Secondly, in regard of the pleasure and content that the exercise of love carries with it, as we may see in the natural body. If she see it wronged, she cannot hear it without passion. For the persons, wee are a Company professiong our selves fellow members of Christ. When he sees danger towards him, he spares neither rare pains nor peril to direct it. So shall we keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace.
He chooseth to converse with him in the wilderness even to the hazard of his own life, rather than with the great Courtiers in his father's Palace. Whatsoever we did, or ought to have done, when we lived in England, the same must we do, and more also, where we go. But Adam, himself rent from his Creator, rent all his posterity also one from another; whence it comes that every man is born with this principle in him to love and seek himself only, and thus a Man continueth till Christ comes and takes possession of the soul and infuseth another principle, love to God and our brother, and this latter having continual supply from Christ, as the head and root by which he is united, gets predominant in the soul, so by little and little expels the former. These are always distinguished in their act and in their object, yet may they both concur in the same subject in each respect; as sometimes there may be an occasion of showing mercy to a rich man in some sudden danger or distress, and also doing of mere justice to a poor man in regard of some particular contract, etc. Over the past 100 years, however, startling discoveries in biblical archeology and scholarship have all but vanquished the faulty assumptions of these doubting modernists. Hee whoe shutteth his eares from hearing the cry of the poore, he shall cry and shall not be heard; Math. First, it is a bond, or ligament.
Secondly, in the regenerate, in exercising His graces in them, as in the great ones, their love, mercy, gentleness, temperance etc. So this definition is right. Hence it was that in the primitive Churche they sold all, had all things in common, neither did any man say that which he possessed was his owne. We have hereupon besought him of favor and blessing. The deffinition which the Scripture giues us of loue is this.
She hath a great propensity to do it good and receives such content in it, as fearing the miscarriage of her beloved, she bestows it in the inmost closet of her heart. For the other place the Apostle speaks against such as walked inordinately, and it is without question, that he is worse than an infidell who through his owne sloathe and voluptuousness shall neglect to provide for his family. Wee must delight in eache other; make other's conditions our oune; rejoice together, mourne together, labour and suffer together, allwayes haueving before our eyes our commission and community in the worke, as members of the same body. We have professed to enterprise these and those accounts, upon these and those ends. Secondly, They will steale away the hearte; where the treasure is there will ye heart be allsoe.
Likewise in theire returne out of the captivity, because the worke was greate for the restoring of the church and the danger of enemies was common to all, Nehemiah directs the Jews to liberallity and readiness in remitting theire debts to theire brethren, and disposing liberally to such as wanted, and stand not upon their owne dues which they might have demanded of them. We know that there were many that corrupted the service of the Lord; some setting up altars before his own; others offering both strange fire and strange sacrifices also; yet there came no fire from heaven, or other sudden judgment upon them, as did upon Nadab and Abihu, who yet we may think did not sin presumptuously. She sets no bounds to her affections, nor hath any thought of reward. Haveing already sett forth the practice of mercy according to the rule of God's lawe, it will be useful to lay open the groundes of it allsoe, being the other parte of the Commandment and that is the affection from which this exercise of mercy must arise, the Apostle tells us that this love is the fullfilling of the lawe, not that it is enough to loue our brother and soe noe further; but in regard of the excellency of his partes giueing any motion to the other as the soule to the body and the power it hath to sett all the faculties on worke in the outward exercise of this duty; as when wee bid one make the clocke strike, he doth not lay hand on the hammer, which is the immediate instrument of the sound, but setts on worke the first mouer or maine wheele; knoweing that will certainely produce the sound which he intends. Shee will not endure that it shall want any good which shee can giue it.
This was practised by Abraham and Lot in entertaining the angels and the old man of Gibea. Make you friends of the riches of iniquity; you will ask how this shall be? Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you. First, This loue among Christians is a reall thing, not imaginarie. Yee ought to lay doune your lives for the brethren. Ten parts, over three hours of instruction! So this definition is right. There are two rules whereby we are to walk one towards another: Justice and Mercy.
Now when the soul, which is of a sociable nature, finds anything like to itself, it is like Adam when Eve was brought to him. Secondly, that He might have the more occasion to manifest the work of his Spirit: first upon the wicked in moderating and restraining them, so that the rich and mighty should not eat up the poor, nor the poor and despised rise up against and shake off their yoke. To apply this to the works of mercy; this law requires two things. In such cases as this the care of the publique must oversway all private respects, by which not onely conscience, but meare Civil pollicy doth binde us; for it is a true rule that perticuler estates cannott subsist in the ruine of the publique. She will not endure that it shall want any good which she can give it. The Lord hath given us leave to draw our own articles. Cursse the Meroshe because he came not to help the Lord.
All these teach us that the Lord looks that when He is pleased to call for His right in any thing we have, our own interest we have must stand aside till His turn be served. There are two rules whereby we are to walk one towards another: Justice and Mercy. When Elisha comes to the widow of Sareptah and finds her preparing to make ready her pittance for herself and family, he bids her first provide for him, he challenges first God's part which she must first give before she must serve her own family. We have hereupon besought Him of favor and blessing. There is a time when a Christian must sell all and give to the poor, as they did in the Apostles' times. Likewise, community of perils calls for extraordinary liberality, and so doth community in some special service for the church.
There is likewise a double law by which we are regulated in our conversation towards another, in both the former respects, the law of nature and the law of grace, or the moral law or the law of the gospel; to omit the rule of justice as not properly belonging to this purpose otherwise than it may fall into consideration in some particular cases. Therefore God still reserves the property of these gifts to Himself as Ezek. From the former considerations arise these conclusions: First, this love among Christians is a real thing, not imaginary. The mouth is at all the pains to receive and mince the food which serves for the nourishment of all the other parts of the body; yet it hath no cause to complain; for first the other parts send back, by several passages, a due proportion of the same nourishment, in a better form for the strengthening and comforting the mouth. We have taken out a commission. Thirdly, no body can be perfect which wants its proper ligament.