תמונות בעמוד

and they seemed to him but a few days for the love he had SERM. to her.

XXVII. This is the root, from whence voluntary obedience doth naturally grow; 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 n.

But without it we shall not ever perform any good work perfectly, steadily, in a kindly manner : no other principle will serve; if we are only moved by whip and spur, driven on by fear, or incited by hope, we shall go forward unwillingly and dully, often balting, ever flagging: those principles which do put Naves and mercenaries on action, as they are not so noble and worthy, so neither are they so effectual and sure ; as ambition, vainglory, felf-interest, design of security, of profit, of compliance witht hxpectation of men, &c.

XVIII. Charity giveth worth, form, and life to all vir- Chryf. in tue, so that without it no action is valuable in itself, or xxv. acceptable to God.

Sever it from courage ; and what is that, but the boldnefs or fierceness of a beast? from meekness; and what is that, but the foftness of a woman, or weakness of a child ? from courtesy; and what is that, but affectation or artifice ? from justice ; what is that, but humour or policy? from wisdom; 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 oftentation; what undergoing martyrdom, but ftiffness or sturdiness of resolution; 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 fervile fear or mercenary defign? Though I have faith, so that I could 1 Cor. xiii. remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing ; 2, 3. though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though

i Cor. Or.

1 ο γάρ φιλών ουχ ούτως επιτάτων, ως επιταττόμενος χαίρει, &c. Chryf. in 1 Cor. Or, xxxii.


James ii. 26.

SERM. I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it proXXVIII.

fitcth me nothing.

But charity doth fan&ify every action, and impregnate all our practice with a favour of goodness, turning all we do into virtue ; it is true fortitude and gallantry indeed, when a man out of charity and hearty design to promote his neighbour's 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 virtuous courtesy, when cordial affection venteth itself in civil language, in respectful deportment, in obliging performances; it is excellent justice, when a man, regarding his neighbour's cafe as his own, doth unto hiin as he would have it done to himself; it is admirable wisdom, which sagaciously contriveth and dexterously manageth

things with the best advantage toward its neighbour's Gal. v. 6. good : it is a worthy faith, which being Spirited and

actuated by charity, doth produce goodly fruits of beneficence ; it is a sound and solid hope, which is

grounded on that everlasting foundation of charity, 2.Cor. iii. 9. which never doth fail, or fall away; it is sincere alms,

which not only the hand, but the heart doth reach forth; it is an acceptable sacrifice, which is kindled by the

holy fire of fervent affe&tion ; it is a pure devotion, 1 Tim.ii. 8. which is offered up with a calın and benign mind, Matt. v. 23. resembling the disposition of that goodness which it


If therefore we would do any thing well, if we would

not lofe all the virtue, and forfeit all the benefit of what i Qur. xvi. we perform, we must follow the rule of St. Paul, 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 claim our observance; without regard to its sweet fruits and beneficial consequences, it were to be embraced and cherished; for it carrieth a reward and a heaven in itself; the very fame which constituteth God himself infinitely happy, and which beatifieth every blessed spirit, in proportion to its capacity and exercise thereof : a man SERM. doth abundantly enjoy himself in that steady composed

XXVIII. nefs, and favoury complacence of mind, which ever doth attend it; and as the present sense, fo is the memory of it, or the good conscience of having done good, very delicious and satisfactory.

As it is a rascally 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, grateful to the mind, and increasing by reflection; never perishing or decaying ; a man eternally enjoying the good he hath done, by remembering and ruminating thereon. In fine,

XX. Whereas the great obstacle to charity is felf-love, or an extravagant fondness of our own interests, yet uncharitableness destroyeth that : for how can we love ourselves, if we do want charity? how can we appear lovely to ourselves, if we are deftitute of so worthy an endowment? or if we can discern those unworthy difpofitions, which accompany the defect of it; can we esteem so mean, so vile, so ugly things as we then are ? Aristotle faith, that bad men cannot be friends to themselves, because having in themselves nothing amiable, they can feel ovliv Piano no affection toward themselves ; and certainly, if we are pomez's not stark blind, or can but see wrath, spite, envy, revenge ráozxon. in their own black and ugly hue, we must needs (if Arif. Esh. they do poffefs our souls) grow odious and despicable to ourselves. 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 ourselves by cherishing them, or suffering them to lodge in us.

These are some very considerable inducements to the practice of this great virtue ; 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, reserving them for a particular discourse by themselves,

SERM. O Lord, who has taught us, that all our doings without XXVIII. charity are nothing worth ; send thy Holy-Ghost, and pour

into our hearts that most excellent gift of charity, the very Quinquag.

bond of peace and of all virtues, without which whosoever liveth is counted dead before thee. Grant this for thine only Son Jesus Christ's fake.





Rom. xii. 18.

If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with

all men.

This chapter containeth many excellent precepts and SERM. wholesome advices, (scarce any portion of holy Scripture XXIX. so many in fo little compass.) From among them I have seledled 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 impoffibility, by others a wonder, by fome a crime. It hath an apt coherence with, yet no necessary dependence upon, the parts adjoining ; whence I may presume to treat upon it distinctly by itself; and without farther preface or circumstance we may consider several particulars therein.

I. And first, concerning the advice itself, or the substance of the duty charged on us, signvaúsiy, (to be in peace, or live peaceably,) we may take notice, that whether, according to the more usual acception, it be applied to the public estate of things, or, as here, doth relate only to private conversation, it doth import,

1. Not barely a negation of doing, or suffering harm, or an abftinence from strife and violence, (for a mere 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 fubfift. For they who by

« הקודםהמשך »