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of the Lord's love to us, when rebels against him. Not that we ought to love them more than our friends and brethren; as some have misinterpreted these precepts, that they might expose them to contempt. But we should still bear good-will to our foes, wish them well and pray for them, watch against all resentment, and not suffer ourselves to be overcome with evil, but still strive to overcome evil with good. We ought to keep our hearts diligently, that we may not rejoice either in their crimes, disgrace, or misery; to cultivate compassion for them, especially in respect of their souls; to shew a forbearing, forgiving, and reconcilea. ble, disposition; to spare no pains, and grudge no expence or self denial, in attempting to do them good; and to seize on every opportunity of relieving their temporal distresses, in order to make way for seeking their more important advantage. “ If thine enemy

hunger, feed him: if he thirst, give him drink; for “ in so doing, thou shalt heap coals of fire on his “ head.” In these cases, we should be ready to relieve the most wicked and ungrateful: but in ordinary circumstances our brethren and friends have a prior claim to our special kindness; even as our heavenly Father

“ his sun to shine and his rain to descend on “ the wicked and ungrateful,” but reserves his peculiar blessings for his children.

The example of the Lord's love to us when enemies, every part of the plan of redemption, the ministry of reconciliation, and the past and present kindness of our God to his believing servants, furnish motives and arguments, for the constant practice of all those loving dispositions, and that peaceable and affection


ate conduct; which are indispensably required of Christ's disciples, as the only sure evidences that they are true believers, and that their sins are forgiven for bis name's sake.

Let us compare these things with the apostle's de. scription of love, as stated in the context. “Love,” says he, “suffereth long and is kind; love envieth not: “ love vaunteth not itself; is not puffed up; does not s behave itself unseemly; seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked; thinketh no evil; rejoiceth not in

iniquity; but rejoiceth in the truth: beareth all things, “ believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all “ things.” St. Paul doubtless spake of love to men for the Lord's sake: love expressed both by doing and suffering; love to both their bodies and souls: a patient, long-suffering, unostentatious, disinterested, pru. dent, modest, unsuspicious, condescending, self-denying, forgiving, and fervent' affection to our neighbours and brethren; expressed in the persevering use of every means suited to do them good; and unweari. ed, by suffering or ill-usage, in seeking to accomplish this benevolent and compassionate object. Next to the example of Christ; the conduct of the apostle hinself forms undoubtedly the best exposition of his language, that was ever yet given.

, II. Then we proceed, very briefly to shew, in what respects love is greater than faith and lope; and how this consists with the doctrine of salvation by grace, justification by faith alone.

Love is greater than faith and hope; because it con. stitutes the end for which faith and hope are appointed and rendered effectual. 1 The end of the com


“ mandment,” or the message of the gospel, “ is love, “out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and “ of faith unfeigned."* It is the design of the whole gospel to recover men from a state of apostacy, enmity, selfishness, and malignity, to that love of God and man which the law commands; and to induce them, by obligations of inestimable value, and by new principles implanted in the heart, to express that love in all their tempers and conduct. This salvation, through the blood of Christ, can only be perceived and applied by faith: and the completion of it is the object of hope: but love is the disposition, health, and felicity, to which man must be restored, in connexion with forgiveness of sin and reconciliation to God. It is the prize itself, of which faith and hope must gradually put us in possession. In proportion as we love, we “dwell in “God, and God in us;" we anticipate heaven, and possess the blessing: for God is love, and heaven is love. A magnificent edifice cannot be erected without scaffolding; yet the building is greater than the scaffolding, being the sole end for which that is neces. sary: and when it is finished the scaffolding is remov. ed as an useless encumbrance.

Love will endure for ever; but faith and hope will soon be swallowed up in sight and enjoyment. In heaven they will be no longer wanted: but love will there be perfected; and every alloy of envy, selfishness, prejudice, or aversion removed; every uneasy, self denying exercise changed for such as are more delightful; and all coldness and deficiency remedied. The

. 1 Tim. i. 5.

blessed inhabitants will love God with their whole souls, and each other as themselves; and the felicity of every individual will increase the joy of all the rest. Love must therefore be greater than faith and hope; because more excellent in its nature, and more endur: ing in its use. Faith and hope are only necessary in this introductory scene; though honourable to God and profitable to us in the highest degree: but the former will flourish for ever, the business, element, joy, and glory of heaven itself; uniting God and all holy creatures in the most perfect harmony and felis city.*

Yet love cannot perform the functions of faith or hope, any more than the eye can perform the office of the ear, or the hand that of the foot. However excel. lent, it can do nothing towards justifying a sinner. The little measure of it, to which we here attain, can neither reverse the curse of the broken law, nor form our bond of union with Christ, that we may be justi. fied in that “righteousness of God, which is upon all, " and unto all that believe." Even were our love perfected, previous to justification, it could not atone for past sins, or merit everlasting life: but in fact it is the fruit of the Spirit of Christ, and the seal of our gratuitous justification. The instructions of scripture concerning love, when duly considered, prove our need of this free salvation: and the measure of it to which we are restored is a part of that salvation, and an earnest and evidence of the whole. It is therefore very obvious to see, that love is greater than faith cr

* 1 Col. ii. 14.

hope; that “ we are” nevertheless, "saved by grace, through faith;” and that “he who believeth shall be “ saved, and he who believeth not shall be damned."

My brethren, let us learn from this important subject, not to oppose one part of scripture to another, as many fatally do. That apparent love, which does not spring from faith, and is not accompar.ied by repentance, humility, hope, patience, and other holy dispositions, is a counterfeit: and so is the faith that does not work by love, and the hope which does not purify the heart. That love to our neighbour, which is not the result of love to Christ, is not the love which the sacred writers extol; nor can we love the bodies of men aright, if we neglect their souls; or regard their souls, if we do not relieve their temporal wants as we have opportunity and ability.

While we hold fast the principles of the gospel, let us beware of barren notions, spiritual pride, and a vain glorious use of our endowinents. These may be splendid in the judgment of man: but they are nothing, and worse than nothing, in the sight of God. A bitter, boasting, and censorious zeal characterizes “ the wis“ dom, that is from beneath; and is earthly, sensual, “ and devilish:” not that " which is from above, and “is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, easy to be in“ treated, full of mercy and good fruits, without par

- tiality, and without hypocrisy."* _Let us then, my brethren, follow after love: but let us see to it that it be the genuine affection, the nature and effects of which

Janies iii. 13-18.

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