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SERM. XII. Charity doth regulate our dealing, our deXXVII. portment, our conversation toward our neighbour, implying good usage and fair treatment of him on all occasions; for no man doth handle that which he loveth rudely or roughly, so as to endanger the loss, the detriment, the hurt or offence thereof.
Wherefore the language of charity is soft and sweet, not wounding the heart, nor grating on the ear of any with whom a man converseth; like the Prov. xv. language of which the Wise Man saith, The words Prov. xvi. of the pure are pleasant words;-such as are sweet Eccles. x. to the soul, and health to the bones: and, The words of a wise man's mouth are gracious; such as Lukeiv.22. our Lord's were, λóyo xápitos, words of grace; such Col. iv. 6. as the apostle speaketh of, Let your speech be ἵνα δῷ χάριν FOX always ev xápiti, with grace-such as may give Eph. iv. 29.grace to the hearers; being entertained, not with aversation, but with favourable acceptance.
Its carriage is gentle, courteous, benign; bearing in it marks of affection and kind respect.
I Cor. xiii.5.
Its dealing is equal, moderate, fair, yielding no occasion of disgust or complaint; not catching at, or taking advantages, not meting hard measure.
It doth not foster any bad passion or humour, which may embitter or sour conversation, so that it rendereth a man continually good company.
If a man be harsh or surly in his discourse, rugged or rude in his demeanour, hard and rigorous in his dealing, it is a certain argument of his defect in charity for that calmeth and sweeteneth the mind; it quasheth keen, fierce, and boisterous passions; it discardeth those conceits, and those humours, from whence such practice doth issue.
Charity, saith St. Paul, ouk άσxpovei, behaveth not
itself unhandsomely; is not untoward, unseemly, SERM uncivil, or clownish in word, or in carriage, or in XXVII. deed it is in truth the most civilizing and most polishing disposition that can be; nothing doth render a man so completely genteel; not in an affected or artificial way, (consisting in certain postures or motions of body; (dopping, cringing, &c.) in forms of expression, or modish addresses, which men learn like parrots, and vent by rote, usually not meaning any thing by them, often with them disguising fraud and rancour,) but in a real and natural manner, suggested by good judgment and hearty affection.
A charitable man may perhaps not be guilty of courtship, or may be unpractised in the modes of address; but he will not be deficient in the substance of paying every man proper and due respect: this indeed is true courtesy, grounded on reason, and proceeding from the heart; which therefore is far more genuine, more solid, more steady, than that which is built on fashion and issueth from affectation; the which indeed only doth ape or counterfeit the deportment of charity: for what a charitable man truly is, that a gallant would seem to be.
Such are the properties of charity.
There be also further many particular acts, which have a very close alliance to it, (being ever coherent with it, or springing from it,) which are recommended to us by precepts in the holy scripture; the which it will be convenient to mention.
1. It is a proper act of charity to forbear anger upon provocation, or to repress its motions; to resent injuries and discourtesies either not at all, or very calmly and mildly for,
Charity où napotiveta, is not easily provoked.
Charity μaкpobuμei, suffereth long and is kind. Charity Távτa voμéve, doth endure all things. Anger is a violent insurrection of the mind against a person, but love is not apt to rise up in opposition against any; anger is an intemperate heat, love hath a pure warmth quite of another nature; as natural heat is from a fever; or as the heat of the sun from that of a culinary fire, which putteth that out as the sun-beams do extinguish a culinary fire: anger hath Rom. xiii. an peis apivns, an appetite of revenge, or doing mischief to the object of it; but love is innocent and worketh no evil.
I Cor.xiii.4. Verse 7.
Cant. viii. 7.
Love disposeth, if our neighbour doth misbehave himself toward us, (by wrongful usage, or unkind carriage,) to be sorry for him, and to pity him; which are passions contrary to anger, and slaking the violences of it.
It is said in the Canticles, Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it: charity would hold out against many neglects, many provocations.
