Love Disposes Us to Do Good
Charity suffers long, and is kind.-- 1 Corinthians 13:4
In the last lecture from these words, it was shown that charity or Christian love is long-suffering, or that it disposes us meekly to bear the injuries received from others. And now it is proposed to show that it is kind, or, in other words,
THAT CHARITY, OR A TRULY CHRISTIAN SPIRIT, WOULD DISPOSE US FREELY TO DO
GOOD TO OTHERS
In dwelling on this point, I would — I. Briefly open the nature of the duty of doing good to others; and, II. Show that a Christian spirit will dispose us to it.
I. I would briefly open the nature of the duty of doing good to others. — And here, three things are to be considered, viz. the act — doing good, the objects, or those to whom we should do good; and the manner in which it should be done — freely. And,
1. The act, which is the matter of the duty, which is, doing good to others. — There are many ways in which persons may do good to others, and in which they are obliged so to do, as they have opportunity. And,
First, persons may do good to the souls of others, which is the most excellent way of doing good. Men may be, and oftentimes are, the instruments of spiritual and eternal good to others. Wherein any are so, they are the instruments of greater good to them than if they had given them the riches of the universe. And we may do good to the souls of others, by taking pains to instruct the ignorant and to lead them to the knowledge of the great things of religion, and by counseling and warning others, and stirring them up to their duty, and to a seasonable and thorough care for their souls’ welfare, and so again, by Christian reproof of those that may be out of the way of duty, and by setting them good examples, which is a thing the most needful of all, and commonly the most effectual of all for the promotion of the good of their souls. Such an example must accompany the other means of doing good to the souls of men, such as instructing, counseling, warning, and reproving, and is needful to give force to such means, and to make them take effect. It is more likely to render them effectual than anything else whatsoever, and without it, they will be likely to be in vain.
Men may do good to the souls of vicious persons by being the means of reclaiming them from their vicious courses, or to the souls of neglecters of the sanctuary by persuading them to go to the house of God, or to the souls of secure and careless sinners by putting them in mind of their misery and danger, and so may be the instruments of awakening them, and the means of their conversion, and of bringing them home to Christ. Thus they may be of the number of those of whom we read (Dan. 12:3), “that turn many to righteousness,” and who “shall shine as the stars for ever and ever.” Saints, too, may be the instruments of comforting and establishing one another, and of strengthening one another in faith and obedience; of quickening, and animating, and edifying one another; of raising one another out of dull and dead frames, and helping one another out of temptations, and onward in the divine life; of directing one another in doubtful and difficult cases; of encouraging one another under darkness or trial; and, generally, of promoting each other’s spiritual joy and strength, and thus being mutually fellow helpers on their way to glory. (Please click here to continue reading, "Love Disposes Us to Do Good")