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356 Charity, or Love, suffereth long, is kind, envieth not,

make so high a Pretence, I Mall receive no Advvantage by it; but in the Day of final Account, 1 Cor. XIII.

my Judge, instead of applauding and rewarding
3.

me, as a Saint and a Martyr, will condemn me,
as a wicked and vain-glorious Hypocrite.
Indeed the Properties of this Love, which I

4. Charity suffereth long, 4

and is kind ; Charity envieth am now recommending, are such, that one would not; Charity vaunteth not: imagine the Description of them fhould be enough itfelf, is not puffed up. to charm the whole world to pursue it. Sufficiently must that shew how happy it renders the Soul, which is under its Influence, as well as how amiable such must be both to God and Man. For Love suffereth long Injuries [and] Provocations, without being transported into Rage, or instigated to Revenge. On the contrary, under all this Ill-usage, it is gentle and kind. Love envieth not the Advantages, which others enjoy; but rather takes Pleasure in them, and by friendly Participation makes them its own. Love is not infolent and over-bearing (f), does not act with such Precipitancy and Rashness, as Pride and Illnature often hurry Men into; but engages us with Tenderness to look round on those about us, lest we should by any Means harm them before we

Love is not presently puffed up with arrogant Self-conceit, on Account of

any

diftinguished Station, or peculiar Endowment, which a Man may possess ; nor outwardly boasteth of these Things, or inwardly overvalueth itself upon Love doth not bebave indecently (8), in

5 Doth not behave itself a Manner unbecoming a Person’s Station, Age, unseemly, seeketh not her or Circumstances. Love seeketh not her own

Things,

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are aware.

5 them.

own,

(f) Is not insolent, &c.] The Greek Word wep@ep@, from whence the Verb here used is derived, fignifies rafh and inconsiderate ; so that the Word must here import, « one that acts with “ fuch Precipitancy and Inconfideration, as Pride and Ill-nature often hurry People into," which Charity would preserve them from, and induce that Tenderness and Caution, which engages us to look about us, that we may do ourselves, and others, no Harm.

(8) Does not behave indecentiy.] I cannot read this Paffage, without thinking of the venerable Mr. Hale's Story of the Lancet concealed in a Spunge, in order to open an impostumated Part without giving any Alarm to the Patient, who dreaded the Operation. There is great Reason to believe, that in all this Description, the Apostle had in his Mind that Contrast to this beautiful Character, which was fo prevalent among the Corinthians, as is evident from many Paflages in both these Epistles.

(b) Know

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And it is a Grace, which all never fail :

357 own, is not easily provoked, Things, but makes all reasonable Concessions in Sect. 25. Evil

any

Point of Self-interest, where any superior
Interest of others is concerned. Love is not exaf- : Cor. XIII,
perated, and thrown into bitter and implacable
Resentments, even where the Usage it meets with

is most apparently unjust; and where the Inten-
, tion is dubious, it imputeth not Evil; but puts
the kindest Construction upon the Action itself,
or the Principle from whence it proceeds, which

the Nature of Circumstances may by any Means 6 Rejoiceth not in Ini

allow. Love rejoiceth not at Iniquity; it takes 6
quity, but rejoiceth in the
Truth.

no Pleasure to see an Adversary fall into a Crime,
by which his Reputation should be blasted, and
his Interest ruined : But on the contrary, it re-
joiceth with others in the Truth, and is pleased,

when its greatest Enemies behave themselves in a
7 Beareth all Thing, Reason of Things.
Manner agreeable to the Word of God, and the

Far from delighting to 7
believeth all Things, hopeth
all Things, endureth all blaze abroad the Faults of others, it covereth all
Things.

