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pleasures of the world, working upon their sensuality; the profits of the world upon their covetousness; and lastly, the honours of it upon their ambition. Which three powerful incentives, meeting with these three violent affections, are, as it were, the great trident in the tempter's hand, by which he strikes through the very hearts and souls of men; or as a mighty threefold cord, by which he first hampers, and then draws the whole world after him, and that with such a rapid swing, such an irresistible fascination upon the understandings, as well as appetites of men, that as God said heretofore, "Let there be light, and there was light;" so this proud rival of his Creator, and overturner of the creation, is still saying, in defiance of him, Let there be darkness, and accordingly there is darkness; darkness upon the mind and reason; darkness upon the judgment and conscience of all mankind. So that hell itself seems to be nothing else, but the devil's finishing this his great work and consummation of that darkness in another world, which he had so fatally begun in this.
attending it; but the love of money especially. And lastly, let him learn so to look upon the honours, the pomp, and greatness of the world, as to look through them too. Fools, indeed, are apt to be blown up by them, and to sacrifice all for them; sometimes venturing their very heads, only to get a feather in their caps. But wise men, instead of looking above them, choose rather to look about them and within them, and by so doing keep their eyes always in their heads, and maintain a noble clearness in one, and steadiness in the other. These, I say, are some of those ways and methods by which this great and internal light, the judging faculty of conscience, may be preserved in its native vigour and quickness. And to complete the foregoing directions by the addition of one word more: that we may the more surely prevent our affections from working too much upon our judgment, let us wisely beware of all such things as may work too strongly upon our affections.
And now, to sum up briefly the foregoing particulars; you have heard of what vast and infinite moment it is, to have a clear, impartial, and right-judging conscience; such an one as a man may reckon himself safe in the directions of, as of a guide that will always tell him truth, and truth with authority: and that the eye of conscience may be always thus quick and lively, let constant use be sure to keep it constantly open; and thereby ready and prepared to admit and let in those heavenly beams, which are always streaming forth from God upon minds fitted to receive them.
And to this purpose, let a man fly from every thing which may leave either a foulness or a bias upon it; for the first will blacken, and the other will distort it, and both be sure to darken it. Particularly let him dread every gross act of sin; for one great stab may as certainly and speedily destroy life as forty lesser wounds. Let him also carry a jealous eye over every growing habit of sin; for custom is an overmatch to nature, and seldom conquered by grace; and above all, let him keep aloof from all commerce or fellowship with any vicious and base affection; especially from all sensuality, which is not only the dirt, but the black dirt, which the devil throws upon the souls of men; accordingly let him keep himself untouched with the hellish, unhallowed heats of lust, and the noisome steams and exhalations of intemperance, which never fail to leave a brutish dulness and infatuation behind them. Likewise, let him bear himself above that sordid and low thing, that utter contradiction to all greatness of mind, covetousness; let him disenslave himself from the pelf of the world, from that "amor sceleratus habendi ;" for all love has something of blindness
"If the light that is in thee be darkness," says our Saviour, "how great must that darkness needs be!" That is, how fatal, how destructive! And therefore I shall close up
with those other words of our Saviour, (John, xii.) " While you have the light, walk in the light:" so that the way to have it, we see, is to walk in it; that is, by the actions of a pious, innocent, well governed life, to cherish, heighten, and improve it; for still, so much innocence, so much light and on the other side, to abhor and loathe whatsoever may any ways discourage and eclipse it; as every degree of vice assuredly will. And thus, by continnally feeding and trimming our lamps, we shall find that this blessed light within us will grow every day stronger and stronger, and flame out brighter and brighter, till at length, having led us through this vale of darkness and mortality, it shall bring us to those happy mansions where there is light and life for evermore.
Which God, the great author of both, of his infinite mercy vouchsafe to us all; to whom be rendered and ascribed, as is most due, all praise, might, majesty, and dominion, both now and for evermore. Amen.
OF LOVING OUR ENEMIES. PREACHED AT WESTMINSTER ABBEY, MAY 29, 1670.
"But I say unto you, Love your enemies."-MATTH. V. 44.
