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By it we debase ourselves into an affinity with SERM. the meanest things, becoming either like beasts or fiends like beasts, affecting only our own present sensible good; or like fiends, designing mischief and trouble to others.
It is indeed hard for a man without charity, not to be worse than an innocent beast; not at least to be as a fox, or a wolf; either cunningly lurching, or Ezek. xxii. violently ravening for prey: love only can restrain a man from flying at all, and seizing on whatever he meeteth; from biting, from worrying, from devouring every one that is weaker than himself, or who cannot defend himself from his paws and teeth.
V. The practice of charity is productive of many great benefits and advantages to us: so that to love our neighbour doth involve the truest love to ourselves; and we are not only obliged in duty, but may be encouraged by our interest thereto : beatitude is often pronounced to it, or to some particular instances of it; and well may it be so, for it indeed will constitute a man happy, producing to him manifold comforts and conveniences of life: some whereof we shall touch.
VI. (1.) Charity doth free our souls of all those bad dispositions and passions which vex and disquiet them; from those gloomy passions, which cloud our mind; from those keen passions, which fret our heart; from those tumultuous passions, which ruffle us, and discompose the frame of our soul d.
It stifleth anger, (that swoon of reason, trans
ὁ Ὁ γὰρ τοιοῦτος καὶ φθόνου καὶ ὀργῆς καὶ βασκανίας καὶ ἀπονοίας καὶ κενοδοξίας, καὶ πονηρᾶς ἐπιθυμίας, καὶ παντὸς ἔρωτος ἀτόπου, καὶ παντὸς νοσήματος καθαρεύουσαν τηρήσει τὴν ἑαυτοῦ ψυχήν. Chrys. in 1 Cor. Orat.
SERM. porting a man out of himself;) for a man hardly can be incensed against those whom he tenderly loveth: a petty neglect, a hard word, a small discourtesy will not fire a charitable soul; the greatest affront or wrong can hardly kindle rage therein.
It banisheth envy, (that severely just vice, which never faileth to punish itself;) for no man will repine at his wealth or prosperity, no man will malign his worth or virtue, whose good he charitably desireth and wisheth e.
It excludeth rancour and spite, those dispositions which create a hell in our soul; which are directly repugnant to charity, and thereby dispelled as darkness by light, cold by heat.
1 John iv.
It suffereth not revenge (that canker of the heart) to harbour in our breast; for who can intend mischief to him, in whose good he delighteth, in whose evil he feeleth displeasure?
It voideth fear, suspicion, jealousy of mischief designed against us: the which passions have torment, or do punish us, as St. John saith, racking us with anxious expectation of evil; wherefore there is, saith Oderunt he, no fear in love, but perfect love casteth out fear:
no man indeed is apt to fear him whom he loveth, or is able much to love him whom he feareth: for love esteemeth its object as innocent, fear apprehendeth it as hurtful; love disposeth to follow and embrace, fear inclineth to decline and shun. To suspect a friend therefore is to disavow him for such; and upon slender grounds to conceit ill of him, is to deem him unworthy of our love. The innocence and inof
* Φθόνος, ἡ δαπάνη τῶν ἐχόντων, ὁ τῶν πασχόντων ἰὸς, τὸ μόνον τῶν παθῶν ἀδικώτατόν τε ἅμα καὶ δικαιότατον, τὸ μὲν ὅτι πᾶσι διοχλεῖ τοῖς καλοῖς, τὸ δὲ ὅτι τήκει τοὺς ἔχοντας. Gr. Naz. Οr. xxvii.
fensiveness of charity, which provoketh no man to do SERM. XXVIII. us harm, doth also breed great security and confidence any man will think he may walk unarmed and unguarded among those to whom he beareth good-will, to whom he neither meaneth nor doeth any harm; being guarded by a good conscience, and shielded with innocence.
It removeth discontent or dissatisfaction in our state; the which usually doth spring from ill conceits and surmises about our neighbour, or from wrathful and spiteful affections toward him: for while men have good respect and kindness for their neighbours, they seldom are dissatisfied in their own condition; they can never want comfort, or despair of succour.
