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pressive, according to our power, in the instances of duty, and must be love for love's sake: and for this love, martyrdom is the highest instance; that is, a readiness of mind, rather to suffer any evil, than to do any. Of this our blessed Saviour affirmed, that no man had greater love than this: that is, this is the highest point of duty, the greatest love, that God requires of man. And yet he, that is the most imperfect, must have this love also in preparation of mind, and must differ from another in nothing, except in the degrees of promptness and alacrity. And in this sense, he, that loves God truly (though but with a beginning and tender love), yet he loves God with all his heart, that is, with that degree of love, which is the highest point of our duty, and of God's charge upon us; and he that loves God with all his heart, may yet increase with the increase of God: just as there are degrees of love to God among the saints, and yet each of them love him with all their powers and capacities.
2. But the greater state of love is the zeal of love, which runs out into excrescences and suckers, like a fruitful and pleasant tree; or bursting into gums, and producing fruits, not of a monstrous, but of an extraordinary and heroical greatness. Concerning which, these cautions are to be observed :
Cautions and Rules concerning Zeal. 1. If zeal be in the beginnings of our spiritual birth, or be short, sudden, and transient; or be a consequent of a man's natural temper; or come upon any cause but after a long growth of a temperate and well-regulated love; it is to be suspected for passion and frowardness, rather than the vertical point of love'.
2. That zeal only is good, which, in a fervent love, hath temperate expressions. For let the affection boil as high as it can, yet if it boil over into irregular and strange actions, it will have but few, but will need many, excuses. Elijah was zealous for the Lord of Hosts; and yet he was so transported with it, that he could not receive answer from God, till, by music, he was recomposed and tamed : and Moses broke both the tables of the law, by being passionately zealous against them, that brake the first.
· Kahoy de gò Snacürfen Sy the many wróvtors. - Gal. iv. 18.
3. Zeal must spend its greatest heat, principally in those things that concern ourselves; but with great care and restraint in those that concern others.
4. Remember that zeal, being an excrescence of divine love, must, in no sense, contradict any action of love. Love to God includes love to our neighbour; and therefore no pretence of zeal for God's glory must make us uncharitable to our brother; for that is just so pleasing to God, as hatred is an act of love.
5. That zeal, that concerns others, can spend itself in nothing but arts, and actions, and charitable instruments, for their good : and, when it concerns the good of many, that one should suffer, it must be done by persons of a competent authority, and in great necessity, in seldom instances, according to the law of God or man; but never by private right, or for trifling accidents, or in mistaken propositions. The Zelots, in the old law, had authority to transfix and stab some certain persons, but God gave them warrant; it was in the case of idolatry, or such notorious huge crimes, the danger of which was insupportable, and the cognizance of which was infallible : and yet that warrant expired with the synagogue.
6. Zeal, in the instances of our own duty and personal deportment, is more safe than in matters of counsel, and actions besides our just duty, and tending towards perfection. Though, in these instances, there is not a direct sin, even where the zeal is less wary, yet there is much trouble and some danger; as, if it be spent in the too-forward vows of chastity, and restraints of natural and innocent liberties.
7. Zeal may be let loose in the instances of internal, personal, and spiritual actions, that are matters of direct duty: as in prayers, and acts of adoration, and thanksgiving, and frequent addresses : provided that no indirect act pass upon them to defile them ; such as complacency, and opinions of sanctity, censuring others, scruples and opinions of necessity, unnecessary fears, superstitious numberings of times and hours : but let the zeal be as forward as it will, as devout as it will, as seraphical as it will, in the direct address and intercourse with God there is no danger, no transgression. Do all the parts of your duty as earnestly as if the salvation
+ Phil. iii. 6.
of all the world, and the whole glory of God, and the confusion of all devils, and all that you hope or desire, did depend upon every one action".
8. Let zeal be seated, in the will and choice, and regulated with prudence and a sober understanding, not in the fancies and affections '; for these will make it full of noise and empty of profit ; but that will make it deep and smooth, material and devout.
The sum is this : that zeal is not a direct duty, no where commanded for itself, and is nothing but a forwardness and circumstance of another duty, and therefore is then only acceptable, when it advances the love of God and our neighbours, whose circumstance it is w. That zeal is only safe, only acceptable, which increases charity directly : and because love to our neighbour and obedience to God are the two great portions of charity, we must never accountour zeal to be good, but as it advances both these, if it be in a matter, that relates to both; or severally, if it relates severally. St. Paul's zeal was expressed in preaching without any offerings or stipend, in travelling, in spending and being spent for his flock, in suffering, in being willing to be accursed for love of the people of God and his countrymen. Let our zeal be as great as his was, so it be in affections to others, but not at all in angers against them : in the first, there is no danger; in the second, there is no safety. In brief, let your zeal (if it must be expressed in anger) be always more severe against thyself than against others *. I The other part of love to God is love to our neighbour, for
which I have reserved the paragraph of alms.
