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he would be never the nearer Heaven for them ; but it may be, through his abuse of them, a great deal the farther off.
Use 4. Let even the weakest sincere Christian, and true Believer, though his Faith should seem to be but as a grain of Mustard-feed, I say, let him be greatly thankful for any measure of Grace. If God hath bestowed on you but a little true Grace, he hath therein done more for you, than if he had enriched and adorned you with all the rare Gifts that Humane Nature is capable of. If you perfectly understood all Languages, and could speak all the Tongues in the World ; if you were exactly acquainted with all the Secrets of Nature, and all the depths and profound Mysteries of the Gospel, and could discourse of these Things to the admiration and astonishment of all your Hearers
3 if you had Faith to work more Miracles than all the Prophets in the Old Testament, and than Christ and his Apostles in the New, yet would not all this without Charity bring you to Heaven : You might with all these rare Gifts be turn'd into Hell, and eternally perish.
In the next place the Apostle pronounceth the same of Doing and Suffering, which he had pronounced of Gifts.
First, Of Doing : Though I bestow all my Goods to feed the Poor, and have zot Charity, it profiteth me nothing. Whence we may observe,
That the best Duties, the highest Per
formances, without Charity, avail
Several of the Particulars by which the former Point was confirmed, might serve for the Confirmation of this allo. But not here to insist on them again, I shall add two other Reasons.
1. Charity is intrinfecally and absolutely necessary to the due and acceptable performance of every Duty : For God prescribes not only the substance of that Duty which he requires of us, but likewise the manner of performance,
that the Things to be done by us, be 1 Cor. done from Love. Let all your Things 16. 14. be done with Charity. So then Charity
runs through the whole Law, and must be mingled with every Duty, and influence every Duty as the Principle from whence it proceeds, and by which 'tis acted.
2. What is not from Love, is 'evermore from some other base and sinful Principle : as from Pride, Vain-glory, respect to our Worldly Advantage, an Opinion of Merit, or the like. Now such undue and sinful Motives, vitiate, corrupt, and poyson all that we do, and cause the most specious, the most glorious Performances, as to outward appearance, to be odious unto God and instead of being an Odour of a Sweet Smell, a Sacrifice acceptable, wellpleasing to God, as the Apostle speaks, Phil. 4. 18. to send up a loathsome stink into his Nostrils. Now to apply this point.
Vse 1. We may hence discern the Reason why the Apostle presseth Charity so earnestly, and so frequently. Let all your Things be done with Charity, 1 Cor. 16. 14. the place a little before mentioned. Follow after Charity, 1 Cor. Doxols, pursue it. Above all Things put
Col.3.14. on Charity, be ye clothed with it. And speaking unto Timothy, he faith, Be ! Tim.4. thou an Example in Charity. And, Fol- ? Tim. a. low Righteousness, Faith, Charity. And 22.
2 Pet. 1. so the Apostle St. Peter, Add to Godli
ness Brotherly-kindness, and to Brotherly1 Pct. 4. kindness Charity. Above all Things have
fervent Charity among your félves. The Reason why Charity is so much pressed, is, because without it whatsoever we have else signifies nothing.
Use 2. This fhews how much it concerns us to look into, and examine the Principles of our best Actions and highest Performances. How specious and beautiful soever they may appear outwardly, if Charity be not within, if that be not the Root and Principle of them, the secret Engine by which we are moved and acted in what we do, all our Labour is lost ; God values it not.. Men may be apt to think they have done much Good several ways; but the Question hereafter will not be how much they have done, but how they have done it. When lipon a narrow View and impartiał Inquiry into the Motives and Principles of their good Actions, all shall be cast aside as reprobate Silver, as meer refuse and nothing worth, that hath not the stamp of Charity upon it, that is not from Love, oli how little will there remain to turn to
their Account! And where Charity hath had some influence upon their good Actions, yet oh how small a share hath Charity had in the good Things which they have done, and how great a stroke have other by and finister Motives had!
Now if you inquire how you may attain this excellent Grace of Charity : I Answer
1. Set your self against all those Things that are contrary to it, and destructive of it : Especially set your self against, and resist what is contrary to the Love of God, which is the root of all true and sincere Love to your Neighbour. I shall instance in three Things : The Love of the World, the Love of your Self, and the Love of any endeared Lust or darling Sin.
(1.) Set your self against the Love of this World ; the immoderate and inordinate Love thereof.
The Apostle pronounceth the Love of the World to be utterly inconsistent with the Love of God. Love not the World, nor the 1 Jok. 23 Things that are in the World ; if any is. Man love the World, the Love of the Father is not in him. He who hath any acquaintance with himself, and is not too much a stranger to his own Heart,