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ducing the noblest Effects: To behave our selves worthy our Character, as becomes Reasonable Creatures, and enlightned Christians : Characters utterly defaced, in those that make any sort of Wickedness their Business ; Greatly Disparaged, by Them, who stoop so low, as to lay themselves out upon mean and little Designs : Never answered, except by such Callings, and such Industry about them, as may tend to our own Benefit and Salvation : Nor then neither, except our Management, and the Matters in which it is employed, do in such manner consult our Own, as, at the same time, and together with it, to advance the Publick, Good.
Thus much is apparently included in this Allusion of a Body : Whose every Limb and Vessel, though ready to discharge the Office peculiar to it, yet not one of them does it with any separate view of Delight or Interest of its own. The Eye does not see, nor the Ear hear, nor the Stomach receive and digest Food, nor the Hands act, nor the Feet travel, for themselves : But Each confents to minister to the Other's occasions, and all conspire together, to preserve and promote the Welfare and Comfort of the Whole. And this, I think, sufficiently intimates, not only what unwearied diligence is required in filling our own Post, and performing our own Part ; But, that no Man is at liberty to chuse Such a Poft or Part, for the employment of his Life, from whence it is likely any Evil may, from whence it is not probable indeed that a great deal of Good will, come. No private Profit of our own is singlý a lawful Inducement for such a Choice. To justifie us in this matter, it is necessary, that the Methods we live by be blameless, and fair, and honest. Such as we need never be alhained to own, and distinguish our felves by ; Such as, in the natural Course and tendency of things, may contribute to the increase of our own Virtue, the
Glory of God, and the Advantage of our Brethren. For be that in these things serveth Christ, He only is acceptable to God, and approved of Men.
3. The Third Particular taken notice of, as recommended here, and grounded upon the Similitude of a Body, is Mutual Love and Respect. Let Love be without dissimulation. Be kindly affectioned one
Ver. 9, 10. toward another in brotherly love. And again ; In honour preferring one another ; Be Ver. 16. of the same mind one towards another ; Mind not high things, but condescend to men of loco estate.
In the former of These, our Love, the Apostle requires Two Qualifications, The Sincerity, and the Fervency of it. Both plainly resulting from the Consideration of our Neighbours making up one Whole, and being integral parts with our selves. Every Man naturally bears such a regard to every part of his own Body, as admits no Hypocrisie, or false appearance of the Affection he really hath not. And this distinguishes true Christian Charity, from all those formal Pretences, and affected Civilities, from all those interested and designing, those counterfeit and treacherous Professions of Kindness, which the Friendships of this World so generally consist of ; when in truth there is little or nothing but Self, at the bottom all the while. It is not therefore in this cafe enough, that we serve and do acts of Friendship to 0thers, unless we do them for Their fakes, that receive them. Nay, it is not enough, that we love them with a common and general sort of affection, though this be undissembledunless this be done with that warmth and fervour, which Nature inspires for those Relations, that are very near and dear to us. For such is every Christian, a Child of the same Father, a Member of the fame Body
