1 Corinthians 13:4
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
Sermons
CharityF. W. Robertson, M.A.1 Corinthians 13:1-13
CharityA. F. Barfield.1 Corinthians 13:1-13
CharityJ. Garbett, M.A.1 Corinthians 13:1-13
Charity Difficult of AttainmentDr. Duff.1 Corinthians 13:1-13
Charity, Emblem Of1 Corinthians 13:1-13
Charity, Regard ForJ. Thomson.1 Corinthians 13:1-13
Charity, Want Of, not Confined to Theological CirclesJ. Parker1 Corinthians 13:1-13
Charity, Worthlessness of Gifts WithoutJ. B. Wilkinson, M.A.1 Corinthians 13:1-13
Christian CharityJ. Parsons.1 Corinthians 13:1-13
Christian Charity1 Corinthians 13:1-13
Christian LoveD. C. Hughes, A.M.1 Corinthians 13:1-13
Christian LoveW. M. Blackburn, D.D.1 Corinthians 13:1-13
Eloquence Without CharityD. Thomas, D.D.1 Corinthians 13:1-13
Far, But not Far EnoughBp. Ryle.1 Corinthians 13:1-13
Love is God-LikeE. H. Bradby, M. A.1 Corinthians 13:1-13
Love, Charm OfW. Jay.1 Corinthians 13:1-13
Love, Comprehensiveness OfJ. Cross, D.D.1 Corinthians 13:1-13
Love, the Essence of Christianity1 Corinthians 13:1-13
Love, the Essence of ReligionJohn Wesley.1 Corinthians 13:1-13
Love: Extent OfBaldwin Brown, B.A.1 Corinthians 13:1-13
Love: from God the SourceJ. Cross, D.D.1 Corinthians 13:1-13
Love: Gifts Compared WithJ. Lyth, D.D.1 Corinthians 13:1-13
Love: Growth and Power OfH. W. Beecher.1 Corinthians 13:1-13
Love: Importance OfJ. Lyth, D.D.1 Corinthians 13:1-13
Love: Indispensableness OfU. R. Thomas.1 Corinthians 13:1-13
Love: no Gift Like ItM. Dods, D.D.1 Corinthians 13:1-13
Love: Power and Office OfPrincipal Edwards.1 Corinthians 13:1-13
Love: the Gauge of True ManhoodH. W. Beecher.1 Corinthians 13:1-13
Love: the Importance OfTryon Edwards, D.D.1 Corinthians 13:1-13
Love: the Life of the SoulR. South, D.D.1 Corinthians 13:1-13
Love: the Sum of All VirtueJonathan Edwards1 Corinthians 13:1-13
Love: the Test of ReligionJ. Lyth, D.D.1 Corinthians 13:1-13
The Apostolic Doctrine of LoveDean Stanley.1 Corinthians 13:1-13
The Importance of CharityR. Watson.1 Corinthians 13:1-13
The Unreality of Religion Without LoveF. St. John Corbett.1 Corinthians 13:1-13
Love and Our Fellow MenJ.R. Thomson 1 Corinthians 13:4, 5
Love and Self AbnegationJ.R. Thomson 1 Corinthians 13:4, 5
Some Characteristics of LoveE. Hurndall 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
The Nature and Operation of LoveC. Lipscomb 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
Censorious JudgmentJ. Cross, D.D.1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Censorious Judgments -- Their Evil EffectsH. Blair, D.D.1 Corinthians 13:4-8
CensoriousnessJ. Cross, D.D.1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Charity BenignantJ. Angell James.1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Charity Disposes Us Meekly to Bear InjuriesJon. Edwards.1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Charity Disposes Us to Do GoodJon. Edwards.1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Charity Doth not Behave Itself UnseemlyA. Donnan.1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Charity Inconsistent with an Envious SpiritJ. Edwards.1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Charity is ConsiderateW. Baxendale.1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Charity not BoastfulA. Donnan.1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Charity not Easily ProvokedBp. Burnet.1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Charity not Easily Provoked1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Charity not EnviousJ. Cross, D.D.1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Charity not EnviousA. Donnan.1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Charity not ProudJ. Cross, D.D.1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Charity not UncourteousJ. Cross, D.D.1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Charity not VainJ. Cross, D.D.1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Charity Opposed to CensoriousnessJon. Edwards.1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Charity Opposed to Vanity and PrideJ. Cross, D.D.1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Charity Seeketh not Her OwnE. D. Griffin, D.D.1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Charity the Opposite of a Selfish Spirit1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Charity the Opposite of an Angry SpiritJon. Edwards.1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Charity Thinketh no EvilJ. Lyth, D.D.1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Charity Thinketh no EvilJ. A. James.1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Charity Thinketh no EvilD. J. Burrell, D.D.1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Charity Vaunteth not ItselfFamily Circle1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Christ Sought not His OwnJ. B. Wilkinson, M.A.1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Christian LoveIsaac Taylor.1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Christian LoveCanon D. J. Vaughan.1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Christian Self-SacrificeW. W. Woodworth.1 Corinthians 13:4-8
