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If he has not, he blesses God that his brother at least has, and is herein happier than himself. And the greater his love, the more does he rejoice in the blessings of all mankind; the farther is he removed from every kind and degree of envy toward
any creature. 6. Love 8 FEŞTEREUETH-not “vaunteth not itself;" which coincides with the very next words; but rather (as the word likewise properly imports)- is not rash or hasty in judging; it will not hastily condemn any one. It does not pass a severe sentence, on a slight or sudden view of things: it first weighs all the evidence, particularly that which is brought in favour of the accused. A true lover of his neighbour is not like the generality of men, who, even in cases of the nicest nature, "see a little, presume a great deal, and so jump to the conclusion.” No : he proceeds with wariness and circumspection, taking heed to every step ; willingly subscribing to that rule of the ancient Heathen, (o where will the modern Christian appear!) “ I am so far from lightly believing what one man says against another, that I will not easily believe what a man says against himself. I will always allow him second thoughts, and many times counsel too.”
7. It follows, Love “is not puffed up :” It does not incline or suffer any man to ink more highly of himself than he ought to think;” but rather to think soberly: yea, it humbles the soul unto the dust. It destroys all high conceits, engendering pride; and makes us rejoice to be as nothing, to be little and vile, the lowest of all, the servant of all. They who are “ kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love,” cannot but “in honour prefer one another.” Those who, having the same love, are of one accord, do in lowliness of mind " each esteem other better than themselves.”
8. “ It doth not behave itself unseemly:" It is not rude, or willingly offensive to any. It “ renders to all their due; fear to whom fear, honour to whom honour;” courtesy, civility, humanity to all the world; in their several degrees “ honouring all men.” A late writer defines good breeding, nay, the highest degree of it, politeness, “A continual desire to please, appearing in all the behaviour:” but if so, there is none so well-bred as a Christian, a lover of all mankind. For he cannot but desire to “ please all men for their good to edification :” and this desire cannot be hid; it will necessarily appear in all his intercourse with men. For his “love is without dissimulation:" it will appear in all his actions and conversation ; yea, and will constrain him, though without guile, to “ become all things to all men, is by any means he may save some.”
9. And in becoming all things to all men, “ Love seeketh not her own.” In striving to please all men, the lover of mankind has no eye at all to his own temporal advantage. He covets no man's silver, or gold, or apparel : he desires nothing but the salvation of their souls : yea, in some scuse, he may be said, not to seek his own spiritual, any more than temporal advantage; for while he is on the full stretch to save their souls from death, he, as it were, forgets himself. He does not think of himself, so long as that zcal for the glory of God swallows him up. Nay, at some times he may almost seem, through an excess of love, to give up himself, both his soul and his body ; while he cries out, with Moses, "Oh, this people have sinned a great sin ; yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin- ; and if not, blot me out of the book which thou hast written!” (Exod. xxxii. 32, 33 :)-or with St. Paul, “ I could wish that myseif were accursed from Christ, for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh !” (Rom. ix. 3.) 10. No marvel that such “Love is not provoked :" και παροξ
Let it be observed, the word easily, strangely inserted in the translation, is not in the original ; St. Paul's words are absolute. “Love is not provoked :" it is not provoked to unkindness toward any one. Occasions indeed will frequently occur; outward provocatious of various kinds; but love does not yield to provocation ; it triumphs over all. In all trials it looketh unto Jesus, and is more than conqueror in liis lovc.
It is not improbable that our Translators inscrted that word, as it were, to excuse the Apostle; who, as they supposed, might otherwise appear to be wanting in the very love which he so beautifully describes. They seem to have supposed this from a phrase in the Acts of the Apostles; which is likewise very inaccurately translated. When Paul and Barnabas disagreed concerning John, the translation runs thus, “And the contention was so sharp between them, that they departed asunder." (Acts xv. 39.) This naturally induces the reader to suppose, that they were equally sharp therein; tliat St. Paul, who was undoubtedly right, with regard to the point in question, (it being quite improper to take John with them again, who had deserted them before,) was as much provoked as Barnabas, who gave such a proof of his anger, its to leave the rork for which he had been set apart by the Iloly Ghost. But the original
imports no such thing; nor does it affirm that St. Paul was provoked at all. It simply says eyeveto our nagožuonos,—" And there was a sharpness," a paroxysm of anger; in consequence of which Barnabas left St. Paul, took Joho, and went his own way. Paul then “ chose Silas and departed, being recommended by the brethren to the grace of God;” (which is not said concerning Barnabas ;) “and he went through Syria and Cilicia,” as he had proposed, “ confirming the churches.” But to return.
