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things which are forbidden therein, knowing,

66 that if ye offend in one point, ye are guilty of all.” “ To do good also, and to distribute, forget not:"_“ Yea, while you have time, do all the good you can unto all men. Then, “ deny thyself, take up thy cross daily;" and, if called thereto, “resist unto blood." And when each of you can say, “ All this have 1 done;" then let him say to himself farther, (words at which not only such as Felix alone, but the holiest soul upon earth might tremble,)

Though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not Love, it profiteth me nothing.”

It concerns us all, therefore, in the highest degree, to know,

I. The full sense of these words, “ Though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned."

II. The true meaning of the word Love: And,

Ill. In what sense it can be said, “That without Love all this profiteth us nothing.”

I. As to the First: it must be observed, that the word used by St. Paul, properly signifies, To divide into small pieces, and then to distribute what has been so divided : and consequently it implies, not only divesting ourselves at once of all the worldly goods we enjoy, either from a fit of distate to the world, or a sudden start of devotion, but an act of choice, and that choice coolly and steadily executed. It may imply too, that this be done not out of vanity, but in part from a right principle; namely, from a design to perform the command of God, and a desire to obtain his kingdom. It must be farther observed, that the word give, signifies actually to deliver a thing according to agreement, and accordingly it implies, like the word preceding, not a hasty, inconsiderate action, but one performed with opened eyes and a determined heart, pursuant to a resolution before taken. The full sense of the words, therefore, is this, which he that hath ears to ear, let him hear: though I should give all the substance of my house to feed the

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poor, though I should do so upon mature choice and deliberation : though I should spend my life in dealing it out to them with my own hands, yea, and that from a principle of obedience : though I should suffer from the same view, not only reproach and shame, not only bonds and imprisonment, and all this by my own continued act and deed, not accepting deliverance: but moreover, death itself; yea, death inflicted in a manner the most terrible to nature: yet all this, if I have not Love, (“ the love of God, and the love of all mankind shed abroad in my heart by the Holy Ghost given unto me,") it profiteth me nothing.

II. Let us inquire what this Love is: What is the true meaning of the word. We may consider it, either as to its properties or effects. And that we may be under no possibility of mistake, we will not at all regard the judgment of men, but go to our Lord himself for an account of the Nature of Love; and for the Effects of it, to his inspired Apostle.

The Love which our Lord requires in all his followers is, The Love of God and man;-of God, for his own, and of man, for God's sake. Now what is it to love God, but to delight in him, to rejoice in his will, to desire continually to please him, to seek and find our happiness in him, and to thirst day and night for a fuller enjoyment of him ?

As to the measure of this love, our Lord hath clearly told us, “ Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart.” Not that we are to love, or delight in none but him. For he hath commanded us not only to love our neighbour, that is, all men, as ourselves; to desire and pursue their happiness as sincerely and steadily as our own : but also to love many of his creatures in the strictest sense; to delight in them, to enjoy them : only in such a manner and measure as we know and feel, not to indispose, but to prepare us for the enjoyment of him. Thus then we are called to love God with all our heart.

The effects, or properties of this love, the apostle describes in the chapter before us. And all these being infallible marks, whereby any man may judge of himself, whether


he hath this love or hath it not, they deserve our deepest consideration.

:56 Love suffereth long," or is long-suffering: If thou love thy neighbour for God's sake, thou wilt bear long with his infirmities. If he want wisdom, thou wilt pity and not despise him. If he be in error, thou wilt mildly endeavour to recover him, without any sharpness or reproach. If he be overtaken in a fault, thou wilt labour to restore him in the spirit of meekness; and if haply that cannot be done soon, thou wilt have patience with him; if God, peradventure, may bring him at length to the knowledge and love of the truth. In all provocations, either from the weakness or malice of men, thou wilt shew thyself a pattern of gentleness and meekness; and be they ever so often repeated, wilt not be overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good. Let no, man deceive you with vain words : he who is not thus long-suffering, hath not love.

