« AnteriorContinuar »
Love, as Christ also hath loved us. He gave many signal Proofs of bis dihnterested Benevolence and Loving-Kindness towards Mankind through the Course of his facred Life, but especially in the last concluding Scene of it, when he gave himself for us (as the Apofile here addeth) an Offering and a Sacrifice to God of a sweet-smelling Savour : And accordingly, when Qur. Saviour layeth it as his special Commandment upon his Disciples, that they should love one another, he proposeth his own Love to them, as furnishing both the most eno gaging Motive to mutual Love, and the most amiable and perfect Pattern of it: This is my Commandment (faith he) that ye love one another, as I have loved you. John XV. 12...
The Instances and Proofs of Christ's Benevolence and Love to Mankind are so many and various, that it is not eafy to make a distinct Enumeration of them.
His benevolent Disposition appeared in the admirable Precepts of Love that dropped from his Lips: When he summed up the whole Law, it was in Love, in Love to God, and Love to our Neighbour ; and by our Neighbour he hath taught us to understand, not merely those of the same City, Nation, or Religion with ourselves, but all Mankind, so as to be ready to do them Good, as far
as we have Ability and Opportunity. Not only hath he forbidden the Rendering Evil for Evil
, but he hath commanded us to render Good for Evil, to love our Enemies, to bless them that curfe us, and to pray for them that despitefully use us and perfecute
which is carrying Benevolence to the noblest Height. And his own Temper and Practice was every Way answerable to the Excellency of his Doctrine : He was the living unspotted Image of the supreme Goodness and Benevolence. Not only was he far from injuring or wronging any Man, or doing the least Act of Injustice or Violence; but be went about doing Good, as St. Peter speaks, Aits x. 38. His Life was one constant Series of the most beneficent Acts of Goodness to the Bodies and to the Souls of Men. The Design of his Coming was, as he himself representeth it, to seek and to save that which was loft, Luke xix. 10. He came to preach the Gofpel to the Poor, to beal the Broken-hearted, to preach Deliverance to the Gaptives, and Recovering of Sight to the Blind, to set at Liberty them that are bruised. Luke iv. 18. He condescended to converse with the Poorest, the Meanest, and even with those that were called Publicans and Sinners, that he might have an opportunity of instructing them, and bringing them to a fincere Repentance:
As the great heavenly Physician, he went about among them to heal their distempered Souls. Far was he from discouraging any. Beginnings and Tendencies towards Good: He did not break the bruised Reed, nor quench the smoking Flax. Matt. xii. 20. What wonderful Love and Piety breathe in that most gracious and melting Invitation so worthy of the Saviour of Mankind, Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavyladen, and I will give you Rest. Take my Yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in Heart, and ye shall find Rejt unto your Souls. For my roke is easy, and my Burden is light. Matt. xi. 28, 29, 30. The Evangelift Matthew, after giving an Account of Christ's going about all the Cities and Villages, teaching in their Synagogues, and healing their Diseases, observes that, when he saw the Multitudes; he was moved with Compaffon, his Bowels within him yearned over them, as the Word in the Original signifieth, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as Sheep having no Shepherd. Then faith be to his Disciples, The Harvest truly is great, but the Labourers are few. Pray ye therefore the Lord of the Harvest, that he will fend Labourers into bis Harvest. Matt. ix. 36, 37, 38. And not only on this, but on several other Occasions, we read of his being moved with
Compasion. Thus, Matt. xiv. 14, we are told that Jesus went forth and saw a great Multitude, and was moved with Compassion towards them, and healed their Sick: And, as St. Mark tells us, in the parallel Palsage, he began to teach them many Things. Mark vi. 34. And, as they were in a desart Place, and it was growing late, when bis Disciples would have had him dismiss them, that they might go the neigbouring Villages, and buy themseves Viktuals, he, in Pity to them, wrought that signal Miracle of Feeding five thousand Men, befdes Women and Children, with five Leaves and two Fishes : And, in a like Case, he, not long after, wrought another Miracle of the same Kind, being not willing to send the Multitude away fafting, left they hauld faint by the Way. Matt. xv. 32, &c. Indeed all his Miracles in general were Acts of Godlike Benevolence as well as Power : He healed the most desperate Diseases, cleansed the Lepers, caused the Dumb to speak, the Lame to walk, and the Blind to see, and, as St. Peter expresseth it, healed all those that were oppressed of the Devil. A&s x. 38. None, that ever applied to him for Assistance and Relief, went away unheard or unanswered from his Presence. He seemed indeed at first to reject the Request of the Syrophænician Woman, who would bave bad bim
come and heal ber Daughter ; but it ap. peared, in the Issue, that this was only to quicken her Application, with a View to render ber Faith, as well as his Mercy, more illustrious.
When the Samaritans in a certain Village refused to receive and entertain him, and two of bis Disciples, out of a just Regard, as they thought, for the Honour of their Lord and Master; and a Zeal against such Heretics and Schifmatics, as they looked upon the Samaritans to be, desired that he would allow them to' conimand Fire from Heaven to come down and consume them, even as Elias did, he gave a remarkable Proof of the great. Goodness and Benevolence of his Mind, in the Answer he returned to them: We are told that be turned, and rebuked them, and said, re know not what Manner of Spirit ye are of. For the Son of Man is not come to destroy Men's Lives, but to fave them. Luke ix. 54, 55, 56.
But, besides this general Love and GoodWill which he exercised towards all, he thewed the Tenderness of his Heart by a most pure and generous Friendship towards those with whom he cultivated special Intimacy. Who, that hath any generous Feelings in his own Breast, can, without Emotion, read the Account given us of his Conduct, with Regard to Lazarus ?