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save their souls from death, he, as it were, forgets himself. He does not think of himself, so long as that zeal for the glory of God swallows him up. Nay, at some times he may almost seem, through an excess of love, to give up himself, both his soul and his body; while he cries out, with Moses, “ Oh! this people have sinned a great sin; yet now, if-thou wilt, forgive their sin ;-and if not, blot me out of the book which thou hast written !" Exod. xxxii, 32, 33:- or with St. Paul, “I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ, for '
my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh !” Rom. ix, 3.
10. No marvel that such “ love is not provoked :" 8 TOPOĞUVETAI. Let it be observed, the word easily, strangely inserted in the translation, is not in the original. St. Paul's words are absolute. “ Love is not provoked :" it is not provoked to unkindness towards any one. Occasions indeed will frequently occur; outward provocations of various kinds ; but love does not yield to provocation; it triumphs over all. In all trials it looketh unto Jesus, and is more than conqueror in his love. ..
It is not improbable that our translators inserted that word, as it were, to excuse the apostle ; who, as they supposed, might otherwise appear to be wanting in the very love which he so beantifully describes. They seem to have supposed this from a phrase in the Acts of the Apostles ; which is likewise very inaccurately translated. When Paul and Barnabas disagreed concerning John, the translation runs thus, “ And the contention was so sharp between them, that they departed asunder," Acts xv, 39. This naturally induces the reader to suppose, that they were equally sharp therein : that St. Paul, who was undoubtedly right, with regard to the point in question, (it being quite improper to take John with them again, who had deserted them before,) was as much provoked as Barnabas, who gave such a proof of his anger, as to leave the work for which he had been set apart by the Holy Ghost. But the original imports no such thing; nor does it affirm that St. Paul was provoked at all. It simply says, syeveTO OUV rapoğuomos, -" And there was a sharpness," a paroxysm of anger ; in consequence of which Barnabas left St. Paul, took John, and went his own way. Paul then“ chose Silas, and departed, being recommended by the brethren to the grace of God;" (which is not said concerning Barnabaş ;)" and he went through Syria and Cilicia,” as he had proposed, “ confirming the churches." But to return.
11. Love prevents a thousand provocations which would otherwise arise, because it “ thinketh no evil.” Indeed the merciful man cannot avoid knowing many things that are evil; he cannot but see them with his own eyes, and hear them with his own ears : for love does not put out his eyes, so that it is impossible for him not to see that such things are done; neither does it take away his understanding, any more than his senses, so that he cannot but know that they are evil. For instance: when he sees a man strike his neighbour, or hears him blaspheme God, he cannot either question the thing done, or the words spoken, or doubt of their being evil. Yet, s hoveTal To zaxov. The word korietai, (thinketh) does not refer either to our seeing and hearing, or to the first and involuntary acts of our understanding; but to our willingly thinking what we need not; our inferring evil, where it does not appear; to our reasoning concerning things which we do not see; our supposing what we have neither seen nor heard. This is what true love absolutely
destroys. It tears up, root and branch, all imagining what we have not known. It casts out all jealousies, all evil surmisings, all readiness to believe evil. It is frank, open, unsuspicious; and, as it cannot design, so neither does it fear evil.
12. It “ rejoiceth not in iniquity;"—common as this is, even among those who bear the name of Christ, who scruple not to rejoice over their enemy, when he falleth either into affliction, or error, or sin. Indeed how hardly can they avoid this, who are zealously attached to any party ? How difficult is it for them not to be pleased with any fault which they discover in those of the opposite party, with any real or supposed blemish, either in their principles or practice ? What warm defender of any cause is clear of these ? Yea, who is so calm, as to be altogether free? Who does not rejoice when his adversary makes a false step, which he thinks will advantage his own cause ? Only a man of love. He alone weeps over either the sin or folly of his enemy, takes no pleasure in hearing or in repeating it, but rather desires that it may be forgotten for ever.
13. But he “rejoiceth in the truth," wheresoever it is found ; in “ the truth which is after godliness ;" bringing forth its proper fruit, holiness of heart, and holiness of conversation. He rejoices to find, that even those who oppose him, whether with regard to opinions, or some points of practice, are nevertheless lovers of God, and in other respects linreprovable. He is glad to hear good of them, and to speak all he can consistently with truth and justice. Indeed, good in general is his glory and joy, wherever diffused throughout the race of mankind. As a citizen of the world, he claims a share in the happiness of all the inhabitants of it. Because he is a man, he is not unconcerned in the welfare of any man; but enjoys whatsoever brings glory to God, and promotes peace and good will among men.
