By ISAAC BARROW, D. D. Late Master of Trinity College in Cambridge, and one of His MAJESTY'S Chaplains in Ordinary.

The Third Volume.

LONDON, Printed by Miles Flesher, for Brabazon Aylmer, at the Three Pigeons, over against the Royal Exchange in Cornhill. 1680.

TO The Right Honourable HENEAGE Lord FINCH, Baron of DAVENTRY, Lord High CHANCELLOUR OF ENGLAND, AND One of His MAJESTY'S most Honourable Privy Council; THOMAS BARROW, the Authour's Father, Humbly Dedicateth these SERMONS.


  • S. Matthew 22. 37. Iesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart.
  • S. Matthew 22. 39. And the Second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thy self.
  • Ephesians 5. 2. And walk in love.
  • Hebrews 10. 24. Let us consider one another to provoke unto love, and to good works.
  • [Page]Romans 12. 18. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.

The First Sermon.

MATT. 22. 37.‘Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart.’

THIS Text is produced by our Saviour out of Moses his Law in answer to a question,Deut. 6. 9. 10. 12. where­with a learned Pharisee thought to pose, or puzzle him; [...]. the question was, which was the great, and first commandment in the Law; [...]. a question which, it seems, had been examined, and determined among the Doctours, in the Schools of those days,Luk. 10. 27. (for, in Saint Luke, to the like question intimated by our Saviour, another Lawyer readily yields the same answer, and is therefore commended by our Saviour, with a rectè respondisti, thou hast answered rightly) so that had our Saviour answered otherwise, he had, we may suppose, been taxed of ignorance [Page 2] and unskilfulness, perhaps also of errour and heterodoxie; to convict him of which seems to have been the design of this Jewish trier or tempter (for he is said to ask [...], trying, or tempting him.) But our Saviour defeats his captious intent, by answering, not onely according to truth and the reason of the thing, but agreeably to the doc­trine then current, and as the Lawyer himself out of his memory and learning would have resolved it: and no wonder since common sense dictates, that the Law enjoyning sincere and entire love toward God is necessarily the first, and chief, or the most fundamental Law of all Religion; for that whosoever doth believe the being of God (according to the most common notion that Name bears) must needs discern himself obli­ged first and chiefly to perform those acts of mind and will toward him, which most true and earnest love do imply: different expressions of love may be prescribed, peculiar grounds of love may be declared in several ways of Re­ligion; but in the general and main substance of the duty all will conspire, all will acknowledge readily, that it is love we chiefly owe to God; the duty [Page 3] which he may most justly require of us, and which will be most acceptable to him. It was then indeed the great com­mandment of the old (or rather of the young and less perfect) Religion of the Jews, and it is no less of the more adult and improved Religion which the Son of God did institute and teach; the diffe­rence onely is, that Christianity declares more fully how we should exercise it; and more highly engages us to observe it; requires more proper and more sub­stantial expressions thereof; extends our obligation as to the matter, and intends it, as to the degree thereof: for as it re­presents Almighty God in his nature and in his doings more lovely than any other way of Religion (either natural, or instituted) hath done, or could doe, so it proportionably raises our obligation to love him: it is, as S. Paul speaketh, [...],1 Tim. 1. 3▪ the last drift, or the supreme pitch of the Evangelical profession, and institution to Love; to love God first, and then our neighbour out of a pure heart, Coloss. 3. 14. and good conscience, and faith unfeigned: it is the bond, or knot of that perfection which the Gospel injoins us to aspire to:Matt. 5. 48. 'tis the first and principall of those goodly fruits, Galat. 5. 2 [...]. which [Page 4] the Holy Spirit of Christ produceth in good Christians. It is therefore plainly with us also the great Commandment and chief Duty: chiefly great in its ex­tent, in its worth, in its efficacy and influence: most great it is, in that it doth (eminently at least, or virtually) contain all other Laws and Duties of Piety; they being all as Branches ma­king up its Body, or growing out of it as their Root.Rom. 13. 9, 10. Saint Paul saith of the love toward our neighbour, that it is [...], a full performance of the laws concerning him; and that all commandments [...] are reca­pitulated, Gal. 5. 14. or summ'd up in this one say­ing, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thy self: and by like, or greater reason are all the Duties of Piety comprised in the Love of God; which is the chief of those two hinges,Vers. 40. upon which (as our Saviour here subjoins) the whole law and the prophets do hang. So great is this Duty in extent: and it is no less in proper worth; both as it immediately respects the most excellent, and most necessary performances of Duty (em­ploying our highest faculties in their best operations) and as it imparts vertue and value to all other acts of Duty: for no [Page 5] Sacrifice is acceptable,Levit. 2. 13. 9. 24. 20. 1. which is not kin­dled by this heavenly Fire; no Offering sweet and pure, which is not seasoned by this holy Salt; no Action is truly good or commendable, which is not conjoined with, or doth not proceed from the Love of God; that is not performed with a design to please God, or (at least) with an opinion that we shall do so thereby. If a man perform any good work not out of love to God, but from any other principle, or for any other design (to please himself or others, to get honour or gain thereby) how can it be acceptable to God; to whom it hath not any due regard? And what action hath it for its principle, or its ingredient, becomes sanctified thereby, in great measure pleasing and acceptable to God; such is the worth and value thereof. It is also the great Commandment for ef­ficacy and influence, being naturally productive of Obedience to all other Commandments; especially of the most genuine and sincere Obedience; no other principle being in force and acti­vity comparable thereto: (fear may drive to a complyance with some, and hope may draw to an observance of others, but it is Love, that with a kind of [Page 6] willing constraint,2 Cor. 5. 14. and kindly violence carries on cheerfully, vigorously and swiftly to the performance of all God's Commandments:1 Joh. 2. 5. If any man loves me, saith our Saviour,Joh. 14. 23. he will keep my word; to keep his word is a natural and ne­cessary result of love to him;1 Joh. 5. 3. this is the love of God (saith Saint John) that we keep his commandments, and his command­ments are not grievous; 'tis the nature of that Love to beget a free and delightfull Obedience) Such then is the Subject of our Discourse; even the sum, the soul, the spring of all our Religion and Duty. And because it is requisite, both for our direction how to doe, and the examina­tion of our selves whether we doe as we ought; that we should understand what we are thus so far obliged to; that we may be able to perform it, and that we be effectually disposed thereto, I shall use this method; I will first endea­vour to Explain the nature of this Love commanded us; then to shew some Means of Attaining it; lastly to pro­pound some Inducements to the Pur­chase and Practice thereof.

I. For the first part; we may describe Love in general (for it seems not so easy [Page 7] to define it exactly) to be an Affection or Inclination of the Soul toward an Object, proceeding from an Apprehen­sion and Esteem of some Excellency or some Conveniency therein (its Beauty, Worth, or Usefulness) producing there­upon, if the Object be absent or wan­ting, a proportionable desire, and con­sequently an endeavour to obtain such a propriety therein, such a possession there­of, such an approximation or union there­to, as the thing is capable of; also a re­gret and displeasure in the failing so to obtain it; or in the want, absence, and loss thereof; likewise begetting a com­placence, satisfaction and delight in its presence, possession or enjoyment; which is moreover attended with a good-will thereto, sutable to its nature; that is, with a desire that it should arrive unto, and continue in its best state; with a delight to perceive it so to thrive and flourish; with a displeasure to see it suf­fer or decay in any wise; with a conse­quent endeavour to advance it in all good, and preserve it from all evil. Which Description containing the chief Properties of Love in common, do in some sort (not to insist upon abstracted Notions, or in Examples remote from [Page 8] our purpose) all of them well agree to that Love which we owe to God, ac­cording to the tenour of this Law, and in the degree therein expressed; that is, in the best manner, and highest degree; for even of this Divine Love the chief Properties (prerequisite thereto, or in­timately conjoined therewith, or natu­rally resulting from it) I conceive are these.

1. A right apprehension and firm per­suasion concerning God, and consequent­ly a high esteem of him as most excel­lent in himself and most beneficial to us: for such is the frame of our Soul, that the perceptive part doth always go be­fore the appetitive, that affection follows opinion, that no object otherwise moves our desire, then as represented by rea­son, or by fancy, good unto us: what effect will the goodliest beauty, or the sweetest harmony have upon him, who wants sense to discern, or judgment to prize them? This is our natural way of acting; and according to it, that we may in due measure love God, He must appear proportionably amiable, and de­sirable to us; we must entertain worthy thoughts of him, as full of all Perfecti­on in himself; as the Fountain of all [Page 9] Good; as the sole Author of all that Happiness we can hope for or receive; as He, in possession of whom we shall possess all things desirable; in effect and vertue all riches, all honours, all plea­sure, all good that we are capable of; and without whom we can enjoy no real Good or true Content: Which Esteem of him how can it otherwise then beget Affection toward him? If the faint resemblances, or the slender participations of such Excellencies (of that incomprehensible Wisedom, that uncontrollable Power, that unconfined Bounty, that unblemished Purity, which are united in him, and shine from him with a perfect lustre; if, I say, the very faint resemblances, and imperfect parti­cipations of these Excellencies) discer­ned in other things are apt to raise our Admiration, and allure our Affection toward them; if the glimmering of some small inconsiderable benefit, the shadow of real profit discovered in these inferiour empty things, is able so strong­ly to attract our eyes, and fix our hearts upon them, why should not from a like, but so much greater Cause the like Effect proceed? whence can it be that the ap­prehension of an Object so infinitely [Page 10] lovely, so incomparably beneficial (if not passing cursorily through our fancy, but deeply impressed upon our mind) should not proportionably affect and in­cline us toward Him with all that desire, that delight, that good will which are proper to Love? If we think, as the Psalmist did,Psal. 89. 6. that there is none in heaven or in earth comparable to God (compa­rable in essential Perfection, comparable in beneficial Influence) why should we not be disposed also to say with him; Whom have I in heaven but thee? Psal. 73. 25. and there is none upon earth that I desire be­sides thee. Such a reverent Esteem is the proper foundation upon which true Love is built, and which upholds it: whence, as the Love of God doth com­monly denote all the Duties of Religion, so doth Fear (or Reverence to him) likewise in Scripture style comprehend and express them all; it being the Root from whence Love doth sprout and by which it is nourished; [...]18. [...] 23. [...] 145. it being the be­ginning of that true Wisedom by which we embrace and fasten our affection up­on the Sovereign Good. Hence we may observe, that those devout persons, whose hearts were fullest of this Love, their minds were most employed in me­ditation [Page 11] upon the Divine Excellencies, and upon the beneficial Emanations from them in Bounty and Mercy upon the Creatures; their Tongues being tuned by their Thoughts, and their inward Esteem breaking forth into Praise.Psal. 146. 7. 104. 33. 34. 1. 71. 15. 145. 2. 35. 28. 71. 8. Eve­ry day, all the day long, at all times did they bless God, praise his name, speak of his righteousness, shew forth his salva­tion, as the Psalmist expresses his practice, arising from Love enlivened by the esteem of God, and the apprehension of his excellent Goodness: from whence al­so that strong Faith, that constant Hope, that cheerful Confidence they reposed in him; that hearty Approbation of all his Counsels and Purposes; that full Acqui­escence of Mind in his Proceedings; that entire Submission of their Understanding to his Discipline, and Resignation of their Will to his good pleasure; that yielding up themselves (their Souls and Bodies, their Lives and Goods) to his disposal, with all the like high effects and preg­nant signs of Love did flow: but

2. Another property of this Love is an earnest desire of obtaining a Proprie­ty in God; of possessing him (in a manner) and enjoying him; of approa­ching him and being, so far as may be, [Page 12] united to him. When we stand upon such terms with any person, that we have a free access unto and a familiar entercourse with him; that his conver­sation is profitable and delightfull to us; that we can upon all occasions have his advice and assistance; that he is always ready in our needs, and at our desire to employ what is in him of ability for our good and advantage, we may be said to own such a person, to possess and enjoy him; to be tyed (as it were) and joined to him (as 'tis said the soul of Ionathan was knit to the soul of David, 1 Sam. 18. 1. so that he loved him as his own soul) And such a propriety in, such a posses­sion of, such an alliance and conjunction to himself God vouchsafes to them, who are duely qualified for so great a good: He was not ashamed (saith the Apostle concerning the faithfull Patriarchs) to be called their God; Heb. 11. 16. to be appropriated in a manner unto them;1 Joh. 2. 23. And,Psal. 119. 2. He that acknowledgeth the Son (saith Saint John concerning good Christians) [...],Isa. 65. 1. hath, Deut. 11. 22. (or possesseth) the Fa­ther also: Josh. 23. 8. and to seek; 1 Cor. 6. 17. to find; Act. 11. 23. to draw near to; Joh. 15. 4. 17. 21. to cleave unto; to abide with, to abide in, 1 Joh. 2. 24. and such other phrases frequent­ly do occur in Scripture denoting that [Page 13] near relation which good men stand in toward God; implying that he affords them a continual liberty of access, and coming into his especial presence, that he admits them to a kind of converse and communion with himself, full of spiritual benefit and delight; that bea­ring an especial good will and favour toward them, he is disposed to exert his infinite wisedom and power in their be­half; is ready to impart all needfull and convenient good unto them (help in their needs, supply in wants, protection in dangers; the direction, assistance and comfort of his Holy Spirit; pardon of sins and peace of conscience; all the blessings of grace here, and all the feli­cities of glory hereafter) such an interest, as it were, in God and a title unto him, such a possession and enjoyment of him we are capable of obtaining: and as that enjoyment is in it self infinitely above all things desirable; so if we love God, we cannot surely but be earnestly desirous thereof: a cold indifferency about it, a faint wishing for it, a slothfull tendency after it are much on this side love; it will inflame our heart, it will transport our mind, it will beget a vigorous and lively motion of soul toward it: for Love [Page 14] you know is commonly resembled unto, yea even assumes the name of Fire; for that it warms the breast, agitates the spirits, quickens all the powers of Soul, and sets them on work in desire and pur­suance of the beloved Object: you may imagine as well fire without heat or activity, as love without some ardency of desire.Psal. 84. 2. 42. 1. 63. 1. 143. 6. Longing, and thirsting of soul; fainting for, and panting after; crying out, and stretching forth the hands to­ward God; such are the expressions sig­nifying the good Psalmist's love; by so apt, and so pathetical resemblances doth he set out the vehemency of his desire to enjoy God. I need not add concer­ning Endeavour; for that by plain con­sequence doth necessarily follow Desire: the thirsty soul will never be at rest till it have found out its convenient re­freshment: if we, as David did, do long after God, we shall also with him ear­nestly seek God; nor ever be at rest till we have found him. Coherent with this is a

3. Third property of this Love, that is, a great Complacence, Satisfaction and Delight in the Enjoyment of God: in the sense of having such a propriety in him; in the partaking those emanations [Page 15] of favour and beneficence from him; and consequently in the instruments con­veying, in the means conducing to such enjoyment: for joy and content are the natural fruits of obtaining what we love, what we much value, what we earnest­ly desire. Yea what we chiefly love, if we become possessed thereof, we ea­sily rest satisfied therewith, although all other comforts be wanting to us. The covetous person for instance, who dotes upon his wealth, let him be pinched with the want of conveniencies; let his body be wearied with toil; let his mind be distracted with care; let him be sur­rounded with obloquy and disgrace —at mihi plaudo ipse domi; he never­theless enjoys himself in beholding his beloved pelf: the ambitious man like­wise, although his state be full of trouble and disquiet; though he be the mark of common envy and hatred; though he be exposed to many crosses and dangers; yet while he stands in power and digni­ty, among all those thorns of care and fear, his heart enjoys much rest and pleasure. In like manner we may ob­serve those pious men, whose hearts were endewed with this love, by the present sense, or assured hope of enjoying [Page 16] God supporting themselves under all wants and distresses;Luk. 6. 23. rejoycing, yea boa­sting and exulting in their afflictions;1 Pet. 4. 13. and no wonder,Rom. 5. 3. while they conceived themselves secure in the possession of their hearts wish;Col. 1. 24. of that, which they incomparably valued and desired above all things; which by experience they had found so comfortable and delicious: O taste and see (exclaims the Psalmist, Psal. 34. 8. 36. 7. inspired with this passion) O taste and see, that the Lord is good: How excel­lent is thy loving kindness, O Lord; they, (they who enjoy it) shall be abundantly satisfyed with the fatness of thy house, and thou shalt make them drink of the river of thy pleasures: Psal. 84. 1, 10. 63. 5. A day in thy courts is better than a thousand: my soul shall be satisfyed as with marrow and fatness; so did those devout practisers of this Duty express the satisfaction they felt in God, and in those things whereby he did impart the enjoyment of himself un­to them.Neh. 9. 25. So did the light of Gods coun­tenance cheer their heart;Psal. 4. 6. 63. 3. so did his lo­ving kindness appear better than life it self unto them. Hence do they so frequently enjoin and exhort us to be glad; Psal. 33. 1. 32. 11. 105. 3. 107. 12. 37. 4. to de­light our selves; to glory; to rejoyce con­tinually in the Lord; in the sense of his [Page 17] goodness, in the hope of his favour; the doing so being an inseparable property of love; to which we adjoin another.

4. The feeling much displeasure and regret in being deprived of such enjoy­ment; in the absence or distance as it were of God from us; the loss or les­sening of his favour; the subtraction of his gracious influences from us: for sure­ly answerable to the love we bear unto any thing will be our grief for the want or loss thereof: it was a shrewd argu­ment which the Poet used to prove that men loved their moneys better than their friends, because—majore tumultu plo­rantur nummi, quàm funera—they more lamented the loss of those than the death of these; Indeed, that which a man prin­cipally affects, if he is bereaved thereof, be his condition otherwise how prospe­rous and comfortable soever, he cannot be contented; all other enjoyments be­come unsavoury and unsatisfactory to him. And so it is in our case, when God, although onely for trial, (accor­ding to his wisedom and good pleasure) hides his face, and withdraws his hand; leaving the soul in a kind of desolation and darkness; not finding that ready aid in distress, not feeling that cheefull vi­vacity [Page 18] in obedience, not tasting that sweet relish of devotion, which have been usually afforded thereto; if love reside in the heart, it will surely dispose it to a sensible grief; it will inspire such exclamations as those of the Psalmist: How long, Psal. 89. 46. 69. 16. 30. 7. 42. 3. Lord, wilt thou hide thy face? hide not thy face from thy servant, for I am in trouble; turn unto me according to the multitude of thy tender mercies; draw nigh unto my soul and redeem it. Even our Saviour himself in such a case, when God seemed for a time to with­draw the light of his countenance, and the protection of his helpfull hand from him (or to frown and lay his heavy hand upon him) had his soul [...],Matt. 26. 38. 27. 46. extreamly grieved and full of a deadly anguish; neither surely was it any other cause than excess of love, which made that temporary deser­tion so grievous and bitter to him, ex­torting from his most meek and patient heart that wofull complaint, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me! But especially, when our iniquities have (as the Prophet expresseth it) separated be­tween our God and us; Isa. 59. 2. and our sins have hid his face from us; Jer. 5. 25. when that thick cloud hath eclipsed the light of his coun­tenance,Isa. 44. 26. [Page 19] and intercepted his gracious in­fluences; when by wilfully offending we have (as the Israelites are said to have done) rejected our God, 1 Sam. 8. 7 10. 9. cast him off, and driven him from us; so depri­ving our selves of propriety in him, and the possession of his favour; then if any love be alive in us, it will prompt us with those good men in their peniten­tial agonies,Psal. 6. 35. 38. 51. 102. 130. 143. to be grievously sensible of, and sorely to bewail that our wretched condition; there will not (if we so hear­tily love God, and value his favour as they did) be any soundness in our flesh, Psal. 38. 3. 143. 4. 102. 4. or rest in our bones; our spirit will be overwhelmed within us, and our heart within us desolate. Our heart will be smitten and withered like grass, upon the consideration and sense of so inestimable a loss. Love will render such a condition very sad and uneasie to us; will make all other delights insipid and distastfull; all our life will become bitter and bur­then some to us; neither if it in any mea­sure abides in us, shall we receive con­tent,Psal. 6. 4. 38. 21. 51. 11. 102. 2. 143. till by humble deprecation we have regained some glimpse of God's favour, some hope of being reinstated in our possession of him. Farther yet,

5. Another property of this Love is [Page 20] to bear the highest good will toward God; so as to wish heartily and effec­tually (according to our power) to pro­cure all good to him, and to delight in it; so as to endeavour to prevent and to remove all evil (if I may so speak) that may befall him, and to be heartily dis­pleased therewith. Although no such benefit or advantage can accrue to God which may increase his essential and in­defectible happiness;Psal. 16. 2. no harm or dam­mage can arrive that may impaire it (for he can be neither really more or less rich,Job 22. 3. or glorious, or joyfull than he is; neither have our desire or our fear, our delight or our grief, our designs or our endeavours any object, any ground in those respects) yet hath he declared, that there be certain interests and con­cernments,Jer. 9. 24. which, out of his abundant goodness and condescension, he doth tender and prosecute as his own; as if he did really receive advantage by the good, and prejudice by the bad success respectively belonging to them; that he earnestly desires, and is greatly delighted with some things, very much dislikes, and is grievously displeased with other things: for instance, that he bears a fa­therly affection toward his creatures, and [Page 21] earnestly desires their welfare; and de­lights to see them enjoy the good he de­signed them; as also dislikes the contra­ry events; doth commiserate and con­dole their misery; that he is consequent­ly well pleased, when piety and justice, peace and order (the chief means con­ducing to our welfare) do flourish; and displeased, when impiety and iniquity, dissension and disorder (those certain sources of mischief to us) do prevail; that he is well satisfied with our ren­dring to him that obedience, honour and respect which are due to him; and highly offended with our injurious and disrespectfull behaviour toward him, in commission of sin and violation of his most just and holy commandments: so that there wants not sufficient matter of our exercising good will both in af­fection and action toward God; we are capable both of wishing, and (in a man­ner, as he will interpret and accept it) of doing good to him, by our concur­rence with him in promoting those things which he approves and delights in, and in removing the contrary. And so surely shall we do if we truly love God: for love, as it would have the ob­ject to be its own, as it tends to enjoy [Page 22] it, so it would have it in its best state, and would put it thereinto, and would conserve it therein; and would thence contribute all it is able to the welfare, to the ornament, to the pleasure and content thereof.Quid est a­mare, nisi velle bonis aliquem af­fici quàm maximis? Cic. de Fin. 2. What is it (saith Ci­cero) to love, but to will or desire, that the person loved should receive the grea­test good that can be? Love also doth reconcile, conform, and unite the incli­nations and affections of him who loves, to the inclinations and affections of him who is beloved; Eadem velle & eadem nolle, to consent in liking and disliking of things, if it be not the cause, if it be not the formall reason or essence (as some have made it) 'tis at least a certain effect of love. If then we truly love God, we shall desire that all his designs prosper, that his pleasure be fulfilled, that all du­ty be performed, all glory rendred to him: we shall be grieved at the wrong, the dishonour, the disappointment he receives: especially we shall endeavour in our own practice,Act. 13. 22. with Holy David, to perform [...], all that God wills, desires, or delights in; to eschew whatever offends him. Our desire, our delight, our endeavour will conspire with and be subordinate to his: [Page 23] for it would be a strange kind of love, that were consistent with the voluntary doing of that, which is hurtfull, injuri­ous, or offensive to that we love; such actions being the proper effects, the na­tural signs of hatred and enmity:1 Joh. 4. 20. 3. 17. If any man say, I love God, and hateth his bro­ther, he is a liar, saith Saint John; and, If any man seeth his brother need, and shutteth his bowels toward him, how doth the love of God abide in him? He that in his affections is so unlike, so contrary unto God; he that is unwilling to com­ply with God's will in so reasonable a performance; he that in a matter, where­in God hath declared himself so much concerned, and so affected therewith, doth not care to cross him, to displease and disappoint him; how can he with any shew of truth, or with any mode­sty pretend to love God? Hence it is, that keeping of God's Commandments is commonly represented to us as the most proper expression, as the surest ar­gument of our love to God:Exod. 20. 6.shewing mercy to thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments; they are joined together as terms equivalent, or as inseparable companions in effect:Joh. 14. 21. 23. He that hath my commandments and keepeth [Page 24] them, Joh. 15. 14. he it is that loveth me: Ye are my friends, (that is, not onely objects of my affection, but actively friends, bearing affection unto me) if you doe whatsoever I command you, saith our Sa­viour: And,1 Joh. 4. 12. whoso keepeth his word, in him is the love of God truly perfected; (he hath the truth and sincerity; he hath the integrity and consummation of love; without it love is wholly false and counterfeit, or very lame and imperfect; so the loving and beloved Disciple tea­ches us). For by doing thus, as we signifie our esteem of God's wisedom which directeth us, our dread of his power and justice that can punish us, our hope in his goodness and fidelity to reward us, our regard to his majesty and authority over us; so especially thereby (if our obedience at least be free and cheerfull)▪ we express our good will to­ward him; shewing thereby, that we are disposed to do him all the good and gratifie him all we can; that his inte­rests, his honour, his content are dear and precious to us. And were indeed our hearts knit unto God with this bond of perfection,Psal. 86. 11. we could not in our wills,Col. 3. 14. and consequently in our practice be so severed from him; we should also love [Page 25] heartily all vertue and goodness, the nearest resemblances of him, and which he chiefly loves; we should doe, what David so oft professes himself to doe, love his law, Psal. 11. 7. and greatly delight in his commandments. Psal. 119. 163, 165, 113, 16, 35, 70, 47, 24, 77. With our Saviour, we should delight to perform his will; it would (as it was to him) be our meat and our drink to doe it;Psal. 1. 2. 112. 1. 40. 8. his yoke would be easie indeed,Heb. 10. 7. and his burthen light un­to us;Joh. 4. 34. 5. 30. his yoke so easie, that we should wear it rather as a jewel about our necks than as a yoke;Prov. 3. 22. his burthen so light, that we should not feel it as a burthen, but esteem it our privilege. We should not be so dull in apprehending, or so slack in performing duty; for this sharp­sighted affection would presently discern, would readily suggest it to us; by the least intimation it would perceive what pleaseth God, and would snatch oppor­tunity of doing it: we should not need any arguments to persuade us, nor any force to compell us, love would inspire us with sufficient vigour and alacrity; it would urge and stimulate us forward not onely to walk in, but even (as the Psalmist expresseth it) to run the ways of God's commandments. Psal. 119. 32.

But let thus much serve for explication [Page 26] of the nature of this Duty; in order (as was before said) to the direction of our Practice, and examination thereof: The particular Duties mentioned being com­prehended in, or appertaining to the love of God, if we perceive that we practise them, we may, to our satisfaction and comfort, infer, that proportionably we are endewed with this Grace; if not, we have reason (such as should beget re­morse and pious sorrow in us) to suspect we abide in a state of disaffection or of indifferency toward him. If we find the former good disposition, we should strive to cherish and improve it; if the second bad one, we should (as we tender our own welfare and happiness, as we would avoid utter ruine and misery) endeavour to remove it.

II. To the effecting of which purposes I shall next propound some means con­ducible; some in way of removing Ob­stacles, others by immediately promoting the Duty.

Of the first kind are these ensuing:

1. The destroying of all loves opposite to the love of God, extinguishing all af­fection to things odious and offensive to God; mortifying all corrupt and per­verse, [Page 27] all unrighteous and unholy de­siresPsal. 97. 10. Ye that love the Lord, hate evil.. It agrees with souls no less than with bodies, that they cannot at once move or tend contrary ways; upward and downward, backward and forward at one time: it is not possible we should together truly esteem, earnestly desire, bear sincere good will to things in na­ture and inclination quite repugnant each to other. No man ever took him for his real friend, who maintains cor­respondency, secret or open; who joins in acts of hostility with his professed enemies; at least we cannot, as we ought, love God with our whole heart, if with any part thereof we affect his enemies; those, which are mortally and irreconcileably so; as are all iniquity and impurity, all inordinate lusts both of flesh and spirit: [...] the carnal mind (the minding,Rom. 8. 7. or affecting of the flesh) is, Saint Paul tells us, enmity toward God; for 'tis not subject to the law of God, nor can be; 'tis an enemy, even the worst of enemies, an incorrigibly obstinate re­bell against God, and can we then retai­ning any love to God, or peace with him, comply and conspire therewith? And,Jam. 4. 4. The friendship of the world (that is I suppose of those corrupt principles, [Page 28] and those vitious customs which usually prevail in the world) is also, Saint James tells us, enmity with God; so that (he adds) if any man be a friend to the world, he is thereby constituted (he immediate­ly ipso facto becomes) an enemy to God. [...]. Saint John affirms the same:1 Joh. 2. 15. If any man love the world, the love of the father is not in him; explaining himself, that by the world he means those things, which are most generally embraced and practi­sed therein; [...]. the lust, or desire of the flesh, (that is, sensuality and intemperance) the lust of the eyes, [...]. (that is, envy, cove­tousness, vain curiosity, and the like) the ostentation, [...]. or boasting of life (that is, pride, ambition, vain-glory, arrogance) qualities as irreconcileably opposite to the holy nature and will of God, so altoge­ther inconsistent with the love of him; begetting in us an aversation and antipa­thy towards him; rendring his holiness distastfull to our affections, and his ju­stice dreadfull to our consciences; and himself consequently, his will, his law, his presence hatefull to us: while we take him to be our enemy and to hate us, we shall certainly in like manner stand affected toward him: this indeed is the main obstacle, the removal of [Page 29] which will much facilitate the introduc­tion of divine love; it being a great step to reconciliation and friendship, to be disengaged from the adverse party: we should then easily discern the beauty of divine goodness and sanctity, when the mists of ignorance, of errour, of corrupt prejudice, arising from those gross carnal affections, were dissipated; we should better relish the sweet and savoury gra­ces of God, when the palate of our mind were purged from vitious tinctures; we should be more ready to hope for peace and favour in his eyes, when our con­sciences were freed from the sense of such provocations and defilements. But

2. If we would obtain this excellent Grace, we must restrain our affections toward all other things, however in their nature innocent, and indifferent. The young Gentleman in the Gospel had, [...]. it seems,Matt. 19. 20. arrived to the former pitch;Mark 10. 21. [...]. having through the course of his life abstained from grosser iniquities and impurities;Luk. 18. 22. so far, that our Saviour in regard to that attaiment of his concei­ved an affection for him (he loved him, 'tis said) yet was not he sufficiently dis­posed to love God; being in one thing deficient, that he retained an immode­rate [Page 30] affection to his wealth and worldly conveniencies; with which sort of af­fections the love of God cannot consist: for we much undervalue God, and can­not therefore duly love him, if we deem any thing comparable to him, or consi­derable in worth or usefulness when he comes in competition: if we deem, that the possession of any other thing beside him, can confer to our happiness, or the want thereof can prejudice it, and make us miserable: no other love should bear any proportion to the love of him; no other object should appear (as indeed none really is) simply good, desirable or amiable to us. What value Saint Paul had of his legal qualifications and privi­leges,Phil. 3. 8. the same should we have concer­ning all other things in appearance plea­sant or convenient to us; they ought, in regard to God, [...]. to seem dammage and dung; not onely mean and despicable, but even sordid and loathsome to us; not onely unworthy of our regard and desire, but deserving our hatred and ab­horrency; we should, I say, even hate the best of them; so our Saviour expres­seth it;Luk. 14. 26. If any man doth not hate his fa­ther and his mother, his wife and his children, his brothers and sisters, and [Page 31] even his own soul (or his own life) he cannot be my disciple; that is, if any man retain in his heart any affection not infinitely (as it were) less than that which he bears to God; if any thing be in comparison dear and precious to him, he is not disposed to entertain the main point of Christ's discipline, the sincere and entire love of God. To love him, as he requires, with all our heart, im­plies, that our heart be filled with his love, so that no room be left for any other passion to enter or dwell there. And indeed such, if we observe it, is the nature of our soul, we can hardly together harbour earnest or serious af­fections toward different objects; one of them will prevail and predominate; and so doing will not suffer the other to re­main, but will extrude or extinguish it: No heart of man can correspond with two rivals, but, (as our Saviour teacheth us) it will hate and despise one, Matt. 6. 24. will love and stick to the other; whence he infers, that we cannot serve (that is, affectionately adhere to) both God and Mammon. If we have (according to the Psalmist's phrase) set our hearts upon wealth, Psal. 62. 10. and will be rich (are resolved to be,1 Tim. 6, 9, 17. as Saint Paul expresseth it) if we eagerly [Page 32] aspire to power and honour, with the Pharisees,Joh. 12. 43. preferring the applause of men before the favour of God; if any worldly or bodily pleasure, or any curiosity how plausible soever, hath seised upon our spirits and captivated our affections; if any inferiour object whatever with its apparent splendour,2 Tim. 4. 10. sweetness, goodli­ness, convenience hath so inveagled our fancy, that we have an exceeding esteem thereof, and a greedy appetite thereto; that we enjoy it with huge content, and cannot part from it without much re­gret; that thing doth at present take up God's place within us; so that our heart is uncapable, at least in due measure, of divine love: but if we be indifferently affected toward all such things, and are unconcerned in the presence or absence of them; esteeming them as they are mean and vain; loving them as they de­serve, as inferiour and trivial; if (accor­ding to Saint Paul's direction) we use them as if we used them not; 1 Cor. 7. 31. 'tis another good step toward the love of God: the divine light will shine more brightly in­to so calm and serene a medium: a soul void of other affections, will not be one­ly more capable to receive, but apt to suck in that heavenly one; being insen­sible, [Page 33] in any considerable degree, of all other comforts and complacencies, we shall be apt to search after, and reach out at that, which alone can satisfie our understanding, and satiate our desires; especially if we add hereto,

3. The freeing of our hearts also from immoderate affection to our selves (I mean not from a sober desire or an ear­nest regard to our own true good; for this as nature enforces to, so all reason allows, and even God's command obli­geth us to; nor can it be excessive; but a high conceit of our selves as worthy or able, a high confidence in any thing we have within us or about us) for this is a very strong bar against the entrance, as of all other charity, so especially of this: for as the love of an external object doth thrust, as it were, our soul outwards towards it; so the love of our selves detains it within, or draws it in­wards; and consequently these inclina­tions crossing each other cannot both have effect, but one will subdue and de­stroy the other. If our mind be—Ipsa suis contenta bonis—satisfied with her own (taking them for her own) endow­ments, abilities, or fancied perfections; if we imagine our selves wise enough to [Page 34] perceive, good enough to chuse, resolute enough to undertake, strong enough to atchieve, constant enough to pursue whatever is conducible to our real hap­piness and best content; [...]. Epict. 1. 9. we shall not care to go farther; we will not be at the trouble to search abroad for that, which in our opinion, we can so readily find, so easily enjoy at home. If we so ad­mire and dote upon our selves, we there by put our selves into God's stead, and usurp the throne due to him in our hearts; comparing our selves to God▪ and in effect preferring our selves before him; thereby consequently shutting our that unparallel'd esteem, that predomi­nant affection we owe to him: while we are busie in dressing and decking, in courting and worshipping this Idol o [...] our fancy, we shall be estranged from the true object of our devotion; both we shall willingly neglect him, and he in just indignation will desert us. But if as all other things, so even our selves do appear exceedingly vile and contemptible, foul and ugly in comparison to God; If we take our selves to be (as truly we are) meer nothings, Gal. 6. 3. or some things worse; not onely destitute of all considerable perfections, but full of great [Page 35] defects; blind and fond in our conceits, crooked and perverse in our wills, infirm and unstable in all our powers, unable to discern, unwilling to embrace, back­ward to set upon, inconstant in prosecu­ting those things, which are truly good and advantagious to us; If we have, I say, this right opinion and judgment of our selves, seeing within us nothing love­ly or desirable, no proper object there of our esteem or affection, no bottom to rest our mind upon, no ground of solid comfort at home, we shall then be apt to look abroad, to direct our eyes, and settle our affections upon somewhat more excellent in it self, or more beneficial to us, that seems better to deserve our re­gard, and more able to supply our de­fects. And if all other things about us appear alike deformed and deficient (un­worthy our affection and unable to sa­tisfie our desires) then may we be dis­posed to seek, to find, to fasten and re­pose our soul upon the onely proper ob­ject of our love; in whom we shall ob­tain all that we need, infallible wisedom to guide us, omnipotent strength to help us, infinite goodness for us to admire and enjoy.

These are the chief Obstacles, the re­moving [Page 36] of which conduce to the beget­ting and increasing the love of God in us. A soul so cleansed from love to bad and filthy things, so emptied of affection to vain and unprofitable things, so opened and dilated by excluding all conceit of, all confidence in its self, is a vessel pro­per for the divine love to be infused in­to; into so large and pure a vacuity (as finer substances are apt to flow of them­selves into spaces void of grosser matter) that free and movable Spirit of divine grace will be ready to succeed, and there­in to disperse it self. As all other things in nature, the cloggs being removed which hinder them, do presently tend with all their force to the place of their rest and well being; so would, it seems, our souls being loosed from baser affecti­ons obstructing them, willingly incline toward God, the natural centre (as it were) and bosome of their affection; would resume (as Origen speaks) that natural philtre (that intrinsick spring, [...]. or incentive of love) which all creatures have toward their creatour; especially, if to these we add those positive Instru­ments,Orig. in Cels. p. 135. which are more immediately and directly subservient to the production of this love; they are these:

[Page 37] 1. Attentive consideration of the di­vine Perfections, with endeavour to ob­tain a right and clear apprehension of them.

2. The consideration of God's Works and Actions: his works and actions of nature, of providence, of grace.

3. Serious regard and reflection upon the peculiar Benefits by the divine Good­ness vouchsafed to our selves.

4. An earnest resolution and endea­vour to perform God's Commandments, although upon inferiour considerations of reason; upon hope, fear, desire to attain the benefits of Obedience, to shun the mischiefs from Sin.

5. Assiduous Prayer to Almighty God, that he in mercy would please to bestow his love upon us, and by his Grace to work it in us.

