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I COR. xiij. 6, 7.
in the Truth: Beareth all things,
Aving done with the Fifth Verse,
the Sixth Verse follows, which
contains one Property of Charity more ; She' rejoyceth not in Iniquity, but rejoyceth in the Truth. For the right understanding of which words, we must first inquire what is here meant by Iniquity and Truth ; and then in what sense Charity is faid not to rejoyce in Iniquity, but in the Truth. As to the former of these, Iniquity is in this place to be taken in the largest sense for all manner of Sin, and not strictly for Injustice, or wrongful dealing, as the word indeed most properly signifies, In that larger sense is Iniquity often taken in Scripture ; it is needless to
mention the places. And so consequently Truth is here to be taken, not as it stands in opposition to Errour, or Falshood, but to Sin. So then to rejoyce in the Truth, is to rejoyce in what is good, vertuous, Jaudable and agreeable to Truth, or the Rule of the Word. That Truth in this place must of necessity be fo taken, is evident, because it could not else be opposed to Iniquity, as we see it is. Thus is Truth taken, 3 John 4. I have no greater joy than to hear that thy Children walk in Truth
that is, that they do what is right and good ; that they walk holily and unblameably. Now whereas the Apostle faith, that Charity rejoyceth not in Iniquity, we must understand it not of a Man's own Iniquity, but of the Iniquity or Sins of other Men, which we at any time either hear of, or observe in them. Now we may rejoyce in their Iniquity two ways.
I, As loving it, approving of it, delighting in it, commending and applauding them for it. Thus
Thus many being very bad themselves, take great pleasure in the lewd and vile practices of others, loving their Persons so much the better, and taking so much the
more unto us.
more content in their Company and Acquaintance ; and likewise upon all occasions relating and making report of their wicked pranks with a great deal of delight and satisfaction to themselves. This fome conceive to be the meaning of the Apostle in this Character of Charity. And 'tis certainly most contrary to the Nature of true Love, of that Charity or the Grace of Love which the Apostle in this Chapter recommends
For Charity would affect us with grief when we observe the misdemeanours and wickedness of Men. When Men shall take delight in the Sins of Men, and Rejoyce when they do evil, as the Prophet' speaks, Jer. 11. 15. 'tis a most convincing and irrefragable Argument, that they are utterly void of any true Love either for God or Man. If they truly loved God, how could they take pleasure in what he hath strictly forbidden, in what he perfectly hates and abhors, and is an abomination to him, in what reflects dishonour upon his Name, provokes him to wrath, and which he hath threatened to punish with everlasting Damnation. And if they had any true-Love for Men, how could they take pleasure in those their sinful practices which deprive them of God's Favour, derive upon them his displeasure, expose them to his fierce wrath and indignation, together with all the sad and dismal effects thereof both here and hereafter ?
Hence we may infer that whatsoever kind of Love there is found
among wicked Men, grounded only upon their likeness to one another in Sin, and the affection they all have for the same lew'd and ungodly practices, is so far from having any thing of the Nature of the Grace of Charity, which the Apostle here describes, that it much better deserves the Name of Hatred than of Love. For if I Hated any Man with the most rank and deadly Hatred, how could I more evidently discover it than by rejoycing in that, by applauding and encouraging him in that which will most effe&tually promote, and most unavoidably end in his Eternal Ruin ? Let not therefore lew'd and ungodly Men please and flatter themselves in the Love they have for their graceless Companions, the mutual delight they take in the Society of one another, and the agreement there is between them in the like affe&ion which they all have for