1 Cor. xii. 21, 22, 23, 24, 25.
The Latter, that of Respect, is opposite to the contemptuous Coldness, and disdainful Treatment, which the Opinion of our own Advantages, and the Defects of our Brethren, are so frequently the cause of, towards the Persons, who, upon these accounts, seem so far our Inferiors, as not to be worthy our regard. And this the Apostle, much to the fame effect indeed as here, but in Terms more expressive of the Comparison I am now upon, hath urged in
his Epistle to the Corinthians. The Eye cannot say to the Hand, I have no need of
Thee ; nor again the Head to the Feet, I have no need of You. Nay, much more those Members of the Body which seem to be feeble, are necesary. And those Members of the Body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant borour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness. For our comely parts bave no need; but God hath tempered the
Body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked. That there should be no Shcism in the Body, but that the Members should have the same care one for another. This Care of God and Nature, to set every
Part above our Scorn, is here propounded, as a Pattern to model our Behaviour upon, and a reason fufficient, why no Man should be despised. The short of it is, That, what those we think most despicable, want in One way, is made up to them in Another ; and, where the Gracefulness falls short, there the Convenience and Usefulness excels. Thus the most neceflary Operations of Life are performed, partly by Vessels hid from common view ; partly by such, as when seen, make no beautiful figure ; partly by some, which general Custom, and natural Modesty, labour to conceal. Just thus the meanest of Mankind are of most general, most indispensable Use. The Leisure of the Learned, the Luxury of the Rich, the glittering
Pomps and put
Pomps of the Great, What would become of them all, if the Illiterate, the Poor, the lowest in degree and common account, should stop their Hands? If the Plough, and the Mill, and the Wheel, and the Manufacture itood still ; If the laborious Pains of them, who seem cut out for nothing above that constant Drudgery, should cease, nay should but intermit for a very small Season? Is not that Pride then most unreasonable, that vilifies and tramples upon those Faces, to the Sweat of which its Support, its very Subsistence, is owing? that minister to our Plenty,
the very Bread into our Mouths ? 'Tis most extravagant upon a Civil Consideration ; 'Tis much more so, upon a Religious and Spiritual one. For, in this regard too, we have reason to think it a mercy, that the Poor we have always with us. That Their Wants make room for Our Charity, and provide us bags that wax not old, a treasure in Heaven that faileth not, a safe Repofitory, where no Thief approacheth, neither Moth corrupteth. That their mean Birth and Figure in the World give occasion to that Humility, which hath the promise of a higher Elevation, and conforms us to the Image of our Head, who, for Our much more despicable sakes, humbled and even emptied himself. But, which is more, This seemingly Vile Wretch is one Body with thy self, as nearly related to Christ, as closely compacted into Him ; and, if in that lowest capacity he executes his Office, he may one day be the Object of thy Envy, whom now, negleĉting Thine, thou thinkest fo far beneath thy Value, as not to hold him worth thy Pity.
This is directly the Case, as represented by St. Paul. Let us next see the Behaviour of the Body Natural, and from thence we may learn, what at least should be the Resentments, and Behaviour, of the Body Mystical. Now he observes, that here we are follicitous
Luke xii. 33.
Phil. ii. 8.
to provide what additional Ornaments we can, and to make amends for the Defects of Nature, by the Supplies of Art. A Care, that Nature seems to have inspired, as a Token of Gratitude, for the Service those Parts do us; A necessary decency, in covering and defending what ought not to be exposed, and yet can least be dispensed with. And all agree in esteeming the neglect of this Decency and Care, a Symptom of a profligate and abandon'd Mind. Ought We not then, in the Body of Christ, that Head which assigns our respective Stations and Fortunes; ought we not, to treat those, whom a few Circumftantials have placed a little, but a little, below us, with all possible Humanity and Respect? Can it become us to insult their Infirmities of Mind or Body, to make their Meanness of Birth, or Parts, or Profession, matter of Jest and barbarous Triumph? No, we should learn, from that Care, that Coft, that Pain we are so often content with, to hide any bodily Deformity, how much we shouid make it our business to cherish, to aflift their Weakness, to shield many of their Follies and Faults from Shame and Reproach. We hould esteem the Assistances given to them a Debt; and our selves obliged, by all manner of courteous Deportment and kind Condescensions, to repair and supply those Conforts and Honours They want; and which, did not They want, We could not enjoy. Thus we should balance one Convenience with another; and labour fo far to bring all to a level, that not any Christian may have reason to think himself neglected or despised; but all be treated, as becomes Men, who are all needful and helpful, all too needing help; all serviceable, though not in the same kind, and ali sensible that they are, and ought to be, so. This, rightly weighed, would produce that Honour, that civil Preference, that ore Mind, that same Care, pressed by the Apostle. For, where our Occasions and