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the sun-beams do extinguish a culinary fire: anger hath an opetus duúvns, ' an appetite of revenge,' or doing mischief to the object of it; but love is innocent and worketh no evil.'
Love disposeth, if our neighbor doth misbehave himself toward us, (by wrongful usage, or unkind carriage,) to be sorry for him, and to pity him; which are passions contrary to anger, and slaking the violences of it.
It is said in the Canticles, • Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it:' charity would hold out against many neglects, many provocations.
Hence the precepts; • Walk with all lowliness and meekness, with long-suffering, forbearing one another in love: Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice:'. Put off anger, wrath, malice,' &c. Be slow to wrath.'
c • . 2. It is a proper act of charity to remit offences, suppressing all designs of revenge, and not retaining any grudge : for,
Charity návra oréyer, doth cover all things ;' and in this sense doth “hide a multitude of sins :' all dispositions, all intents to do harm are inconsistent with it, are quite repugnant to it.
Hence those precepts ; · Put on, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, long-suffering, forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any, even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye :'• Be ye kind one to another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another; even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you :' • See that none render evil for evil, but ever follow that which is good both among yourselves and to all men :' and many the like precepts occur in the Gospels, the apostolical writings ; yea even in the Old Testament, wherein charity did not run in so high a strain.
3. It is a duty coherent with charity, to maintain concord and peace; to abstain from contention and strife, together with the sources of them, pride, envy, emulation, malice.
We are commanded to be σύμψυχοι, and ομόφρονες, “of one soul, of one mind,' (like the multitude of believers' in the Acts, who had one heart and one soul ;') that we should keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace;' that we
should be of one accord, of one mind, standing fast in one spirit, with one mind;' that we should all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among us, but that we be perfectly joined together in the same mind, and in the same judgment;' that there be no factions, or schisms in the body;' that all dissensions, all clamors, all murmurings, all emulations should be abandoned and put away from us; that we should * pursue and maintain peace
with all men :' obedience to which commands can only be the result of charity, esteeming the person and judgment of our neighbor; desiring his good will, tendering his good; curbing those fleshly lusts, and those fierce passions from the predominancy whereof discords and strifes do spring.
4. Another charitable practice is, being candid in opinion, and mild in censure, about our neighbor and his actions : having a good conceit of his person, and representing him to ourselves under the best character we can; making the most favorable construction of his words, and the fairest interpretation of his designs.
Charity disposeth us to entertain a good opinion of our neighbor: for desiring his good we shall be concerned for him, and prejudiced, as it were, on his side; being unwilling to discover any blemish in him to our own disappointment and regret.
Love cannot subsist without esteem ; and it would not willingly by destroying that lose its own subsistence.
Love would preserve any good of its friend, and therefore his reputation; which is a good in itself precious, and ever very dear to him.
Love would bestow any good, and therefore its esteem; which is a considerable good.
Harsh censure is a very rude kind of treatment, grievously vexing a man, and really hurting him; charity therefore will not be guilty of it.
It disposeth rather to oversee and connive at faults than to find them, or to pore on them ; rather to hide and smother, than to disclose or divulge them; rather to extenuate and excuse, than to exaggerate or aggravate them.
Are words capable of a good sense ? charity will expound them thereto : may an action be imputed to any good intent? charity will ever refer it thither : doth a fault admit any plea, apology, or diminution ? charity will be sure to allege it : may a quality admit a good name? charity will call it thereby.
It doth not loyizeodai kakòv, 'impute evil,' or put it to any man's account, beyond absolute necessity.
It hopeth all things, and believeth all things ;' hopeth and believeth all things for the best, in favor to its neighbor, concerning his intentions and actions liable to doubt.
It banisheth all evil surmises: it rejecteth all ill stories, malicious insinuations, perverse glosses and descants.
5. Another charitable practice is, to comport with the infirmities of our neighbor; according to that rule of St. Paul, • We that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves;' and that precept, ‘Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.'
Is a man wiser than his neighbor, or in any case freer of defects ? charity will dispose to use that advantage so as not to contemn him, or insult over him; but to instruct him, to help him, to comfort him.
As we deal with children, allowing to the infirmities of their age, bearing their ignorance, frowardness, untoward humors, without distasting them; so should we with our brethren who labor under any weakness of mind or humor.
6. It is an act of charity to abstain from offending, or scandalising our brethren; by doing any thing, which either may occasion him to commit sin, or disaffect him to religion, or discourage him in the practice of duty, (that which St. Paul calleth to defile and smite his weak conscience,') or which anywise may discompose, vex, and grieve him : for, · If thy brother be grieved with thy meat, now walkest thou not charitably.'
SUMMARY OF SERMON XXVIII.
HEBREWS, CHAP. X.-VERSE 24.
That which is here recommended as the common duty of all Christians, may well be thought the special duty of those appointed to instruct and guide others : various considerations therefore are offered to excite and encourage men in this practice.
I. We must remember that we are men, and as such obliged to this duty, since it is very agreeable to human nature, the which, not being corrupted or distempered by ill use, inclines to it, approves it, and finds satisfaction and delight therein. St. Paul, when he charges us to have a natural affection one toward another, supposes this affection to be inbred to men, which should be stirred up, improved and exercised : this subject enlarged on.
II. We should consider what our neighbor is, how near in blood, how like in nature, how much in all considerable respects the same with us. Should any one wrong or defame our brother, we should be displeased; should we do it ourselves, or omit any office of kindness towards him, we should blame ourselves: yet every man is such, of one stock, of one blood with us; and as such may challenge and call for real affection from us. Every man also, as a Christian, is in a higher and nobler way allied to us; whence an improved
; charity is due to him on that score.
III. Equity plainly requires charity from us: for every one is ready not only to wish and seek, but to demand and claim love from others, so as to be offended, and to complain, if he
do not find it. In all reason and equity, if I would have another my friend, I must be a friend to him : hence the law of charity is well expressed in those terms of doing to others whatever we would have them do to us.
IV. Let us consider that charity is a right noble and worthy thing, tending greatly to perfect our nature, and dignify our soul : it is the imitation and copy of that immense love which is the fountain of all being and of all good: whilst therefore charity raises our nature towards that of heavenly beings, uncharitableness on the contrary debases us into an affinity with the meanest things, making us to become like beasts, or fiends.
V. The practice of charity is productive of many great benefits and advantages to us; so that to love our neighbor involves the truest love to ourselves : wherefore not only duty obliges, but interest encourages us in this matter, by a consideration of the manifold comforts and conveniences of life; some of which will be enumerated.
VI. 1. Charity frees our souls from those bad dispositions and passions which vex and disquiet them; banishing anger, envy, rancor, and revenge ; stifling fear, suspicion, and jealousy of mischief intended against us; removing discontent or dissatisfaction in our state ; curbing ambition and avarice, those impetuous, insatiable, and troublesome dispositions, &c.
VII. 2. It consequently settles the mind in a serene, calm, and cheerful state; in an even temper and harmonious order of soul.
VIII. 3. It preserves us from various external mischiefs and inconveniences to which our life is exposed; for if we have not charity towards men, we shall have enmity with them; and on that wait troops of mischiefs; this point enlarged on.
IX. 4. As charity preserves us from mischiefs, so it procures many sweet comforts and fair accommodations of life, by encompassing a man with friends, with many guards of his safety,