till I have copied an important passage from the writings of Mr. Addison. Humble though I am, I beg leave to recommend it to the consideration of statesmen, which I would rather do in his language than my own.
“ There cannot a greater judgment befal " a country than such a dreadful spirit of “ division as rends a government into two “ distinct people, and makes them greater
strangers, and more averse to one another, " than if they were actually two different 66 nations. The effects of such a division
are pernicious to the last degree, not only “ with regard to those advantages which
they give the common enemy, but to " those private evils which they produce in " the heart of almost every particular per
This influence is fatal both to men's * morals and understandings; it sinks the “ virtue of a nation, and not only so, but
destroys even common sense. With real
grief of heart, I take notice, that the “ minds of many good men among us, ap