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III. In what sense it can be said, “That without love all this profiteth us nothing."

I. As to thc first : It must be observed, that the word used by St. Paul, properly signifies, To divide into small pieces, and then to distribute what has been so divided : and consequently it implies, not only divesting ourselves at once of all the worldly goods we enjoy, either from a fit of distaste to the world, or a sudden start of devotion, but an act of choice, and that choice coolly and steadily executed. It may imply too, that this be done not out of vanity, but in part from a right principle; namely, from a design to perform the command of God, and a desire to obtain his kingdom. It must be farther observed, that the word give, signifies actually to deliver a thing according to agreement, and accordingly it implies, like the word preceding, not a hasty, inconsiderate action, but one performed with opened eyes and a determined heart, pursuant to a resolution before taken. The full sense of the words, therefore, is this, which he that hath ears to hear, let him hear: Though I should give all the substance of my house to feed the poor ; though I should do so upon mature choice and deliberation ; though I should spend my life in dealing it out to them with my own hands, yea, and that from a principle of obedience; though I should suffer, from the same view, not only reproach and shame, not only bonds and imprisonment, and all this by my own continued act and deed, not accepting deliverance, but moreover, death itself, yea, death inflicted in a manner the most terrible to nature; yet all this, if I have not love, (“the love of God, and the love of all mankind shed abroad in my heart by the Holy Ghost given unto me,”) it profiteth me nothing.

II. Let us inquire what this love is : What is the true meaning of the word. We may consider it, either as to its properties, or effects. And that we may be under no possibility of mistake, we will not at all regard the judgment of men, but go to our Lord himself for an account of the nature of love; and for the effects of it, to his inspired apostle.

The love which our Lord requires in all his followers is, the love of God and man;—of God, for his own, and of man, for God's sake. Now what is it to love God, but to delight in him, to rejoice in his will, to desire continually to please him, to seek and find our happiness in him, and to thirst day and night for a fuller enjoyment of him?

As to the measure of this love, our Lord hath clearly told us, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart.” Noi that we are to love or delight in none but him. For he hath commanded us not only to love our neighbour, that is, all men, as ourselves to desire and pursue their happiness as sincerely and steadily as our own,- but also to love many of his creatures in the strictest sense; to delight in them, to enjoy them : only in such a manner and measure as we know and feel, not to indispose but to prepare us for the enjoyment of him. Thus then we are called to love God with all our heart.

The effects, or properties of this love, the apostle describes in the chapter before us. And all these being infallible marks whereby any man may judge of himself, whether he hath this love or hath it not, they deserve our deepest consideration.

"Love suffereth long," or is long suffering. If thou love thy neighbour for God's sake, thou wilt bear long with his infirmities. If he want wisdom, thou wilt pity and not despise him. If he be in error, thou wilt mildly endeavour to recover him, without any sharpness or reproach. If he be overtaken in a fault, thou wilt labour to restore him in the spirit of meekness: and if haply that cannot be done soon, thou wilt have patience with him; if God, peradventure, may bring him at length to the knowledge and love of the truth. In all provocations, either from the weakness or malice of men, thou wilt show thyself a pattern of gentleness and meekness; and be they ever so often repeated, wilt not be overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good. Let no man deceive you with vain words: he who is not thus long suffering, bath not love.

Again: "Love is kind.” Whosoever feels the love of God and man shed abroad in his heart, feels an ardent and uninterrupted thirst after the happiness of all his fellow creatures. His soul melts away with the very fervent desire, which he hath continually to promote it; and out of the abundance of the heart, his mouth speaketh. In his tongue is the law of kindness. The same is impressed on all his actions. The flame within is continually working itself a way, and spreading abroad more and more, in every instance of good will to all with whom he hath to do. So that whether he thinks or speaks, or whatever he does, it all points to the same end : the advancing, by every possible way, the happiness of all his fellow creatures. Deceive not, therefore, your own souls: he who is not thus kind, hath not love.

Farther : “Love envieth not.” This, indeed, is implied, when it is said, “love is kind.” For kindness and envy are inconsistent: they can no more abide together than light and darkness. If we earnestly desire all happiness to all, we cannot be grieved at the happiness of any. The fulfilling of our desire will be sweet to our soul; so far shall we be from being pained at it. If we are always doing what good we can to our neighbour, and wishing we could do more, it is impossible that we should repine at any good he receives ; indeed, it will be the very joy of our heart. However then we may flatter ourselves, or one another, he that envieth hath not love.

