Watts - Houston-Packer Collection BX5207.W3 S4x 1805 v.2

40 THE UNIVERSAL RULE OF .EQUITY. (SEAM. *XXIII. I. What is the true meaningof this divine rule. II. What is the special argument that our Lord uses in order to enforce it. I,II.. Wherein the particular excellencies of it appear. IV. I shall conclude with' some reflections on this sub- ject. First, What is the true meaning of this rule ? In order to understand this rule aright, we must consi-, der what it does not require, as well as what it does ì For on the one side, some selfish necessitous and unreason- able persons may expect more from us than this rule obliges us to perform :. And on the other side, a timor- ous and weak conscience mayperhaps be led into a mis- take, and think itself bound by this rule to perform some instances of kindness to others, which are'trtterly unrea- sonable and unrequired, and which might be injurious on other accounts to ourselves, or to our families, or to the rest of mankind. We must remember then, that this rule does not mean to oblige us to give all that to another, or do all that for another, which we could possibly desire or wish to be bestowed upon us, or done for us; but whatsoever we could reasonably desire, and justly expect another should do to us, that 'we ought to do to him when he is in the like circumstances. All that in our calm and sedate thoughts we judge, fit and proper another should do for us, that we should practise and do for him. Such re- quests as we could make to others, and could justify -them to ourselves in our own consciences, according to the principles of humanity, the rules of civil society, and. the rights ofmankind, such we ought not to deny to others when they stand in need. Not all that a fond self-love would prompt us to ask, but all that our con- science tell us we might with reason expect. I shall mention an instance or two, which will more fully explain what I mean. 4 criminal under righteous condemnation for murder or robbery, may think thus with himself, " Surely I would pardon the judge or. the prince, if he were in.my circum- stances, therefore he ought to pardon me." Or the judge himself might ;think, " I should be glad to be pardoned or not condemned, if I were in the case of this criminal, therefore I will not condemn him." This sort of thoughts