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· dantly favoured ? For, what have you that i he has not given you, and which he may not sagain resume? Will
your prosa perity is all your own desert--that you are
not accountable for the use of your possessions ? Oh! be timely wise. Let no such impious
thoughts assail you. Acknowledge that all is
the gift of God-of that God who will not be a worshipped by empty external acts—who will
have mercy and not sacrifice. And as you value his blessings—as you reverence his laws—as you hope for his favour—as you dread his judgments—prove yourselves careful and diligent in the stewardship to which he has appointed you ;-be occupied in works of mercy-be instant in affording aid to the indigent-in speaking comfort to the afflicted, and in binding up the broken heart; and the good favour of your God will be with you, and the blessing of the poor
will descend upon you, and the holy angels will look down re
joicing upon your work, and when you fail, !
they will receive you into everlasting habitations.
Rom, xii. 20.
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."
These words are quoted literally by the Apostle Paul, from the 25th chapter of the Book of Proverbs, and afford a signal evidence that the same Divine Spirit which inspired the author of this epistle, spoke also to the understanding, and to the heart of him who wrote that truly profound book. For the sentiment contained in these words, forms a distinguishing and characteristic feature of that mind, and of that morality which God only enlight
approves, whilst it passes a repeal on such rigorous precepts as “an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth,” which was the decision, not only of retributive justice under the Mosaic law, (accommodated as that law was to the hardness of the human heart) but which
is more or less, the natural propensity, and the serious intention of every heart, which the exhortation in the text has not brought under its benign influence. Nor is this exhortation confined to the negative prohibition of forbearing to retaliate. It does not merely soften down the severity of feelings, which might plead a sort of justification in the unprovoked injuries that may have excited them, or in the repeated aggravations they may
have endured. It makes no stipulation in behalf of insulted honour, nor any compromise for the indulgence of a little wrath. But forbidding every limitation to generosity, it nobly transcends those barriers beyond which, the pride and the selfishness, and the vindictive temper of our falten nature would seldom permit any of us to pass, and sileneing every rising opposition of the heart, it teaches us to look upon our enemies with the eyes and with the compassion of a friend, when circumstances avise by which they may be recommended to our commiseration, and to our relief;—" if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink.” What a world would this wicked world become, did all who call themselves Christians, and who profess to take the word of God for the rule of their conduct,
and of such a rule! Enmities and wrath, and strife, would cease, whilst the return of good for evil would finally produce a reciprocity of good! And we are assured, that thus it shall be before this world has fulfilled the great destiny towards which it is in progress, when, (as the Prophet Isaiah most eloquently expressed it,) “the wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the
and the calf, and the young lion and fatling together, and a little child shall lead them;"-when “they shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain saith the Lord.” Men, more hostile and unrelenting, and unforgiving towards their fellow-men, than are the beasts of the field, which a blind instinct exasperates, shall all partake of the same kind and gentle nature; and the earth which they inhabit, no longer under curse, shall be called “ the holy mountain of the Lord.” This is that happy period, which, in scholastic theology, is called the millenium, or the thousand years of an earthly paradise, but which, in Scripture language, designates only a long space of time to commence at an appointed season, previous to the dissolution of this present world. And how is this great change to be effected? This also, is distinctly mentioned by the Prophet, “ for, the earth,” says