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text proposes ? It is grieving the Holy Spirit, whereby we are sealed to the day of redemption; or, at least, are urged to secure a share in the redemption. The offer of redemption is made without distinction. They only are already interested in it, who have been renew. ed by the Holy Spirit. But even the unrenewed have been the subjects of his convincing and awakening influence. It is not necessary, that we should wait to ascertain our character, before we apply to ourselves the argument. Whatever our character is, we have at least had the offer of redemption, been called to repent, and invited to seek the grace of the Spirit, who is forward to assist us in the religious life. And who of us can say, they have not experienced his strivings within them?

Let us remember, then, that the sins which have been mentioned, as grieving the Spirit, are inconsist-. ent with a clear evidence and scriptural hope of our interest in the great redemption ; and the indulgence of them will most certainly cut us off from the glorious inheritance proposed. And if we fail, alas ! we shall sink under this additional load of guilt, that we have pursued our own destruction, in opposition to the strivings of divine grace; and, while we have ruined ourselves, we have grieved God's compassion and love.

Let sinners, awed by their danger on the one hand, and animated by their encouragement on the other, flee from the wrath to come, and lay hold on the hope set before them.

Let saints, by a steady faith in God, by a diligent attendance on the means of religion, and by the exercise of a holy temper, keep alive their Christian joy. And let them walk as becomes those who have the earnest of the Spirit in their hearts, and are waiting for the day of redemption.


Kindness, Compassion and Forgiveness, in Opposition to

Bitterness, Wrath and Evil Speaking.

EPHESIANS iv, 31, 39.

Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speak.

ing, be put away from you, with all malice ; and be ye kind one to another, tenderkearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven yqu.

IN these, and the preceding verses, the Apose tle describes the Christian life. To give us the more accurate and just conception of it, he shews both what it is, and what it is not—what those passions and vices are, which we must renounce ; and what those dispositions and virtues are, which we must cultivate.

We are taught, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off the old man, and to put on the new man. The old man is corrupt according to deceitful lusts; the new man is holy after the image of God. The Christian thus renovated must depart from evil and do goodput away falsehood, and speak truth abhor all dishonesty and fraud, and work with his hands the things which are profitable--allow no vain discourse to pro ceed from his mouth, but such only as may be useful to edification,

In the same manner the Apostle, in our text, exe presses that benevolent and social temper, which Chris. tians ought to exercise toward one another.

They are to put away anger, malice and evil speaking, and to be kind, compassionate and forgiving, in imitation of the mercy of God, who for Christ's sake hath forgiven them.

We will, first, consider what are the evil dispositions and manners which Christians are here required to renounce. We will then state and explain the opposite virtues. And lastly, we will illustrate and apply the argument by which these virtues are urged.

1. We will consider the evil passions, manners and language, which the Apostle caations us to avoid in our intercourse with one another. « Let all bitter. ness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice.”

1. We are to put away all bitterness--all such passions, behavior and language as are disgustful and offensive to others, wound their tender feelings and embitter their spirits. It is an easy and obvious metaphor. We all know how bitter objects affect our organs of taste. The bitterness, which the Apostle in. tends here, is that conduct in the social life, which affects, in a similar manner, the feelings of others. It is a metaphor which the scripture often uses : A bitter afiliction is a very painful, grievous, one.

To be in bitterness of soul, is to be in great anguish. Bitter words are words which deeply distress the heart. A foolish son is a bitterness to her that bare him, i. e. he is a great affliction to her. We read of those whose mouths are full of cursing and bitterness -of severe and reviling language. Husbands are directed to love their wives, and rot be bitter against them. Bitterness is here opposed to a smooth, kind and obliging car. riage toward intimate friends.

Christians are to put away all such bitterness. Under this metaphor may be comprehended a roughness of manners, and severity of temper—a captious, cavilling humor-a spirit of opposition and contradiction, not only in great, but trivial matters-an assuming, imperious behavior toward friends and companions--a disposition to cross their will, and to criminate at a venture every thing they do, whether right or wronga proneness to upbraid them with past failings, and reproach them for innocent infirmitiesma perpetual jeal. ousy of their intentions, and passionate complaints against them for accidental errors, or even suspected offences. Such treatment is a bitterness to those who have common feelings, especially if they stand in the more tender and delicate relations of life ; yea, in those relations, coldness and indifference are more painfully felt, than direct and positive injuries in ordinary cases, The happiness of domestic life depends on mutual affection and confidence. That neglect which betrays the want of regard, embitters the connexion.

But perhaps no temper is more inconsistent with the felicity of social life, than what is commonly called peevishness. There are some who are subject to sudden and violent gusts of passion, in which they say and do extravagant things; but when the gust has blown itself out, it is followed with a comfortable calm ; and perhaps the clouds which had been lowering before, are now wholly dissipated. So, people, afiicted with epileptic fits, in the intervals of their disorder, enjoy tolerable health : But peevishness can never be easy. It is a restless spirit, irritable at trifles, and discharging its impotent spleen on every object in its way. Though its force may, in general, be but languid, yet it is extremely troublesome and vexatious, because it never cau be quiet itself, nor suffer others to be so. Men of violent passion, like a musket, are silent after the explosion. But the peevish are like wild fire, which keeps up a silly noise, and emits an incessant smoke, with little other effect, than

are near,


to disturb the peace, and afflict the eyes of those who

2. The Apostle in the next place, mentions wrath and anger, as passions which Christians must put

These two words in our language, and in the origin. al, are of much the same import. If there is a difference, the former signifies a heat of temper ; the latter signifies this heat wrought into a fame. They both - together express the passion usually called anger, in all its criminal stages and degrees.

Christians should acquire such an habitual command of themselves, as not to suspect evil without evidence, nor be easily provoked at real evil-not to fall into sudden passion at trivial offences; much less, on mere jealousy and surinise—not to be angry without cause, nor before they have examined the cause, and found it substantial-not to indulge resentment beyond the de. merit of the provocation, nor express it in exasperating language---not to render evil for evil, nor take rash measures for the redress of their wrongs—not to brood over their passion, till it grows into rancor, obstructs the exercise of benevolence, and diverts the course of good offices which are due to mankind.

Though anger, considered simply as a sense of feel. ing of the wrongs done us, is innocent and natural, yet all the irregular and excessive operations of it are sinful and dangerous. They expose us to numerous transgressions, bring on us new temptations, provoke fresh injuries, involve us in unnecessary perplexities, rob us of our peace and selfenjoyment and disturb the security of all around us.

3. We are to put away all malice.

This is a degree of passion beyond simple anger. -, It is a fixed, settled hatred, accompanied with a dis

position to revenge. It is anger resting in the bosom, and studying to do mischief, VOL. III.

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