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is formed of general kindness and good-will. Hence, they who have best cultivated, in the smaller circles of private intercourse, the dispositions which endear men to each other, will be most sensible of the value of such dispositions when operating more diffusively, and will probably best know how to render them productive of public benefit. On the other hand, a just regard to those strong and ardent feelings which almost universally attach men to their native country; and even that sentiment of general philanthropy which attaches us to man as man, and prompts us, without local or personal considerations, when we have opportunity, to do good unto ALL; will serve to prevent the more limited affections from degenerating into a selfish spirit, and becoming detrimental to the pub
It is by the happy union and due subordination of these instinctive propensities, (if such they may be called,) that the real welfare of individuals, of families, of neighbourhoods, of national communities, and eventually of the whole human race, will be best secured. Vain and visionary are the theories of those sciolists in human nature, who propose
schemes of universal philanthropy, apart from all connection with ties of a closer kind;
inverting the very order of nature, and calling upon men to sacrifice primary to secondary duties, and practicable to impracticable good. Nor less pernicious in their tendency are those opposite theories, which make self-love, however refined, the sole law of man's nature, and the measure of his duty; teaching him that no other regard is due to his fellow-creatures, than that which originates and terminates in his own personal interest or gratification.
To neither of these extremes does the Christian Religion give countenance. It tends not to the waste of moral and intellectual energies on projects indefinite and unattainable ; neither does it sanction the individual in a slothful neglect, or a selfish appropriation, of the talents which he possesses. No field is too wide for the application of its principles ; none too circumscribed to admit of their
operation. Whether the relation be nearer or more remote, the correspondent duty is distinctly recognised, and the performance of it specifically enjoined. Thus, to obey parents, magistrates, and all who are in authorityb;to “honour all men, love the brotherhood, “ fear God, and honour the Kingo;"—to “ do “ unto all men as we would they should do “ unto usd;"—these, among many others with which the Sacred Writings abound, are injunctions declaratory of our duty in the various departments of social life :—and it requires no elaborate argument to prove that these, if practised to their full extent, could not but operate to promote both collective and individual happiness.
b Eph. vi. 1. Col. iii. 22. Tit. iii. 1. Heb. xiii. 17. c i Pet. ii. 17.
When, therefore, it is objected as a defect in Scripture-Ethics, or when it is urged in defence of systems incompatible with the character of man as a social being, that the Sacred Writings do not expressly inculcate patriotism and friendship as Christian duties ; it seems to be forgotten, that every thing which can render either of these really a virtue, is again and again enforced ; and that our blessed Lord, who is the great Exemplar of a holy life, illustrated both in his own conduct. He shared the sorrows of his personal associates; and he affectionately bewailed the approaching calamities of his fellow-countrymen. He wept over Jerusalem, and he wept for Lazarus. Nor are the injunctions of the Apostles less adapted than our Lord's example to give a sanction to these virtues. Doubtless, he is the truest friend, who follows St. Paul's maxim, “ Re“joice with them that do rejoice, and weep “ with them that weepe;" who “ comforts the “ feeble-minded, and supports the weak ';" who exercises forgiveness, forbearance, candour, truth, sincerity; and who instructs by example, as well as by admonition. Doubtless, also, he is the truest patriot, who best practises the Apostolical precept, “ Let no “ man seek his own, but
d Matt. vii, 12.
every man another's “ wealthg ;” who applies the rule, “ Love the “ brotherhood,” to the whole community of which he is a member; who faithfully “ ren“ ders to all their dues”;" who is “subject to
principalities and powers, and obeys magi“ stratesi;” who“ knows both how to abound, “ and how to suffer need k;” and who best discharges the duties of his station, whatever that station may be. By such instructions as these, our Lord and his Apostles have taught us our duty as members one of another; not encouraging irrational and indiscriminate affections towards individuals or towards the State, but inculcating such principles, and prescribing such rules of conduct, as most effectually subserve the interests of both.
e Rom. xii. 15. h Rom. xii. 7.
fi Thess. V, 14. i Titus iii. I.
8 1 Cor. x. 24. k Phil. iv. 12.
Nor let it be overlooked, that these principles are by the Christian Religion fixed on a firmer basis, and supported by stronger sanctions, than any on which they could otherwise be rested. They issue from the Divine Will, and are enforced by Divine Authority. They depend not on human caprice for their recompense, nor on human power for their effect. They are now become religious, as well as moral duties. Hence arise new views of their value and importance; the desire of promoting the public welfare being immediately connected with that of obedience to the Divine will. Brethren,” says St. Paul, “let
every man, wherein he is called, therein “ abide with God':"—that is, let him, in his proper station, actively exert himself for the good of the community, under a just sense of responsibility to the Almighty for every part of his conduct. Let him consider it as the ordinance of God, that " none of us liveth to “ himself ;” that his household, his friends, his country, all have claims upon his exertions; and that to withhold from any of these the benefit of his services, is to deprive them of their due. Let him also consider, that, whatever be his worldly calling, he may
1 1 Cor. viii. 20.