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unto thee any facrifice, yet I beseech thee to accept this my bounden duty and fervice; not weighing my merits, but pardoning my offences, through Jesus Chrift our Lord; by whom, and with whom, in the unity of the Holy Ghoft, all honour and glory be unto thee, O Father Almighty, world without end." Amen.
The Meditation for Friday Evening.
Upon universal charity. Above all things put on charity, which is the bond of
perfectness. Coloss. iii. 14. In My soul! our thankfulness cannot
be heightened, but by the reviving in our minds the memory of the be. nefits we have received ; and we are very properly led to these, when we are celebrating the great instance of God's love to mankind, in his Son Jesus Christ. Our charity to all others can never be more effectually improved, or inflamed, than when we take our obligations to it from the love of God to ourselves, shown forth in the commemoration of the death of Chrift; and from our being all united in one body under him our head.. .
2. Thou knowest that faith without charity is dead; and as I am but dust and ashes, thou must quicken me, or t
shall not be able to profit any thing from all these good resolutions thou hast brought me to.
3. Hitherto we have been setting ourfelves right toward God; but I ain told that this is not all, we must proceed further, and inquire how the heart stands toward our neighbour, since we are expressly forbidden to offer up any gift or oblation unto God, if our hearts are leavened with malice, hatred, or revenge. For as Christ prefers mercy before lacrifice, we muit forgive all manner of injuries, before we presume to eat of that bread or to drink of that cup. And it is expressly said, that our prayers are not accepted, nor our pardon sealed in hea. ven, until such time as we forgive men their trespasses; so that we can never be welcome or worthy guests at this heavenly feast, where Jesus the Saviour of penitents, and Prince of Peace, is fpiritually present, unless our repentance re. concile us to God, and our charity to all mankind. Wherefore we are told that it is requisite to be in charity with all men. Flesh and blood thinks this a hard lesson. Tell me, then, what if my friend prove false, injurious, and endeavours to undo me; must I still trust him, love him, and favour him as I used to do? what if he
seek to take away my estate, to hurt my reputation, or assault my person ; must I endure this patiently, and seek no remedy, but treat him ftill in the friendly manner I was wont ?
4. I remember that thou hast told me, how Christianity obliges us to hate no man; to do rio man any injury; to seek no revenge; nor to take any, though it might be done with secrecy and safety; nay, moreover, that it, obliges us to pray to God for the forgiveness of such as may have injured us in the highest measure, and obliges us to deny them nothing that is due in justice, in humanity, and inercy: fo that,
5. Their enmity and ill usage will nem ver excuse me from doing thein any fort of good turns that are due to them, as men or Christians. But tell me, can this hinder me froin defending myself from any injury or violence ? from recovering what is my own? or, from bringing upon them whatever mischief the law will inflict upon such transgressors ?
6. Shall Christianity hinder me from breaking off friendship with one who has showed himself unworthy of it? Nay, I am well satisfied that the doctrine of Christ is of greater purity, than to require me to continue him in that confidence
nd trust, he has heretofore been in, but ow forfeited by falsehood and ill usage.
know there can be no communion beween the disciples of God and Belial, so that
f we must not hate, yet we may dislike any one that injures our reputation, fortune, or our person.
7. This I understand to mean, that we may cease our friendship as to opinion, but not our readiness to do all good of
fices, as for example, if I have injured · any one, I must be reconciled and make amends; and if any one has injured me, I must pray to God to forgive him, and So forgive him myself, as not to return evil for evil, nor take any advantage against any one to their prejudice.
8. Therefore, my soul! it concludes in this: if our adversary be unreasonable, and will not be reconciled to us, it is enough that we have desired it, and shown ourself disposed to it. Only I shall always
learn of thee to have immediate recourse cing in all difficulties, which may happen in laws like cases, to some prudent and good fpi
ritual guide, who will easily tell me what is to be done in the matter; and especially I shall remember, that to be on the for
giving side is wisdom, and pleasure, and actrine o superiority; yea, it is to do bravely, and
to be a good Christian.
CO requi onfiden
The Hymn on Friday Evening.
Upon universal Charity.
And nobler Speech than angels use,
Softens the high, and rears the abject mind,