The Christian's Debt of Love.

he is more honourable in the eye of reason and religion, than he, who, without this qualification, boasts a proud birth, and is clothed in purple and fine linen, and fares sumptuously every day.

I think I have now shewn that, by cherishing a love for one another, in imitation of the love which our Saviour manifested for us, or, according to the old command, and secondary to the love of God, such a love as we feel for ourselves, we learn to repress the malignant dispositions inciting us to injurious purposes; to subdue the sensual appetites tempting us to infringe the rights, or break in upon the happiness, or any way impede the innocent enjoyments, of a fellow creature ; while we acquire the kind affections, which fill the mind with complacency, prompt to benevolent design, and render the practice of beneficence easy and delightful ; so that we become ever prepared and eager to embrace opportunities of promoting the happiness of each other, in fulfilment of the will of God, and in obedience to the law, which He hath prescribed, for the government of the heart, and the conduct of

The Christian's Debt of Love.

life. Love, therefore, is the fulfilling of the law.

From all that has been said, my brethren, if you have attended to the argument of this discourse, you must be convinced of the following momentous truths. If the Christian do not faithfully and diligently, from time to time, make payments upon the debt of love; he not only runs the hazard of leaving his lawful debts against him; but of incurring a moral debt to society never to be discharged or reduced; in that he receives from it more than he gives, employing his means and faculties in projects of vice, selfishness, and vanity, regardless of both the enjoyments and sufferings of other men. Those, who thu's violate their obligation to promote the general good, running counter to it in various ways of iniquity, increase the trouble and difficulty of it every day; are fast proceeding to lose the power of fulfilling it in any degree acceptable even to Divine mercy; and are rendering themselves most justly liable to be cast into prison by their Heavenly judge; into outer darkness,


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The Christian's Debt of Love.

where there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. On the other hand, he, by whom the law of love has been piously kept, has discharged his duty to man, has obeyed the law of his country, has been a benefactor to society. Nevertheless, although he may have given much more love than he has received ; although his earthly return should be hatred, injustice, ill-will, oppression, persecution ; his duty to God still continues his debt of love to his fellow creatures, so long as he remain among them. Humanly speaking, however, he has made mankind his debtor ; and his payment is reserved in Heaven: there he has secured a treasure, of which no malignity earthly or spiritual shall ever disappoint him ; which nothing in time or eternity can corrupt or diminish. His reward is laid up in the bosom of Him, who is the fountain of love. The debt from an ungrateful, selfish, and sensual world may stand in long and large arrear; but it will be repaid to him a thousand fold in the regions of light, in the inheritance of glory ineffable; in the enjoyment of the good things, which pass man's understanding.


The Christian's Debt of Love.

To this infinite recompense, my brethren, raise your expectations and direct your efforts. For the bliss that is before you, strive, in this abode of infirmity, guilt, and trouble-strive to acquire the affections of celestial beings ; owe no man any thing, but, in despite of envy, enmity, injustice, cruelty, or persecution, to love one another. In the face of the all-grasping avarice, the subtle sensuality, the refined voluptuousness, of the age; undeceived by the prevailing moral plausibility, which, while it pours from the tongue liberality, humanity, and benevolence, conceals a heart of selfishness devoted to this world, or lost in its own delusions; put forth the best energies of


souls (and with the prayers of faith they will not be exerted in vain) to love all men, as Christ hath loved you: owe no man any thing, but to love one another.

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