« PreviousContinue »
His Royal HIGHNESS THE DUKE OF CUMBERLAND (fourth time).
For the Festival of the Sons of the Clergy,
PUBLISHED AT THEIR REQUEST,
IS RESPECTFULLY INSCRIBED BY THEIR
FAITHFUL AND OBEDIENT SERVANT,
Whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have
need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?
These words are taken from a part of the holy Apostle's discourse, addressed to the Christian world, in which he enjoins the practice of mutual love and benevolence among
the servants of the Messiah ; shewing that this duty must be performed by the active and constant exertions of good offices towards one another, not in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. The main ground upon which he makes this obligation to rest, is the example of God's love towards mankind, exhibited in the sacrifice of our Saviour offered in behalf of the human species. While pressing this argument, St. John evidently has his mind fixed upon
the solemn injunction which he had heard from the lips of our Blessed Lord himself, the last time that he sat at table with his disciples; and which was repeated on the same evening, as he advanced to the spot where he was to be betrayed: This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this—that a man lay down his life for his friends *. It was on the following day, while his heart yet glowed with these earnest and pathetic exhortations, that he beheld an example of surpassing love actually set forth, not in word, but in deed, by the sacrifice of his Master's life upon the cross. When after the lapse of many years, this faithful companion of our Lord, who is emphatically stiled the disciple whom Jesus loved, earnestly exhorts all Christians not to neglect the duty of mutual benevolence, he makes a direct reference to the dying injunction of the Divine Author of their religion. In the part of his Epistle from which my text is taken, he contends, that in imitation of the Divine love towards us, we ought to be ready even to lay down our lives for the brethren f. But although it can seldom happen that men are called upon to make the sacrifice of their lives to benefit their fellow-Christians, there are perpetual opportunities of serving them by the giving up some superfluities of worldly riches. If, therefore, the Apostle argues, any one possessed of
• John xv. 12.
+ 1 John iii. 16.