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undeserved censures upon the advocates of pure Religion and Social Order ; while if from these advocates a word of admonition or reproof is returned, instantly the cry is raised of Illiberality and Intolerance? Thus it is, that the terms—freedom of thoughtenlarged notions - liberty of discussion-unlimited toleration—and universal benevolence, (terms so fascinating to inexperienced minds) are continually applied to excuse or to palliate what is wrong, and to cast reproach upon what is right. And thus it is, that (as our great English Moralist happily expresses it) there are “ bigots to laxity,as well as to intolerance; men who, in their zeal for licentiousness, will tolerate none but those who are as licentious as themselves.

But on this, as on most other points, it is often an easier task to recriminate, than it is to exculpate ourselves. Instead, therefore, of multiplying offences, by“ rendering evil for

evil, and railing for railing," we may be more profitably employed in rectifying our own conduct.

If, then, it be asked, what constitutes Christian Candour, or true Liberality of Sentiment in the Christian acceptation of the phrase; the foregoing observations may serve to shew, both negatively what it is not, and affirma


tively what it is. It is not to think well of that which we know to be evil; but it is to think no evil of that which we have no just cause to condemn. It is not to abandon fixed principles of Truth and Probity and Piety; nor is it to give the same countenance to those who abandon, as to those who uphold them. But it is to avoid rash judgment; judgment from appearances only, and not from proof. It is to think well of every man, until we are compelled to think ill of him; and even when we are compelled to pass censure upon him, to do it as of necessity, rather than of choice ; regarding the interests of Religion, and the good of others, not indulging a vindictive or a selfish triumph. For Charity “ seeketh not her own, vaunteth not “ itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave

itself unseemly.” It “ is not easily pro“ voked,” even by what deserves chastisement: and more especially it is tender of the failings of the just and good, which it will never unnecessarily expose to public view.

If more were necessary on this subject, it would easily admit of additional illustration by reference to the conduct of our Lord and his Apostles.

When our Lord restored the blind man to



sight, he reproved his followers for supposing that the man, or his parents, were sinners, because he had been born blind. On another occasion, he animadverted upon the Jews for their

perverse and censorious opinions of himself and John the Baptist. At another time, he repelled their unjust reflections upon him for eating with publicans and sinners, and for the many good deeds which they misconstrued as violations of the Sabbath. In all these instances he appeared as the advocate of that Charity which “thinketh no evil,” and which abhors an unwarrantable imputation of sinister motives. Yet we find that he spared not the impenitent and incorrigible Jews, when their iniquities made them ripe for judgment, and when it became necessary to warn his disciples not to be misled by their example. By severe expostulations, reproofs, and denunciations, he exposed their hypocrisy and perverseness. The Apostles, in after-times, pursued a similar line of conduct; exercising, in various instances, the most extensive candour and forbearance; yet never yielding to the adversaries of the Faith, nor temporising with those who endeavoured to draw men aside from their doctrines and precepts.

These examples it becomes us to imitate,

and not suffer ourselves, under false notions of Liberality, to “ fall from our own stead“ fastness. The vindication, however, of Truth and Virtue, and the honest assertion of our own firm persuasions on every point that affects the characters of others, may be conducted without any breach of Charity, or any just cause of offence. Herein consists the great excellence of the Apostolical injunctions on this head, that they neither require any sacrifice of integrity, nor do they afford

any pretext for indulging an acrimonious or malevolent spirit. None can exercise Christian Charity, according to the Scriptural acceptation of the term, without avoiding both these extremes ;—without being careful not to make shipwreck of their Faith or Conscience, and at the same time “ putting away “all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and cla“ mour, and evil-speaking, with all malice.”

When that which is recommended to us under the less distinct and definite appellation of Liberality of Sentiment, shall thus

approve itself to our acceptance, we may then, and not till then, consent to acknowledge it as a Christian Virtue ; or, rather, we may then identify it with that genuine Charity, “ which is the very bond of peace and of all “ virtues.” In the meanwhile, it will be our


duty and our interest to beware that we“ fol“ low not a multitude to do evil ;” bearing in mind two very comprehensive admonitions of our Lord and of his chosen Apostle St. Paul, which comprise the sum and substance of all that relates to the subject :-“ Be ye wise as

Serpents, and harmless as Doves ;”—“ In “ Malice be ye Children, but in Understand“ing be Men.”


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