BEFORE we descend to the prosecution of the duty enjoined in these words, it is requisite
that we consider the scheme and form of them as they stand in relation to the context. They are ushered in with the adversative particle but, which stands as a note of opposition to something going before and that we have in the immediately preceding verse, "Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies." Which way of speaking has given occasion to an inquiry, whether the duty here enjoined by Christ be opposed to the Mosaic law, or only to the doctrine of the Scribes and Pharisees, and their corrupt glosses thereupon; some having made this and the next chapter, not only a fuller explication and vindication of the Mosaic law, but an addition of higher and perfecter rules of piety and morality to it.
For the better clearing of which point, I conceive that the matter of all the commandments (the fourth only, as it determines the time of God's solemn worship to the seventh day, excepted) is of natural moral right, and by consequence carries with it a necessary and eternal obligation; as rising from the unalterable relation that a rational creature bears either to God, his neighbour, or himself. For there are certain rules of deportment suggested by nature to each of these, which to deviate from, or not come up to, would be irrational, and consequently sinful. So that such duties can by no means owe their first obligation to any new precept given by Christ, but, springing from an earlier stock, obliged men in all ages and places, since the world began. Forasmuch as that general habitude or relation (upon which all particular instances of duty are founded) which men bore to God, their neighbour, and themselves, upon account of their being rational creatures, was universally and equally the same in all. So that for a man to hate his enemy, or to be revengeful, or to be angry without a cause, or to swear rashly, or by looks, words, or actions, to behave himself lasciviously, were, without question, always aberrations from the dictates of rightly improved reason, and consequently, in the very nature of the things themselves, unlawful. For if there were not a natural evil and immorality in the aforesaid acts, nor a goodness in the contrary, but that all this issued from a positive injunction of the one, and prohibition of the other; what reason can be assigned, but that God might have commanded the said acts, and made them duties, instead of forbidding them? which yet certainly would be a very strange, or rather monstrous assertion, but nevertheless, by a necessity of sequel, unavoidable. From whence I conceive it to be very clear, that if the several particulars commanded or forbidden by Christ, in that his great sermon upon the mount, had a natural good or evil respectively belonging to them; Christ thereby added no new precept to the
moral law, which eternally was and will be the same, as being the unalterable standard or measure of the behaviour of a rational creature in all its relations and capacities.
For we must not think, that when the law, either by precept or prohibition, takes notice only of the outward act, and the gospel afterwards directs itself to the thoughts and desires, the motives and causes, of the said act; or again, when the law gives only a general precept, and the gospel assigns several particular instances reducible to the same general injunction, that therefore the gospel gives so many new precepts corrective or perfective of the aforesaid precepts of the law. No, by no means; for it is a rule which ever was and ever ought to be allowed in interpreting the divine precepts, that every such precept does virtually and implicitly, and by a parity of reason, contain in it more than it expressly declares; which is so true, that those persons, who impugn the perfection of the old moral precepts, and upon that account oppose the precepts of Christ to them, do yet find it necessary to maintain, that even the precepts of our Saviour himself ought to extend their obligation to many more particulars than are mentioned in them, and yet are not to be looked upon as at all the less perfect upon that account. Which rule of interpreting being admitted, and made use of as to the precepts of the New Testament, why ought it not to take place in those of the Old also? And if it ought, (as there can be no shadow of reason to the contrary,) I dare undertake, that here will be no need of multiplying of new precepts in the gospel as often as the Papists and Socinians have a turn to serve by them. For surely every new instance of obedience does not of necessity infer a new precept; and for that reason we may and do admit of several of the former, without any need of asserting the latter. The unity of a precept is founded in the general unity of its object, and every such general comprehends many particulars. The very institution of the two Christian sacraments, is rather the assignation of two new instances of obedience than of two new precepts. For Christ having once authentically declared that God would be worshipped by those two solemn acts, the antecedent general precept of worshipping God according to his own will, was sufficient to oblige us to these two particular branches of it, being thus declared; and indeed to as many more as should from time to time be suggested to our practice. For otherwise, if the multiplication of new particular instances of duty should multiply precepts too, it would render them innumerable, which would be extremely absurd and ridiculous. And now, all that has been here alleged by us against the necessity of holding any new precepts added to the old moral law, as it obliged