But I must forbear the prosecution of these things, rather than farther trespass upon your patience. Let us conclude all with a good Collect, sometimes used by our Church:

O Lord, who hast taught us, that all our doings without charity are nothing worth, send thy Holy Ghost, and pour in­to our hearts that most excellent gift of [Page 38] charity, the very bond of peace and of all vertues, without which whosoever liveth is counted dead before thee; Grant this for thine onely Son Jesus Christ his sake Amen.

The Second Sermon.

MATT. 22. 37.‘Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart.’

WHich is the great Command­ment? was the question, in answer whereto our Saviour returns this Text; and that with high­est reason (discernible by every man) for that of necessity the love of God is the principal duty we owe unto him; the great duty indeed, as being largest in extent, and comprehending in a manner all other duties of piety; as that which exceeds in proper worth and dignity (employing the noblest faculties of our souls in their best operations upon the most excellent object) as that, which communicates vertue unto, and hath a special influence upon all other duties; in fine, as that, which is the sum, the [Page 40] soul, the spring of all other duties: in discoursing whereupon, I did formerly propound this method; first, to declare the nature thereof; then, to shew some means apt to beget and improve that excellent vertue in us; lastly, to pro­pose some inducements to the practice thereof.

The first part I endeavoured to per­form, by describing it according to its essential properties (common to love in general, and more particularly to this) of duly esteeming God, of desiring (ac­cording as we are capable) to possess and enjoy him, of receiving delight and sa­tisfaction in the enjoyment of him, of feeling displeasure in being deprived hereof, of bearing good will unto him, expressed by endeavours to please him, by delighting in the advancement of his glory, by grieving when he is disserved or dishonoured.

The next part I also entred upon, and offered to consideration those means, which serve chiefly to remove the im­pediments of our love to God; which were,

1. The suppressing all affections oppo­site to this; all perverse and corrupt, all unrighteous and unholy desires.

[Page 41] 2. The restraining or keeping within bounds of moderation our affections to­ward other things, even in their nature innocent or indifferent.

3. The freeing our hearts from immo­derate affection toward our selves; from all conceit of, and confidence in any qualities or abilities of our own; the di­ligent use of which means I did suppose would conduce much to the production and increase of divine love within us.

To them I shall now proceed to sub­join other Instruments more immediate­ly and directly subservient to the same purpose: whereof the first is,

1. Attentive consideration upon the divine Perfections, [...]. Bas. de Jud. Dei. Tom. 2. p. 261. with endeavour to obtain a right and clear apprehension of them: as counterfeit worth and beauty receive advantage by distance and dark­ness; so real excellency—si propius stes Te capiet magis— the greater light you view it in, the nearer you approach it, the more strictly you examine it, the more you will approve and like it; so the more we think of God, the better we know him, the fuller and clearer con­ceptions we have of him, the more we shall be apt to esteem and desire him, the more excellent in himself, the more [Page 42] beneficial to us he will appear. Hence is the knowledge of God represented in holy Writ not onely as a main instru­ment of Religion, but as an essential character thereof;2 Pet. 2. 20. as equivalent to the being well affected toward God:Psal. 36. 10. 9. 10. O con­tinue (saith the Psalmist) thy loving kindness unto them that know thee; Isa. 5. 13. 11. 9. that is,Hos. 2. 10. to all religious people.Joh. 17. 3. And,Jer. 22. 16. 24. 7. 31. 34. This (saith our Saviour) is life eternal, 2 Cor. 10. 5. to know thee the onely true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent; Isa. 1. 3. knowledge of them implying all good affections to­ward them:Jer. 19. 3, 6. 10. 25. as on the other side,1 Thess. 4. 5. igno­rance of God denotes disaffection or want of affection toward God:1 Sam. 2. 12. Now the sons of Eli ('tis said) were sons of Belial, they knew not the Lord: And, He that loveth not (saith Saint John) doth not know God; 1 Joh. 4. 8. the want of love to God is an evident sign, a natural effect of ignorance concerning him: indeed con­sidering the nature of our mind, and its ordinary method of operation, it seems impossible, that such perfection discerned should not beget answerable reverence and affection thereto: if beautifull spec­tacles, harmonious sounds, fragrant o­dours, delicate savours do necessarily and certainly please the respective senses; [Page 43] why should not with the like sure effi­cacy the proper objects of our mind af­fect it, if duly represented and conveyed thereto? If the wit of the most ingeni­ous Artists, the cunning of the deepest Politicians, the wisedom of the sagest Philosophers are but meer blindness and stupidity in comparison to the wisedom of God; the lowest instance or expres­sion of whose wisedom (his [...], his folly, 1 Cor. 1. 25. as Saint Paul speaks) is wiser than men, doth excell the results of man's highest wisedom; yet them we admire and commend in men, why then do we not much more adore the divine wise­dome? If the abilities of them, who dexterously manage great business, or atchieve prosperously great exploits are indeed meer impotency in regard to God's power; whose weaknesse (that is, the smallest effects of whose power) is (as Saint Paul again tells us) stron­ger than men, surpasses the utmost re­sults of humane endeavour; yet those things in men we extol and celebrate, how can we then forbear to reve­rence the divine power? If the dis­pensers of freest and largest boun­ty among men, the noblest patriots, the most munificent benefactours, the [Page 44] most tenderly affectionate friends be in respect of God unworthy to be counted or called good (as our Saviour tells us; If ye being bad know to give good things; Matt. 7. 11. and,Luk. 11. 13. There is none good, but God;) yet such persons are much beloved and ap­plauded;Matt. 19. 17. how then can we abstain from paying the like measure of affection and respect to the divine goodness? if good qualities so inferiour and defective ob­tain so much from us, whence comes it that the infinitely superiour and most perfect excellencies of God do not beget in their proportion a sutable regard and veneration in us toward him? whence, if not either from our not firmly belie­ving them, or not rightly apprehending them, or not attentively considering them? Our belief of them in gross and at large we may suppose, as connected with the belief of God's existence, and included in the very notion of God; the defect therefore must proceed from the remaining causes, want of a right apprehension, or neglect of attentive consideration about them: as to the first of these; it is common for men to have confused, imperfect and wrong concep­tions about the Divine Attributes, espe­cially in the recesses of their mind; [Page 45] which although they spare to utter with their mouths, yet they vent in their prac­tice: if we, for instance, imagine that we can comprehend the extent of God's designs, or fathome the depth of his coun­sels; if we measure and model his rea­sons of proceeding according to our fancy (as if his thoughts were as our thoughts, Isa. 55. 8. and his ways as our ways; 1 Sam. 16. 7. or,Deut. 29. 19. as if he did see as man sees) if we can bless our selves in following our own imaginations, Psal. 81. 12. 107. 11. counsels and devices although repugnant to the resolutions of divine wisedom;Isa. 65. 2. 53. 6. taking these not to befit,Jer. 18. 12. or not to con­cern us,Hos. 10. 12. 8. 12. as we find many in the Scrip­ture reproved for doing;Psal. 73. 11. 10. 11. 94. 7. we greatly mistake and undervalue that glorious Attribute of God (his Wisedom) and no wonder then, if we do not upon ac­compt thereof duly reverence and love God: likewise if we concerning the di­vine Power conceit, that notwithstan­ding it, we shall be able to accomplish our unlawfull designs; that we may (as it is inJob 9. 4. Isa. 45. 9. 10. 15. 54. 17. 1 Cor. 10. 22. Deut. 33. 8. Dan. 5. 23. Amos 9. 2. Isa. 2. 19. Jer. 16. 16. Deut. 28. 29. Numb. 14. 41. 2 Chr. 13. 12. Job) harden our hearts against him and prosper; that we can any wise either withstand, or evade his power (as also many are intimated to doe, in Scripture; even generally all those who dare presumptuously to offend God) we [Page 46] also misconceive of that excellent Attri­bute; and the contempt of God, rather then love of him will thence arise. If concerning the divine goodness and holi­ness, we imagine that God is disaffected toward his Creatures (antecedently to all demerits, or bad qualifications in them) yea indifferent in affection to­ward them; [...]. Plat. de Leg. 10. inclinable to do them harm, or not propense to do them good; if we deem him apt to be harsh and rigo­rous in his proceedings, to exact perfor­mances unsutable to the strength he hath given us, to impose burthens intolerable upon us; will not such thoughts be apt to breed in us toward God (as they would toward any other person so dis­posed) rather a servile dread (little dif­ferent from downright hatred) or an hostile aversation, than a genuine reve­rence or a kindly affection toward him? If we fancy him, like to pettish man, apt to be displeased without cause, or beyond measure, for our doing some­what innocent (neither bad in it self, nor prejudicial to publick or private good) or for our omitting that, which no law, no good reason plainly requires of us; what will such thoughts but sowre our spirits toward him, make us [Page 47] fearfull and suspicious of him; which sort of dispositions are inconsistent with true love? If on the other side, we judge him fond and partial in his affections; or slack and easie (as it were) in his proceedings; apt to favour us, although we neglect him; to indulge us in our sins, or connive at our miscarriages; will not such thoughts rather incline us in our hearts to slight him, and in our actions insolently to dally with him, than heartily and humbly to love him? if we conceit his favour procured, or his anger appeased by petty observances, perhaps without any good rule or rea­son affected by our selves, when we neglect duties of greater worth and con­sequence (the more weighty matters of the Law); what is this but in stead of God to reverence an Idol of our own fancy; to yield unto him (who is one­ly pleased with holy dispositions of mind, with real effects of goodness) not duties of humble love, but acts of presumption and flattery? But if contrariwise, we truly conceive of God's wisedom, that his counsels are always throughly good, and that we are concerned both in duty and interest to follow them, although exceeding the reach of our understan­ding, [Page 48] or contrary to the suggestions of our fancy; concerning his power, that it will certainly interpose it self to the hindrance of our bad projects, that it will be in vain to contest therewith, that we must submit unto, or shall be crushed by his hand; concerning his goodness, that as he is infinitely good and benign, so he is also perfectly holy and pure; as he wisheth us all good, and is ready to promote it, so he detesteth our sins, nor will suffer us to doe him­self, our selves and our neighbour any wrong; as most bountifull in dispensing his favours, so not prodigal of them, or apt to cast them away on such as little value them, and do not endeavour to answer them; as a faithfull rewarder of all true vertue and piety, so a severe chastiser of all iniquity and profaneness; as full of mercy and pity toward them, who are sensible of their unworthiness, and penitent for their faults, so an impla­cable avenger of obstinate and incorrigible wickedness; in fine, as a true friend to us, if we be not wilfull enemies to him; and desirous of our welfare, if we do not perversly render our selves incapable thereof, so withall jealous of his own honour, resolute to maintain and vindi­cate [Page 49] his just authority;Isa. 5. 4. carefull to uphold the interests of right and truth,Hab. 1. 13. and to shew the distinction he makes between good and evil;Psal. 5. 4. 11. 5. &c. if we have, I say, such conceptions of God (agreeable to what his word and his doings represent him to us) how can we otherwise than bear a most high respect, a most great affection unto him? A Prince surely endewed with such qualities; wise and powerfull, good and just together; tendering the good of his people, yet preserving the force of his Laws; designing always what is best, and constantly pursuing his good intentions; tempering bounty and clemency with needfull justice and severity; we should all commend and extol as worthy of most affectionate ve­neration; how much more then shall we be so affected toward him, in whom we apprehend all those excellencies to con­cur without any imperfection or allay? especially if by attention we impress those conceptions upon our hearts; for how true and proper soever, if they be onely slight and transient, they may not suffice to this intent; if they pass away as a slash, they will not be able to kindle in us any strong affection. But if such abstracted consideration of the divine [Page 50] perfections will not alone wholly avail, let us add hereto as a farther help to­ward the production and encrease of this divine grace in us,

2. The consideration of God's Works and Actions; his works of nature, his acts of providence, his works and acts of grace; the carefull meditating upon these will be apt to breed, to nourish, to improve and augment this affection Even the contemplation of the lower works of nature, of this visible frame of things (upon which indeed many per­spicuous characters of divine perfection, of immense power, of admirable wise­dom, of abundant goodness are engra­ven) hath in many minds excited a very high degree of reverence and good af­fection toward God: the devoutest per­sons (the holy Psalmists particularly) we may observe frequent in this practice▪ enflaming their hearts with love,Psal. 8. 19. 145. 104. 147. and elevating them in reverence toward God by surveying the common works of God by viewing and considering the magnifi­cent vastness and variety, the goodly or­der and beauty, the constant duration and stability of those things we see; in remarking the general bounty and mu­nificence with which this great pater-familias [Page 51] hath provided for the necessary sustenance, for the convenience, for the defence, for the relief, for the delight and satisfaction of his creatures: even in the contemplation of these things being ra­vished with admiration and affection, how often do they thus exclaim:Psal. 33. 5. 119. 64. 145. 10. 147. 4. &c. O Lord how manifold are thy works, in wisedom hast thou made them all. The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord; the earth O Lord is full of thy mercy! Great is our Lord, and of great power; his understan­ding is infinite; All thy works shall praise thee, O Lord; With such reflections, I say, upon those common, yet admirable, and excellent works of God (which we perhaps with a regardless eye unprofi­tably pass over) did those good men kindle, and foment pious affections to­ward God. The same effect may also the considering the very common proceedings of divine providence beget in us; such as are discernible to every attentive mind both from history and daily experience; considering God's admirable condescen­sion in regarding and ordering humane affairs both for common benefit and for relief of particular necessities, his supply­ing the general needs of men, relieving the poor, succouring the weak and help­less, [Page 52] protecting and vindicating the op­pressed, his seasonable encouraging and rewarding the good, restraining and chastising the bad: Even such observa­tions are productive of love to God in those, who, according to that duty intimated by the Prophet,Isa. 5. 12. do regard th [...] works of the Lord, Psal. 28. 5. 107. 43. 64. 9. 111. 2. 77. 11. 143. 5. and consider the operations of his hands; They who are wise and will observe these things, they (a [...] the Psalmist tells) shall understand th [...] loving kindness of the Lord; understand it practically, so as to be duly affected thereby; and so accordingly we find the consideration of these things applied by the great guides and patterns of our devotion. But especially the study and contemplation of those more high and rare proceedings of God, in managing his gracious design of our Redemption from sin and misery, wherein a wise­dom so unsearchable and a goodness so astonishing declare themselves, are most proper and effectual means of begetting divine love: if the consideration of God's eternal care for our welfare, of his de­scending to the lowest condition for our sake, of his willingly undertaking and patiently undergoing all kinds of incon­venience, of disgrace, of bitter pain and [Page 53] sorrow for us; of his freely offering us mercy, and earnestly wooing us to re­ceive it, even when offenders, when ene­mies, when rebels against him; of his bearing with exceeding patience all our neglects of him, all our injuries towards him; of his preparing a treasure of per­fect and endless bliss, and using all means possible to bring us unto the possession thereof; if, I say, considering those won­derfull streins of goodness will not affect us, what can do it? How miserably cold and damp must our affections be, if all those powerfull rays (so full of heavenly light and heat) shining through our minds cannot enflame them? how desperately hard and tough must our hearts be, if such incentives cannot soften and melt them? is it not an apathy more than Stoical, more than stony, which can stand immo­vable before so mighty inducements to passion? is it not a horridly prodigious insensibility to think upon such expres­sions of kindness without feeling affec­tion reciprocal? But if the consideration of God's general and publick beneficence will not touch us sufficiently; let us far­ther hereto adjoin

3. Serious reflections upon the pecu­liar (personal or private) benefits by the [Page 54] divine goodness vouchsafed unto our selves. There is, I suppose, scarce any man, who may not, if he be not very stupid and regardless, have observed (be­side the common effects of God's univer­sal care and bounty wherein he partakes) even some particular expressions and te­stimonies of divine favour dispensed un­to him by God's hand (apt to convince him of God's especial providence, care and good-will to him particularly, and thereby to draw him unto God) both in relation to his temporal and to his spiritual state; in preventing and preser­ving him from mischiefs imminent, in opportune relief, when he was pressed with want, or surprised by danger; in directing him to good and diverting him from evil. Every mans experience (I say and suppose) will inform him that he hath received many such benefits from a hand, invisible indeed to sense, yet easily discernible, if he do attend to the circumstances wherein, to the sea­sons when they come: it is natural to every man being in distress (from which he cannot by any present or visible means extricate himself) to stretch forth his hand and lift up his voice toward heaven, making his recourse to divine [Page 55] help; and it is as natural for God to re­gard the needs, to hearken to the crys, to satisfie the desires of such persons (for, The Lord is nigh to all that call upon him; Psal. 145. 16, 18. 107. 8. 34. 6, 10. 9. 9. he openeth his hand, and satisfieth the de­sire of every living thing: He will be a refuge to the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble: He satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness: They that seek the Lord, shall not want any good thing: Ecclus. 2. 10. Look at the generations of old and see: did ever any trust in the Lord and was forsaken? or whom did he ever despise that called upon him? This poor man (this, and that, any poor man) cryed, and the Lord heard him, and sa­ved him out of all his troubles) since then, no man in all likelihood hath not some occasion of God's especial favour and assistance, and God is always so ready to afford them, we may reaso­nably presume that every man doth sometime receive them, and is thereby obliged to return a gratefull affection to him, not onely as to a common bene­factour, but as to his particular friend and patron. However there is none of us, who may not perceive himself singular­ly indebted to God's patience in forbea­ring to punish him, to his mercy in par­doning [Page 56] and passing over innumerable of­fences committed against him: the re­nowned Penitent in the Gospel did love much, Luk. 7. 47. because much was forgiven her; And who is there of us, that hath not the same reason to love much? who is there that, at least according to God's inclination and intention, hath not had much forgiven him? whom have not the riches of divine goodness and long-suffe­ring attended upon in order to his repen­tance? Rom. 2. 4. who hath not been in so great degree ingratefull, unfruitfull and im­profitable, that he hath not abundant reason to acknowledge God's especial grace in bearing with him;Luk. 17. 10. and to con­fess with Jacob, Psal. 130. 3. that he is lesse than the least of all God's mercies? Gen. 32. 10. if any such there were, he should have no less cause to be affected with the abundance of that grace, which so preserved him from sins and provocations. For if we stand, it is he that upholdeth us; Psal. 37. 23. 246. 8. if we fall, it is he that raiseth us; it is his especial favour that either we avoid sin, or sin­ning escape punishment. Now then God having by many real evidences declared such particular affection toward us, can we considering thereon do otherwise than say to our selves, after Saint John, [Page 57] Nos ergò diligamus Deum, quoniam prior dilexit nos, 1 Joh. 4. 19. Let us therefore love God, because God first loved us; surely in all ingenuity, according to all equity, we are bound to do so; the reason and na­ture of things doth require it of us: all other loves (even those of the baser sort) are able to propagate themselves; [...]. Soph. (to con­tinue and enlarge their kind) are com­monly fruitfull, and effectual in producing their like; how strangely then unnatural and monstrous is it, that this love onely (this so vigorous and perfect love) should be barren and impotent as it were? If you love those that love you (saith our Saviour) what reward have you? Matt. 5. 46. (what reward can you pretend to for so common, so necessa­ry a performance) do not even the publicans doe the same? (the Publicans, men not usually of the best natures, or tenderest hearts,Luk. 6. 32. yet they do thus) And (again saith he) If you love those who love you, what thank is it, for even sinners love those that love them? (sinners, men not led by con­science of duty, or regard to reason, but hurried, with a kind of blind and violent force, by instinct of nature, do so much, go so far) If thus men, both by nature and custom most untractable, the least gui­ded by rules of right, of reason, of inge­nuity; [Page 58] yea not onely the most barbarous men, but even the most savage beasts are sensible of courtesies, return a kind of affection unto them who make much of them and do them good, what temper are we of, if all that bounty we expe­rience cannot move us; if God's daily loading us with his benefits, Psal. 68. 19. 103. 14. if his crow­ning us with loving-kindness and tender mercies, Ezek. 34. 26. if all those showres of blessings, which he continually poureth down upon our heads doth not produce some good degree of correspondent affection in us? It cannot surely proceed altoge­ther from a wretched baseness of dispo­sition, that we are so cold and indiffe­rent in our affection toward God, or are sometimes so averse from loving him; it must rather in great part come from our not observing carefully, not frequent­ly calling to mind, not earnestly consi­dering what God hath done for us, how exceedingly we stand obliged to his goodness, from our following that unto­ward generation of men, who were not ('tis said) mindfull of the wonders which God did among them; Neh. 9. 17. who remembred not his hand, Psal. 78. 10, 42. nor the day that he delive­red them; Deut. 5. 29. 29. 4. rather following. I say, such careless and heartless people (so they are [Page 59] termed) than imitating that excellent Person's discretion, who constantly did set God's loving-kindness before his eyes, Psal. 26. 3. who frequently did thus raise his mind and rouse up his affections;Psal. 103. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me bless his holy name; Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgiveth all thine iniquities and healeth all thy diseases, &c. It is not for want of the like experience, or the like obligation, but for want of the same wisedom, of the same care, of the same honest consideration and diligence, that we do not the like.

To these means I add that,

4. A special help to breed in us this holy disposition of soul will be the set­ting our selves in good earnest, with a strong and constant resolution, to endea­vour the performance of all our duty to­ward God, and keeping his command­ments although upon inferiour considera­tions of reason, such as we are capable of applying to this purpose; regards of fear, of hope, of desire to avoid the mis­chiefs arising from sin, or attaining the benefits ensuing upon vertue. If we cannot immediately raise our hearts to that higher pitch of acting from that [Page 60] nobler principle of love, let us however apply that we can reach unto practice, striving as we are able to perform what God requires of us; exercising our selves as to material acts, in keeping a consci­ence void of offence toward God and to­ward man; the doing which as it may in time discover the excellency of good­ness to our mind, so it will by degrees reconcile our affections thereto; then by God's blessing (who graciously re­gards the meanest endeavours toward good;Isa. 42. 1. who despiseth not the day of small things; Zech. 4. 10. who will not quench the smoaking flax nor break the bruised reed) from doing good out of a sober regard to our own welfare, we shall come to like it in it self, and consequently to love him, un­to whose nature and to whose will it renders us conformable: for as doing ill breeds a dislike to goodness, and an aver­sion from him, who himself is full thereof, and who rigorously exacts it of us; as bad conscience removes expecta­tion of good from God, and begets a sus­picion of evil from him, consequently stifling all kindness toward him; so do­ing well, we shall become acquainted with it, and friends thereto; a hearty approbation, esteem and good liking [Page 61] thereof will ensue; finding by experience, that indeed the ways of wisedom, ver­tue, and piety are pleasantness, and all her paths are peace; that the fruits of conscientious practice are health to our body, and to our soul, security to our estate, and to our reputation, rest in our mind, and comfort in our conscience; goodness will become pretious in our eyes, and he who commends it to us, being himself essential goodness, will ap­pear most venerable and most amiable, we shall then become disposed to render him, what we perceive he best deserves, entire reverence and affection.

5. But I commend farther, as a most necessary mean of attaining this disposi­tion, assiduous earnest prayer unto God, that he would in mercy bestow it on us, and by his grace work it in us: which practice is indeed doubly conducible to this purpose; both in way of impetrati­on, and by real efficacy; it will not fail to obtain it as a gift from God; it will help to produce it as an instrument of God's grace.

Upon the first accompt it is absolutely necessary; for it is from God's free re­presentation of himself as lovely to our minds, and drawing our hearts unto him [Page 62] (although ordinarily in the use of the means already mentioned, or some like to them) that this affection is kindled; our bare consideration is too cold, our rational discourse too faint; we can­not sufficiently recollect our wandring thoughts, we cannot strongly enough impress those proper incentives of love upon our hearts (our hearts so dampt with sensual desires, so clogg'd and pe­ster'd with earthly inclinations) so as to kindle in our souls this holy flame; it can onely be effected by a light shining from God, by a fire coming from heaven: As all others, so more especially this Queen of graces must proceed from the father of lights, and giver of all good gifts: he alone, who is love, can be the parent of so goodly an off-spring, can beget this lively image of himself within us:Gal. 5. 22. it is the principal fruit of God's Holy Spirit, nor can it grow from any other root than from it; it is called the love of the Spirit, Rom. 15. 30. as its most signal and peculiar effect; in fine, the love of God (as Saint Paul expresly teaches us) is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit given unto us; given, but that not without asking, without seeking; a grace so excellent, God, we may be as­sured, [Page 63] will not dispense, a gift so preti­ous he will not bestow on them, who do not care to look after it, who will not vouchsafe to beg it: if we are not willing to acknowledge our want there­of; if we refuse to express our desire of it, if we will not shew that we regard and value it, if, when God freely offers it, and invites us to receive it (he doth so by offering his holy Spirit,Luk. 11. 9, 13. the foun­tain thereof,Matt. 21. 22. 7. 7. unto us) we will not de­cently apply our selves to him for it,1 Chron. 28. 9. how can we expect to obtain it? God hath propounded this condition (and 'tis surely no hard,2 Chron. 15. 2. no grievous condition) if we ask we shall receive; he hath ex­presly promised that He will give his Spirit (his Spirit of love) to them who ask it; we may be therefore sure, per­forming the condition duly, to obtain it; and as sure, neglecting that, we deserve to go without it.

Prayer then is upon this accompt a needfull means; and it is a very pro­fitable one upon the score of its own immediate energy or vertue: for as by familiar converse (together with the de­lights and advantages attending thereon) other friendships are begot and nourish­ed, so even by that acquaintance, as it [Page 64] were, with God, which devotion begets, by experience therein how sweet and good he is, this affection is produced and strengthened. [...]. As want of enter­course weakens and dissolves friendship; so if we seldom come at God, or little converse with him, it is not onely a sign, but will be a cause of estrangement and disaffection toward him: according to the nature of the thing, prayer hath peculiar advantages above other acts of piety, to this effect: therein not onely as in con­templation the eye of our mind (our in­tellectual part) is directed toward God: but our affections also (the hand of our soul by which we embrace good, the feet thereof by which we pursue it) are drawn out and fixed upon him; we no [...] onely therein behold his excellencies▪ but in a manner feel them and enjoy them; our hearts also being thereby softned and warmed by desire become more susceptive of love. We do in the performance of this duty approach nea­rer to God, and consequently God draws nearer to us (as Saint James assures;Jam. 4. 8. Draw near, saith he, unto God, and he will draw near to you) and thereby we partake more fully and strongly of his gracious influences; therein indeed he [Page 65] most freely communicates his grace, therein he makes us most sensible of his love to us, and thereby disposeth us to love him again. I add, that true (fer­vent and hearty) prayer doth include, and suppose▪ some acts of love, or some near tendencies thereto; whence, as eve­ry habit is corroborated by acts of its kind, so by this practice divine love will be confirmed and increased. These are the means, which my meditation did suggest as conducing to the production and growth of this most excellent grace in our souls.

III. I should lastly propound some In­ducements apt to stir us up to the endea­vour of procuring it, and to the exercise thereof, by representing to your conside­ration the blessed fruits and benefits (both by way of natural causality and of re­ward) accruing from it; as also the wo­full consequences and mischiefs springing from the want thereof. How being en­dewed with it perfects and advances our nature, rendring it in a manner and de­gree divine, by resemblance to God (who is full thereof, so full that he is called Love) by approximation, adherence and union (in a sort) unto him: how it [Page 66] ennobles us with the most glorious alli­ance possible, rendring us the friends and favourites of the Sovereign King and Lord of all, brethren of the first-born, whose names are written in heaven; enriches us with a right and title to the most in­estimable treasures (those which eye hath not seen, 1 Cor. 2. 9. nor ear heard, nor have entred into the heart of man to conceive, which God hath prepared for them that love him) a sure possession of the supreme good, of all that God is able to bestow, all whose wisedom and power, whose counsel and care it eternally engageth for our benefit; how all security and welfare, all rest and peace, all joy and happiness attend upon it;Psal. 145. 20. for that The Lord preserveth all them that love him (preserveth them in the enjoyment of all good, in safety from all danger and mis­chief) and that to those who love God all things co-operate for their good; Rom. 8. 28. how in­comparable a sweetness and delight ac­company the practice thereof, far sur­passing all other pleasures; perfectly able to content our minds, to sustain and com­fort us even in the want of all other sa­tisfactions, yea under the pressure of whatever most grievous afflictions can befall us. How contrariwise the want [Page 67] thereof will depress us into a state of greatest imperfection and baseness, setting us at the greatest distance from God in all respects, both in similitude of nature, and as to all favourable regard, or bene­ficial communication from him; casting us into a wretched and disgracefull con­sortship with the most degenerate crea­tures, the accursed fiends, who for dis­affection and enmity toward God, are banished from all happiness; how it ex­treamly impoverisheth and beggereth us, devesting us of all right to any good thing, rendring us incapable of any por­tion, but that of utter darkness; how it excludeth us from any safety, any rest, any true comfort or joy, and exposeth us to all mischief and misery imaginable; all that being deprived of the divine pro­tection, presence and favour, being made objects of the divine anger, hatred and severe justice, being abandoned to the malice of hell, being driven into utter darkness and eternal fire doth import or can produce. I should also have com­mended this love to you by comparing it with other loves, and shewing how far in its nature, in its causes, in its proper­ties, in its effects it excelleth them; even so far as the object thereof in ex­cellency [Page 68] doth transcend all other objects of our affection; how this is grounded upon the highest and surest reason; others upon accounts very low and mean, commonly upon fond humour and mistake; this produceth real, cer­tain, immutable goods; others at best terminate onely in goods apparent, un­stable and transitory; this is most wor­thy of us, employing all our faculties in their noblest manner of operation upon the best object; others misbeseem us, so that in pursuing them we disgrace our understanding, misapply our desires, distemper our affections, mispend our endeavours. I should have enlarged up­on these considerations; and should have adjoined some particular advantages of this grace; as for instance, that the pro­curing thereof is the most sure, the most easie, the most compendious way of at­taining all others; of sweetning and in­gratiating all obedience to us, of making the hardest yoke easie, and the heaviest burthen light unto us. In fine, I should have wished you to consider, that its practice is not onely a mean and way to happiness, but our very formal hap­piness it self; the real enjoyment of the best good we are capable of; that in [Page 69] which alone heaven it self (the felicity of Saints and Angels) doth consist; which more then comprehends in it self all the benefits of highest dignity, richest plen­ty and sweetest pleasure. But I shall forbear entring upon so ample and fruit­full subjects of meditation, and conclude with that good Collect of our Church:

O Lord, who hast prepared for them that love thee such good things as pass man's understanding; pour into our hearts such love toward thee, that we, loving thee above all things, may obtain thy pro­mises, which exceed all that we can desire; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Third Sermon.

MATT. 22. 39.‘And the Second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thy self.’

THE essential goodness of God, and his special benignity toward mankind are to a considering mind divers ways very apparent; the frame of the world, and the natural course of things do with a thousand voi­ces loudly and clearly proclaim them to us; every sense doth yield us affidavit to that speech of the Holy Psalmist,Psal. 33. 5. 119. 64. The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord: we see it in the glorious brightness of the skies, and in the pleasant verdure of the fields; we taste it in the various delica­cies of food, supplied by land and sea; we smell it in the fragrancies of herbs and flowers; we hear it in the natural musick of the woods; we feel it in the [Page 72] comfortable warmth of heaven, and in the cheering freshness of the air; we continually do possess and enjoy it in the numberless accommodations of life, pre­sented to us by the bountifull hand of nature.

Of the same goodness we may be well assured by that common providence which continually doth uphold us in our being, doth opportunely relieve our needs, doth protect us in dangers, and rescue us from imminent mischiefs, doth comport with our infirmities and misde­meanours; the which (in the divine Psalmists style) doth hold our soul in life, Psal. 66. 9. 56. 13. and suffereth not our feet to be moved; doth redeem our life from destruction; Psal. 103. 4. 145. 16. doth crown us with loving-kindness, and tender mercies.

The dispensations of grace, in the re­velation of heavenly truth, in the over­tures of mercy, in the succours of our weakness, in the proposal of glorious re­wards, in all the methods and means conducing to our salvation, do afford most admirable proofs and pledges of the same immense benignity.

But in nothing is the divine goodness toward us more illustriously conspicu­ous, than in the nature and tendency of [Page 73] those Laws which God hath been plea­sed for the regulation of our lives to pre­scribe unto us, all which do palpably evidence his serious desire and provident care of our welfare; so that in impo­sing them he plainly doth not so much exercise his Sovereignty over us, as ex­press his kindness toward us; neither do they more clearly declare his will, than demonstrate his good-will to us.

And among all divine Precepts this especially contained in my Text, doth argue the wonderfull goodness of our heavenly Law-giver, appearing both in the manner of the proposal, and in the substance of it.

The Second, Luk. 10. 27. saith our Lord, is like to it, that is to the Precept of loving the Lord our God with all our heart: and is not this a mighty argument of immense goodness in God, that he doth in such a manner commend this duty to us, coupling it with our main duty to­ward him, and requiring us with like earnestness to love our neighbour as to love himself?

He is transcendently amiable for the excellency of his nature; he by innu­merable and inestimable benefits graci­ously conferred on us hath deserved our [Page 74] utmost affection; so that naturally there can be no obligation bearing any pro­portion or considerable semblance to that of loving him; yet hath he in good­ness been pleased to create one, and to endew it with that privilege; making the love of a man (whom we cannot value but for his gifts, to whom we can owe nothing but what properly we owe to him) no less obligatory, to declare it near as acceptable as the love of him­self, to whom we owe all. To him, as the sole authour and free donour of all our good, by just correspondence all our mind and heart, all our strength and en­deavour are due; and reasonably might he engross them to himself, excluding all other beings from any share in them; so that we might be obliged onely to fix our thoughts and set our affections on him, onely to act directly for his ho­nour and interest; saying with the Ho­ly Psalmist,Psal. 73. 25. Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none in earth that I desire beside thee: Yet doth he freely please to impart a share of these perfor­mances on mankind; yet doth he charge us to place our affection on one another; to place it there indeed in a measure so large that we can hardly imagine a grea­ter; [Page 75] according to a rule, than which none can be devised more compleat or certain.

O marvellous condescension, O good­ness truly divine; which surpasseth the nature of things, which dispenseth with the highest right, and forgoeth the grea­test interest that can be! Doth not God in a sort debase himself, that he might advance us? doth he not appear to wave his own due, and neglect his own honour for our advantage? how otherwise could the love of man be capable of any re­semblance to the love of God, and not stand at an infinite distance, or in an extream disparity from it? how other­wise could we be obliged to affect or re­gard any thing beside the Sovereign, the onely goodness? how otherwise could there be any second or like to that first, Matt. 19. 17. that great, that peerless command, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart? Matt. 22. 38.

This indeed is the highest commenda­tion whereof any Law is capable; for as to be like God is the highest praise that can be given to a person; so to resemble the divinest Law of love to God is the fairest character that can be assigned of a Law: the which indeed representeth [Page 76] it to be [...], as Saint James calleth it,Jam. 2. 8. that is, a Royal and Sovereign Law; exalted above all others, and bea­ring a sway on them. Saint Paul telleth us, that the end of the commandment (or, the main scope of the Evangelical doctrine) is charity out of a pure heart and a good conscience, 1 Tim. 1. 6. and faith unfeigned; that charity is the summe and substance of all other duties,Rom. 13. 8, 9. and that he that loveth another hath fulfilled the whole law; Gal. 5. 14. that Charity is the chief of the Theologi­cal vertues,1 Cor. 13. 13. and the prime fruit of the divine Spirit; Gal. 5. 22. and the bond of perfection, Col. 3. 14. which combineth and consummateth all other graces,1 Cor. 16. 14. and the general principle of all our doings. Saint Peter enjoineth us that to all other vertues we add cha­rity, 2 Pet. 1. 7. as the top and crown of them; and Above all things (saith he) have fervent charity among your selves. 1 Pet. 4. 8. Saint John calleth this Law, in way of excellence, the commandment of God; 1 Joh. 3. 23, 11. 4. 21. and our Lord himself claimeth it as his peculiar Pre­cept,Joh. 15. 12. This (saith he) is my commandment, that ye love one another as I have loved you; Joh. 13. 34. A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; and ma­keth the observance of it the special cognizance of his followers,Joh. 13. 35. By this shall [Page 77] all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye love one another.

These indeed are lofty commendati­ons thereof, yet all of them may wor­thily veil to this; all of them seem veri­fied in virtue of this, because God hath vouchsafed to place this command in so near adjacency to the first great Law, conjoining the two Tables; making Charity contiguous, and as it were com­mensurate to Piety.

It is true, that in many respects Cha­rity doth resemble Piety; for it is the most genuine daughter of Piety, thence in complexion, in features, in humour much favouring its sweet mother; It doth consist in like dispositions and mo­tions of soul; It doth grow from the same roots and principles of benignity, ingenuity, equity, gratitude, planted in our original constitution by the breath of God, and improved in our hearts by the divine Spirit of love; 1 Joh. 4. 7, 11. It produceth the like fruits of beneficence toward others, and of comfort in our selves; It in like manner doth assimilate us to God,Matt. 5. 45. rendring us conformable to his nature,Eph. 5. 1, 2. followers of his practice and partakers of his felicity; It is of like use and con­sequence toward the regulation of our [Page 78] practice, and due management of our whole life: In such respects I say this Law is like to the other; but it is how­ever chiefly so for that God hath pleased to lay so great stress thereon, as to make it the other half of our Religion and duty; or because, as Saint John saith, This commandment have we from him, Matt. 22. 40. that he who loveth God, 1 Joh. 4. 21. love his brother also; which is to his praise a most preg­nant demonstration of his immense good­ness toward us.

But no less in the very substance of this Duty will the benignity of him that prescribeth it shine forth, displaying it self in the rare beauty and sweetness of it; together with the vast benefit and utility, which it, being observed, will yield to mankind; which will appear by what we may discourse for pressing its observance; but first let us explain it, as it lyeth before us expressed in the words of the Text, wherein we shall consider two Particulars observable; First, The Object of the Duty; Se­condly, The Qualification annexed to it; The Object of it, Our Neighbour, The Qualification, As our selves.

