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wifer and better, rather than what tends to SERM. divert and please them: fuch things men XV. should think of, and reckon themselves oblig
Whatever things are juft. A comprehenfive rule. And yet it's several branches of duty are fo obvious, as to be generally known and understood. There is no neceffity therefore to enlarge in the enumeration of the several parts of righteousneffe to be done, or unrighteoufneffe to be avoided. The great difficulty is, to bring men to an equitable temper and difpofition of mind: and to fubdue felf-love, and partiality, or an improper affection for worldly things, and their own particular interefts: which often mislead them, and cause them to act contrarie to the plaineft rules. Our bleffed Lord therefore comprised and recommended this branch of duty in that one convincing and persuasive rule: All things whatever ye would that men Should do unto you, do ye even fo unto them.
At other times, however, both Christ and his Apostles have infifted on 'particular duties, and enforced them with very moving
Here the direction is general. Whatever things are just, think of them. So confider this point, that you may perform all acts of justice, and avoid every thing unjuft, unfair, ́unequal.
May not a regard to this rule induce fome to caution and circumfpection in their dealings, and to avoid extending their commerce beyond the measure of their ability? Should not wife and equitable perfons take heed, not fo much as to run the hazard of ruining those who depend upon them, or deal with them, or trust them? The wifeft and beft of men are liable to unavoidable and unforefeen accidents. But the thinking on whatever things are just might difcourage fome schemes and projects, which are as likely to mifcarry, as to fucceed and if not fuccefsful, may reduce a man beyond the poffibility of his returning to all what he has received.
The thinking of this part of duty may alfo be of use to difcourage and prevent an expenfive course of life, beyond the proportion of a man's income and fubftance. For is he to be reckoned juft, who confumes in luxurie, and exceffe of any kind, not only
his own patrimonie, but likewife the right SERM. and property of other men?
Might not a respect to every thing that is just be of extenfive ufe, and vaft advantage to mankind? and prevent diftreffes and inconveniences, inexpreffible and innumerable!
Whatever things are just, think of them. Avoid leffer as well as greater acts of injuftice. Think what is juft and equitable toward those of your own familie, whether relatives, fervants, or dependents: What is fair and equitable in the way of commerce with other men your equals: What is just and due to fuperiors and governours: What regard you ought to have for the welfare of the public fociety, of which you are a part, in whose profperity you are interested, by the powers of which you are protected in your commerce, and the fecure poffeffion of your property. Says St. Paul to the Romans: Render therefore to all their dues, tri- Rom. xiii. bute to whom tribute is due, custom to whom 7.8. custom, fear to whom fear, honour to whom bonour. Owe no man any thing, but to love one another.
Whatever things are pure, or chafte, think of them. Reckon yourselves obliged to all purity, in body and mind, in thought, word, and action, in every ftate, and in every age, and part of life, and in every circumstance, upon every occafion. Think and confider, how you may best be able to preserve that purity, which is acceptable to God, for the honour of religion, and your own peace and comfort. Think and confult with yourselves, how you may avoid temptations, and how you may refift and overcome them, if you should unexpectedly and fuddenly meet with them. Meddle not with writings, where a proper decorum is neglected, or in which, under fpecious appearances, the worst and most dangerous poyfon is infinuated. Never be present at indecent fhews and spectacles, much lefs be at any time delighted with them, or applaud them. Decline refolutly, and with the utmost care, enfnaring and vicious converfation. So far from tempting and enticing others, or contributing by any means whatever to their being enfnared, and deluded from the paths of strict fobriety; do what lyes in your power, as you have opportunity, by the
most proper and likely, the moft effectual, SERM the most acceptable, or left offenfive methods, XV. not only to preferve your own purity, but also to strengthen the wife and holy refolutions of others; that they may be stedfast in their purpose, overcome in a time of temptation, and pass through the world pure and unfullied.
Whatever things are lovely, or amiable. So the original word feems most properly to fignify. But herein, very probably, is included what is loving and friendly. For fuch things are usually lovely, and agreeable in the eye of the world.
All fuch things the Apoftle defires his Christian friends at Philippi to think of to Rom. xiv. follow after the things, that make for peace, among themselves and others. Says the Pfalmist, How good, 'and how pleasant it is for Pf.cxxxiii brethren to dwell together in unity! It is not only a great happineffe to thofe perfons themselves, but it is likewife agreeable to others to behold and observe.
It is not unlikely, that the Apostle intends here fome exalted acts of virtue, care of the fick, bounty to the neceffitous and in