all mankind, (whether notified to them by the light of nature only, or by revelation too,) I reckon may as truly be affirmed of the law of Moses also; (still supposing it a true and perfect transcript of the said moral law, as we have all the reason in the world to believe it was;) for were it otherwise, it would be hard to shew, what advantage it could be to the Jewish church to have that law delivered to them; but on the contrary, it must needs Secondly, I add farther, That the obliging have been rather a snare than a privilege or power of the law is neither founded in, nor to help to them, as naturally giving them occa- be measured by, the rewards and punishments sion to look upon that as the most perfect annexed to it; but by the sole authority of draught of their duty, when yet it required of the lawgiver, springing from the relation which them a lower degree of obedience than nature he bears, of a creator and governor, to manhad before obliged them to; it being a thing kind, and consequently of the entire depenin itself most rational, to suppose the latter dance of mankind upon him; by virtue declaration of a legislator's mind to be still the whereof they owe him the utmost service that fuller and more authentic. And therefore, if their nature renders them capable of doing other duties had been incumbent upon the him. And that, I am sure, is capable of Jewish church by the law of nature, besides serving him at an higher rate, than the conwhat were contained in the law of Moses, it sideration of any temporal rewards or punishis not imaginable how they could avoid the ments can raise it to; since oftentimes the omission of those duties while they acquiesced bare love of virtue itself will carry a man in the directions of Moses as a full and suf- farther than these can: but, however, it is ficient rule of obedience, and had so much certain that eternal rewards can do so; which reason so to do. Which yet surely must have yet add nothing to our natural powers of rendered the whole Mosaic dispensation by no obeying, though they draw them forth to an means agreeable either to the wisdom or good-higher pitch of obedience. And can we then ness of God towards his chosen people. imagine that God would sink his law below these powers, by leaving some degree of love and service to himself absolutely within the strength and power of man, which he did not think fit by the Mosaic law to oblige him to, (when yet our Saviour himself promised eternal life to one, upon supposal of his performance of this law, Luke, x. 28.) This certainly is very strange divinity. But after all, some may possibly reply, Does not the gospel enjoin us that perfection and height of charity which the law never did, in commanding us "to lay down our life for our brother?" (1 John, iii. 16.)
For though indeed the moral law, as a covenant promising life upon condition of absolute indefective obedience, be now of no use to justify, (sin having disabled it for that use through the incapacity of the subject,) yet as it is a rule directing our obedience, and a law binding to it, it still continues in full force, and will do as long as human nature endures. And as for the absolute perfection of it in the quality of a rule directing, and a law obliging, can that be more amply declared, and irrefragably proved, than as it stands stated and represented to us in the vast latitude of that injunction, (Deut. vi. 5, and Levit. xix. 18,) Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind, and thy neighbour as thyself" I say, is there any higher degree of obedience which the nature of man is capable of yielding to his Maker than this?
Nevertheless there are some artists, I must confess, who can draw any thing out of any thing, who answer, that these words are not to be understood of absolutely all that a man can do; but of all that he can be engaged to do by the law as proposed under such an economy, namely, as enforced with temporal promises and threatenings; so that upon these terms, to love God with all the heart," &c. is to love him with the utmost of such an obedience, as laws, seconded with temporal blessings and curses, are able to produce. But to this I answer,—
First, That the argument bears upon a supposition by no means to be admitted, to wit, that the law of Moses proceeded only upon temporal rewards and punishments: which is most false, and contrary to the constantly received doctrine of the Christian church; and particularly of the Church of England, as it is declared in the sixth of her Articles. But,
To which I answer, That this is a precept by no means absolute and universal, but always to be limited by these two conditions, namely, first, that the glory of God, and, secondly, that the eternal welfare of the soul of our brother, indispensably requires this of us; upon the supposal of either of which I affirm, it was as really a duty from the beginning of the world, as it was from that very time that the apostle wrote these words; the very common voice of reason upon these terms, and under these circumstances, dictating and enjoining no less, as founding itself upon these two self-evident and undeniable principles, namely, that the life of the creature ought, when necessity calls, to be sacrificed to the glory of him who gave it; and secondly, that we ought to prefer the eternal good of our neighbour or brother, before the highest temporal good of ourselves. Which manifestly shews, that this high instance of charity (as
extraordinary as it appears) did not at length begin to be a duty by any evangelical sanction, but was so ever since there was such creatures in the world as men, and consequently that all, both Jews and Gentiles, (whether they actually knew so much or no,) would have sinned against this duty of charity, should they have refused to promote the glory of their Maker, or prevent the destruction of their brother's immortal soul, being called thereto, by quitting this temporal life for the sake of either. And consequently that this is no such new precept to be reckoned by anno Domini, but as old as the obligations of charity and of right reason, discoursing and acting upon the dictates of that noble principle.