[Page 79] I. The Object of Charity is our Neigh­bour; that is (it being understood, as the Precept now concerneth us, accor­ding to our Lord's exposition, or accor­ding to his intent, and the tenour of his Doctrine) every man, with whom we have to doe, or who is capable of our love, especially every Christian.

The Law as it was given to God's an­cient people did openly regard onely those among them, who were linked together in a holy neighbourhood or So­ciety, from which all other men being excluded were deemed strangers and fo­reiners;Eph. 2. 12. (aliens, as Saint Paul speaketh, from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise.) for thus the Law runneth in Leviticus, Thou shalt not bear any grudge against the children of thy people, Lev. 19. 18. but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thy self; where plainly Jews and Neighbours are terms equivalent; other men being supposed to stand at distance without the fold or politick enclosure, which God by seve­ral Ordinances had fenced,Lev. 20. 26, 24. to keep that Nation unmixt,Exod. 33. 16. and separate: nor can it be excepted against this notion,Deut. 7. 6. 14. 2. that in the same Chapter it is enjoined,Levit. 19. 34. But the stranger that dwelleth with you shall [Page 80] be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thy self; for by that stranger (as the Jewish Masters well interpret it) is meant a Proselyte of righ­teousness; or one who although a stran­ger by birth, was yet a brother in Re­ligion, having voluntarily submitted to their Law, being engaged in the same Covenant, and thence admitted to the same Privileges, as an adopted Child of that Holy Family.

But now,Eph. 2. 14. such distinctions of men be­ing voided,Gal. 3. 28. and that wall of partition de­molished,Act. 10. 36. all the world is become one people; subject to the Laws of one com­mon Lord; and capable of the mercies purchased by one Redeemer. God's love to mankind did move him to send our Lord into the world,Tit. 3. 4. to assume hu­mane nature,Joh. 3. 16. and therein to become a Mediatour between God and Men.1 Tim. 2. 5. Our Lord's kindness to all his brethren dis­posed him to undertake their salvation, and to expiate their sins,1 Joh. 2. 2. and to taste death for every man; Heb. 2. 9. the effect whereof is an universal reconciliation of God to the world,2 Cor. 5. 19. and an union of men together.Col. 1. 20.

Now the bloud of Christ hath cemen­ted mankind;Eph. 1. 10. the favour of God embra­cing all hath approximated and combined [Page 81] all together;Eph. 2. 13. so that now every man is our brother, not onely by nature, as de­rived from the same stock, but by grace, as partaker of the common redemption; Now God desiring the salvation of all men, 1 Tim. 2. 4. and inviting all men to mercy,Tit. 2. 11. our duty must be coextended with God's grace,Col. 1. 23. and our charity must follow that of our Saviour.

We are therefore now to all men, that which one Jew was to another; yea more than such, our Christianity having induced much higher obligations, stricter alliances and stronger endearments, than were those, whereby Judaism did en­gage its followers to mutual amity. The duties of common humanity, (to which our natural frame and sense do incline us, which Philosophy recommendeth and natural Religion doth prescribe, be­ing grounded upon our community of nature and cognation of bloud, upon apparent equity, upon general conveni­ence and utility) our Religion doth not onely enforce and confirm, but enhance and improve; superadding higher instan­ces and faster tyes of spiritual relation, reaching in a sort to all men (as being in duty, in design, in remote capacity our spiritual brethren) but in especial [Page 82] manner to all Christians, who actually are fellow members of the same holy fraternity,1 Pet. 1. 23. 2. 17. contracted by spiritual rege­neration from one heavenly seed, sup­ported by a common faith and hope, strengthened by communion in acts of devotion and charity.

Hereon therefore are grounded those Evangelical commands, explicatory of this Law as it now standeth in force; that as we have opportunity we should do good unto all men,Gal. 6. 10. especially unto them who are of the houshold of faith; that we should abound in love one toward ano­ther,1 Thess. 3. 12. and towards all men; that we should glorifie God in our professed sub­jection unto the Gospel of Christ,2 Cor. 9. 12, 13. by li­berally distributing to the Saints, and to all men;Heb. 12. 24. that we should follow peace with all men,1 Thess. 5. 14. should be patient toward all men,Tit. 3. 2. and gentle toward all men, and shew all meekness toward all men;1 Thess. 5. 15. and ever follow that which is good both among our selves, [...]. and to all men; that we should make supplications,2 Tim. 2. 24. intercessions,1 Tim. 2. 1. and thanksgivings for all men,Eph. 6. 18. especially for all Saints, or all our fellow-Christi­ans, Phil. 4. 5. and express moderation, or ingenui­ty, to all men.

Such is the Object of our Charity; [Page 83] and thus did our Lord himself expound it, when by a Jewish Lawyer being put to resolve this question,Luk. 10. 29. [...], &c. Just. M. c. Tryph. (p. 320.) And who is my neighbour? he did propound a case, or history, whereby he did extort from that Rabbi this confession, that even a Samaritan, discharging a notable office of humanity and mercy to a Jew, did thereby most truly approve himself a good neighbour to him; and consequent­ly that reciprocal performances of such offices were due from a Jew to a Sama­ritan; whence it might appear, that this relation of neighbourhood is univer­sal and unlimited. So much for the Object.

II. As for the Qualification annexed and couched in those words, as thy self, that, as I conceive, may import both a Rule declaring the Nature, and a Mea­sure determining the Quantity of that Love which is due from us to our neigh­bour; [...]. Arist. Eph. 9. 4. the comparative term As imply­ing both Conformity or Similitude, and Commensuration or Equality.

1. Loving our neighbour as our selves doth import a Rule directing what kind of love we should bear and exercise to­ward him; or informing us that our [Page 84] charity doth consist in having the same affections of soul, and in performing the same acts of beneficence toward him, as we are ready by inclination, as we are wont in practice to have or to perform toward our selves, with full approbati­on of our judgment and conscience, apprehending it just and reasonable so to doe.

We cannot indeed better understand the nature of this duty, than by reflec­ting on the motions of our own heart, and observing the course of our demea­nour toward our selves; for thence in­fallibly we may be assured how we should stand affected, and how we should behave our selves toward others.

This is a peculiar advantage of this Rule (inferring the excellent wisedom and goodness of him who framed it) that by it very easily and certainly we may discern all the specialties of our duty, [...]. Chrys. [...]. without looking abroad or having recourse to external instruction; so that by it we may be perfect Law-givers, and skilfull Judges, and faithfull Moni­tours to our selves of what in any case we should do: for every one by internal experience knoweth what it is to love himself, every one is conscious how he [Page 85] useth to treat himself; each one conse­quently can prescribe and decide for himself, what he ought to doe toward his neighbour; so that we are not onely [...],1 Thess. 4. 9. taught of God, as the Apostle saith,Matt. 7. 12. to love one another, Luk. 6. 31. but [...], taught of our selves how to exercise that duty; whence our Lord otherwhere doth propose the Law of charity in these terms, [...]. Tob. 4. 15. Whatsoever ye would that men should doe unto you, doe ye even so unto them, for this is the law and the pro­phets; Const. Apost. 1. 1. that is, unto this Rule all the special precepts of charity proposed in Holy Scripture, may be reduced.

Wherefore for information concerning our duty in each case and circumstance, we need onely thus to consult and in­terrogate our selves, hence forming re­solutions concerning our practice.

Do we not much esteem and set by our selves, do we not strive to maintain in our minds a good opinion of our selves; can any mischances befalling us, any defects observable in us, any faults committed by us induce us to slight or despise our selves? this may teach us what regard and value we should ever preserve for our neighbour.

Do we not sincerely and earnestly [Page 86] desire our own welfare and advantage in every kind; [...], &c. Just. M. c. Tryph. (p. 321.) do we not heartily wish good success to our own designs and un­dertakings; are we unconcerned or cold­ly affected in any case touching our own safety, our estate, our credit, our satis­faction or pleasure? do we not especial­ly, if we rightly understand our selves, desire the health and happiness of our souls? this doth inform us, what we should wish and covet for our neigh­bour.

Have we not a sensible delight and complacency in our own prosperity? do we ever repine at any advantages ac­cruing to our person or condition? are we not extreamly glad to find our selves thriving and flourishing in wealth, in reputation, in any accommodation or ornament of our state? especially if we be sober and wise, doth not our spiritual proficiency and improvement in vertue yield joyous satisfaction to us? are we not much comforted in apprehending our selves to proceed in a hopefull way toward everlasting felicity? this may instruct us what content we should feel in our neighbours prosperity, both tem­poral and spiritual.

Do we not seriously grieve at our own [Page 87] disasters and disappointments; are we not in sad dumps, whenever we incur any dammage or disgrace; do not our diseases and pains sorely afflict us; do we not pity and bemoan our selves in any want, calamity, or distress? can we especially, if we are our selves, without grievous displeasure apprehend our selves enslaved to Sin and Satan, destitute of God's favour, exposed to endless misery? hence may we learn how we should condole and commiserate the misfortunes of our neighbour.

Do we not eagerly prosecute our own concerns? do we not with huge vigour and industry strive to acquire all conve­niencies and comforts to our selves, to rid our selves of all wants and molesta­tions? is our solicitous care or painfull endeavour ever wanting toward the sup­port and succour of our selves in any of our needs? are we satisfied in meerly wishing our selves well, are we not also busie and active in procuring what we affect? especially, if we are well advised, do we not effectually provide for the weal of our soul, and supply of our spiri­tual necessities; labouring to rescue our selves from ignorance and errour, from the tyranny of sin, from the torture of [Page 88] a bad conscience, from the danger of hell? this sheweth how ready we should be really to further our neighbours good, ministring to him all kinds of assistance and relief sutable to his needs, both cor­poral and spiritual.

Are we so proud or nice, that we dis­dain to yield attendance or service need­full for our own sustenance or conveni­ence; do we not indeed gladly perform the meanest and most sordid offices for our selves? this declareth how conde­scensive we should be in helping our neighbour, how ready even to wash his feet, when occasion doth require.

Do we love to vex our selves, or cross our own humour? do we not rather seek by all means to please and gratifie our selves? this may warn us, how in­nocent and inoffensive, how compliant and complacent we should be in our behaviour toward others; endeavouring to please them in all things, Rom. 15. 2. especially for their good to edification.

Are we easily angry with our selves, do we retain implacable grudges against our selves, or do we execute upon our selves mischievous revenge? are we not rather very meek and patient toward our selves, mildly comporting with our [Page 89] own great weaknesses, our troublesome humours, our impertinencies and follies; readily forgiving our selves the most hei­nous offences, neglects, affronts, injuries, and outrages committed by us against our own interest, honour, and welfare? hence may we derive lessons of meek­ness and patience, to be exercised to­ward our neighbour, in bearing his in­firmities and miscarriages, in remitting any wrongs or discourtesies received from him.

Are we apt to be rude in our deport­ment, harsh in our language, or rigorous in our dealing toward our selves? do we not rather in word and deed treat our selves very softly, very indulgently? Do we use to pry for faults, or to pick quarrels with our selves, to carp at any thing said or done by us, rashly or up­on slight grounds to charge blame on our selves, to lay heavy censures on our actions, to make foul constructions of our words, to blazon our defects, or aggra­vate our failings? do we not rather con­nive at, and conceal our blemishes; do we not excuse and extenuate our own crimes?

Can we find in our hearts to frame virulent invectives, or to dart bitter taunts [Page 90] and scoffs against our selves; to murther our own credit by slander, to blast it by detraction, to maim it by reproach, to prostitute it to be deflowred by jeering and scurrilous abuse? are we not rather very jealous of our reputation, and stu­dious to preserve it, as a precious orna­ment, a main fence, an usefull instru­ment of our welfare?

Do we delight to report, or like to hear ill stories of our selves? do we not rather endeavour all we can to stifle them; to tie the tongues and stop the ears of men against them? hence may we be acquainted how civil and courte­ous in our behaviour, How fair and in­genuous in our dealing, how candid and mild in our judgment or censure we should be toward our neigbour; how very tender and carefull we should be of any wise wronging or hurting his fame.

Thus reflecting on our selves, and making our practice toward our selves the pattern of our dealing with others, we shall not fail to discharge what is prescribed to us in this Law; and so we have here a Rule of Charity. But far­ther,

2. Loving our neighbour as our selves [Page 91] doth also import the Measure of our love toward him; that it should be commen­surate and equal in degree to that love, which we bear and exercise toward our selves. Saint Peter once and again doth exhort us to love one another [...],1 Pet. 1. 22. 4. 8. with an outstretched affection; and how far that affection should be stretched we are here informed; even that it should reach the farthest that can be, or to a parity with that intense love, which we do bear in heart, and express in perfor­mance toward our selves: so that we do either bring down our self-love to such a moderation, or raise up our charity to such a fervency, that both come to be adjusted in the same even level: this is that pitch, at which we should aim and aspire; this is that perfection of charity, which our Lord recommendeth to us in that injunction,Matt. 5. 48. Be perfect, even as your father in heaven is perfect.

That this sense of the words is inclu­ded, yea chiefly intended, divers reasons will evince: For

1. The most natural signification and common use of the phrase doth import thus much; and any one at first hearing would so understand the words.

2. It appeareth by comparing this [Page 92] Precept with that to which it is annexed, of loving God with all our heart and all our soul, which manifestly designeth the quantity and degree of that love; con­sequently the like determination is in­tended in this Precept, which is expres­sed to resemble that, or designed in like manner to qualifie and bound our duty toward our neighbour.

3. If the Law doth not signifie thus much, it doth hardly signifie any thing; not at least any thing of direction or use to us; for no man is ignorant that he is obliged to love his neighbour, but how far that love must extend, is the point wherein most of us do need to be resol­ved, and without satisfaction in which we shall hardly do any thing; for as he that oweth money will not pay except he can tell how much it is; so to know the Duty will not avail toward effectual observance of it, if its measure be not fixed.

4. Indeed, the Law otherwise under­stood will rather be apt to misguide than to direct us; inducing us to apprehend, that we shall satisfie its intent, and suf­ficiently discharge our duty, by practi­sing charity in any low degree or mean instance. Also,

[Page 93] 5. The former sense, which is unque­stionable, doth infer and establish this; because similitude of love, morally spea­king, cannot consist with inequality thereof; for if in considerable degrees we love our selves more than others, assu­redly we shall fail both in exerting such internal acts of affection, and in perfor­ming such external offices of kindness toward them, as we do exert and per­form in regard to our selves; whence this Law, taken meerly as a Rule, de­manding a confused and imperfect simi­litude of practice, will have no clear ob­ligation or certain efficacy.

6. But farther to assure this expositi­on, I shall declare that the Duty thus interpreted is agreeable to reason, and may justly be required of us, upon con­siderations, which together will serve to press the observance of it, according to such measure.

1. It is reasonable that we should thus love our neighbour as our selves, because he is as our selves, or really in all con­siderable respects the same with us: We concur with him in all that is necessary, substantial, and stable; we differ from him onely in things contingent, circum­stantial, and variable; in the which, of [Page 94] course or by chance we are liable in a small time as much to differ from our selves: in such respects we are not the same to day that we were yesterday, and shall be to morrow; for we shift our circumstances as we do our cloaths; our bodies are in continual flux, and our souls do much conform to their al­teration; our temper and complexion do vary with our air, our diet, our con­versation, our fortunes, our age; our parts grow and decay, our principles and judg­ments, our affections and desires are ne­ver fixed, and seldom rest long in the same place; all our outward state doth easily change face; so that if we consi­der the same person in youth and in age, in health and in sickness, in pro­sperity and in distress, may we not say quantùm mutatus ab illo, how quite ano­ther man is he grown? Yet shall a man for such alterations surcease or abate his love to himself? why then in regard to the like differences shall we less affect our neighbour, who is endowed with that common nature, which alone through all those vicissitudes sticketh fast in us; who is the most express image of us, (or rather a copy, drawn by the same hand, of the same orginal) [Page 95] another self, attired in a divers garb of circumstances? do we not so far as we despise or disaffect him, by consequence slight or hate our selves; seeing (except bare personality, or I know not what metaphysical identity) there is nothing in him different from what is, or what may be in us?

2. It is just that we should love our neighbour equally with our selves, be­cause he really no less deserveth love, or because upon a fair judgment he will appear equally amiable: justice is impar­tial, and regardeth things as they are in themselves, abstracting from their rela­tion to this or that person; whence if our neighbour seem worthy of affection no less than we, it demandeth that accor­dingly we should love him no less.

And what ground can there be of loving our selves which may not as well be found in others? is it endowments of nature, is it accomplishments of know­ledge, is it ornaments of vertue, is it ac­coustrements of fortune; but is not our neighbour possessed of the same; is he not at least capable of them, the colla­tion and acquist of them depending on the same arbitrary bounty of God,1 Cor. 4. 6, 5. or upon faculties and means commonly dis­pensed [Page 96] to all? May not any man at least be as wise and as good as we? why then should we not esteem, why not affect him as much? doth relation to us alter the case? is self as self lovely or valuable, doth that respect lend any worth or price to things?

Likewise, what more can justice find in our neighbour to obstruct or depress our love than it may observe in our selves? hath he greater infirmities or de­fects, is he more liable to errours and miscarriages, is he guilty of worse faults than we? If without arrogance and vi­nity we cannot affirm this, then are we as unworthy of love as he can be; an [...] refusing any degree thereof to him, w [...] may as reasonably withdraw the sam [...] from our selves.

3. It is fit that we should be obliged to love our neighbour equally with ou [...] selves, because all charity beneath self love is defective, and all self-love abov [...] charity is excessive.

It is an imperfect charity which dote not respect our neighbour according to his utmost merit and worth, which dote not heartily desire his good, which dote not earnestly promote his advantage i [...] every kind, according to our ability an [...] [Page 97] opportunity: and what beyond this can we do for our selves?

If in kind or degree we transcend this, it is not vertuous love or true friendship to our selves, but a vain fondness or per­verse dotage; proceeding from inordi­nate dispositions of soul, grounded on foolish conceits, begetting foul qualities and practises; envy, strife, ambition, ava­rice, and the like.

4. Equity requireth that we should love our neighbour to this degree, be­cause we are apt to claime the same mea­sure of love from others: no mean re­spect or slight affection will satisfie us; we cannot brook the least disregard or coldness; to love us a little is all one to us as not to love us at all: it is therefore equitable that we should be engaged to the same height of charity toward others; otherwise we should be allowed in our dealings to use double weights and measures,Prov. 22. [...] which is plain iniquity: what indeed can be more ridiculously absurd, than that we should pretend to receive that from others, which we are not dis­posed to yield to them upon the same ground and title?

5. It is needfull that so great a charity should be prescribed, because none infe­riour [Page 98] thereto will reach divers weighty ends designed in this Law; namely, the general convenience and comfort of our lives in mutual society and entercourse: for if in considerable degree we do af­fect our selves beyond others, we shall be continually bickering and clashing with them about points of interest and credit; scrambling with them for what may be had, and clambering to get over them in power and dignity; whence all the passions annoying our souls, and all the mischiefs disturbing our lives must needs ensue.

6. That entire love which we owe to God our Creatour, and to Christ our Re­deemer, doth exact from us no less a measure of Charity than this: for seeing they have so clearly demonstrated them­selves to bear an immense love to men, and have charged us therein to imitate them; it becometh us in conformity, in duty, in gratitude to them, to bear the highest we can, that is the same as we bear to our selves: for how can we love God enough, or with all our soul, if we do not accord with him in loving his friends and relations, his servants, his children with most entire affection?

If in God's judgment they are equal [Page 99] to us, if in his affection and care they have an equal share, if he in all his dea­lings is indifferent and impartial toward all, how can our judgment, our affecti­on, our behaviour be right, if they do not conspire with him in the same mea­sures?

7. Indeed the whole tenour and Ge­nius of our Religion do imply obligati­on to this pitch of charity, upon vari­ous accompts.

It representeth all worldly goods and matters of private interest as very incon­siderable and unworthy of our affection, thereby substracting the fuel of immode­rate self-love.

It enjoineth us for all our particular concerns entirely to rely upon provi­dence, so barring solicitude for our selves, and disposing an equal care for others.

It declareth every man so weak, so vile, so wretched, so guilty of sin and subject to misery (so for all good whol­ly indebted to the pure grace and mer­cy of God) that no man can have rea­son to dote on himself, or to prefer him­self before others: we need not cark, or prog, or scrape for our selves, being as­sured that God sufficiently careth for us.

[Page 100] In its accompt the fruits and recom­pences of love to others in advantage to our selves do far surpass all present inte­rests and enjoyments; whence in effect the more or less we love others, answe­rably the more or less we love our selves, so that charity and self-love become co­incident, and both run together evenly in one channel.

It recommendeth to us the imitation of God's love and bounty,Matt. 5. 45. which are ab­solutely pure, without any regard, any capacity of benefit redounding to him­self.

It commandeth us heartily to love even our bitterest enemies and most cruel per­secutours; which cannot be performed without a proportionable abatement of self-love.

It chargeth us not onely freely to im­part our substance,1 Joh. 3. 16. but willingly to expose our lives for the good of our brethren; in which case charity doth plainly match self-love; for what hath a man more dear or precious than his life to lay out for himself.

It representeth all men (considering their divine extraction, and being formed after God's Image; their designation for eternal glory and happiness, their parta­king [Page 101] of the common redemption by the undertakings and sufferings of Christ, their being objects of God's tender affec­tion and care) so very considerable, that no regard beneath the highest will befit them.

It also declareth us so nearly allied to them, and so greatly concerned in their good,Gal. 3. 28. (we being all one in Christ, Joh. 17. 21. and members one of another) that we ought to have a perfect complacency in their welfare,Rom. 12. 5. and a sympathy in their adver­sity,1 Cor. 12. 26. as our own.Joh. 13. 35.

It condemneth self-love, self-pleasing, self-seeking as great faults,2 Tim. 3. 2. which yet (even in the highest excess) do not seem absolutely bad;2 Pet. 2. 10. or otherwise culpable,Rom. 15. 1. than as including partiality,Phil. 2. 4. or detrac­ting from that equal measure of charity,1 Cor. 10. 34. 13. 5. which we owe to others: for surely we cannot love our selves too much, if we love others equally with our selves; we cannot seek our own good excessively, if with the same earnestness we seek the good of others.

It exhibiteth supernatural aids of grace, and conferreth that Holy Spirit of love, which can serve to no meaner purposes, than to quell that sorry prin­ciple of niggardly selfishness, to which [Page 102] corrupt nature doth incline; and to en­large our hearts to this divine extent of goodness.

8. Lastly, many conspicuous exam­ples, proposed for our direction in this kind of practice, do imply this degree of charity to be required of us.

It may be objected to our discourse, that the duty, thus understood, is un­practicable, nature violently swaying to those degrees of self-love, which charity can no wise reach. This exception (would time permit) I should assoil, by shewing how far, and by what means we may attain to such a practice; (how at least by aiming at this top of perfection we may ascend nearer and nearer thereto) in the mean time experience doth suffi­ciently evince possibility, and assuredly that may be done, which we see done before us: And so it is, pure charity hath been the root of such affections and such performances (recorded by indubitable testimony) toward others, which hardly any man can exceed in regard to himself; nor indeed hath there scarce ever appea­red any heroical vertue, or memorable piety, whereof charity overbearing sel­fishness, and sacrificing private interest to publick benefit, hath not been a [Page 103] main ingredient. For instance then

Did not Abraham even prefer the good of others before his own, when he gladly did quit his countrey, patrimony, friends, and kindred to pass his days in a wandring pilgrimage, upon no other encouragement than an overture of bles­sing on his posterity?

Did not the charity of Moses stretch thus far,Chrys. in 1 Cor. Or. 25. in Eph. Or. 7. when for the sake of his bre­thren he voluntarily did exchange the splendours and delights of a Court for a condition of vagrancy and servility; chusing rather, Heb. 11. 24. as the Apostle speaketh, to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin? did not it overstretch, when (although ha­ving been grievously affronted by them) he wished that rather his name should be expunged from God's book, Exod. 32. 32. [...]—Chrys. in Eph. Or. 7. 1 Sam. 12. 23. than that their sin should abide unpardoned?

Did not Samuel exercise such a chari­ty, when being ingratefully and injuri­ously dismounted from his authority, he did yet retain toward that people a zealous desire of their welfare, not cea­sing earnestly to pray for them?

Did not Jonathan love David equally with himself,1 Sam. 20. 30. when for his sake he chose to incur the displeasure of his father and [Page 104] his King; when for his advantage he was content to forfeit the privilege of his birth, and the inheritance of a Crown; when he could without envy or grudge look on the growing prosperity of his supplanter, could heartily wish his safe­ty, could effectually protect it, could purchase it to him with his own great danger and trouble? when he, that in gallantry of courage and vertue did yield to none, was yet willing to become in­feriour to one born his subject, one rai­sed from the dust,Psal. 78. 70. one taken from a sheep­coat; so that unrepiningly and without disclain he could say,1 Sam. 23. 17. Thou shalt be King over Israel, and I shall be next unto thee: are not these pregnant evidences, that it was truly said in the story,1 Sam. 18. 1. 20. 17. The soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and he loved him as his own soul?

Did not the Psalmist competently prac­tise this duty; when in the sickness of his ingratefull adversaries he cloathed himself with sackcloath, Psal. 35. 12. he humbled his soul with fasting; he bowed down heavily as one that mourneth for his mother?

Were not Elias, Jeremy, and other Prophets as much concerned for the good of their country-men as for their own, when they took such pains, when they [Page 105] run such hazards, when they endured such hardships not onely for them, but from them; being requited with hatred and misusage for endeavouring to re­claim them from sin, and stop them from ruine?

May not the Holy Apostles seem to have loved mankind beyond themselves, when for its instruction and reformation, for reconciling it to God and procuring its salvation, they gladly did undertake and undergo so many rough difficulties, so many formidable dangers, such irk­some pains and troubles, such extream wants and losses, such grievous ignomi­nies and disgraces; slighting all concerns of their own, and reliquishing whatever was most dear to them (their safety, their liberty, their ease, their estate, their reputation, their pleasure, their very bloud and breath) for the welfare of others; even of those who did spitefully maligne and cruelly abuse them?

Survey but the Life of one among them; mark the wearisome travels he underwent over all the earth, the solici­tous cares which did possess his mind for all the Churches: the continual toils and drudgeries sustained by him in prea­ching by word and writing: in visiting, [Page 106] in admonishing, in all pastoral employ­ments; the imprisonments, the stripes, the reproaches, the oppositions and per­secutions of every kind, and from all sorts of people, which he suffered; the pinching wants, the desperate hazards, the lamentable distresses with the which he did ever conflict;2 Cor. 11. 23. 4. 8. peruse those black catalogues of his afflictions registred by himself;1 Cor. 4. 11. then tell me how much his cha­rity was inferiour to his self-love? did not at least the one vie with the other, when he for the benefit of his disciples was content to be absent from the Lord, Phil. 1. 24. or suspended from a certain fruition of glorious beatitude; resting in this un­comfortable state,2 Cor. 5. 1, &c. in this fleshly taber­nacle wherein he groaned, being burthe­ned, and longing for enlargement? did he not somewhat beyond himself love those men, for whose salvation he wished himself accursed from Christ, Rom. 9. 3. or debarred from the assured enjoyment of eternal felicity;2 Cor. 11. 24, 25. those very men by whom he had been stoned,1 Thess. 2. 15. had been scourged, had been often beaten to extremity, from whom he had received manifold indig­nities and outrages?

Did not they love their neighbours as themselves,Act. 4. 34. who sold their possessions, [Page 107] and distributed the prices of them for relief of their indigent brethren? did not most of the ancient Saints and Fathers mount near the top of this duty, of whom it is by unquestionable records testified, that they did freely bestow all their private estate and substance on the poor, devoting themselves to the ser­vice of God and edification of his people? Finally,

Did not our Lord himself in our na­ture exemplifie this Duty, yea by his Practice far out-doe his Precept? for, He who from the brightest glories, from the immense riches, from the ineffable joys and felicities of his celestial King­dom, did willingly stoop down to as­sume the garb of a servant, to be cloa­thed with the infirmities of flesh, to be­come a man of sorrow, and acquainted with grief; He who for our sake vouch­safed to live in extream penury and disgrace, to feel hard want, sore tra­vel, bitter persecution, most grievous shame and anguish; He who not onely did contentedly bear, but purposely did chuse to be accused, to be slandered, to be reviled, to be mocked, to be tortured, to pour forth his heart-bloud upon a cross,Rom. 5. 6, 8, 10. for the sake of an unprofitable, [Page 108] an unworthy,1 Pet. 3. 18. an impious, an ingratefull generation;Eph. 2. 1. for the salvation of his open enemies,Col. 2. 13. of base apostates, of perverse rebels,Chrys. in Eph. Or. 7. in 1 Cor. Or. 32. of villainous traitours; He, who in the height of his mortal agonies did sue for the pardon of his cruel murthe­rers; who did send his Apostles to them, did cause so many wonders to be done before them, did furnish all means requi­site to convert and save them; He that acted and suffered all this, and more than can be expressed, with perfect frank­ness and good will;Heb. 12. 2. did he not signally love his neighbour as himself, to the utmost measure? did not in him vertue conquer nature, and charity triumph over self-love? This he did to seal and impress his Doctrine; to shew us what we should doe, and what we can doe by his grace; to oblige us and to encou­rage us unto a conformity with him in this respect:Eph. 5. 1. for, Walk in love, saith the Apostle,1 Joh. 3. 16. as Christ hath also loved us, and hath given himself for us; Joh. 15. 12. 13. 34. And, This (saith he himself) is my commandment, that ye love one another as I have loved you: And how can I better conclude than in the recommendation of such an Example?

[Page 109] Now,2 Thess. 2. 16. our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God even our father, who hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting conso­lation, and good hope through grace, com­fort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work.

The Fourth Sermon.

MATT. 22. 39.‘Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thy self.’

I Have formerly discoursed on these words, and then shewed how they do import two observable Particu­lars; first a Rule of our Charity, or that it should be like in nature; then a Mea­sure of it, or that it should be equal in degree to the love which we do bear to our selves. Of this latter interpretati­on I did assign divers reasons, urging the observance of the Precept according to that notion: but one material Point scantness of time would not allow me to consider; which is the removal of an Exception, to which that interpretation is very liable, and which is apt to discou­rage from a serious application to the practice of this duty so expounded.

[Page 112] If, it may be said, the Precept be thus understood, as to oblige us to love our neighbours equally with our selves, it will prove unpracticable, such a charity being meerly romantick and imaginary; for who doth, who can love his neigh­bour in this degree? nature powerfully doth resist, common sense plainly doth forbid that we should doe so: A natural instinct doth prompt us to love our selves, and we are forcibly driven there to by an unavoidable sense of pleasure and pain, resulting from the constitution of our body and soul, so that our own least good or evil are very sensible to us; whereas we have no such potent incli­nation to love others; we have no sense or a very faint one of what another doth enjoy or endure: doth not therefore na­ture plainly suggest, that our neighbours good cannot be so considerable to us as our own? especially when charity doth clash with self-love, or when there is a competition between our neighbours in­terest and our own, is it possible that we should not be partial to our own side? is not therefore this Precept such as if we should be commanded to fly, or to doe that which natural propension will certainly hinder?

[Page 113] In answer to this Exception I say, first,

1. Be it so, that we can never attain to love our neighbour altogether so much as our selves, yet may it be reasonable that we should be enjoined to doe so; for

Laws must not be depressed to our imperfection, nor rules bent to our ob­liquity; but we must ascend toward the perfection of them, and strive to con­form our practice to their exactness: If what is prescribed be according to the reason of things just and fit, it is enough although our practice will not reach it; for what remaineth may be supplied by repentance and humility in him that should obey, by mercy and pardon in him that doth command.

In the prescription of duty it is just, that what may be required (even in ri­gour) should be precisely determined, though in execution of justice or dispen­sation of recompence consideration may be had of our weakness; whereby both the authority of our Governour may be maintained, and his clemency glorified.

It is of great use, that by comparing the Law with our practice, and in the perfection of the one discerning the defect [Page 114] of the other, we may be humbled, may be sensible of our impotency, may thence be forced to seek the helps of grace and the benefit of mercy.

Were the Rule never so low, our prac­tice would come beneath it; it is there­fore expedient that it should be high, that at least we may rise higher in performance than otherwise we should doe; for the higher we aim, the nearer we shall go to the due pitch; as he that aimeth at heaven, although he cannot reach it, will yet shoot higher than he that aim­eth onely at the house top.

The height of duty doth prevent sloth and decay in vertue, keeping us in whol­some exercise and in continual improve­ment, while we be always climbing to­ward the top,Phil. 3. 12. and straining unto farther attainment: the sincere prosecution of which course, as it will be more profi­table unto us, so it will be no less accep­table to God, than if we could thorough­ly fulfill the Law: for in judgment God will onely reckon upon the sincerity and earnestness of our endeavour; so that if we have done our best, it will be taken as if we had done all.1 Cor. 5. 28. Our labour will not be lost in the Lord; 1 Thess. 1. 13. for the degrees of performance will be considered,Heb. 6. 10. and [Page 115] he that hath done his duty in part shall be proportionably recompensed; accor­ding to that of Saint Paul; 1 Cor. 3. 8. Every man shall receive his own reward according to his own work. Hence sometimes we are enjoined to be perfect as our heavenly father is perfect; Matt. 5. 48. 19. 21. and to be holy as God is holy; 1 Pet. 1. 16. otherwhile to go on to perfecti­on, Col. 4. 12. and to press toward the mark; Heb. 6. 1. which Precepts in effect do import the same thing;Phil. 3. but the latter implyeth the for­mer, although in attainment impossible, yet in attempt very profitable: and sure­ly he is likely to write best, who pro­poseth to himself the fairest Copy for his imitation.

In fine, if we do act what is possible, or as we can, do conform to the Rule of Duty, we may be sure that no im­possibility of this, or of any other sublime Law can prejudice us.

I say of any other Law; for it is not onely this Law, to which this exception may be made; but many others, per­haps every one Evangelical Law, are alike repugnant to corrupt nature, and seem to surmount our ability.

But neither is the performance of this task so impossible, or so desperately hard (if we take the right course and use [Page 116] proper means toward it) as is supposed; as may somewhat appear, if we will weigh the following considerations.

1. Be it considered, that we may be mistaken in our accompt, when we do look on the impossibility or difficulty of such a practice, as it appeareth at pre­sent, before we have seriously attempted, and in a good method, by due means, earnestly laboured to atchieve it: for many things cannot be done at first, or with a small practice, which by degrees and a continued endeavour may be ef­fected; divers things are placed at a di­stance, so that without passing through the interjacent way we cannot arrive at them; divers things seem hard before trial, which afterward prove very easie: it is impossible to fly up to the top of a steeple, but we may ascend thither by steps; we cannot get to Rome without crossing the Seas, and travelling through France or Germany; it is hard to com­prehend a subtle Theoreme in Geometry if we pitch on it first, but if we begin at the simple principles, and go forward through the intermediate propositions we may easily attain a demonstration of it; it is hard to swim, to dance, to play on an Instrument, but a little trial, or a [Page 117] competent exercise will render those things easie to us: So may the practice of this duty seem impossible, or insupera­bly difficult, before we have employed divers means, and voided divers impedi­ments; before we have inured our minds and affections to it, before we have tri­ed our forces in some instances thereof, previous to others of a higher strein, and nearer the perfection of it.

If we would set our selves to exercise charity in those instances, whereof we are at first capable without much reluc­tancy, and thence proceed toward others of a higher nature, we may find such improvement, and taste such content therein, that we may soon arise to in­credible degrees thereof; and at length perhaps we may attain to such a pitch, that it will seem to us base and vain to consider our own good before that of others, in any sensible measure; And that nature which now so mightily doth contest in favour of our selves, may in time give way to a better nature, born of custome, affecting the good of others. Let not therefore a present sense or ex­perience raise in our minds a prejudice against the possibility or practicableness of this duty.

[Page 118] 2. Let us consider, that in some re­spects, and in divers instances it is very feasible to love our neighbour no less than our selves.

We may love our neighbour truly and sincerely,1 Tim. 1. 6. out of a pure heart and a good conscience, and faith unfeigned, as Saint Paul doth prescribe; or according to Saint Peter's injunction,1 Pet. 1. 22. (Rom. 12. 9.) from a pure heart love one another fervently; and in this respect we can do no more toward our selves; for truth admitteth no de­grees, sincerity is a pure and compleat thing, exclusive of all mixture or al­loy.

And as to external acts at least it is plain that charity toward others may reach self-love; for we may be as serious, as vigorous, as industrious in acting for our neighbours good, as we can be in pursuing our own designs and interests: for reason easily can manage and govern external practice; and common expe­rience sheweth the matter to this extent practicable, seeing that often men do employ as much diligence on the con­cerns of others, as they can do on their own (being able to doe no more than their best in either case) wherefore in this respect charity may vie with selfish­ness; [Page 119] and practising thus far may be a step to mount higher.

Also rational consideration will enable us to perform some interiour acts of cha­rity in the highest degree; for if we do but, (as without much difficulty we may do) apply our mind to weigh the qualities and the actions of our neigh­bour, we may thence obtain a true opi­nion and just esteem of him; and (se­cluding gross folly or flattery of our selves) how can we in that respect or instance be more kind or benign to our selves?

Is it not also within the compass of our ability to repress those passions of soul, the eruption whereof tendeth to the wrong, dammage, and offence of our neighbour; in regard to which prac­tice Saint Paul affirmeth, that the Law may be fulfilled,Rom. 13. 10. Love, saith he, wor­keth no evil to his neighbour; there­fore love is the fulfilling of the law? And what more in this respect can we perform for our selves?

3. We may consider, that common­ly we see men inclined by other prin­ciples to act as much or more for the sake of others, as they would for them­selves.

[Page 120] Moral honesty hath inclined some, [...]—Arist. Eth. 9. 8. ambition and popularity have excited others to encounter the greatest dangers, to attaque the greatest difficulties, to expose their safety, to sacrifice their lives for the welfare of their Coun­trey.

