Page images

wicked Servant, to whom his Lord forġave a Debt of ten thousand Talents; but because


his forgiveness, he dealt unmercifully with his Fellow-Servant, taking him by the Throat, and casting him into Prison for an hundred Pence, his Lord was very wroth with him, saying, Othon wicked Servant, shouldest mot thou have had Compassion on thy Fellow Servant, even as I had pity upon thee? And so he delivered him to the Tormenters, till he should pay all that was due unto him. The Application of all wich is very plain, but very terrible; so likewise Shall my Heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your Hearts forgive not every one bis Brother their Trespases, Mat.18, 35.

3. TO draw now to a Conclusion, and to bring down this whole "Matter closer yet to our Christian Practice. Let Charity and perfect Love be at once both the Rule and the Tenor of our whole Life in all Instances and Occurrences. Whatever Objections against our Religion are wont to be made by some (who yet of all Mankind are most to be blamed for their Uncharitableness) let us never give them occafion to lay this blame upon our Manners (though it doth not so much as touch our Profession it self) that a Spirit of Strife and Hatred is among us. But


when we are about to Celebrate the blessed Eucharist, then especially we should conLider the Angels Doxology, and prepare our Minds so that we may use it with enlarged and devout Hearts, Glory be to God on high, on Earth Peace, good will towards Men. Then all undue Heats that by any Emergency may have been raised, should vanish away from us like Smoak; then we should put on, as the Elect of God, Holy and Beloved, Bowels of Mercy, Kindness, Humbleness of Mind, Meekness, Long:Juffering, forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any Man have a quarrel against any ; even as Chrift forgave us, fo should we; and above all things put on Charity, which is the bond of Perfectness; and let the Peace of God rule in our Hearts, to the which also we are called in one Body; as the Apostle himself speaks, Col. 3.

TO provoke you hereunto,many arguments might be drawn, not only from the sense of the best Heathens, who held it unlawful to revenge Injury with Injury, (upon which Subject Maximus Tyrius Spends a whole Discourse) but from the Noble Examples of many of them also, Pati. Hist. and particularly that of Phocion, who 7. 12.c. 49. after all the eminent Services for his Country-men, the Athenians, being at last condemned to be poisoned, before he drank


off the deadly Potion, left this strict charge with his Son, that he should never remember so as to be revenged for the Injustice and Ingratitude of the Athe. nians.

BUT because Christianity is a Religion of a most elevated Nature, and that which speaks so plain, and so loud as to this point ; and because that noble part of it, this Christian Solemnity, doth of it self Minister arguments enough to command our Obedience as to this particular, I shall not go out of my way to pick up Observations, that may be more curious than , necessary; but rather content my self with what hath been said already, and so shut up this Subject with a few Considerations which immediately relate to our Christian Practice.

I told you before, that all Acts of Revenge are quite contrary to the Laws of Christ's Religion ; meaning by Revenge all spiteful acts, or purposes of hurting another for hurt-sake, without consideration had of a good end, whether of Charity or Justice: and then I distingush pure Revenge from such acts as concern Discipline or Reparation; which two last cases being so incident to human life, and cases wherein the Consciences of Men ought to be well instructed and govern'd, I shall now

at the close of all speak something bý way of direction as to these two cases ; and the rather, because I have found by frequent experience, that upon Injuries which too commonly happen between Man and Man, divers have been hindred from the use of the blessed Sacrament, for want, as I am willing in Charity to suppose, of due Information.

1. FİRST then, as to acts of Discipline, It is not at all inconsistent with the great ends of this Sacred Ordinance, nor with our Duty in order to it, or at it, to use honest means of reprehending or correcting an Offender, provided those means be used after a discreet and friendly maoner, and for the Offender's good. So the Magistrate may punish a disorderly-Subject, a Father his Child, a Mafter his Servant, in all necessary cases. For this is not properly Revenge ; because the Me thods, though they may be somewhat strict, are fill for charitable ends, viz. For the amendment and Reformation of the Offender ; which in such cases every Man shou'd carry in his Eye: for what St. Paul said of his own Authority in the Church, is very applicable to all just Power whatsoever, the Lord hath given it for Edification, and not for Destruction, 2 Cor. 10. 8.


2. AS

2. A S to Cases which concern Repa. ration for Injuries, they admit of great variety, according to the variety of par. ticular Circumstances; but I think what is generally necessary to be known, may be comprehended within these following Rules, or reduced to them.

1. WHERE an injury is Plain, Evident, and Palpable, Men are to seek for redress first, by fair and private applications. This is not Revenge, nor any breach of Duty, because it is a Cafe of • Justice purely, and the method is Friendly and Charitable. To this may be applied those words of our Saviour, Matth. 18. If thy Brother Trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone ; but if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, &c. And if any thing be needful to be added, certainly a more prudential Course canmot be taken, than what our Lord ellewhere prescribes, Agree with thine AdverSary quickly, whilst thou art in the


with him, Matth. 5. 25. Such Timely and Pacifick means of accommodation are apt to preserve Charity; whereas other Methods that are rough may, like a wound that festers, make a deep impression upon the Sense, and corrupt Friendship, so as to turn it into Rage, or a setled hatred.

« PreviousContinue »