Things that are amiss, so far as it can lawfully
conceal them; all, which Benevolence to the
Publick, or Kindness to an Individual, does not
require them to make known. It is not apt to
suspect the Integrity and Veracity of others ; but
rather, knowing itself to be sincere, believeth all
Things, so far as with the most candid Allow-
ances it rationally can; and where it is con-
strained to confess, that many Things are wrong,
it is unwilling to treat the worst of Mankind as
utterly incorrigible; but hopeth all Things, and
with that Hope supports itself in every kind Ef-
fort it can make for their Recovery; and as it is
Long-suffering with Regard to human Provoca-
tions, fo from the Hand of God it endureth all
Things, even the most sharp and heavy Afflictions,
acquiescing in his Will, trusting in his Care, and
rejoicing, if its own Sufferings may be a Means

of Confolation and Edification to others. 8 Charity never faileth:

And farther to recommend this excellent Prin-
But

8
ciple of Love, give me leave to observe, that it is
a Grace, which never faileth; but will accom-
pany and adorn us to all Eternity, and indeed
makes a very essential Part of our Preparation for

358

8.

away.

But our present Means of Knowledge shall fail in Heaven : Sect. 25. the heavenly World ; in which it hath an appa- But whether there be. Proi rent Advantage over many of those Gifts, which phecies, they hall fail;

whether there be Tongues, 1 Cor. XIII. fome are so ready to emulate and pursue to the they shall ceale; whether

Neglect and Injury of Love. But whether Men there be Knowledge, it shall
admire Prophecies, it is fit they should know, they

vanith
Shall be abolished, when the Faith of God's Peo-
ple shall no longer need to be encouraged, nor
their Devotion to be assisted, by such Exhortations
and Instructions, as are necessary now : Or whe-
ther they boast themselves of the Variety of
Tongues, they shall cease in those celestial Regions:
One Speech and one Language shall prevail among
all the blessed Inhabitants, and the Languages of
Earth be forgotten, as too low and imperfect.
Yea I may add, that a great Deal of that Know-
ledge, which we now pursue with the greatest
Eagerness, and which is very conducive to our
present Usefulness

among Mankind, shall then be
abolished (b) and superseded, as referring to Things
altogether antiquated and passed away; or swal-
lowed up in Discoveries so much clearer, strong-

er, and inore. important, that it shall appear, in 9 Comparison of them, as nothing.

For now

9 For we know in Part,

and we know but in Part, and we prophesy but in Part:

we prophesy in Part.. there is a great Deal of obvious Imperfection, attending all our Knowledge, and all the Services

we can here perform for God, and for his Church: 10 But when that which is perfect is come, as in the

10 But then that which Heavenly State it shall, then that [wbich is) only which is in Part thall be done

is perfect is come, then that in Part, shall be abolished : All these now and un- away. satisfactory Methods of obtaining Knowledge, and all the little Stock we have here laid up, shall be exchanged for the most extensive Views of whatever it can be desirable to know, opening

upon

;

(b) Knowledge shall be abolished.] This cannot refer to all Kind of Knowledge ; for the noblest shall be much improved. Some think it here signifies, that of Old Testament Myfteries

, which will be superseded in that World, where Scripture shall be of no farther Ule; and hence some have farther argued for that Interpretation of the Word of Knowledge, which was spoken of above, (Chap. xii. 8.) But the Explication given the Paraphrafe, seems more natural and unexceptionable

. To trace the gradual Openings of the Christian Scheme thro the various Dispensations of God to the Church, may be an important part of the celestial Happiness,

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For we now see obscurely, but then Face to Face.

359 upon the Mind in the most easy, clear, and de- Sect. 25.

lightful Manner. 11 When I was a Child, 1 (pake as a Child, I under

It shall indeed be like a State of adult Age, 1 Cor. XIII.. tood as a Child, 'I thought when compared with that of feeble Infancy. Just as a Child : But when I be- as when I was a Child, I puke as a Child wculd came a Man, I put away naturally do, a few imperfect Words, hardly at childish Things.

