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. Of doing good.
GALAT. vi. 9, 10. Let us not be weary in well-doing, for in due season we Mall reap, if we faint not: as we have therefore.opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the houshold of faith.
SERM. DHE apostle in these words recommends un-
to us a great and comprehensive duty, “ the A Spital “ doing of good;" concerning which the text offers Sermon, these five particulars to our consideration. preached
in I. The nature of the duty itself, which is called Church. " well doing,” v. 9. and “doing good,” v. 10. Tuesday,
er II. The extent of this duty, in respect of it's obApril 14. ject, which is all mankind, “ Let us do good unto 1691. is all men, especially unto them who are of the
6 houshold of faith.”
III. The measure of it, “as we have opportunity."
IV. Our unwearied perseverance in it; “ let us 66 not be weary in well-doing.”
V. The argument and encouragement to it; because “in due season we shall reap, if we faint not : " Therefore as we have opportunity, let us do “ good, &c.”
I. I will consider the nature of the duty itself; of “ well-doing,” and “ doing good.” And this I fall explain to you as briefly as I can, by considering the extent of the act of doing good, and the excellency of it. And,
1. The extent of the act. It comprehends, in it
all those ways wherein we may be beneficial and ufc-SERM. ful to one another. It reaches not only to the bodies CLVIII. of men, but to their souls, that better and more excellent part of ourselves; and is conversant in all those. ways and kinds, whereby, we may serve the temporal, or spiritual good of our neighbour, and promote either his present, or his future and eternal happiness. .
To instruct the ignorant, or reduce thofe that are in error; “ to turn the disobedient to the wisdom of “ the just," and reclaim those that are engaged in any evil course, by good counsel, and seasonable admonition, and by prudent and kind reproof; to resolve. and satisfy the doubting mind; to confirm the weak; to heal the broken-hearted, and to comfort the melancholy and troubled spirits :: These are the noblest ways of charity, because they are conversant about the souls of men, and tend to procure and promote their eternal felicity.. ..
And then " to feed the hungry, to clothe the “ naked, release the imprisoned;” to redeem the captives, and to vindicate those who are injured and oppressed in their persons, or estates, or reputation ; to repair those who are ruined in their fortunes; and, .. in a word, to relieve and comfort those who are in any kind of calamity or distress..
All these are but the several branches and instances of this great duty here in the text, of “doing good ;" though it hath, in this place, a more particular refpect to the charitable supply of those, who are in want and necessity; and therefore with a inore particular regard to that, I shall discourse of it at this time. You see the extent of the duty. We will, in the
. . . . Luis 2d place, briefly say something of the excellency B 2
SERM. of it, which will appear, if we consider, that it is
on. To do good, is to be like God, who “is good
It is an argument of a great, and noble, and generous mind, to excite our thoughts and cares to the concernments of others, and to employ our Interest, and power, and endeavours for their benefit and advantage: whereas a low, and mean, and narrow spirit, is contracted and shriveled up within itself, and cares only for it's own things, without any regard to the good and happiness of others.
It is the most noble work in the world, because that inclination of mind, which prompts us to do good, is the very temper and disposition of happiness. Solomon, after all his experience of worldly greatness and pleasure, at last pitched upon this, as the great felicity of human life, and the only good use that is to be made of a prosperous and plentiful, fortune. Ecclef. iii. 12. “I know” (says he, speaking of riches) “ that there is no good in them, but for w a man to rejoice and do good in his life.” And certainly the best way to take joy in an estate, is to do good with it : and a greater and wiser than Solomon has said it, even he “ who is the power and
« wisdom of GOD” has said it, that “it is a more SERM. « blessed thing to give than to receive.”
CLVIII. Consider farther, that this is one of the great and substantial parts of religion, and next to the love and honour, which we pay to Almighty God, the most acceptable service that we can do to him; it is one table of the law, and next to the first and great commandment, of " loving the LORD our God," and very like to it. “ And the second is like unto “ it,” (says our SAVIOUR) “ Thou shalt love thy « neighbour as thyself;" like to it, in the excellency of it; and equal to it, in the necessary obligation of it. “And this commandment(says St. John, 1 epist. chap. 4. V. 21.) « have we from him, that he who “ loveth Gon, love his brother also.” The first commandment indeed excels in the dignity of the object, because it enjoins the love of God; but the second seems to have the advantage in the reality of it's effects : for the love of God consists in our acknowledgment, and honour of him ; but our « righte“ ousness and goodness extend not to him ;” we can do him no real benefit and advantage : but our love to men is really useful and beneficial to them ; for which reason, God is contented in many cases, that the external honourand worship, which he requires of us by his positive commands, should give way to that natural duty of love and mercy which we owe to one another. “I will have mercy” (says God in the prophet Amos) “and not sacrifice.”
And to shew how great a value God puts upon this duty, he hath made it the very testimony of our love to himself; and for want of it, hath declared that he will reject all our other professions and testimonies of love to him, as false and insincere. " Whoso hath this world's good,” (faith St. John, · B 3
SERM. 1 epist. ü. 17.) cs and feeth his brother have need, CLVII., “6 and fhutteth up his bowels of compassion from
o him, how dwelleth the love of God in him'?” And again, chap. iv. ver. 20. “ If a man fay, “. I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar; " for he that loveth not his brother, whom he hath 6.seen, how can he love God, whom he hath not 56 seen ?!"
You see the duty here recommended, both in the extent and in the excellency of it; “ let us do good.” I proceed to consider, in the
IId place, the extent of this duty, in respect of it's object, which is all mankind, but more especially Christians, those that are of the same faith and religion. “Let us do good unto all men, especially
“ unto those that are of the hou hold of faith.” · So that the object, about which this duty is conver
sant, is very large, and takes in all mankind; 6. let ,“ us do good unto all men." The Jews confined their love and kindness to their own kindred and nation; and because they were prohibited familiarity with idolatrous nations, and were enjoined to maintain a perpetual enmity with Amalek, and the seven nations of Canaan, whom God had cast out before them, and devoted to ruin; they looked upon themselves as perfectly discharged from all obligation of kindness to the rest of mankind: and yet it is certain, that they were expresly enjoined by their law, to be kind to firangers, because they themselves had been strangers in the land of Egypt. But our SAVIOUR had restored this law of love and charity to it's natural and original extent ; and had declared every one that is of the same nature with ourselves to be our neighbour, and our brother; and that he is to be treated by us accordingly, whenever he stands
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