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to us whatever discovery or enjoyment
Vse 3. Let us therefore be perswaded as to set an higher Price upon Charity, so to lay out more of our pains in the pursuit of it. The latter we shall never do unless we do the former less we prize it we shall never take pains to get it.
For the former of these, namely, the value thereof, besides the durableness of Charity, there are these things that set forth the worth of it, and commend it to us.
1. There is nothing that renders us more like unto God than Charity doth. Every one that Loveth is born of God, Joh. 4. and therein bares the lively Image of him whose Child he is.
2. There is nothing that brings us nearer unto God, and fits us for more close and intimate Communion with God. God is Love, and he that dwelleth in Love, dwelleth in God, and God is. in him.
3. 'Tis the great Commandment of Christ that we should Love one another ; the Commandment which he principally insisted on, which he most urged and inculcated when he was about to leave this World as to his Bodily prefence. A new Commandment give I unto you, that
love one another, as I have loved you, that ye also love one another, John 13. 34. This is my Commandment, i
love one another, as I have loved you, John 15. 12. These things I Com
love one another, John 15. 17, This Commandment of Christ St. John urgeth ; This is the Message, or the Commandment which
ye. the Beginning, that we should love one another, 1 John 3. 11. This is his Commandment, that we should believe on the Name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another as he gave us Commandment, : John 3. 23. This Commandment of Love St. James calls by way of eminency, the Royal Law, Jam. 2. 8.
Love is the Sum and Abridgment of the Law. He that loveth another hath fulfilled the Law, Rom. 13. 8. The wholé Lam is briefly comprehended in this Saying, namely, thou shalt love thy Neighbour as thy felf, ver. 9.
All these things shew the excellency of this Grace : and he that is fully perswaded thereof, will be willing to be at the expence of some pains to get it. And the means for attaining it are,
1. Earnest Prayer unto God that he would be pleased to infuse it into our Hearts. But then this must not be done by fits and starts, but we must make it our constant and most importunate suit unto him, who certainly will not deny us that which he hath so frequently and carnestly enjoyned on us, and recommended to us.
2. To be much in the acts and exercise of Love, taking all occasions of doing Offices of Love to any that need them, and performing them out of Love. The frequent exercise of any Grace or Habit whether Moral or Intellectual, will increase and strengthen it. But then, as was said, those Offices of Love must be performed out of Love. Herein we may easily deceive our selves if we be not very heedful. do many good Offices to our Neighbour from other Principles and Motives rather than from Love. When we do the very same things which Love requires,and which Charity should prompt
us to, we may be acted from Prides Vain-glory, a desire to please others) who will like it well ; or because we think such Offices are expected from us, and we shall be thought wanting to our Duty if we neglect them; or purely from the convictions of our Consciences which put us on, and will not suffer us to be quiet unless we do them. Wherefore this is a great thing, and indeed, all in all, that we see that in all our Offices of Love, True Love be at the bottom. 3. Observe
your Heart narrowly, take notice of all inward niotions, workings of Corruption, and Distempers contrary to Love, and suppress them. Affoon as you discern them, strive against them, and pray them down,
So much of the 8th Verse. Now in the 9th and roth Verses the Apostle confirms what he had said, concerning Knowledge and Prophesie. Prophesie must fail, and Knowledge must vanish away. For (saith he) we know in part, and we Prophesie in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. In which words we have these two things,
1. The imperfection of our Knowledge here : We know in part, and we Prophesie in part.
2. The Cessation or Abolition of our imperfect Knowledge when we shall attain to Perfection ; but when that which is perfe&t is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. Of both these in order. A little more largely of the former ; but very briefly of the latter. Concerning the former of these, the imperfection of our Knowledge here, the Apostles assertion is full and plain. We know in part, and we Prophesie in part. We knop in part ; that is, we have in this Life only a partial and defective Knowledge of Heavenly things ; some things we know, and many other things we are ignorant of. And so also we Prophesie in part ; for how should it be otherwise if we know but in part ?' 'Tis not possible that we should declare and make known to others more than we know our felves. Neither is this to be understood only of weak Christians, or of such as are of the tower Forms in the School of Christ, but even of those whose attainments are highest, of the most enlightned and most knowing Christians. The Apostle, although he