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sulting his own Breast, and that will teach him, in what Manner he is to treat his Neighbour.

Do we not, for Instance, so highly value and esteem ourselves, that no Defects observable in us, no Mischances befallen us, no Faults committed by us, can alter the good Opinion we have of ourselves? This may teach us, what Regard and Value we should ever preserve for our Neighbour. Do we not sincerely endeavour our own Welfare and Advantage of every Kind; wish good Success to all our Undertakings; and, if we rightly understand ourselves, desire the Health and Happiness of our immortal Souls? This may inform us, what we are to wish and desire for our Neighbour. Have we not a sensible Complacency in our own Prosperity, and are extremely glad to find ourselves thriving and flourishing in Wealth, in Reputation, or any other Accommodation or Ornament of Life ? On the other Hand, do we not seriously grieve at our own Disasters and Disappointments, and heartily bemoan and pity ourselves, when fallen into Pain, or Poverty, or any other pressing Calamities? This may inftruct us, what Pleasure we are to feel in our Neighbour's Prosperity, and how to condole and commiserate his Misfortunes. Are we easily angry with ourselves? Do we retain impla, cable Grudges, or execute malicious Designs against ourselves ? Yea, rather are we not meek and patient towards ourselves, excusing our own Infirmities and Follies, and forgiving ourselves the moft heinous Offences and Outrages against our own Interest, Honour, and Welfare? Hence we may learn the Lessons of Meekness and Patience towards our Neighbour, in bearing his Infirmities, and remitting any Wrongs or Discourtesies we have received from him. Are we rude in our Deportment, or harsh in our Language towards our

selves,

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selves, apt to censure our own Actions, blazon our Defects, and aggravate our Failings, and not rather conceal our Blemishes, and extenuate our Crimes? Do we delight to report, or to hear ill Stories of ourselves, and not rather endeavour, all we can, to ftifle them, to tie the Tongues, and stop the Ears of Men against them ? Hence we may likewife learn, how civil and courteous in our Behaviour, how fair and ingenuous in our Dealing, how candid and mild in our Judgment or Censure, we should be towards our Neighbour. Thus reflecting on ourselves, and making our Practice towards ourselves the Pattern of our Dealing with others, we shall not fail of performing this Duty, and making our Charity commensurate to our Self-Love.

And, indeed, considering the near Relation we have to one another, and how, in the necessary and substantial Properties of our Nature, we are all the same, and distinguished only by what is contingent and circumftantial to us, we cannot but perceive the great Reasonableness of loving our Neighbour to this Degree, as he is the express Image of ourfelves, but much more fo, as he is created in the Divine Likeness and Similitude. The Prophet Malachi has a very wise Observation to this Purpose : Have we not all one Father ? Hath not one God created us? Why then do we deal treacherously every Man against bis Brother ? 'Tis barbarous not to love our own Nature, but highly impious to hate or vilify him, in whom God hath formed fome, though weak Resemblances of his own Perfections. How contemptible soever he may be in the Circumstances of his Fortune, yet he has in him an immortal Spirit, that shall live for ever, and live with God and Angels ; he has in him those Powers and Faculties, that render him capable of serving and enjoying his Great Creator; and how dear

and

and valuable he is to God, we may best perceive, by considering what God has done for him. He has not only made him a little lower than the Angels, and crowned him with Glory and Honour; but, as if this World were too mean, has prepared a more glorious one to receive him : He spares and indulges him, as a tender Parent his beloved Child; guards and provides for him by a kind and wakeful Providence ; wooes and courts him by the Sollicitations of his Holy Spirit ; and has provided a standing Propitiation for his Sins, by the Sacrifice of his only beloved Son. In a Word, he rejoices over him, to do him good, and longs, as it were, to have him with him in Heaven : And can we think, that the Almighty loves, where there is no Ground and Foundation for his Love? Herein therefore we have an Example fet us, how we are to love him, whom God loves so well, and this Commandment we have from him, that he who loveth God, love bis Brother also : The Fulfilling of which Law, which St James calls the Royal Law, is the great Perfection of our Natures, the Advancement and Enlargement of our Souls, the chief Ornament and Beauty of a great Mind ; that which makes us itke God, the best, most perfect, and happiest Being; and in that too, which is the prime ExcelJency, and Happiness, and Glory of the Divine Nature.