Ανέχεσθαι ἀλλήλων ἐν
Hence the precepts; Walk with all lowliness and ἀγάπῃ· meekness, with long-suffering, forbearing one anEph. iv. I, other in love: Let all bitterness, and wrath, and
Eph. iv. 31. anger, and clamour, and evil speaking be put away
I Thess. v.
a Jam. i. 19.
from you, with all malice: Put off anger, wrath,
2. It is a proper act of charity to remit offences, suppressing all designs of revenge, and not retaining any grudge: for,
I Cor. xiii.
Charity Távτa σTéye, doth cover all things; and in Prov. x. 12. this sense doth hide a multitude of sins: all disposi
1 Pet. iv. 8.
Jam. v. 20. tions, all intents to do harm are inconsistent with it,
are quite repugnant to it.
Hence those precepts; Put on, as the elect of God, SERM. holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, long-suffering, forbear- Col. iii. 12, ing one another, and forgiving one another, if any μ. man have a quarrel against any, even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye: Be ye kind one to an- Eph. iv. 32. other, tender-hearted, forgiving one another; even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you: that none render evil for evil, but ever follow which is good both among yourselves and to men and many the like precepts occur in gospels, the apostolical writings; yea even in Old Testament, wherein charity did not run in so xxv. 21. high a strain.
See Thess. v.
that 1Pet. iii. 9.
3. It is a duty coherent with charity, to maintain concord and peace; to abstain from contention and strife, together with the sources of them, pride, envy, emulation, malice.
Acts iv. 32.
5, 6. xii.
We are commanded to be σύμψυχοι, and ὁμόφρονες, of one soul, of one mind, (like the multitude of believers in the Acts, who had one heart and one soul;) that we should keep the unity of the Spirit in the Phil. ii. 2. bond of peace; that we should be of one accord, of Cor. i. 10. one mind, standing fast in one spirit, with one mind; 2 Cor. xiii. that we should all speak the same thing, and that Rom. xv. there be no divisions among us, but that we be 16. perfectly joined together in the same mind, and in the 1 Cor. xii. same judgment; that there be no factions, or schisms 1. 11. ii. 3. in the body; that all dissensions, all clamours, all 2 Cor. xii. murmurings, all emulations should be abandoned and Phil. ii. 14. put away from us; that we should pursue and main-14. tain peace with all men: obedience to which com- 2 Tim. ii. mands can only be the result of charity, esteeming Jam. iv. 1. the person and judgment of our neighbour; desiring 3.
Phil. iii. 16.
25. xi. 18.
1 Cor. iii.
Matt. vi. 14. V. 44. Prov. xx.
Phil. ii. 2.
J Pet. iii. 8.
SERM. his good-will, tendering his good; curbing those fleshly lusts, and those fierce passions, from the predominancy whereof discords and strifes do spring.
4. Another charitable practice is, being candid in opinion, and mild in censure, about our neighbour and his actions; having a good conceit of his person, and representing him to ourselves under the best character we can; making the most favourable construction of his words, and the fairest interpretation of his designs.
Charity disposeth us to entertain a good opinion of our neighbour; for desiring his good we shall be concerned for him, and prejudiced, as it were, on his side; being unwilling to discover any blemish in him to our own disappointment and regret.
Love cannot subsist without esteem; and it would not willingly by destroying that lose its own subsist
Love would preserve any good of its friend, and therefore his reputation; which is a good in itself precious, and ever very dear to him.
Love would bestow any good, and therefore its esteem; which is a considerable good.
Harsh censure is a very rude kind of treatment, grievously vexing a man, and really hurting him ; charity therefore will not be guilty of it.
It disposeth rather to oversee and connive at faults, than to find them, or to pore on them; rather to hide and smother, than to disclose or divulge them; rather to extenuate and excuse, than to exaggerate or aggravate them.
Are words capable of a good sense? charity will expound them thereto may an action be imputed to any good intent? charity will ever refer it thither: