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of the infidels, which scarcely | requirement of the Divine law. If wears the semblance, while it
men ought to love their fellowclaims the character of disinterest- creatures as themselves; then they ed benevolence. Others have been ought to treat them as they would led into this specious theory, in be treated by them, in an exchange consequence of not making a pro- of circumstances. Such a line of per distinction between the natu- conduct towards one's fellow-men, ral affections and love. The natu- is the natural expression and diral affections, unquestionably, em- rect consequence of loving them as brace their objects, in the order himself. It is impossible for any mentioned above: but the natural one to obey the second commandaffections, though they may be ment in the law, without conformmotives to love, are not love itself: ing to the great rule of conduct they are involuntary, and without laid down by our Saviour. any moral quality: they belong to 3. From what has been said, we the intellectual, or animal part of may learn, why we ought to do man, and not to the heart; where- more for some of our fellow-creaas love, in all its branches, is ever tures, than for others. That we free and voluntary. But more, it ought, seems plainly implied in the is apprehended, have embraced words of the apostle, “ As we this theory, because it makes true have opportunity, let us do good love to our neighbour altogether unto all men, especially unto them selfish, and directly opposite to who are of the household of faiththat, which the Divine law re- If any provide not for his own, 'quires. A supreme regard to pri- and especially for those of his owu vate interest, which is the root of house, he hath denied the faith, this unscriptural scheme, can nev- and is worse than an infidel." er grow into general benevolence, But, why ought one to do inore for how widely soever it may extend those of his own house, than for its branches. If it embraces rela- other neighbours; or for the housetives, friends, country, and even hold of faith, than for them who the whole family of mankind, it are without? Not merely because maintains the same character, they are connected with himself; loves them for its own sake, and for their interest is not the more is but selfishness still. Whereas, valuable on that account; and that love to our neighbour, wbich much less, because their happiness the Divine law requires, is disin- may involve his own; for this terested and impartial. He, who would be the same, as to love them truly loves his neighbour as him for his own sake. The question, self, values his happiness, not be then returns, Why ought one to cause it may be conducive to his do more for those of his own house, own, but because it is valuable in and for the household of faith, itself, in proportion to his capacity than for others? The answer may for enjoyment and rank in the be, that one ought to do more for system of being.
the members of his own family, 2. What has been said, respect than for his other neighbours, being the nature of true love to one's cause Divine Providence has placneighbour, may serve to show the ed them under his peculiar care, ground of the golden rule of our and given him opportunity and Saviour, " Whatsoever ye would ability to do more for them than that men should do to you, do ye for others, and excited him to do even so to them.” This rule of it, by implanting in his breast a conduct has its foundation in the natural affection for them. Again,
it is incumbent on a Christian to right to value his own interest do good, in a special manner, to more than that of any other child the household of faith, because of Abraham of equal capacity for they sustain to him the relation of happiness. Surely, then, they brethren, in whom he should feel were both bound to value the ina peculiar complacency; and be- terest of hundreds and thousands cause they are the excellent of the of their countrymen, more, vastly earth, and so more worthy of re- more, than their own. Moses in gard than other men. It is not his prayer, and Paul in his wish, necessary to exercise one selfish only expressed, what, no doubt, affection, or ever to act with the they felt, that very love to their Jeast partiality, in bestowing a neighbours, which the Divine law that care and attention upon rela- requires, and without which, their tives and friends, and rendering feelings and affections towards all that beneficence to the house their countrymen, would have been hold of faith, to which nature totally selfish and sinful. prompts, and the apostle exhorts. 5. This subject shows us the
4. It will follow from what has meaning and reasonableness of been said, that there was nothing Christ's new commandment, comimproper or extravagant in the pared with the declaration of his prayer of Moses and the wish of apostle John. Our Lord said to Paul. When Moses went up to his disciples, a little before he left make an atonement for the sin of them, "A new commandment Israel, in worshipping the golden give I unto you, that ye love one calf, he prayed to God for them, another; EVEN AS I HAVE LOVED saying, “ If thou wilt, forgive their you, that ye love one another:” sin; and if not, blot me, I pray and John writes to his brethren, thee, out of thy book, which thou “Hereby perceive we the love of hast written." When Paul beheld God, because he laid down his life the nation of Jews, generally re- for us: and we ought to lay down jecting Christ and exposing them- our lives for the brethren." This selves to the wrath of God, he was commandment, as given by Christ filled with great heaviness and and recognized by John, enjoins sorrow of heart, and said, “I upon Christians a kind of love or could wish that myself were ac- benevolence to their brethren, cursed from Christ, for my breth which involves a willingness to ren, my kinsmen according to the make a great sacrifice, when necflesh.” These holy men, the one essary to promote their greater in his prayer, and the other in his good. Christ actually laid down wish, express a willingness to make his life for his people: and there a sacrifice of their own interest, have been, and may be cases to prevent the eternal ruin of thou- again, in which Christians, by sacsands of their countrymen. And ríficing their own lives, might prehowever strange and unwarranta- serve the more useful and valuable ble such a willingness may appear lives of their brethren. This new to such as are lovers of their own commandment of Christ means no selves only; our subject shows us, more, and requires no higher exthat it was perfectly reasonable ercise of love, than the second and right. It was the duty of commandment in the law, “ Thou Moses and Paul, as it is of all shalt love thy neighbour as thymen, to love their neighbours as self.” This love being of a disthemselves. Neither the meekest interested and impartial nature, man, nor the chief apostle, had a ever involves a willingness to un
dergo a personai evil, to prevent, The essence of true friendship, is
à a greater publick evil, and to re- that disinterested, impartial love, linquish a personal good, to pro- which fulfils the law, and which cure a greater publick good; or, prompts men to do good to such in other words, that love, or be as hate them; and to lend, hoping nevolence, which the law of God for nothing again.' And hence, requires, ever. prefers a less evil 7. We may learn, why the aposto a greater, and a greater good tle calls love, “the bond of perto a less, without any private, fectness," i. e. a perfect bond of personal considerations.
union. Men may be united by 6. Our subject teaches us the na- selfish affections, so long as their ture of true friendship. This is a interests are apparently the same,
a word frequently used among men, and each one thinks he can beneexpressive of a virtue often profess- fit himself by promoting the weled, but too seldom exercised. Af- fare of the rest. But the moment ter describing the vices and crimes their interests appear to be sepaof the heathen, the apostle men- rate, and to stand in opposition to tions those, who “not only do the each other, their union is at an same, but have pleasure in them end. And hence it is no uncomthat do them." Sinners have a mon occurrence, for those, who complacency, or pleasure in the were apparently, warm friends, to character and conduct of sinners; become, on a sudden, bitter enebut this is something very differ- mies. Whereas those, whose ent from true friendship. There hearts are “ knit together" by is, also, a sort of apparent benevo- that love, which the law of God lence among even the vilest of enjoins, can never have separate men, which bears the name, but or conflicting interests. Each one lacks the natue of true friendship. truly values and seeks the happiTo this our Lord alludes in the ness of every other, and is willing following words, “If ye love them to relinquish his personal interest, that love you, what thank have yet whenever the greater good of the for sinners also love those that rest demands the sacrifice. A love them. And if ye do good to union, cemented by such love, them who do good to you, what must be indissoluble. thank have ye? for sinners also do 8. Our subject exhibits the ground even the same. And if ye lend to of the obligation, which lies upon them of whom ye hope to receive, Christians, to propagate the goswhat thank have ye? for sinners pel. It is their duty to love their also lend to sinners, to receive as fellow-men of every nation, as much again." This benevolence, themselves; and, of course, to do which sinners feel and express to- to them, as they would have them wards each other, is merely mer- do, in a reverse of circumstances. cenary; it is loving others only The dark places of the earth are for one's own sake, and doing good full of the habitations of cruelty, to them solely with a view to ob- in which the inhabitants are pertain as much, or more in return. ishing for lack of knowledge. It This is nothing but selfishess at is in the power of Christians to bottom, and the very reverse of send them the gospel, the divinetrue friendship, which ever sets ly appointed means of their ina just value upon the interest of structiun and salvation. its object, and does good to others, pleases God, by the foolishness of not from the hope of reward, but preaching, to save them that befrom a real regard to their welfare. | lieve.” Hence the imperious eb
ligation upon Christians, to go | inseparably connected. Thus they into all the world and preach the are represented by the apostle gospel to every creature.' This John; “ By this we know that we obligation was felt by the chief love the children of God, when we apostle to the Gentiles, when he love God and keep his commandwrote to the Romans, “I am ments—If a man say, I love God DEBTOR, both to the Greeks and and hate his brother, he is a liar: to the Barbarians, both to the wise for he that loveth not his brother, and the unwise. So, AS MUCH AS whom he hath seen, how can he IN ME IS, I am ready to preach love God, whom he hath not seen?” the gospel to you that are at Rome To ascertain, then, whether we also.”
are saints, we have only to en9. Our subject exposes the crim-quire, whether we love our neighinality of enslaving the Africans, bour as ourselves? This enquiry is and holding them in perpetual greatly facilitated by the continual bondage. They are our neigh-presence of our neighbours, in bours, whom we are bound to love every predicament, whether of as ourselves, and to whom we wealth or poverty, health or sickought to do whatsoever we would ness, joy or sorrow, friendship or have them do to us, were they in enmity. How, then, do we habour situation and we in theirs. itually feel towards them? How Is this the love by which Christian do we habitually treat them? Have nations have been actuated, this we reason to think, that we ever the rule which they have followed, feel towards them that disinterestin exciting wars among the Afri-ed, impartial, perfect love, which can tribes, in buying and kidnap- is the fulfilling of the law? It is in ping defenceless men and inoffen- vain for any to imagine, that they sive women and children, in ex- love God and have been born of posing them to pestilence and the Spirit, while they indulge bitdeath in the noisome holds of ships, terness and wrath and anger and and in consigning them to inces- malice towards their fellow-creasant labour and a scanty subsis-tures, and practice clamour and tence, under a burning sun and the evil-speaking, dishonesty and oplash of the whip, upon their plant pression. A performance of the
A ations? It is believed, that nothing relative duties is as essential to in the conduct of Pharaoh and his true religion, as an attendance task-masters,of Mohammed and his upon the offices of devotion.Arabs, of Popery and the Inquisi- 6. These ought ye to have done, tion, was ever more repugnant to and not to have left the other unthe law of love, or more abomina- done.” ble in the sight of God, than the Finally. Our subject teaches us, slave-trade, and the consequent what would make this a happy
a slavery of the Africans.
world. It is natural for men to 10. What has been said, may complain, that the times are bad. teach us how to determine the im- They may be so; though not much portant question, whether or not worse, than they always have been. we are saints. If we are saints, The Scriptures call this an evil we have been born of God, and, world. But it is so, because the however inconstantly, do, habitu- inhabitants are • hateful and hatally, love God and our neighbour, ing one another, and continually
' as the Divine law requires. True • bite and devour one another.' love to God and true love to men, If mankind could be persuaded to are the same in nature, and are obey the second commandment in the law, and love one another as not every man on his own things, themselves, there would no longer but every man also on the things be reason to complain of evil times, of others, and let that mind be or an evil world. The general continually in them, which was prevalence of true love, would put also in Christ Jesus. And, an end, at once, to fraud and in- Let sinners be exhorted to be justice, slander and falsehood, ty: gin to love one another. Mere ranny and oppression, war and natural affection is but an instinct, murder, and unite the whole hu- without any moral quality, imman family as a band of brothers. | planted to counteract the native It will be so, my brethren, in the selfishness of the human heart, Millennium. Let us fervently and to preserve the human spepray, that God would • hasten it cies. All that love to others, in his time.?
which proceeds from selfish moIn view of all that has been said, tives, transgresses, instead of ful
Let saints be exhorted more filling the Divine law. It is the constantly to love their neighbours incumbent duty of sinners to love as themselves. They acknowledge their fellow-creatures, with a truly the obligation of the duty: 'They disinterested affection. Until they know, by experience, the happi- do this, they will remain totally ness of performing it. Why, then, void of thať • holiness, without will they not comply with the which, no man shall see the Lord.? apostolick exhortation, and look
FOR THE BOPKINGIAN MAGAZINE,
not afford mankind the least ex
cuse for sinning. They do not alThe Divine Decrees afford no ex- ter the nature of virtue or vice;
cuse for the wicked conduct of they do not destroy the free moral mankind.
agency of the creature; they do
not free him from condemnation in (Concluded from page 101.]
the sight of God, for bis sinful Having, in a former essay, en- conduct; nor do they alleviate the deavoured to prove, that God has stings of a guilty conscience. But decreed the wicked conduct of since this is the case with respect mankind, and that his decrees af- to the divine decrees, it must also ford them no excuse; I proceed, be the case with respect to divine as was proposed, to draw a num- agency. The agency of God, beber of important and practical in- ing the execution of his decrees, ferences.
cannot destroy the accountability 1. If the decrecs of God afford of moral beings, nor remove their no excuse for the wicked conduct obligation to do right, in the least of mankind; then his universal possible degree. Hence God says, agency can afford them no excuse " Assyrian, the rod of mine anfor their wicked. conduct. The
and the staff in their hand is agency of God is in perfect har- mine indignation. I will send him mony with his decrees. It is a against a hypocritical nation, and mere execution of his decrees.- against the people of my wrath Whatever God chooses to do, his will I give him a charge, to take own Almighty arm accomplishes the spoil, and to take the prey, and with infinite ease. But we have to tread them down like the mire seen that the decrees of God do ' of the streets. Howbeit he mean