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Christians, even for their goodness' sake; but it is a love subservient to his carnal self-love; and, therefore, it shall not cost him much. As he hath some love to Christ, so he may have some love to Christians; but he hath more to the world and fleshly pleasures; and, therefore, all his love to Christ or Christians, will not make him leave his worldly happiness for them. And, therefore, Christ, at the day of judgment, will not inquire after empty, barren love, but after that love which visited and relieved suffering saints. A hypocrite can allow both Christ and Christians such a cheap, superficial kind of love, as will cost him little. He will bid them lovingly, "Depart in peace, be you warmed and filled;" James ii. 15-17. But still the world is most be
XLIV. 1. A Christian indeed doth love his enemies, and forgive those that injure him, and this out of a thankful sense of that grace which forgave him a far greater debt. Not that he thinketh it unlawful to make use of the justice of the government which he is under, for his necessary protection, or for the restraint of men's abuse and violence. Nor is he bound to love the malice or injury, though he must love the man. Nor can he forgive a crime as it is against God or the common good, or against another, though he can forgive an injury or debt that is his own. Nor is he bound to forgive every debt, though he is bound so far to forgive every wrong as heartily to desire the good of him that did it. Even God's enemies he so far loveth, as to desire God to convert and pardon them, while he hateth their sin, and hateth them as God's enemies, and desireth their restraint; Psal. cxxxix. 21, 22. ci. 3. cxix. 4. lxviii. 1. xxi. 8. But those that hate, and curse, and persecute himself, he can unfeignedly love, and bless, and pray for; Matt. v. 43-48. For he knoweth that else he cannot be a child of God ; ver. .45. And that to love those that love him is not much praiseworthy, being no more than heathens and wicked men can do; ver. 46, 47. He is so deeply sensible of that wondrous love which so dearly redeemed him, and saved him from hell, and forgave him a thousandfold worse than the worst that ever was done against himself, that thankfulness and imitation, or conformity to Christ in his great compassions, do overcome his desires of revenge, and make him willing to do good to his most cruel enemies, and
pray for them as Christ and Stephen did at their deaths ; Luke xxiii. 34. Acts vii. 60. And he knoweth that he is so inconsiderable a worm, that a wrong done to him as such, is the less considerable; and he knoweth that he daily wrongeth God, more than any man can wrong him, and that he can hope for pardon, but on condition that he himself forgive; Matt. vi. 12, 14, 15. xviii. 34, 35. And that he is far more hurtful to himself, than any other can be to him.
2. And the weak Christian can truly love an enemy, and forgive a wrong; but he doth it not so easily and so fully as the other. But it is with much striving, and some unwillingness and averseness; and there remaineth some grudge or strangeness upon the mind. He doth not sufficiently forget the wrong which he doth forgive. Indeed, his forgiving is very imperfect, like himself (Matt. xviii. 21. Luke ix. 54, 55.), not with that freeness and readiness required. "With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;" Eph. iv. 2. 'Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering, forbearing one another, and forgiving one another; even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye;" Col. iii. 13. 18. "Avenge not yourselves," &c. Rom. xii. 14. 18.
3. As for the seeming Christian, he can seem to forgive wrongs for the sake of Christ, but if he do it indeed it is for his own sake. As because it is for his honour, or because the person hath humbled himself to him, or his commodity requireth it, or he can make use of his love and service for his advantage, or some one hath interposed for reconciliation who must not be denied, or the like. But to love an enemy indeed, and to love that man (be he never so good) who standeth in the way of his preferment, honour or commodity in the world, he never doth it from his heart, whatever he may seem to do; Matt. vi. 14, 15. xviii. 27. 30. 32. The love of Christ doth not constrain him.
XLV. 1. A Christian indeed is as precise in the justice of his dealings with men, as in acts of piety to God. For he knoweth that God requireth this as strictly at his hands. "That no man go beyond, or defraud his brother in any matter; for the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned and testified;" 1 Thess. iv. 6. He is one that
"walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart, that backbiteth not with his tongue, nor doth evil to his neighbour, nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbour. If he swear to his own hurt, he changeth not. He putteth not out his money to (unjust or unmerciful) usury; nor taketh reward against the innocent;" Psal. xv. He obeyeth that, Lev. xix. 13. "Thou shalt not defraud thy neighbour, neither rob him: the wages of him that is hired shall not abide with thee all night until the morning." He can say as Samuel, "Whose ox or ass have I taken? or whom have I defrauded? Whom have I oppressed? or of whose hand have I received any bribe, to blind mine eyes therewith, and I will restore it? And they said, Thou hast not defrauded us, nor oppressed us, neither hast thou taken out of any man's hand;" 1 Sam. xii. And if heretofore he was ever guilty of defrauding any he is willing to his power to make restitution; and saith as Zaccheus, "If I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold;" Luke xix. 8. Though flesh and blood persuade him to the contrary, and though it leave him in want, he will pay his debts, and make restitution of that which is ill gotten, as being none of his own. He will not sell for as much as he can get, but for as much as it is truly worth: he will not take advantage of the weakness, or ignorance, or necessity of his neighbour: he knoweth that "a false balance is abomination to the Lord, but a just weight is his delight;" Prov. xi. 1. He is afraid of believing ill reports, and rebuketh the backbiter; chap. xxv. 23. He is apt to take part with any man behind his back, who is not notoriously inexcusable; not to justify any evil, but to shew his charity, and his hatred of evil speaking, especially where it can do no good. He will not believe evil of another till the evidence do compel him to believe it. If he have wronged any by incautious words, he readily confesseth his fault to him, and asketh him forgiveness, and is ready to make any just satisfaction for any wrong that he hath done him. He borroweth not when he seeth not a great probability that he is likely to pay it. Nor will remain in debt by retaining that which is another man's against his will, without an absolute necessity. "Owe no man any thing, but to love one another;" Rom. xiii. 8. For
to borrow when he cannot pay is but to steal. Begging is better than borrowing for such. "The wicked borroweth, and payeth not;" Psal. xxxvii. 21.
