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no less obligatory, to declare it near as acceptable as the serM. love of himself, to whom we owe all. To him, as the XXV sole author and free donor of all our good, by juft cor; . respondence, all our mind and heart, all our ftrength and endeavour, are due: and reafónably might he erfgross them to himself, excluding all other beings from any share in them ;, so that we might be obliged dilg-to fix our thoughts and set our affe&tions on him, only to act: dire&ly for his honour and intereft ; faying with the holy Pfalmist, Whom have 1 in heaven but thee 2 and there is Psal. Ixxiii. none on earth that I desre beside thee: yet-doth he freely please to impart a share of these performances on mankind; yet doth he charge us to place our affection on one another; to place it there, indeed, in a measure so large, that we can hardly imagine a greater; according to a rule, than wbich none can be devised more complete or certain.
O marvellous condescension, O goodness truly divine ; which surpasseth the nature of things, which dispenseth with the highest right, and foregoeth the greatest interest that can be! Doth not God in a fort debase himself, that he might advance us? Doth he not appear to wave' his own due, and neglect his own honour for our advantage ? How otherwise could the love of njan be capable of any resemblance to the love of God, and not stand at an infinite distance, or in an extreme disparity from it? How other. wise could we be obliged to affect or regard any thing beside the sovereign, the only goodness? How otherwise could there be any second or like to that first, that great, Matt. xiz. that peerless cominand, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God 17. with all thy heart?
13 This indeed is the highest commendation whereof any law is capable: for as to be like God is the highest praise that can be given to a person; so to resemble the divinest law of love to God is the fairest character that can be affigned of a law: the which indeed representeth it to be vóue @ Bao Aixòs as St. James calleth it; that is, a royal and Jam. ii. 8. sovereign law; exalted above all others, and bearing a sway on them. St. Paul telleth us, that the end of the
Matt. xxii. 38.
Rom. xiii. 8, 9.
i Cor. xiii. 13.
SERM. commandment (or, the main scope of the evangelical doc
XXV. trine) is charity out of a pure heart, and a good conscience, 1 Tim. i. 6. and faith unfeigned ; that charity is the sum and substance
of all other duties, and that he that loveth another hath Gal. v. 14. fulfilled the whole law; that charity is the chief of the
theological virtues, and the prime fruit of the divine Spirit ; Gal. v: 22. and the bond of perfection, which combineth and consum1 Cor. xvi. mateth all other graces, and the general principle of all
our doings. St. Peter enjoineth us that to all other vir2 Pet. i. 7. tues we add charity, as the top and crown of them; and, 1 Pet. iv. 8. Above all things, faith he, have fervent charity among
yourselves. St. John calleth this law, in way of excellence, 1 John iii. the commandment of God; and our Lord himself claimeth 33, 11. iv. it as his peculiar precept, This, faith he, is my commandJohn xv.19. ment, that ye love one another as I have loved
A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another :
and maketh the observance of it the special cognizance of John xiii. his followers, By this Mall all men know that ye are my
difciples, if ye love one another.
These indeed are lofty commendations thereof, yet all of them may worthily veil to this; all of them seem verified in virtue of this, because God hath vouchfafed to place this command in fo near adjacency to the first great law, conjoining the two tables ; making charity contiguous, and, as it were, commensurate to piety.
It is true, that in many respects charity doth resemble piety; for it is the most genuine daughter of piety, thence in complexion, in features, in humour much favouring its sweet mother : it doth consist in like dispositions and motions of foul: it doth grow from the same roots and principles of benignity, ingenuity, equity, gratitude,
planted in our original constitution by the breath of God,
milate us to God, rendering us conformable to his
whole life: in such respects, I say, this law is like to the SERM.
But no less in the very fubftance of this duty will the benignity of him that prescribeth it shine forth, displaying itself in the rare beauty and sweetness of it; together with the vast benefit and utility, which it, being observed, will yield to mankind; which will appear by what we may discourse for pressing its observance. But first let us explain it, as it lieth before us expressed in the words of the text, wherein we shall consider two particulars observable: first, the object of the duty; secondly, the qualification annexed to it: the object of it, our neighbour ; the qualification, as ourselves.
