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cere and Obedient Servants of God. And in Persons Thus qualified for Hope, the Want of it, so far as it relates to the Mind, and is not Occasion’d by any Indisposition in the Body, is owing to the Want of Just thoughts concerning God, and involves men in the Sin of Defpair.
But there is perhaps Less occasion of inlarging upon the Necessity of Hope; than of some Other virtues, because men are Usually more apt to Exceed, than to be Defečtive in it. Some few Phlegmatick tempers there are, where Hope does not easily find Admission: But Generally mens Dispositions are of the Sanguine kind, and Apt to carry their Expectations, at least as Far as they should go. We are Commonly as Little moved by those Arguments, which are offer'd for a Proper Restraint of Hope, as by those which are urged for the proper Extent of Charity; which is,
3. The Third Christian Grace to be consider'd, and which must needs be thought very Extensive, since this One word includes the Two great Commandments, on which hang all the Law and the Prophets. For Charity denotes the Love of God, and of our Neighbours also, for His fake, and, so far as our Love of Them is grounded upon, and Consistent with the Love of Him. And the Scripture represents Both these branches of Love, under such Terms of Warmth. and Intenseness, that Cold and Languid - affections do scarce bear the least Refemblance of Either.
We are Commanded to love the Lord our God with all our heart, with all our mind, and with all our strength; Which Implies, That we should very frequently Contemplate the High Perfections, which are in God, in order to Raise and Preserve the Highest Admiration of them within our Selves: That this Admiration should not affect our Understandings alone, but descend upon our Hearts, and move Full Complacency There: That we should be Exceedingly Delighted with the Thoughts of him, who hath given us our very Power of Thinking: That we should above all things rejoyce in the sole Au-. thor of all our Joys: That his Gracious
M4 , Forbear
Forbearance and Loving Kindness towards Us, after all our Trespasses and Provocations, should Endear us to the Utmost, and draw our Warmest Affections toward Him: That our Love of Him, whose Goodness to us is Boundless, should rise to the Highest, and admit of no Bounds but its own Incapacity of rising Higher: That the Enjoyment of Him, in whose Pleasure is Life, should fill up the measure of our Wishes and Defires, and that every Other Enjoyment, which stands in Opposition to it, or Competition with it, should at once be Neglected and Disdain’d: That our Love of God should be so Delightful to us, as to render us earnestly Desirous of Loving him ftill more, and Earnest in Praying, that we may be filled with the love of God bed abroad in our hearts, by the Holy Ghost given unto us; and, That we should prove the Sincerity and Fervency of our Love, by the Sincerity and Constancy of our Obedience : For this is the love of God, the Proper and Necessary Evidence and Effect of Divine love, that we keep his Commandments,
and Particularly, the New Commandment, as it is styled by our Saviour, wherein the second Branch of Charity is enjoyned; for this Commandment have we from him, that he who loveth God, love his brother also.
And under This are contained all the Other commandments, which concern our Regards and Behaviour to One ano- , ther. For so the Apostle expresly declares, and on this account adds, * that love is the fulfilling of the law, that is, if Love it self be Fulfilled and Perfect; for then 'tis the Model, upon which all our Duties to our Brethren are Formed and Finished. But if This be either totally Wanting, or Confined and Imperfect, then the very Fountain fails, from whence all our Sentiments and Dispositions, as well as Actions, relating to our Brethren should be Derived, and Diffused through the Whole course of our Conduct towards them.
The Necessary and Indissoluble Connexion betwixt our Goodwill and our
* Rom. xii. 9, 10,
Good Works, betwixt the entire Love of our neighbour and proper Acts of Beneficence towards him, is in many Other places of Scripture fully represented, and hath been very often, and very Accurate- ly treated of, upon this Occasion. But the Apostle's Design in this place, is, not so much to enforce the Neceflity of Good Works, as to lay the proper Foundation, upon which they should be built. Though I beltow all my Goods to feed the poor, and have not Charity, it profiteth me nothing, ý. 3. Charity, as the Principle of all our Thoughts and Deportment, is what he is labouring to Fix and Establish. All our Behaviour towards our Brethren, be it ever so Specious in it Self, or ever so Beneficial unto Them, will be to our Selves Unprofitable, if it does not proceed from an Inward Principle of Charity. It should therefore be our Chief Care and Study, to attain and keep up Charitable Thoughts of our Neighbour, and Charitable Affections towards him. And yet it cannot be denied, that men may possibly be found in such Circumstances, that a perfect Good Opinion of