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love dwelleth in God, and God in him?' But let me descend to particulars.
"What do I know of the forbearance of love? Can I suffer long, or am I easily provoked? Am I patient under provocation; restraining my anger; keeping my wrath in subjection under the most provoking insults, amidst the basest ingratitude, or the most irritating scorn? In my intercourse with my brethren in Christ, am I quick to take offence by any real or supposed slight or impertinence? Am I so jealous of my own dignity, so sensitive, and irritable, as to be roused to anger by any little offence, and transported to wrath by more serious provocations? Am I revengeful under injuries; brooding over them in silence, cherishing the remembrance, and reviving the recollection of them, waiting for an opportunity to retaliate, and rejoicing in the sufferings which come upon those that injure me? or am I easily conciliated, most forward to forgive, and ever ready to return good for evil? How have I acted since my last season of selfexamination in these particulars? Let me call to recollection my conduct, that I may see how far I have practised the duty, and exhibited the excellence, of Christian meekness.
“Charity is kind. Is kindness-universal, constant, operative kindness-characteristic of my conduct? Is the law of kindness on my lips, its smile upon my countenance, and its activity in my life? or am I uncivil and uncourteous in speech, frowning and repulsive in my aspect, grudging and unfrequent in acts of generosity? Have I the character, among my neighbours and acquaintance, of a man
who can be always depended upon for a favour,: when it is needed? or, on the contrary, am li bys general report, a very unlikely person to lend ac helping hand to a person in necessity? Are there any instances of unkindness which I can now call to remembrance, which have brought dishonour upon my reputation, guilt upon my conscience, reproach upon the cause of religion, and for which, therefore, I ought to seek the pardon of God through Christ?
'Charity envieth not. Am I subject to the tor-i menting influence of that truly diabolical temper by which a person is made miserable in himself, and to hate his neighbour or rival, on account of that neighbour's or rival's distinctions? Am I so truly infernal in my disposition, as to sicken and pine at the sight of the success or happiness of others, and to cherish ill will on that account towards them? When I hear another praised and commended, do I feel a burning of heart within, and an inclination to detract from their fame, and to lower them in the estimation of those who applaud them; and do I secretly rejoice when anything occurs to lessen and lower them in public opinion, or to strip them of those distinctions which render them the objects of our dislike? or do I possess that true spirit of love, which constrains me to rejoice with those that rejoice, to feel pleased with their prosperity, and to consider their happiness as an accession to my own? Have I, indeed, that benevolence which delights so truly in felicity, as to make me glad at seeing it in the possession of an enemy or a rival?
Charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up. Is
this descriptive of my spirit, in reference to my own attainments and achievements? Am I lowly in my own eyes, clothed with humility, modest in the estimate I form of myself, and all that belongs to me? or am I proud, vain, and ostentatious; valuing and admiring myself on the ground of any personal, civil, ecclesiastical, or spiritual distinctions. Am I fond of exciting admiration, and obtaining applause? or am I content with the approbation of my own conscience, and the smile of God? Do I wish to make others feel their inferiority, and to suffer under a mortifying sense of it? or do I, from the most tender regard to their comfort, conceal, as much as possible, any superiority I may have over them; and make them easy and happy in my company? Do I indulge in haughty airs, or maintain a kind affability and an amiable condescension?
"Charity doth not behave itself unseemly. Is it my study not to give uneasiness and offence, by anything unsuitable to my age, sex, rank, station, and circumstances; anything rude, rough, impertinent, or unbecoming? or am I continually disturbing the comfort of those around me, by indecorous and unsuitable behaviour?
"Charity seeketh not her own. Am I habitually selfish, anxious only for my own gratification, and building up my comfort to the annoyance or neglect of others? Am I indulging a penurious, avaricious disposition,-feasting upon luxuries, and refusing to minister to the relief of human misery, according to the proportion in which God has blessed me? or am I diffusing abroad my substance, considering
that I am only a steward of what I hold, and must account for it all? Am I overbearing and intolerant in discussion and debate,-wanting others to sacrifice their views, in order that I may have everything my own way? or am I willing to concede and yield, and disposed to give up my own will to the general opinion, and for the general good?
"Charity thinketh no evil. Am I suspicious, and apt to impute bad motives to men's conduct? or am I generous and confiding-prone to think the best that truth will allow? Am I censorious, or candid? Do I feel more in haste to condemn, than to excuse, and more eager to blame than to exculpate?
“Charity rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth. What is my disposition toward those who are my opponents? do I delight in, or mourn over, their faults? Do I so love them, as to be glad when, by their regard to truth and righteousness, they raise themselves in public esteem; and to be sorry when they injure their own cause, and give me an advantage over them by their errors and sins? Have I made that high attainment in virtue and piety, which leads me to delight in the righteousness of a rival, even when it may seem to exalt him? or am I still so destitute of love, as to say, in reference to his faults, Ah! so would I have it ?'
"Charity covereth all things. Am I prone and anxious to conceal the failings of others, or to expose them? Believeth all things.' Am I credulous of whatever is to the advantage of a brother? "Hopeth all things.' Where the evidence is not enough to warrant belief, do I indulge an expectation
and desire, that farther knowledge may explain the matter favourably ? ~
"Charity endureth all things. Am I willing to make any exertion, to bear any hardship, to sustain any reasonable loss, for the peace and welfare of others? or am I so fond of ease, so indolent, so selfish, as to give nothing but mere ineffectual wishes for their comfort and well being?
"What measure of holy love have I,-of that love which puts forth its energies in such operations as these? Do I so love God, and feel such a sense of his love to me, as to have my soul transformed into this divine temper? Does the love of Christ thus constrain me? Am I so absorbed in the contemplation of that stupendous display of divine benevolence, that unparalleled manifestation of infinite mercy, which was made in the cross of the Son of God, as to find the selfishness of my nature melted, and all its enmities subdued, by this most amazing and transporting scene? I feel, that without love, I cannot have entered into the meaning and design, the moral force and beauty, of the great atonement; that I can have no disposition which properly corresponds to that august and interesting spectacle. I see that knowledge is not enough, that belief is not enough, that ecstasy is not enough, that hope is not enough; that, in fact, nothing can come up to the demands, to the spirit, to the design, of a religionwhich has the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ for its central object, and grand support, and distinguishing glory, but a temper of universal and practical benevolence. Have I this? If so, How much