It curbeth ambition and avarice; those impetuous, those insatiable, those troublesome dispositions: for a man will not affect to climb above those, in whose honour he findeth satisfaction; nor to scramble with them for the goods, which he gladly would have them to enjoy: a competency will satisfy him, who taketh Karà yàp himself but for one among the rest, and who can as μive ox little endure to see others want as himself: who. Chrys. τις ἐπαρθεί η would trouble himself to get power over those, to overtop them in dignity and fame, to surpass them in wealth, whom he is ready to serve in the meanest offices of kindness, whom he would in honour prefer to himself, unto whom he will liberally communicate what he hath for his comfort and relief?
In the prevalence of such bad passions and dispositions of soul our misery doth most consist; thence the chief troubles and inconveniences of our life do proceed wherefore charity doth highly deserve of us in freeing us from them.
VII. (2.) It consequently doth settle our mind in XXVIII. a serene, calm, sweet, and cheerful state; in an even
temper, and good humour, and harmonious order of soul; which ever will result from the evacuation of bad passions, from the composure of such as are indifferent, from the excitement of those which are Gal. v. 22. good and pleasant: The fruits of the Spirit, saith Col. iii. 12. St. Paul, are love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, (or benignity :) love precedeth, joy and peace follow as its constant attendants, gentleness and benignity come after as its certain effects.
Eph. v. 12.
a Eldest daughter.
Love indeed is the sweetest of all passions, ever accompanied with a secret delectation and pleasant sense; whenever it is placed upon a good object, when it acteth in a rational way, when it is vigorous, it must needs yield much joy.
It therefore greatly conduceth to our happiness, or rather alone doth suffice to constitute us happy.
VIII. (3.) Charity will preserve us from divers external mischiefs and inconveniences, to which our life is exposed, and which otherwise we shall in
If we have not charity towards men, we shall have enmity with them; and upon that do wait troops of mischief: we shall enjoy nothing quietly or safely, we shall do nothing without opposition or contention; no conversation, no commerce will be pleasant; clamour, obloquy, tumult, and trouble will surround us; we shall live in perpetual danger, the enmity of the meanest and weakest creature being formidable.
But all such mischiefs charity will prevent or remove; damming up the fountains, or extirpating the
roots of them for who will hate a person that ap- SERM. XXVIII. parently loveth him? who can be so barbarous or base as to hurt that man, whom he findeth ever ready to do himself good? what brute, what devil can find in his heart to be a foe to him who is a sure friend to all? No publican can be so wretchedly vile, no sinner so destitute of goodness; for, If, saith Matt. v. 46. our Lord, upon common experience, ye love them which love you, what reward have ye; do not even the publicans the same? and, If ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same: it seemeth beyond the greatest degeneracy and corruption whereof human nature is capable, to requite charity with enmity, yea not to return some kindness for it: Tis 1 Pet. iii. i kakŃσWY; Who, saith St. Peter, is he that will do av To you hurt, if ye be followers of that which is good;rginos. or imitators of him that is good, (of the sovereign goodness?) none surely can be so unjust or so unworthy.
As charity restraineth us from doing any wrong, or yielding any offence to others in thought, in word, in deed; from entertaining any bad conceits without ground, from hatching any mischievous designs against our neighbour; from using any harsh, virulent, biting language; from any rugged, discourteous, disobliging behaviour; from any wrongful, rigorous, severe dealing toward him; from any contemptuous pride, or supercilious arrogance: so it consequently
f Τίς δ ̓ ἂν καὶ ἐχθρὸς εὐλόγως γένοιτο ἀνδρὸς οὐδὲ μίαν οὐδαμῶς παρέχοντος αἰτίαν ἔχθρας; Clem. Str. vii. p. 532.
Chrys. in 1 Thess. Or. iv. Κἂν θηρίον ἐκεῖνος ᾖ, κἂν λίθος, &c.
Οὐδεὶς ἐχθρὸς τῷ σπουδαίῳ. Hier.
Οὐκ οἶοντε τὸν ἀγαπώμενον μὴ καὶ ἀγαπᾶν. Chrys. in Gen. Or, xxxii.