14. This “ love covereth all things :" (so, without all doubt, TavTA OTEyes should be translated ; for otherwise it would be the very same with mavTA UT OMɛvel, endureth all things :) because the merciful man rejoiceth not in iniquity, neither does he willingly make mention of it. Whatever evil he sees, hears, or knows, he nevertheless conceals, so far as he can, without making himself “ partaker of other men's sins." Wheresoever or with whomsoever he is, if he sees any thing which he approves not, it goes not out of his lips, unless to the person concerned, if haply he may gain his brother. So far is he from making the faults or failings of others the matter of his conversation, that of the absent he never does speak at all, unless he can speak well. A tale bearer, a backbiter, a whisperer, an evil speaker, is to him all one as a murderer. He would just as soon cut his neighbour's throat, as thus murder his reputation. Just as soon would he think of diverting himself by setting fire to his neighbour's house, as of thus “ scattering abroad arrows, fire þrands, and death," and saying, “ Am I not in sport ?"
He makes one only exception. Sometimes he is convinced, that it is for the glory of God, or (which comes to the same) the good of his neighbour, that an evil should not be covered. In this case, for the benefit of the innocent, he is constrained to declare the guilty. But even here, 1. He will not speak at all, till love, superior love, constrains him. 2. He cannot do it from a general confused view of doing good, or promoting the glory of God, but from a clear sight of some particular end, some determinate good which he pursues. 3. Still he cannot speak, unless he be fully convinced, that this very means is necessary to that end ; that the end cannot be answered, at least not so effectually, by any other way. 4. He then doeth it with the utmost sorrow and reluctance; using it as the last and worst medicine, a desperate remedy in a desperate case, a kind of poison never to be used but to expel poison. Consequently, 5. He uses it as sparingly as possible. And this he does with fear and trembling, lest he should transgress the law of love by speaking too much, more than he would have done by not speaking at all.
15. Love “believeth all things.” It is always willing to think the best ; to put the most favourable construction on every thing. It is ever ready to believe whatever may tend to the advantage of any one's character. It is easily convinced of (what it earnestly desires) the innocence or integrity of any man; or, at least, of the sincerity of his repentance, if he had once erred from the way. It is glad to excuse whatever is amiss; to condemn the offender as little as possible; and to make all the allowance for human weakness, which can be done without betraying the truth of God.
ló. And when it can no longer believe, then love" hopeth all things." Is any evil related of any man ? Love hopes that the relation is not true, that the thing related was never done. Is it certain it was ?-" But perhaps it was not done with such circumstances as are related; so that allowing the fact, there is room to hope it was not so ill as it is represented.” Was the action apparently, undeniably evil? Love hopes the intention was not so. Is it clear the design was evil too?" Yet might it not spring from the settled temper of the heart, but from a start of passion, or from some vehement temptation, which hurried the man beyond himself?" And even when it cannot be doubted, but all the actions, designs, and tempers are equally evil; still love hopes that God will at last make bare his arm, and get himself the victory; and that there shall be “joy in heaven over [this] one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons that need no repentance."
17. Lastly : It " endureth all things." This completes the character of him that is truly merciful. He endureth not some, not many things only, not most, but absolutely all things. Whatever the injustice, the malice, the cruelty of men can inflict, he is able to suffer. He calls nothing intolerable; he never says of any thing, “ This is not to be borne.” No: he can not only do but suffer all things through Christ which strengtheneth him. And all he suffers does not destroy his love, nor impair it in the least. It is proof against all. It is a flame that burns even in the midst of the great deep. “Many waters cannot quench" his “love, neither can the floods drown it.” It triumphs over all. It“ never faileth,” either in time or in eternity
“ Thus in obedience to what Heaven decrees,
And endless good diffuse, and endless praise receive."
exceeding and eternal weight of glory," in the “ kingdom prepared for them from the beginning of the world.”