Common friendship hath often done as much,Insana ami­citia. Sen. Ep. 9. and brutish love (that mad friendship, as Seneca calleth it) common­ly doth far more: for what will not a fond Lover undertake and atchieve for his Minion, although she really be the worst enemy he can have? yet for such a Snake will he not lavish his estate,Chrys. in Eph. p. 797. prostitute his honour, abandon his ease, hazard his safety, shipwreck his consci­ence, forfeit his salvation? what may not a Delilah obtain of her Sampson, a Cleopatra of her Anthony, how prejudi­cial soever it be to his own interest and welfare?

Why then may not a principle of Charity (grounded on so much better reason, and backed by so much stronger motives) be conceived able to engage men to the like practice? why may not a man be disposed to doe that out of hearty good-will, which he can doe out of vain conceit, or vicious appetite? [Page 121] why shall other forces overbear nature, and the power of charity be unable to match it?

4. Let us consider, that those disposi­tions of soul which usually with so much violence do thwart the observance of this Precept, are not ingredients of true self-love, by the which we are directed to regulate our charity, but a spurious brood of our folly and pravity, which imply not a sober love of our selves, but a corrupt fondness toward an idol of our fancy mistaken for our selves.

A high conceit of our worth or abi­lity, of our fortune or worldly state, of our works and atchievements; a great complacence or confidence in some en­dowment or advantage belonging to us, a stiff adherence to our own will or humour, a greedy appetite to some par­ticular interest or base pleasure; these are those, not attendants of natural self-love, but issues of unnatural depra­vedness in judgment and affections, which render our practice so exorbitant in this regard, making us seem to love our selves so immoderately, so infinite­ly; so contracting our souls and draw­ing them inwards, that we appear indis­posed to love our neighbour in any con­siderable [Page 122] degree: If these (as by serious consideration they may be) were voi­ded, or much abated, it would not be found so grievous a matter to love our neighbour as our selves; for that sober love remaining behind, to which nature inclineth, and which reason approveth, would rather help to promote than yield any obstacle to our charity; if such perverse selfishness were checked and depressed, but natural kindness che­rished and advanced, then true self-love and charity would compose themselves into near a just poise.

5. Indeed (which we may further consider) our nature is not so absolute­ly averse or indisposed to the practice of such charity, as to those may seem, who view it slightly, either in some particular instances, or in ordinary prac­tice; nature hath furnished us with strong instincts for the defence and su­stenance of our life; and common prac­tice is depraved by ill education and custom; these some men poring on do imagin no room left for charity in the constitution of men; but they consider not, that one of these may be so mode­rated, and the other so corrected, that charity may have a fair scope in mens [Page 123] heart and practice; and they slip over divers pregnant marks of our natural inclination thereto.

Man having received his soul from the breath of God, and being framed after the image of his most benign parent, there do yet abide in him some features resembling God, and reliques of the di­vine original; there are in us seeds of ingenuity, of equity, of pity, of benig­nity, which being cultivated by sober consideration and good use (under the conduct, and aid of heavenly grace) will produce noble fruits of charity.

The frame of our nature so far dis­poseth us thereto, that our bowels are touched with sensible pain upon the view of any calamitous object; our fan­cy is disturbed at the report of any disa­ster befalling any person; we can hard­ly see or reade a Tragedy without mo­tions of compassion.

The practice of benignity, of courte­sy, of clemency at first sight, without any discursive reflexion, doth obtain ap­probation and applause from us; being no less gratefull and amiable to the mind than beauty to our eyes, harmo­ny to our ears, fragrancy to our smell, and sweetness to our palate; and to the [Page 124] same mental sense malignity, cruelty, harshness, all kinds of uncharitable dea­ling are very disgustfull and loathsome.

There wanteth not any commenda­tion to procure a respect for Charity; [...]—Arist. Eth. 8. 1. nor any invective to breed abhorrence of uncharitableness, nature sufficiently prompting to favour the one and to de­test the other.

The practice of the former in common language hath ever been styled humani­ty, and the disposition from whence it floweth is called good-nature; the prac­tice of the latter is likewise termed in­humanity, and its source ill-nature; as thwarting the common notions and in­clinations of mankind, devesting us of our manhood, and rendring us a sort of monsters among men.

No quality hath a clearer repute, [...]. Arist. 9. 8. [...]. Ibid. or is commonly more admired than gene­rosity, which is a kind of natural cha­rity, or hath a great spice thereof; No disposition is more despised among men than niggardly selfishness; whence com­monly men are ashamed to avow self-interest as a principle of their actions, (rather fathering them on some other cause) as being conscious to themselves that it is the basest of all principles.

[Page 125] Whatever the censurers and detrac­tours of humane nature do pretend, yet even themselves do admire pure bene­ficence, and contemn selfishness; for (if we look to the bottom of their intent) it is hence, they are bent to slander mankind as void of good na­ture, because out of malignity they would not allow it a quality so excel­lent and divine.

Wherefore according to the general judgment and conscience of men (to omit other considerations) our nature is not so averse from charity, or desti­tute of propensions thereto; and there­fore cherishing the natural seeds of it, we may improve it to higher de­grees.

6. But supposing the inclinations of nature, as it now standeth in its depra­ved and crazy state, do so mightily ob­struct the practice of this duty in the degree specified, so that however we cannot by any force of reason or philo­sophy attain to desire so much or relish so well the good of others as our own, yet we must remember, that a subsidia­ry power is by the divine mercy dis­pensed, able to controll and subdue na­ture to a compliance, to raise our prac­tice [Page 126] above our natural forces. We have a like averseness to other spiritual duties (to the loving God with all our hearts, to the mortifying our flesh and carnal desires, to the contempt of wordly things, and placing our happiness in spiritual goods) yet we are able to per­form them by the succour of grace, and in virtue of that omnipotency which Saint Paul assumed to himself when he said,Phil. 4. 13. [...] I can doe all things by Christ ena­bling me. 2 Tim. 1. 7.

If we can get the Spirit of love (and assuredly we may get it, if we carefully will seek it, with constant fervency im­ploring it from him, who hath promi­sed to bestow it on those that ask it) it will infuse into our minds that light, whereby we shall discern the excellency of this duty, together with the folly and baseness of that selfishness which crosseth it; it will kindle in our hearts charitable affections, disposing us to wish all good to our neighbour, and to feel pleasure therein; it will render us par­takers of that divine nature, which so will guide and urge us in due measure to affect the benefit of others, as now corrupt nature doth move us unmeasu­rably to covet our own; being suppor­ted [Page 127] and elevated by its virtue we may, (surmounting the clogs of fleshly sense and conceit) soar up to the due pitch of charity;1 Thess. 4. 9. Gal. 5. 22. Eph. 5. 9. Col. 3. 12. Eph. 4. 24. 2. 10. being [...] taught of God to love one another; and endowed with the fruits of the Spirit, which are love, gentleness, goodness, meekness, and created according to God in Christ Jesus to the practice of answerable good works.

7. There are divers means conducible to the abatement of difficulty in this practice, which I shall propose, referring the matter to issue upon due trial of them.

1. Let us carefully weigh the value of those things which immoderate self-love doth affect in prejudice to chari­ty, together with the worth of those which charity doth set in balance to them.

Aristotle himself doth observe, [...] [...].—Arist. Eth. 9. 8. Vid. tot. that the ground of culpable self-love, scraping, scrambling, scuffling for particular inte­rest, is mens high esteem, and passion for, and greedy appetite of wealth, of honours, of corporeal pleasures; whereas vertuous persons not admiring those things will constanly act for honesty sake, and out of love to their friends or countrey; wherein although they most [Page 128] really benefit and truly gratifie them selves, yet are they not blamed for sel­fishness.

And so indeed it is; If we rightly did apprehend the infinite vanity of all wordly goods, the meanness of private concerns, the true despicableness of all those honours, those profits, those de­lights on which commonly men do so dote, we should not be so fond or jealous of them, as to scrape or scuffle for them, envying or grutching them to others; If we did conceive the transcendent worth of future rewards allotted to this and other vertues, the great considerable­ness of publick good at which charity aimeth, the many advantages which may accrue to us from our neighbours welfare, (entertained with complacence, and wisely accommodated to our use) we should not be so averse from tendring his good as our own.

2. Let us consider our real state in the world, in dependance upon the pleasure and providence of Almighty God.

[Page 129] If we look upon our selves as subsist­ing onely by our own care and endea­vour, without any other patronage or help, it may thence prove hard to re­gard the interests of others as compa­rable to our own; seeing then in order to our living with any convenience, it is necessary that we should be solicitous for our own preservation and sustenance, that will engage us to contend with others as competitours for the things we need, and uncapable otherwise to attain: But if (as we ought to doe, and the true state of things requireth) we consider our selves as subsisting under the protection, and by the providence of God, who no less careth for us than for others, and no less for others than for us (for, as the Wise-man saith, he careth for all alike) who recommendeth to us a being mutually concerned each for other, [...]. Sap. 6. 7. and is engaged to keep us from suffering thereby; who comman­deth us to disburthen our cares upon himself; who assuredly will the better provide for us, as we do more further the good of others: If we do consider thus, it will deliver us from solicitude concerning our subsistence and personal accommodations, whence we may be [Page 130] free to regard the concerns of others, with no less application than we do re­gard our own.

As living under the same Government and Laws (being members of one Com­monwealth, one Corporation, one Fa­mily) disposeth men not onely willing­ly but earnestly to serve the publick in­terest, beyond any hopes of receiving thence any particular advantage answe­rable to their pain and care; so conside­ring our selves as members of the world, and of the Church, under the governance and patronage of God, may disengage us from immoderate respect of private good, and incline us to promote the common welfare.

3. There is one plain way of rendring this duty possible, or of perfectly recon­ciling charity to self-love; which is, a making the welfare of our neighbour to be our own, which if we can doe, then easily may we desire it most seriously, then may we promote it with the grea­test zeal and vigour; for then it will be an instance of self-love to exercise charity, then both these inclinations conspiring will march evenly together, one will not extrude nor depress the other.

It may be hard, while our concerns [Page 131] appear divided, not to prefer our own, but when they are coincident, or con­spire together, the ground of that par­tiality is removed.

Nor is this an imaginary course, but grounded in reason, and thereby redu­cible to practice: for considering the manifold bands of relation (natural, ci­vil, or spiritual) between men, as natu­rally of the same kind and bloud, as ci­villy members of the same society, as spiritually linked in one brotherhood; considering the mutual advantages deri­vable from the wealth and welfare of each other, (in way of needfull succour, advice and comfort, of profitable com­merce, of pleasant conversation); con­sidering the mischiefs, which from our neighbours indigency and affliction we may incur, they rendring him as a wild beast, unsociable, troublesome and for­midable to us; considering that we can­not be happy without good nature, and good humour, and that good nature can­not behold any sad object without pity and dolorous resentment, good humour cannot subsist in prospect of such objects; considering that charity is an instrument, whereby we may apply all our neigh­bours good to our selves, it being ours, [Page 132] if we can find complacence therein; it may appear reasonable to reckon all our neighbours concerns to our accompt.

That this is practicable, experience may confirm; for we may observe, that men commonly do thus appropriate the concerns of others, resenting the disasters of a friend, or of a relation with as sen­sible displeasure as they could their own; and answerably finding as high a satis­faction in their good fortune. Yea ma­ny persons do feel more pain by com­passion for others, than they could do in sustaining the same evils; divers can with a stout heart undergo their own afflictions, who are melted with those of a friend or brother. Seeing then in true judgment humanity doth match any other relation, and Christianity far doth exceed all other alliances, why may we not on them ground the like affections and practices, if reason hath any force, or consideration can any wise sway in our practice?

4. It will greatly conduce to the per­fect observance of this Rule, to the de­pression of self-love, and advancement of charity to the highest pitch, if we do studiously contemplate our selves, strict­ly examining our conscience, and seri­ously [Page 133] reflecting on our unworthiness and vileness; the infirmities and defects of nature, the corruptions and defilements of our soul, the sins and miscarriages of our lives; which doing, we shall cer­tainly be far from admiring or doting on our selves; but rather, as Job did, we shall condemn and abhor our selves; Job 9. 20. when we see our selves so deformed and ugly,Job 42. 6. how can we be amiable in our own eyes? how can we more esteem or affect our selves than others, of whose unworthiness we can hardly be so con­scious or sure? what place can there be for that vanity and folly, for that pride and arrogance, for that partiality and in­justice, which are the sources of immo­derate self-love?

5. And lastly, we may from many conspicuous Experiments and Examples be assur'd that such a practice of this Du­ty is not impossible; but these I have already produced and urged in the pre­cedent Discourse, and shall not repeat them again.

The Fifth Sermon.

EPHESIANS 5. 2.‘And walk in love.’

SAint Paul telleth us,1 Tim. 1. 5. that the end of the commandment (or the main scope of the Evangelical Doctrine) is charity, out of a pure heart and a good conscience, and faith unfeigned; that charity is a general principle of all good practice,1 Cor. 16. 14. (let all your things be done in charity); that it is the sum and abridg­ment of all other duties,Gal. 5. 14. so that he that loveth another, Rom. 13. 8, 9. hath fulfilled the whole law; that it is the chief of the Theological vertues;1 Cor. 13. 13. the prime fruit of the divine Spirit, Gal. 5. 22. and the band of perfection, which combineth and consummateth all other graces.

Saint Peter enjoineth us that to all other vertues we should add charity,2 Pet. 1. 7. as the top and crown of them; and, [Page 136] Above all things, 1 Pet. 4. 8. saith he, have fervent charity among your selves.

Saint James styleth the Law of Cha­rity [...],Jam. 2. 8. the royal, or Sove­reign Law.

Saint John calleth it, in way of excel­lence, 1 Joh. 3. 23, 11. 4. 21. the commandment of God (This is his commandement that we should love one another.)

Our Lord claimeth it for his peculiar Law,Joh. 15. 12. 13. 34. This is my commandment; and a new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another. And he maketh the observance of it the special badge and cognizance of his followers; Joh. 13. 35. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye love one another.

It being therefore a duty of so grand importance, it is most requisite that we should well understand it, and faithfully observe it; to which purposes I shall by God's assistance endeavour to confer somewhat, first by explaining its Nature, then by pressing the observance of it by several Inducements.

The nature of it will, as I conceive, be best understood by representing the several chief Acts, which it comprizeth or implyeth as necessary prerequisites, or essential ingredients, or inseparable [Page 137] adherents to it; some internally resident in the soul, others discharged in external performance; together with some spe­cial properties of it. And such are those which follow.

I. Loving our neighbour doth imply, that we should value and esteem him: this is necessary, for affection doth fol­low opinion; so that we cannot like any thing which we do not esteem, or wherein we do not apprehend some con­siderable good, attractive of affection; that is not amiable which is wholly con­temptible; or so far as it is such.

But in right judgment no man is such; for the Wise man telleth us,Prov. 14. 21. that He that despiseth his neighbour, Prov. 11. 12. sinneth; and, He is void of understanding that despiseth his neighbour; but no man is guilty of sin or folly for despising that which is wholly despicable.

It is indeed true, that every man is subject to defects, and to mischances, apt to breed contempt, especially in the minds of vulgar and weak people; but no man is really despicable. For

Every man living hath stamped on him the venerable Image of his glorious Maker, which nothing incident to him can utterly deface.

[Page 138] Every man is of a divine extraction, and allied to heaven by nature and by grace; as the Son of God, and the Brother of God Incarnate. Job 31. 13, 14, 15. If I did despise the cause of my man-servant or of my maid­servant when they contended with me; what then shall I do when God riseth up, and when he visiteth what shall I answer him? Did not he that made me in the womb, make him? and did not one fashion us in the womb?

Every man is endewed with that ce­lestial faculty of reason, inspired by the Almighty, Job 32. 8. (for There is a spirit in man, and the inspiration of the Almighty gi­veth them understanding) and hath an immortal spirit residing in him; or ra­ther is himself an Angelical spirit dwel­ling in a visible tabernacle.

Every man was originally designed and framed for a fruition of eternal hap­piness.

Every man hath an interest in the common redemption, purchased by the bloud of the Son of God, who tasted death for every one.

Every man is capable of Sovereign bliss, and hath a crown of endless glory offered to him.

In fine, every man, and all men alike, [Page 139] antecedently to their own will and choice, are the objects of his love, of his care,Psal. 145. 9. of his mercy; who is loving unto every man; Job 34. 19. and whose mercy is over all his works; Sap. 6. 8. who hath made the small and the great, and careth for all alike; who is rich, Rom. 10. 12. 3. 22. in bounty and mercy, to­ward all that call upon him.

How then can any man be deemed contemptible, having so noble relations, capacities, and privileges? How a man standeth in esteem with God Elihu tel­leth us,Job 36. 5. God (saith he) is mighty and de­spiseth not any; Psal. 69. 33. although he be so migh­ty, so excellent in perfection, so infinite­ly in state exalted above all, yet doth not he slight any; and how can we con­temn those, whom the certain voucher and infallible judge of worth deigneth to value? Indeed God so valued every man as to take great care, to be at great cost and trouble, to stoop down from heaven, to assume mortal flesh, to endure pinch­ing wants and sore distresses, to taste death for every one.

We may ask with Saint Paul,Rom. 14. 10. Why dost thou set at nought thy brother?

Is it for the lowness of his condition, or for any misfortune that hath befallen him?Jam. 2. 5. but are not the best men, are not [Page 140] all men,Psal. 38. 36. 146. 9. art not thou thy self obnoxious to the like? hath not God declared that he hath a special regard to such? and are not such things commonly disposed by his hand with a gracious intent?

Is it for meanness of parts, or abilities, or endowments? but are not these the gifts of God, absolutely at his disposal, and arbitrarily distributed, or preserved; so that thou who art so wise in thy own conceit to day, mayest by a disease, or from a judgment (deserved by thy pride) become an Idiot to morrow?1 Cor. 1. 26. have not many good and therefore many happy men wanted those things?

Is it for moral imperfections or ble­mishes; for vicious habits, or actual mis­demeanours? these indeed are the onely debasements and disparagements of a man; yet do they not expunge the cha­racters of Divinity impressed on his na­ture; and he may be God's mercy re­cover from them: And are not we our selves, if grace do not uphold us, liable to the same? yea may we not, if with­out partiality or flattery we examin our selves, discern the same within us, or other defects equivalent? And however is not pity rather due to them than con­tempt? whose character was it, that [Page 141] they trusted they were righteous and de­spised others? Luk. 18. 9. 16. 15. That the most palpable offender should not be quite despised God had a special care in his Law, for that end moderating punishment, and restraining the number of stripes;Deut. 25. 2- If (saith the Law) the wicked man be wor­thy to be beaten, the Judge shall cause him to lye down, and to be beaten before his face, according to his fault, by a cer­tain number; forty stripes he may give him and not exceed; lest if he should ex­ceed, and beat him above these with ma­ny stripes, then thy brother should seem vile unto thee.

We may consider, that the common things (both good and bad) wherein men agree, are far more considerable than the peculiar things wherein they differ; to be a Man is much beyond be­ing a Lord, or a Wit, or a Philosopher; to be a Christian doth infinitely surpass being an Emperour, or a learned Clerk; to be a Sinner is much worse than to be Begger or an Idiot: The agreement of men is in the substance and body of things; the difference is in a circum­stance, a fringe, or a shadow about them; so that we cannot despise ano­ther man, without reflecting contempt [Page 142] on our selves, who are so very like him, and not considerably better than he, or hardly can without arrogance pretend to be so.

We may therefore, and reason doth require that we should value our neigh­bour; and it is no impossible or unrea­sonable Precept which Saint Peter gi­veth us,1 Pet. 2. 17. to Honour all men; and with it a charitable mind will easily comply; it ever will descry something valuable, something honourable, something ami­able in our neighbour; it will find some­what of dignity in the meanest, some­what of worth in the basest, somewhat hopefull in the most degenerate of men; it therefore will not absolutely slight or scorn any man whatever,1 Cor. 13. 7. looking on him as an abject or forlorn wretch, un­worthy of consideration.

It is indeed a point of charity to see more things estimable in others than in our selves; or to be apprehensive of more defects meriting disesteem in our selves than in others; and consequently in our opinion to prefer others before us, according to those Apostolical Pre­cepts,Rom. 12. 10. Be kindly affected one toward ano­ther with brotherly love, in honour pre­ferring one another. Phil. 2. 3. In lowliness of mind [Page 143] let each esteem other better than them­selves. 1 Pet. 5. 5. Be subject one to another.

II. Loving our neighbour doth im­ply a sincere and earnest desire of his welfare, and good of all kinds, in due proportion: for it is a property of love, that it would have its object most wor­thy of it self, and consequently that it should attain the best state whereof it is capable, and persist firm therein; to be fair and plump, to flourish and thrive without diminution or decay; this is plain to experience in respect to any other thing (a horse, a flower, a building, or any such thing) which we pretend to love; wherefore charity should dispose us to be thus affected to our neighbour; so that we do not look upon his condi­tion or affairs with an indifferent eye, or cold heart, but are much concerned for him, and put forth hearty wishes for his interests: we should wish him ador­ned with all vertue, and accomplished with all worthy endowments of soul; we should wish him prosperous success in all his designs, and a comfortable sa­tisfaction of his desires; we should wish him with alacrity of mind to reap the fruits of his industry, and to enjoy the [Page 144] best accommodations of his life. Not formally and in complement, as the mode is, but really and with a cordial sense, upon his undertaking any enter­prize, we should wish him good speed; upon any prosperous success of his en­deavours, we should bid him joy; wherever he is going, whatever he is doing, we should wish him peace and the presence of God with him: we should tender his health, his safety, his quiet, his reputation, his wealth, his prosperity in all respects; but especially with peculiar ardency we should desire his final welfare, and the happiness of his soul, that being incomparably his chief concern.

Hence readily should we pour forth our prayers, which are the truest ex­pressions of good desire, for the welfare of our neighbour, to him who is able to work and bestow it.

Such was the charity of Saint Paul for his Country-men, signified in those words, Rom. 10. 1. Brethren, my hearts desire▪ and prayer to God for Israel is, that they may be saved; such was his love to the Philippians, [...]. God is my record how great­ly I long after you all,Phil. 1. 8— in the bowels of Iesus Christ;2 Cor. 13. 9. and this I pray, that your [Page 145] love may abound more and more in know­ledge, and in all judgment—

Such was Saint John's charity to his friend Gaius,3 Joh. 2. to whom he said, Beloved, I wish above all things, that thou maist prosper and be in health even as thy soul prospereth.

Such is the charity, which we are enjoined to express toward all men, by praying for all men, 1 Tim. 2. 3. in conformity to the charity of God, who will have all men to be saved, and to come to the know­ledge of the truth.

Such is the charity we are comman­ded to use toward our enemies,Matt. 5. 44. blessing those who curse us, and praying for those who despitefully use us, and persecute us; the which was exemplified by our Lord, Luk. 23. 34. by Saint Stephen, Act. 7. 60. by all the Holy A­postles. 1 Cor. 4. 12.

III. Charity doth imply a compla­cence or delightfull satisfaction in the good of our neighbour; this is conse­quent on the former property, for that joy naturally doth result from events agreeable to our desire: Charity hath a good eye, which is not offended or daz­led with the lustre of its neighbour's ver­tue, or with the splendour of his fortune, [Page 146] but vieweth either of them steadily with pleasure, as a very delightfull spectacle; It beholdeth him to prosper and flourish, to grow in wealth and repute not one­ly without envious repining, but with gladsome content:Rom. 12. 15. Its property is to re­joice with them that rejoice; to partake of their enjoyments, to feast in their pleasures, to triumph in their success.

As one member doth feel the health, and the delight which another immedi­ately doth enjoy; so hath a charitable man a sensible complacence in the wel­fare and joy of his neighbour.1 Cor. 12. 26.

His prosperity of any kind, in pro­portion to its importance, doth please him; but especially his spiritual profici­ency and improvement in vertue doth yield matter of content; and his good deeds he beholdeth with abundant satis­faction.

This is that instance of charity which S. Paul so frequently doth express in his Epistles, 2 Cor. 13. 9. declaring the extream joy he did feel in the faith,Phil. 2. 2. 4. 1. in the vertue, in the orderly conversation of those brethren to whom he writeth.1 Thess. 3. 9. 2. 19.

This charity possessed Saint John, when he said,3 Joh. 4. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.

[Page 147] This is the charity of heaven, which doth even cheer the Angels, and doth enhance the bliss of the blessed Spirits there;Luk. 15. 7, [...] of whom it is said, There is joy in heaven over every sinner that repen­teth. Hence, This is the disposition of charitable persons sincerely to congratu­late any good occurrence to their neigh­bour; they are ready to conspire in ren­dring thanks and praise to the Authour of their welfare; taking the good con­ferred on their neighbour as a blessing and obligation on themselves; so that they upon such occasions are apt to say with Saint Paul; 1 Thess. 3. 9. What thanks can we render to God for you, for all the joy wherewith we joy for your sakes before God? 2 Thess. 3. [...]. and, We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, because that your faith groweth exceedingly, and that the charity of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth: 1 Cor. 1. 4, 5. (Phil. 1. 3. Rom. 1. 8. Eph. 1. 16. Col. 1. 3. 1 Thess. 1. 2.) and, I thank my God always on your behalf for the grace of God, which is given you by Jesus Christ, that in every thing ye are enriched by him.

It is a Precept of Saint Paul, Eph. 5. 2 [...]. Give thanks always [...], which is translated for all things, but it might as well be rendred for all persons, accor­ding [Page 148] to that Injunction,1 Tim. 2. 1. I exhort, that first of all supplications, prayers, inter­cessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men; Not onely Prayers are to be made, but Thanksgivings are to be of­fered for all men, out of general charity.

IV. Correspondently, Love of our neighbour doth imply condolency and commiseration of the evils befalling him: for what we love, we cannot without displeasure behold lying in a bad condi­tion, sinking into decay, or in danger to perish; so to a charitable mind the bad state of any man is a most unplea­sant and painfull sight.

It is the property of Charity to mourn with those that mourn; [...]. not coldly, but passionately,Rom. 12. 15. (for 'tis, to weep with those that weep) resenting every mans case with an affection sutable thereto, and as he doth himself resent it.

Is any man fallen into disgrace? cha­rity doth hold down its head, is abashed and out of countenance, partaking of his shame: Is any man disappointed of his hopes or endeavours? charity crieth out alas, as if it were it self defeated: Is any man afflicted with pain or sick­ness? charity looketh sadly, it sigheth [Page 149] and groaneth, it fainteth and languisheth with him: Is any man pinched with hard want? charity if it cannot succour, it will condole: doth ill news arrive? charity doth hear it with an unwilling ear, and a sad heart, although not par­ticularly concerned in it: The sight of a Wreck at Sea, of a Field spread with Carcases, of a Country desolated, of Houses burnt, and Cities ruined, and of the like calamities incident to mankind, would touch the bowels of any man; but the very report of them would af­fect the heart of charity: It doth not suffer a man with comfort or ease to en­joy the accommodations of his own state, while others before him are in di­stress: It cannot be merry while any man in presence is sorrowfull; it cannot seem happy while its neighbour doth ap­pear miserable: It hath a share in all the afflictions which it doth behold or hear of; according to that instance in Saint Paul of the Philippians, [...]. Ye have done well, that ye did communicate with (or partake in) my afflictions; and according to that Precept,Heb. 13. 3. Remember those which are in bonds, as bound with them.

Such was the charity of Job:Job 30. 25. Did not I weep for him that was in trouble? [Page 150] was not my soul grieved for the poor?

Such was the charity of the Psalmist, even toward his ingratefull enemies, They (saith he) rewarded me evil for good to the spoiling of my soul;Psal. 35. 12, 13, 14. but as for me, when they were sick, my cloa­thing was sackcloath, I humbled my soul with fasting—I behaved my self, as though it had been my friend or my bro­ther, I bowed down heavily as one that mourneth for his mother.

Such was the charity of Saint Paul; Who is weak,2 Cor. 11. 29. said he, and I am not weak▪ who is offended, and I burn not? with fervent compassion.

Such was the charity of our Saviour; which so reigned in his heart, that no passion is so often attributed to him as this of pity; it being expressed to be the motive of his great works. Matt. 14. 14. Jesus (saith Saint Matthew) went forth, and saw a great multitude, [...], and was moved (in his bowels) with compassion toward them, and he hea­led their sick; [...]. and, I have compassion on the multitude,Matt. 15. 32. because they have nothing to eat, and I will not send them away fa­sting, lest they faint in the way; and, Iesus had compassion on them,Matt. 20. 34. and touched their eyes;Mark. 1. 41. and, Jesus moved with com­passion [Page 151] put forth his hand and touched him (the Leper) and saith unto him, I will,Luk. 7. 13. be thou clean; and, When the Lord saw her (the Widow of Naim, whose Son was carried out) he had compassion on her;Luk. 19. 41. and, He beheld the city and wept over it, considering the miseries impen­dent on it, as a just punishment of their outragious injuries against himself; and when the two good Sisters did bewail their Brother Lazarus,Joh. 11. 33, 35. He groaned in spirit and was troubled; and wept with them; whence the Jews did collect, Be­hold how he loved him.

Thus any calamity or misfortune be­falling his neighbour doth raise distastefull regret and commiseration in a charitable soul; but especially moral evils (which indeed are the great evils, in comparison whereto nothing else is evil) do work that effect: To see men dishonour and wrong their Maker, to provoke his an­ger, and incur his disfavour; to see men abuse their reason, and disgrace their nature; to see men endammage their spiritual estate, to endanger the loss of their souls, to discost from their happi­ness, and run into eternal ruine, by di­stemper of mind, and an inordinate con­versation; this is most afflictive to a [Page 152] man endewed with any good degree of charity. Could one see a man sprawling on the ground, weltring in his bloud, with gaping wounds, gasping for breath, without compassion? And seeing the con­dition of him that lieth groveling in sin, weltring in guilt, wounded with bitter remorse and pangs of conscience, nearly obnoxious to eternal death, is far worse and more deplorable, how can it but touch the heart of a charitable man, and stir his bowels with compassionate an­guish?

Such was the excellent charity of the Holy Psalmist, signified in those ejacu­lations, Psal. 119. 158. I beheld the transgressours and was grieved, because they kept not thy word;Psal. 119. 136. and, Rivers of waters run down mine eyes, because men keep not thy law.

Such was the charity of Saint Paul toward his incredulous and obdurate Country-men (notwithstanding their hatred and ill treatment of himself) the which he so earnestly did aver in those words,Rom. 9. 1, 2. I say the truth, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost, that I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart for them.

Such was the charity of our Lord, [Page 153] which disposed him as to a continual sense of mens evils, so upon particular occasions to grieve at their sins and spiritual wants; as when the Pharisees maligned him for his doing good, he ('tis said) did [...],Mark 3. 5. grieve (or condole) for the hardness of their heart; and when he saw the multitudes,Matt. 9. 36. he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepheard; and, when he wept over Jerusalem,Luk. 19. 41. because it did not know in its day the things which be­longed to its peace (either temporal, or eternal.)

This is that charity, which God him­self in a wonderfull and incomprehen­sible manner doth exemplifie to us; for he is the Father of pities; Jam. 5. 11. [...],Luk. 1. 78. full of bowels; his bowels are trou­bled, Jer. 31. 20. and do sound, Isa. 63. 15. when he is (for up­holding justice, or reclaiming sinners) constrained to inflict punishment; of him 'tis said,Jud. 10. 16. that his soul was grieved for the misery of Israel; ( [...]. LXX.) and, that he was afflicted in all the afflictions of his people:Isa. 63. 9. So incredible miracles doth in­finite charity work in God,(Hos. 11. 8.) that the im­passible God in a manner should suffer with us, that happiness it self should par­take [Page 154] take in our misery, that grief should spring up in the fountain of joy: How this can be, we thoroughly cannot well apprehend, but surely those expresses are used in condescension to signifie the greatly charitable benignity of God, and to shew us our duty,Luk. 6. 36. that we should be mercifull as our heavenly Father is mer­cifull, Eph. 5. 1. sympathizing with the miseries and sorrows of our brethren.(Luk. 16. 20.)

This is that duty, which is so frequent­ly inculcated; when we are charged to put on bowels of pity, Col. 3. 12. to be ( [...]) tender-hearted, Phil. 2. 1. to be ( [...]) compassionate one toward another.Eph. 4. 32. 1 Pet. 3. 8.

Hence it is, that good men in this world cannot live in any briskness of mirth or height of jollity, their own enjoyments being tempered by the dis­contents of others; the continual obvi­ous spectacles of sorrow, and of sin damping their pleasures, and quashing excessive transports of joy: for who could much enjoy himself in an hospital, in a prison, in a charnel?

V. It is generally a property of Love to appropriate its Object; in apprehen­sion and affection embracing it, posses­sing it, enjoying it as its own: So cha­rity [Page 155] doth make our neighbour to be ours, engaging us to tender his case, and his concerns as our own; so that we shall exercise about them the same affections of soul (the same desires, the same hopes and fears, the same joys and sorrows) as about our own nearest and most peculiar interest; so that his dan­ger will affright us, and in his security we shall find repose; his profit is gain, and his losses are dammages to us; we do rise by his preserment, and sink down by his fall; his good speed is a satisfac­tion, and his disappointment a cross to us; his enjoyments afford pleasure, and his sufferings bring pain to us.

So charity doth enlarge our minds be­yond private considerations, conferring on them an universal interest, and redu­cing all the world within the verge of their affectionate care; so that a mans self is a very small and inconsiderable portion of his regard; whence Charity is said not to seek its own things, 1 Cor. 13. 5. 10. 24. and we are commanded not to look on our own things; Phil. 2. 4. for that the regard which charity beareth to its own interest in comparison to that, which it beareth to­ward the concerns of others, hath the same proportion as one man hath to all [Page 156] men, being therefore exceedingly small, and as it were none at all.

This (saith Saint Chryso­stome) is the Canon of most perfect Christianisme, [...]. Chrys. in 1 Cor. Orat. 25. this is an exact boundary, this is the highest top of it, to seek things profitable to the publick: And according to this rule charity doth walk,Phil. 4. 16. it prescribeth that compass to it self, it aspireth to that pitch; it disposeth to act as Saint Paul did, 1 Cor. 10. 33. I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own pro­fit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.

VI. It is a property of Love to affect union, or the greatest approximation that can be to its Object: As hatred doth set things at distance, making them to shun or chase away one another; so love doth attract things, doth combine them, doth hold them fast together; every one would be embracing and en­joying what he loveth in the manner whereof it is capable: So doth charity dispose a man to conjunction with o­thers; it soon will breed acquaintance, kind conversation, and amicable corre­spondence with our neighbour.

[Page 157] It would be a stranger to no man to whom by its entercourse it may yield any benefit or comfort.

Its arms are always open, and its bo­some free to receive all, who do not re­ject or decline its amity.

It is most frankly accessible, most af­fable, most tractable, most sociable, most apt to interchange good offices; most ready to oblige others, and willing to be obliged by them.

It voideth that unreasonable suspici­ousness and diffidence, that timorous shieness, that crafty reservedness, that supercilious morosity, that fastidious sullenness, and the like untoward dispo­sitions, which keep men in estrangement, stifling good inclinations to familiarity and friendship.

VII. It is a property of Love to de­sire a reciprocal affection;Spes mutuae charitatis. for that is the surest possession and firmest union,Sen. Ep. 9. which is grounded upon voluntary conspiring in affection; and if we do value any per­son, we cannot but prize his good will and esteem.

Charity is the mother of friendship, not onely as inclining us to love others, but as attracting others to love us; dis­posing [Page 158] us to affect their amity, and by obliging means to procure it.

Hence is that Evangelical Precept so often enjoined to us,Heb. 12. 14. of pursuing peace with all men, 2 Tim. 2. 22. importing that we should desire and seek by all fair means the good will of men,Rom. 12. 18. without which peace from them cannot subsist; for if they do not love us, they will be infesting us with unkind words or deeds.

VIII. Hence also Charity disposeth to please our neighbour, not onely by inoffensive but by obliging demeanour; by a ready complaisance and compliance with his fashion, with his humour, with his desire in matters lawfull, or in a way consistent with duty and discretion.

Such charity Saint Paul did prescribe, Let every one please his neighbour for his good to edification:Rom. 15. 2. Such he practised himself, 1 Cor. 10. 33. Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit; and, I have made my self a servant to all,1 Cor. 9. 19. that I might gain the more.

Such was the charity of our Lord, for even Christ pleased not himself: Rom. 15. 3. He indeed did stoop to converse with sorry men in their way,Joh. 2. 2. he came when he was invited, he accepted their entertain­ment, [Page 159] he from the frankness of his con­versation with all sorts of persons did undergo the reproach of being a wine­bibber, Matt. 11. 19. a friend of Publicans and sinners: Luk. 7. 34.

It is the Genius and complexion of charity to affect nothing uncouth or sin­gular in matters of indifferent nature; to be candid, not rigid in opinion; to be pliable; not stiff in humour; to be smooth and gentle, not rugged and pee­vish in behaviour.

It doth indeed not flatter, not sooth, not humour any man in bad things, or in things very absurd and foolish; it would rather chuse to displease and cross him, than to abuse, to delude, to wrong, or hurt him; but excepting such cases, it gladly pleaseth all men, denying its own will and conceit to satisfie the plea­sure and fancy of others; practising that which Saint Peter injoined in that Precept, [...]. 1 Pet. 3. 8. be of one mind, be compassionate, love as brethren, be pitifull, be courteous; or as Saint Paul might intend, when he bid us,Eph. 4. 32. [...],Col. 3. 13. to gratifie, to indulge one another.

IX. Love of our neighbour doth im­ply readiness upon all occasions to do [Page 160] him good, to promote and advance his benefit in all kinds.

It doth not rest in good opinions of mind, and good affections of heart, but from those roots doth put forth abun­dant fruits of real beneficence; it will not be satisfied with faint desires, or sluggish wishes, but will be up and do­ing what it can for its neighbour.

Love is a busie and active,Love is strong as death. a vigorous and sprightfull, a couragious and indu­strious disposition of soul;Cant. 8. 6. which will prompt a man, and push him forward to undertake or undergo any thing, to endure pains, to encounter dangers, to surmount difficulties for the good of its object.