DetractionJ. B. Wilkinson, M.A.1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Diffidence of LoveH. W. Beecher.1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Disinterestedness1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Features of LoveU. R. Thomas.1 Corinthians 13:4-8
IrritabilityJ. B. Wilkinson, M.A.1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Irritable Temper: Unrestrained, and Restrained by GraceDean Hook.1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Longsuffering and Kindness1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Love as a RegulatorD. W. Pratt, M.A.1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Love Doth not Behave Itself, UnseemlyJ. Lyth, D.D.1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Love is KindJ. Lyth, D.D.1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Love is not Easily ProvokedJ. Lyth, D.D.1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Love Seeketh not Her OwnJ. Lyth, D.D.1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Love Seeketh not Her OwnJ. B. Wilkinson, M.A.1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Love SufferethJ. Lyth, D.D.1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Love Suffereth LongC. Garrett.1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Love Thinketh no EvilH. J. W. Buxton.1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Love Vaunteth not Itself, is not Puffed UpJ. Lyth, D.D.1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Love; Seeketh not Her Own1 Corinthians 13:4-8
On CandourH. Blair, D.D.1 Corinthians 13:4-8
On EnvyH. Blair, D.D.1 Corinthians 13:4-8
On the Government of the TemperA. R. Beard.1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Pleasant BehaviourBrooke Herford.1 Corinthians 13:4-8
The Grace of CharityR. Tuck 1 Corinthians 13:4-8
The Kindness of Christian CharityJ. Cross, D.D.1 Corinthians 13:4-8
The Kindness of LoveU. R. Thomas.1 Corinthians 13:4-8
The Long-Suffering of ChastityJ. Cross, D.D.1 Corinthians 13:4-8
The Patience of Christ's Love1 Corinthians 13:4-8
The Patience of LoveU. R. Thomas.1 Corinthians 13:4-8
The Seemliness of the Charity of ChristJ. B. Wilkinson, M.A.1 Corinthians 13:4-8
The Spirit of Charity an Humble Spirit1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Thinketh no EvilThe Brooklet.1 Corinthians 13:4-8
UnseemlinessJ. B. Wilkinson, M.A.1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Unselfish PeopleT. L. Cuyler.1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Unselfishness Makes Happiness1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Vaunting Inconsistent with LoveJ. B. Wilkinson, M.A.1 Corinthians 13:4-8
The negative view having been presented, the apostle considers the mature and operations of this love, And one characteristic of it, he puts in the foreground of its excellences. It can suffer. A virtue that cannot suffer is hardly a virtue at all. Certainly it is not a virtue that can lay the least claim to divineness. Wedded love, parental love, philanthropic and patriotic love, have to undergo a discipline of pain and sorrow even to symbolize the higher affection of Divine love. This holy love, of which this chapter is so laudatory, derives its very essence from the "Man of sorrows." Short of realizing, in its measure, the agony in the lonely garden and the yet lonelier cross, it dare not, it cannot stop, since only there is its test found. A beautiful aestheticism, moral, perchance semi-spiritual, may follow the lowly Jesus of Nazareth through the windings of his Galilean and Judaean journeys, cling reverently to his person, spread the palm branches in his pathway, and shout its glad hosannas to his Name, and, after all, "forsook him and fled" may be the final record of its weakness. Only when he rises to the sacrificial height of his anointing as the Christ of God's Law and the Christ of God's love, and bears our sins in his own body on the tree - only here, where Jehovah "lets the lifted thunder drop," can the human soul be reconciled first to its own disciplinary sufferings, and learn afterwards, by many conflicts with self, to glory in the cross. But love not only suffers, it "suffereth long." It is patient - patient towards others, and, what is quite as important, patient with itself. And under all its sufferings, instead of being irritable, it is kind. Unsanctified suffering is usually morbid. It broods over its ills; it magnifies its afflictions; often, indeed, it makes us misanthropic. Sweetness of temper and tender outgoings of sympathy are not the common results of painful experiences, but the fruits of the Holy Spirit in them. Fortitude may be shown, and it may be naught but homage at the shrine of self. This love is of God. It takes to its heart God's thought of suffering as chastening, as correction, as the supreme moral necessity of a probationary life, through which we must pass to get any deep knowledge of ourselves. For it is never pleasure, but pain, that holds the key to the secret chambers, where the latent man awaits the voice of God bidding him arise and gird himself with immortal