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dition ; but, while chartering everyone in his proper condition, to take care that therein he do no violence to the law of neighbourly love. Law cannot make love : it maketh fear; and by its fearful sanctions, can prevent equity from being infringed on. If you will consider human society in all its relations, you will find that it seeks, in the first place, to lay the foundationstone in the law of the neighbour, and thereon to rear its gorgeous temple of people, powers, potentates, and dominions.; honouring men in their several stations, but not suffering them to do each other wrong.
The judge, the representative of righteous law and even-handed justice, sitteth every day, hearing causes between our sovereign lord the king and the prisoner at the bar. And therein, let me tell you, standeth the highest dignity of our king, that he is the chief magistrate, the supreme judge, and the fountainhead of mercy also. But it is needless to insist longer upon this point: only, I repeat it broadly, against all the selfish philosophers, that not selfinterest, but love of our neighbour, is the bond of all civil society; yea, and the principle which society doth constantly exemplify; and that selfishness is the corruption and rottenness of society.
Now, observe how the good citizen, the upright merchant, the fair-dealing trader, in the walks of every-day duty, do prepare a soil for bearing unto God the fruit of that second commandment of the law, “ Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” I do not say that it can implant the principle of love; on the other hand, it worketh fear; but that it doth prevent men, by all the sanctions of law and good name, of honour and riches, and present well-being, from transgressing the commandment in an open way; from practising dishonesty, or giving ear to the temptations of fraud; yea, and it doth breed a high sense and feeling of honour, a regard for honesty, and desire of the esteem of good men, which are most favourable and predispose us to the reception of that commandment of God which perfects it into a heavenly principle, requiring that it be done from that principle of Divine love and disinterested bounty, which is exemplified in the rising of the sun upon the evil and the good, and the sending of “ the rain upon the just and the unjust,” and in its fulness is displayed in the giving of his only begotten Son for a lost and ruined world. That word of God, “ Love thy neighbour as thyself,” doth include the substance of all law, honest rules, and customs of exchange; as the light which was in Christ includes the light which is in the reason of fallen man; and, including, it hath a love and favour for it, such as Christ had for his own fallen children. And as the world, and the fallen humanity of man, were the proper soil for casting the seed of redemption into, so do I argue all along through this discourse, of these natural institutions of human life, that they who reverence and observe them, are the fit soil for fructifying the word which Christ hath preached for the redemption of man.
And I, moreover, believe, that in proportion as the members of Christ's church lose this high and honourable feeling of justice and honesty in all their transactions, they will lose the capacity of bearing that kind of fruit unto the glory of God, which springeth from the love of our neighbour as ourselves. The one re-acts upon the other. When we begin to be faithless with respect to the mammon of unrighteousness, God begins to take away from us the true' richeş.I do not inquire where this reciprocal action beginneth; yet if I were called upon to give an opinion, I would say, in the soil, because the virtues of the seed are indestruc, tible; and the watering influences of the Holy Spirit are not withdrawn out of change, but drunk up by the barren sand of the soil, or by the evil genius of the soil perverted to the nourish: ment only of thorns, briers, and thistles; which kind is declared by the Apostle to be nigh unto burning
4. I have one thing more to add, before concluding this head of discourse; That every one of these good provisions, made by the God of providence in the constitution of the world for the fructification of the seed which his Son was preparing to sow, may be, yea and is continually, perverted from their Maker's good intention and purpose by the perverseness of man, in appropriating them to the nourishment of his own pride and self-sufficiency: and being so perverted they nourish nothing but rebellion against God, indifference to Christ, and independence on his Holy Spirit. The love of children to iheir parents, how often doth it become conceit of their good name, or delight in their high and honourable station! The love of spouses, how often doth it become idolatry! The love of family, how often doth it become clannish pride, and over-weening fondness! And so also how often do companies, townships, cities, and kingdoms, forgetting the love of equality, and the law of neighbourly love, out of which they arose, become the fountains of envy, vain-glory, party-spirit, war, and bloodshed !. But this is the transgression of these good institutions of God, and their apostasy from the purpose and intention of the Creator; for which they shall be judged. Hath God then, in all his providence, made no provision against this tendency of men to become proud, and boast himself in his possessions ; to become self-sufficient and unkind, narrow-minded and uncharitable? I answer, that he hath in a most remarkable way provided the means of discountenancing and destroying this ungenerous, ungracious principle, and creating a soil for the production of humility, reverence, and bountiful regard unto all; which is the last thing in the constitution of man's social condition of which I would treat. This check and restraint is found in the diversity of the orders, and ranks, and abilities, and gifts of men, which are so essential an ingredient of human existence, that if you were to break it all down to-morrow, before to-morrow ended it would begin to grow apace. For it is founded by God in the very constitution of men. Reverence of a superior, and kindness to an inferior, are as essential to the being and the well-being of a man, as is justice and equity to an equal. And why? Because man was made to reverence God, and to exercise merciful sway over the creatures ? And how should he do the one or the other, without a principle of reverence and condescension implanted in his breast? And is not man himself split into two parts; man for condescending love, woman for reverent love? And these split again into parents and children; parents for authoritative love, children for obedient love. How then should it otherwise be, than that these the principles and properties of our nature should have a representation in the ordinances and
institutions of the society which we compose ? Yea God obligeth it: for one man cannot be all things. -But I am not going to reason these things out, as if I were a Lecturer in an infidel university, discoursing with great respect to an infidel class. I say, equity is not more of the well-being of a state, nor free trade of the wealth of a state, than diversity of rank is of the existence of a state. Equality is pride. Liberty, with equality, is licentiousness. Oh! let us not envy, let us, like wise men, pity the republics of the west, which would cut off precedence, and nobility, and royalty, in order to conduct government by hire. Oh! oh! how little do they know of the nature of man, how little do they know of the providence and grace of God, in the permission, yea, in the establishment of all these things! These are the restraints against that very self-sufficiency, and pride of man, which turns the milk of human kindness into the sourness of malice and indifference, which breaks in upon the relative duties of servant and master, of tenant and landlord, of laity and nobility, of people and prince, of nation and king. They are the continual nourishment of reverence to a superior: they cultivate the principle of worship, which ever fights against the principle of selfishness; they are alone capable of holding pride in check, and keeping the mind open to charity and love, which pride freezeth up
every thing else, it will go to excess, and engender kneeworship, and hat-reverence, and every form of sycophancy. But laugh not these things to scorn: they are of a better nest than are arrogancy, and plebeianism, and slanderous con- ; tempt of a superior: they are good plants run to