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all; he is a friend to mankind in general, and not an enemy even to those who hate him ; doth a momentary thought of revenge arise in his mind, he suppresses it; if on no other considerations, for his own fake; this he knows to be his duty, and this he finds to be his pleasure; bleft with those feelings, which shall not leave him at the grave, he imitates the Deity in benevolence, and obtains, as far as mortals can obtain, the happiness of the Deity in return.
Left these considerations prove ineffectual, let me add the necessity we lay under of forgiving our enemies, or of relinquishing all hopes of being forgiven. There is no alternative.
We must do it, or resign all pretensions to the benefits of Christ's passion. Though the performance of this duty alone will not entitle us to the forgiveness of our sins; yet this we are moft
specially instructed in, that the performance of all other duties, without this, will be of no avail. The difficulty, attending this work, instead of taking off our attention, ought to double it, and quicken our endeavours; That it is necessary to be done, the Scriptures inform us, and therefore it must be undertaken; That it is difficult to be done, our own feelings inform us, and therefore it should be undertaken with spirit; That it is not impossible to be done, and that we may accomplish it if we will, the very enjoinment of the duty implies; That, when accomplished, we fhall not lose our reward, the Considerations I have already mentioned, with our own observation and experience, will happily evince.
Now to God the Father, &c,
MATTHEW vi. 13th.
And lead us not into temptation, but de
liver us from evil.
HIS Petition consists of two parts;
the one, lead us not into temptation, the other, but deliver us from evil. For the more particular understanding the former part, it will be proper to remove such acceptations of the word temptation, as are not intended in the use of this Petition : and since it is here supposed that God may lead a man into temptation, I will consider in what sense that must be understood in this place.
A man may be said to lead another into temptation, when he entices him to sin, or by any argument, art, or violence, perfuades or compels him to it. But we are not to understand any thing of this nature on God's part—for in this sense, God tempts no man. He neither designs, or lays any trap or snares, to make men fin: he purposes nothing to their hopes or fears, to deceive, allure, or fright them into sin; nor does he by any impulse on their minds, incline or neceffitate them to fin; to conceive such things as these of God, would be the highest impiety
Again. To tempt a man may fignify in general to prove and try him, whether he will faithfully discharge his duty, and answer another's expectation of him, or not. In this sense, it is certain, God tempts every man ; that is, he gives him occafions VOL. IV.
and opportunities of performing, or refusing to do his duty. Thus the laws of God to mankind in general, or to Christians in particular, the former by Nature, the latter by Revelation, are temptations, or trials of our obedience, whether we will observe them or not; and in regard that the circumstances of men are very various, and that they have respective duties to be performed, therefore
every man's particular condition of life, his honour or meanness, his wealth or poverty, his authority or subjection, his single or married state, his temper and constitution of body, his health or sickness, his calling and profession, in a word, his condition in life, with respect to circumstances of this nature, which are - infinite, is a temptation or trial, whether he will live up to the general rules of his religion, and perform that duty which his place, relation, and peculiar interest in the