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ing us of our manhood, and rendering us a sort of monsters among men.

No quality hath a clearer repute, or is commonly more admired, than generosity, which is a kind of natural charity, or hath a great spice thereof: no disposition is more despised among men than niggardly selfishness; whence commonly

are ashamed to avow self-interest as a principle of their actions, (rather fathering them on some other cause,) as being conscioụs to themselves that it is the basest of all principles.

Whatever the censurers and detractors of human nature do pretend, yet even themselves do admire pure beneficence, and contemu selfishness ; for if we look to the bottom of their intent, it is hence they are bent to slander mankind as void of good nature, because out of malignity they would not allow it a quality so excellent and divine.

Wherefore, according to the general judgment and conscience of men, (to omit other considerations,) our nature is not so averse from charity, or destitute of propensions thereto; and therefore cherishing the natural seeds of it, we may improve it to higher degrees.

6. But supposing the inclinations of nature, as it now standeth in its depraved and crazy state, do so mightily obstruct the practice of this duty in the degree specified, so that however we cannot by any force of reason or philosophy attain to desire so much or relish so well the good of others as our own; yet we must remember that a subsidiary power is by the divine mercy dispensed, able to control and subdue nature to a coinpliance, to raise our practice above our natural forces. We have a like averseness to other spiritual duties, (to the loving God with all our hearts, to the mortifying our flesh and carnal desires, to the contempt of worldly things, and placing our happiness in spiritual goods ;) yet we are able to perform them by the succor of grace, and in virtue of that omnipotency which St. Paul assumed to himself when he said, .I all things by Christ enabling me.'

If we can get the spirit of love,'(and assuredly we may get it, if we carefully will seek it, with constant fervency imploring it from him, who hath promised to bestow it on those that

can do


ask it,) it will infuse into our minds that light, whereby we shall discern the excellency of this duty, together with the folly and baseness of that selfishness which crosseth it; it will kindle in our hearts charitable affections, disposing us to wish all good to our neighbor, and to feel pleasure therein ; it will render us . partakers of that divine nature,' which so will guide and urge us in due measure to affect the benefit of others, as now corrupt nature doth move us unmeasurably to covet our own; being supported and elevated by its virtue, we may, surmounting the clogs of fleshly sense and conceit, soar up to the due pitch of charity; being Deodidaktoi,“ taught of God to love one another ;' and endowed with the fruits of the spirit,' which are love, gentleness, goodness, meekness;' and created according to God in Christ Jesus' to the practice of answerable good works.

7. There are divers means conducible to the abatement of difficulty in this practice, which I shall propose, referring the matter to issue on due trial of them.

1. Let us carefully weigh the value of those things which immoderate self-love doth affect in prejudice to charity, together with the worth of those which charity doth set in balance to them.

Aristotle himself doth observe that the ground of culpable self-love, scraping, scrambling, scuffling for particular interest, is men's high esteem and passion for, and greedy appetite of wealth, of honors, of corporeal pleasures: whereas virtuous persons, not admiring those things, will constantly act for honesty sake, and out of love to their friends or country; wherein although they most really benefit and truly gratify themselves, yet are they not blamed for selfishness.

And so indeed it is: if we rightly did apprehend the infinite vanity of all worldly goods, the meanness of private concerns, the true despicableness of all those honors, those profits, those delights on which commonly men do so dote, we should not be so fond or jealous of them, as to scrape or scuffle for them, envying or grudging them to others; if we did conceive the transcendent worth of future rewards allotted to this and other virtues, the great considerableness of public good at which charity aimeth, the many advantages which may accrue to us thence prove


from our neighbor's welfare, (entertained with complacence, and wisely accommmodated to our use,) we should not be so averse from tendering his good as our own.

2. Let us consider our real state in the world, in dependence on the pleasure and providence of Almighty God.

If we look on ourselves as subsisting only by our own care and endeavor, without any other patronage or help, it may

hard to regard the interests of others as comparable to our own; seeing then, in order to our living with any convenience, it is necessary that we should be solicitous for our own preservation and sustenance, that will engage us to contend with others as competitors for the things we need, and uncapable otherwise to attain : but if (as we ought to do, and the true state of things requireth) we consider ourselves as subsisting under the protection and by the providence of God, who no less careth for us than for others, and no less for others than for us; (for, as the wise man saith, he careth for all alike;') who recommendeth to us a being mutually concerned each for other, and is engaged to keep us from suffering thereby; who commandeth us to disburden our cares on himself; who assuredly will the better provide for us, as we do more further the good of others: if we do consider thus, it will deliver us from solicitude concerning our subsistence and personal accommodations, whence we may be free to regard the concerns of others, with no less application than we do regard our own.

As living under the same government and laws (being members of one commonwealth, one corporation, one family) disposeth men not only willingly but earnestly to serve the public interest, beyond any hopes of receiving thence any particular advantage answerable to their pain and care; so considering ourselves as members of the world, and of the church, under the governance and patronage of God, may disengage us from immoderate respect of private good, and incline us to promote the common welfare.

3. There is one plain way of rendering this duty possible, or of perfectly reconciling charity to self-love; which is, a making the welfare of our neighbor to be our own: which if we can do, then easily may we desire it more seriously, then may we promote it with the greatest zeal and vigor: for then it will be an instance of self-love to exercise charity; then both these inclinations 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 considering the manifold bands of relation (natural, civil, or spiritual) between men, as naturally of the same kind and blood, as civilly members of the same society, as spiritually linked in one brotherhood ; considering the mutual advantages derivable from the wealth and welfare of each other, (in way of needful succor, advice, and comfort, of profitable commerce, of pleasant conversation ;) considering the mischiefs which from our neighbor's indigency and affliction we may incur, they rendering him as a wild beast, unsociable, troublesome, and formidable to us; considering that we cannot be happy without good nature and good humor, and that good nature cannot behold any sad object without pity and dolorous resentment, good humor cannot subsist in prospect of such objects; considering that charity is an instrument whereby we may apply all our neighbor's good to ourselves, it being ours, if we can find complacence therein ; it may appear reasonable to reckon all our neighbor'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, Y ea 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 afflictions, who are melted with those of a friend or brother. Seeing then in true judgment humanity doth match any other relation, and Christianity 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 depression of self-love, and advancement of charity

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to the highest pitch, if we do studiously contemplate ourselves, strictly examining our conscience, and seriously reflecting on our unworthiness and vileness; the infirmities and defects of nature, the corruptions and defilements of our soul, the sins and miscarriages of our lives : which doing, we shall certainly be far from admiring or doting on ourselves; but rather, as Job did, we 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 so conscious or sure? What place can there be for that vanity and folly, for that pride and arrogance, for that partiality and injustices which are the sources of immoderate self-love ?

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.

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