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greatest zeal and vigour: for then it will be an instance of SERM. self-love to exercise charity; then both these inclinations XXVI. conspiring will march evenly together, one will not extrude nor depress the other.
It may be hard, while our concerns appear divided, not to prefer our own; but when they are coincident, or conspire together, the ground of that partiality is removed.
Nor is this an imaginary course, but grounded in reason, and thereby reducible to practice : for confidering the manifold bands of relation (natural, civil, or spiritual) between men, as naturally of the same kind and blood, as civilly members of the fame society, as fpiritually linked in one brotherhood; considering the mutual advantages derivable from the wealth and welfare of each other, (in way of needful succour, advice, and comfort, of profitable commerce, of pleasant conversation ;) considering the mischiefs which from our neighbour's indigency and affiction we may incur, they rendering him as a wild beast, unfociable, troublesome, and formidable to us; confidering that we cannot be happy without good nature, and good humour, and that good nature cannot behold any sad object without pity and dolorous resentment, good humour cannot fubfift in prospect of such objects; confidering that charity is an instrument, whereby we may apply all our neighbour's good to ourselves, it being ours, if we can find complacence therein ; it may appear reasonable to reckon all our neighbour's concerns to our account.
That this is practicable, experience may confirm ; for we may observe, that men commonly do thus appropriate the concerns of others, resenting the disasters of a friend or of a relation with as sensible displeasure as they could their own; and answerably finding as high a satisfaction in their good fortune. Yea many persons do feel more pain by compassion for others, than they could do in sustaining the same evils; divers can with a stout heart undergo their own affli&tions, who are melted with those of a friend or brother. Seeing then in true judgment
SERM. humanity doth match any other relation, and ChristiXXVI. anity far doth exceed all other alliances, why 'may we
not on them ground the like affections and practices, if reason hath any force, or consideration can any wise sway in our practice ?
4. It will greatly conduce to the perfect observance of this rule, to the depresfion of self-love, and advancement of charity to the highest pitch, if we do studiously contemplate ourselves, ftrialy examining our conscience, and feriously reflecting on our unworthiness and vileness; the infirmities and defects of nature, the corruptions and defilements of our soul, the fins and miscarriages of our lives: which doing, we shall certainly be far from admir
ing or doting on ourselves; but rather, as Job did, we Job ix. 20. shall condemn and abhor ourselves: when we see ourselves
so deformed and ugly, how can we be amiable in our own eyes ? how can we more esteem or affect ourselves than others, of whose unworthiness we can hardly be fo conscious or sure? What place can there be for that vanity and folly, for that pride and arrogance, for that partiality and injustice, which are the fources of immoderate selfJove?
5. And lastly, we may from many conspicuous experiments and examples be assured that such a practice of this duty is not impossible; but these I have already produced and urged in the precedent discourse, and shall not repeat them again.
THE NATURE, PROPERTIES, AND ACTS OF
Ephes. v. 2.
And walk in love.
Gal. v. 14.
Gal. v. 22.
St. Paul telleth us, that the end of the commandment (or SERM. the main scope of the evangelical doctrine) is charity, out XXVII. of a pure heart and a good conscience, and faith unfeigned ; 1 Tim. i. 5. that charity is a general principle of all good practice; (let all your things be done in charity ;) that it is the sum 1 Cor. xvi. and abridgment of all other duties, so that he that loveth 14, another, hath fulfilled the whole law; that it is the chief Rom. xiii. of the theological virtues; the prime fruit of the divine Spirit, and the land of perfection, which combineth and 13, consummateth all other graces.
St. Peter enjoineth us that to all other virtues we should 2 Pet. i. 7. add charity, as the top and crown of them; and, Above 1 Pet. iv. 8. all things, faith he, have fervent charity among yourselves.
St. James styleth the law of charity vópos Bao inoxòv, the Jam. ii. 8. royal, or sovereign, law.
St. John calleth it, in way of excellence, the command- 1 John iii. ment of God; This is his commandment, that we should 31. ". iv. love one another.
Our Lord claimeth it for his peculiar law; This is my John XV.12. commandment; and a new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another. And he maketh the observance of it the special badge and cognizance of his followers;
John xiii. 35.
SERM. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye
It being therefore a duty of fo grand importance, it is
The nature of it will, as I conceive, be best understood by representing the several chief acts, which it compriseth or implieth as necessary prerequisites, or effential ingredients, or inseparable adherents to it; some internally refident in the soul, others discharged in external performance; together with some special properties of it. And such are those which follow.
1. Loving our neighbour doth imply, that we should value and esteem him : this is necessary, for affection doth follow opinion; so that we cannot like any thing which we do not esteem, or wherein we do not apprehend some considerable good, attractive of affection; that is not amiable, which is wholly contemptible; or so far as it is such.
But in right judgment no man is such; for the Wise
neth ; and, He is void of understanding that despiseth. his
It is indeed true, that every man is subject to defects,
Every man living hath ftamped on him the venerable image of his glorious Maker, which nothing incident to him can utterly deface.
Every man is of a divine extraction, and allied to Hea
ven by nature and by grace; as the son of God, and broJob xxxi. ther of God incarnate. If I did despise the cause of my
man-fervant or of my maid-fervant, when they contended
13, 14, 15.
when he visteth, what shall I answer him ? Did not he that SERM. made me in the womb make him ? and did not one fashion XXVII. us in the womb ?
Every man is endued with that celestial faculty of reafon, inspired ly the Almighty, (for, There is a Spirit in Job xxxii. man, and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding,) and hath an immortal spirit residing in him; or rather is himself an angelical spirit dwelling in a visible tabernacle,
Every man was originally designed and framed for a fruition of eternal happiness.
Every man hath an interest in the common redemption, purchased by the blood of the Son of God, who tasted death for every one.
Every man is capable of sovereign bliss, and hath a crown of endless glory offered to him.
In fine, every man, and all men alike, antecedently to their own will and choice, are the objects of his love, of his care, of his mercy; who is loving unto every man, Pf. cxlv. 9. and whose mercy is over all his works ; who hath made the Job xxxiv. small and the great, and careth for all alike; who is rich, Wird. vi. s. in bounty and mercy, toward all that call upon him.
How then can any man be deemed contemptible, haying so noble relations, capacities, and privileges ? How a man ftandeth in esteem with God Elihu telleth us; God, Job xxxvi. faith he, is mighty, and despiseth not any: although he be Pi. Ixix. 33. fo mighty, so excellent in perfection, fo infinitely in state exalted above all, yet doth not he night any; and how can we contemn those, whom the certain voucher and infallible judge of worth deigneth to value ? Indeed God so valued every man as to take great care, to be at great coft and trouble, to stoop down from heaven, to aflume mortal flesh, to endure pinching wants and fore distresses, to taste death for every one,
We may ask with St. Paul, Why dost thou set at nought Rom. xiv. thy brother? Is it for the lowness of his condition, or for any
Rom. x.12. iii. 22.
miffortune that hath befallen him? But are not the best men, Jam. ii. 5. are not all men, art not thou thyself obnoxious to the
33. cxlvi. 9.