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around them; or who care not what pain they may inflict, or what mischief they may occasion by their pride, their profligacy, their violent passions, or their bad examples; provided they are not miserly, or hard in their bargains, or to their debtors. There are others, on the contrary, who are unwilling to give their money; and who yet suppose, that they acquit themselves of this important duty, by kind words; by civil behaviour; by readiness to do such little services, as require time or attention only; and by being useful in every way, by which their purse is not encroached. on. Both these sorts of men have evidently formed an imperfect notion of that virtue, to the praise of which they lay claim; and which, as we have seen, is neither more nor less than real love and tenderness towards our fellow creatures. We should not say, that this father loved his child; that husband, his wife; that neighbour, his friend; who, though he might not refuse them food, when they were hungry, made their lives bitter in every other respect, by bad language, by pride, or by cruelty: and we should still less allow, that he was excused from feeding and helping them when necessary, for the sake of a few fair words, and occasional civilities. In like manner, unless we shew our love towards. our neighbour, both in word, and in deed, to the best of our ability, we cannot be said to love our


neighbour, as ourselves ;-nor to possess, in tolerable degree, that charity, which covers a multitude of sins.

Nor is this all;-for as we are called on to love our neighbour's soul, as well, or to speak more properly, to love his soul in a far greater degree than his perishing body; so are we bound to use all the means in our power to instruct him, in the knowledge, and to keep him in the practice, of his duty: and we are still more bound to abstain, in our own practice, from all such actions as are likely to be of bad example to him; and to lead him into sin, or sorrow. Even where an action, which is innocent in our own case, has a tendency to wound our brother's conscience; we are bound by charity to abstain from it in the same manner, that St. Paul declared his readiness to live on herbs only, rather than offend those superstitious, though well meaning Jews, who would not eat meat prepared by the Gentiles.' How much more, then, are we obliged, not only for our own sakes, but for the sake of those around us, to keep ourselves pure from those open sins, the infection of which causes mischief far and wide; and to tremble, lest the soul, for which Christ died, should perish, by imitating our oaths, our extravagance, our uncleanness, our profane and ungodly con

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1 1 Cor. x.

versation. Vainly do we hope, that our own sins shall be covered; when we thus make the sins of others to increase, and become more perilous!

Fourthly, our charity must not be partial to a few; and cold, to all the rest of the world. It is to be love of mankind,-it is to be a desire and resolution to serve all men, or any man, whom it may be in our power to relieve; and who may need our assistance. And it must extend not only to our friends, but to strangers; not only to strangers, but to enemies. There are those, who are ready to ask, what is such or such, a person to me? Why am I to do any thing for him? Now, this is not the question to be asked; the question is, is he a proper object of pity; and is it in my power to assist him? If our

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hearts answer yes; then let us lose no time in fulfilling their dictates; though he be as much a stranger to us, as the wounded Jew was to the good Samaritan; or though his whole life have been passed in unceasing hatred towards us. "If thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink," - knowing that, while we also were enemies to God, Christ died for us: and that the forgiveness, which His blood has purchased for us, He has authorized us to ask for in our daily prayers, on the condition only, that we,

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1 Romans, xii. 20.

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at the same time, forgive those who have trespassed against us. Fifthly, our love to be perfect — must extend to our thoughts. Charity is not puffed up with a high opinion of itself; envieth not the prosperity of others; thinketh no evil concerning them; hopeth all things, and believeth all things, in their favour. All these are necessary parts of love. For we cannot love those persons whom we despise we cannot love those, whom we are grieved to see prosperous: we cannot love those, of whom we are suspicious. We must learn, then, to think, as well as to speak, respectfully of our neighbour; to rejoice, that he is happy, even when we do not partake in his good fortune; or when he has got, what we desire in vain; to put a favourable construction on his words, and actions; and not only to speak, but to judge, as favourably as possible, concerning his heart, and principles.

Here, however, a distinction is to be made. There is a false kind of charity too apt to pass current with a careless world; and which, under the name of judging favourably concerning our neighbour's spiritual state, and hoping all things in his favour, glosses over a total disregard of his soul and character, and a cruel carelessness as to all which he may do in this world, or may suffer in the next. We see our neighbour ruining his health by drunkenness; his property, by extra

vagance and pride; his credit, by dishonesty, or covetousness; and his soul, by any or all of these: and if we tell him of his danger, if, by a timely warning we seek to snatch him from the misery before him, how often are we accused of want of charity in our judgement concerning him. Yet who is, in this case, uncharitable ? Our brother is dangerously sick; he does not know his peril, and takes no means towards his recovery; and who is uncharitable? or who is the real friend? The man who bids him be at ease; to go on as he chooses; and not to heed the consequences;-or the man, who takes on himself the unpleasant office of adviser; who calls on him to think betimes of his own preservation from ruin; and who points out to him the true, though painful, method of recovering his health and happiness? Be sure, then, that, though charity may, in some degree, gloss over our neighbour's faults, it cannot, if it be real, blind us to his evident danger: and to inform and admonish him is often, under such circumstances, the greatest act of charity in our power; as it is, almost always, the most painful to ourselves, which we can be called on to practise.

I have now gone through the leading circumstances of life and behaviour, in which a genuine charity will be found to display itself; and of which, if we find on due inquiry, the traces in our own hearts, and consciences, we may lay

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