« PreviousContinue »
straint to overcome the perverseness of disobedience, and the proneness to discredit the purposes of their commands.
Just at that moment my friend Mr. Conway, with his daughter Mary, joined me; they were on their way to my house, but; seeing iny engagement, they accompanied me.
We were soon at the school door, and I felt the shoulder of my boys shrink from under my hand, as if very desirous to quit the grasp, which they were convinced, however, by the trial, could not be effected; therefore we were soon in the presence of the schoolmaster, and within the half circle formed by the school boys, who were at that moment rehearsing the Church Catechism.
The master, who was a sensible man and accustomed to my occasional visits, with a respectful bow, put the book, from which he was questioning the boys, into my hand, signifying his desire that I should take his place; and a bow. of the head from all the boys expressed their respectful readiness to acknowledge the authority deputed to me.
Before I commence, let me see these two boys put in the place which belongs to them in the class.
I wish, Sir, the master said, that they had a place they could call their own; but they are in the habit of neglecting school, and they always contrive to be absent upon some lame excuse on the day for the catechism : I do not think they know a word.
Then, as they have no place in the general class, we must leave them to their own particular distinction, of standing alone. And very awkward and ashamed did they look when they found themselves separated from the little flock, and made so conspicuous for their fault.
Will you allow me, I said to the master, to neglect the usual order of the questions, and to select a few for the present occasion ?
By all means, Sir.
Turning to the class, I asked, what is your duty to your neighbor ?
They answered in the manner in which they were taught, not by one taking the whole, but by severally taking up by turn as they stood the different members of the answer, thus, My duty towards my neighbor is-To love him as myself—To do unto all men as I would they should do unto me- - To love, honor, and succor my father and my mother-To honor and obey the king and all that are put in authority under him-To submit myself to all my governors, teachers, spiritual pastors, and masters-To order myself lowly and reverently to all my betters
Stop there, and I will ask you some questions. Do you
know to what commandment this explanation of duty belongs ?
Yes; to the fifth, "Honor thy father and thy mother."
Observe, it is called your duty to your neighbor, because every relative human connexion is
included in the term neighbor ; that is, all others beside yoursif, --father, mother, brother, sister; king, and all in authority, such as magistrates, public officers, rulers, governors, teachers, spiritual pastors, and masters ;-they are all in the Scripture sense neighbors, our fellow-creatures in different stations of life, and all having a claim upon us for that behavior towards them which is due to their station, or which we owe them in the great Scripture spirit, Love.
How do you know that Love is the first principle ?
A fine boy, who stood at the head of the class, answered,
Because, when the Pharisees asked our Lord Jesus, Which is the great commandment in the law ? he answered so as to show that Love was the great principle, both towards God and towards our neighbors.
Repeat the passage.
Matt. xxii. 37-40. Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment; and the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
Why is the second like unto the first. Because of its principle, which is also Love.
Why do all the law and the prophets hang on these two commandments ?
Because Love is the fulfilling of the law. Rom. xiii. 10.
It is called the royal law, Jam. ii. 8. Royal means kingly, sovereign, that which bears the rule, so if we have love, then it will act in royal power over all our hearts, and subdue all to itself, all rebellious passions. It is worth your while, dear boys, to remember what is this royal law, because then you will understand what is to govern you in all your conduct towards your God and towards your neighbor.
Do you remember what it was by which the Lord convicted the Pharisees of coming short of the law.
Yes. Ye pass over judgment and the love of God. Luke xi. 42.
Whence comes Love into the heart of the children of God ?
From God. God is Love, 1 John iv. 8; Love is of God, 1 John iv. 7 ; and in Rom. v. 5, it is written, The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.
I turned to the second boy, and said, How much are you to love your neighbor ?
To love him as myself.
To do unto others as I would they should do unto me.
Now take notice of these several parts we ought to perform in this our duty to our neighbor.
I begin with your betters, as they are called; which means, all your superiors of what
ever station. If you yourself were among the class of superiors, or betters, how would you think it right that others should behave to you?
He did not answer, being a little puzzled, but a quick intelligent boy lower in the class said,
Lowly and reverently.
Right, that means respectfully and dutifully ; then as you know how you would they should do to you, therefore do you so to them. Elders and old men are to be considered as among your betters, on account of their age and experience.
Have you any Scriptures to direct you?
Yes,-Lev. xix. 32, “ Thou shalt rise up before the hoary head, and honor the face of the old man.” 1 Peter v. 5, “ Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder; yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility."
Suppose you were a master, how would you desire to be behaved to ?
They had caught the idea I wished to convey to them, and several answered at once,
To be submitted to.
What Scripture have you to prove that servants ought to submit to their masters ?
1 Peter ii. 18, “Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward." Eph. vi. 5,
Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ." And also Titus ii. 9, 10.