1. The object of charity is our neighbour ; that is, (it being understood, as the precept now concerneth us, according to our Lord's exposition, or according to his intent and the tenor of his doctrine) every man, with whom we have to do, or who is capable of our love, especially every Christian.
The Law, as it was given to God's ancient people, did openly regard only those among them who were linked together in a holy neighbourhood or society, from which all other men being excluded were deemed strangers and foreigners ; (aliens, as St. Paul speaketh, from the com- Eph. ii. 12. monwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise.) For thus the Law runneth in Leviticus, Thou Levit. iii. Jhalt not bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself; where plainly Jews and neighbours are terms equivalent; other men being supposed to stand at distance without the fold or Levit. XI. politic enclosure, which God by several ordinances had 26, 24. fenced, to keep that nation unmixt and separate : nor can xxxiii. 16. it be excepted against this notion, that in the same chapter xiv. 2.
Deut. vii. 6.
Gal. iii. 28.
John iii. 16.
SERM. it is enjoined, but the stranger that dwelleth with you shall
XXV. be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him Levit. xix. as thyself; for by that stranger (as the Jewish masters
will interpret it) is meant a profelyte of righteoufness; or one who, although a stranger by birth, was yet a brother in religion, having voluntarily submitted to their Law, being engaged in the same covenant, and thence admitted to the same privileges, as an adopted child of that holy
family. Eph. ii. 14. But now, such distinctions of men being voided, and Acts x. 36. that wall of partition demolished, all the world is become
oue people; fubje& to the laws of one common Lord; and
capable of the mercies purchased by one Redeemer. Tit. iii. 4. God's love to mankind did move him to send our Lord into
the world, to affume human nature, and therein to become i Tim ii. 5. a mediator between God and men. Our Lord's kindness
to all his brethren disposed him to undertake their fal1 John ii. 2. vation, and to expiate their fins, and to taste death for
every man; the effect whereof is an universal recon
ciliation of God to the world, and an union of men Eph. i. 10. together.
Now the blood of Christ hath cemented mankind; the favour of God embracing all hath approximated and combined all together; so that now every man is our brother, not only by nature, as derived from the same stock, but
by grace, as partaker of the common redemption; now 1 Tim ii. 4. God deßring the salvation of all men, and inviting all men Col. i. 23. to mercy, our duty must be coextended with God's grace,
and our charity must follow that of our Saviour.
We are therefore now to all men, that which one Jew was to another ; yea more than such, 'our Christianity having induced much higher obligations, firicter alliances, and stronger endearments, than were those, whereby Judaifm did engage its followers to mutual amity. The duties of common humanity (to which our natural frame and fense do incline us, which philosophy recommendeth and natural religion doth prescribe, being grounded upon our community of nature and cognation of blood, upon apparent equity, upon general convenience and utility) our
Heb. ii. 9. 2 Cor. y. 19. Col. i. 20.
religion doth not only enforce and confirm, but enhance SERM.
Hereon therefore are grounded those evangelical com-
i Theff. v. toward all men ; and ever follow that which is good both 14. among ourselves, and to all men ; that we should make 1 Theft. v. supplications, interceffions, and thanksgivings for all men, especially for all faints, or all our fellow Christians; and wpis wáva express moderation, or ingenuity, to all men.
Such is the object of our charity; and thus did our 24. Lord himself expound it, when by a Jewish lawyer being Eph. vi.18. put to resolve this question, And who is my neighbour ? he "Philix: 5. did propound a cafe, or history, whereby he did extort II Analoy de from that Rabbi this confeflion, that even a Samaritan, dif- ársgúce &
δέν άλλο εσcharging a notable office of humanity and mercy to a tu ý rò óJew, did thereby most truly approve himself a good 40.0*
λογικών ζώον, , neighbour to him; and consequently that reciprocal per- &c. Jus. formances of such offices were due from a Jew to a.
Tryph. p. maritan; whence it might appear, that this relation of 320. neighbourhood is universal and unlimited. So much for the object.
II. As for the qualification annexed and couched in those words, as thyself; that, as I conceive, may import both a rule declaring the nature, and a measure determin
Tic. iii. 22
15. trov sivas