Such is true charity; it will dispose us to love, 1 Joh. 3. 8. as Saint John prescribeth, [...],Jam. 2. 16. in work and in truth; not onely in mental desire, but in effec­tual performance; not onely in verbal pretence, but in real effect.

Hence charity will render a man a General benefactour, in all matters, up­on all occasions; [...]. affording to his neigh­bour all kinds of assistance and relief, according to his neighbours need,Act. 20. 35. and his own ability: [...]. 1 Thess. 5. 14. It will make him a bountifull dispenser of his goods to the [Page 161] poor, a comforter of the afflicted, [...]. a vi­siter of the sick, an instructour of the ignorant,1 Thess. 5. 14. an adviser of the doubtfull, a protectour of the oppressed, a hospitable entertainer of strangers,Job 29. 17. a reconciler of differences,Job 31. 32. an intercessour for offenders, an advocate of those who need de­fence, a succourer of all that want help.

The practice of Job describeth its na­ture; Job 29. 12. I (saith he) delivered the poor that cried, and the fatherless, and him that had none to help him: The blessing of him that was ready to perish came up­on me, and I caused the widows heart to sing for joy. I was eyes to the blind, and feet was I to the lame; I was a father to the poor, and the cause which I knew not I searched out; And I brake the jaws of the wicked, and plucked the spoil out of his teeth.Job. 32. 16. If I have held the poor from their desire, or have caused the eyes of the widow to fail; Or have eaten my morsel my self alone; and the fatherless hath not eaten thereof; If I have seen any perish for want of cloathing, or any poor without covering.Job 32. 32. The stranger did not lodge in the street; but I opened my doors to the traveller.

Such is a charitable man; the Sun is [Page 162] not more liberal of his light and warmth, than he is of beneficial influence.

He doth not spare his substance, be­ing rich in good works, ready to distri­bute, willing to communicate; And where his estate faileth, yet the contribution of his endeavour will not be wanting; he will be ready to draw and press others to beneficence; so doing good not onely according to his power, but in a man­ner beyond it, making the ability of others to supply his own weakness, and being liberal with their wealth. The description of Cimon is a good character of a charitable man,Corn. Nep. (in Cimone.) Nulli fides ejus, nulli opera, nulli res familiaris defuit.

Thus may the poorest men be great benefactours;(1 Cor. 4. 11.) so the poor Apostles who had nothing, 2 Cor. 6. 10. yet did enrich many; [...]. not onely in spiritual treasure, but taking care for supply of the poor, by their precepts and moving exhortations; and he that had not where to lay his head, was the most bountifull person that ever was;2 Cor. 8. 9. for our sake he became poor, that we by his poverty might be made rich.

In all kinds charity disposeth to fur­ther our neighbours good, but especial­ly in the concerns of his soul; the which as incomparably they do surpass all [Page 163] others, so it is the truest and noblest charity to promote them.

It will incline us to draw forth our soul to the hungry, Isa. 58. 7.—, 10. and to satisfie the af­flicted soul; Ezek. 18. 16. to bring the poor that are cast out to our house; to cover the na­ked, to loose the bands of wickedness, to undoe the heavy burthens, to let the op­pressed go free, to break every yoke; to supply any corporal indigency, to re­lieve any temporal distress; but especial­ly it will induce to make provision for the soul, to relieve the spiritual needs of our neighbour; by affording him good instruction, and taking care that he be informed in his duty, or conducted in his way to happiness; by admonition and exhortation quickning, encoura­ging, [...]. provoking, spurring him to good works; by resolving him in his doubts, and comforting him in his troubles of conscience;Heb. 10. 24. (lifting up the hands which hang down and the feeble knees) by seasonable and prudent reproof;Heb. 12. 12. by all ways serving to convert him from the er­rour of his way; [...]. and so saving a soul from death, 1 Thess. 5. 14. and hiding a multitude of sins; Jam. 5. 20. which is the proper work of cha­rity;1 Pet. 4. 8. for charity (saith Saint Peter) co­vereth a multitude of sins. Prov. 10. 12.

[Page 164] This was the charity of our Saviour, He went about doing good, Act. 10. 38. healing the bodily infirmities, (every sickness and every disease among the people) satisfy­ing their bodily necessities,Matt. 4. 23. 9. 35. comforting them in their worldly distresses, so far as to perform great miracles for those purposes (curing inveterate maladies, restoring limbs and senses, raising the dead, multiplying loaves and fishes) but his charity was chiefly exercised in spi­ritual beneficence; in pourveying suste­nance and comfort for their souls, in feeding their minds by wholsome in­struction, in curing their spiritual di­stempers, in correcting their ignorances and errours,Joh. 14. 1. 15. 11.—16. 33. in exciting them to duty by powerfull advices and exhortations, in supporting them by heavenly conso­lations against temptations and troubles.Matt. 5. 10.—

Thus also did the charity of the holy Apostles principally exert it self: they did not neglect affording relief to the outward needs of men;Act. 3. 6. 5. 15, 16. 8. 7. 28. 8, 9. they did take care by earnest intercession and exhor­tation for support of the poor;Act. 20. 35.— but espe­cally they did labour to promote the spiritual benefit of men;Rom. 15. 26. for this they1 Cor. 16. 1. did undertake so many cares,Gal. 2. 10. and toils,2 Cor. 8. 7.— and travels;2 Cor. 9. 1.— for this they did undergo so1 Tim. 6. 18. Heb. 13. 16. [Page 165] many hardships, so many hazards, so many difficulties and trouble;2 Tim. 2. 10. There­fore (said Saint Paul) I endure all things for the elects sake, that they may also ob­tain the salvation which is in Christ Je­sus, with eternal glory.

X. This indeed is a property of Cha­rity to make a man deny himself, to neglect his own interest, yea to despise all selfish regards for the benefit of his neighbour: to him that is inspi­red with charity his own good is not good, when it standeth in competition with the more considerable good of ano­ther; nothing is so dear to him, which he gladly will not part with upon such considerations.

Liberty is a precious thing, which every man gladly would enjoy, yet how little did Saint Paul's charity regard it? how absolutely did he abandon it for his neighbours good? [...] Though (said he) I am free from all men, 1 Cor. 9. 19. yet I have made my self servant (or have enslaved my self) unto all, that I might gain the more: Phil. 1. 12.— And he did express much satis­faction in the bonds which he bare for the good of his brethren.Eph. 3. 1,—13. I Paul (saith he) the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you [Page 166] Gentiles;I suffer trouble as an evil doer, 2 Tim. 2. 9, 10. even unto bonds;—endure all things for the Elects sake.

Every man loveth his own humour and would please himself; but the cha­rity of Saint Paul did rather chuse to please all men;1 Cor. 9. 33. making him all things to all men,1 Cor. 10. 22. that by all means he might save some; and the Rule he commended to others, and imposed on himself was this, We that are strong ought to bear the in­firmities of the weak,Rom. 15. 1. and not to please our selves.

Profit is the common mark of mens designs and endeavours; but charity of­ten doth not aim thereat, but waveth it for its neighbours advantage; for [...],Phil. 2. 8. Aim not every man at his own things, but every man also at the things of others,1 Cor. 10. 24. is Saint Paul's Rule; and, not to seek his own profit, but the profit of many, that they might be saved, was his practice.

To suffer is grievous to humane na­ture, and every man would shun it; but charity not onely doth support it, but joyeth in it, when it conduceth to its neighbours advantage;Col. 1. 24. I rejoice, said that charitable Apostle,2 Cor. 1. 4, 6. 7. 4. in my sufferings for you.

[Page 167] Ease is a thing generally desirable and acceptable; but charity doth part with it, embracing labour, watchings, travels, and troubles for the neighbours good: upon this account did the holy Apostles undertake abundant labours (as Saint Paul telleth us) and to this end (saith he) do I labour striving according to his working, 1 Thess. 2. 9. which worketh in me mightily; 2 Thess. 3. 8. to what end?2 Cor. 11. 23. 6. 5. that we may present every man perfect in Christ Je­sus: [...].— this is that [...],Col. 1. 29. that la­bour of love, Act. 21. 31, 35. which they did commend in others,Heb. 6. 7. and so notably themselves ex­ercise.1. Thess. 1. 3.

Life of all things is held most preci­ous and dear; yet this charity upon ur­gent occasions will expose, will sacrifice for its neighbours good; This (our Lord telleth us) is the greatest love that any man can express to his friend;Joh. 15. 13. and the highest instance that ever was of chari­ty was herein shewed; the imitation whereof Saint John doth not doubt to recommend to us; 1 Joh. 3. 16. In this (saith he) have we known the love of God,Joh. 15. 12. because he hath laid down his life for us; and we ought to lay down our life for the brethren;Eph. 5. 2. and Saint Paul, Walk in love, even as Christ loved us, and gave him­self [Page 168] for us an offering and sacrifice to God; the which Precept he backed with his own Example, 2 Cor. 12. 15. I (saith he) very glad­ly will spend and be spent for your souls; and, Phil. 2. 17. If I be offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy and rejoice with you all;1 Thess. 2. 8. and, Being affectionately desirous of you, we were willing to have imparted unto you, not the Gospel of God onely, but also our own souls, because ye were dear unto us.

Reputation to some is more dear than life, and 'tis worse than death to be held a malefactour, to be loaded with odious reproaches, to have an infamous charac­ter; yet charity will engage men here­to, willingly to sustain the most grie­vous obloquy and disgrace; for this the same heroical Apostles did pass through honour and dishonour, 2 Cor. 6. 8. through evil report and good report, as deceivers and yet true—for this they were made a spec­tacle to the world, 1 Cor. 4. 9, 10. 13. as fools, as weak, as despicable;—were reviled, defamed, made as the filth of the world, and off­scouring of all things. For this Saint Paul was content to suffer, 2 Tim. 2. 9. [...], as a malefactour. So there was nothing which charity will not deny it self, and lose for the good of its neighbour.

[Page 169] XI. It is a property of Love not to stand upon distinctions and nice respects, but to be condescensive, and willing to perform the meanest offices, needfull, or usefull for the good of its friend.

He that truly loveth is a voluntary servant, and gladly will stoop to any imployment, for which the need, or considerable benefit, of him whom he loveth doth call.

So the greatest Souls, and the most glorious Beings, the which are most en­dewed with Charity, by it are disposed with greatest readiness to serve their in­feriours.

This made Saint Paul constitute him­self a servant (we might render it a Slave) of all men, 1 Cor. 9. 19. absolutely devoted to the promoting their interests with his utmost labour and diligence; underta­king toilsome drudgeries, running about upon errands for them.

This maketh the blessed and glorious Angels (the principalities and powers above) vouchsafe to wait on men,Psal. 91. 11. 34. 7. to be the guards of all good men, to be ministring Spirits,Heb. 1. 7, 14. sent out to minister for them, who shall inherit salvation; not onely obedience to God enforceth them, but charity disposeth them gladly [Page 170] to serve us, who are so much their in­feriours;Luk. 15. 7, 10. [...]. the same charity, which pro­duceth joy in them at the conversion of a sinner.

This made the Son of God to descend from heaven;Joh. 17. 5. and lay aside that glory which he had with God before the world was; 2 Cor. 8. 9. this made him, who was so rich, to become poor, that we by his poverty might be enriched; Luk. 22. 27. this made him con­verse and demean himself among his servants,Matt. 20. 28. as he that ministred; this made him to wash his Disciples feet; thereby designing instructively to exemplifie the duty and nature of Charity,Joh. 13. 14. for If (said he) I your Lord and Master have washed your feet, then ye also ought to wash one anothers feet; for I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.

This maketh God himself (the high and lofty one that inhabiteth eternity.) Isa. 57. 15. to condescend so far, as to be continual­ly employed in carefully watching over, in providing for, in protecting, and as­sisting us vile and wretched worms; for though he dwelleth on high, Psal. 113. 6. yet humbleth he himself to behold the things that are in heaven and earth. (Psal. 8. 4. 144. 3. Job. 7. 17.) This maketh him with so much pain and patience to sup­port [Page 171] our infirmities, to bear with our offences, to wait for our conversion; according to that Protestation in the Prophet,Isa. 43. 24. Thou hast made me to serve with thy sins, thou hast wearied me with thine iniquities.

In conformity to this wonderfull prac­tice, whose actions are the best rules and patterns of our deportment, charity should dispose us, according to Saint Paul's practice,Gal. 5. 13. by love to serve one another.

Indeed it will not suffer any man to look down on another with supercilious contempt or neglect; as if he were un­worthy or beneath our regard. It will incline superiours to look on their infe­riours (their subjects, their servants, their meanest and poorest neighbours) not as beasts or as slaves; but as men, as bre­thren;Job 31. 13, 14, 15. as descending from the same stock, as partakers of the common na­ture and reason;2 Pet. 1. 1. as those who have ob­tained the like precious faith; as heirs of the same precious promises and glo­rious hopes; as their equals in the best things, and in all considerable advanta­ges; equalsEph. 6. 9. Col. 4. 1. in God's sight, and accor­ding to our Lord's intent, when he said,Matt. 23. 9. One is your Master, even Christ, and [Page 172] all ye are brethren; according to Saint Paul's exhortation to Philemon, that he would receive Onesimus, Philem. 16. not now as a ser­vant, but above a servant, a brother be­loved in the Lord.

Accordingly charity will dispose men of rank in their behaviour to be conde­scensive, lowly, meek, courteous, obli­ging and helpfull to those, who in hu­mane eye or in worldly state are most below them; remembring that ordi­nance of our Lord, charged on all his Disciples, and enforced by his own pat­tern,Matt. 23. 11. He that is greatest among you let him be your servant. Luk. 22. 27.

Love indeed is the great Leveller,Amicitia pa­res invenit, aut facit. which in a manner setteth all things on even ground, and reduceth to a just poise; which bringeth down heaven to earth, and raiseth up earth to heaven; which inclineth the highest to wait upon the lowest, which ingageth the strength of the mightiest to help the weakest, and the wealth of the richest to supply the poorest, [...], that there may be an equality; [...] Cor. 8. 14. that no where there may be an useless abundance, or a helpless indigence.

[Page 173] XII. Charity doth regulate our dea­ling, our deportment, our conversation toward our neighbour, implying good usage, and fair treatment of him on all occasions; for no man doth handle that which he loveth rudely or roughly, so as to endanger the loss, the detriment, the hurt or offence thereof.

Wherefore the language of charity is soft and sweet, not wounding the heart, not grating on the ear of any with whom a man converseth; like the lan­guage of which the Wise man saith,Prov. 15. 26. The words of the pure are pleasant words—; such as are sweet to the soul, Prov. 16. 24. and health to the bones; Eccles. 10. 12. and, The words of a wise mans mouth are gracious; such as our Lords were,Luk. 4. 22. [...], words of grace; such as the Apostle speaketh of, Let your speech be always, Col. 4. 6. [...]. [...], with grace— such as may give grace to the hearers; being entertained,Eph. 4. 9. not with aversation, but with favourable acceptance.

Its carriage is gentle, courteous, be­nign; bearing in it marks of affection, and kind respect.

Its dealing is equal, moderate, fair, yielding no occasion of disgust, or com­plaint; not catching at, or taking advan­tages, not meting hard measure.

[Page 174] It doth not foster any bad passion or humour, which may embitter or sour conversation, so that it rendreth a man continually good company.

If a man be harsh or surly in his dis­course, rugged or rude in his demea­nour, hard and rigorous in his dealing, it is a certain argument of his defect in charity; for that calmeth and sweetneth the mind, it quasheth keen, fierce, and boisterous passions; it discardeth those conceits, and those humours, from whence such practice doth issue.

Charity (saith Saint Paul) [...],1 Cor. 13. 5. behaveth not it self unhandsomely; is not untoward, unseemly, uncivil, or clow­nish in word, or in carriage, or in deed; It is in truth the most civilizing, and most polishing disposition that can be: Nothing doth render a man so compleat­ly Gentile; (not in an affected, or arti­ficial way, consisting in certain postures or motions of body; (dopping, crin­ging, &c.) in forms of expression, or modish addresses, which men learn like Parrots, and vent by rote, usually not meaning any thing by them, often with them disguising fraud and rancour) but in a real and natural manner, suggested by good judgment and hearty affection.

[Page 175] A charitable man may perhaps not be guilty of courtship, or may be un­practised in the modes of address; but he will not be deficient in the substance of paying every man proper and due re­spect: this indeed is true courtesie, grounded on reason, and proceeding from the heart, which therefore is far more genuine, more solid, more steady, than that which is built on fashion and issueth from affectation; the which in­deed onely doth ape, or counterfeit the deportment of charity; for what a cha­ritable man truly is, that a gallant would seem to be.

Such are the properties of Charity.

There be also further many particu­lar Acts, which have a very close alli­ance to it; being ever coherent with it, or springing from it; which are recom­mended to us by precepts in the holy Scripture; the which it will be conveni­ent to mention.

1. It is a proper act of Charity to forbear anger upon provocation, or to repress its motions, to resent injuries and discourtesies either not at all, or very calmly and mildly: for

[Page 176] Charity [...],1 Cor. 13. 5. is not easily provoked.

Charity [...],V. 4. suffereth long and is kind.

Charity [...],V. 7. doth endure all things.

Anger is a violent insurrection of the mind against a person; but love is not apt to rise up in opposition against any; anger is an intemperate heat, love hath a pure warmth quite of another nature; as natural heat is from a feaver; or as the heat of the Sun from that of a culi­nary fire; which putteth that out, as the Sun-beams do extinguish a culinary fire; anger hath an [...], an ap­petite of revenge, or doing mischief to the object of it; but love is innocent and worketh no evil. Rom. 13. 10.

Love disposeth, if our neighbour doth misbehave himself toward us (by wrong­full usage, or unkind carriage) to be sor­ry for him, and to pity him; which are passions contrary to anger, and slaking the violences of it.

It is said in the Canticles, Cant. 8. 7. Many wa­ters cannot quench love, neither can the flouds drown it; charity would hold out against many neglects, many provoca­tions.

[Page 177] Hence the Precepts, [...]. Walk with all lowliness, and meekness, with long-suffe­ring,Eph. 4. 1, 2. forbearing one another in love: Let all bitterness,Eph. 4. 31. and wrath, and anger, and clamour,1 Thess. 1. 14. [...]. and evil-speaking be put away from you,Col. 3. 8. with all malice: Put off anger,Jam. 1. 19. wrath, malice, &c. Be slow to wrath.

2. It is a proper Act of Charity to remit offences, suppressing all designs of revenge, and not retaining any grudge: for,

Charity, 1 Cor. 13. 7▪ [...], doth cover all things; Prov. 10. 12. and in this sense doth hide a multitude of sins: 1 Pet. 4. 8. all dispositions, all in­tents to do harm are inconsistent with it,Jam. 5. 20. are quite repugnant to it.

Hence those Precepts, Col. 3. 12, 13. Put on, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindnesse, humblenesse of mind, meeknesse, long suffering, forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man hath a quarrel against any, [...]. even as Christ forgave you,Eph. 4. 32. so also do ye: Be ye kind one to another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another; even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you:1 Thess. 5. 15. See that none render evil for evil, but ever follow that which is good both among your selves and to all men:1 Pet. 3. [...]. And many the like Pre­cepts [Page 178] occur in the Gospels, Rom. 12. 17. the Aposto­lical Writings; Matt. 6. 14. 5. 44. yea even in the old Te­stament, Prov. 20. 22. 25. 21. wherein charity did not run in so 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 [...], and [...],Phil. 2. 2. of one soul, 1 Pet. 3. 8. of one mind (like the multitude of believers in the Acts, Act. 4. 32. who had one heart and one soul) that we should keep the unity of spi­rit in the bond of peace; Eph. 4. 3. that we should be of one accord, Phil. 2. 2. 1. 27. of one mind, 1 Cor. 1. 10. standing fast in one spirit, 2 Cor. 13. 11. with one mind: Rom. 15. 5, 6. 12. 16. that we should all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among us, Phil. 3. 16. but that we be perfectly joined together in the same mind, and in the same judg­ment: that there be no factions, or schismes in the body: 1 Cor. 12. 25. 11. 18. 1. 11. 3. 3. that all dissensions, all clamours,2 Cor. 12. 20. all murmurings, all emulati­ons should be abandoned and put away from us;Phil. 2. 14. that we should pursue and maintain peace with all men: Heb. 12. 14. obedience to which commands can onely be the result of charity,Rom. 12. 18. esteeming the person and judgment of our neighbour;2 Tim. 2. 22. desiring [Page 179] his good-will, tendring his good; cur­bing those fleshly lusts,Jam. 4. 1. and those fierce passions,1 Cor. 3. 3. from the predominancy where­ofGal. 5. 20. discords and strifes do spring.1 Tim. 6. 4.

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 our selves 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 it self precious, and ever very dear to him.

Love would bestow any good, and therefore its esteem; which is a conside­rable good.

[Page 180] 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? charity will be sure to allege it: may a quality admit a good name? cha­rity will call it thereby.

It doth not [...],1 Cor. 13. 5. not im­pute evil, or put it to any man's ac­compt, beyond absolute necessity.

It hopeth all things, 1 Cor. 13. 7. and believeth all things; 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; 1 Tim. 6. 4. it re­jecteth all ill stories, malicious insinua­tions, perverse glosses and descants.

5. Another charitable practice is to [Page 181] comport with the infirmities of our neighbour; according to that Rule of Saint Paul, [...]. We that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, Act. 20. 35. and not to please our selves; 1 Thess. 5. 14. and that Precept, Bear one anothers burthens, Rom. 15. 1. and so fulfill the law of Christ. Gal. 6. 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. 'Tis 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 Saint Paul calleth to [...]. 1 Cor. 10. 7. [...]. 1 Cor. 8. 12. Rom. 14. 15. [...]. 1 Cor. 10. 32. 8. 13. Rom. 14. 21. defile and smite his weak conscience) or which any-wise may discompose, vex, and grieve him: for, If thy brother be grieved with thy meat, now walkest thou not charitably.

The Sixth Sermon.

HEBREWS 10. 24.‘Let us consider one another to provoke unto love, and to good works.’

THAT which is here recommen­ded by the Apostle, as the com­mon Duty of Christians toward each other, upon emergent occasions, with zeal and care to provoke one another to the practice of Charity and Beneficence, 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,

[Page 184] 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 humane 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 there­in.

Saint Paul chargeth us to be [...];Rom. 12. 10. or to have a natural af­fection one toward another; that suppo­seth a [...] inbred to men, which should be rowsed up, improved, and exercised: Such an one indeed there is, which al­though often raked up and smothered in the common attendances on the provi­ding for our needs, and prosecuting our affairs, will upon occasion, more or less break forth and discover it self.

That the constitution and frame of our nature disposeth to it, we cannot but feel, when our bowels are touched with a sensible pain at the view of any calamitous object, when our fancies are disturbed at the report of any disaster befalling a man; [...]. Arist. Eth. 9. 9. when the sight of a Tragedy wringeth compassion and tears from us; which affections we can hard­ly quash by any reflection, that such [Page 185] events (true or feigned) do not concern our selves.

Hence doth nature so strongly affect society,Hominem homini natura conciliat. Sen. Ep. 9. and abhor solitude; so that a man cannot enjoy himself alone,Nullius boni sine socio ju­cunda possessio est. Sen. Ep. 6. or find satisfaction in any good without a compa­nion; not onely for that he then cannot receive, [...]. Chrys. in 1 Cor. Or. 25. but al­so because he cannot impart assistance, consolation and de­light in converse; for men do not affect society onely that they may obtain benefits thereby; but as much or more, that they may be en­abled to communicate them; nothing being more distastefull than to be al­ways on the taking hand: neither in­deed hath any thing a more pleasant and savoury relish than to do Good; as even Epicurus, the great Patron of pleasure did confess.

The practice of benignity, of cour­tesy, of clemency do at first sight, with­out aid of any discursive reflection, ob­tain approbation and applause from men; being acceptable and amiable to their mind, as beauty to their sight, harmony [Page 186] to their hearing, fragrancy to their smell and sweetness to their taste; And corre­spondently uncharitable dispositions and practices (malignity, harshness, cruelty) do offend the mind [...] with a disgustfull resentment of them.

We may appeal to the conscience of each man if he doth not feel dissatisfacti­on in that fierceness or frowardness of temper, which produceth uncharitable­ness; if we have not a complacence in that sweet and calm disposition of soul, whence charity doth issue; if he do not condemn himself for the one, and ap­prove himself in the other practice.

This is the common judgment of men; [...]. Flavian. CP. Ep. in Syn. Chalc. Act. 1. (p. III.) and therefore in common lan­guage this practice is styled humanity, as best sorting with our nature, and be­coming it; and the principle whence it springeth is called good nature; and the contrary practice is styled inhumanity, as thwarting our natural inclinations, or devesting us of manhood; and its source likewise is termed ill-nature, or a corruption of our nature.

It is therefore a monstrous paradox, crossing the common sense of men, which in this loose and vain world hath lately got such vogue, that all men na­turally [Page 187] are enemies one to another: it pretendeth to be grounded on common observation and experience; but it is onely an observing the worst actions of the worst men; of dissolute ruffians, of villainous cheats, of ravenous oppressours, of malicious politicians, of such degene­rate Apostates from humanity; by whose practice (debauched by vain conceits and naughty customs) an ill measure is taken of mankind: Aristotle himself, who had observed things as well as any of these men and with as sharp a judgment, [...]. Arist. Eth. 8. 1. Rhet. 1. 11. affirmeth the contrary, that all men are friends, and disposed to entertain friendly correspon­dence with one another: [...]. Chrys. in Eph. Orat. 2. In­deed to say the contrary is a blasphemy against the Au­thour of our nature; and is spoken no less out of profane enmity against him, [...]. Pro­clus Constantinopl. Syn. Chalc. Act. 14. than out of venomous malignity against men: out of hatred to God and Goodness they would disparage and vilifie the noblest work of God's Creation; yet do they (if we sound the bottom of their mind) imply themselves to ad­mire [Page 188] this quality, and by their decrying it do commend it; for it is easie to dis­cern that therefore onely they slander mankind as uncapable of goodness, be­cause out of malignity they would not allow it so excellent a quality.

II. Let us consider what our neigh­bour is, how near in bloud, how like in nature, how much in all considerable respects the same with us he is.

Should any one wrong or defame our brother, we should be displeased; should we do it our selves, or should we omit any office of kindness toward him, we should blame our selves; Every man is such, of one stock, of one bloud with us; and as such may challenge and call for real affection from us.

Should any one mar, tear, or deface our Picture, or shew any kind of disre­spect thereto, we should be offended, taking it for an indignity put on our selves; and as for our selves we should never in such a manner affront or de­spight our selves; [...]. Plato Symp. Every man is such, our most lively image, representing us most exactly in all the main figures and fea­tures of body, of soul, of state; we thence do owe respect to every one.

[Page 189] Every man is another self, partaker of the same nature, endewed with the same faculties, subject to the same Laws, li­able to the same fortunes; distinguished from us onely in accidental, and vari­able circumstances; whence if we be amiable or estimable, so is he upon the same grounds; and acting impartially (according to right judgment) we should yield love and esteem to him: by sligh­ting, hating, injuring, hurting him we do consequentially abuse our selves, or acknowledge our selves deservedly liable to the same usage.

Every man as a Christian, is in a higher and nobler way allied, assimila­ted, and identified to us; to him there­fore upon the like grounds improved charity is more due; and we wrong our heavenly relations, our better nature, our more considerable selves, in with­holding it from him.

III. Equity doth plainly require Cha­rity from us; for every one is ready not onely to wish and seek, but to demand and claim love from others; so as to be much offended, and grievously to com­plain if he do not find it.

We do all conceive love and respect [Page 190] due to us from all men; we take all men bound to wish and tender our welfare, we suppose our need to require commi­seration and succour from every man; if it be refused, we think it a hard case, and that we are ill used; we cry out of wrong, of discourtesie, of inhumanity, of baseness practised toward us.

A moderate respect and affection will hardly satisfie us, we pretend to them in the highest degree, disgusting the least appearance of disregard or disaffec­tion; we can scarce better digest indif­ference than hatred.

This evidenceth our opinion and con­science to be, that we ought to pay the greatest respect and kindness to our neighbour; for it is plainly unjust and ridiculously vain, to require that from others, which we refuse to others, who may demand it upon the same title; nor can we without self-condemnation prac­tice that which we detest in others.

In all reason and equity, if I would have another my friend, I must be a friend to him; if I pretend to charity from all men, I must render it to all in the same kind and measure.

Hence is the Law of Charity well expressed in those terms,Matt. 7. of doing to [Page 191] others whatever we would have them do to us; whereby the palpable equity of this practice is demonstrated.

IV. Let us consider, that Charity is a right noble and worthy thing; great­ly perfective of our nature, much dig­nifying and beautifying our soul.

It rendreth a man truly great, enlar­ging his mind unto a vast circumference, and to a capacity near infinite; so that it by a general care doth reach all things; by an universal affection doth embrace and grasp the world.

By it our reason obtaineth a field, or scope of employment worthy of it, not confined to the slender interests of one person or one place, but extending to the concerns of all men.

Charity is the imitation and copy of that immense love,Chrys. in Eph. Or. 9. which is the foun­tain of all being and all good; which made all things, which preserveth the world, which sustaineth eve­ry creature; [...]. Naz. Or. 14. Nothing advan­ceth us so near to a resem­blance of him, who is essen­tial love and goodness; who freely and purely, without any regard to his own ad­vantage, [Page 192] or capacity of finding any be­neficial return, doth bear and express the highest good-will, with a liberal hand pouring down showers of bounty and mercy on all his crea­tures: [...], &c. Chrys. [...]. who daily putteth up numberless indignities and injuries; upholding and main­taining those who offend and provoke him.

Charity rendereth us as Angels, or Peers to those glorious and blessed Crea­tures, who without receiving or expec­ting any requital from us, do heartily desire and delight in our good, are rea­dy to promote it, do willingly serve and labour for it. Nothing is more amiable, more admirable, more venerable even in the common eye and opinion of men; it hath in it a beauty and a majesty apt to ravish every heart: Even a spark of it in generosity of dealing breedeth ad­miration, a glimpse of it in formal cour­tesie of behaviour procureth much e­steem, being deemed to accomplish and adorn a man; how lovely therefore and truly gallant is an entire, sincere, constant, and uniform practice thereof, issuing from pure good-will and affec­tion!

[Page 193] Love indeed or goodness (for true love is nothing else but goodness exer­ting it self, in direction toward objects capable of its influence) is the onely amiable, and onely honourable thing: Power and Wit may be admired by some, or have some fond Idolaters; but being severed from goodness, or abstrac­ted from their subserviency to it, they cannot obtain real love, they deserve not any esteem; for the worst, the most unhappy, the most odious and contemp­tible of Beings do partake of them in a high measure: The Prince of Darkness hath more power; and reigneth with absolute Sovereignty over more Subjects by many than the Great Turk; One Devil may have more wit than all the politick Achitophels, and all the profane Hectors in the world; yet with all his Power and all his Wit he is most wret­ched, most detestable, and most despi­cable: and such in proportion is every one, who partaketh in his accursed dis­positions of malice and uncharitableness. For,

On the other side Uncharitableness is a very mean and base thing:Sen. de Tranq. 3. It contrac­teth a mans soul into a narrow compass, or streightneth it as it were into one [Page 194] point; drawing all his thoughts, his de­sires, his affections into himself, as to their centre; so that his reason, his will, his activity have but one pitifull object to exercise themselves about: To scrape together a little pelf, to catch a vapour of fame, to progg for a frivolous sem­blance of power or dignity, to sooth the humour, or pamper the sensuality of one poor worm, is the ignoble subject of his busie care and endeavour.

By it we debase our selves into an affi­nity with the meanest things; becoming either like Beasts or Fiends; like Beasts, affecting onely our own present sensible good; or like Fiends, designing mischief and trouble to others.

It is indeed hard for a man without Charity, not to be worse than an inno­cent Beast; not at least to be as a Fox, or a Wolf;Ezek. 22. 27. either cunningly lurching, or violently ravening for prey: Love onely can restrain a man from flying at all, and seising on whatever he meeteth; from biting, from worrying, from de­vouring every one that is weaker than himself, or who cannot defend himself from his paws and teeth.

[Page 195] V. The practice of Charity is pro­ductive of many great benefits and ad­vantages to us; so that to love our neighbour doth involve the truest love to our selves; and we are not onely ob­liged in duty, but may be encouraged by our interest thereto: Beatitude is of­ten pronounced to it, or to some parti­cular instances of it; and well may it be so, for it indeed will constitute a man happy, producing to him manifold comforts and conveniencies of life: some whereof we shall touch.

VI. (1.) Charity doth free our souls of all those bad dispositions and passions which vex and disquiet them; from those gloomy passions, [...]. Chrys. in 1 Cor. Orat. 32. which cloud our mind, from those keen passions, which fret our heart, from those tumultuous passions, which ruffle us and discompose the frame of our soul.

It stifleth anger, (that swoon of rea­son, transporting a man out of himself) for a man hardly can be incensed against those whom he tenderly loveth: a petty neglect, a hard word, a small discour­tesie will not fire a charitable soul; the [Page 196] greatest affront or wrong can hardly kindle rage therein.

It banisheth envy (that severely just vice, which never faileth to punish it self) for no man will repine at his wealth or prosperity, [...]. Gr. Naz. Orat. 27. no man will ma­lign his worth or vertue, whose good he charitably desireth and wisheth.

It excludeth rancour and spite, those dispositions which create a hell in our soul; which are directly repugnant to charity, and thereby dispelled as dark­ness by light, cold by heat.

It suffereth not revenge (that canker of the heart) to harbour in our breast; for who can intend mischief to him, in whose good he delighteth, in whose evil he feeleth displeasure?

It voideth fear,1 Joh. 4. 18. suspicion, jealousie of mischief designed against us; [...]. the which passions have torment, or do punish us (as Saint John saith) racking us with anxious expectation of evil; wherefore there is, saith he, no fear in love, but perfect love casteth out fear: Oderunt quem metuunt. No man indeed is apt to fear him whom he lo­veth, or is able much to love him whom he feareth; for love esteemeth its object [Page 197] as innocent, fear apprehendeth it as hurt­full; love disposeth to follow and em­brace, fear inclineth to decline and shun: To suspect a friend therefore is to disa­vow him for such; and upon slender grounds to conceit ill of him, is to deem him unworthy of our love: The inno­cence and inoffensiveness of charity, which provoketh no man to do us harm, doth also breed great security and con­fidence; any man will think he may walk unarmed and unguarded among those to whom he beareth good-will, to whom he neither meaneth, nor doeth any harm; being guarded by a good consci­ence and shielded with innocence.

It removeth discontent or dissatisfac­tion in our state; the which usually doth spring from ill conceits and surmises about our neighbour, or from wrathfull and spitefull affections toward him; for while men have good respect and kind­ness for their neighbours, they seldom are dissatisfied in their own condition; they can never want comfort or despair of succour.

It curbeth ambition and avarice; those impetuous, those insatiable, those trouble­some dispositions; for a man will not af­fect to climb above those, in whose ho­nour [Page 198] he findeth satisfaction; nor to scramble with them for the goods, which he gladly would have them to enjoy: a competency will satisfie him who taketh himself but for one among the rest, [...]. Chrys. in 1 Cor. Or. 32. and who can as little endure to see others want as himself: who would trouble himself to get power over those, to o're­top them in dignity and fame, to sur­pass them in wealth, whom he is ready to serve in the meanest offices of kind­ness, whom he would in honour pre­fer to himself, unto whom he will libe­rally communicate what he hath, for his comfort and relief?

In the prevalence of such bad passions and dispositions of soul our misery doth most consist; thence the chief troubles and inconveniencies of our life do pro­ceed; wherefore charity doth highly deserve of us in freeing us from them.

VII. (2.) It consequently doth settle our mind in a serene, calm, sweet, and cheerfull state; in an even temper and good humour, and harmonious order of soul, which ever will result from the evacuation of bad passions, from the composure of such as are indifferent, from the excitement of those which are [Page 199] good and pleasant:Gal. 5. 22. The fruits of the Spi­rit, Eph. 5. 12. saith Saint Paul, are love, joy, peace, long-suffering, Col. 3. 12. gentleness, goodness (or be­nignity): love precedeth, joy and peace follow as itsEldest Daughter. constant attendants, gentle­ness and benignity come after as its cer­tain effects.

Love indeed is the sweetest of all pas­sions, ever accompanied with a secret delectation and pleasant sense; when­ever it is placed upon a good object, when it acteth in a rational way, when it is vigorous, it must needs yield much joy.

It therefore greatly conduceth to our happiness, or rather alone doth suffice to constitute us happy.

VIII. (3.) Charity will preserve us from divers external mischiefs and incon­veniencies, to which our life is expo­sed, and which otherwise we shall in­cur.

If we have not charity toward men, we shall have enmity with them; and upon that do wait troops of mischief; we shall enjoy nothing quietly or safe­ly, we shall do nothing without opposi­tion or contention; no conversation, no commerce will be pleasant; clamour, [Page 200] obloquy, tumult, and trouble will sur­round us; we shall live in perpetual dan­ger; the enmity of the meanest and weakest Creature being formidable.

But all such mischiefs charity will pre­vent or remove; damming up the fountains, [...]. Clem. Str. 7. (p. 532.) or extirpa­ting the roots of them: for who will hate a person that apparently loveth him; who can be so barbarous or base as to hurt that man,Chrys. in 1 Thess. Or. 4. [...], &c. whom he findeth ever ready to do himself good? what brute, what devil can find in his heart to be a foe to him, [...]. Hier. who is a sure friend to all? [...]. Chrys. in Gen. Or. 32. No Publican can be so wretched­ly vile, no sinner so destitute of goodness;Matt. 5. 46. for, If (saith our Lord, upon common experience) you love them which love you, what reward have you, do not even the publicans the same? and, If you do good to them which do good to you, what thank have you? for sinners also do even the same: It seemeth be­yond the greatest degeneracy and cor­ruption whereof humane nature is ca­pable, to requite charity with enmity, yea not to return some kindness for it: [Page 201] [...];1 Pet. 3. 13. [...]. Who (saith Saint Peter) is he that will do you hurt, if you be fol­lowers of that which is good; or imita­tours of him that is good; (of the Sove­reign goodness)? none surely can be so unjust, or so unworthy.

