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duties to discharge to one fellow-creature, as our child, or parent, or tried friend, which cannot be claimed from us by strangers. But we must have a love for them, which would prompt us to befriend them to the same extent, if their situation and ours made it proper: and contingencies do sometimes arise to call for such an exercise of universal philanthropy, as sudden danger levels all distinctions, and gives to every individual the claim of a brother; and then, as in a wreck for instance, but more especially (I would say, if

you were prepared to admit it) in that moral wreck, which has befallen the species, it is seen, whether we do or do not love our neighbour, as ourselves.

But, if this be the case, I fear, it follows, as an undeniable truth, that none of you keepeth the law. I say to you in the words of the text without fear, that

any
of
you

will be disposed in his heart to contradict me,

Did not Moses give you the law ? and yet 'none of you keepeth the law.' He gave you a law, by the observance of which you might live: and yet none of you keepeth the law.

6

This indeed is the unvarying doctrine of scripture. Men have received a perfect law from the hands of their maker; and they have not kept it. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in the sight of God.

Moreover, if I may be allowed to advance one step further into the subject, for this universal defection from the pure and holy law of God the scripture assigns an origin and a cause. It describes the original righteousness of our nature, when it says, that God formed our first parent in his own image and likeness. It describes also its original sin, when the man, whom he had created upright, ventured to transgress that single command, which was his only restriction in Paradise. That first transgression was an inlet to all corruption. It changed the condition of our nature. dered it a sinful nature, as a single grain of arsenic will render a wholesome draught poi

The human mind had then consented to disregard a positive law of its maker: and it could thenceforward no longer stand upright in

It ren

sonous.

of the law, that the rule ought not be interpreted so strictly, and that a reasonable allowance must needs be made for that self-preference, which seems to be a law of nature. Yet in the first place it cannot be denied by any one, that it would be well for human society, if this command were obeyed in all its strictness : and this is one ground of presumption, that it was designed to be strictly interpreted. Secondly the morality, which God reveals, must be every way worthy of himself. It is, when we contemplate his greatness and majesty and infinite purity, that we perceive something of the unfathomable excellence of his law, and are afraid to disparage its dignity by lowering its demands. Accordingly we believe, that the holy angels in Heaven actually live in the exercise of this pure morality, that they do actually love each other, as themselves, that they are strangers to jealousy, rivalship, and self-preference, and that much of their happiness consists in their exemption from these uneasy feelings. Thirdly it is plain, that our blessed saviour, when he gave himself, a ransom for all, displayed an exam

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ple above the rule, that he loved even his inferiors beyond himself, and preferred their welfare to his own peace, nay, that even after his ascension into heaven he felt the sufferings of his disciples, as his own, and called aloud to their persecutor, sayingWhy persecutest thou me?'

But I am suffering myself to be led prematurely into doctrines, for which we are not yet prepared. My only object is to shew, that the two commandments of the law ought to be strictly construed (for they have been more than literally fulfilled); that they ought not to be measured by a reference to human weakness or to human sinfulness, but to the divine purpose ; and that the only consistent and intelligible way of shewing, that the commandment is holy and just and good, and that the law is not only reasonable, but lovely, is to hold, that it requires us indeed, as its terms import, to love God supremely with the full stretch of all our affections, and to love all our fellow-mortals, as we love ourselves. I do not mean indeed, that we are bound to do as much for one neighbour as for another. We have duties to discharge to one fellow-creature, as our child, or parent, or tried friend, which cannot be claimed from us by strangers. But we must have a love for them, which would prompt us to befriend them to the same extent, if their situation and ours made it proper: and contingencies do sometimes arise to call for such an exercise of universal philanthropy, as sudden danger levels all distinctions, and gives to every individual the claim of a brother ; and then, as in a wreck for instance, but more especially (I would say, if you were prepared to admit it) in that moral wreck, which has befallen the species, it is seen, whether we do or do not love our neighbour, as ourselves.

But, if this be the case, I fear, it follows, as an undeniable truth, that none of you keepeth the law. I say to you in the words of the text without fear, that any

of be disposed in his heart to contradict me,• Did not Moses give you the law ? and yet 'none of '

you keepeth the law. He gave you a law, by the observance of which you might live : and yet none of you keepeth the law.

you will

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