Of the external Actions of Religion. Religion teaches us to present to God our bodies as well as our souls; for God is the Lord of both ; and if the body serves the soul in actions, natural, and civil, and intellectual, it must not be eased in the only offices of religion, unless the body shall expect no portion of the rewards of religion, such as are resurrection, re-union, and glorification. Our
u Lavora, come se tu avessi a compar ogni hora : Adora, come se tu avessi a morir allora.
Rom. x. 2. w Tit. ii. 14. Rev. iii. 16. 2 Cor. vii, II.
bodies are to God a living sacrifice; and to present them to God, is holy and acceptable .
The actions of the body, as it serves to religion, and as it is distinguished from sobriety and justice, either relate to the word of God, or to prayer, or to repentance, and make these kinds of external actions of religion : 1. Reading and hearing the word of God; 2. Fasting and corporal austerities, called by St. Paul, bodily exercise ; 3. Feasting, or keeping days of public joy and thanksgiving.
Of reading or hearing the Word of God READING and hearing the word of God are but the several circumstances of the same duty; instrumental especially to faith, but, consequently, to all other graces of the Spirit. It is all one to us, whether, by the eye or by the ear, the Spirit conveys his precepts to us. If we hear St. Paul saying to us, that “ whoremongers and adulterers God will judge,” or read it in one of his epistles ; in either of them, we are equally and sufficiently instructed. The Scriptures read are the same thing to us, which the same doctrine was, when it was preached by the disciples of our blessed Lord ; and we are to learn of either, with the same dispositions. There are many that cannot read the word, and they must take it in by the ear; and they, that can read, find the same word of God by the eye. It is necessary, that all men learn it in some way or other, and it is sufficient, in order to their practice, that they learn it any way. The word of God is all those commandments and revelations, those promises and threatenings, the stories and sermons recorded in the Bible: nothing else is the word of God, that we know of by any certain instrument. The good books and spiritual discourses, the sermons or homilies written or spoken by men, are but the word of men, or rather explications of, and exhortations according to, the word of God; but, of themselves, they are not the word of God. In a sermon, the text only is in a proper
Rom. xii. 1.
sense to be called God's word : and yet good sermons are of great use and convenience for the advantages of religion. He, that preaches an hour together against drunkenness with the tongue of men or angels, hath spoke no other word of God but this, “Be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess;" and he, that writes that sermon in a book, and publishes that book, hath preached to all, that read it, a louder sermon, than could be spoken in a church. This I say to this purpose, that we may separate truth from error, popular opinions from substantial truths. For God preaches to us in the Scripture, and by his secret assistances and spiritual thoughts and holy motions : good men preach to us, when they, by popular arguments, and human arts and compliances, expound and press any of those doctrines, which God hath preached unto us in his holy word. But,
1. The Holy Ghost is certainly the best preacher in the world, and the words of Scripture the best sermons.
2. All the doctrine of salvation is plainly set down there, that the most unlearned person, by hearing it read, may understand all his duty. What can be plainer spoken than this, “ Thou shalt not kill. Be not drunk with wine. Husbands love your wives. Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye so to them.” The wit of man cannot more plainly tell us our duty, or more fully, than the Holy Ghost hath done already.
3. Good sermons and good books are of excellent use : but yet they can serve no other end, but that we practise the plain doctrines of Scripture.
4. What Abraham, in the parable, said concerning the brethren of the rich man is here very proper ; “ They have Moses and the prophets, let them hear them: but if they refuse to hear these, neither will they believe, though one should arise from the dead to preach unto them ?.”
5. Reading the Holy Scriptures is a duty expressly commanded us a, and is called in Scripture "preaching :"all other preaching is the effect of human skill and industry, and although of great benefit, yet it is but an ecclesiastical ordinance; the law of God concerning preaching being expressed
2 Luke, xvi. 29, 31.
a Deut. xxxi. 13. Luke, xxiv. 45. Matt. xxii. 29. Acts, xv. 21. Rev. i. 3. 2 Tim. iii. 16.