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tions disappear, and churches become desolate : for these vain babblers, imagining that they are perfect, and well instructed in all things, give themselves to trifling and vain jangling. They are continually endeavouring to bring forward some new thing, which the curious multitude may be desirous to hear, while they totally neglect to teach the doctrine of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ, and never so much as attempt to impress upon their hearers the importance of a christian life. They do indeed sometimes tell us that we must do good works, that we must serve God, &c. but they are totally ignorant of the meaning of these words. If they be asked, how are good works to be done ? how is God to be served ? they will point out this particular work to be done now, and at another time, that they will direct us to offer so much sacrifice at this altar; to go into this or that monastery ; run to this saint; here erect a chapel to the honour of such a saint: in another place, found a mass, light tapers, buy indulgences, &c.
These idle talkers use such a confused multiplicity of words, that they confound, instead of instructing their hearers; while they advance nothing calculated to render any one better; and were any. thing good contained in their discourses, it would be lost from the tedious prolixity of their harangues. Of such teachers, we have seen enough in the papacy, among our preachers of dreams.
St. Paul, in the beginning of his epistle to his disciple Timothy, thought proper to admonish him, that such teachers should arise; “ giving heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions rather than godly edifying, which is in faith:” after which, he introduceth the words of our text:
Now, the end of the commandment is charity, out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned.” These words contain the sum of that doctrine which we should teach. Here we have the
duties of a christian life briefly and comprehensively set before us; and we cannot imprint these words too strongly upon our memories. If we desire not to deviate from the law, but to attain to the ultimate end thereof, we must endeavour to have charity, proceeding out of a pure heart, from a good conscience, and faith unfeigned. If our charity be of this sort, then is it right; otherwise we mistake the meaning of the whole law.
Now these words are profound, and contain much matter in them; therefore, we shall endeavour to expound them in part, that they may be the better understood, and that we may become acquainted with Paul's manner of speaking. First, we may observe that the apostle signifieth that charity comprehendeth the sum of the whole law. But we are not here to understand by charity, simply the bestowing of alms upon the needy, but that universal good will which embraceth all mankind; which speaketh evil of none; which condemneth no one; which judgeth the motives of none, but putteth the most favourable construction upon
the actions of others-in short, it signifieth that love to all our fellow beings, which the grace of God implanteth in our hearts; for in the scripture, the words charity and love are frequently synonymous, and the one is often substituted for the other.
Now those jangling divines, do indeed talk much of charity and love ; they make great pretensions to Godliness, and boast much of their deeds of benevolence. But their love is only the love of hereticks, wicked men, and ungracious wretches : it is extended only to themselves, and to those of the same sort with them ; while at the same time, they hate and persecute all good christians, and would willingly accuse them of the most vicious acts. This certainly does not deserve the name of love ; for if I choose a few individuals, whom I favour and embrace, be
cause they also favour me, I act from selfish and impure motives. But that true love which floweth from a pure heart, hath no respect of persons : it is poured forth to all mankind indiscriminately, whether they be friends or enemies ; even as doth our heavenly Father, who maketh his sun to shine upon the evil and upon the good, and sendeth rain upon the just and upon the unjust.
But some may say, such a one who is my enemy, is also an enemy to God; for he doth many things that are more displeasing to God, than they are injurious to me ; must I love him who is a transgressor, and an evil person ? I answer, we are all transgressors, and do many things displeasing to God; but because my neighbour is evil, it is no reason that my love should be extinguished toward him. If he be evil, he will in the end receive punishment according to his deeds : but I must not suffer his wickedness to overcome me. It is my duty to pray for him, and I may rebuke and admonish him through love, that he may repent and escape pun. ishment. But I must not be an enemy to him, nor do him evil in any manner; for no profit would redound to me thereby; I should certainly be made no better, but should make him worse.
It cannot, indeed, be denied, that a good man is more worthy of love than a bad one. It is also to be expected that good men will delight in the company of other good men, more than in that of evil
christian love is not derived from the merit of the object. This is the source from which the world draweth its love; as a young man falleth in love with a maid, because of her comeliness and beauty; a covetous man delighteth in riches, because they will add to his consideration and importance in the world ; and an ambitious man esteemeth preferment, because of the honour he shall receive, and the power he will possess thereby: all
such love is derived from external objects; from the beauty or good qualities of the person, or the desirableness of the thing.
On the contrary, true christian love is not derived from things without, but floweth from the heart, as from a spring ; which, while it draweth its supply from the depths of the earth, floweth over the ground without requiring any thing in return; and not as from a stagnant pool, which requireth to be swollen by a shower, before it can water the earth. This spirit saith thus : “ I love thee not for thy virtue or comeliness, for I do not derive my love from thy merit, but from the grace of God which is implanted in my heart, and which teacheth me to love my neighbour as myself ; this is the source from which I derive my love, and it floweth plentifully to all, whether they be friends or enemies ; but more especially to my enemies, as I consider there is more need that I should pray for them, and endeavour through love to win them from the evil of their ways, that they may repent of their sins, be delivered from the snares of the devil, and become my friends."
This may be called love flowing from a pure heart; for one who is thus affected, doth not love because he findeth any thing worthy in those whom he loveth, but because the grace of God, which is itself pure, hath cleansed his heart, and replenished it with true and holy affections. Such love will manifest itself in whatsoever condition or circumstances in life men may be placed. If a servant be not thus affected, he will say thus to himself: “I serve my master because he giveth me food and clothing, or payeth me wages!" or perhaps, “because it is in his power to punish me if I do not faithfully serve him." But if he have this love in his heart, he will say
thus : I will serve my master, not because he is kind or unkind; not for the hope of reward, or the dread of punishment; but because the word of
God commandeth me as a servant, to be obedient to my master; therefore will I serve him faithfully, for in serving him, I also serve God, who hath placed me in the state and condition of a servant.”
And so likewise, if a prince or ruler say, “I am placed in the condition of a ruler, I will therefore enjoy my dignity, my riches, and my power; and I will have respect unto these things only:" although such a one may so rule that the world shall have no cause to find fault, yet, as the honour and glory of God are not regarded in the discharge of his office, his heart is not pure; for he seeketh only his own glory, riches, and power.
And also in spiritual offices; if I preach because some good benefice is offered me, when otherwise I would never engage in this calling, I may indeed preach, but I shall not do it from a pure heart; for my heart would be most plainly polluted. And though I should be ever so diligent, and should ever so much affirm that the work is good, and the office responsible, I should not discharge the duties thereof aright; inasmuch as I did not engage in it from pure motives. He only can rightly fill the clerical office, whose heart is so affected that he can say thus; “I do indeed get my living by the ministry, yet it is not for this reason that I engage in it; but because the Lord bath called me to it, and hath committed this trust to me, that I should discharge the duties thereof with fidelity, not seeking my own honour or profit. I must therefore diligently labour therein, to the glory of God, and the salvation of souls.” If I be thus affected, then is
pure ; because I do not engage in the work for the sake of honour or emolument :, and if these follow, I may receive them without sin.
Thus ye see, that charity (or love) which proceedeth from a pure heart, is not derived from things without, but floweth from within, and extend