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AN HUMBLE ATTEMPT
REVIVAL OF PRACTICAL RELIGION AMONG CHRISTIANS, By a serious Address to Ministers and People.
(Continued from Vol. IV.)
A SERIOUS ADDRESS TO THE PEOPLE.
MAT. V. 57.-What do ye more than others?
SECTION I.-The Text applied to the Disciples. THAT excellent sermon which our Lord preached on the mount, seems to be addressed in a special manner to his disciples, though a mixed multitude might attend to hear it. The first verse of the chapter tells us that Jesus seeing the multitudes, went up into a mountain; aud when he was set, his disciples came unto him, and he opened his mouth and taught them, saying, Blessed are the poor in spirit: and there are several expressions in the sermon which plainly shews that the discourse was chiefly directed to the disciples; Mat. v. 13, &c. Ye are the salt of the earth, ye are the light of the world; which he would never say to a multitude of mixed people that followed him, made up probably of Galilean Gentiles, as well as Jews.
The words I have chosen are a warm and pathetic question put to the consciences of the disciples, with regard to the great duty of charity and love, which our blessed Saviour, had been just preaching in sublimer degrees than the ancient prophets, If you salute none but your brethren, if you love only those that love you, or as Luke vi. 33. If you do good them that do good to you, what do you more than others? For the publicans and sinners do the same. Persons who make no pretences to godliness, and who neither enjoy the advantages with which you are blessed, nor lie under equal engagements; they love their own friends as well as you, and make grateful returns for benefits received; they practise many duties of morality, but I expect that you my disciples should far excel them, both in the duties you practise, and in the manner of performance: I expect that you should love your enemies, and should bless them that curse you, and do good to them. that hate you, as in verse 44. What is here spoken thus warmly by our Lord to his own disciples, concerning love and civility and kindness to our fellow-creatures, may with the same justice be applied to most of the duties which we owe to God or man,