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good Actions of Justice, or Charity, or Civility. First, I say, Justice. It is an abominable Principle of some Men, (as I touched before) that Justice is not due to an Enemy; or, as they word it, that an Enemy deserves no fair play; whereas the true Principle is, that Justice is not to regard the Persons of Men, but is equally due to all, Good and Bad, Friend and Foe. Secondly, Charity; If thine Enemy hunger, feed him ; if he thirst, give him Drink; that is, whatever Straits or Necessities he is under, help him out. Lastly, Courtely and Civility; for we are not to salute our Brethren only, as it here follows, but are to be courteous to all; that the good we do, we may do it in a winning way, in a loving and obliging manner, which often takes more than the good Turn itself which is done.
4. The last Duty to Enemies here mentioned, is praying for them. This was exemplified in our Saviour, who in the midst of his Pain, prayed for his Perfecutors; Father forgive them, for they know not what they do : and in St Stephen, whose dying Words, when they stoned him, were, (a) Lord, lay not this Sin to their Charge.
So much for the Description of the Object of our Charity in the Text, our Enemies, and the Acts of Charity required towards them.
The Reasons of this Duty which follow, I must refer to another Opportunity.
Now God bless what we have heard, and to this great God, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, be all Praise, &c.
(4) Acts vii. 60.
S E R M O N XXX.
MATT. V. 45. That уе тау
be the Children of your Father which is in Heaven, for he maketh his Sun to rise on the Evil, and on the Good, and sendeth Rain on
the Just, and on the Unjust. Ver. 46. For if ye love them which love you,
what Reward have ye? Do not even the Publicans the Same? Ver. 47. And if ye falute your Brethren only, what
do you more than others? Do not even the Publicans so? Ver. 48. Be ye therefore perfect, even as your
Father which is in Heaven is perfect.
The Second Sermon on this Text.
Words, considered the defective and rupt Interpretation of the Scribes and Pharisees, as to the Duty of Love and Charity, together with our Saviour's Correction and Improvement of that Doctrine, by extending our Love to all, even our bitterest Enemies ; I proceed now to the next thing in our Saviour's Discourse on this Subject, namely, the Confirmation of this his Doctrine concerning the Love of Enemies, by fome Argu
ments taken from the Example of God, and the greater Perfection required of Christians, than of Jews or Heathens. To which is subjoined a general Corollary to all this Discourse, concerning the Interpretation of the Law in the perfecteft Sense; Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in Heaven is perfeet.
I. I begin with the Arguments here used by our Saviour, to persuade us to the Love of Enemies; which are two.
1. The first is taken from the Example of God, who makes his Sun to mine on the Evil and the Good, and sendeth Rain on the Just and Unjuft ; and our imitating him in this good Quality, is a Proof of our being his Children; That ye may be the Children of your Father which is in Heaven
; for he maketh bis Sun to rise on the Evil
, and on the Good, and sendeth Rain on the Just, and on the Unjuft.
2. The second Argument is taken from the Commonness of shewing Kindness to Friends and Benefactors, among Men of the most indifferent Character; and that higher Degrees of Duty may justly be expected from Christians.
I. The first Argument taken from the Example of God, goes upon these two Premisses :
1. That it is our Duty to imitate God in all imitable Perfections, particularly in his Mercy and Goodness.
2. That God, in this Life, shews great Beneficence, Goodness, and long-suffering
Patience to all, Good, and Bad, i. e. Friends, and Foes; and therefore so should we.
1. That we are to imitate God in all his imitable Perfections, particularly in his Mercy and
Goodness; That ye may be the Children of your Father which is in Heaven. This was the great Happiness of Man, could he have kept it, that he was made after the Image of God; and the more he recovers of this Image, which is done by advancing in all moral Perfections, so much the more doth he
like to God. But whatever is to be said of some other Perfections, certainly there can be no doubt, but that we are encouraged to imitate God in those of Patience, Mercy, and Beneficence, since the Imitation or Refemblance in the Text, doth most particularly point at these : That ye may be the Children of your Father which is in Heaven, for be maketh his Sun to rise on the Evil, and on the Good, and fendeth Rain on the Fust, and on the Unjuft. Which leads me to the
2. Second Proposition upon which this Conclusion of the Love of Enemies is built, namely, That God, in this Life, shews great Beneficence, and long-suffering Patience to all, Good and Bad, instanced here in the Blessings of Sun and Rain, promiscuously communicated to all.
There are several important Truths couched in this Propofition, which will require a more particular Consideration. As
(1.) That the Providence of God exerts itself in governing the several Parts of the Creation, and in directing them to such Uses as he thinks most
proper ; for he maketh his Sun to rise, and Rain to fall, where he thinks fit.
(2.) That Good Men are God's Friends, and bad Men his Enemies. This follows plainly from the Force of the Argument; otherwise, how
could could the Duty of Love of Enemies be deduced from this Practice of God's Thewing Kindnesses to Good and Bad.
(3.) That there are many common Mercies, which God, in this Life, bestows promiscuously upon all, Good, and Bad, Friends, and Foes. All which, with the Influence they should have on our Practice, it will be fit to touch at more particularly.
(1.) The first thing we have to consider here, is the Providence of God in governing the several Parts of the Creation, and in directing them to such Uses as he thinks most proper. For the Text doth not say only, the Sun rises, and the Rain falls, but he maketh his Sun to rise, and Rain to fall. We are apt to look no higher than to fecond Causes, but our Saviour teaches us here to look up unto God, as the principal Author of all our Mercies and Comforts. Or if we look to God as the Creator of Sun and Rain, and our other Blessings, we little mind him as the providential Disposer and Manager of them, and directing them to the various Uses of Life ; otherwise we should be much more affiduous in addrefsing him, both by Prayer and Thanksgiving for them. Rare Miracles of Providence indeed we are apt to take notice of; but such daily Mercies, as the constant rising and setting, and Influences of the Sun, the Seasonableness of the Weather, the fending of refreshing Showers, the regular Productions of Grass and Corn, and a thousand other daily Benefits we take no notice of at all
, except we come to be pinched with the Want of them, But the wise Considerers of God's Providence, take all as from his Hand, and