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the old man; proceeds in the words now read to direct them to cultivate the opposite graces. And in doing this, he proposes, after his usual manner, those peculiarly Christian motives by which alone men can be effectually enabled to perform them.' Hence in considering this subject, we must notice,
I. The Christian graces or virtues here enjoined by the Apostle.
II. The Christian motives by which he enforces them.
We begin by reviewing,
I. THE CHRISTIAN VIRTUES HERE ENJOINED BY THE APOSTLE.
These are in the whole seven-bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, long-suffering, forbearing of one another, and forgiving of one another. They may perhaps, however, be reduced to three heads. Bowels of mercies and kindness may be classed under the more general term COMPASSION. Humbleness of mind, meekness, and long-suffering, appear to be all parts or effects of LOWLINESS OF SPIRIT; whilst the forbearing of one another, and the forgiving of one another, may be considered under the topic of FORGIVENESS OF INJURIES. The first class regards our duty to others who are in misery; the second is designed to lead us on to the proximate duties arising from the or
dinary obligations and infirmities of life; the third carries us forward to a right conduct in respect to persons who are unjust and contumelious. These several graces are said to be PUT ON, because, as garments cover and adorn the body, so do holy temper's adorn the soul. Thus in other passages of Scripture we are exhorted to be clothed with humility, and to put on the Lord Jesus Christ; and, in the verses which precede the text Christians are described as putting off the old man with his deeds, and putting on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of Him that created him,
The Apostle begins with enjoining a TENDER COMPASSION for the miseries and wants of others. We are to put on BOWELS OF MERCIES, to cultivate that deep and real sympathy for the calamities of our fellow-creatures which kindles the whole soul and opens and touches the very heart. The expression is common in the Holy Scriptures, and especially in the Old Testament. It denotes, not only the act of relief, but the most tender affection in affording it. The Apostle places this first, because it is from hence that all benevolent actions should flow. The sympathetic commiseration of Christian love is often of itself a greater support to the afflicted than any mere external gift. The objects of this virtue are those who have no helper, as the widow and the orphan; and in general the poor,
the sick, and those who are overwhelmed with ány sudden calamity. As often as such are placed in our way, like the wounded traveller in our Lord's parable, we are to have compassion on them, and go and bind up their wounds, pouring in oil and wine. Apathy and hardness of heart are least of all suitable to a Christian, who owes every thing himself to the compassion and mercy of God, and who is taught to be affected with the evils of those who partake of the same nature with him, since he may himself have need in turn of the like sympathy. We sin, not in having affections, but in using them amiss. He that hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need and shutteth
his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? It is no sufficient discharge of this duty to give alms even with prófusion : we must visit the widow and fatherless in their affliction ; we must see for ourselves, as opportunity allows, the case of woe; we must weep with them that weep, we must have compassion one of another, and be merciful, even as our Father which is in heaven is merciful.
The Apostle goes on in our text from the affection to the action-put on KINDNESS; for deeds of benevolence must ever be united with bowels of mercies. Real compassion does not display itself in the refinement of a fastidious ear, but in the emotions of a feeling heart.
Words of pity without correspondent sympathy and actual relief, where we can afford it, are pretence and mockery. We are to love, not in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth. The two together constitute the Christian's duty towards the afflicted-a heart prompt to feel, a hand kind to relieve.
The second class of virtues enjoined in the text, are those which arise from our ordinary obligations in life, and the numerous infirmities which attend them. They may be comprehended under LOWLINESS OF SPIRIT. The first is HUMILITY ; for this is the parent of all good actions. Pride is the poison of the soul: it hardens the heart; it is the cause of contention; it is the enemy of all the duties which we owe to others, and is directly opposed to that disposition which bears with their errors and weaknesses God resisteth the proud, but he giveth grace unto the humble. The man who has truly repented of sin and received with deep selfabasement the ineffable gift of righteousness in Christ Jesus, will be prepared to walk humbly, first with his reconciled God, and then with all around him. Such a penitent has the seed and preparation of all other graces. Ile considers that if he has in himself any thing good, it proceeds not from his own power, but from the mercy of God; that this good is very little, compared with wbat he ought to have, and what others
have; that it has been misused in various ways, and is so mingled with sin and infirmity as itself to need the divine forgiveness. A true Christian will therefore never take occasion from his works of charity of being vain and presumptuous ; but will conduct himself with humbleness of mind, will condescend to men of low estate, will reckon himself to be unworthy of the least of all God's mercies, and will be ready, like his Lord, to wash the feet of his fellow-disciples.
Meekness and long-suffering are the daughters of humility. Christian MEEKNESS is not a merely natural softness and tenderness of mind, which commonly errs as much on the side of sin ful compliance as other dispositions do on that of severity, but is a supernatural grace which renders a man tractable in his common intercourse with others, which prevents him from being soc 11 exasperated with their follies, or smaller faults; and which moderates anger, so as to which is unjust, and to temper that which is right and lawful. The meek shall inherit the earth. Nothing so much tends to make life pleasant and tranquil amidst the little vexations and disappointments which human frailty perpetually occasions even in the best regulated families, as this engaging disposition. For since we do not live with perfect men, but with those who are fallible, and who have very different judgments and tempers, meekness is, as it were, a shield