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and the felicity of every individual will increase the joy of all the rest. Love must therefore be greater than faith and hope; because more excellent in its nature, and more enduring in its use. Faith and hope are only necessary in this introductory scene; though honourable to God and profitable to us in the highest degree: but the former will flourish for ever, the business, element, joy, and glory of heaven itself; uniting God and all holy creatures in the most perfect harmony and felicity.'
Yet love cannot perform the functions of faith or hope, any more than the eye can perform the office of the ear, or the hand that of the foot. However excellent, it can do nothing towards justifying a sinner. The little measure of it, to which we here attain, can neither reverse the curse of the broken law, nor form our bond of union with Christ, that we may be justified in that “righte
ousness of God, which is upon all, and unto all "that believe." Even were our love perfected, previous to justification, it could not atone for past sins, or merit everlasting life: but in fact it is the fruit of the Spirit of Christ, and the seal of our gratuitous justification. The instructions of scrip ture concerning love, when duly considered, prove our need of this free salvation: and the
Col. iii. 14.
measure of it to which we are restored is a part of that salvation, and an earnest and evidence of the whole. It is therefore very obvious to see, that love is greater than faith or hope; that "we are" nevertheless, "saved by grace, through faith;" and that he who believeth shall be saved, and he "who believeth not shall be damned."
My brethren, let us learn from this important subject, not to oppose one part of scripture to another, as many fatally do. That apparent love, which does not spring from faith, and is not accompanied by repentance, humility, hope, patience, and other holy dispositions, is a counterfeit and so is the faith that does not work by lové, and the hope which does not purify the heart. That love to our neighbour, which is not the result of love to Christ, is not the love which the sacred writers extol; nor can we love the bodies of men aright, if we neglect their souls; or regard their souls, if we do not relieve their temporal wants as we have opportunity and ability.
While we hold fast the principles of the gospel, let us beware of barren notions, spiritual pride, and a vain glorious use of our endowments. These may be splendid in the judgment of man: but they are nothing, and worse than nothing, in the sight of God. A bitter, boasting, and censorious zeal characterizes "the wisdom, that is
"from beneath; and is earthly, sensual and "devilish:" not that "which is from above, and "is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, easy to be "intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without
partiality, and without hypocrisy."" - Let us then, my brethren, follow after love: but let us see to it that it be the genuine affection, the nature and effects of which the scripture describes, and which connects the various parts of Christianity into one consistent whole.
We may likewise observe, that the least degree of those holy tempers, which are common to believers, is inconceivably more valuable to the possessor, than those shining gifts and accomplishments, by which some are distinguished, but which may exist without living faith. Such were the gifts of tongues and prophecy, miraculous powers, or apostolical authority, which might exist apart from saving grace and such are learning, genius, eloquence, and other admired endowments, which men covet, envy, or ostentatiously display.
But next to the possession of that holiness which inseparably accompanies salvation; we. should desire and seek such gifts, as may qualify us for the duties of our several stations; and we should pray earnestly, that "Our love may "abound yet more and more in knowledge
"and in all judgment; that we may approve "things that are excellent; that we may be sin"cere and without offence, till the day of Christ: being filled with the fruits of righteousness, "which are by Jesus Christ to the praise and 'glory of God.”
Phil. i. 9-11.
PHILIPPIANS, i. 27.
Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ.
Sr. Paul wrote this epistle, as well as some others, from his prison at Rome: and it is manifest that the Lord was with him, as he had been with Joseph in similar circumstances; which rendered his confinement unspeakably more pleasant, than a splendid palace with a guilty conscience and ungovernable passions. Instead of dejection, murmurs, or resentment, we find the apostle uniformly employing the language of cheerfulness, confidence, and exultation, He declares that " to him to live was Christ, and to
die gain." All his credit, interest, business, and pleasure in life, consisted in communion with Christ, and earnest endeavours to glorify him and promote his cause; and he was sure, that death, in whatever form it should arrest him, would prove his richest advantage. What a blessed religion is this, which can turn the king of terrors into a kind friend, and the