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THE SCRIPTURAL MODEL OF A CHRISTIAN
Ir is a mistake to suppose that the qualities of the Christian and the gentleman are in parallelism with each other, and that each draws its existence and perfection from a distinct source, -that the one taking its origin from the world and its school of manners, and the other derived from its proper author, work together as coefficients in fashioning the character of the Christian gentleman. The case is far otherwise. The whole composition is fundamentally Christian; the result of that formative grace which renovates the heart, and which, as a refiner's fire or as fuller's soap, purges the thoughts and temper from the dross and scum of their adhesions.
If we turn our attention to the mere exterior manners, to the modes and habitudes of familiar life, and to those accidents of time and place which are as diversified as the relations of man to man, and which assume all the varieties of physical and moral predicament, it may be that upon them religion has no specific or necessary
influence; but if we regard the basis of politeness, urbanity of temper, suavity of disposition, and charity of heart, we acknowledge the true gentleman to be the proper product of Christian discipline, and that Scriptural holiness is the mirror before which his character must be dressed, to come forth to the world in the dignity of its appropriate adornment.
In looking to this origin of the Christian gentleman, we see how necessary, to the right constitution of his character, is the purity of the source from which it springs;-the dew of its birth is of the womb of the morning, fresh and sparkling with spiritual graces. The dignity of his descent declares itself in his aspect; and his bearing shows him to be of the family of Christ; the tokens of his brotherhood are joy and peace, and all that lights up the believer's countenance: he moves a king and a priest by divine right and celestial ordination: the fashions of the world are at his feet, as mists at the base of Lebanon; they come and go, gather and disappear, while the Christian's heart standeth fast and believeth in the Lord: every movement expresses the beauty of holiness, and gives form and body to virtue: his exterior tells of inward order: he speaks before he utters his voice, and every tone and gesture borrows a grace from a deep and
never-failing interior supply: the charm of his deportment depends upon a principle coeval with our being and co-extensive with our nature.. While Christianity existed only in promise, Abraham felt its influence, and in his reception of the heavenly visitors anticipated the Gospel in the elegance of its morality. With the same gracefulness he negotiated for the cave of Machpelah with the children of Heth. Boaz with equal delicacy threw his protection around the helpless Ruth. But in Paul the perfection of Christian refinement was developed. Christ had indeed come, and given us a new commandment; and the same was illustrated by the apostle in the purest spirit of its practical import.
Paul, before his conversion, was a man of blood and a persecutor; after his conversion his mind was the tabernacle of holy love and heavenly joy; he became a Christian gentleman, formed entirely out of Christian materials; he retained all his characteristic perseverance, but he dropped all his characteristic violence. Had his walk been in the path of domestic endearment, he would have strewed that path with flowers; had he lived in the married state, his breast would have beaten with its tenderest anxieties; had he been a parent, his children would have felt the blessings of his nurture;
had he mixed in familiar life, he would have largely shared and dispensed the privileged pleasures of affectionate intercourse. These possibilities of earthly felicity expanded with his Christian perfections; but his lofty vocation to glory held all his capabilities and endowments in sacred captivity; bound to the chariot of allconquering grace, they served to decorate the triumphant career of his duty, as the trophies and spoils of a crucified world and a subjugated nature. In this subordinate condition, how they wrought in his bosom; how they softened his intercourse with his converts; how they tempered his sanguine character; how they disposed him to patience under persecution; to. contentment with his condition; to consideration for the infirmities of the flesh; to compliance with things indifferent; to a modest appreciation of himself; to delicacy towards others; to charity of judgment, modesty of opinion, respect for authority, and numberless other graces of sentiment and conduct, is seen in the only book which was worthy to register the acts and correspondence of this surprising person. In that faithful repository, contemplate his gentleness to his Corinthian converts; his godly sorrow for their transgressions; his joy in their penitence: observe his touching farewell to his Ephesian
friends: hear him addressing his converts of Philippi, as his dearly beloved and longed for, and exhorting them to stand fast in the Lord; and beseeching the Christians in Rome by the mercies of God, and by the meekness and gentleness of Christ: attend to his comforting and gracious manner towards the Thessalonians and the converts at Rome: consider his tender intercession for Onesimus: remark his injunctions to obey authorities: see, throughout his correspondence, his love of order, his peaceful industry, and his loyal submission to constituted authority and see also the practice of his own lessons in his conduct towards Ananias, and before Agrippa, and before the Roman magistracy: forget not his holy courage and magnanimity in the face of danger-and then say, O say, in whom have the properties of a gentleman been more fully displayed? where have "bright thoughts, clear deeds, constancy, fidelity, and generous honesty, the gems of noble minds,” more illustriously shone forth? in whose mind has the beauty of regulated affections more amiably manifested itself? in whose manners has dignity been so combined with humility, greatness with condescension,. learning with simplicity?
Never were circumstances accumulated around