As charity restraineth us from doing any wrong, or yielding any offence to others in thought, in word, in deed; from entertaining any bad conceits with­out ground, from hatching any mischie­vous designs against our neighbour; from using any harsh, virulent, biting language; from any rugged, discourte­ous, disobliging behaviour; from any wrongfull, rigorous, severe dealing to­ward him; from any contemptuous pride, or supercilious arrogance; so it consequently will defend us from the like treatment; for scarce any man is so malicious as without any provocation to do mischief;Vincit malos pertinax bo­nitas. Sen. no man is so incorrigibly savage, as to persist in committing out­rage upon perfect innocence, joined with patience, with meekness, with courtesie: Charity surely will melt the hardest heart, and charm the fiercest spirit; it will bind the most violent hand, it will still the most obstreperous tongue; it will reconcile the most offended, most [Page 202] prejudiced heart:Carbones ignis congregabis super caput ejus; non in male­dictum & condemnationem, ut plerique existimant, sed in correctionem & poenitudinem; ut superatus beneficiis, ex­coctus fervore charitatis, ini­micus esse desistat. Hier. in Pelag. 1. cap. 9. it is the best guard that can be of our safety from assaults, of our interest from dammage, of our reputation from slan­der, detraction, and re­proach.

If you would have Examples of this, experience will afford many; and some we have in the Sacred Records commen­ded to our Observation;Gen. 32. 20. Esau was a rough man, and one who had been ex­ceedingly provoked by his brother Ja­cob; yet how did meek and respectfull demeanour overcome him! so that Esau (it is said in the history) ran to meet him (Iacob), Gen. 33. 4. and fell on his neck, and kissed him, and they wept.

Saul was a man possessed with a fu­rious envy and spite against David; yet into what expressions did the sense of his kind dealing force him!1 Sam. 24. 16, 17. 26. 17, 21. Is this thy voice, my Son David?—Thou art more righteous than I; for thou hast rewarded me good, whereas I have rewarded thee evil;—behold I have played the fool, and have erred exceedingly. So doth charity subdue and triumph over the most inveterate prejudices, and the most violent passions of men.

[Page 203] If peace and quiet be desirable things, as certainly they are,Cadit statim simultas ab altera parte deserta.—Sen. de Ir. 2. 34. and that form im­plyeth, when by wishing peace with men, we are understood to wish all good to them, it is charity onely that preserveth them; which more surely than any power or policy doth quash all war and strife; for war must have parties, and strife implieth resistance; be it the first or second blow which maketh the fray, charity will avoid it; for it neither will strike the first in offence, nor the second in revenge. Charity therefore may well be styled the band of peace, Eph. 4. 3. it being that onely which can knit mens souls toge­ther, and keep them from breaking out into dissensions.

It alone is that, which will prevent bickering and clashing about points of credit or interest; if we love not our neighbour, or tender not his good as our own, we shall be ever in competition and debate with him about those things, not suffering him to enjoy any thing quietly; struggling to get above him, scrambling with him for what is to be had.

IX. (4.) As charity preserveth from mischiefs, so it procureth many sweet comforts and fair accommodations of life.

[Page 204] Friendship is a most usefull and plea­sant thing; and charity will conciliate good store thereof; it is apt to make all men friends:Ego tibi mon­strabo amato­rium sine me­dicamento, sine herba, sine ullius ve­neficae carmi­ne, Si vis a­mari, ama. Sen. Ep. 9. for love is the onely gene­ral philtre, and effectual charm of souls; the fire which kindleth all it toucheth, and propagateth it self in every capable subject; and such a subject is every man in whom humanity is not quite extinct, and hardly can any such man be, seeing every man hath some good humour in him, some bloud, some kindly juice flow­ing in his veins; no man wholly doth consist of dusky melancholy, or fiery choler; whence all men may be presumed liable to the powerfull impressions of charity; its mild and serene countenance, its sweet and gentle speech, its courteous and obliging gesture, its fair dealing, its benign conversation, its readiness to do any good or service to any man, will insinuate good-will and respect into all hearts.

It thence will encompass a man with friends, with many guards of his safety, with many supports of his fortune, with many patrons of his reputation, with many succourers of his necessity, with many comforters of his affliction: for is a charitable man in danger, who [Page 205] will not defend him? is he falling, who will not uphold him? is he falsly accu­sed or aspersed, who will not vindicate him? is he in distress, who will not pi­ty him, who will not endeavour to re­lieve and restore him? who will insult over his calamity? will it not in such cases appear a common duty, a common interest to assist and countenance a com­mon friend, a common benefactour to mankind?

Whereas most of our life is spent in society and discourse, charity is that which doth season and sweeten these, rendring them gratefull to others, and commodious to ones self; for a chari­table heart is a sweet spring, from whence do issue streams of wholsome and pleasant discourse;Prov. 15. 26. 16. 24. it not being troubled with any bad passion or design, which may sour or foul conversation, doth ever make him good company to others, and rendreth them such to him­self; which is a mighty convenience. In short, a charitable man, or, true lover of men will (saith S. Chrysostome) inhabit earth as a heaven, [...]. Chrys. in 1 Cor. Or. 32. every-where carry­ing a serenity with him, and plaiting ten thousand crowns for himself. Again,

[Page 206] X. (5.) Charity doth in every estate yield advantages sutable thereto; bette­ring it, and improving it to our benefit.

It rendreth prosperity not onely in­nocent and safe, but usefull and fruitfull to us; we then indeed enjoy it, if we feel the comfort of doing good by it: It solaceth adversity, considering that it doth not arise as a punishment or fruit of ill-doing to others; that it is not at­tended with the deserved ill-will of men; that no man hath reason to delight for it, or insult over us therein; that we may probably expect commiseration and relief, having been ready to shew the like to others.

It tempereth both states; for in pro­sperity a man cannot be transported with immoderate joy, when so many objects of pity and grief do present them­selves before him, which he is apt deeply to resent; in prosperity he cannot be dejected with extream sorrow, being re­freshed by so many good successes be­falling those whom he loveth: One con­dition will not puff him up, being sen­sible of his neighbours misery; the other will not sink him down, having complacence in his neighbours welfare. Uncharitableness (proceeding from con­trary [Page 207] causes, and producing contrary effects) doth spoil all conditions, ren­dring prosperity fruitless, and adversity comfortless.

XI. (6.) We may consider, that se­cluding the exercise of charity, all the goods and advantages we have (our best faculties of nature, our best endowments of soul, the gifts of providence, and the fruits of our industry) will become vain and fruitless, or noxious and banefull to us: for what is our reason worth, what doth it signifie, if it serveth onely for contriving sorry designs, or transacting petty affairs about our selves? what is wit good for, if it must be spent onely in making sport, or hatching mischief? to what purpose is knowledge, if it be not applied to the instruction, direction, admonition, or consolation of others? what mattereth abundance of wealth, if it be to be uselesly hoarded up, or vainly flung away, in wicked or wanton pro­fuseness; if it be not employed in affor­ding succour to our neighbours indigen­cy and distress? what is our credit but a meer noise or a puff of air,Paulùm se­pultae distat inertiae Cela­ta virtus. Hor. Ca [...]m. 4. 9. if we do not give a solidity and substance to it, by making it an engine of doing good? what is our vertue it self, if it be buried in obscurity [Page 208] or choaked with idleness, yielding no benefit to others by the lustre of its ex­ample, or by its real influence? What is any talent if it be wrapped up in a napkin, any light if it be hid under a bushel; any thing private if it be not by good use spread out and improved to publick benefit? If these gifts do mini­ster onely to our own particular advan­tage, to our personal convenience, glory, or pleasure, how slimme things are they, how inconsiderable is their worth?

But they being managed by charity become precious and excellent things; they are great in proportion to the great­ness of their use, or the extent of their beneficial influence: as they carry forth good to the world, so they bring back various benefits to our selves;Luk. 6. 38. they re­turn into our bosome laden with respect and reward from God and from man; they yield thanks and commendation from without, they work comfort and satisfaction within: Yea which is infi­nitely more considerable, and enhanceth the price of our gifts to a vast rate,Joh. 15. 8. they procure glory and blessing to God;Phil. 1. 11. for hereby is God glorified, Matt. 5. 16. if we bring forth much fruit; Prov. 4. 31. and no good fruit can grow from any other stock than that of charity.2 Cor. 9. 11. 1 Cor. 13.

[Page 209] Uncharitableness therefore should be loathed and shunned by us, as that which robbeth us of all our ornaments and advantages; which indeed marreth and corrupteth all our good things, which turneth blessings into curses, and rendreth the means of our welfare to be causes of mischief to us; for without charity a man can have no goods, but goods worldly and temporal; and such goods thence do prove impertinent bau­bles, burthensome encumbrances, dan­gerous snares, banefull poisons to him.

XII. (7.) Charity doth hugely ad­vance and amplifie a mans state, putting him into the possession or fruition of all good things: It will endow, enrich, en­noble, embelish us with all the world hath of precious, of glorious, of fair; by appropriation thereof to our selves, and acquiring of a real interest therein▪ What men commonly out of fond self-love do vainly affect, that infallibly by being charitable they may compass, the engrossing to themselves all kinds of good: most easily, most innocently, in a compendious and sure way, without any sin or blame, without any care or pain, without any danger or trouble, [Page 210] they may come to attain and to enjoy whatever in common esteem is desirable or valuable; they may without greedy avarice, or the carkings, the drudgeries, the disgraces going with it procure to themselves abundant wealth; without fond ambition, or the difficulties, the hazards, the emulations, the strugglings to which it is liable, they may arrive to great honour; without sordid voluptu­ousness, or the satieties, the maladies, the regrets consequent thereon, they may enjoy all pleasure; without any wildness or wantonness, pride, luxury, sloth, any of its temptations and snares, they may have all prosperity; they may get all learning and wisedom without laborious study, all vertue and goodness without the fatigues of continual exer­cise: for are not all these things yours, if you do esteem them so, if you do make them so, by finding much delight and satisfaction in them? doth not your neighbours wealth enrich you, if you feel content in his possessing and using it? doth not his preferment advance you, if your spirit riseth with it in a gladsome complacence? doth not his pleasure delight you, if you relish his enjoyment of it? doth not his prosperity [Page 211] bless you, if your heart doth exult and triumph in it? do not his endowments adorn you, if you like them, if you commend them, if the use of them doth minister comfort and joy to you? This is the divine Magick of charity, which conveyeth all things into our hands, and enstateth us in a dominion of them, whereof nothing can disseise us; by vir­tue whereof being (as Saint Paul spea­keth of himself) sorrowfull we yet always rejoice, 2 Cor. 6. 10. having nothing we yet possess all things.

Neither is this property in things meerly imaginary or phantastick (like that of Lunaticks, who fancy themselves mighty Princes, or rich Aldermen) but very substantial and real; yea far more real to the charitable person, than it is commonly to those, who in legal or popular accompt are masters of them; for how is propriety in things otherwise considerable, than for the content and pleasure which they yield to the presu­med owner? the which if a charitable person abundantly draweth from them, why are they not truly his? why is not the Tree his, if he can pull and tast its Fruits without injury or blame? yea doth not the propriety more really be­long [Page 212] to him, as to the gross possessour, if he doth equally enjoy the benefit, without partaking the inconveniencies and impurities adherent to them; if he taste them innocently and purely, with­out being cloyed, without being distrac­ted, without being puffed, without be­ing encumbred, ensnared, or corrupted by them?

A charitable man therefore can never (in a moral accompt) be poor, or vile, or any-wise miserable; except all the world should be cast into penury and distress; for while his neighbour hath any thing, he will enjoy it; rejoicing with those that rejoice, as the Apostle doth enjoin.

XIII. (8.) If therefore we love our selves, we must love others, and do others good; charitable beneficence car­rying with it so many advantages to our selves.

We by charitable complacence do par­take in their welfare, reaping pleasure from all the fruits of their industry and fortune.

We by charitable assistance do enable and dispose them to make gratefull re­turns of succour in our need.

We thence assuredly shall obtain their [Page 213] good-will, their esteem, their commen­dation: we shall maintain peaceable and comfortable entercourse with them, in safety, in quiet, in good humour and cheer.

Besides all other benefits we shall get that of their prayers; the which of all prayers have a most favourable audience and assured efficacy:Jam. 5. 4. for if the com­plaints and curses of those who are op­pressed or neglected by uncharitable dea­ling,Deut. 24. 15. do certainly reach God's ears,Ecclus. 4. 6. and pull down vengeance from above; how much more will the intercessions and blessings of the poor pierce the heavens, and thence draw recompence; seeing God is more ready to perform his pro­per and pleasant works of bounty and mercy,Psal. 62. 12. than to execute his strange and unpleasing work of punishment;Mic. 7. 18. Espe­cially the blessings of the poor being al­ways accompanied with praises and glo­rifications of him,Isa. 28. 21. who enableth and dis­poseth men to do good; the which prai­ses will ever be reckoned on the accompt of him, who drew them forth by his be­neficence; it will be (as the Apostle saith) fruit redounding to his accompt; Phil. 4. 17. while it aboundeth by many thanksgivings to God. 2 Cor. 9. 11. 8. 19.

[Page 214] So in virtue of Charity the poorest man amply may requite the wealthiest; and a peasant may out-doe the greatest Prince in beneficence.

XIV. We may consider, that Chari­ty is a practice specially gratefull to God, and a most excellent part of our Duty; not onely because he hath commanded it as such with greatest earnestness; nor onely because it doth constitute us in nearest resemblance of him; but as a peculiar expression of love and good-will toward him; for if we love him, we must for his sake have a kindness for his friends, we must tender his interests, we must favour his reputation, we must de­sire his content and pleasure, we must contribute our endeavours toward the furtherance of these his concerns: See­ing then God is an assured friend to all men, seeing he hath a property in all men (for he is God and Lord of all) seeing he much concerneth himself for all mens welfare; seeing from the pro­sperity, from the vertue, from the hap­piness of every man he gaineth honour and praise;Ezek. 18. seeing he is greatly satisfied and delighted in the good of men, we also must love them: otherwise we [Page 215] greatly shall disoblige and disgust him.

Is it not indeed a practice guilty of notorious enmity toward him, [...]. Vid. Anthol. inconsistent with the maintenance of a­ny friendship or peace with him, to discord in affection from him, [...]. Chrys in 1 Cor. Or. 32. maligning or dis­affecting those whom he dearly loveth and favoureth, who are so nearly allied to him by manifold relations, as his Crea­tures, his Subjects, his Servants, his Children, whom he designeth and de­sireth to crown with eternal glory and bliss?

XV. Seeing God vouchsafeth to esteem whatever is done in Charity to our neighbour (if done with an honest and pious mind, as to his friends) to be done unto himself; that in feeding our indigent neighbour, we refresh him, in cloathing our neighbour we comfort him; we do by charitable beneficence oblige God, and become in a manner benefactours to him; and as such assu­redly shall be requited by him; and is not this a high privilege, a great honour, a mighty advantage to us? If a man had [Page 216] opportunity to do that, which his Prince would acknowledge a courtesie and ob­ligation to him, what a happiness would he accompt it? and how far more con­siderable is it, that we can so easily do that which the Lord of all, in whose disposal all things are, will take so kind­ly at our hands?

XVI. We may consider, that Chari­ty is a very feasible and very easie Du­ty: it requireth no sore pain, no grie­vous trouble, no great cost; for it consisteth onely in good-will,Rom. 12. 8. [...]—Chrys. in 1 Cor. Or. 32. and that which naturally springeth thence; willingness and cheerfulness are necessary ingredients or adjuncts of it;2 Cor. 9. 7. 8. 12. [...];—Chrys. [...]. the which imply facility: whence the weakest and poorest man is no less able to perform it than the greatest potentate; his heart may be as chari­table, though his hand can­not be so liberal; one of the most noble and most famous charities that ever was,Luk. 21. 2. was the giving two mites; and the giving a cup of cold water is the instance of that beneficence,Matt. 10. 42. which [Page 217] shall not fail of being rewarded.At nunc cùm omnia quae difficiliora sunt vel modica ex parte faciamus, hoc solum non facimus quod & factu facilius est, & absque quo casa sunt universa quae facimus: Je­junii corpus sentit injuriam, vigiliae carnem macerant—haec omnia sunt qui faciant, sola charitas sine labore est. Hier. in Gal. 5. 13.

XVII. We may consider, that Cha­rity is the best, the most assured, the most easie and expedite way, or instru­ment of performing all other duty to­ward our neighbour: If we would dis­patch, love and all is done; if we would be perfect in obedience, love and we shall not fail in any point;Rom. 13. 10. for love is the fulfilling of the law; Gal. 5. 14. love is the bond of perfectedness: would we be secure in the practice of justice, of meekness, of humility toward all men, of constant fidelity toward our friends, of gentle moderation toward our enemies, of loyalty toward our superiours, of be­nignity toward our inferiours; if we would be sure to purifie our minds from ill thoughts, to restrain our tongues from ill speaking, to abstain from all bad demeanour and dealing? it is but having charity, and infallibly you will do all this;Rom. 12. for love worketh no ill to its neighbour; 1 Cor. 13. 5. love thinketh no evil; love behaveth not it self unseemly.

Would we discharge all our Duties [Page 218] without any reluctancy or regret, [...], &c. Chrys. in 1 Cor. Or. 32. with much satisfacti­on, and pleasure? love will certainly dispose us thereto; for it always acteth freely and cheerfully,It is winged. without any compulsion or straining;It is fire. it is ever accompanied with delectation:Amor obsequitur sponte, gratìs optempenat, liberè reveretur. Bern. ad Eug. Prol. If we would know its way and virtue of acting, we may see it repre­sented in the proceeding of Jacob, Vid. Bern. Ep. 11. p. 1404.— who being inspired by love did contentedly and without regret endure so long and hard toil, such disappointments and such af­fronts;Gen. 29. 20. And Jacob, saith the Text, ser­ved seven years for Rachel, and they seemed to him but a few days for the love he had to her.

This is the root, from whence voluntary obedience doth naturally grow; [...], &c. Chrys. in 1 Cor. Or. 32. if it be planted in our heart, we need not fear but that all kind of good fruit will sprout forth into conversation and practice.

But without it we shall not ever per­form any good work perfectly, steadily, in a kindly manner; no other principle [Page 219] will serve, if we are onely moved by whip and spur, driven on by fear, or in­cited by hope, we shall go forward un­willingly and dully, often halting, ever flagging; those principles, which do put slaves and mercenaries on action, as they are not so noble and worthy, so nei­ther are they so effectual and sure; as ambition, vain-glory, self-interest, de­sign of security, of profit, of compliance with the expectation of men, &c.

XVIII. Charity giveth worth, form, and life to all vertue,Chrys. in 1 Cor. Or. 25. so that without it no action is valuable in it self, or accep­table to God.

Sever it from courage; and what is that, but the boldness or fierceness of a beast? from meekness; and what is that, but the softness of a woman, or weak­ness of a child? from courtesie; and what is that, but affectation or artifice? from justice; what is that, but humour or policy? from wisedom; what is that, but craft and subtilty?

What meaneth faith without it, but dry opinion; what hope, but blind pre­sumption; what alms-doing, but ambi­tious ostentation; what undergoing mar­tyrdom, but stiffness or sturdiness of re­solution; [Page 220] what is devotion, but glo­zing or mocking with God? what is any practice (how specious soever in ap­pearance, or materially good) but an issue of self-conceit, or self-will, of ser­vile fear, or mercenary design? Though I have faith, 1 Cor. 13. 2, 3. so that I could remove moun­tains, and have not charity, I am nothing; though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor; and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.

But Charity doth sanctifie every acti­on, and impregnate all our practice with a savour of goodness, turning all we do into vertue; it is true fortitude, and gal­lantry indeed, when a man out of chari­ty and hearty design to promote his neighbours good doth encounter dangers and difficulties; it is genuine meekness, when a man out of charity and unwil­lingness to hurt his neighbour, doth pa­tiently comport with injuries and dis­courtesies; it is vertuous courtesie, when cordial affection venteth it self in civil language, in respectfull deportment, in obliging performances; it is excellent justice, when a man regarding his neigh­bours case as his own, doth unto him, as he would have it done to himself; it [Page 221] is admirable wisedom, which sagacious­ly contriveth and dexterously mana­geth things with the best advantage to­wards its neighbours good: It is a wor­thy faith,Gal. 5. 6. which being spirited and ac­tuated by charity,Jam. 2. 26. doth produce goodly fruits of beneficence; it is a sound and solid hope, which is grounded on that everlasting foundation of charity, which never doth fail, 1 Cor. 3. 8. or fall away; it is sincere alms, which not onely the hand, but the heart doth reach forth; it is an ac­ceptable sacrifice, which is kindled by the holy fire of fervent affection; it is a pure devotion, which is offered up with a calm and benign mind,1 Tim. 2. 8. resembling the disposition of that goodness which it adoreth.Matt. 5. 23.

If therefore we would do any thing well, if we would not lose all the vertue, and forfeit all the benefit of what we perform, we must follow the Rule of Saint Paul, 1 Cor. 16. 14. to do all our works in cha­rity.

XIX. So great benefits doth Charity yield; yet if it did not yield any of them, it would deserve and claime our observance; without regard to its sweet fruits, and beneficial consequences, it [Page 222] were to be embraced and cherished; for it carrieth a reward, and a heaven in it self; the very same which constituteth God himself infinitely happy, and which beatifieth every blessed Spirit, in propor­tion to its capacity and exercise thereof: A man doth abundantly enjoy himself in that steady composedness, and savou­ry complacence of mind which ever doth attend it; and as the present sense, so is the memory of it, or the good consci­ence of having done good, very delici­ous and satisfactory.

As it is a raskally delight (tempered with regret, and vanishing into bitter­ness) which men feel in wreaking spite, or doing mischief; such as they cannot reflect upon without disgust and con­demning their base impotency of soul; so is the pleasure which charity doth breed altogether pure, gratefull to the mind, and encreasing by reflexion; ne­ver perishing or decaying; a man eter­nally enjoying the good he hath done, by remembring and ruminating thereon. In fine,

XX. Whereas the great obstacle to Charity is self-love, or an extravagant fondness of our own interests, yet un­charitableness [Page 223] destroyeth that: for how can we love our selves, if we do want charity, how can we appear lovely to our selves if we are destitute of so wor­thy an endowment, or if we can discern those unworthy dispositions, which ac­company the defect of it? can we esteem so mean, so vile, so ugly things as we then are? Aristotle saith, that bad men cannot be friends to themselves, because having in themselves nothing amiable, [...]. Arist. Eth. 9. 4. they can feel no affection toward them­selves; and certainly, if we are not stark blind, or can but see wrath, spite, envy, revenge in their own black and ugly hue, we must needs (if they do possess our souls) grow odious and despicable to our selves. And being they do rob us of so many great benefits, and bring so many grievous mischiefs on us, we cannot be otherwise than enemies to our selves by cherishing them, or suffering them to lodge in us.

These are some very considerable In­ducements to the practice of this great vertue; there are divers others, of a higher nature, derivable from the inmost bowels of our Religion, grounded on its peculiar Constitution and Obligations, which I shall now forbear to mention, [Page 224] reserving them for a particular Discourse by themselves.

O Lord,Quinquag. Sund. who hast taught us, that all our doings without Charity are nothing worth; Send thy Holy Ghost, and pour into our hearts that most excellent gift of Charity, the very bond of peace and of all vertues, without which whosoever liveth is counted dead before thee. Grant this for thine onely Son Jesus Christ's sake.

The Seventh Sermon.

ROMANS 12. 18.‘If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.’

THIS Chapter containeth many excellent Precepts, and whol­some Advices (scarce any por­tion of Holy Scripture so many in so little compass.) From among them I have selected one, alas, but too seasonable and pertinent to the unhappy condition of our distracted Age, wherein to observe this, and such like Injunctions, is by many esteemed an impossibility, by others a wonder, by some a crime. It hath an apt coherence with, yet no necessary dependance upon the parts ad­joining; whence I may presume to treat upon it distinctly by it self; and with­out farther preface or circumstance we may consider several particulars therein.

[Page 226] I. And First, Concerning the Advice it self, or the Substance of the Duty charged on us, [...], (to be in peace, or live peaceably) we may take notice, that, whether according to the more usual acception it be applied to the publick estate of things, or as here doth relate onely to private conversati­on, it doth import,

1. Not barely a negation of doing, or suffering harm; or an abstinence from strise and violence (for a meer strange­ness this may be, a want of occasion, or a truce, rather than a peace) but a positive Amity, and disposition to per­form such kind offices, without which good correspondence among men can­not subsist. For they who by reason of distance of place, non-acquaintance, or defect of opportunity maintain no enter­course, cannot properly be said to be in peace with one another: But those who have frequent occasion of commerce, whose conditions require enterchanges of courtesie and relief, who are some way obliged and disposed to afford need­full succour, and safe retreat to each other; These may be said to live in peace together; and these onely; it be­ing in a manner impossible, that they [Page 227] who are not disposed to do good to others (if they have power and opportunity) should long abstain from doing harm.

2. Living peaceably implies not some few transitory performances, proceeding from casual humour or the like; but a constant, stable, and well-settled condi­tion of being; a continual cessation from injury, and promptitude to do good offices. For as one blow doth not make a battel, nor one skirmish a war; so cannot single forbearances from doing mischief, or some few particular acts of kindness (such as meer strangers may afford each other) be worthily styled a being in peace: but an habitual incli­nation to these, a firm and durable e­state of innocence and beneficence.

3. Living in peace supposes a recipro­cal condition of being: not onely a per­forming good, and forbearing to do bad offices, but a receiving the like treat­ment from others. For he, that being assaulted is constrained to stand upon his defence, may not be said to be in peace, though his not being so (invo­luntarily) is not to be imputed to him.

4. Being in peace imports not onely an outward cessation of violence and seeming demonstration of amity, but an [Page 228] inward will and resolution to continue therein. For he that intends, when oc­casion is presented, to do mischief to another, is nevertheless an enemy, be­cause more secret and dangerous: an ambuscado is no less a piece of war, than confronting the enemy in open field. Proclaiming and denouncing sig­nifie, but good and ill intention con­stitute, and are the souls of peace and war. From these considerations we may infer a description of being in peace, viz, that it is, to bear mutual good-will, to continue in amity, to maintain good correspondence, to be upon terms of mutual courtesie and benevolence; to be disposed to perform reciprocally all offices of humanity; assistance in need, comfort in sorrow, relief in distress; to please and satisfie one another, by ad­vancing the innocent delight, and pro­moting the just advantage of each other; to converse with confidence and securi­ty, without suspicion on either hand of any fraudulent, malicious, or hurtfull practices against either: Or, negatively; Not to be in a state of enmity, personal hatred, pertinacious anger, jealousie, en­vy, or ill-will; not to be apt to provoke, to reproach, to harm, or hinder another, [Page 229] nor to have reasonable grounds of expec­ting the same bad usage from others: to be removed from danger of vexatious quarrels, entercourse of odious language, offending others, or being disquieted ones self. This I take to be the meaning of living, or being in peace, differing onely in degree of obligation, and latitude of object, from the state of friendship pro­perly so called, and opposed to a con­dition of enmity, defiance, contention, hatred, suspicion, animosity.

II. In the next place we may consider the Object of this Duty, signified in those words, With all men. We often meet in Scripture with exhortations di­rected peculiarly to Christians, to be at peace among themselves; as (Mark 9. 5.) Our Saviour layes this Injunction upon his Disciples, [...], Have peace one with another; inculcated by Saint Paul upon the Thessalonians in the same words: and the like we have in the Second Epistle to Timothy Chap. 2. Ver. 22. Follow righteousness, 1 Thess. 5. 13. faith, cha­rity, peace with them that call upon the Lord out of a pure heart; and to the Romans (14. 17.) Vid. Eph. 4. 3. Let us therefore follow after the things that make for peace, [Page 230] and things wherewith one may edifie ano­ther. But here the Duty hath a more large and comprehensive Object: [...], all men: as likewise it hath in the Epistle to the Hebrews, Chap. 12. Ver. 14. Pursue peace with all men; with all men without any exception, with men of all Nations, Jews and Gentiles, Greeks and Barbarians; of all Sects and Religions; persecuting Jews and Idola­trous Heathens; (for of such consisted the generality of men at that time) and so Saint Paul expresly in a like advice, (1 Cor. 10. 32. Give no offence neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the Church of God; Even as I please all men.) And I may add by evident parity of rea­son, with men of all degrees and estates, high and low, noble and base, rich and poor; of all tempers and dispositions, meek and angry, gentle and froward, pliable and perverse; of all endowments, wise and foolish, vertuous and vicious; of all judgments and persuasions, Orthodox and Heretical, peaceable and schismatical persons: this universally vast and bound­less term, All men, contains them all. Neither is there any evading our obli­gation to this Duty, by pretending about others, that they differ from us in humour [Page 231] and complexion of soul, that they enter­tain opinions irreconcileably contrary to ours; that they adhere to sects and par­ties which we dislike and disavow; that they are not so vertuous, so religious, so holy as they should be, or at least not in such a manner as we would have them; for be this allegation true or false, it will not excuse us; while they are not devested of humane nature, and can tru­ly lay claim to the name and title of men, we are by vertue of this Precept obliged to live peaceably with them.

III. We may consider the Qualifica­tion of the Duty here expressed, and what those words mean; If it be possible, as much as lieth in you. To which pur­pose we may advert, from our descrip­tion of living peaceably, that it consists mainly of two parts: one active, or pro­ceeding from us, and terminated on o­thers, To bear good will, to do good of­fices, to procure the profit, delight and welfare, to abstain from the displeasure, dammage and disturbance of others: The other passive, issuing from others, and terminated on our selves; That they be well affected toward us, inclinable to do us good, and no wise disposed to wish, [Page 232] design, or bring any harm, trouble, or vexation upon us. Whereof the former is altogether in our power, consisting of acts or omissions depending upon our free choice and counsel; and we are di­rectly obliged to it, by virtue of those words, [...], as much as lieth in you: the latter is not fully so, yet com­monly there be probable means of ef­fecting it, which we are hence bound to use, though sometimes they may fail of success. For the words [...], if it be possible, as they signifie the ut­most endeavour is to be employed; and that no difficulty (beneath the degree of impossibility) can discharge us from it, so they intimate plainly, that sometime our labour may be lost, and our purpose defeated; and that by the default of o­thers it may be impossible we should arrive to a peaceable condition of life with all men. However, by this Rule we are directed not onely our selves not to infringe the terms of peace toward others, but to endeavour earnestly by all honest and prudent means to obtain the good-will, favour and respect of others, by which they may be disposed to all friendly correspondence with us, and not to disturb the quiet and tranquillity of our lives.

[Page 233] Having thus by way of Explication superficially glanced upon the words, we will proceed to a more large and punctual review of them; and shall con­sider more distinctly the Particulars gross­ly mentioned; and

I. What those especial Duties are, in­cluded in this more comprehensive one of living peaceably with all men; both those which are directly required of us, as the necessary causes, or imme­diate results of a peaceable disposition in us toward others; and also those which are to be performed by us, as just and reasonable means conducible to beget or preserve in others a peaceable inclinati­on toward us: these I shall consider pro­miscuously: and

1. We are by this Precept directly obliged heartily to love, that is to be bear good-will to, to wish well to, to rejoice in the welfare, and commiserate the adversities of all men: at least not to hate, or bear ill-will to, to desire, or design the harm, to repine at the happy success, or delight in the misfortunes of any: for as it is very hard to maintain peace and amicable correspondence with those we do not truly love; so it is ab­solutely [Page 234] impossible to do it long with those we hate; this Satanick passion (or disposition of soul) always prompting the mind possessed therewith to the contrivance and execution of mischief; whence he that hates his brother,1 Joh. 3. 15. is said to be a murtherer, as having in him that bitter root, from whence, if power and occasion conspire, will probably spring that most extream of outrages, and capital breach of peace. Love is the onely sure cement, that knits and com­bines men in friendly society; and ha­tred the certain fountain of that violence which rends and dissolves it. We can­not easily hurt, or strive with those we love and wish well to: we cannot pos­sibly long agree with those we hate and malign. Peace without love can be esteemed little more than politick dissi­mulation; and peace with hatred is re­ally nothing less than an artificial dis­guise, or an insidious covert of enmity.

2. We are hence obliged to perform all kind offices of humanity, which the condition of any man can require, and may by us be performed without consi­derable inconvenience or detriment to our selves or others. When for the pre­servation, or comfortable accommoda­tion [Page 235] of life, they need our help or our advice, we are readily to afford them; when they are in want or distress, we are to minister to them what comfort and relief we can. We are (upon this very score) to obey that Injunction of Saint Paul to the Galatians; Gal. 6. 10. As we have opportunity, let us do good to all men. For without this beneficence a mans car­riage (though otherwise harmless and inoffensive) appears rather a suspicious strangeness, than a peaceable demeanour, and naturally produces an enmity in those that are concerned in it. For he to whom, being pressed with neces­sity, requisite assistance is denied, will infallibly be apt to think himself not onely neglected and disesteemed, but af­fronted also and injured; (Need in the general conceit of men, and especially of those that feel it, begetteth a kind of title to some competent relief) and con­sequently will heinously resent, and com­plain bitterly of such supposed wrong, and if ever he become able, repay it with advantage. And much more are we upon the same accompt not to perform ill offices toward any man; not to dis­turb him in the enjoyment of his inno­cent pleasure, nor to hinder him in the [Page 236] advancing his lawfull profit, nor to in­terrupt him in the prosecution of his reasonable designs; nor any wise to vex and grieve him needlesly; and (above all) not to detain him in, nor to aggra­vate his affliction. For these are actual violations of peace, and impediments of good correspondence among men. Far­ther,

3. In this Duty of living peaceably is included an obligation to all kind of just and honest dealing with all men: punctually to observe contracts, impar­tially to decide controversies, equally to distribute rewards; to injure no man either in his estate, by violent or frau­dulent encroachments upon his just pos­sessions; or in his reputation, by raising or dispersing slanderous reports concer­ning him: For these courses of all others are most destructive to peace, and upon the pretence of them most quarrels, that ever were, have been commenced.

Justice in its own nature is, and by the common agreement of men hath been designed the Guardian of peace, and sovereign remedy of contention: but not to insist long upon such obvious subjects.

4. It much conduceth to the preser­vation [Page 237] of peace, and upholding ami­cable correspondence, in our dealings and transactions with men, liable to doubt and debate, not to insist upon nice and rigorous points of right, not to take all advantage offered us, not to deal hard measure, nor to use extremi­ties to the dammage or hindrance of others, especially when no comparable benefit will thence accrue to our selves. For such proceedings,Vid. Tit. 3. 2. [...]. as they discover in us little kindness to, or tenderness of our neighbours good, so they exceeding­ly exasperate them, and persuade them we are their enemies, and render them ours, and so utterly destroy peace be­tween us. When as abating something from the height and strictness of our pretences, and a favourable recession in such cases will greatly engage men to have an honourable opinion, and a peace­able affection toward us.

5. If we would attain to this peaceable estate of life, we must use toward all men such demonstrations of respect and cour­tesie, which according to their degree and station custom doth entitle them to, or which upon the common score of hu­manity they may be reasonably deemed to expect from us: respective gestures, civil [Page 238] salutations, free access, affable demea­nour, cheerfull looks, and courteous dis­course. These as they betoken good-will in them that use them, so they beget, cherish, and encrease it in those, whom they refer to: and the necessary fruit of mutual good-will is peace. But the con­trary carriages; contemptuous or disre­gardfull behaviour, difficulty of admissi­on to converse, a tetrical or sullen as­pect, rough and fastidious language, as they discover a mind averse from friend­ly commerce, so they beget a more po­tent disdain in others: Men generally (especially those of generous and hearty temper) valuing their due respect be­yond all other interests, and more con­tentedly brooking injury than neglect. Whence this skill and dexterity of de­portment (though immediately, and in its own nature of no great worth, and regulating actions of small importance, gestures, looks, and forms of speech) yet because it is a nurse of peace, and greatly contributes to the delightfulness of society, hath been always much com­mended, and hath obtained a conspicu­ous place in the honourable rank of ver­tues, under the titles of courtesie, co­mity, and affability; and the opposites [Page 239] thereto, rudeness and rusticity, have been deservedly counted and called vices in morality.