And now to apply this general discourse to the particulars mentioned in this chapter: I affirm, that Christ does by no means here set himself against the law of Moses, as a law either faulty or imperfect, and upon those accounts needing either correction or addition, but only opposed the corrupt comments of the Scribes and Pharisees upon the law, as really contradictions to it, rather than expositions of it; and that for these following
First, Because the words in this sermon mentioned and opposed by Christ, are manifestly, for the most part, not the words of the law itself, but of the Scribes and Pharisees. As for instance, "Whosoever shall kill, shall be in danger of the judgment." And again in the next verse, "He shall be in danger of the council." They all refer to the Pharisees' way of expressing themselves; which manifestly shews, that it was their doctrine and words which he was now disputing against, and not the law itself, which this is by no means the language of.
Secondly, That expression, "That it was said by those of old time," was not uttered by Christ in his own person, but by way of prosopopœia, in the person of the Scribes and Pharisees, whose custom it was to preface and authorize their lectures and glosses to the people with the pompous plea of antiquity and tradition. As if Christ had bespoken them thus: You have been accustomed indeed to hear the Scribes and Pharisees tell you, that this and this was said by those of old time: but, notwithstanding all these pretences, I tell you, that the case is much otherwise, and that the true account and sense of the law is thus and thus. This, I say, is the natural purport and meaning of our Saviour's words throughout this chapter.
Thirdly, That passage in the 43d verse of the same, "Ye have heard that it hath been said, Ye shall love your neighbour and hate your enemy," is so far from being the words
*Some render it to those.
of the Mosaic law, that Moses commands the clean contrary to the latter clause, (Exod. xxiii. 4, 5,)" If thou seest thine enemy's ox going astray, thou shalt surely bring it back to him again; and if thou seest the ass of him who hateth thee lying under his burden, thou shalt surely help him." And if this was the voice of the law then, can we imagine that it would make it a man's duty to relieve his enemy's ox, or his ass, and at the same time allow him to hate or malign his person? This certainly is unaccountable and incredible.
Fourthly, If Christ opposed his precepts to those of the Mosaic law, then God, speaking by Christ, must contradict himself as speaking by Moses. For whatsoever Moses spoke, he spoke as the immediate dictates of God, from whom he received the law. But this is absurd, and by no means inconsistent with the divine holiness and veracity.
Fifthly and lastly, Christ, in all this discourse, never calls any one of the doctrines opposed by him the words of Moses or of the law, but only the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees, which shews that they, and they only, were the persons with whom he managed this whole contest.
Let this therefore rest with us as a firm conclusion; that Moses and Christ were at perfect agreement, whatever the controversy was between him and the Pharisees. And so from the scheme and context of the words, I pass to the duty enjoined in them, which is, "to love our enemies;" the discussion of which I shall cast under these three general heads,
First, I shall shew negatively what is not that love, which we are here commanded to shew our enemies.
Secondly, I shall shew positively wherein it does consist.
Thirdly, I shall produce arguments to enforce it.
And first, for the first of these; what is not that love, which we must shew to our enemies; this we shall find to exclude several things which would fain wear their name.
1. As, first, to treat an enemy with a fair deportment and amicable language, is not the love here enjoined by Christ. Love is a thing that scorns to dwell any where but in the heart. The tongue is a thing made for words; but what reality is there in a voice. what substance in a sound? and words are no more. The kindness of the heart never kills, but that of the tongue often does. And in an ill sense a soft answer may sometimes break the bones. He who speaks me well, proves himself a rhetorician or a courtier; but that is not to be a friend.
