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On the Effects Which Christianity Ought to Produce on Manners.

On the Effects Which Christianity Ought to Produce on Manners.

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Published by glennpease

The fruits of the spirit are love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness,
goodness, &c. — Galatians v. verse 25.

The fruits of the spirit are love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness,
goodness, &c. — Galatians v. verse 25.

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Published by: glennpease on Jul 16, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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BY REV. SYDEY SMITH, A.M.The fruits of the spirit are love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness,goodness, &c. — Galatians v. verse 25.In this epistle to the Galatians, as in many parts of hiswritings, St. Paul distinguishes between the works of theflesh and of the spirit; meaning by the first, the gratificationof those bad appetites and passions incidental to our nature;and by the last, those virtues which we are taught by theChristian rehgion.The catalogue of natural vices exhibits a true and disgust-ing picture of man untaught and unpurified by his Creator.The works of the flesh, says he, are hatred, variance, strife,wrath, emulations, envyings and seditions. But the Chris-tian religion teaches another mind ; the fruits of that spirit itwould inculcate are love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentle-ness and goodness. In this manner, the general scope of Christianity is pointed out in a few words, and a test affordedus by which we may estimate our progress in religion.We say, in our language, to seize on the spirit of a thing :we talk of the spirit of our political constitution, of the spiritof our civil and criminal law ; and we seem to mean by theexpressions, those few leading principles which uniformlypervade these respective codes, and give them consistency of character ; in this sense the apostle unfolds to us the spirit of Christianity, the object and tendency of all its laws ; they areinstituted to increase love and affection amongst mankind ; tomake us happy, to diffuse peace, to inculcate mutual forbear-ance, gentleness, goodness and meekness.O THE EFFECTS WHICH CHRISTIAITY, <fec. 201 *
The fruits of the spirit are love. — By love the apostle meansphilanthropy, the general love of our fellow-creatures, apassion dwelling more often on the lip than in the heart, andrather a theme on which we declaim, than a motive fromwhich we act. The mass of us who are called Christiansdo not hate our fellow-creatures, but we do not love them.Misanthropy is a compound of ill-temper, disappointment andfolly, which does not often occur. But most men are indif-ferent to that part of the species which is out of the pale of their own private acquaintance ; the cry of public wretched-ness never reaches them ; they never seek for hidden misery ;they shrink from that courageous benevolence which wadesthrough mockery, and contempt, and horror, to curb the in-famous with laws, and comfort the poor with bread ; and whenthe rain and the tempest blacken the earth, they gatherround their comforts within ; and make fast the bars of theirgate against the crying Lazarus, and leave his sores to thedogs, and his head to the storm.Again, nothing can be more dissimilar from the fruits of thespirit than that little indulgence which our mutual faults ex-perience one from the other. The character and conduct of those with whom we live, are not only a very natural but avery necessary object of inquiry ; we should live and act inthe dark, if we were not to make it so ; but the strong tend-ency to injustice and ill nature is the thing to be corrected.Tear the veil off your heart, and look at it steadily and bold-ly ; for a keener eye than yours shall one day pierce intoits darkest chambers. Is there no secret wish to find the im-putation true, by which another is degraded ? Is there nosecret fear that it should be refuted? Do these sentimentsnever lurk under the affectation of pity and condolence ? Haveyou never concealed those circumstances and considerationswhich you knew would extenuate the guilt of an absent andan accused person? Have you never sat in the prudentecstasy of silence, and seen the frame of a good or an eminentman mangled before your eyes ? Have you never givencredit and circulation to improbable evidence of crime ? Haveyou examined the guilt of your neighbour, as you wouldexamine the guilt of jbur child, in heaviness of heart and in
all the reluctant wretchedness of conviction ? Have younever added to evil report ? never in a bad hour and withaccursed tongue, and with unblushing face, heaped up in-famy on a better man than yourself; and spoken that which202 O THE EFFECTS WHICH CHRISTIAITYwas false of the helpless, the good, the wise, or the great ?And if you have done it, if it form the daily habit of yourlife, what title have you to the name of Christian ? Or of what right do you call on Jesus, the merciful and the good?Be not deceived ; God is never scorned. Think you that hewho set at nought the idle sacrifice of the Jews, who wouldnot eat bulls' flesh, or drink the blood of goats, will be mockedwith bended knees and uplifted hands ? Are we the disciplesof Christ because we stand at this prayer, and rise at that,and sanctify the face, and strain at trifles, and fill the templewith the cry of God, God, and Lord, Lord ? If these are ournotions of religion, we walk on deceitful ashes, which willplunge our bodies in flame. Christ came down from themercy-seat of God to heal our woes, and minister to our in-firmities, to soften the nature of man, and to bend his heartto mercy. If you truly venerate his holy name, walk in thatspirit with which he walked on the earth ; forgive as youwould be forgiven ; do unto others as you would they shoulddo unto you ; judge your brethren in mercy, be slow to con-demn, and swift to forgive ; bearing always upon you thefruits of the spirit, peace, long-suffering, gentleness and good-ness.Another cause equally fatal to our progress in Christianity,is that proud contest for superiority, so strongly observable insociety.Few human creatures, indeed, are eminent either for birth,fortune, beauty, learning, or anything on which the worldsets a value, without considering such distinctions as a justifi-cation of pride in themselves, or the want of it as a mark of 

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