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Quality, and to the exigency of the Occasion. But here also Love is free and bountiful, open-hearted and openhanded, and so hates to do indecent things, that in doubtful Cases she ever chooseth the Errour on the Right-hand, rather than that on the Left; to do with the most rather than with the least, to exceed and over-do, rather than to fall short of her Duty.
8. The last Instance shall be in obscene and filthy Speeches, light and wanton Behaviour. Some there are who think nothing graces their Speech, or commends their Converse, more than such Words and Actions, as are not only ur:seemly, but odious in the Eyes of all sober Persons; and which none delight in, but they who have arrived at that measure of Boldness that they blush at nothing. This Instance I cona fefs may not seem so proper and pertinent to the Apostle's design in this place ; but it being so common a Milcarriage in these Times, when Filthiness is grown impudent and shameless, I thought it not amiss to mention it however, And though it be not so exa&ly agreeable to the Apostle's present scope, yet neither is it altogether wide
of it : For we may find upon a very little Inquiry, that this kind of uniseemly Behaviour is also repugnant to Charity, in divers respects.
(1.) As it offends chast Ears : Charity would not give Offenee to any by Speech or Behavionr.
(2.) As it tends to the corrupting of
others. Evil Communications corrupt good 1 Cor.15.
Manners. And this is that which Charity would much more avoid.
Now a word or two of Application, and I shall have done with this Property of Charity
Use. From what hath been said we are still further informed how small a portion of Charity we have attained, and therefore what cause we have to bewail our defect therein. How many ways, and in how many respects are we guilty of unseenly Behaviour ! How many Indecencies do we run into in one kind or other every day. Let us reflect upon our felves, and be hunbled where our Hearts condemn us : and let's still impute all to our want of Love, and be much ashamed that we should have no more of that excellent Grace which is the fulfilling of the Law,
and before us.
and the fun and abridgment of our whole Duty. And to the end we may henceforth demean our felves as becomes the Gospel, and be guilty of no such Indecencies as are unsuitable to our Profession.
1. Let us labour to get more Love. Charity doth not behave it self unseemly. She is the best Mistress to teach us what is becoming us as Christians, and what is not : For Charity will also sweetly frame and mould us to a Behaviour suitable to those Rules which she layes
He that hath much Love, hath an inward Principle of Decencies, which will stand him in more stead for the framing and regulating of his Behaviour, than all the outward teachings in the World. The Apostle writing to the Thessalonians, faith, that they needed not that he should write unto them concerning Brotherly Love ; for they were tanght of God to love one another, 1 Theff. 'Tis God that infuseth the Grace of 4. 9. Love ; and he that hath it, according to the measure in which he hath it, is taught of God to behave himself with that Christian Comeliness and Decency which is suitable to his Profession, and to that high and holy Calling with which he is called
2. Keep the fenfe of God's prefence upon your
Heart ; be in the Fear of the Lord all the day long; in all Places and Companies remember that he is with you, and is a witness of
your Words, and a spectator of all your A&tions. The presence of a sober, wise, and grave Man, for whom you have a Reverence, how careful and follicitous will it make you to carry your self in a decent and becoming manner before him ! And how much would it trouble you afterwards, if you should have been guilty of any Indecency in his Eye and Presence. How much more then would the constant sense of God's Presence ingage you to behave your self in all respects fo, as might become hiş Presence !
I COR. xiij. 5. Seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no Evil.
Go on to the next Property of
That is, $he seeketh not her own Things to the prejudice, or with the negle&t of the concernments of other Men. A Man may lawfully seek his own things, mind his own affairs, and manage them as prudently as he can with reference to his own advantage, provided that this be done regularly and orderly. And a Man then, and then only seeks his own things regularly, when he doth it Charitably, or when therein he observes those Rules which Charity prescribes. And they are as to this matter, those two but just now mentioned