It follows, “ Love vaunteth not itself;" or rather, is not rash, or hasty in judging: for this is indeed, the true meaning of the word. As many as love their neighbour for God's sake, will not easily receive an ill opinion of any to whom they wish all good, spiritual as well as temporal. They cannot condemn him even in their hearts without evidence: nor upon slight evidence neither. Nor, indeed, upon any, without first, if it be possible, having him and his accuser face to face; or, at the least, acquainting him with the accusation, and letting him speak for himself. Every one of you feels that he cannot but act thus, with regard to one whom he tenderly loves. Why, then, he who does not act thus, hath not love.

I only mention one thing more of the effects or properties of this love : 'Love is not puffed up.” You cannot wrong one you love. Therefore, if you love God with all your heart, you cannot so wrong him, as to rob him of his glory, by taking to yourself what is due to him only. You will own that all you are, and all you have, is his; that without him you can do nothing; that he is your light and your life, your strength and your all ; and that you are nothing, yea, less than nothing before him. And if you love your neighbour as yourself, you will not be able to prefer yourself before him. Nay, you will not be able to de spise any one any more than to hate him. As the wax melteth before the fire, so doth pride melt away before love. All haughtiness, whether of heart, speech, or behaviour, vanishes away where love prevails. It bringeth down the high looks of him who boasted in his strength, and maketh him as a little child : diffident of himself, willing to hear, glad to learn, easily convinced, easily persuaded. And whosoever is otherwise minded, let him give up all vain hope : he is puffed up, and so hath not love.

III. It remains to inquire in what sense it can be said, “That though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, yea, though I give my body to be burned, and have not love, it profiteth me nothing.'

The chief sense of the words is, doubtless, this : that whatsoever we do, and whatsoever we suffer, if we are not renewed in the spirit of our mind, by "the love of God shed abroad in our hearts, by the Holy Ghost given unto us,” we cannot enter into life eternal. None can enter there, unless in virtue of the covenant which God hath given unto man in the Son of his love.

But because general truths are less apt to affect us, let us consider one or two particulars, with regard to which all we can do or suffer, if we have not love, profiteth us nothing. And first, all without this profiteth not, so as to make life happy; nor, secondly, so as to make death comfortable.

And, first : Without love, nothing can so profit us as to make our lives happy. By happiness, I mean, not a slight, trifling pleasure, that perhaps begins and ends in the same hour ; but such a state of well being, as contents the soul, and gives it a steady, lasting satisfaction. But that nothing without love can profit us, as to our present happiness, will appear from this single consideration : you cannot want it in any one single instance without pain, and the more you depart from it the pain is the greater. Are you wanting in long suffering? Then so far as you fall short of this, you fall short of happiness. The more the opposite tempers, anger, fretfulness, revenge, prevail, the more unhappy you

You know it; you feel it; nor can the storm be allayed, or peace ever return to your soul, unless meekness, gentleness, patience, or, in one word, love, take possession of it. Does any man find in himself ill will, malice, envy, or any other temper opposite to kindness? Then is misery there: and the stronger the temper, the more miserable he is. If the slothful man may be said to eat his own flesh, much more the malicious, or envious. His soul is the very type of hell; full of torment as well as wickedness. He hath already the worm that never dieth, and he is hastening to the fire that never can be quenched. Only as yet the great gulf is not fixed between him and heaven. As yet there is a Spirit ready to help his infirmities; who is still willing, if he stretch out his hands to heaven and bewail his ignorance and misery, to purify his heart from vile affections, and to renew it in the love of God, and so lead him by present, up to eternal happiness.

Secondly: Without love, nothing can make death comfortable. By comfortable, I do not mean stupid, or sepseless. I would not say, he died comfortably, who died of an apoplexy, or by the shot of a cannon; any more than he who, having his conscience seared, died as unconcerned as the beasts that perish. Neither do I believe that you would envy any one the comfort of dying raving mad. But by a comfortable

are.

death, I mean, a calm passage out of life, full of even, rational peace and joy. And such a death, all the acting, and all the suffering in the world, cannot give, without love.

To make this still more evident, I cannot appeal to your own experience; but I may to what we have seen, and to the experience of others. And two I have myself seen going out of this life in what I call a comfortable manner; though not with equal comfort. One had evidently more comfort than the other, because he had more love.

· I attended the first, during a great part of his last trial, as well as when he yielded up his soul to God. He cried out “God doth chasten me with strong pain; but I thank him for all; I bless him for all; I love him for all !" When asked, not long before his release, “ Are the consolations of God small with you ?" He replied aloud, "No, no, no!" Calling all that were near him by their names, he said, “Think of heaven, talk of heaven : all the time is lost when we are not thinking of heaven.” Now this was the voice of love. And so far as that prevailed, all was comfort, peace, and joy. But as his love was not perfect, so neither was his comfort. He had intervals of fretfulness, and therein of misery. Giving by both an incontestable proof, that love can sweeten both life and death. So when that is either absent from, or obscured in the soul, there is no peace or comfort there.

