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who is ever ready to repay them seven-fold, because his memory of them is tenacious, and his gratitude lively: his spirit burns with a consuming fire, till he can make the soul of his benefactor leap with joy.
On the contrary, the most obliging disposition cannot keep pace with the pretensions of a proud man. The most arduous efforts to promote his interests, he considers as so many duties owing to his merits; no sacrifice is too humble, concession too flattering, no negligence venial, no momentary remission of benevolent exertion to be endured ;-whatever you confer you lose, for whatever you deficient you suffer; it is a service abundant in punishment, and utterly barren of reward.
If a meek man hides his own superiority, he is ever ready to do justice to the pretensions of others; the weak, the absent, and the defenceless, feel safe in his judgments; they are sure not to be tortured by asperity of speech, malignantly calumniated, or sacrificed to unprincipled ridicule ;—their
virtues, and excellent qualities he is ever ready to acknowledge, because he has no motive to suppress them,-his justice gives ease, his innocence security, repose on such a Christian character,-it is the shadow of a large rock in a weary land; we cast ourselves under it for refreshment, and peace, weary with the dust, and the heat, and the panting of life.
As man advances in civilization, the feelings of his mind becomes so vulnerable, and acute, that severity of invective, the mere power of inculpative words, becomes more intolerable than bodily pain, or any evil that fortune can impose. The intemperate expressions of anger, inflict wounds, which are never healed for a life, and lay the foundation of animosities, which no subsequent conciliation can ever appease. The tongue of a meek Christian is held with a bridle;-his words are yea, and nay, righteous, temperate, beautiful, and calm; -remonstrance without bitterness,-firmness without passion, — pardon without reproach;-he has not to lament that disgraceful, and unchristian violence of
speech which often excites as much remorse in those who indulge it, as indignation in those against whom it is directed, a virulence often used with as much freedom, as if men were proper, and candid judges of their own injuries, and with as much force as if every slight injury against ourselves, cancelled all the rights of humanity towards its author, and marked him out as the fit victim of impure, and unbridled invective.
The meek disciple of him, who was the meekest of all, is strongly impressed with the vanity, and unworthiness of every thing human; in whatever station he may place himself, relative to his fellow-creatures, he cannot deduce materials for pride, for he deems that the highest are low, and the strongest frail, and the earth an idle dream; while vulgar pride attaches the highest degree of importance to every thing, however distantly, and minutely related to itself; meekness, in viewing itself, and the earth upon which it is placed, trembles at the attributes, and works of God, and wonders that it should be remembered amidst the labyrinth of moving worlds.
It subdues high-mindedness by reflecting on the ignorance with which human schemes are planned, the casualties by which they are interrupted, the unexpected consequences by which they are followed,and the shortness of life by which they are frustrated, dissipated, and mocked. This view of the insignificance of life, intended for the cure of pride, may, by abuse, and misapplication, encourage levity, and inactivity; we are not to be careless in the government of ourselves, and in the adjustment of our conduct, because this world, contrasted with the sum of things is insignificant; and to pass through life in boisterous merriment, or supine indifference, because life is short;-this world, so insignificant is the world in which we are destined to act, this life so short, is all that is granted us for probation; its narrow limits, its feeble powers, and its sad vicissitudes, cannot justify sloth or despair, though they ought to subdue pride, and to promote that ornament of a meek, and quiet spirit, which is so congenial to the gospel, and so well adapted to the condition of
The absence of this meekness produces a false estimation of life, and gives birth to many follies, and some vices; a proud man is, in his own eyes, the best, and greatest work of God; the most trivial circumstances which relates to himself, is of more importance than the happiness, or misery of a province; as often as he condescends to' mention them, he exacts the most lively, and watchful sympathy to the minutest of his pleasures, and his pains: as he is every thing to himself, he expects he should be every thing to you; he not only confines his thoughts to this world, but to that particular atom of it which he is; whether this atom be hot, or cold, or moist, or dry, or joyful, or sad; these are the principles which, in his estimation, should diffuse joy, or sadness over the creation, and regulate the sum of things.
Placability is a common attribute of the character described in my text: whoever thinks humbly of himself, will not be prone to conceive the injuries he experiences, as too atrocious for pardon, too enormous to be washed away with tears, or atoned for