11. Love prevents a thousand provocations which would otherwise arise, because it “ thinketh no evil.” Indeed the merciful man cannot avoid knowing many things that are evil, he cannot but see them with his own eyes, and hear them with his own ears : for love does not put out his eyes, so that it is impossible for him not to see that such things are done; neither does it take away his understanding, any more than his senses, so that he cannot but ķnow that they are evil. For instance : when he sees a man strike his neighbour, or hcars him blaspheme God, he cannot either question the thing done, or the words spoken, or doubt of their being evil. Yet, o horietai To raxoy. The word aorsetai, (thinketh,) does not refer either to our seeing and hearing, or to the first and involuntary acts of our understanding; but to our willingly thinking what we need not; our inferring evil, where it does not appear; to our reasoning concerning things which we do not see; our supposing what we have neither scen nor heard. This is what true love absolutely destroys. It tears up, root and branch, all imagining what we have not known. It casts out all jealousies, all evil surmisings, all readiness to believe evil. It is frank, open, unsuspicious ; and, as it cannot design, so neither does is fear evil.
12. It “rejoiceth not in iniquity;”-common as this is, even among those who bear the name of Christ, who scruple not to rejoice over their enemy, when he falleth either into affliction, or error, or sin.. Indeed how hardly can they avoid this, who are zealously attached to any party? How difficult is it for them not to be pleased with any fault which they discover in those of the opposite party,—with any real or supposed blemish, either in their principles or practice? What warm defender of any cause is clear of these? Yea, who is so calm as to be altogether frec? Who does not rejoice when his adversary makes a false step, which he thinks will advantage his own cause ? Only a man of love. He alone weeps over
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13. Batteries Bhak," ütece 10L! . in "minute weris attegro.c6an; part freir, cineas cílem, !0esiosa His restrico, 26: Eren: eros. 5. 12 with regard topir, Terciprocit. 2013the BOSS Gori, accipere : is giad o bear 2000 CLIC"., and to peeta..it CII 12:35 Catr with truth ardeie. Il cecd, good in gecel L. glory and joy, wherever cik card throug1.02 the race kind. As a citizen of the world, te caims a share is ide berpiness of all the inhabitants of it. Because he is 325. is not unconcerned in the wéiare of aby monitois whatsoever brings glory to God, and promotes peace area will
among men. 14. This “Love covereth all things :"10, witlouia scris +1:72 57</6 should be translated ; for otherwise it would beibe very sainc with Tom:77 UTC Eiel, endureth all things. because the merciful man rejoiceth not in iniquity, neither dots be willingly make mention of it. Whatever evil he sees, tears, or knows, he nevertheless conceals, so far as he can, w:00: making himself “partaker of other men's sins." Wheresu. ever or with whomsoever he is, if he sees any thing which be approves not, it goes not out of his lips, unless to the person concerned, if haply he may vain his brother. So far is he from making the faults or failings of others the matter of his conversation, that of the absent he never does speak at all, unless he can speak well. A tale-bearer, a backbiter, a whisperer, an evil-speaker, is to him all one as a murderer. He would just as soon cut his neighbour's throat, as thus murder his reputation. Just as soon would he think of diverting himself by setting fire to his neighbour's house, as of thus “scattering abroad arrows, fire-brands, and death,” and saying, “Am I not in sport ? ”
He makes one only exception. Sometimes he is convinced, that it is for the glory of God, or (which comes to the same) the good of his neighbour, that an evil should not be covered. In this case, for the benefit of the innocent, he is constrained to declare the guilty. But even here, 1, He will not speak at all, till love, superior love, constraius him. 2, He cannot do it from a general confused view of doing good, or promoting the glory of God, but from a clear sight of some particular end, some determinate good which he pursues. 3, Still 'he cannot speak, unless he be fully convinced, that this very means is necessary to that end; that the end cannot be answered, at least not so effectually, by any other way. 4, He then doeth it with the utmost sorrow and reluctance; using it as the last and worst medicine, a desperate remedy in a desperate case, a kind of poison never to be used but to expel poison. Consequently, 5, He uses it as sparingly as possible. And this he does with fear and trembling, lest he should transgress the law of love by speaking too much, more than he would have done by not speaking at all.
15. Love “ believeth all things.” It is always willing to think the best; to put the most favourable construction on every thing. It is ever ready to believe whatever may tend to the advantage of any one's character. It is easily convinced of (what it earnestly desires) the innocence or integrity of any man; or, at least, of the sincerity of his repentance, if he had once erred from the way. It is glad to excuse whatever is amiss; to condemn the offender as little as possible; and to make all the allowance for human weakness, which can be done without betraying the truth of God.
16. And when it can no longer believe, then Love “hopeth all things.” Is any evil related of any man? Love hopes that the relation is not true, that the thing related was never done. Is it certain it was ?-“ But perhaps it was not done with such circumstances as are related; so that allowing the fact, there is room to hope it was not so ill as it is represented. Was the action apparently, undeniably evil ? 'Love hopes the intention was not so. Is it clear, the design was evil too? -" Yet might it not spring from the settled temper of the heart, but from a start of passion, or from some vehement temptation, which hurried the man beyond himself?” And even when it cannot be doubted, but all the actions, designs, and tempers are equally evil; still Love hopes that God will at last make bare his arm, and get himself the victory; and that there shall be “joy in heaven over [this] one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons that need no repentance."
17. Lastly : It “ endureth all things.” This completes the character of him that is truly merciful. He endureth not some, not many things only, not most, but absolutely all Vol. I. No. 6.