It was in this place, that I saw the other good soldier of Jesus Christ grappling with his last enemy death. And it was, indeed, a spectacle worthy to be seen of God, and angels, and men. Some of his last breath was spent in a psalm of praise, to Him who was then giving him the victory; in assurance whereof he began the triumph, even in the heat of the battle. When he was asked, “Hast thou the love of God in thy heart ?” he lifted up his eyes and hands, and answered, “Yes, yes;": with all the strength he had left. To one who inquired, If he was afraid of the devil, whom he had just mentioned as making his last attack upon him, he replied, “No, no: my loving Saviour hath conquered every enemy: he is with me; I fear nothing." Soon after, he said, “The way to my loving Saviour is sharp, but it is short.” Nor was it long before he fell into a sort of slumber, wherein his soul sweetly returned to God that gave it.

Here, we may observe, was no mixture of any passion or temper contrary to love ; therefore, there was no misery : perfect love casting out whatever might have occasioned torment. And whosoever thou art, that hast the like measure of love, thy last end shall be like his.

SERMON CXXXVII.-On Public Diversions. * Shall the trumpet be blown in the city, and the people not be afraid ? Shall there be evil in the city, and the Lord hath not done it?" Amos iii, 6.

It is well if there are not too many here, who are nearly concerned in these words of the prophet; the plain sense of which seems to be this : Are there any men in the world so stupid and senseless, so utterly void of common reason, so careless of their own and their neighbours' safety or destruction, as when an alarm of approaching judgments is given, to show no signs of apprehension ? To take no care in order to prevent them, but go on as securely as if no alarm had been given ? Do not all men know, that whatsoever evil befalls them, it befalls them either by God's permission, or by his appointment? And that he designs every evil of this life to warn men to avoid still greater evils? That he suffers these iighter marks of his displeasure to awaken mankind, so that they may shun his everlasting vengeance, and be timely advised by feeling a part of it, so to change their ways, that his whole displeasure may not arise ?

I intend, speaking on this subject, to show, first, That there is no evil in any place, but the hand of the Lord is in it.

Secondly, That every uncommon evil is the trumpet of God, blown in that place, so that the people may take warning.

Thirdly, To consider, whether, after God hath blown his trumpet in this place, we have been duly afraid.

I am first to show, in few words, that there is no evil in any place but the hand of the Lord is therein. No evil, that is, no affliction or calamity, whether of a public or of a private nature, whether it concerns only one or a few persons, or reaches to many, or to all of that place where it comes. Whatever circumstance occasions loss or pain to any man, or number of men, may in that respect be called an evil; and of such evils the prophet speaks in these words.

of such evils, we are to believe, that they never happen but by the knowledge and permission of God. And of every such evil we may say, that the Lord hath done it, either by his own immediate power, by the strength of his own right hand, or by commanding, or else suffering it to be done, by those his servants that do his pleasure. For the Lord is King, be the people never so impatient : yea, the Great King of all the earth. Whatsoever, therefore, is done in all the earth, (sin only excepted,) he doeth it himself. The Lord God omnipotent still reigneth; and all things are so subject unto him, that his will must be done, whether we agree to it or not; as in heaven, so also upon earth. Not only his blessed angels, but all things serve him in all places of his dominion : those wicked spirits which rule the darkness of this world, and those men who are like them, he rules by constraint. The senseless and brute parts of the creation, by nature ; and those men who are like God by choice. But however it be, with or without their own choice, they all act in obedience to his will; and particularly so, when in judgment, he still remembers mercy, and permits a smaller evil, that he may prevent a greater. Then, at least, we are to acknowledge the hand of God in whatsoever instruments he makes use of. It makes little difference, whether he executes his purpose by the powers of heaven or hell, or by the mistakes, carelessness, or malice of men. If a destroying angel marches forth against a town or a country, it is God who empowers him to destroy. If bad men distress one or more of their fellow creatures, the ungodly are a sword of his. If fire, hail, wind, or storm, be let loose upon the earth, yet they only fulfil his word. So certain it is, that there is no evil in any place which the Lord, in this sense, hath not done.

I am to prove, secondly, That every uncommon evil is the trumpet of God, blown in that place where it comes, that the people may take warning.

Every private affliction is doubtless the voice of God, whereby he calls upon that person to flee to him for succour. But if any extraordinary affliction occurs, especially when many persons are concerned

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