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struct an empire, governed by laws, and replenished with resources, independent of God. The idolatry, and sensuality, the unbelief, irreligion, and all the multiform sins of man, are resolvable into this proud and infernal attempt. Now, before God can do any thing towards our personal recovery, it is obviously necessary that we should be disabused of the idea of our supposed self-sufficiency; that, descending from the pedestal our pride has erected, we should cast ourselves down at his feet, and await his pleasure. The true value of humility consists in its inducing us to desire and welcome the assistance we need, to abandon ourselves cordially to the divine direction, to return, and descend, and gratefully to occupy our proper station at his footstool, as pensioners on his bounty and grace. • They that are whole need not a physician, but they that are sick;' and they only will apply to him for aid.
Alas, for man, that his humility should have to be accounted a virtue; that, by simply conforming his views to his condition, and taking a just estimate of his state and character, he should render himself an object of congratulation to man, and of peculiar complacency to God; what a depth of depravity does it imply, what a reproach on our nature does it convey, for a blind and insignificant creature to believe his infinite Creator, for a guilty and condemned criminal to accept of pardon, for a man in the act of perishing to submit to be saved, that this should be esteemed a virtue! and should be lauded with a warmth which denotes its rareness! • This is indeed a lamentation, and shall be for a lamentation. But, condescending to our condition, our Lord inculcated humility as a cardinal grace, promoting it to the highest place in the catalogue of virtues. peatedly intimated, that while a spirit of self-exaltation shall finally be smitten with a blow which it cannot survive, that while the Almighty will array against this avowed antagonist all the forces of his wrath, and will not rest till he has driven it far from his presence, into outer and endless darkness, humility shall be raised from glory to glory, till it has reached the loftiest throne in the kingdom of God.
But that which gives peculiar emphasis to his inculcations on this subject is, that humility is inseparably connected with the cordial reception of his gospel; so that, in enjoining it, he is infallibly preparing the way for the enlargement of his holy kingdom. Humility is the conservator of the virtues; nor is there an act or office peculiar to christians in which its influence is not vitally felt. As pourtrayed by him, on entering his evangelical church it is a little child, to whom belief is natural, an emblem of candor, simplicity, and faith ; when hearing his word, it sits at his feet, and is all docility and attention; on entering the presence of God, it throws itself prostrate, or smites on its breast, and dares not lift up so much as its eyes to heaven; when it is free to take the highest seat in the assembly, it voluntarily selects the lowest, and is taken by surprise if called up higher; in the presence of superior excellence, it is praise and imitation; associated with fellow-christians, it is willing subordination, emulous of no distinction but that which arises from pre-eminent service; it declines to be called 'master,' and lays all its honors at the Savior's feet; and when, at length, he shall ascend his throne, and enumerate its godlike deeds, he describes it as filled with self-abasement even there, and diffident of receiving his divine award. Under the reign of holiness, it is the office of humility to iay a foundation for universal obedience, by filling every subject with gratitude for the blessings he enjoys, and making him feel that the lowest situation is a post of unmerited distinction, held by a grant from sovereign grace.
2. Benevolence-meaning by that term the most enlarged exercise of forbearance, forgiveness, and love-was another despised and unworldly obligation, which he rescued and enforced by the highest sanctions. Under the disorganizing influence of sin, the tendency of the world is to a state of universal misanthropy. Having lost its original centre in God, it attempts not to find any common point of repose, but spends itself in fruitless efforts to erect an infinity of independent interests. Every kingdom and province, every family, every individual discovers a propensity to insulate himself from the common brotherhood, and to constitute himself the centre of an all-subordinating and ever-enlarging circle. Such is the natural egotism of the heart, that each individual, following his unrestrained bent, acts as if he were a whole kingdom in himself, and as if the general well-being depended on subjection to his supremacy. He would fain be his own end; himself the reason of all he does. On this ungodly and unatural experiment the Savior laid his sovereign interdict. He places it in every light, takes us to view it from every point, in order to show us its flagrant sinfulness; and no sooner do we place ourselves at his disposal, than we find ourselves restored and related to all around, and engaged in a career of godlike benevolence: we remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, it is more blessed to give than to receive.'
He sought to neutralize the maxims of the world in favor of selfishness and revenge, by bringing into currency opposing maxims of forgiveness and love. He would have it impressed on us, that we owe to every man a debt of affection which is never discharged; that we owe it to him as one of our own kind: and that no conduct of his, however personally offensive, can ever release us from the obligation of seeking his welfare. He would have us to honor all men; to pay respect to human nature; to aim at the general good of that humam family into which we have been born everlasting members. · Peter said unto him, Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him; until seven times ? Jesus answered, I say not unto thee till seven times, but until seventy times seven.' And, when we have done this, he points us to the conduct of our heavenly Father, and renders the duty of forgiveness infinite, while he says, 'Be ye merciful, even as your Father in heaven is merciful.' He meets us on our way to the throne to obtain forgiveness, and he assures us that, however costly the gift we may be about to lay on the holy altar, God is not to be bribed to do that for us which we refuse to do for others; that there is no access to his presence, no audience, nor hope, until our friendship for man is entire. He supposes us to have even reached the altar, to be standing in the immediate presence of God; he supposes the religious service to have reached that juncture when the Deity is actually waiting to receive the offering,—what now can be of sufficient importance to stop the service ? he teaches-us that the exercise of forgiveness is that impor“tant thing, and that while that is performing the majesty of heaven and earth consents to wait. And, to save his disciples from all reservation and delusion on this subject, he taught them to pray that the measure in which they forgive might be the standard by which God would dispense his grace to them: thus leaving to revenge no alternative but instant reconciliation, or the imprecation of revenge on its own head.
He represents our Almighty Father as conceding his high preogative, merging the consideration of the infinite difference between our offences against his majesty, and the offences of a fellow mortal against our insignificance, and offering us pardon for pardon, grace, for grace if we from the heart forgive everyone his brother their trespasses. He would have every man proclaim a general amnesty; an act of oblivion of all injuries; a year of jubilee; and that jubilee he would have us to make perpetual.
The world has no notion of vanquishing enemies, except by the employment of outward force, by the exercise of revenge, and the infliction of punishment. Jesus Christ has brought into operation a new power for subduing an enemy. He enjoins his disciples to try the efficacy of love: not to content themselves with mere negative benevolence, or, not avenging themselves; but to breathe back love for hatred, and blessings for curses. He points them to the triumphant effects of this principle in the hand of God; and, taking out of their hands the weapons of revenge, he would have them to make trial of it also. And is it possible for them to survey the unconfined goodness of God, to entertain the great conception of infinite goodness, to have their minds possessed with so vast and glorious an idea, without receiving corresponding impressions ? they will be led by a necessity of nature to imitate that diffusive goodness, to act the god, if I may say so, in their small and limited spheres; to exercise the divine prerogative of mercy, to wield that power, before which all opposition is destined to give way--the omnipotent power of love.
As a spiritual being, man is the offspring of the Father of spirits; this is a relation and an honor which he cannot lose; and in this high capacity, the Savior, having further dignified us with his own love, proposes every human being as a magnificent object of affection to the whole species. Taking us from that small circle, that point of selfishness we have made our home, and where, in building ourselves in from the incursion of outward evils, we have at the same time shut out the sight of the great, the spiritual, and the future, he conducts us to a mount of vision from