strength. Now, what effect on this love would ensue from suffering that had become habitual and wrought patience and silent enduringness into character? By suppressing a morbid regard for self and quickening the sympathies that give width to the inner life, what would be the specific result on the relations sustained to others? These Corinthians, as we have frequently noticed, were pulling down one and putting up another, were thoroughgoing partisans, were censorious and depreciatory towards those with whom they were disinclined to affiliate. What change for the better would love bring about? St. Paul answers, "Love envieth not." Observe how quickly he turns again to the negative aspects of this "supremely excellent way," and what vigour is imparted to the argument. At every step, contrast aids him by suggesting what love excludes, while its true qualities are set in bolder relief. Envy is pain at the sight of superior excellence in another, and is always a mark of blinding selfishness. According to one's temperament, it is displeasure or something worse, and usually contains an element of hatred.

"Men, that make
Envy and crooked malice nourishment,
Dare bite the best." Of course it leads to strife. It is a fruitful cause of schism, and as schism was a terrible evil in the apostle's view, he could not fail to show its utter inconsistency with this cardinal virtue. Along with this he says, "Love vaunteth not" - a similar idea to the foregoing as to its bad temper, but unlike as to its mood of exhibition. Reference is here made to the foolish display of self importance after the manner of a swaggerer or braggart. Next comes the statement, "Is not puffed up," not inflated or swollen by self conceit; this is followed by, "Doth not behave itself unseemly - is not uncourteous, but studies propriety of manner, and shows the instinct of a right demeanour, from which all good breeding proceeds. The art of behaviour is manifold. It is amenable to circumstances and classes, variable as to outward manifestations, suiting language and other demonstrations to the claims of occasion, and, in all this, its root principle is the same if it be truthful and sincere, since it loses sight of self and ministers to the happiness of others. Christian manners are the offspring of a Christian manner; the manners are external, the manner is internal; so that here, as in all else, form is created by spirit. The tones of the voice, the look of the eye, the muscular play of the countenance, are not physical facts only, but expressions and languages that have modulation, accent, emphasis, direct from the soul. Thus attended, our words take on other, fuller, more inspiriting meanings than those drawn from the dictionary; so that a man's face, figure, gesture, attitude, give a personal import to what emanates from his heart. If one compares the spiritual expression in the face of a Madonna by Raphael with the mere sensuous beauty of the face as depicted by antique art, he sees at once that Christianity has affected art to such an extent as to modify the laws of representation. Expression is the vivid image of the passion that affects the mind; its language, and the portrait of its situation" (Fuseli). It is not extravagant to claim that Christianity has so far changed physiological expression as to spiritualize, and thereby to heighten, its quality and force. But why limit the change to art? The fact is that Christianity has had its effect - a very distinctive and appreciable effect - on what may be termed the physiology of manner, in the intercourse of society. We seldom think of it. We rarely number this among the myriad advantages Christianity has brought to man. Yet the fact is indisputable that Christianity has given to the human voice tones of strength and tenderness never before known, and to the human eye a depth of power, of stillness, of pathos, that, without its grace, had been impossible. Nor can we doubt that this is one of the numerous ways it has adopted to establish a closer relation between mind and matter, and educate the body for the glory of the resurrection. Passing from decorum while yet retaining the general idea in his grasp, St. Pant now mentions the unselfishness of love: "Seeketh not her own." If its deportment is never obtrusive, but always becoming; if it never uses its gifts to remind others of their inferiority, but orders its manners so as to avoid everything which might tend to inflame envy; it goes still further, and manifests its disinterestedness as the soul of the "supremely excellent way." To pursue its own honour and aggrandizement, as if it had a sole proprietary interest in itself and could only exist by existing for its own reputation, influence, happiness, is forestalled by its nature and operations. The "all things" are not its, but "yours," and "ye," one and all, "are Christ's." So he had argued in the third chapter. The echo of the great truth comes back again and again, and once more it is heard in this verse. What St. Paul has just said of love as suffering long, and as kind, as not envying and vaunting, nor conceited and indecorous, are