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so, in some rare cases, when we have to do with singularly base and ungenerous natures ; but even then, I think, chiefly, if not solely, when that connivance. is joined with imprudence or folly : and then it is not humility should bear the blame, but our own indiscretion. Besides, the question is concerning a general rule of conduct : and this rule may be a fit and reasonable one, though it admit, as most rules do, of some exceptions.

Again, though a wise and good man will frequently suppress, and always moderate his resentment, yet neither reason nor the religion of Jesus requires, that in' no case whatsoever should we be actuated by that principle. The principle itself, as I have shewn, is a natural one, and under due restraint may serve to good purposes ; one of which, perhaps, is to give a check to overbearing insolence and oppression, I mean when it rises to a certain degree and exceeds certain bounds. Even our blessed Lord, who was meekness itself, thought fit on .some occasions to express a very strong resentment; as, when he upbraided the Pharisees in no gentle terms, but, in a just indignation at their malice, went so far as to brand them with the bitter names of vipers and serpents, and to menace them with the flames of helld. So that meekness and resentment are not absolutely incompatible; though the danger of exceeding in this last quality is so great, that the general rule both of reason and Christianity, is to cultivate meekness in ourselves, and to restrain our resentments.

“ But, if exceptions be allowed in any case, the rule, it will be said, becomes of no use; for that pride and passion will find an exception in every case." If they should, they must answer for themselves. In all moral matters, something, nay much, must be left to the fairness and honesty of the mind. Without this principle, the plainest rule of life

may

be evaded or abused : and with it, even that hard saying, of loving our enemies, which is near of kin to this of meekness, is easily understood, and may be reasonably applied.

“ Still, the rule, it is said, must be an improper one; for that the world, not some few persons, but mankind in general, are only to be kept in order by force and fear.” So far as there is truth in this observation, the civil sword, 'in every country, supplies that needful restraint.' But in the general commerce between man and man, in all offices of civility and society, that is, in cases where the stronger passions and more important interests of men, are not directly concerned, as they are in what relates to property and power, the observation is clearly not true. Here, pride is the predominant vice of mankind. And pride is naturally softened and disarmed by placability and. meekness. The good humour of the world is easily and most effectually maintained by mutual concessions and reciprocal civilities : for pride, having a mixture of generosity in it, yields to these, and loses all the fierceness of its nature. So that they, who bring this charge against the world, calumniate their kind, and either shew that they have kept ills company; or, as I rather suspect, have never tried the experiment, which they say: is. so hopeless. Let them learn to think more favourably, that is more justly, of human nature. We are passionate, infirm creatures, indeed; but still men, and not fiends. · Let them set the example of that lumility, which they affect to think so unpromising a guard against injuries : and I dare assure them they will generally find themselves better defended by it, than by any resentment or high spirit which they can possibly exert.

d Matth. xxiii. 33:

Lastly, I would observe, that, if in some rare instances, and in places, especially, where fashion has made resentment highly creditable, this practice be found inconvenient, the rule is not to be set aside on that account. The authority of the legislator should exact obedience to it; and the inconvenience will be amply compensated by other considerations. We shall have the merit of testifying the sincerity of our religion, by giving to God and man so eminent a proof of it; and, in due time, we shall have our reward.

To conclude: in this and all other cases, we shall do well to learn of Jesus, who was meek. and lowly in heart. His authority, his example, his affectionate call upon us in the words of the text, are powerful motives to the practice of this duty. And for the rest, we have seen, that it leads directly to peace and quiet, in our intercourse with each other; or, if the perverseness of man should sometimes disappoint us in this expectation, that it will certainly and infallibly yield rest to our own souls.

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And the Pharisees also, who were covetous, heard all those things, and they derided him.

BUT what then were those things which our Lord had said in the hearing of the Pharisees, and for which they derided him?

Had he been inveighing against the vice of covetousness in any unreasonable manner? Had he carried the opposite virtue to an extreme, as some moralists have done? Had he told the Pharisees that the possession, and much more the enjoyment of riches, was, universally, and under all circumstances, unlawful ? Had he

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