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of it, men at that time were already disposed to prac. tise in excess ; which would have encouraged Roman ambition, and the narrow attachment of the Jews to their own country; and would have tended to restrict benevolence, instead of enlarging it. He who loves his relations, his friends, and his neighbours in the Christian sense of the word, must love his country ; unless we mean by loving our country the love of its political constitution. And how could this be enjoined to the Romans, who lived under a despotic form of government; or to the Jews, whose polity was soon to be done away? It should also be considered that “whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning;” and therefore that Christians may be referred to the patriotic * magnanimity of Moses, to ? Elisha's regard for the distresses and deliverance of his country, to * Jeremiah's pathetic lamentations over Jerusalem, to Ne. hemiah's “s zeal for the public,” and to those remarkable words of the Hebrew poet, " Pray for the peace of Jerusalem ; they shall prosper that love
The omission of friendship among Christian duties has furnished another objection. But there are passages in which it is supposed to "exist among men; and it has very clearly the sanction of our Lord's example. When our Lord says, Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you ; and when he
* Exod. xxxii. 10-13, 32. 9 2 Kings viii. 11, 12. xiii. 18, 19. Lament. ii. 11. iii. 48.
• c. v. 18, 19. See Shaft. charact. i. 99, ed. 1711. * Ps. cxxii. 6. » Luke xi. 6. xiv. 12. Joha xv. 13-15. Acts x. 24. 3 John 14. " John xi. 5, 11, 36. xiii. 25
is represented as loving Lazarus and St. John ; in these passages, if not in some others, the idea rises above that of “ an * acquaintance, or kinsman, or relative, of the same family, fortune or sect.” It is certain that no soil is so well prepared for “ that ' peculiar relation which is formed by a consent and harmony of minds, by mutual esteem, and reciprocal tenderness and affection,” as the heart in which Christian virtues flourish ; and particularly that benevolence which Bishop Taylor nobly calls “z friendship to all the world, friendship expanded like the face of the sun, when it mounts above the eastern hills.” In the Old Testament, Moses speaks of a * friend who is as a man's own soul, we have a striking bexample of friendship in the history of Jonathan and David ; and in the book of Proverbs men. tion is made of a friend who loveth at all times. We see by these instances that human nature is not one thing in the scriptures; and another thing in fact, or in the gravest and best ancient or modern moralists. Besides, as friendship is a connection which many may not be able to form, and therefore is not a general duty, if indeed it can be called a duty incumbent on any, it has been doubted whether it could properly be made the subject of a direct precept by a divine lawgiver,
> Bishop Taylor in Shaftesbury, ubi supr. thinks that the writers of the New Testament always used piros in this limited sense. y Shaf. tesbury's definition : ubi supr.
* Deut. xiii. 6. > 1 Sam. xfii. 1, 3. xix.?. 2 Sam. i. 26. c. xvii. 17.
It is also "objected, that rules of civil policy are not to be found in the New Testament. But the duty of governors is obliquely regulated, when it is observed that they e are not a terror to good works but to the evil; that they are the ministers of God for good ; that they who do good shall have praise of them; and that they are' sent by the Sovereign Lord for the punishment of evil doers, and for the praise of them that do well. And the duty of subjects is directly and repeatedly enjoined. In St. Paul's language, they should & pray for kings and all · that are in authority ; they should be subject to the higher powers as the ordinance of God, and not only through motives of fear but of conscience; and should render tribute, custom, fear, and honour, where they are respectively due. In St. Peter's language, they should be afraid to i speak evil of dignities : they should k submit themselves to the king, and to governors, for the Lord's sake: for so is the will of God: they should both fear God, and honour the king. There occurs one limitation to the duty of civil submission: 'We ought to obey God rather than men, But reason, and nature, and particular forms of government instituted by men, may introduce more limitations. Children are commanded to obey their parents, and servants their masters, m in all things : that is, in all things reasonable and honest, not in matters of an impious or immoral
See S. Jenyns's View of the Internal Evidences of Christianity,
e Rom. xiii. 3, 4. f 1 Pet. ii. 14. 61 Tim. ii. 1, 2. Rom. xiii. 1, 2, 5, 7.
12 Pet. ii. 10.
1 Pet. ii. 13-17. 'Acts v. 29. * Col. iji. 20, 22.
nature. But if these precepts are not to be understood strictly, much less are those above referred to, which are less strongly worded : “Let every soul be subject to the higher powers : Whosoever resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake.” It is the manner of moral writers, and very remarkably so of the eastern ones, to deliver rules true for the most part, though not universally; and to leave the restrictions of them to the understandings and feelings of " mankind.
It may be observed that the virtue of gratitude is no where expressly taught in the New Testament. But this amiable act of justice to benefactors is both recommended by example, and is supposed to be dictated by the human heart.
Our Lord opraised Mary's respectful piety in anointing his feet, and declared that the fame of it should be as extensive as the propagation of the gospel : and St. Paul strongly p expresses his sense of benefits conferred on him by the Philippians. Doing a good to those who do good to us is an inferior part of Christian moraling it.
• Hence we see that Lord Bolingbroke has as little reason to ascribe the doctrine of passive obedience to St. Paul, as that of absolute predestination. Works 4to. v. iv. p. 331. See also Gibbon's learned and elegant history : v. ii. p. 187, 4to. 2d. ed. where the author places among the evangelic virtues that passive and irresisting obedience which bows under the yoke of authority, or even oppression. The curious reader will find this objection considered and confuted in Hoadly's Measures of Submission, &c. Defence of the Sermon, p. 31, and Obj. 17, p. 72. Works, fol. 2d. vol. • Matt. xxvi. 10, 13, and p. p.
p Phil. iv. 15-18. 4 Luke ri, 33.
ity: it is considered as an obvious truth that, the debtor to whom most had been remitted would love most: and St. Paul enforced his humane request to Philemon by suggesting with much delicacy, the motive 'of gratitude among other reasons for grant
We must also recollect that ingratitude is mentioned with implied. censure, and with "wonder, by our Lord ; and that St. Paul ranks it among the most aggravated "crimes.
It may also be urged that the religion of Christ contains no direct prohibition of self murder. But we may justly reply that it is comprehended in the general precept, , Thou shalt not kill: and that wherever Christianity teaches an over ruling Proyidence, wherever it exhorts to resignation and tience, wherever it proposes a precept or an example of * enduring to the end, wherever it asserts that we are the o servants of God or of Christ, that we are e bought with a price, that we are not our own, that our body and spirit are God's, it furnishes arguments against this crime. But remarks of this kind, where well founded, only prove that Christianity is not a system of morals explicitly comprehending every duty: to which it no where makes pretension.
It has also been advanced by an ingenious writer that the Christian law is silent on the subject of active courage. But fortitude in general is enjoined or
Luke vii. 41-3. . Philem. 19. + Luke vi. 35.
u ib. xvii. 17, 18.
and p. p.
w 2 Tim. iii. 2. * Matt. xix. 18. y Matt. xxvi. 39
z Rom. xii. 12. James i. 3, 4. 1 Pet. ii. 20. 2 Pet. 1: 6 · Heb. xi. 1, 2, 3.
b Rom. vi. 22. 1 Cor. vii. 22. Eph. vi. 6. 1 Pet. ii. 16. Rer. vii. 3. xix. 2.
<1 Cor. vi. 19, 2. vii. 23 * Jenyns's View, ubi supr.