Of what happy Tendency this universal Love and Charity is, to free our Souls from those unruly and disquieting Passions of Anger and Envy, of Malice and Revenge, of Jealousy and Discontent, which are the great Torments of our Sp rits; to make our Minds calm and chearful, and maintain us in the Possession and quiet Enjoyment of ourselves ; to preserve us from many Mischiefs and Inconveniencies, which Enmity and Ill. will continually occasion ; to gain Friends, and reclaim

Enemies,

Enemies, and make every Condition either pleafant, or easy, or tolerable to us, is verified by every Day's Experience.

Of what particular Note and Obfervation, in the first and best Ages of Religion, the Practice of this Duty was among Christians ; how it was the Mark and Badge of their Profession, and grew into a Proverb among the Heathens, Behold, Into these Christians love one another ! how some of he greatest Enemies of our Profession admired it, a { esteemed the Example not unworthy their owr; Imitation, is what we are informed of from the Records of Antiquity : And therefore, to conclude this Head in the Words of the blessed Apostle ; If there be any Confolation in Christ, if any Comfort of Love, if any Fellowship of the Spirit, if any Bowels and Mercies ; if any Endearments in our common Nature and common Christianity, if any Inducement in the Benefits and Advantages of any Duty, if any Encouragement in the Practice, and Examples of others, then fulfil ye my Joy, that

ye

be like-minded ; and, having the same Love, be pitiful, be courteous; not rendering Evil for Evil, or Railing for Railing ; but, contrariwise, Blessing ; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a Blessing

2. Of Loving Enemies.

T

HE Jews, having read, that their Ancestors

were commissioned by God, as Ministers of his Justice, utterly to destroy the seven Nations, that poffeffed the Land of Canaan before them ; to blot out the Remembrance of Amalek under Heaven, and to have no Peace with the Ammonites and Moabites, their declared Enemies ; considered not, that these were special Cases, fixed by the Divine Command, and grounded upon Reasons both of

State

State and Religion, but drew an Inference very falsely from them to their own private and personal Quarrels, and advanced it into a Maxim, that, though in general they were to love their Neighbours, yet they not only might, but ought to hate their Enemies, especially such, as were Enemies to their Law, and the Manner of their religious Warship. This their Doctors taught with much A france, and the People received it with a ma. licious Readiness, being naturally violent and revengeful : But our Saviour, in his Sermon on the Mount, endeavours to correct their Mistake, and to preferibe to his Followers the very contrary Habit of Mind: Ye have heard, that it hath been said, Thou fhalt {ove tby Neighbour, and hate thy Enemy; but I say unto you, love your Enemies, bless them that curse you, fo good to them that hate you, and pray for them that despitefully use you, and persecute you.

Love your Enemies ; here the inward Affection is required : Bless them that curse you, here outward Civility and Affability are enjoined, in Opposition to all rude and opprobrious Language : Do good to them that hate you ; here real Acts of Kindness are commanded to be done, even to our bitterest and most malicious Enemies : Pray for them that despitefully use you, and persecute you. The highest Expressions of Enmity that can be imagined, are Calumng and Cruelty, and yet we are commanded to pray for those, that touch us in these two tenderest Points of all, our Reputation and our Life: And, to secure the Sincerity of our Charity towards our Enemies, we are required to express it by our hearty Prayers to God for them : To God, I say, before whom it is both impious and dangerous to dissemble, and from whom we can expect no Mercy for ourselves, if, with feigned Lips, we beg it of him for others.

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