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be so wicked to break the precept ? If he fears not to wrong me, shall not I fear to wrong God ? O let the fear of God's threatnings repress such sinful motions.
2 Rem. Set before your eyes the most eininent patterns of meekness and forgiveness, that your souls may fall in love with it.
This is the way to cut off those common pleas of the flesh för revenge ; as Thus, 10 man would bear such affrout. Yes, 'such and such have borne as bad and worse. I shall be reckoned a coward, a fool, if I pass by this : no matter, as long as I follow the examples of the wisest and holiest of men). Never did any suffer more and greater abuses from men than Christ did, and never did any carry it more peaceably and forgivingly, Isa. liii. 7. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth : he was brought as a lamb to the slaughter, &c. This pattern the apostle sets before you for
your imitation, 1 Pet. ii. 21, 22, 23. For even hereunto are you called, be. cause Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example that we should follow, his steps : who, when he was reviled, reviled not again ; when he suffered, he threatened not, but cominitted himself to him that judgeth righteously. To be of a meek
forgiving spirit, is Christ like, God like ; then shall you be the children of your
Father which is in heaven : for he maketh his to rise upon the evil, and upon. the good ; and sendeth rain on the just, and on the unjust, Mat. V. 45. How eminently also did the spirit of Christ jest upon his apostles ? Never were there such men upon earth for true excellency of spirit : noue were ever abused more, or suffered their abuses better : being reviled, (said they) we bless ; being persecuted, we suffer it ; being defamed, we intreat, i Cor. iv. 12, 13. Mr. Calvin, though a man of a quick spirit, yet had attained such a degree of this Christ like forgiveness, that, when Luther had used some opprobrious language of bim, the good man said no more but this, " al" though he should call me devil, yet
I " will acknowledge hini to be an eminent
servant of Jesus Christ.”
I have often heard it reported of holy Mr. Dod, that when one, inraged at his close convincing doctrine, picked a quarred with him, smote him on the face, and dashed out two of his teeth '; this ineek servant of Christ spat out the teeth and blood into his hand, and said, “
see bere, you have knockt out two of my teeth,
< and that without any just provocation ; " but, on condition I might do your soul
good, I would give you leave to dash « out all the rest.” Here is the excellency of a christian's spirit, above all the attainments of moral heathens : though they were excellent at many other things, yet they could never attain this forgiving spirit. It is the first office of justice (said Tully) to hurt no body, unless first provoked by an injury : whereupon Lactantius, o quam simplicem veramque sententiam duorum verborum adjectione corrupit! What a dainty sentence spoiled the orator by adding those two last words ! Strive then for this excellency of spirit, which is the proper excellency of christians ; do some singular thing that others cannot do, and then you will have a testiinony in their consciences : when Moses out did the magicions, they were forced to confess the finger of God in that business.
3 Rem. Consider well the quality of the person that hath wronged thee. Either he is a good man, or a wicked man, that hath done thee the injury : if he be a good man, there is light and tenderness in his conscience, and that will bring him at last to a sense of the evil he hath done; however Christ hath forgiven himn greater injories thån these, and why shouldst not
thou? Will not Christ upbraid him with any of thuse wrongs done to him, but frankly forgives him all ; and wilt thou take him by the throat for some petty am buse that he hath done to thee?
Or, is he a wicked inan ? If so, truly you have more need to exercise pity thanı revenge towards him, and that upon a double account : for, l, lle is beside himself, so indeed is every unconverted singer, "Luke xv. 17. Should you go into Bedlam, and there hear one rail at you, another rock you, and a third threaten you ; would you say, I will be revenged upon them? No, you would rather go away pitying them. Alas, poor creatures ! they are out of their wits, and know not what they do. Besides, 2, there is a day a coming, if they repent not, when they will have more misery than you can find in your hearts to wish them : you need not study revenge, God's vengeance sleepeth not, and will shortly take place upon tbem ; and is 1100 that enough? Have they not an eternity of misery coming ? If they repent not, this must be the portion of their cup; and, if ever they do repent, they will be ready to make you reparation.
4 Rem. Keep down thy heart by this consideration, that by revenge thou canst
but' satisfy a lust, but by forgiveness thoa shalt conquer a lust.
Suppose by revenge thou shouldst destroy one enemy, I will shew thee how by forgiving thou shalt conquer three ; tbine own lust, the devil's temptation, and thine enemy's heart : and is not this a more glorious conquest ? If by revenge thou overcome thine enemy, yet (as Bernard saith) unhaypy victory, when, by overcoming another man, thou art overcome by thine own corruption : but this way you may obtain a glorious conquest indeed. What an honourable and dry victory did David this way obtain over Saul ? 1 Sam. xxiv. 16, 17. And it came to pass, when David had made an end of speaking these words, that Saul lift up his voice and wept ; and he said to David, thou art more righteous than I.
It must be a very disingenuous nature indeed, upon which meekness and forgivemess will not work; a stony heart, which this fire will not melt. To this sense is that, Prow. xxv. 21. If thine enemy
bulle ger, feed him ; if he thirst, give him drink : for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head. Some will have it a sin punishing fire, but others an heart melting fire : to be sure, it will either melt his heart, or aggravate bis