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Hence those precepts; Put on, as the elect of God, SERM. holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, hum- XX bleness of mind, meekness, long-suffering, forbear-Col. ii. 12, ing one another, and forgiving one another, if any morphv. man have a quarrel against any, even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye: Be ye kind one to an-Eph.iv. 32. other, tender-hearted, forgiving one another; even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you : See 1 Thess. v. that none render evil for evil, but ever follow that i Pet. iii. 9.
Rom. xii. which is good both among yourselves and to all 17.*** men: and many the like precepts occur in the 14. v. 44. gospels, the apostolical writings; yea even in the Prov. xx. Old Testament, wherein charity did not run in so xxv. 21. high a strain.
3. It is a duty coherent with charity, to maintain concord and peace; to abstain from contention and strife, together with the sources of them, pride, envy, emulation, malice.
We are commanded to be σύμψυχοι, and ομόφρονες, of one soul, of one mind, (like the multitude of be- Phil. ii. 2.
, Pet.iii. 8. lievers in the Acts, who had one heart and one soul ;) Acts iv. 32.
Eph. iv. 3. that we should keep the unity of the Spirit in the Phil. ii. 3: bond of peace; that we should be of one accord, of i Cor.i. 10. one mind, standing fast in one spirit, with one mind ; 2 Cor. xiii. that we should all speak the same thing, and that Rom. xv. there be no divisions among us, but that we be per-16.
Pbil. iii. 16. fectly joined together in the same mind, and in the i Cor. xii. same judgment; that there be no factions, or schisms 1.
MS i. 11. iii. 3. in the body; that all dissensions, all clamours, all 3. Cor. murmurings, all emulations should be abandoned and Phil. ii. 14.
* Heb. xii. put away from us; that we should pursue and main-14...
Rom.xii. 18. tain peace with all men: obedience to which com-2 Tim. ii. mands can only be the result of charity, esteeming Jam. iv. i. the person and judgment of our neighbour; desiring Cor.11, 3.
5, 6. xii.
Gal. V. 20.
SERM. his good-will, tendering his good ; curbing those XXVII. 11. fleshly lusts, and those fierce passions, from the predominancy whereof discords and strifes do spring.
4. Another charitable practice is, being candid in opinion, and mild in censure, about our neighbour and his actions; having a good conceit of his person, and representing him to ourselves under the best character we can; making the most favourable construction of his words, and the fairest interpretation of his designs.
Charity disposeth us to entertain a good opinion of our neighbour; for desiring his good we shall be concerned for him, and prejudiced, as it were, on his side ; being unwilling to discover any blemish in him to our own disappointment and regret.
Love cannot subsist without esteem ; and it would not willingly by destroying that lose its own subsistence.
Love would preserve any good of its friend, and therefore his reputation; which is a good in itself precious, and ever very dear to him.
Love would bestow any good, and therefore its esteem; which is a considerable good.
Harsh censure is a very rude kind of treatment, grievously vexing a man, and really hurting him ; charity therefore will not be guilty of it.
It disposeth rather to oversee and connive at faults, than to find them, or to pore on them ; rather to hide and smother, than to disclose or divulge them; rather to extenuate and excuse, than to exaggerate or aggravate them.
Are words capable of a good sense ? charity will expound them thereto: may an action be imputed to any good intent? charity will ever refer it thither:
doth a fault admit any plea, apology, or diminution ? SERM. charity will be sure to allege it: may a quality admit XXVII. a good name? charity will call it thereby
It doth not deyiše Bal kakòv, impute evil, or put it to 1 Cor. xiii. any man's account, beyond absolute necessity.
It hopeth all things, and believeth all things ; 1 Cor. xiii. hopeth and believeth all things for the best, in favour" to its neighbour, concerning his intentions and actions liable to doubt.
It banisheth all evil surmises ; it rejecteth all ill 1 Tim. vi. 4. stories, malicious insinuations, perverse glosses and descants.
5. Another charitable practice is, to comport with the infirmities of our neighbour ; according to that rule of St. Paul, We that are strong ought to bear 'Arrizsofaen
c om c'ohsvãv. the infirmities of the weak, and not to please our.“ selves; and that precept, Bear one another's bur- 1 Thess. V. dens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.
Gal. vi. 2. Is a man wiser than his neighbour, or in any case freer of defects ? charity will dispose to use that advantage so as not to contemn him, or insult over him; but to instruct him, to help him, to comfort him.
As we deal with children, allowing to the infirmities of their age, bearing their ignorance, frowardness, untoward humours, without distasting them; so should we with our brethren who labour under any weakness of mind or humour.
6. It is an act of charity to abstain from offending, or scandalizing our brethren ; by doing any thing, which either may occasion him to commit sin, or disaffect him to religion, or discourage him in the practice of duty, (that which St. Paul calleth to
76 The Nature, Properties, and Acts of Charity. SERM. a defile and smite his weak conscience,) or which any.
1. wise may discompose, vex, and grieve him: for, If thy * Monúveras. brother be grieved with thy meat, now walkest thou TÚTTOTIS' not charitably. Thy ouvridno Giv ac vaơ av, J Cor. viii. 12. Rom. xiv. 15. Oủair was dress tousassis. I Cor. x. 32. viii. 13. Rom. xiv, 21.
1 Cor. x. 7.
MOTIVES AND ARGUMENTS TO CHARITY.
HEB. X. 24.
good works. THAT which is here recommended by the apostle, SERM. as the common duty of Christians toward each other, XXVII. upon emergent occasions, with zeal and care to provoke one another to the practice of charity and be. neficence, may well be conceived the special duty of those, whose office it is to instruct and guide others, when opportunity is afforded : with that obligation I shall now comply, by representing divers considerations serving to excite and encourage us to that practice : this (without premising any description or explication of the duty; the nature, special acts, and properties whereof I have already declared) I shall immediately undertake.
I. First then, I desire you to remember and consider that you are men, and as such obliged to this duty, as being very agreeable to human nature; the which, not being corrupted or distempered by ill use, doth incline to it, doth call for it, doth like and approve it, doth find satisfaction and delight there
St. Paul chargeth us to be εις αλλήλους φιλόστοργοι, Rom. xii.