Was ever the hungry fed or the naked clothed with good looks or fair speeches? These are but thin garments to keep out the cold, and but a slender repast to conjure
down the rage of a craving appetite. My enemy perhaps is ready to starve or perish through poverty, and I tell him I am artily glad to see him, and should be very ready to serve him, but still my hand is close, and my purse shut; I neither bring him to my table, nor lodge him under my roof; he asks for bread, and I give him a compliment, a thing indeed not so hard as a stone, but altogether as dry. I treat him with art and outside: and lastly, at parting, with all the ceremonies of dearness, I shake him by the hand, but put nothing into it. In a word, I play with his distress, and dally with that which will not be dallied with, want and misery, and a clamorous necessity.
For will fair words and a courtly behaviour pay debts and discharge scores? If they could, there is a sort of men that would not be so much in debt as they are. Can a man look and speak himself out of his creditor's hands? Surely, then, if my words cannot do this for myself, neither can they do it for my enemy. And therefore this has nothing of the love spoken of in the text. It is but a scene, and a mere mockery, for the receiving that, cannot make my enemy at all the richer, the giving of which makes me not one penny the poorer. It is indeed the fashion of the world thus to amuse men with empty caresses, and to feast them with words and air, looks and legs; nay, and it has this peculiar privilege above all other fashions, that it never alters: but certainly no man ever yet quenched his thirst with looking upon a golden cup, nor made a meal with the outside of a lordly dish.
But we are not to rest here; fair speeches and looks are not only very insignificant as to the real effects of love, but are for the most part the instruments of hatred in the execution of the greatest mischiefs. Few men are to be ruined till they are made confident of the contrary and this cannot be done by threats and roughness, and owning the mischief that a man designs; but the pitfall must be covered, to invite the man to venture over it; all things must be sweetened with professions of love, friendly looks, and embraces. For it is oil that whets the razor, and the smoothest edge is still the sharpest: they are the complacencies of an enemy that kill, the closest hugs that stifle, and love must be pretended before malice can be effectually practised. In a word, he must get into his heart with fair speeches and promises, before he can come at it with his dagger. For surely no man fishes with a bare hook, or thinks that the net itself can be any enticement to the bird.
distance, sour looks and sharp words, are all the expressions of friendship that some natures can manifest. I confess, where real kindnesses are done, these circumstantial garnitures of love (as I may so call them) may be dispensed with; and it is better to have a rough friend than a fawning enemy: but those who neither do good turns nor give good looks, nor speak good words, have a love strangely subtile and metaphysical for other poor mortals of an ordinary capacity are forced to be ignorant of that which they can neither see, hear, feel, nor understand. And thus much for the first negative. The love that we are to shew to enemies is not a fair external courtly deportment; it is not such a thing as may be learnt in a dancing-school, nor in those shops of fallacy and dissimulation, the courts and palaces of great men, where men's thoughts and words stand at an infinite distance, and their tongues and minds hold no correspondence or intercourse with one another.
But now, if these outward shows of fairness are short of the love which we owe to our enemies; what can we say of those who have not arrived so far as these, and yet pretend to be friends? Disdain and
2. Fair promises are not the love that our Saviour here commands us to shew our enemies. And yet these are one step in advance above the former: for many fair speeches may be given, many courteous harangues uttered, and yet no promise made. And it is worth observing how some great ones often delude, and simple ones suffer themselves to be deluded, by general discourses and expressions of courtesy. As "Take you no care, I will provide for you. I will never see you want. Leave your business in my hands, and I will manage it with as much or more concern than you could yourself. What need you insist so upon this or that in particular? I design better things for you." But all this while there is no particular determinate thing promised, so as to hold such an one by any real, solid engagement, (supposing that his promise were such,) but perhaps, when the next advantage comes in the way the man is forgot and balked: yet still these general speeches hold as true as ever they did, and so will continue, notwithstanding all particular defeats; as indeed being never calculated for any thing else but to keep up the expectation of easy persons; to feed them for the present, and to fail them in the issue.
But now, as these empty glossing words are short of promises, so promises are equally short of performances. Concerning both which I shall say this, that there is no wise man, but had rather have had one promise than a thousand fair words, and one performance than ten thousand promises. For what trouble is it to promise, what charge is it to spend a little breath, for a man to give one his word, who never intends to give him any thing else? And yet, according to the measures of the world, this must sometimes pass for an high piece of love: and many poor