18. For a little while you may say, “ Wo is me that I am constrained to dwell with Mesech, and to have my habitation among the tents of Kedar !" You may pour out your soul, and bemoan the loss of true, genuine love in the earth: Lost indeed! You may well say, (but not in the ancient sense,) “See how these Christians love one another !" These Christian kingdoms, that are tearing out each other's bowels, desolating one another with fire and sword! These Christian armies, that are sending each other by thousands, by ten thousands, quick into hell! These Christian nations that are all on fire with intestine broils, party against party, faction against faction! These Christian cities, where deceit and fraud, oppression and wrong, yea, robbery and mur der, go not out of their streets! These Christian families, torn asunder with envy, jealousy, anger, domestic jars, without number, without end ! Yea, what is most dreadful, most to be lamented of all, these Christian churches !-Churches (“ tell it not in Gath," - but, alas ! how can we hide it, either from Jews, Turks, or Pagans ?) that bear the name of Christ, the Prince of peace, and wage continual war with each other! that convert sinners by burning them alive! that are " drunk with the blood of the saints !"' Does this praise belong only to “ Babylon the great, the mother of harlots and abominations of the earth?” Nay, verily; but reformed churches (so called) have fairly learned to tread in her steps. Protestant churches too know to persecute, when they have power in their hands, even unto blood. And meanwhile, how do they also anathematize each other! Devote each other to the nethermost hell! What wrath, what contention, what malice, what bitterness, is every where found among them, even where they agree in essentials, and only differ in opinions, or in the circumstantials of religion! Who follows after only the “ things that make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another ?” O God! how long ? Shall thy promise · fail ? Fear it not, ye little flock! Against hope, believe in hope! It is your Father's good pleasure yet to renew the face of the earth. Surely all these things shall come to an end, and the inhabitants of the earth shall learn righteousness. “Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they know war any more.” “The mountain of the Lord's house shall be established on the top of the mountains ;” and “ all the kingdoms of the world shall become the kingdoms of our God.” “ They shall not (then) hurt or destroy in all his holy mountain ;' but they shall call (their) “ walls salvation, and (their) gates praise." They shall all be without spot or blemish, loving one another, even as Christ hath loved 03.-Be thou part of the first fruits, if the harvest is not yet. Do thou love hy neighbour as thyself. The Lord God fill thy heart with such a love to every soul, that thou mayest be ready to lay down thy life for his sake! May thy soul continually overflow with love, swallowing up every unkind and unholy temper, till he calleth thee up into the region of love, there to reign with him for ever and ever!
SERMON XXIII.-Upon our Lord's Sermon on the Mount.
DISCOURSE III. « Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. « Blessed are the peace makers : for they shall be called the children of God
« Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
"Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
“Rejoice, and be exceeding glad : for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you," Matt. v, 8–12.
I. 1. How excellent things are spoken of the love of our neighbour! It is “the fulfilling of the law," " the end of the commandment." Without this, all we have, all we do, all we suffer, is of no value in the sight of God. But it is that love of our neighbour which springs from the love of God: otherwise itself is nothing worth. It behoves us, therefore, to examine well upon what foundation our love of our neighbour stands; whether it is really built upon the love of God; whether we do “ love him because he first loved us;" whether we are pure in heart: for this is the foundation which shall never be moved. Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.”
2. “ The pure in heart," are they whose hearts God hath “purified even as he is pure;" who are purified through faith in the blood o. Jesus, from every unholy affection; who, being “ cleansed from all filthiness of flesh and spirit, perfect holiness in the [loving] fear of God.” They are, through the power of his grace, purified from pride, by the deepest poverty of spirit; from anger, from every unkind or turbulent passion, by meekness and gentleness; from every desire but to please and enjoy God, to know and love him more and more, by that hunger and thirst after righteousness, which now engrosses their whole soul : so that now they love the Lord their God with all their heart, and with all their soul, and mind, and strength.
3. But how little has this purity of heart been regarded by the false teachers of all ages! They have taught men barely to abstain from such outward impurities as God hath forbidden by name; but they did not strike at the heart; and by not guarding against, they in effect countenanced inward corruptions.
A remarkable instance of this, our Lord has given us in the following words: “Ye have heard, that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery,” ver. 27; and, in explaining this, those blind leaders of the blind only insisted on men's abstaining from the outward act. “But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart," ver. 28 ; for God requireth truth in the inward parts ; he searcheth the heart, and trieth the reins; and if thou incline unto iniquity with thy heart, the Lord will not hear thee.
4. And God admits no excuse for retaining any thing which is an occa sion of impurity. Therefore “If thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell,” ver. 29. If persons, as dear to thee as thy right eye, be an occasion of