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By the truth we are not to understand veracity as opposed to falsehood. The Apostle is not speaking of this subject. The truth means the doctrine of the Word of God. This is a very common way of describing the revealed will of God in the Scrip"Sanctify them by thy truth," said our
The truth itself is the
Truth is the most next to God and
Lord; "thy word is truth." object of complacency to love. glorious thing in the universe, holiness. It has been the great object of mental pursuits since the creation of the world: millions of minds have travelled in quest of it; philosophers profess to be so enamoured even with the very term, that they have worshipped it as a mere abstraction, which, after all, they could not understand. What contentions has it originated-to what systems has it given rise-what dogmatism has it been the occasion of! And yet, after all, apart from revelation, what is it but a name? This gives it reality and form;— this tells us where it is, what it is, and how it is to be obtained. Here we learn that the glorious Gospel of the blessed God, and all the doctrines it includes or implies, is THE TRUTH. The question is answered, proposed by Pilate to the illustrious prisoner at his bar, and the oracle of heaven has declared that the Scriptures are the truths. And the truth is the object of complacency to charity; the bright star, yea, the full-orbed sun, that enlightens its eye, and points out the resting-place of its heart. And it can rejoice in nothing else. Falsehood and error, and the devices of the human mind, are the objects of its disgust and abhorrence. It is evident, then, as we have already
shown, that love differs essentially from that vague kind of charity which is so much cried up at present, both without and within the pale of the Church; which scorns to proceed upon the Scripture ground of the truth and its genuine influence; reviling, as narrow-mindedness, and an uncharitable partyspirit, all regard to particular doctrines ;-but extends its indiscriminate embrace, and pays its idle and unmeaning compliments to all persons, of whatever denomination or persuasion, presuming that they are all serious and mean well, however much they differ from each other, or from the Scripture, in sentiment or in practice. One of the maxims of this spurious candour, as we have already considered, is, that there is no moral turpitude in mental error; and that everything is nonessential which does not relate to the interests of morality. How widely this counterfeit liberality differs from the apostolic charity, is evident from the fact which we are now considering, and by which we are told that love delights in the truth. For the truth it will be zealous, as for an object dearer than life itself; to this it will be ready to set the seal of blood, and not resign or betray it through fear of the gloom of the captive's dungeon, or dread of the martyr's stake. This is its joy in life-its support in death: this is the dear companion of its pilgrimage on earth, and its eternal associate in the felicities of heaven.
But as the truth is here opposed to iniquity, the Apostle especially intended to state that holiness is the object of complacency to charity. Holiness is the rational and appropriate effect of the truth
believed. No man can receive the truth in the love of it, without bringing forth the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ unto the glory of God. It is the delight of this pure and heavenly grace to contemplate holiness wherever it is to be found. Ascending to the celestial world, it joins the choirs of the cherubim, to look upon the spotless One, and with them to give utterance to its ecstasies, in the short but sublime anthem, "Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty." Undismayed by the roar of thunder, and the sound of the trumpet, and the voice of words; by the thick darkness, and the vivid lightnings, and the agitation of the quaking earth;-it ventures near the base of Sinai, and, for the delight that it has in holiness, rejoices in the law which is the rule of righteousness. The angels are pleasant to behold, because they are clad in garments of unsullied purity; and the crown of glory which Adam wore before his fall was his innocence; and the deep degradation into which he fell by his apostacy, was loss of holiness, in which consisted the image of God. The ceremonial law has an excellence in the eye of charity, because it teaches the value of holiness in the view of God, and the necessity of it for man. The prophetic visions are all delighted in, because they are distinguished by the beauties of holiness; and the whole Gospel of Jesus is dear to the heart of love, because it is intended to purify unto Christ a Church, which he will present to the Father without spot, wrinkle, or blemish. Men are esteemed and loved on earth as they have this moral excellence enstamped upon their souls; and in looking
for a heaven which shall satisfy all its desires, it can think of nothing higher and better than a state of sinless purity.
So ardent and so uniform is charity's regard to holiness, that it rejoices in it when it is found in an enemy or a rival. Yes; if we are under the influence of this divine virtue as we ought to be, we shall} desire, and desire very fervently too, that those who have displeased or injured us were better than they are. We shall wish to see every speck of imperfection gone from their conduct, and their whole character standing out to the admiration of the world, and receiving the approbation of those by whom they are now condemned. We shall be willing to do anything by which they may conciliate to themselves the favour of the alienated multitude, and also raise themselves to the vantage ground on which their misconduct has placed us above them. This is charity, to rejoice in those moral excellences, and gaze upon them with gratitude and complacency, which invest the character of one that opposes us with loveliness and beauty, and by which his cause is promoted, in some degree, to the detriment of ours. Men of little virtue may sometimes join from policy in those commendations of another's goodness, the justice of which they cannot dispute, and the harmony of which they dare not disturb; but it is only the Christian, who is far advanced in the practice of all that is difficult in religion, who can secretly rejoice, without envy or jealousy, in those very virtues which draw away the public attention from himself, and cause him and his party to pass into eclipse and to sink into
shadow. "O Charity! this is thy work, and this thy glory; a work too rarely performed-a glory too rarely seen-in this region of selfishness, in this world of imperfection; where, of the multitudes that profess to submit to thy sway, there are still so few who are really governed by thy laws, and inspired by thine influence."