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esteem of their fellow-creatures. And why not? since God himself requires our acknowledgements and our affections for his loving-kindness. Thus it hath ever been, and thus it is still in the world: instances are not wanting of constancy, of friendship, of fidelity, of gratitude, of compassion, of integrity, many of which escape the notice of the public, and are perhaps only observed of God and good angels, being seldom transacted in high life, and under splendid roofs and palaces.

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The most judicious philosophers, and the most acute observers of the human frame and constitution, have pronounced man to be a creature naturally tame and gentle, and sociable and tractable, who by the help of good laws and good examples, and good teachers and governors, may be made good and useful to the world.

Our adversaries will not admit thus much. They have commonly, as no good opinion of God, so no favourable opinion of men: in short, some of them have no esteem of themselves; and finding little moral honesty at home, in their own breasts, they are willing to suppose the rest of the world to be no better. And this is probably one great motive which induces them to draw a hideous portrait of human nature, loaded with the ugly features of craft, baseness, malice, suspicion, selfishness, and dissimulation, by which they have transformed this earth into a hell, where as many men so many devils surround us.

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Let us now see in what sense and in what instances charity thinketh no evil.


First of all, we should do the same justice to an


apostle which we would do to other writers, that is,

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to interpret his words fairly, and not to strain them beyond the intention of the author. Supposing then that the apostle intended to recommend a candid disposition in forming a judgement concerning the actions of others, the meaning of his words must be this, that charity judgeth not hardly and severely, when there is room to think well, or when there is reason to suspend Sood. TO the judgement, and to remain uncertain.


There are a multitude of actions which are of an indifferent nature, and have nothing moral in them, and deserve neither praise nor blame. Setting these aside, the other actions of men are bad, or they are good, or have at least the appearance of goodness.

There are actions which are bad, and which all the world have agreed in condemning, and it cannot be supposed that charity requires us to think well of them. But herein the charitable differs from the censorious man: that he never aggravates the faults of others; that, if there be any circumstances mitigating the offence, he never willingly overlooks them; and that, in forming judgements of men, he considers their good as well as their bad qualities.

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charity thinketh no evil. And here lies the main of the dispute; for the adversaries of human nature will insist upon it that the good actions of men proceed from bad motives, and are only vices with a fair face. The contrary to this is very evident. Good actions, or actions which appear to be good, can scarcely proceed from any other than honest motives. Let any one consult his own heart, and he will find that the motives to well-doing are these, a love of goodness strengthened by education and custom, or a propensity to some particular virtue, or a view to please God, or a fear to offend him, or a hope of future rewards, or a drea dread of future punishments, or a desire to stand fair in the opinion of mankind, or a regard to some of the present advantages arising from a commendable behaviour. Of these motives some are more excellent than others; but







70,000 $18 VE 33 15 1964 not one of them is vicious, perts colous, and capable of and capable of utterly spoiling a good action. It is not easy to name any case in which evil intentions produce actions apparently good, except one, which is this: there are persons who have wicked designs which they cannot execute without imposing upon the world, and pretending to virtues which they have not. Such persons may do things which are in themselves right and commendable, but for which they deserve no praise, because their FL views are bad. But it is unfair, on account of such dissemblers, to judge hardly in general of actions in which nothing blameable can be discerned... v.Jadurg If there be any persons whom it is reasonable to


suspect, they are those who pretend to more than ordinary sanctity and fervour, and to more than ordinary assistances of the Spirit, and are very severe and censorious in their judgements of others whose religion is less noisy, and whose zeal is more discreet. History informs us that such saints have done infinite mischief in the world, and cautions us to be upon our guard against them; and the Scriptures, which recommend to us so much candour and equitable fairness in our judgements, yet allow us to have some of the serpent's prudence, and to beware of those who either deceive or are deceived.


It is urged by those who depreciate mankind, that self-love is the corrupted fountain of all human virtues. And this is the principal argument on which they rest their cause: From this general fault,' say they,' none are free, except those Christians in whom the grace of God overcomes the evil principled.' This is added by way of ridicule, or to throw dust in the eyes of the simple.

But here they ignorantly or wilfully confound two sorts of self-love, which both Scripture and reason teach us to distinguish. Wicked men shall be lovers of themselves,' say the Scriptures: here is vicious selflove. Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself,' say the Scriptures: here is innocent self-love. The desire of happiness and the love of ourselves are natural affections, and therefore, like other passions, they are


See the Discourse prefixed to Rouchefoucault's Maxims.

harmless; but when they are suffered to go beyond their bounds, and to encroach upon the love which is due to God and to our neighbour, and to weaken or destroy it, then they become vicious in various degrees, and not before.

To consider ourselves as what we really are, a part of the creation, and to desire the share of happiness which is designed for us; to consider other beings also as what they really are, and to do to them as we could reasonably wish they should do to us; to promote the happiness and lessen the misery of all creatures, as far as we can; this is morality and virtue: a morality built upon our own interest distinct from that of others, is a doctrine not fit even for the schools of Pagan philosophers, but for the dens of boors and savages.

To conclude: Charity thinketh no evil of others, since usually it thinketh not at all about them, that is, about their faults. There is a disposition which the writers of the New Testament often reprimand and condemn, and that is a pragmatical impertinence in meddling with the concerns and characters of other people. The charitable man is free from this fault. He has work to do of his own; it is enough for him to watch over his own conduct. He is not curious to know how others act, and in what they are deficient, and is neither a spreader nor a receiver of idle reports concerning them; he has no leisure and no genius for such mean occupations, but studies to be quiet, and to mind his own business.

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