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versal than mine; for although I confess I cannot love them that hate God, yet I am as sure that they hate all them that love God. Thus charity is sovereign and discriminating, even in the Arminians; and so it is in God himself, who is the fountain of charity.
It is sovereign and discriminating in Christ Jesus, who, as mediator, is the channel through which this charity flows. All men do not share in his dying love: “ I lay down my life for the sheep.” But we read of a herd of goats, of foxes, wolves, bears, swine, dogs, serpents, and a generation of vipers, none of which are included in the dying charity of the Son of God. And as they are not included in his dying love,
No more are they in his prophetic office; for he came for judgment into the world, that they that see not, might see, and that they that see, might be made blind; and he thanks his Father for hiding these things from the wise and prudent, and for revealing them unto babes, and heartily acquiesces with him in it: “ Even so, Father; for so it seemed good in thy sight.”
Nor does the chief Shepherd exercise his charity in feeding the non-elect: “And I will feed the flock of slaughter, even you, O poor of the flock. And I took unto me two staves; the one I called Beauty, and the other I called Bands; and I fed the flock. Three shepherds also I cut off in one month; and my soul loathed them, and their soul also abhorred me. Then said I,
I will not feed you: that that dieth, let it die; and that that is to be cut off, let it be cut off; and let the rest eat every one the flesh of another.” These that our Lord declared that he would not feed, these that he loathed, and these whose soul abhorred him, whom he declares shall die, can never be the objects of Christ's charity. Nor does our Lord include all the world in his intercession any more than in his sacrifice: “I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me.” And in this also the service of our establishment exceeds the charity of the Son of God himself; for though he prays not for the world, yet she prays him that it may please him to have mercy upon all men.
Nor is the world included in the charity of the Holy Ghost, whose office it is to testify of Christ, and to shed abroad the love of God in the heart, and to comfort the saints with it: “I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with
ever; even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.” Hence it appears plain that not all mankind, nor even those that are called neighbours, nor the world, are the objects of God's charity; the elect of God, among angels and men, are the only objects of that divine charity which comes from God, Father, Son, and Spirit.
Charity is a fruit of the Holy Ghost; and among the members of the new man of grace it is called true holiness: “Put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” And this true holiness is charity: We are holy and without blame before him in love, Eph. i. 4. Having proved that divine charity is sovereign and discriminating even in God the Father, and in God the Son, and in God the Holy Ghost, so it evidently appears to be even in the administration of it.
Mary Magdalene was a very lewd and bad character, and was led on in sin by seven devils that had possession of her; but the love of God flowed into her heart with such irresistible force as drove all the devils, the power of sin, the guilt of sin, the love of sin, her enmity to God, her unbelief, rebellion, &c. all before it; and left Simon, the Jewish pharisee, in full possession of all his dead works, further from the kingdom of God than either publicans or harlots. And so we read of some, even among the heathens, and especially at Corinth, that were the most notorious sinners, and yet were washed, and sanctified, and justified, in the name of the Lord Jesus, read 1 Cor. 6th chapter; when' numbers of the Jewish scribes and pharisees, so far from reaping benefit by Christ's charity, he threatens them that at his departure the devil should enter into them with double force: “ When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none. Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out; and, when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished. Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first. Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation."
I come now to prove that none but the children of God, and such as favour the Lord's cause, are the objects of the saints' charity. Christ tells his disciples that they all have one Father, even God; and tells them that all they were brethren; and his command is, That ye love one another, as I have loved you; he extends it no further than to one another. The subjects of God's grace, therefore, are the only objects of this charity : “He that loveth him that begat, loveth him that is begotten of him." Here John makes the image of God the object of a believer's charity ; and so Peter also : “ But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer. And, above all things, have fervent charity among yourselves; for charity shall cover the multitude of sins. Use hospitality one to another without grudging. As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.' ? Here Peter tells them to have perfect charity among themselves.
" We are bound to thank
God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth.” This abounding charity was toward each other. Hence it appears that charity is sovereign and discriminating, even in God, Father, Son, and Spirit; and strictly speaking, that the saints of God, and those that favour his righteous cause, are the proper objects of the saints' charity. And it will be hard work to prove, from God's word, that all mankind are the objects of a saint's love, according to this new commandment. “ Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.” These evil things were not in the world when God made it; all that he made was very good. These came into the world by Satan, who alone brought sin. Nor are these evil things to be found now in the world, abstractedly considered. The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, reign in no creature but men and devils. He, therefore, that loves the company, and can feel union with wicked men, is in love with all these lusts and corruptions. Gospel charity will embrace a child of God upon the first sight, if he was a stranger before: “Ye are taughtof God to love one another.” The bowels of charity will move and sound toward every soul that is un