6. This Precept directly prohibits the use of all reproachfull, scornfull, and pro­voking language; these being the imme­diate results of enmity, and actual brea­ches of peace. Whence Saint Paul con­joins,Tit. 3. 2. [...], and [...], Tit. 3. 2. To speak evil of no man, to be no quarrellers (or fighters) but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men. For war is managed (and that with more deadly animosity) with the tongue, [...]. Jul. 2. Orat. as well as with the hand (There is that speaketh like the piercings of a sword, saith Solomon; and whose teeth are spears and arrows, and their tongue a sharp sword, saith David.) Words are with more anguish felt than blows;Prov. 12. 18. their wounds are more incurable,Psal. 57. 4. and 64. 3. and they leave a deeper scarr.Prov. 18. 8. Men usually dread more the loss of their honour than their lives, and take more grievously the ra­vishing of their credit than the depreda­tion of their estate. Living peaceably therefore implies as much abstaining from opprobrious words as injurious ac­tions; [...]. Chrys. Tom. 5. pag. 32. yea more: for reviling is not onely a violation of peace, but a disho­nourable [Page 240] waging of war; like shooting arrows dipt in poison, and discharging sluggs against our neighbours reputati­on; practices condemned by all as base and inhumane, and contrary to the laws of a noble warfare; being arguments, we affect rather our adversaries utter ruine, than a gallant victory over him. There be fair ways of disputing our cause without contumelious reflections upon persons; and the errours of men may be sufficiently refuted without Satyrical virulency. One good reason modestly propounded hath in it naturally more power and efficacy to convince him that is in a mistake, or to confound him with shame that is guilty of a fault, than ten thousand scoffs and ignominious taunts.Vid. Egre­gium Anto­nini locum, lib. 11. § 18. 9. [...]. When we are to express those deeds of nature (the performance of which is concealed, as containing in it something of supposed turpitude) we are wont to veil them in such modest circumlocutions, that by the hearers without offence to their bashfulness may sufficiently be understood. So when it is needfull or expedient to confute the opinions, or reprove the actions of men, if we either charitably design their amendment, or desire to maintain peace­able [Page 241] correspondence with them, it be­hoves that we do not by using the most broad and distastfull language immode­rately trespass upon their modesty and patience; that (to use Seneca's phrase) we do Agere cardm non tantùm salutis, sed & honestae cicatricis, De Clem. lib. 1. c. 17. Have a care not only to cure the wound, but to leave a comely scar, and not to deform him, whom we endeavour to reform; for no sore is the easilier cured for being roughly handled, and least of all those in manners and opinion.Prov. 15. 1. A soft hand and a tender heart, and a gen­tle tongue are most convenient qualities of a spiritual Chirurgeon. But farther to this purpose▪

7. If we desire to live peaceably with all men we are to be equal in censuring mens actions, candid in interpreting their meanings, mild in reprehending, and sparing to relate their miscarriages, to derive their actions from the best prin­ciples (from which in the judgment of charity they may be supposed to proceed, as from casual mistake rather than from wilfull prejudice; from humane infir­mity rather than from malicious design) to construe ambiguous expressions to the most favourable sense they may admit; [Page 242] not to condemn mens practices without distinct knowledge of the case, and exa­mining the reasons, which possibly may absolve or excuse them: to extenuate their acknowledged faults by such cir­cumstances as aptly serve that purpose, and not to exaggerate them by streined consequences, or uncertain conjectures. To rebuke them (if need be) so as they may perceive we sincerely pity their er­rours, and tender their good; and wish nothing more then their recovery, and do not design to upbraid, deride, or in­sult over them being fallen; and finally not to recount their misdeeds over-fre­quently,Prov. 17. 9. unseasonably, and with com­placence. He that thus demeaneth him­self, manifestly sheweth himself to prize his neighbours good-will, and to be de­sirous to continue in amity with him; and assuredly obliges him to be in the same manner affected toward him. But he that is rigidly severe and censorious in his judgments, blaming in them things indifferent, condemning actions allowable, detracting from qualities com­mendable, deducing mens doings from the worst causes, and imputing them to the worst ends, and representing them under the most odious appellations, (that [Page 243] calls all Impositions of superiours, which he dislikes, Tyranny, and all manners of divine worship, that sute not to his fan­cy, superstition, and all pretences to conscience in those that dissent from him, hypocrisy; and all opinions different from his, heresy: that is suspicious of ill intention without sufficient ground, and prejudicates mens meanings before he well apprehends them, and capti­ously perverts sayings capable of good construction;That flies like a Vulture to Carrion only. Plut. de util. cap. ex inim. That is curiously inquisi­tive into his neighbours life, and gladly observes failings therein, and upon all occasions recites stories to his disgrace and disadvantage:Prov. 17. 9. that is immoderately bitter,Prov. 24. 17. fierce and vehement in accusing and inveighing against others, painting such, as he assumes to impugn, with the blackest colours, in the most horrid shape and ugly dress, converting all matter of discourse (though never so un­seasonably and impertinently) into de­clamation, and therein copiously expa­tiating, in fine employing his utmost might of wit and eloquence and confi­dence in rendring that to others as hate­full, as he signifies they are to himself, such men, what do they else but loudly proclaim that they despise their neigh­bours [Page 244] good-will, purposely provoke his anger, and defie his utmost enmity? for 'tis impossible such dealing should not by them, who are therein concerned, be accompted extreamly unjust, and to pro­ceed from desperate hatred.

8. He that would effectually observe this Apostolick rule, must be disposed to overlook such lesser faults committed against him, as make no great breach upon his interest or credit, yea,Sen. Ben. 7. 31. Vincit malos pertinax bonitas. [...]. Rom. 12. 21. to forget or forgive the greatest and most grievous injuries: To excuse the mis­takes, and connive at the neglects,Irascitur aliquis? tu con­tra beneficiis provoca: cadit statim simultas ab altera parte deserta; nisi par non pugnat: si utrinque certabitur, ille est melior, qui prior pe­dem retulit; victus est qui vicit. Sen. de Ira. 2. 34. and bear patiently the hasty passions of his neigh­bour, and to embrace readi­ly any seāsonable overture, and accept any tolerable con­ditions of reconcilement. For even in common life that observation of our Saviour most exactly holds, It is impossible that offences should not come. The air may sooner become wholly fixed, and the sea continue in a perfect rest without waves, or undulations, than humane conversation be altogether free from occasions of distast, which he that cannot either prudently dissemble, [Page 245] or patiently digest, must renounce all hopes of living peaceably here. He that like tinder is inflammable by the least spark, and is inraged by every angry word, and resents deeply every petty affront, and cannot endure the memory of a past unkindness should upon any terms be defaced; resolves surely to live in eternal tumult and combustion; to multiply daily upon himself fresh quar­rels, and to perpetuate all enmity alrea­dy begun. When as by total passing by those little causes of disgust, the present contention is altogether avoided, or in­stantly appeased, our neighbours passion suddenly evaporates, and consumes it self; no remarkable footsteps of dissensi­on remain; our neighbour reflecting upon what is past sees himself obliged by our discreet forbearance, however all possible means are used to prevent trouble and preserve peace. To this purpose (The discretion of a man deferreth his anger, Prov. 19. 11. and it is his glory to pass over a transgression) saith Solomon: Prov. 17. 9. and He that covereth a transgression seeketh love, saith the same wise Prince. But far­ther

9. If we would live peaceably with all men, we must not over highly value our [Page 246] selves, nor over eagerly pursue our own things. We must not admire our own endowments, nor insist upon our deserts, for this will make us apt to depreciate others, and them to loath us. We must not be over tender of our credit, and co­vetous of respect; for this will render us apt to take exceptions, and engage us in troublesome competitions for superio­rity of place, and preeminence in the vain opinions of men.Prov. 28. 25. (He that is of a proud heart stirreth up strife: Prov. 13. 10. and Only (i. e. chiefly) from pride cometh con­tention, saith Solomon.) We must not be much addicted to our own interests, for this will dispose us to encroach upon the concernments of others, and them to resist our attempts, whence conflict and enmity will necessarily arise. We must not prefer our own judgments, and imperiously obtrude them upon others; nor be pertinacious in perswading them to embrace our private opinions, nor violently urgent to a compliance with our humour. For these things are into­lerably fastidious in conversation, and obnoxious to be charged with usurpation and iniquity; all men naturally challen­ging to themselves an equal, or at least a proportionable share of reason, together [Page 247] with the free conduct of their lives un­controllable by private dictates. If therefore we desire to live quietly, and not needlesly to disoblige, or displease others, we should be modest in estee­ming our own abilities, and moderate in pursuing our own advantages, and in our converse not less complacent to o­thers then we desire they should be to us; and as liberal in allowing leave to dissent from us, as we are bold in taking freedom to abound in our own sense. And if in debate a modest declaration of our opinion, and the reasons inducing us thereto, will not prevail, it behoves us to give over such a succesless combat, and to retire into the silent enjoyment of our own thoughts. From not observing which rule discourse grows into conten­tion, and contention improves into feud and enmity.

10. If we would live peaceably, it concerns us to abstain from needless con­tests about matters of opinion, and que­stions either meerly vain and frivolous, of little use or concernment, or over nice and subtle, and thence indeterminable by reason; or that are agitated with ex­traordinary eagerness and heat of pas­sion; or such as are already defined by [Page 248] general consent, or such upon the deci­sion of which the publick peace and safe­ty do depend. There are some contro­versies prickly like brambles, and apt to scratch those that handle them, but yielding no savoury or wholsom fruit: such as concern the consequences of ima­ginary suppositions, the state and cir­cumstances of Beings to us unknown, the right application of artificial terms, and the like impertinent matters; which serve to no other purpose but the exer­cise of curious wits, and exciting emu­lation among them. Others there be concerning matters of more weighty moment, yet having their resolution depending upon secrets unsearchable, or the interpretation of ambiguous words, and obscure phrases, or upon some other uncertain conjectures; and are yet ren­dred more difficult by being intangled with inextricable folds of subtilty, nice distinctions,Non amplius inveniri licet quàm quod à Deo discitur. Tertull. de Anim. cap. 2. and crafty evasions, devi­sed by the parties engaged in them for the maintenance of their causes respe­ctively, whence it hath happened, though with immense care and diligence of both parts they have been long canvased; that yet they do, and in all probability will for ever remain undecided. So that [Page 249] now to engage in contest about them, may be reasonably deemed nothing more than a wilfull mispense of our time, labour and good humour; by vainly reciproca­ting the saw of endless contention. Other questions there be in themselves of more easy resolution, and of considerable im­portance, which yet by extreme oppo­sition of parties are so clouded and over­grown with insuperable prejudices, that the disputing them is seldom attended with other success, than an inflaming our selves and others with passion. O­thers are by small and obscure parties ma­naged against the common consent, and against the positive decrees of the most venerable authoities among men, by ventilating which as truth is like to gain little, so peace is sure to suffer much. For as it is no wise a safe or advised course (except in case of necessary de­fence) to subject received opinions to the hazardous trial of a tumultuary conflict, their credit being better upheld by a stately reservedness, than by a popular forwardness of discourse; as buildings stand fastest that are never shaken, and those possessions remain most secure that are never called in question: so on the other hand to countenance new and un­couth [Page 250] paradoxes, as it argues too much arrogance and presumption in confron­ting our single apprehensions against the deliberate sense and suffrage of so many men, yea so many ages of men; and is likely to prove a succesless attempt, like swimming against the current, accom­panied with much toil and little progress, so it serves no good end, but only fo­ments divisions, and disturbs both our private and the publik peace. But most of all we are to be cautelous of medling with controversies of dangerous conse­quence, wherein the publick weal and quiet are concerned, which bare the roots of sacred authority, and prostitute the mysteries of government to vulgar inspection. Such points ought to be subjects of law, not of syllogism, and the errours in them to be corrected by punishment, [...]. Arist. Top. 1. 8. ra­ther then confuted by argu­ment: neither can it be thought reasonable that the interest of publick peace should depend upon the event of private disputation. It concerns us therefore, if we would live peaceably in such disputable matters, reserving all due reverence to the judgments of the [Page 251] most, the best and wisest persons, to be content in a modest privacy, to enjoy the results of a serious and impartial disquisi­tion, patiently enduring others to dissent from us, and not attempting by need­less, fruitless, and endless contentions to gain others to our persuasions; especial­ly since the truth contended for may not be worth the passion employed upon it, and the benefits of the victory not coun­tervail the prejudices sustained in the combat. For goodness and vertue may often consist with ignorance and errour, seldom with strife and discord. And this consideration I shall conclude with those exhortations of Saint Paul, Tit. 3. 9. But foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and law-contests decline, for they are unprofitable and vain. And in 2 Ep. to Tim. cap. 2. v. 23. But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they gender strifes; And the servant of the Lord (that is a minister of Religion) must not strive, but be gentle to all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instru­cting those that are * contrarily disposed. [...]. And in the same Chapter, v. 14. Of these things put them in remembrance, charging them before the Lord, that they strive not about words to no profit, to the [Page 252] subverting of the hearers: Of so perni­cious consequence did Saint Paul esteem unnecessary wrangling and disputing to be. But farther

11. If we desire to live peaceably we must restrain our pragmati­cal curiosity within the bounds of our proper business and concernment,According to St. Paul's advice (1 Thess. 4. 11.) Strive (or be ambitious) to be quiet, and to mind your own business. ( [...].) not [being curiosi in aliena Republ.] in­vading other mens provinces, and without leave or com­mission intermeddling with their affairs; not rushing into their Closets, prying into their concealed designs, or dictating counsel to them without due invitation thereto; not controlling their actions, nor subjecting their proceedings to our censure without competent authority. For these courses men usually look upon as rash intrusions, both injurious and re­proachfull to them, usurping upon that freedom of choice (which all men passio­nately affect to preserve entire to them­selves) and arguing them of weakness and incapacity to manage their own bu­siness: neither do men more naturally drive away flies that buzze about their ears and molest them in their employ­ments, than they with disdain repell [Page 253] such immodest and unseasonable medlers in their affairs. Let no man suffer (saith Saint Peter) as a busy body in other mens matters: 1 Pet. 4. 15. intimating that those who are impertinently inquisitive into other mens matters, make themselves liable to suffer (and that deservedly) for their fond curi­osity, Prov. 26. [...]7. and bold presumption. And He that passeth by, and medleth with strife belonging not to him, is like one that ta­keth a dog by the ears, (saith Solomon;) that is, he catcheth at that which he can­not hold, and vainly aims at that which he cannot effect, and rashly irritates those which will turn upon him and bite him. If therefore we would neither mo­lest others, nor be disquieted our selves, we must be like natural agents, never working ought beyond our proper sphere of activity. But especially, if we desire to live peaceably, we must beware of assuming to our selves a liberty to censure the designs, decrees, or transactions of publick authority, and of saying to our Superiours, what dost thou? and much more, by querulous murmurings, or clamorous declamations, of bringing en­vy and odium upon them. Few private men are capable of judging aright con­cerning those things, as being placed be­neath [Page 254] in a valley, and wanting a due prospect upon the ground and causes of their proceedings, who by reason of their eminent station can see more and farther then they; and therefore are incompe­tent Judges, and unjustly presume to interpose their sentence in such cases. But suppose the actions of Superiours notoriously blameable and scandalous, and that by infallible arguments we are persuaded thereof; yet seeing neither the taxing of, nor complaint against them doth in any wise regularly belong to us, nor the discovery of our mind therein can probably be an efficacious means of procuring redress, and imme­diately tends to diminish the reputation, and weaken the affection due to govern­ment, and consequently to impair the peaceable estate of things, which by them is sustained, we are wholly to ab­stain from such unwarrantable, unprofi­table and turbulent practices; and with a submiss and discreet silence, passing over the miscarriages of our Superiours, to wait patiently upon the providence, and implore the assistence of Him, who is the only competent Judge of such, and sovereign disposer of all things, who hath their hearts in his hands,Prov. 21. 1. and fashio­neth [Page 255] them as he thinks good.Prov. 33. 15. Farther,

12. If we would live peaceably with all men, it behoves us not to engage our selves so deeply in any singular friend­ship, or in devotion to any one party of men, as to be entirely partial to their interests, and prejudiced in their behalf, without distinct consideration of the truth and equity of their pretences in the particular matters of difference; not to approve, favour or applaud that which is bad in some, to dislike, dis­countenance or disparage that which is good in others: not out of excessive kind­ness to some, to give just cause of distast to others: not for the sake of a fortui­tous agreement in disposition, opinion, interest or relation to violate the duties of justice or humanity. For he that up­on such terms is a friend to any one man, or party of men, as to be resolved (with an implicit faith, or blind obedience) to maintain what-ever he or they shall affirm to be true, and what-ever they shall doe to be good, doth in a manner undertake enmity against all men beside, and as it may happen doth oblige himself to contradict plain truth, to deviate from the rules of vertue, and to offend Al­mighty God himself. This unlimited [Page 256] partiality we owe only to truth and goodness, and to God (the fountain of them) in no case to swerve from their dictates and prescriptions. He that followed Tiberius Gracchus in his sediti­ous practices, upon the bare accompt of friendship, and alledged in his excuse, that if his friend had required it of him, he should as readily have put fire to the Capitol,Cic. in Laelio. was much more abominable for his disloyalty to his Country, and horrible impiety against God, than com­mendable for his constant fidelity to his friend. And that Souldier, Luc. lib. 1. which is said to have told Caesar (in his first ex­pedition against Rome) that in obedience to his commands he would not refuse to sheath his sword in the breast of his Bro­ther, or in the throat of his aged Father, or in the bowels of his pregnant Mother, was for his unnatural barbarity rather to be abhorred, than to be esteemed for his loyal affection to his General. And in like manner he that to please or gratify the humour of his friend,Prov. 24. 24. He that saith to the wicked thou art righ­teous, him shall the peo­ple curse, na­tions shall ab­hor him. can be either injurious, or treacherous, or notably discourteous to any man else, is very blameable, and renders himself deser­vedly odious to all others. Laelius, who incomparably well both understood [Page 257] and practised the rules of friendship, is by Cicero reported to have made this the first and chief Law thereof.Cic. in Laelio. Vt neque rogemus res turpes, nec faciamus rogati, That we neither require of our friends the performance of base and naugh­ty things; nor being requested of them, perform such our selves. And in the he­raldry, or comparison of duties, as all others must give place to those of piety, verity and vertue, so after them the du­ties of humanity justly challenge the next place of respect, even above those which belong to the highest degree of friendship (due to our nearest relations, yea to our Country it self) precisely ta­ken, abstracted, and distinguished from those of humanity. For the World is in nature the first, the most comprehen­sive and dearest Country of us all; and our general obligations to mankind are more ancient, more fundamental, and more indispensable, than those particu­lar ones superadded to or superstructed on them. The peace therefore of the World, and the general welfare of men its Citizens, ought to be more dear to us, and the means conducing thereto more carefully regarded by us in our actions, than either the love, favour or [Page 258] satisfaction of any particular persons is to be valued or pursued. And the not observing this rule may reasonably be esteemed to have a great influence upon the continuance of those implacable feuds and dissensions wherewith the world is so miserably torn and shattered. Mens being peremptorily resolved to extoll, countenance, or excuse promiscuously all the principles and proceedings of the party to which they have addicted them­selves, and to see no errour, fault or abuse in them; but by all means to de­press, vilify and condemn (if not to re­proach, calumniate and persecute) the opinions and practices of others, and not to acknowledge in them any thing considerably good or commendable; whence commonly all apprehend their adversaries extremely unjust and disin­genuous towards them, and are aliena­ted from all thoughts, (or however dis­couraged from all hopes) of friendly ac­commodation and reconcilement. But he that would live peaceably with all men, must be free in his judgment, im­partial in his dealing, and ingenuous in his carriage toward all:Jud. 16. not [...], admiring, or wondring at some men (as if they were impeccable, [Page 259] or infallible) nor having the truth in re­spect of persons,Jam. 2. 1. abetting in his friends onely what is just and true, and allow­ing the same in others, but in neither by signal approbation countenancing any thing false or evil; for so demeaning him­self, he giveth no man just occasion of displeasure or enmity against him.

13. If we would live peaceably our selves, we should endeavour to preserve peace, and prevent differences, and re­concile dissensions among others, by doing good offices, and making fair re­presentations of intercurrent passages be­tween them; by concealing causes of future disgust, and removing present misunderstandings, and excusing past mistakes; by allaying their passions, and rightly informing their minds, by friend­ly intercessions, and pacifick advices. For the fire that devoureth our neigh­bours house threatneth and endangereth ours, and it is hard to approach conten­tion without being engaged therein. 'Tis not easie to keep our selves indiffe­rent or neutral, and doing so we shall in likelihood be maligned and persecuted by both the contending parties.Matt. 5. 9. Blessed are the peace-makers, saith our Saviour; for they shall be called the sons of God; [Page 260] that is, they shall be highly esteemed and reverenced for this divine quality, wherein they so nearly resemble the God of peace, and his blessed Son the great Mediatour: but farther, without respect to other recompence, and from the nature of their employment, such are immediately happy, and in this their vertuous practice rewards it self, that by appeasing others quarrels, they save themselves from trouble, and enjoy them­selves that tranquillity which they pro­cure to othersTo the Coun­sellours of peace is joy.. But those informing Sycophants,Prov. 12. 20. those internuncio's of pesti­lent tales, and incendiaries of discord, that (from bad nature, or upon base de­sign) by the still breath of clandestine whispers, or by the more violent blasts of impudent calumnies kindle the flames of dissension, or foment them among others; that, by disseminating infamous rumours, and by malicious suggestions, instill jealousies into, and nourish male­volent surmises in the minds of men, separating (as it is in the Proverbs) be­tween chief friends, Prov. 16. 28. and widening the distance between others; These (I say) from the seeds of variance they scatter among others, reap in the end mischief and disturbance to themselves; nor can [Page 261] expect to enjoy the benefit of that quiet, which they labour to deprive others of. The beginning of strife (saith Solomon) is as when one letteth out water; Prov. 17. 14. and he that to the intent his neighbours Lands should be overflown with a torrent of dissension, doth unloose the damms, and cut the banks of former friendship, may (if he be wise) expect the merciless floud should at length reach himself,Prov. 25. 8. and that his own habitation should be at last sur­rounded therewith. For when men at length begin to be weary, and to repent of their needless quarrels, and the mis­chievous consequences attending them, and to be inquisitive into the causes and instruments of their vexation, they will certainly find out, detest and invert the edge of their displeasure upon these wretched makebates; and so the poison they mingled for others they themselves drink up;Vid. the Catastrophe of the Tra­gedy (begun by them) is acted upon themselves;Prov. 11. 27. they sink down into the pit they made for others,He that dili­gently seeketh good procureth favour; but he that see­keth mischief it shall come upon him. and in the net which they hid is their own foot ta­ken: Et delator habet quod dedit exi­tium.

Lastly, If we would effectually ob­serve this Precept, we must readily com­ply [Page 262] with the innocent customs, and obey the established laws of the places where we live. I say first comply with the customs; which also are in effect inferiour laws enacted by the tacit a­greement of the generality of men; the non-observation of which is upon many accompts very prejudicial to peaceable life. For to those concerned in it, it will always seem to intimate a squeamish niceness a froward perverseness, an arro­gant self-conceitedness, a manifest despi­sing other mens judgments, and a vir­tual condemning their practices of fault or folly, and consequently a monopoli­zing all goodness, and appropriating all wisedom to himself; qualities intole­rably odious to men and productive of enmity. It incenses the people (hugely susceptive of provocation) with a sense of notable injury done, and contempt cast upon it. For the onely authority, which the commonalty can lay claim to, consists in prescribing Rules of decency in language, habit, gesture, ceremony, and other circumstances of action, de­clared and ratified by ordinary practice; non-conformity to which is by them ad­judged a marvellous irregularity, contu­macy, and rebellion against the Majesty [Page 263] of the people, and is infallibly revenged and punished by them.

There's no preserving peace, nor pre­venting broils and stirs, but by punctu­ally observing that ordinary Rule of equity,Id agamus, ut meliorem vitam sequa­mur quàm vulgus non ut contrariam, alioqui quos emendari vo­lumus fuga­mus & à no­bis averti­mus. That in cases of doubtfull de­bate, and points of controverted practice, the fewest should yield to the most, the weakest bend to the strongest, and that to the greatest number should be allow­ed at least the greates appearance of reason. To which purpose we may ob­serve, that the best and wisest men, (not to displease those with whom they conversed,Temperetur vita inter bo­nos mores & publicos, &c. Sen. Epist. 5. as far as their Duty to God, and their conscience would permit) have commonly in their manners of life fol­lowed not what in their retired judg­ment they most approved, but what suted to the customs of their times and places, avoiding a morose singularity as offensive to others, and productive of disquiet to themselves.Epist. ad Att. Lib. 2. Ep. 1. You know how Cicero censured Cato for endeavouring against the grain, and predominant ge­nius of those times to reduce things to a strict agreement with his private no­tions: Ille optimo animo utens, & summâ fide nocet interdum Reipublicae. Dicit enim tanquam in Platonis [...], non [Page 264] tanquam in Romuli foece sententiam. But a more clear and pertinent instance we have in Saint Paul; who thus re­presents his own practice:1 Cor. 9. 22. 10. 33. I have made my self a servant to all: Vnto the Jews I became as a Jew; to them that are without law as without law: To the weak became I as weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. Saint Paul wisely knew,Vid. Act. 21. that by a prudent compliance with mens customs, and condescension to their capacities, he engaged to him, or at least did not alienate from him their affections; and thereby became more capable of infusing good Doctrine into their minds, and promoting their spiritual good. And the same course was generally taken by the primitive Christians, who in all things (not in­consistent with the rules and principles of their Religion) did industriously con­form their conversation to the usual practices of men; thereby shunning those scandalous imputations of pride and perversness, which then rendred the Jews so odious to the world, as appears by divers passages in the ancient Apo­logists for Christian Religion: particu­larly Justin Martyr (in his Epistle to [Page 265] Diognetus) hath these words: [...], &c. The Christians neither in dwelling, lan­guage, or customs differ from the rest of men; they neither inhabit towns proper to themselves, nor use any peculiar dia­lect, nor exercise an uncouth manner of living, but as by chance it is allotted to them, inhabiting cities belonging both to Greeks and Barbarians, comply with the customs of the country. And much more hath he there; and much Tertullian like­wise in his Apologetick, to the same pur­pose. Neither do we find in the life of our Saviour, that exact pattern of all wisedom and goodness, that in any thing he did affect to differ from the received customs of his time and country, ex­cept such as were grounded upon vain conceits, extreamly prejudicial to piety, or directly repugnant thereto.

And I cannot except from this Rule the compliance with religious customs used in the Worship and Service of God: [Page 266] since a wilfull discrepancy from them doth much more destroy peace, and kindle the flame of contention, in as much as men are apt to apprehend them­selves much more slighted and more condemned by a disagreement in those, than in matters of lesser concernment. And it cannot reasonably be imagined, that the God of love and peace, who questionless delights to see men converse in peace and amity, and who therefore in general terms enjoyns us,Rom. 14. 19. to pursue the things that make for peace (where­of certainly in reason and to experience, following indifferent and harmless cu­stoms, not expresly repugnant to his law, nor to the dictates of natural rea­son, is one thing, and not the least) in our addresses to himself (partly designed and mainly serving more strictly to unite, not to dissociate men in affection) should dislike, or disapprove the use of this course so expedient and conducible to peace: especially since he infinitely more regards the substance of the Duty, and the devotion of the heart therein, than the manner or any circumstantial ap­pendages thereof: 'Tis certain however, that Saint Paul intimates a wilfull de­parture from ordinary practice in such [Page 267] cases, to proceed from a contentious disposition:1 Cor. 11. 16. But if any man (saith he) have a mind to be contentious (so [...], imports) we have no such custom, nor the Churches of God.

But yet much more is peaceable con­versation impeached by disobedience to established Laws, those great bulwarks of Society, fences of Order, and sup­ports of Peace; which he that refuses to obey, is so far from living peaceably with all men, that he may reasonably be presumed unwilling to have peace with any man; since in a manner he defies all mankind, vilifies its most so­lemn Judgments, endeavours to dissolve those sacred bands, by which its union is conteined, and to subvert the onely foundations of publick tranquillity. He declares himself either to affect an uni­versal tyranny over, or an abhorrency from society with other men, to be un­willing to live with them upon equal terms, or to submit to any fair arbitra­tion, to desire that strifes should be end­less and controversies never decided, who declines the verdict of Law, the most solemn issue of deliberate advice, pro­ceeding from the most honourable, most wise, most worthy, and select persons, [Page 268] and involving in it the consent of the whole Commonwealth.1 Tim. 2. 2. Saint Paul di­recting that prayers should be made for Princes, and those in Authority, assigns the reason, that we may lead a quiet and a peaceable life in all godliness and ho­nesty: And certainly if we are to pray for, we are also obliged to obey them in order to the same end, which to do is absolutely in our power, and more immediately requisite to that purpose. For as no peace can be preserved without the influence of authority; so no autho­rity can subsist without obedience to its sanctions. He that is desirous to enjoy the privileges of this happy estate of peace, must in reason be content to per­form the Duties injoined, and bear the common burthens imposed by those who are the protectours of it.

Thus as plainly as I could have I de­scribed what it is to live peaceably, and what the means are that principally con­duce thereto: I should now proceed to consider the Object of the Duty, and the Reasons why it respects all men: As also whence it comes, that sometimes we may fail in our endeavour of attaining this desirable condition: And lastly to propound some Inducements persuasive [Page 269] of its practice. But I must not farther encroach on your patience, and shall therefore reserve these things to the next opportunity.

Now: The peace of God, which passeth all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God, and of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord; and the blessing of God Almighty, the Fa­ther, Son and Holy Ghost be among you, and remain with you always. Amen.

The Eighth Sermon.

ROMANS 12. 18.‘If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.’

I Have very lately considered what it is to live peaceably, and what are the Duties included therein; and what Means conduce thereto.

II. I proceed now to consider the Ob­ject thereof, and why the duty of living peaceably extends to all men, that is, why we are bound to bear good-will, and doe good offices, and shew civil respects to all men: and to endeavour, that all men reciprocally be well affected toward us. For it might with some colour of rea­son be objected, and said: Why should I be obliged heartily to love those, that desperately hate me, to treat them kind­ly, that use me despitefully; to help [Page 272] them, that would hinder me; to re­lieve them, that would plunge me into utter distress; to comfort them, that delight in my affliction; to be respe­ctive to, and tender of their reputation, who despise, defame, and reproach me: to be indulgent, and favourable to them, who are harsh, and rigorous in their dealings with me; to spare and pardon them, who with implacable ma­lice persecute me? why should I seek their friendship, who disdainfully reject mine; why prize their favour, who scorn mine; why strive to please them, who purposely offend me? or why should I have any regard to men void of all faith, goodness, or desert? And most of all, why should I be bound to maintain amicable correspondence with those, who are professed enemies to pie­ty, and vertue, who oppugn truth, and disturb peace, and countenance vice, er­rour, and faction? How can any love, consent of mind, or communion of good offices intercede between persons so con­trarily disposed? I answer, they may and ought, and that because the obliga­tion to these ordinary performances is not grounded upon any peculiar re­spects, special qualifications, or singular [Page 273] actions of men, (which are contingent and variable) but upon the indefectible score of common humanity. We owe them, (as the Philosopher alledged, when he dispensed his alms to an unworthy person) [...]: not to the men, but to hu­mane nature, resident in them. There be indeed divers other sorts of love, in nature and object more restrained, built upon narrower foundations, and requi­ring more extraordinary acts of du­ty, and respect (not competent to all men;) as a love of friendship, founded upon long acquaintance, sutableness of disposition, and frequent exchanges of mutual kindness; a love of gratitude due to the reception of valuable bene­fits; a love of esteem belonging to per­sons endued with worth and vertue; a love of relation resulting from kindred, affinity, neighbourhood, and other com­mon engagements. But the love of be­nevolence (which is precedent to these, and more deeply rooted in nature, more ancient, more unconfined, and more im­mutable) and the duties mentioned con­sequent on it, are grounded upon the na­tural constitution, necessary properties, and unalterable condition of humanity, [Page 274] and are upon several accompts due thereto.

1. Upon account of universal cogna­tion, agreement, and similitude of na­ture. For [...]. All men naturally are of kinn, and friends to each other, saith Aristotle. 8 Eth. cap. 1. Et fratres etiam vestri su­mus jure naturae matris unius; We are also your brethren in the right of nature our common mother, In Apolog. [...]. &c. said Tertullian of old, in the name of the Christians, to the Heathens. We are but several streams issuing from one primitive source; several branches sprouting from the same stock, several stones hewed out of the same quarry. One sub­stance, by miraculous efficacy of the divine benediction diffused, and multi­plied.Epict. 1. 13. One element affords us matter, and one fire actuates it,Act. 17. 26. kindled at first by the breath of God.Nemo est in genere huma­no, cui non dilectio, etsi non pro mutua charitate, pro ipsa tamen communis na­turae societate debeatur. One bloud flows in all our veines; one nourishment re­pairs our decayed bodies, and one com­mon aire refreshes our languishing spi­rits. We are cohabitants of the same earth, and fellow-citizens of the same great Common-wealth;Aug. Epist. 121. ad Pro­bam. Vnam Remp. omnium agnoscimus mundum, said the forementioned Apologist for Christianity. [Page 275] We were all fashioned according to the same original Idea (resembling God our common father) all endowed with the same faculties, inclinations, and af­fections; all conspire in the essential, and more notable ingredients of our constitution; and are onely distingui­shed by some accidental inconsiderable circumstances, of age, place, colour, stature, fortune, and the like; in which we differ as much from our selves in successions of time. So that what Ari­stotle said of a friend, is applicable to every man: Every man is [...], Another our-self; And he that hates another, detests his own most lively picture; he that harms ano­ther,Cic. Nihil est enim unum uni tam simile, tam par, quàm omnes inter nosmetipsos sumùs, &c. de Legib. 1. pag. 161. injures his own nature; he that denies relief to ano­ther, starves a member of his own body, and withers a branch of his own tree. The mercifull man doeth good to his own soul; but he that is cruel troubleth his own flesh. Prov. 11. 17. Neither can any personal de­merit of vicious habit, erroneous opi­nion, enormous practice, or signal dis­courtesy towards us, dissolve these bands: for as no unkindness of a brother can wholly rescind that rela­tion, [Page 276] or disoblige us from the duties annexed thereto: so neither upon the faults,See Deut. 25. 3.—lest thy brother seem vile unto thee. or injuries of any man can we ground a total dispensation from the offices of humanity, especially if the in­juries be not irreparable, nor the faults incurable.

2. We are indispensably obliged to these duties, because the best of our na­tural inclinations prompt us to the per­formance of them; especially those of pity and benignity, which are mani­festly discernible in all, but most pow­erfull and vigorous in the best natures; and which questionless by the most wise, and good Author of our beings were implanted therein both as monitors to direct, and as spurrs to incite us to the performance of our duty. For the same bowels, that in our want of necessary sustenance, do by a lively sense of pain informe us thereof, and instigate us to provide against it; do in like manner grievously resent the distresses of ano­ther, and thereby admonish us of our duty, and provoke us to relieve them. Even the stories of calamities, that in ages long since past have happened to persons, no-wise related to us, yea the fabulous reports of tragical events, do [Page 277] (even against the bent of our wills, and all resistance of reason) melt our hearts with compassion, and draw tears from our eyes: and thereby evidently signify that general sympathy, which naturally interceeds between all men [...]fince we can neither see, nor hear or, nor ima­gine anothers grief without being af­flicted our selves. Antipathies may be natural to wild beasts; but to rational creatures they are wholly unnatural And on the other side, as nature to ea­ting and drinking, and such acts requi­site to the preservation of our life,—haec nostri pars optima sensûs,—mutuus ut nos Affectus petere auxili­um, & prae­stare juberet. Juven. Sat. 15. hath adjoyned a sensible pleasure and satisfa­ction, enticing us to and encouraging us in the performance of them; so, and doubtless to the same end, hath she made relieving the necessities of o­thers, and doing good offices to them, to be accompanied with a very con­tentfull and delicious relish to the mind of the doer. Epicurus, that great Ma­ster of pleasure, did himself confess; that to bestow benefits was not onely more brave, but more pleasant, then to re­ceive them; ( [...], saithDe philos. convictu cum Princip. Plutarch, [...]) And certain­ly no kind of actions, [...]. M. Ant. a man can per­forme, [Page 278] are attended with a more pure, more perfect, more savoury delight, then those of beneficence are. Since nature therefore hath made our neighbours mi­sery our pain, and his content our plea­sure; since with indissoluble bands of mutuall sympathy she hath concate­nated our fortunes, and affections toge­ther; since by the discipline of our sense she instructs us, and by the importunity thereof solicits us to the observance of our duty, let us follow her wise directi­ons, and conspire with her kindly mo­tions; let us not stifle, or weaken by disuse, or contrary practice, but by con­formable action cherish and confirm the good inclinations of nature.

3. We are obliged to these duties up­on account of common equity. We have all (the most sowre and Stoical of us all) implanted in us a naturall ambi­tion, and a desire (which we can by no means eradicate) of being beloved, and respected by all; and are disposed in our need to demand assistance, commi­seration of our misfortunes, and relief in our distress of all that are in capacity to afford them; and are apt to be vehe­mently displeased, to think our selves hardly dealt with, and to complain of [Page 279] cruelty and inhumanity in those that re­fuse them to us: and therefore in all rea­son and equity we should readily pay the same love, respect, aid, and comfort to others, which we expect from others; for Beneficium qui dare nescit, injustè petit: Nothing is more unreasonable, or unequal, then to require from others those good turns, which upon like occa­sion we are unwilling to render to o­thers.

4. We are obliged to these duties of humanity, upon accompt of common in­terest, benefit, and advantage. The welfare, and safety, the honour, and re­putation, the pleasure, and quiet of our lives are concerned in our maintaining a loving correspondence with all men. For so uncertain is our condition, so obnoxi­ous are we to manifold necessities, that there is no man, whose good-will we may not need, whose good word may not stand us in stead, whose helpfull indeavour may not sometime oblige us. The Great Pompey, the glorious Triumpher over Nations, and admired darling of for­tune, was beholden at last to a slave for the composing his ashes, and celebrating his funeral obsequies. The honour of the greatest men depends on the estima­tion [Page 280] of the least, and the good-will of the meanest peasant is a brighter ornament to the fortune, a greater accession to the grandeur of a Prince, than the most radiant gemme in his royall dia­dem. However the spite and enmity of one (and him the most weak other­wise and contemptible) person, may happen to spoil the content of our whole life, and deprive us of the most comfor­table enjoyments thereof; may divert our thoughts from our delightfull im­ployments to a solicitous care of self-pre­servation, and defence; may discompose our minds with vexatious passions; may by false reports, odious suggestions, and slanderous defamations blast our credit, raise a storm of general hatred, and con­jure up thousands of enemies against us; may by insidious practices supplant, and undermine us, prejudice our welfare, en­danger our estate, and involve us in a bottomless gulf of trouble: it is but rea­sonable therefore, if we desire to live se­curely, comfortably, and quietly, that by all honest means we should endeavour to purchase the good-will of all men, and provoke no mans enmity needlesly; since any mans love may be usefull, and every mans hatred is dangerous.