first articulate and intelligible, and often in them-
selves unmeaning; I was affeEled as a Child,
thrown into Transports of Joy, or Grief on tri-
fling Occasions, which manly Reason foon taught
me to despise; I reasoned as a Guild, in a weak,
inconclusive, and fometimes ridiculous Manner.
But when my Faculties ripened, and I became a
Man, I put away the Tisings of the Whill, and
felt Sentiments, and engaged in Pursuits, corref-

pondent to fuch Advancements of Age and Rea-
12 For now we see thro' son. Such shall be the Improvements of the 12
a 2. Glass darkly; but then Heavenly State, in Comparison with those, which
in Part; but then shall I the most eminent Christian can attain here. For
know, even as also I am we now see the most nobie Objects of our intel-

lectual View in an ambiguous and obscure Manner,
as we discern distant Objects by Means of a Glass
or Mirror (i), which reflects only their imperfect
Forms, so that, (as when Riddles are proposed
to us,) our Understandings are often confounded
with the uncertain and indeterminate Appearances.
of Things. But then we shall see, not the faint
Reflection, but the Objects themselves, Face to
Face, in as distinct a Manner as we could wish.
Now I know but] in Part, and tho' the Light of
an immediate Revel:rion from Heaven has been
imparte: to me in many Instances, and in an ex-
traordinary Manner, I'am sensible how great a
Part is still kept under the Vail. But then it shall
be taken off, and I shall know, even as also I am
known, in an intuitive and comprehensive Manner;
fy that my Knowledge shall bear some fair Resem-
blance to that of the Divine Being, which, while
our Notices of Things hover about their Surface,

pene

known,

1

(i) By Means of a Mirror. This is the exa&t Rendering of d'Econice. It is well known, that the Use of Dioptrick Glasses in Tellescopes, did not prevail till many Ages after the Dare of this Epistle. And the Seventy use this Word for the Women's Looking-glasses, or Mirrors of Metal, out of which Mofes made the Laver. Exod. xxxviii. 8.

Sect.25.

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13

збо Reflečtions on the Apoftle's Defcription of Charity, or Love .

penetrates to the very Centre of every Object, and

sees thro' my Soul, and all Things, as at one 1 Cor. XIII. single Glance.

And thus upon the whole it appears, and I 13 And now abideth hope you will remember and consider it; that three'; but the greatest of

Faith, Hope, Charity, thefe there now abide these three most excellent Graces, these is Charity. Faith, Hope, and Love; each of them far to be ferred to the most shining Gifts, about which you can contend. But the greatest of these Graces [is] Love ; which most directly transforms us into the Image of God, and which shall continue to exert all

its Influence, when Faith is superseded by Sight, and Hope by Enjoyment.

I M P R O V E M E N T.

SU

per of Hell.

How many

URELY after having attentively surveyed the beautiful Description,

which the Apostle gives us of this Divine Grace, Love, it cannot be necessary that its Cause should be farther pleaded. It speaks for itself; speaks to our very Hearts. But oh, who that enters into the Description, must not mourn, that its Angelick Form is so much a Stranger to Multitudes who bear the Christian Name! So that in many Instances it can hardly pass uncensured; while these Extreams which most evidently

violate it, are often consecrated under honourable Names, and Men build Ver. 4, &c. much of their Hopes of Heaven, or breathing what is indeed the Tem

of Hell. How that stile. themselves Christians, can endure no Provocations, can cover no Faults of their Brethren, can keep themselves within no Bounds, can believe nothing to their Advantage, against whom, on Party-principles, they have entertained Prejudices ! They vaunt themselves, they are puffed up with the Conceit of their own Wisdom, they behave unfeemly, they seek only their own Reputation and Profit, they believe the worst they can hear of others, and suspect more than they hear; they envy

those whose Endowments and Stations are superior to their own, and instead of labouring themselves to excel, they affect by Calumny and Slauder to bring down their Brethren to their own Level, or rather, as far as possible, below it. Alas, that the Dictates of our Divine Master, and the Genius of our Religion, are so little understood, are no more re. garded! and that we so entirely forget the Precepts of Christianity, as not to remember even those of common Humanity!

Yet surely, if these Precepts are wholly forgotten, it is in vain, that we remember, or contend for any of its Doctrines and Principles. As

all

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