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(saith the beloved Evangelist) because he first loved us. If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar : for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.

We may observe likewise, that this charity is the very

end proposed in preaching the Gospel, for the conversion and salvation of mankind; and that it was the love of God for us which induced him to send his Son into the world to save and redeem us from sin and death. The conclusion therefore is just, that if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. If by the commandment we understand religion in general, it is clearly evident that it includes both love to God and love to man. For without love to God there can be no religion; and without love to man there can be no charity. Whatever doctrines the Christian religion proposes to our understanding and faith, they are founded upon the love of God to us, and require us to love him in return; and it follows, that if we love God from this motive, we shall love our neighbour also; so that there can be no real religion without the exercise of charity. We shall discover more of this truth as we proceed more particularly to consider,

III. The principles from which that charity (which is the end of the commandment) ought to proceed. Now the end of the commandment is charity, out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned. By a pure heart we are to understand, a sincere and honest heart, as opposed to all hypocrisy and deceit. The Apostle thus exhorted the Roman converts to let their love (and their religion) be without dissimulation, and to be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love. A pure heart must also be free from hatred and malice, as well as guile and deceitfulness, or else it cannot be said to possess that charity which is the end of the commandment. The evil passions of men not only occasion, but aggravate the miseries of human life. Their vanity and pride, their avarice and ambition, their selfishness and insensibility to the sufferings of others, are the chief causes of the various evils of civil society. According to the Apostle's doctrine, a pure heart will seek to find a remedy for some of these evils, and will endeavour to afford relief. At all events, it will not indulge the evil passions of envy, hatred, and malice, but will be free from all uncharitableness. A pure heart signifies also a renewed heart; for as bad tempers and dispositions are natural to men, the divine influence counteracts invariably their prevalence and power. In direct opposition to hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, envyings, and such like (saith the Apostle), the fruit of the Spirit is love, (i. e. the charity here taught) joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance. A soul which is renewed in righteousness and true holiness, and sanctified by the Spirit of God, will delight in doing good, and will abstain from all evil. Hence a pure

ence.

heart is here said to be connected with a good consci

The Apostle, therefore, in his Epistle to Titus, after having cautioned him not to give heed to the commandments of men that turn from the truth, observes, unto the pure all things are pure ; but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled. In his Epistle to Timothy, he gives him the same exhortation and caution to hold the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience ; and again, holding faith and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith, have made shipwreck. And in his second Epistle to Timothy he saith, that he himself served God with a

a pure conscience; as he declared also in his defence before Felix, the Roman governor, Herein do I exercise myself to have always a conscience void of offence toward God and toward man.

We may consider this as the invariable rule of life of every true and sincere Christian. Hence, when the Apostle taught the Roman converts the great duty of charity to all mankind, he considered it as the fulfilment of the moral law; and he reasons on the subject with the most unanswerable arguments, for he saith, that this love, or charity, worketh no ill, or doeth no injury, to his neighbour ; and as adultery, murder, theft, bearing false witness, and covetousness, are such violations of the law as this charity and love abstain from and avoid, therefore, concludes the Apostle, Love is the fulfilling of the law. We have observed already, that a good conscience is united to faith unfeigned; and consequently this is one of those principles of religion from which charity proceeds. It is here called faith unfeigned, because it is active and lively, not notional and speculative, but operative and practical. Christian faith being the vital principle of the Christian religion, is necessary to the production of Christian charity, and of every other good work. The only sure evidences of this faith are found in its effects—in producing the fruits of holiness, and in the various acts of obedience to the law of God. Some proud and ignorant persons presume to say and to teach, that obedience to the moral law is not required by the Gospel : but this is false; it is directly contrary to the doctrine both of our Lord and of his apostles.

Our blessed Saviour, in his divine sermon on the Mount, declared, that whosoever shall break one of these least commandments (of the moral law), and shall teach men that they may do so without fear of punishment, shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven ; but whosoever shall do and teach them, shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven ; clearly disproving that lawless and licentious doctrine which leads men to the commission of sin, without any fear of the consequences. Accordingly the Apostle has commented on this duty, and the danger of neglecting it, with great clearness and force. Walk in love as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savour. Then, after exhorting the Ephesians to guard against particular sins, and impure

and immoral acts, he adds, let no man deceive you

with vain words, for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. Having considered the true meaning and end of the commandment, and the principles from which this charity should proceed, I shall conclude the subject with a few reflections and remarks.-Ist, We may observe, that we ought to examine ourselves carefully and conscientiously as to these several parts of doctrine and duty. It is a matter of the greatest importance to us to know whether we fulfil, or whether we disobey, the law of God and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. If we neglect this duty, or refuse to do it, from a disregard to the divine authority, we are selfdeceivers if we think ourselves Christians. We ought, therefore, to examine ourselves by the testimony of the Scriptures, and to prove ourselves by these matters of fact. It is certain that, if we do not possess and exercise that charity, which is the end of the commandment the end both of the law and the Gospel-we are destitute of the Christian character, and all our pretensions and professions are vain. The Evangelist St. John, who entertained the most exalted ideas of Christian charity, reasons on the subject with the arguments of common sense, when he saith, Whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother hath need, and shutteth up his compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God (or this divine charity) in him? It is not possible, in the very nature of things, that such a person can be a charitable person, and consequently a true Christian. But

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