2. And the weak Christian maketh conscience of justice as well as acts of piety, as knowing that God hath no need of our sacrifices, but loveth to see us do that which is good for human society, and which we have need of from each other. But yet he hath more selfishness and partiality than the confirmed Christian hath, and therefore is often overcome by temptations to unrighteous things. As to stretch his conscience for his commodity, in buying or selling, and concealing the faults of what he selleth, and sometimes overreaching others. Especially he is ordinarily too censorious of others, and apt to be credulous of evil reports, and to be over bold and forward of speaking ill of men behind their backs, and without a call; especially against persons that differ from him in matters of religion, where he is usually most unjust and apt to go beyond his bounds; James iii. 15, 16. Tit. iii. 2. Eph. iv. 31. 1 Pet. ii. 1.
3. The seeming Christian may have a seeming justice; but really he hath none but what must give place to his fleshly interest; and if his honour, and commodity and safety require it, he will not stick to be unjust. And that justice which wanteth but a strong temptation to overturn it, is almost as bad as none. If he will not seize on Naboth's vineyard, nor make himself odious by oppression or deceit, yet if he can raise or enrich himself by secret cozenage, and get so fair a pretence for his injustice, as shall cloak the matter from the sight of men, he seldom sticketh at it. It is an easy matter to make an Achan think that he doth no harm, or a Gehazi that he wrongeth no man, in taking that which was offered and due. Covetousness will not confess its name; but will find some reasonings to make good all the injustice which it doth; 1 Tim. vi. 5. 2 Kings v. 19, 20.
XLVI. 1. A Christian indeed is faithful and laborious in his particular calling, and that not out of a covetous mind; but in obedience to God, and that he may maintain his family, and be able to do good to others. For God hath said, "In the sweat of thy face thou shalt eat thy bread;" Gen. iii. 19. "And six days shalt thou labour;" Exod. xx. 10. And with quietness men must work, and eat their own bread;
and "if any will not work, neither should he eat ;" 2 Thess. iii. 10-12. Abraham, and Noah, and Adam, laboured in a constant course of employment. He knoweth that a sanctified calling and labour is a help, and not a hindrance to devotion; and that the body must have work as well as the soul, and religion must not be pretended for slothful idleness, nor against obedience to our Master's will; Prov. xxxi.
2. The weak Christian is here more easily deceived, and made believe that religion will excuse a man from bodily labour; and under the colour of devotion to live idly. "They learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house, and not only idle, but tatlers also, and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not;" 2 Thess. iii. 8. 1 Tim. v. 13. Slothfulness is a sin much condemned in the Scriptures; Ezek. xvi. 49. Prov. xxiv. 30. xviii. 9. xxi. 25. Matt. xxv. 26. Rom. xii. 11.
3. The seeming Christian in his labour is ruled chiefly by his flesh. If he be rich, and it incline him most to sloth, he maketh small conscience of living in idleness, under the pretence of his gentility or wealth. But if the flesh incline him more to covetousness, he will be laborious enough: but it shall not be to please God by obedience, but to increase his estate, and enrich himself and his posterity, whatever better reason he pretend.
XLVII. 1. A Christian indeed is exactly conscionable in the duties of his relation to others in the family and place of his abode. If he be a husband, he is loving and patient, and faithful to his wife; if he be a father, he is careful of the holy education of his children; if he be a master, he is just and merciful to his servants, and careful for the saving of their souls; if he be a child or servant, he is obedient, trusty, diligent, and careful, as well behind his parent's or his master's back, as before his face. He dare not lie, nor steal, nor deceive, nor neglect his duty, nor speak dishonourably of his superiors, though he were sure he could conceal it all. For he knoweth that the fifth commandment is enforced with a special promise; Eph. vi. 2.5.9. And that a bad child, or a bad servant, a bad husband or wife, a bad parent or master, cannot be a good Christian; Col. iii. 18, 19, &c. iv. 1. 1 Pet. ii. 18.
2. But weak Christians, though sincere, are ordinarily weak in this part of their duty; and apt to yield to tempta