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of patriotism, to render us good members of the state; and for the same reason, we must possess universal benevolence, to render us good members of a system which comprises the whole human race. This is the generic virtue, the one simple principle out of which so many and such beautiful ramifications of holy benevolence evolve. All the actings of love, so finely described by the Apostle, may be traced up to this delight in happiness: they all consist in doing that which will promote the comfort of others, or in not doing that which will hinder their peace-whether they consist in passive or in active properties, they have a direct bearing on general well-being.
It will be proper to remark here, that by universal benevolence, we mean nothing that bears the most distant resemblance to the spurious philanthropy advocated some few years since by a school of modern infidels, who resolved all virtue into a chimerical passion for the public good; and the characteristic feature of whose system it was, to build up general benevolence on the destruction of individual tenderness. Reason and revelation unite in teaching us, that in the developement of the passions we must advance from the private to public affections, and that extended benevolence is the last and most perfect fruit of individual regards.*
But although we represent this love as consisting in a principle of universal benevolence, we would remark, that instead of satisfying itself with mere speculations on the desirableness of the well-being
See Mr. Hall's Sermon on Modern Infidelity.
of the whole, or with mere good wishes for the happiness of mankind in general; instead of that indolent sentimentalism, which would convert its inability to benefit the great body into an excuse for doing good to none of its members;—it will put forth its energies, and engage its activities, for those which are within its reach: it would, if it could, touch the extreme parts; but as this cannot be done, it will exert a beneficial influence on those
which are near; its very distance from the circumference will be felt as a motive to greater zeal in promoting the comfort of all that may be contiguous; and it will consider that the best and only way of reaching the last, is by an impulse given to what is next. It will view every individual it has to do with as a representative of his species, and consider him as preferring strong claims, both on his own account and on the account of his race. Towards all, it will retain a feeling of good-will, a preparedness for benevolent activity; and towards those who come within the sphere of its influence, it will go forth in the actings of kindness. Like the organ of vision, it can dilate, to comprehend, though but dimly, the whole prospect; or it can contract its view, and concentrate its attention upon each individual object that comes under its inspection. The persons with whom we daily converse and act, are those on whom our benevolence is first and most constantly to express itself, because these are the parts of the whole, which give us the opportunity of calling into exercise our universal philanthropy. But to them it is not to be confined, either in feeling or action; for, as we have opportunity,
we are to do good to all men, and send abroad our beneficent regards to the great family of man.
Nor are we to confound this virtue with a mere natural amiableness of disposition. It is often our lot to witness a species of philanthropy which, like the painting or the bust, is a very near resemblance of the original; but which still is only a picture, or a statue, that wants the mysterious principle of life. From that mere good-will to man, which even unconverted persons may possess, the love described by the Apostle differs in the following particulars.
1. It is one of the fruits of regeneration. "The fruit of the Spirit is love." Unless a man be born of the Spirit, he can do nothing that is spiritually good. We are by nature corrupt and unholydestitute of all love to God-and till renewed by the Holy Ghost in the spirit of our mind, we can do nothing well pleasing to God. "If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature;" and this love of our species is a part of the new creation. It is, in the strictest sense of the term, a holy virtue, and one great branch of holiness itself; for what is holiness, but love to God, and love to man? And without that previous change which is denominated being "born again," we can no more love man as we ought to do, than we can love God. Divine grace is as essentially necessary for the production and the exercise of philanthropy, as it is for piety; and the former is no less a part of religion than the latter. Love is the Divine nature, the image of God, which is communicated to the soul of man by the renewing influence of the Holy Ghost.
2. This love is the effect of faith: hence it is said
by the Apostle, "In Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but faith which worketh by love." And by another inspired writer, it is represented as a part of the superstructure which is raised on the basis of faith:"Add to your faith-love." It is certain that there can be no proper regard to man, which does not result from faith in Christ. It is the belief of the truth which makes love to be felt as a duty, and which brings before the mind the great examples, the powerful motives, furnished by the Scriptures to promote its exercise. Nothing spiritually excellent can be performed without faith. It is by faith alone, that anything we do is truly and properly religion: this is the identifying Christian principle, separate and apart from which, whatever excellence men may exhibit, is but mere morality. By faith we submit to the authority of God's law; by faith we are united to Christ, and "receive from his fulness and grace for grace;" by faith we contemplate the love of God in Christ; by faith our conduct becomes acceptable to God through Christ.
3. This love is exercised in obedience to the authority of God's word. It is a principle, not merely a feeling; it is cultivated and exercised as a duty, not yielded to merely as a generous instinct; it is a submission to God's command, not merely an indulgence of our own propensities; it is the constraint of conscience, not merely the impulse of constitutional tenderness. It may be, and often is, found where there is no natural softness or amiableness of temper: where this exists, it will grow with greater rapidity, and expand to greater magnitude,
and flourish in greater beauty, like the mountain ash in the rich mould of the valley; but it still may be planted, like that noble tree, in a less congenial situation, and thrive, in obedience to the law of its nature, amidst barrenness and rocks. Multitudes, who have nothing of sentimentalism in their nature, have love to man; they rarely can melt into tears, or kindle into rapture-but they can be all energy and activity for the relief of misery, and for the promotion of human happiness: their temperament of mind partakes more of the frigid than of the torrid, and their summer seasons of the soul are short and cold; but still, amidst their mild and even lovely winter, charity, like the rose of Pæstum, blooms in fragrance and in beauty. This is their motto-" God has commanded me to love my neighbour as myself; and in obedience to him I restrain my natural tendency, and forgive the injuries, and relieve the miseries, and build up the comfort, and hide the faults, of all around me."
4. It is founded upon, and grows out of, love to God. We are to love God for his own sake, and men for God's sake. Our Lord has laid down this as the order and rule of our affections. We must first love God with all our heart, and soul, and mind, and then our neighbour as ourselves. Now, there can be no proper religious affection for our neighbour, which does not spring out of supreme regard for Jehovah; since our love to our neighbour must respect him as the offspring and workmanship of God: "and if we love not him that begat, how can we love him that is begotten of, him?" Besides, as we are to exercise this disposition in obedience