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it was not for the sake of their thanks that you relieved them.
9. “ That we are liable to be imposed upon.” If a due inquiry be made, our merit is the same : beside that the distress is generally real, although the cause be untruly stated.
10. “ That they should apply to their parishes." This is not always practicable: to which we may add, that there are many requisites to a comfortable subsistence, which parish relief does not supply; and that there are some, who would suffer almost as much from receiving parish relief as by the want of it; and, lastly, that there are many modes of charity to which this answer does not relate at all.
11. “ That giving, money, encourages idleness and vagrancy
This is true only of injudicious and indiscriminate generosity.
12. “ That we have too many objects of charity at home, to bestow any thing upon strangers; or, that there are other charities, which are more use. ful, or stand in greater need." The value of this excuse depends entirely upon the fact, whether we actually relieve those neighbouring objects, and contribute to those other charities.
Beside all these excuses, pride, or prudery, or delicacy, or love of ease, keep one half of the world out of the way of observing what the other half ! suffer.
Resentment. RESENTMENT may be distinguished into anger
By anger, I mean the pain we suffer upon the receipt of an injury or affront, with the usual effects of that pain upon ourselves.
By revenge, the inflicting of pain upon the person who has injured or offended us, farther than the just ends of punishment or reparation require.
Anger prompts to revenge; but it is possible to suspend the effect, when we cannot altogether quell
the principle. We are bound also to endeavour to
qualify and correct the principle itself. So that į our duty requires two different applications of the
mind; and, for that reason, anger and revenge may be considered separately.
Anger. "Be ye angry, and sin not;" therefore all anger is not sinful : I suppose, because some degree of it, and upon some occasions, is inevitable.
It becomes sinful or contradicts, however, the rule of Scripture, when it is conceived upon slight and inadequate provocations, and when it continues long.
1. When it is conceived upon slight provocations ; for, “ charity suffereth long, is not easily, provoked." _“Let every man be slow to anger." Peace, long-suffering, gentleness, meekness, are enumerated among the fruits of the Spirit, Gal. v. 22. and compose the true Christian temper, as to this article of duty.
2. When it continues long : for," let not the sun go down upon your wrath."
These precepts, and all reasoning indeed on the subject, suppose the passion of anger to be within our power : and this power consists not so much in any faculty we possess of appeasing our wrath at the time (for we are passive under the smart which an injury or affront occasions, and all we can then do, is to prevent its breaking out into action,) as in so mollifying our minds by habits of just reflection, as to be less irritated by impressions of injury, and to be sooner pacified.
Reflections proper for this purpose, and which may be called the sedatives of anger, are the following: the possibility of mistaking the motives from which the conduct that offends us proceeded; how often our offences have been the effect of inadvertency, when they were construed into indications of malice: the inducement which prompted our adversary to act as he did, and how powerfully the
same inducement has, at one time or other, operated upon ourselves; that he is suffering perhaps under a contrition, which he is ashamed, or wants opportunity to confess; and how ungenerous it is to triumph by coldness or insult over a spirit already humbled in secret; that the returns of kindness are sweet, and that there is neither honour nor virtue, nor use, in resisting them :-for some persons think themselves bound to cherish and keep alive their indignation, when they find it dying away of itself. We may remember that others have their passions, their prejudices, their favourite aims, their fears, their cautions, their interests, their sudden impul. ses, their varieties of apprehension, as well as we: we may recollect what hath sometimes passed in our minds, when we have gotten on the wrong side of a quarrel, and imagine the same to be passing in our adversary's mind now; when we became sensible of our misbehaviour, what palliations we perceived in it, and expected others to perceive; how we were affected by the kindness, and felt the superiority, of a generous reception and ready forgiveness; how persecution revived our spirits with our enmity, and seemed to justify the conduct in ourselves which we before blamed. Add to this, the indecency of extravagant anger; how it renders us. whilst it lasts, the scorn and sport of all about us, of which it leaves us, when it ceases, sensible and ashamed; the inconveniences, and irretrievable misconduct, into which our irascibility has sometimes betrayed us ; the friendships it has lost us: the distresses and embarrassments in which have been involved by it; and the sore repentance which, on one account or other, it always costs us,
But the reflections calculated above all others to allay the haughtiness of temper which is ever find. ing out provocations, and which renders anger su impetuous, is that which the gospel proposes nainely, that we ourselves are, or shortly shall be. suppliants for mercy and pardon at the judgment. seat of God. Imagine our secret sins disclosed and brought to light ; imagine us thus humbled and exposed; trembling under the hand of God; casting ourselves on his compassion; crying out for mercy; imagine such a creature to talk of satisfac
tion and revenge ; refusing to be entreated, dis
daining to forgive ; extreme to mark and to resent * what is done amiss :- Imagine, I say, this, and you
can hardly frame to yourself an instance of more impious and unnatural arrogance.
The point is, to habituate ourselves to these reAlections, till they rise up of their own accord when they are wanted, that is, instantly upon the receipt of an injury or affront, and with such force and colouring, as both to mitigate the paroxysms of our anger at the time, and at length to produce an alteration in the temper and disposition itself.
Revenge. ALL pain occasioned to another in consequence of an offence or injury received from him, farther than what is calculated to procure reparation or promote the just ends of punishment, is so much revenge.
There can be no difficulty in knowing when we occasion pain to another; nor much in distinguishing whether we do so, with a view only to the ends of punishment, or from revenge : for, in the one case we proceed with reluctance, in the other with pleasure.
It is highly probable from the light of nature, that a passion, which seeks its gratification immediately and expressly in giving pain, is disagreeable to the benevolent will and counsels of the Creator. Other passions and pleasures may, and often do, produce pain to some one : but then pain is not, as it is here, the object of the passion, and the direct cause of the pleasure. This probability is converted into certainty, if we give credit to the Authority which dictated the several passages of the Christian Scriptures that condemn revenge, or, what is the same thing, which enjoin forgiveness.
We will set down the principal of these passages; and endeavour to collect from them, what conduct upon the whole is allowed towards an enemy, and what is forbidden..
" If ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you : but if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses."-"And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him : so likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.”—“ Put on bowels of mercy, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, long-suffering; forbearing one another, forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any : even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.”—"Be patient towards all men, see that none render evil for evil to any man."" Avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance 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."*
I think it evident, from some of these passages taken separately, and still more so from all of them together, that revenge, as described in the beginning of this chapter, is forbidden in every degree, under all forms, and upon every occasion. We are like. wise forbidden to refuse to an enemy even the most imperfect right; “ if he hunger, feed him : if he thirst, give him drink ;"4 which are examples of imperfect rights. If one who has offended us, licit from us a vote to which his qualifications en. title him, we may not refuse it from motives of re. sentment, or the remembrance of what we have suffered at his hands. His right, and our obliga. tion which follows the right, are not altered by his enmity to us, or by ours to him.
On the other hand, I do not conceive that these prohibitions were intended to interfere with the pu
* Matt. vi. 14, 15. xviii. 34, 35. Col. iii. 12, 13. 1Thess. v. 14, 15. Rom. xii. 19-21.
| See also Exodus, xxiii. 4. "If thou meet thine enemy's ox, or his ass, going astray, thou shalt surely bring it back to him again: ig thou see the ass of him that hateth thee, lying onder bis borden, and wouldest forbear to help him, thou shalt surely help with him.".