The doing of Righteousness in reference to the Practice &c.

engaged to make you eternally happy, and whose gracious designs for you nothing can render ineffectual, but your own folly, perverseness, and ingratitude.



The Christian's Debt of Love.

Romans 13. 8.

Owé no man any thing, but to love one another.

T. Paul begins this chapter with exhort-

ing the believers at Rome to be subject to those, who were in lawful authority; because civil government is of Divine appointment for the peace and happiness of the world; and those who resist the established exercise of it, in any country bring on themselves just condemnation both from God, and from thosé, who are his ministers, in the administration of it. Having forcibly inculcated this duty, he then enjoins the disciples, in the words of my text, to owé no man any thing, but to love one another. This precept is short and plain,

but X

The Christian's Debt of Love.

but full of meaning, as the apostle afterward explains. It is my intention, in my present discourse, to lay it before you in its ample and important signification.

Here, my brethren, I must request you to note that, the apostle does not recommend us to owe no man any thing, and to pay all our earthly debts. He makes one great reserve ; for there is one debt, which we can never cancel; that is the debt of love to one another. All other debts to man, we can, and ought to pay; whether they be to the government or to individuals; whether they be taxes, tributes, or contributions imposed by law and usage for the security of our persons, our property, and of all the benefits of civil and ecclesiastical polity; or legal compensations for the necessaries, conveniences, comforts, or luxu. ries of social life. All these debts may be paid ; but the debt of love still remains unredeemed: all that we are able, or required to do, with regard to that, is continually to exercise ourselves in the discharge of it; and then what may remain in arrear, at the end of our lives, the blessed Redeemer will cancel,


The Christian's Debt of Love.

A wise and good man, therefore, can and will discharge all debts, but that of love, and this he will be ever busy to liquidate. But, he, who is both foolish and wicked to incur expenses above his condition, or beyond his probable means of payment; or to waste his years in idleness ; to misapply time, talents, and fortune in vicious excesses; this man cannot pay his debts; he may not have the ability to pay his legal debts; and he may so infinitely increase his debt of love, that the righteous judge may cast him into prison-into a condition of trouble and misery, from which he shall not be released, till he have paid the uttermost farthing; that is, neither in this world, nor in that which is to come; because the debt will have been increasing during his whole life, and his life being ended, all opportunity of paying it will be forever lost. himself in great danger of having his lot, where the worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. All this will be more evident to you, when I shall have explained the nature of the debt of love, which although we may suffer it to increase to a fearful amount, we

X 2

He puts

can The Christian's Debt of Love.

can never discharge. It is a debt owing to God, which, in this world, He has made payable to man ; and what is so paid He will put down as received by Himself. In as much as you did not feed, clothe, visit, relieve, and solace, one of these little ones that believe in me, said our Saviour, in describing the great retribution, ye

did it not unto me. The debt must always be due from us to God, because He first loved us. We must always owe it to one another; because He always loving us hath commanded us so to love one another. This command our Lord delivered at the

approach of his sufferings, when lle was preparing his disciples for the affliction they would undergo in being separated from Him, and forming their minds by his instruction for a display of the virtues, in which they were to establish his religion among men, and become qualified for the inheritance of the Heaven, that he promised them, after the conclusion of their earthly labours. A new command, ment, said He, I give unto you; that you love one another; as I have loved ;


that love one another. Not that this command

ye also


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