[Page 281] 5. We are obliged to these duties by a tacit compact, and fundamental con­stitution of mankind, in pursuance of those principal designes, for which men were incorporated, and are still contained in civil society. For to this purpose do men congregate, cohabite, and combine them­selves in sociable communion, that thereby they may enjoy a delightfull conversation, void of fear, free from suspicion, and free from danger; promote mutual ad­vantage, and satisfaction; be helpfull, and beneficial each to other: abstracting from which commodities the retirements of a cloyster, or the solitudes of a de­sert; the life of a recluse, or of a wild beast, would perhaps be more desirable, then these of gregarious converse: For as men being pleased and well affected to each other, are the most obliging friends, and pleasant companions; so being en­raged, they are the most mischievous, and dangerous neighbours, the most fierce and savage enemies. By neglecting therefore, or contravening these duties of humanity, we frustrate the main ends of society, disappoint the expectations of each other, subvert the grounds of ordi­nary civility, and in the commonwealth deal as unpolitickly, as the members in [Page 282] the body should act unnaturally, in sub­tracting mutual assistance, or harming each other; as if the eye should deny to the hands the direction of sight, and the hands in revenge should pluck out the eyes.

6. We are by observing these rules to oblige, and render men well affected to us, because being upon such terms with men conduceth to our living (not only delightfully and quietly, but) honestly and religiously in this world. How peace, and edification, spiritual comfort, and temporal quiet do concurr, and co­operate, we see intimated Act. 9. 31. Then had the Churches peace throughout all Judea, and Galilee, and Samaria, and were edifyed, and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Ho­ly Ghost were multiplied. St. Paul advi­sed the Christians of his times, liable to persecution, to make prayers for all men (and especially for those in eminent power,) 1 Tim. 2. 2. that they might lead [...] (a retired and quiet life) a quiet and peacea­ble life in all godliness, and honesty; to pray for them, that is, to pray that they might be so disposed, as not to molest, inter­rupt, or discourage them in the exercise of vertue, and practice of piety. For these by a tranquillity of mind, a sedate­ness [Page 283] of affections, a competency of rest and leisure and retirement, a freedom from amazing fear, distracting care, and painfull sense are greatly advanced; of which advantages by contentious broiles and enmities we are deprived, and en­cumbred with the contrary impediments. They breed thorny anxieties, and by them choak the seeds of good intention: they raise dusky fumes of melancholy, by them intercepting the beams of spiri­tual light, and stifling the flames of devout affection. By them our thoughts are affixed upon the basest, and taken off from the most excellent objects; our fancies are disordered by turbulent ani­mosities; our time is spent, and our en­deavour taken up in the most ungrate­full, and unprofitable imployments, of defeating the attempts, resisting the as­saults, disproving the calumnies, coun­termining the plots of adversaries; They bring us upon the stage against our will, and make us act parts in Tragedies, nei­ther becoming, nor delighting us. They disturbe often our natural rest, and hin­der us in the dispatch of our ordinary business; and much more impeach the steadiness of our devotion, and obstruct the course of religious practice. They [Page 284] tempt us also to omissions of our duty, to unseemingly behaviour, and to the com­missions of grievous sin; to harsh cen­sure, envious detraction, unwarrantable, revenge, repining at the good successes, and delighting in the misfortunes of o­thers. Many examples occurr in histo­ry, like those of Hanno the Carthaginian, and Quint. Metellus (Pompeys antagonist) who in pursuance of some private grud­ges, have not only betrayed their own interests, and sullyed their own reputa­tions; but notably disserved, and dam­nifyed the publick weale of their coun­try: And so will our being engaged in enmity with men cause us to neglect, if not to contradict our dearest concern­ments: Whence we should carefully a­void the occasions thereof, and by an in­nocent and beneficent conversation oblige men to a friendly correspondence with us.

7. We are obliged to perform these duties of humanity, because by so doing we become more capable of promoting goodness in others, and so of fulfilling the highest duties of Christian Charity; of successfully advising and admonishing others; of instructing their ignorance, and convincing their mistakes; of re­moving their prejudices, and satisfying [Page 285] their scruples; of reclaiming them from vice, errour, faction; and reconciling them to vertue, truth, and peace. For by no force of reason, or stratagem of wit are men so easily subdued, by no bait so thoroughly allured and caught, as by reall courtesy, gentleness and af­fability; as on the other side, by a sowre and peevish humour, supercilious looks, bitter language, and harsh dealing men are rendred indocile, and intractable, a­verse from better instruction, obstinate in their ways, and pertinacious in their conceits. Easily do men swallow the pill gilded with fair carriage, and sweet­ned by kind speech; readily do they afford a favourable ear to the advice see­ming to proceed from good-will, and a tender care of their good; But the phy­sick of wholesome admonition being steeped in the vinegar of reproach, and tempered with the gall of passion, be­comes distastfull and loathsome to the patient; neither will men willingly li­sten to the reasonings of those, whom they apprehend disaffected to their per­sons, and more desirous to wound their reputations, than to cure their distem­pers. The slightest argument, the most simple and unpolished oration issuing [Page 286] from the mouth of a freind, is wonder­fully more prevalent, than the strongest demonstration, than the most powerfull eloquence of an enemy. For obliging usage, and courteous speech unlock the affections, and by them insinuate into the reason of men; but surly deport­ment, and froward expressions damme up the attention with prejudice, and in­terclude all avenues to the understanding. An illustration of which discourse we have from comparing the different prac­tice of the Jews, and the ancient Chri­stians, with the contrary successes there­of. The Jews by their seditious, and turbulent practices, by their insolent con­tempt, and implacable hatred of others (for you know what Tacitus saith of them:Hist. lib. 5. Apud ipsos fides obstinata, misericordia in promptu, sed adversus omnes alios hostile odium) by their perverse and unsociable humours, declining all enter­course, and refusing ordinary offices of humanity (so much as to shew the way, or to direct the thirsty traveller to the fountain) to any not of their own sect, did procure an odium, scorn, and infamy upon their religion, rendred all men a­verse from inquiring into, or entertai­ning any good opinion thereof, and so [Page 287] very little inlarged its bounds, and gai­ned few proselytes thereto. But the Christians by a mild, patient, and peace­able behaviour; by obedience to laws, and complyance with harmless customs; by perfect innocence, and abstinence from doing injury;Thus the ancient Chri­stians; but when religion declined, dissension and ill-will did grow; so that the heathen Historian (Am. Marc. lib. 22.) could say of Julian: Nullas infest as hominibus bestias, ut sunt si­bi ferales pleri (que) Christiano­rum, expertus. by paying due respects, and performing civill offices, and demonstrations of benevo­lence; by loving conversati­on, and friendly commerce with all, commended their doctrine to the regard of men: and by this only piece of Rhe­torick (without terrour of arms, or countenance of power, or plausibility of discourse, or promise of temporal re­ward) subdued the faith of men, and persuaded a great part of the world to embrace their excellent profession.

‘We converse with you like men,Tertul. Apol. we use the same diet, habit, and necessary furniture: We have recourse to your tri­bunals; we frequent your markets, your fairs, your shops, your stalls, your sham­bles, your baths: We cohabit, we saile, we warr, we till, we trade, we maintaine all manner of commerce with you’ saith the Christian Apologist, to the Pagans, [Page 288] in behalf of the ancient Christians. Which kind of practice they derived not only from the sweet temper and noble Genius of their Religion, but from the express institution of the first teachers thereof, and from their exemplary prac­tice therein. For both by doctrine did the Apostles exhort, and by their exam­ple incite them to adorne the Gospel, and render the discipline of Christ amiable by their meek, gentle, compliant and inoffensive conversation; and thereby to allure others to a willing entertainment thereof. To this purpose are those ex­hortations. Phil. 4. 5. Let your modera­tion ( [...], your equity, or gentleness) be known to all men: and 1 Thess. 5. 14.—Comfort the [...]. afflicted, support the weak, be long-suffering toward all. Be ye all carefull not to render evill for evill; but always pursue goodness to­ward each other, and toward all: and Gal. 6. 10. As we have opportunity, let us doe good to all men: and Tit. 3. 1. Put them in mind to be subject to principalities, and powers, to be ready to every good work; to reproach no man, not to be con­tentious, but gentle, shewing all meekness to all men: and 1 Tim. 2. 24. The Mini­ster of the Lord must not strive, but be [Page 289] gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient: In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves: (or those that are other­wise disposed, [...]) if peradventure God will give them repen­tance to the acknowledgment of the truth: where gentleness toward all, and meek­ness toward adversaries are oppositely conjoyned, with aptness to teach, and instruct; the one qualification so effectu­ally predisposing to the other: and it is beside intimated that gentle and meek treatment are sutable instruments ordi­narily imployed by God to convert men from errour to truth.

8. We are bound hereto in comply­ance and conformity to the best patterns: God, Christ, the Apostles, the Primitive Saints: This illustrious Doctor of Chri­stian Religion St. Paul did not fail to se­cond this his doctrine with his own ex­ample. For Give none offence (saith he) neither to the Jews nor to the Gentiles, nor to the Church of God; 1 Cor. 10. ult. Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved: Please all men in all things; what could St. Paul say, or what do more?1 Cor. 19▪ &c. and again. For though (saith he) I be free from all men, yet have I made [Page 290] my self a servant unto all, that I might gain the more: To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that by all means I might save some. See how far this charitable design of doing good to o­thers transported him: He parted with his own freedome, that he might redeem them from the slavery of a wicked life; He denyed his own present satisfaction that he might procure them a lasting con­tent: he despised his own profit, that he might promote their spiritual advantage; He prostituted his own reputation, that he might advance them to a condition of true glory. He underwent grievous afflictions for their comfort; sustained restless pains for their ease, and hazar­ded his own safety for their salvation. He condescended to their infirmities, suted his demeanour to their tempers, complyed with their various humours, and contrary customs: He differed from himself, that he might agree with them, and transformed himself into all shapes, that he might convert them into what they should be, reform their manners, and translate them into a happy estate. But above all is the practice of our Lord him­self most remarkable to this purpose: and [Page 291] discovers plainly to him that observes an universally large, and unrestrained Philanthropie. For having from a won­derfull conspiracy of kindness and good­will (between him and his eternal Fa­ther) toward the world of men, descen­ded willingly from the throne of his ce­lestial Majesty, and inveloped his divine glory in a cloud of mortal frailty, and that (as the Apostle saith) he might re­concile all things in heaven and earth, Coloss. 1. 20. conjoine God and man by a nearer alli­ance, and unite men together by the more sacred bands of common relation to himself: Having assumed not only the outward shape and corporeal resemblance of man, but the inward frame, and real passions of humane souls; he disdained not accordingly to obey the laws, to follow the inclinations, to observe the duties of the best and most perfect huma­nity; with an equall and impartiall boun­ty imparting free admittance, familiar converse, friendly aid and succour unto all, even the worst of men in all appearance (and that so far, that some rigo­rous censurers thence presumed to taxe him as a glutton; Matt. 11. 19. and a good fellow, a friend to publicans, and sinners) distri­buting liberally to all the incomparable [Page 292] benefits of his heavenly doctrine, of his holy example, of his miraculous power; instructing the ignorances, detecting the errours, dispossessing the devils; sustain­ing the weaknesses, overlooking the inju­ries, comforting the afflictions, supplying the necessities, healing the diseases, and re­medying all the miseries of all, that did not wilfully reject their own welfare:Acts 10. 38. He went about (saith St. Peter in the Acts) doing good, and healing all that were op­pressed of the devil: AndMatt. 9. 35. He went a­bout all the cities and villages teaching in their Synagogues, and preaching the Go­spell of the Kingdom, and healing every sickness, and every disease among the people (saith St. Matthew's Gospel.) He despised not the meanest, either in outward estate, or spiritual improvement. He invited all unto him, repelled, or discouraged none; nor refused to any that came unto him, his counsell, or his help. He was averse from no mans so­ciety (and if in any degree from any, chief­ly from those,Luc. 18. 9. who confidently preten­ded to extraordinary sanctity, and proud­ly contemned others.) Meek and gentle he was, mild and patient; courteous and benigne; lowly and condescensive; ten­der and compassionate in his conversation [Page 293] unto all. And for a compliment of his tran­scendent charity, and for an enforcement unto ours,Rom. 8. 21. he laid down his life for us all, as a common price to purchase remission of sins; a general ransome to redeem the hu­mane creation from the captivity of hell, and slavery of corruption into the glorious liberty of the sons of God; demolishing by his pacifick death all partition walls, and laying open all enclosures of the divine fa­vour; reconciling God to man, and com­bining man to himself by the fresh ce­ment of his pretious bloud: so that now not only as fellow-creatures; but (which is exceedingly more) as partakers of the same common redemption, as objects of the same mercy, as obliged in the same common debt, and as capable of the same eternal happiness, by new and firmer en­gagements we are bound to all mutual kindness,Rom. 14. and benevolence toward all. For Destroy not (saith St. Paul, and by like reason I may say, Harm not, vex not, be not unkind to) him, for whom Christ dyed.

Nay, farther we have the example of Almighty God himself directing, and by our Saviours express admonition ob­liging us to this universal beneficence, compassion, and patience towards all. Who by express testimony of sacred [Page 294] writ, and by palpable sings of conti­nual experience declareth himself to be aTit. 3. 4. &c. lover of mankind; to be good to all,Ps. 145. 9. and tenderly mercifull over all his works: not to afflict willingly, nor grieve the children of men: to com­passionate the miseries, and supply the needs, and relieve the distresses; to de­sire the salvation, and to delight in the happiness of men. Who with an indif­ferent, unlimited munificence dispenseth his blessings, extends his watchfull pro­vidence, and imparts his loving care un­to all: Causing his Sun with comforta­ble beams to shine, and the refreshing showres to descend upon, the earth to yield her pleasant fruits; the temperate seasons to recurr, and all the elements to minister succour, joy, and satisfaction even to the most impious,Vid. Clement. and ingrate­full toward him.Epist. ad Cor. pag. 27. Who with immense clemency and long-sufferance overlooks the sacrilegious affronts offered daily to his Majesty; the outragious violations of his laws, and the contemptuous ne­glects of his unexpressible goodness: Who patiently waits for the repen­tance, and incessantly solicits the recon­cilement, courts the amity, and in a manner begs the good-will of his most [Page 295] deadly enemies: whom he hath always in his hand, and can crush to nothing at his pleasure. For, We are Ambassa­dours for Christ, as if God by us did entreat you: We beseech you in Christ's behalf; be reconciled to God (saith Saint Paul.)

Since therefore upon accompt of na­tural consanguinity, of our best incli­nations, of common equity, and gene­ral advantage, and an implicite com­pact between men; of securing our, and promoting other's vertue and pie­ty; from the exhortations of Scripture mentioned, and many more tending to the same purpose, from the example of the ancient Christians, the Leaders, and Champions of our Religion, of the Apo­stles, the Masters and Patriarchs there­of, of our Blessed Redeemer, and of Al­mighty God himself, we are obliged to this Universal benevolence, and benefi­cence toward all; No misapprehensions of judgment, no miscarriages in practice, no ill-dispositions of soul, no demerits in himself, no discourtesies toward us ought wholly to alienate our affections from, or to avert us from doing good, or to incline us to render evil for evil unto any person; especially considering, that the omissions of others, cannot ex­cuse [Page 296] us from the performance of our duty; that no man is to be presumed incorrigible, nor (like the lapsed An­gels) concluded in desperate impeni­tence; and that our loving and gentle demeanour toward them may be instru­mental to their amendment, and the contrary may contribute to their pro­gress and continuance in offences; that God hath promised to us a reward of our patience, and hath reserved to them a reason of judgment and punishment, if they persist obstinate in their disor­derly courses; that to avenge their tres­passes belongs not to us, but to Almigh­ty God, who is more nearly concerned in, and more injured by them, and is yet content to endure them, to prolong their lives, to continue his benefits to them, and to expect their conversion: That our differing from them is not to be attributed to our selves, but wholly, or chiefly to the goodness of God; that we always were, are, and shall be lia­ble to the same errours, vices, and mis­demeanours: that (lastly) the faults and follies of others, like the maims of body, distempers of soul, or crosses of fortune (being their own greatest un­happinesses) require rather our pity then [Page 297] our hatred, to be eased by our help, then aggravated by our unkindness. Tis too scant therefore and narrow a Cha­rity that is limited by correspondence of courtesy, or by the personal merits of others: We are bound to live peacea­bly with, that is, to be innocent, bene­ficial, respective to all, and to seek the reciprocal good-will, love and amity of all. But I have insisted too long upon this particular, concerning the Object of this duty, and its extension.

III. I proceed briefly to consider whence it comes, that (as I before ob­served was intimated in these words, If it be possible, as much as lieth in you) though we doe our parts, and perform carefully the duties incumbent on us, though we bear good-will, and doe good offices, and yield due respects, and abstain from all not onely injuri­ous, but rigorous dealings toward all; though we revile none, nor censure harshly, nor presumptuosly intermed­dle with others affairs; though we obey laws, and comply with received cu­stoms, and avoid all occasions of con­tention, though our tempers be meek, our principles peaceable, and our con­versations [Page 298] inoffensive, we may yet prove successless in our endeavours to live peaceably, and may be hated, harmed, and disquieted in our course of life. That it so happens, we find by plain experience, and manifold exam­ple. For Moses, the meekest man upon earth, and commended beside by all circumstances of divine favour, and hu­mane worth, was yet often envied, im­pugned, and molested by those, whom by all manner of benefits he had most high­ly obliged. And we find David frequent­ly complaining, that by those, whose good-will by performing all offices of friendly kindness, and brotherly affec­tion, he had studiously laboured to deserve,Vid. Ps. 55. 10. whose maladies and calamities he had not onely tenderly commisera­ted, but had prayed and humbled his soul with fasting for their recovery and deliverance from them, was yet recom­pensed by their treacherous devices a­gainst his safety, by grievous reproa­ches, and scornfull insultings over him in his affliction; as we see at large in Psalms the 35. and 69. And in Psalm 120. he thus lamentably bemoans his condition: Woe is me that I sojourn in Mesech, that I dwell in the tents of Ke­dar: [Page 299] My soul hath long dwelt with him that hateth peace: I am for peace but when I speak, they are for war: And our Blessed Saviour himself, though in the whole tenour of his life he demon­strated an incomparable meekness and sweetness of disposition, and exercised continually all manner of kindness and beneficence toward all men, was not­withstanding loaded with all kinds of injuries and contumelies, was bitterly hated, ignominiously disgraced, and maliciously persecuted unto death: and the same lot befell his faithfull Disciples, that although their design was benign and charitable, their carriage blameless and obliging toward all, they were yet pursued constantly both by the outragi­ous clamours of the people, and cruel usages from those in eminent power. Now though it seem strange and al­most incredible, that they who are tru­ly friends to all, and are ready to doe to all what good they can; who wil­lingly displease none, but industri­ously strive to acquire (not with glo­zing shews of popularity, but by real expressions of kindness) the good-will and favour of all, should yet be malig­ned, or molested by any; yet seeing it [Page 300] so happens, if we inquire into the rea­son, we shall find this miracle in mo­rality, to proceed (to omit the neglect of the duties mentioned in our former discourse) chiefly from the exceeding variety, difference and contrariety of mens dispositions, joyned with the mo­rosity, aptness to mistake, envy, or un­reasonable perverseness of some; which necessarily render the means of attain­ing all mens good-will insufficient, and the endeavours unsuccessfull. For men seeing by several lights, relishing with diversly disposed palates, and measuring things by different standards, we can hardly doe or say any thing, which if approved and applauded by some, will not be disliked and blamed by others; if it advance us in the opinion of some, will not as much depress us in the judg­ment of others; so that in this irrecon­cileable diversity and inconsistency of mens apprehensions, it is impossible not to displease many: Especially since some men either by their natural temper, or from the influence of some sowre prin­ciples they have imbibed, are so mo­rose, rigid, and self-willed; so impatient of all contradiction to, or discrepancy from their sentiments, that they cannot [Page 301] endure any to dissent in judgment, or vary in practice from them, without incurring their heavy disdain and cen­sure. And which makes the matter more desperate and remediless, such men commonly being least able either to manage their reason, or to command their passion, as guided wholly by cer­tain blind impulses of fancy, or ground­less prejudices of conceit, or by a par­tial admiration of some mens persons, examples, and authorities, are usually most resolute and peremptory in their courses, and thence hardly capable of any change, mitigation, or amendment. Of which sort there being divers enga­ged in several ways, it is impossible to please some without disgusting the o­ther; and difficult altogether to ap­proach any of these wasps, without be­ing stung, or vexed by them. Some also are so apt to misunderstand mens meanings, to misconstrue their words, and to make ill descants upon, or draw bad consequences from their actions, that 'tis not possible to prevent their en­tertaining ill-favoured prejudices against even those that are heartily their friends, and wish them the best. To others the good and prosperous estate of their [Page 302] Neighbour, that he flourishes in wealth, power or reputation, is ground suffici­ent of hatred and enmity against him: for so we see that Cain hated his inno­cent brother Abel, because his brothers works were more righteous, and his sa­crifices better accepted then his own: that Josephs brethren were mortally of­fended at him, because his father espe­cially loved, and delighted in him: that Saul was enraged against David, be­cause his gallant deeds were celebrated with due praises, and joyfull acclama­tions of the people: and that the Baby­lonian Princes, upon no other score, maligned Daniel, but because he enjoy­ed the favour of the King, and a digni­ty answerable to his deserts: And who that loves his own welfare, can possibly avoid such enmities as these? But the fatal rock, upon which peaceable de­signs are most inevitably split, and which by no prudent steering our course can sometimes be evaded, is the unreasonable perverseness of mens pre­tences, who sometimes will upon no terms be friends with us, or allow us their good-will, but upon condition of concurring with them in dishonest, and unwarrantable practices: of omitting [Page 303] some duties to which by the express command of God, or evident dictates of right reason we are obliged, or per­forming some action repugnant to those indispensable rules. But though peace with men is highly valuable, and pos­sessing their good-will in worth not in­feriour to any other indifferent accom­modation of life, yet are these nothing comparable to the favour of God, or the internall satisfaction of conscience; nor though we were assured thereby to gain the entire love and favour of all men living, are we to purchase them at so dear a rate as with the loss of these. We must not to please or gratify men, commit any thing prohibited, or omit any thing enjoyned by God, the least glimpse of whose favourable aspect is infinitely more to be prized, then the most intimate friendship of the mighti­est Monarchs upon earth: and the least spark of whose indignation is more to be dreaded, then the extreamest displeasure of the whole world. In case of such competition, we must resolve with Saint Paul, Gal. 1. 10. Do I yet [...] conciliate God, or do I endeavour to sooth men? for if I yet soothed (or flattered) men (so you know [...] signifies) I were [Page 304] not the servant of Christ. Nor are we, that we may satisfy any mans pleasure, to contravene the dictates of Reason (that subordinate guide of our actions) to doe any dishonourable or uncomely action, unworthy of a man, misbeseem­our education, or incongruous to our station in humane society, so as to make our selves worthily despicable to the most by contenting some: Nor are we bound always to desert our own considerable interest, or betray our just liberty, that we may avoid the enmity of such as would violently, or fraudu­lently encroach upon them. Nor are we in the administration of justice, di­stribution of rewards, or arbitration of controversies to respect the particular favour of any, but the merits onely of the cause, or the worth of the persons concerned. Nor are we by feeding mens distempered humours, or gratify­ing their abused fancies to prejudice or neglect their real good; to encourage them in bad practices, to foment their irregular passions, to applaud their un­just or uncharitable censures, or to puff up their minds with vain conceit, by servile flattery: but rather, like faithfull Physicians, to administer wholsome, [Page 305] though unsavoury, advice; to reveal to them their mistakes, to check their intended progress in bad courses, to re­prove their faults seasonably, and when it may probably doe them good, though possibly thereby we may provoke their anger and procure their ill-will,Gal. 4. 16. and (as S. Paul saith) become their enemies, for telling them the truth. Nor are we ever explicitely to assent to falsehoods (so apprehended by us,) to bely our consciences, or contradict our real judg­ments (though we may sometimes for peace-sake prudently conceale them;) Nor to deny the truth our defence and patronage, when in order to some good purpose it needs and requires them, though thereby we may incurre the dislike, and forfeit the good-will of some men. Nor are we by entertain­ing any extraordinary friendship, inti­mate familiarity, or frequent converse with persons notoriously dissolute in their manners, disorderly in their beha­viour, or erroneous in weighty points of opinion, to countenance their misde­meanours, dishonour our profession, ren­der our selves justly suspected, run the ha­zard of contagion, or hinder their refor­mation. And especially we are warily to [Page 306] decline the particular acquaintance of men of contentious dispositions, mis­chievous principles, and factious de­signs; a bare keeping company with whom looks like a conspiracy, an ap­proving, or abetting their proceed­ings; The refusing any encouragement, signification of esteem, or vouchsafing any peculiar respect to such, we owe to the honour of vertue, which they disgrace, to the love of truth which they oppugn, to the peace of the world which they disturb, and to the general good of mankind, which they impeach. And so S. Paul warns us not to mingle or consort,1 Cor. 5. not to diet, or common ( [...], & [...]) with men of a dissolute and disorderly con­versation: [...]. And to mark them which cause seditions, and scandals, contrary to Christian doctrine, and to shun, or de­cline them ( [...]) and to repudiate,Rom. 16. 17. deprecate the familiarity of Hereticks ( [...].)Tit. 3. 10. And S. John forbids us to wish joy, 2 Joh. 10. or to allow the ordinary respects of civil salutation to Apostates, and Im­postours: lest (by such demonstration of favour) we communicate with them in their wicked works. None of which [Page 307] Precepts are intended to interdict to us, or to disoblige us from bearing real good­will, or dispensing needfull benefits to any, but to deter us from yielding any signal countenance to vice and impiety; and to excite us to declare such dislike and detestation of those heinous enormi­ties as may confer to the reclaiming of these, and prevent the seduction of others. So Saint Paul expresly, 2 Thess. 3. 14. But if any man obeyeth not our injunction by epistle, do not consort with him, that he may by shame be reclaimed ( [...]) And account him not an enemy, but admo­nish him as a brother. Nor ought lastly the love of peace, and desire of friendly correspondence with any men, avert us from an honest zeal, (proportionable to our abilities and opportunities) of pro­moting the concernments of truth and goodness, though against powerfull and dangerous opposition: I say an honest zeal, meaning thereby not that blind heady passion, or inflammation of spirit, transporting men beyond the bounds of reason and discretion, upon some super­ficially plausible pretences, to violent and irregular practices; but a considerate and steady resolution of mind, effectually animating a man by warrantable and [Page 308] decent means vigorously to prosecute commendable designs;Jude 3. like that S. Jude mentions, of striving earnestly for the faith once delivered to the Saints. For this zeal may be very consistent with, yea greatly conducible to the designs of peace. And 'tis not a drousiness, a slack remissness, a heartless diffidence, or a cowardly flinching from the face of dan­ger and opposition, we discourse about, or plead for, but a wise and wary decli­ning the occasions of needless and un­profitable disturbance to our selves and others.

To conclude this point (which if time would have permitted, I should have handled more fully and distinctly) though to preserve peace, and purchase the good-will of men, we may and ought to quit much of our private inte­rest and satisfaction, yet ought we not to sacrifice to them what is not our own, nor committed absolutely to our dispo­sal, and which in value incomparably transcends them, the maintenance of truth, the advancement of justice, the practice of vertue, the quiet of our con­science, the favour of Almighty God. And if for being dutifull to God, and faithfull to our selves in these particulars, [Page 309] any men will hate, vex and despite us; frustrate our desires, and defeat our pur­poses of living peaceably with all men in this world: we may comfort our selves in the enjoyment of eternal peace and satisfaction of mind, in the assurance of the divine favour, in the hopes of eter­nal rest and tranquillity in the world to come.

Now briefly to induce us to the pra­ctice of this duty of living peaceably, we may consider,

1. How good and pleasant a thing it is (as David saith) for brethren (and so we are all at least by nature) to live to­gether in unity. Psal. 133. 1. How, that (as Solomon saith) better is a dry morsel, and quiet­ness therewith, then a house full of sacri­fices with strife. Prov. 17. 1. How delicious that conversation is, which is accompanied with a mutual confidence, freedom, courtesy, and complacence: how calm the mind, how composed and affections, how serene the countenance, how melo­dious the voice, how sweet the sleep, how contentfull the whole life is of him that neither deviseth mischief against others, nor suspects any to be contrived against himself: and contrariwise, how ingratefull and loathsom a thing it is to [Page 310] abide in a state of enmity, wrath, dis­sension: having the thoughts distracted with solicitous care, anxious suspicion, envious regret; the heart boiling with choler, the face overclouded with discon­tent, the tongue jarring and out of tune, the ears filled with discordant noises of contradiction, clamour and reproach; the whole frame of body and soul distem­pered, and disturbed with the worst of passions. How much more comfortable it is to walk in smooth and even paths, then to wander in rugged ways, over­grown with briars, obstructed with rubs, and beset with snares; to sail stea­dily in a quiet, then to be tost in a tem­pestuous Sea; to behold the lovely face of Heaven smiling with a chearfull sere­nity, then to see it frowning with clouds, or raging with storms; to hear harmo­nious consents, then dissonant janglings; to see objects correspondent in gracefull symmetry, then lying disorderly in con­fused heaps; to be in health, and have the natural humours consent in mode­rate temper, then (as it happens in dis­eases) agitated with tumultuous com­motions: How all senses and faculties of man unanimously rejoyce in those em­blems of peace, order, harmony, and [Page 311] proportion. Yea how nature universal­ly delights in a quiet stability, or un­disturbed progress of motion; the beauty, strength and vigour of every thing re­quires a concurrence of force, cooperati­on,Vide Clem. ad Cor. pag. 27, &c. and contribution of help; all things thrive and flourish by communicating reciprocal aid, and the world subsists by a friendly conspiracy of its parts; and especially that political society of men chiefly aims at peace as its end, depends on it as its cause, relies on it as its sup­port. How much a peacefull state re­sembles Heaven, into which neither complaint, pain, nor clamour ( [...], as it is in the Apocalypse) do ever enter;Apoc. 21. but blessed souls converse together in perfect love, and in perpetual concord; and how a condition of enmity represents the state of Hell, that black and dismal Region of dark hatred, fiery wrath, and horrible tumult. How like a paradise the world would be,Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, then a stalled oxe and ha­tred there­with. Prov. 15. 17. flourishing in joy and rest, if men would chearfully con­spire in affection, and helpfully contri­bute to each others content: and how like a savage wilderness now it is, when like wild beasts; they vex and persecute, worry and devour each other. How [Page 312] not only Philosophy hath placed the su­preme pitch of happiness in a calmness of mind, [...]. and tranquillity of life, void of care and trouble, of irregular passions and perturbations; but that Holy Scri­pture it self in that one term of peace most usually comprehends all joy and content, all felicity and prosperity: so that the heavenly consort of Angels,Luc. 2. 14. when they agree most highly to bless, and to wish the greatest happiness to mankind, could not better express their sense, then by saying Be on earth peace, and good­will among men.

2. That as nothing is more sweet and delightfull, so nothing more come­ly and agreeable to humane nature then peaceable living,Prov. 20. 3. it being (as Solomon saith) an honour to a man to cease from strife; and consequently also a disgrace to him to continue therein: That rage and fury may be the excellencies of beasts, and the exerting their natural animosity in strife and combat may be­come them; but reason and discretion are the singular eminencies of men, and the use of these the most natural and commendable method of deciding con­troversies among them: and that it ex­treamly misbecomes them that are en­dowed [Page 313] with those excellent faculties so to abuse them, as not to apprehend each others meanings, but to ground vexati­ous quarrels upon the mistake of them: not to be able by reasonable expedients to compound differences, but with mu­tual dammage and inconvenience to pro­rogue and encrease them: not to discern how exceedingly better it is to be help­full and beneficial, than to be mischie­vous and troublesome to one another, How foolishly and unskilfully they judg, that think by unkind speech and harsh dealing to allay mens distempers, alter their opinions, or remove their prejudi­ces; as if they should attempt to kill by ministring nourishment, or to extinguish a flame by pouring oyl upon it. How childish a thing it is eagerly to contend about trifles, for the superiority in some impertinent contest, for the satisfaction of some petty humour, for the possessi­on of some inconsiderable toy: yea how barbarous and brutish a thing it is to be fierce and impetuous in the pursuit of things that please us, snarling at, biting and tearing all competitors of our game, or opposers of our undertaking. But how divine and amiable, how worthy of humane nature, of civil breeding, of [Page 314] prudent consideration it is, to restrain partial desires, to condescend to equal terms, to abate from rigorous pretences, to appease discords, and vanquish enmi­ties by courtesy and discretion; like the best and wisest Commanders, who by skilfull conduct, and patient attendance upon opportunity, without striking of stroke of shedding of bloud, subdue their Enemy.

3. How that peace with its near alli­ance and concomitants, its causes and effects, love, meekness, gentleness and patience, are in Sacred Writ reputed the genuine fruits of the Holy Spirit,Gal. 5. issues of Divine Grace, and off-springs of hea­venly Wisedom; producing like them­selves a goodly progeny of righteous deeds. But that emulation, hatred, wrath, variance and strife derive their extraction from fleshly lust, hellish craft, or beastly folly; propagating themselves also into a like ugly brood of wicked works.Jam. 3. 14. For so saith Saint James, If you have bitter zeal and strife in your hearts, glory not, [...]. nor be deceived untruly: This wisedom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, and devilish: For where emulation and strife are, there is [...], confusion. tumult, and every [...]. naughty thing: but [Page 315] the wisedom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, [...]. obsequious, full of mercy (or beneficence) and of good fruits, without partiality and dissi­mulation; And the fruit of righteousness is sowed in peace to those that make peace: and from whence are wars, and quarrels among you? Are they not hence, even from your lusts, that war in your mem­bers? Prov. 17. 19. Likewise, He loveth trans­gression that loveth strife: Prov. 18. 6. and A fools lips enter into contention, and his mouth calleth for strokes, Qui posuit in coelo bellum, in paradiso frau­dem, odium inter primos fratres. Aug. saith Solomon. That the most wicked and miserable of crea­tures is described by titles denoting en­mity and discord:Mat. 13. 28. [...], 1 Pet. 5. 8. A murderer, Joh. 8. 44. the hater (Satan) the enemy ( [...]) the accuser ( [...]) the slanderer ( [...]) the destroyer ( [...])1 Cor. 7. 15. 14. 39. the furious dragon, and mischievously treacherous snake: and how sad it is to imitate him in his practices,2 Cor. 13. 11. to resemble him in his qualities:Philip. 4. 9. But that the best,1 Thess. 5. 23. most excellent,2 Thess. 3. 16. and most happy of Beings de­lights to be styled, and accordingly to express himself, The God of love, mercy and peace; and his blessed Son to be cal­led,Heb. 7. and to be, the Prince of peace, the great Mediatour, Reconciler, and Peace­maker, who is also said from on high to [Page 316] have visited us,Luc. 1. 79. To give light to them that sit in darkness, and in the shadow of death, and to guide our feet in the ways of peace. That lastly no devotion is pleasing, [...]. Orig. c. Cels. 8. (p. 424.) no oblation acceptable to God, conjoined with hatred, or proceeding from an unreconciled mind: For, If thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there remembrest that thy brother hath ought against thee; Leave there thy gift be­fore the altar, Mat. 5. 23, 24. and go thy way; first be re­conciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift, saith our Saviour.

I close up all with this Corollary: that if we must live lovingly, and peaceably with all men, then much more are we obliged to doe so with all Christians: to whom by nearer and firmer bands of ho­ly alliance we are related; by more pre­cious communions in faith and devotion we are endeared; by more peculiar and powerfull obligations of divine com­mands, sacramental vows, and formal professions we are engaged: Our spiri­tual brethren, members of the same my­stical body, temples of the same Holy Spirit, servants of the same Lord, sub­jects of the same Prince, professors of the same truth, partakers of the same hope, heirs of the same promise, and candi­dates [Page 317] of the same everlasting happiness.

Now Almighty God, the most good and beneficent Maker, gracious Lord, and mercifull preserver of all things, infuse into our hearts those heavenly graces of meekness, patience, and benignity, grant us and his whole Church, and all his Crea­tion to serve him quietly here, and in a blissfull rest to praise and magnify him for ever: To whom with his blessed Son, the great Mediatour and Prince of peace, and with his Holy Spirit, the ever-flowing Spring of all love, joy, comfort and peace, be all honour, glory and praise. And

The peace of God which passeth all un­derstanding keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God, and of his Son Jsesus Christ our Lord: And the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost be among you, and remain with you for ever. Amen.


Books writ by the Learned Dr. Isaac Barrow, and printed for Brabazon Aylmer, at the Three Pigeons, over against the Royal Exchange in Cornhill.

TWelve Sermons preached upon Se­veral Occasions: In Octavo, be­ing the First Volume.

Ten Sermons against Evil Speaking. In Octavo, being the Second Volume.

Eight Sermons of the Love of God and our Neighbour: In Octavo, being the Third Volume.

The Duty and Reward of Bounty to the Poor: In a Sermon, much enlarged, preached at the Spittal upon Wednesday in Easter Week, Anno Dom. 1671. In Octavo.

A Sermon upon the Passion of our Blessed Saviour: Preached at Guild-Hall Chapel, on Good-Friday the 13th day of April 1677. In Octavo.

A Learned Treatise of the Pope's Supremacy. To which is added a Dis­ourse concerning the Unity of the Church. In Quarto.

[Page] The said Discourse concerning the U­nity of the Church, is also printed alone; In Octavo.

All the said Books of the Learned Dr. Isaac Barrow, (except the Sermon of Bounty to the Poor) are since the Authours death Published by Dr. Tillot­son Dean of Canterbury.

The true and lively Effigies of Dr. Isaac Barrow, in a large Print; Ingraved (from the Life,) by the ex­cellent Artist D. Loggan; Price without Frame six pence.

This keyboarded and encoded edition of the work described above is co-owned by the institutions providing financial support to the Text Creation Partnership. This Phase I text is available for reuse, according to the terms of Creative Commons 0 1.0 Universal. The text can be copied, modified, distributed and performed, even for commercial purposes, all without asking permission.