17. (2.) In the next place, we may learn what is the peculiar gift of the Spirit even without seeking in Scripture for any express contrast between graces and virtues, by considering the Christian moral code as a whole, and the general impression which it would make on minds which had been instructed in nothing beyond the ordinary morality which nature teaches. Such are the following passages—we are bid not to resist evil, but to turn the cheek to the smiter; to forgive from our hearts our brother, though he sin against us unto seventy times seven; to love and bless our enemies; to love without dissimulation; to esteem others better than ourselves; to bear one another's burdens; to condescend to men of low estate; to minister to our brethren the more humbly, the higher our station is; to be like little children in simplicity and humility. We are to guard against every idle word, and to aim at great plainness of speech; to make prayer our solace, and hymns and psalms our mirth; to be careless about the honours and emoluments of the world; to maintain almost a voluntary poverty (at least so far as renouncing all superfluous wealth may be called such); to observe a purity severe as an utter abhorrence of uncleanness can make it to be; willingly to part with hand or eye in the desire to be made like to the pattern of the Son of God; and to think little of friends or country, or the prospects of ordinary domestic happiness, for the kingdom of heaven's sake.

18. Now, in enumerating these maxims of Christian morality, I do not attempt to delineate the character itself, which they are intended to form as their result. Without pretending to interpret rules, which the religious mind understands only in proportion to its progress in sanctification, I may assume, what is enough for the present purpose, that they evidently point out to some very exalted order of moral excellence as the characteristic of a genuine Christian. Thus they are adequate to the explanation of the Apostle's strong language about the Spirit of glory and God as the present gift gained for us by our Saviour's intercession, which in the text is evidently declared to be a moral gift, yet as evidently to be something more than what is meant by ordinary faith and obedience.

Comment