Again : “Love is kind.” Whosoever feels the love of God and man shed abroad in his heart, feels an ardent and uninterrupted thirst after the happiness of all his fellowcreatures. His soul melts away with the very fervent desire, which he hath continually to promote it. And out ! of the abundance of the heart, his mouth speaketh. In his tongue is the law of kindness. The same is impressed upon all his actions. The flame within is continually working itself a way, and spreading abroad more and more, in every instance of good-will to all with whom he hath to do. So that whether he thinks or speaks, or whatever he does, it all points to the same end. The advancing, by every possible way, the happiness of all his fellow-crea-tures. Deceive not, therefore, your own souls: he who is . not thus kind, hath not love.

Farther: “ Love envieth not.” This, indeed, is implied, when it is said, “ Love is kind.” For kindness and envy are inconsistent: they can no more abide together than light and darkness. If we earnestly desire all happiness to all, we cannot be grieved at the happiness of any. The fulfilling of our desire will be sweet to our soul; so far

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shall we be from being pained at it. If we are always doing what good we can to our neighbour, and wishing we could do more, it is impossible that we should repine at any good he receives ; indeed, it will be the very joy of our heart. However, then, we may flatter ourselves, or one another, he that envieth, hath not Love.

· It follows, “ Love vaunteth not itself;” or rather, is not rash, or hasty in judging; for this is indeed, the true meaning of the word. As many as love their neighbour for God's sake, will not easily receive an ill opinion of any to whom they wish all good, spiritual as well as temporal. They cannot condemn him even in their hearts without evidence: nor upon slight evidence neither. Nor, indeed, upon any, without first, if it be possible, having him and his accuser face to face; or, at the least, acquainting him with the accusation, and letting him speak for himself. Every one of you feels, that he cannot but act thus, with regard to one whom he tenderly loves. Why, then, he who does not act thus, hath not love.

I only mention one thing more of the effects or properties of this love. “ Love is not puffed up." You cannot wrong one you love. Therefore,

love. Therefore, if you love God with all your heart, you cannot so wrong him, as to rob him of his glory, by taking to yourself what is due to him only. You will own that all you are, and all you have, is his : that without him you can do nothing: that he is your light and your life, your strength and your all; and that you are nothing, yea, less than nothing before him. And if you love your neighbour as yourself, you will not be able to prefer yourself before him. Nay you will not be able to despise any one any more than to hate him. As the wax melteth before the fire, so doth pride melt away before love. All haughtiness, whether of heart, speech, or behaviour, vanishes away where love prevails. It bringeth down the high looks of him who boasted in his strength, and maketh him as a little child; diffident of himself, willing to hear, glad to learn, easily convinced, easily persuaded. And whosoever is otherwise minded, let him

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give up all vain hope: he is puffed up, and so hath not love.

III. It remains to inquire, in what sense it can be said, - That though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor; yea, though I give my body to be burned, and have not love, it profiteth me nothing.”

The chief sense of the words is, doubtless, this : that whatsoever we do, and whatsoever we suffer, if we are not renewed in the spirit of our mind, by the love of God shed abroad in our hearts, by the Holy Ghost given unto us, we cannot enter into life eternal. None can enter there, unless in virtue of the covenant which God hath given unto man in the Son of his Love.

But because general truths are less apt to affect us, let us consider one or two particulars, with regard to which all we can do or suffer, if we have not love, profiteth us nothing. And first, all without this profiteth not, so as to make life happy; nor, secondly, so as to make death comfortable.

And, First : without Love, nothing can so profit us as to make our lives happy. By happiness, I mean, not a slight, trifling pleasure, that perhaps begins and ends in the same hour : but such a state of well-being, as contents the soul, and gives it a steady, lasting satisfaction. But that nothing without love can profit us, as to our present happiness, will appear from this single consideration : you cannot want it in any one single instance without pain, and the more you depart from it, the pain is the greater. Are you wanting in long-suffering ? Then so far as you fall short of this, you fall short of happiness. The more the opposite tempers, anger, fretfulness, revenge, prevail, the more unhappy you are. You know it; you feel it; nor can the storm be allayed, or peace ever return to your soul, unless meekness, gentleness, patience, or, in one word, love take possession of it. Does any man find in himself ill-will, malice, envy, or any other temper opposite to kindness? Then is misery there : and the stronger the temper, the more miserable he is. If the slothful man may VOL. XI.


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