as so many stepping stones to "seeketh not its own." Would it have anything in the universe for itself alone? If so, the very thing itself, the universe itself, would be changed into another thing and another universe, and be no more a joy and a blessedness, but a restraint and an evil and a curse. Instead of a palace, a prison; instead of sublime disinterestedness, sordidness and ceaseless descent in degradation; instead of an ideal in Christ, the idea of virtues as bare commercial utilities, and of the soul as a commodity valued by the market place. Have anything alone? This were loneliness indeed. It were grievous, it were misery, to be isolated even by goodness and greatness from the heart of humanity. It is painful to a true man to be reminded of his superiority at the expense of others, and whenever one welcomes this sort of homage and glorifies himself, he loses truth of manhood. To thank God that we are "not as other men are" is sheer Pharisaism, and all such thanksgiving is worship of self. Love has not a wish, a desire, an aim, an aspiration, bounded by the limits of itself; and as Jesus prayed, "That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us, so is the prayer of the soul in all its greatest moments, and when the cross is nearest by, that it may be one with others, as it longs to be one with Christ and the Father. Every inch that a majestic oak goes upward or spreads laterally, down go its roots; further and wider they spread themselves out, tree above and tree below, preserving, each in its way, proportion and symmetry. And so with love. Reaching that high development indicated by capacity to suffer and yet be kind, by victory over envy and ostentation, and the transformation of daily manners into spiritual grace and beauty, it has so enlarged itself as to afford ample room even for the most generous and magnanimous emotions. It wants to be good and to be better, but where is the best? And as the years move on and the soul grows, this thought comes to be uppermost, "There is a better world;" and not alone in a better nature, and as a better being, but in a better world, it looks for its perfection. A world of love is its demand. The negative idea is still further unfolded in the words, "Is not easily provoked," or, "Is not provoked" (Revised Version). Much of peevishness, of anger, of resentment, springs from wounding the imaginary being whom we call by our name, fondle with our caresses, and idolize in our vanity. This deformed self, though apparelled in gaudy drapery and lifted to an exalted pedestal, is but too conscious of its blemishes and flaws, to be tolerant of criticism or amiable under exposure of its imperfections. It is quick to take umbrage. It is full of suspicion and keenly alive to neglect, real or supposed. A chronic ailment, this self conceit feels any fluctuation of circumstances and is acutely sensitive to wind and weather. On the other hand, love is not provoked; its temper is not quick, nor are its words hasty. How can it be otherwise, when it "thinketh no evil"? By governing its thoughts, it obtains that rare virtue of intellect which consists in no small degree of a mastery over associations and suggestions, and that is probably the most signal triumph of mind over its physical connections. "Imputeth not the evil" (Dr. Kling); "Taketh not account of evil" (Revised Version); and whereas the "evil" is real and palpable, it refuses to bear it in mind, and, by fixing attention and keeping it fixed on the wrong, to aggravate the impression. Here, as everywhere, mark the unity in our constitution. One cannot have a sore finger, or toothache, or painful limb, that the affection is not enhanced by directing thought to it. The blood is inflamed the more, and the nervous susceptibility augmented. So it is with the mind. Can we wonder, then, that St. Paul's insight detected the relation between thinking of injury or injustice, and the moral effect on character? And, finally, as to these repeated negatives, love "rejoiceth not in ininquity," or, "in unrighteousness," but "rejoiceth in [or, 'with'] the truth." It exults not at the overthrow and prostration of others. The downfall of another, even if that other made himself a rival, is no gratification. A human soul, a redeemed spirit, sank in that fall, and love cannot rejoice in such a calamity. "Rejoiceth in [or, 'with'] the truth." Love has been personified all along; truth is here personified. Love approaches moral truth, offers its congratulations, enters into its success, shares its joy. So, then, St. Paul approaches the close of this paragraph by the beautiful picture of love and truth side by side, and happy in the purity and glory of their fellowship. Looking back on the course of the argument, we see love as a meek and gentle sufferer, the traces of pain on its face, yet a sweet and holy reconciliation to the pangs long borne. We see kindness imprinted on the countenance. We discover no sign of envy, of pride and vanity, of overweening self regard, and, wherever the figure moves, its grace and charms are not blurred by unseemly demeanour. Most of all, its eye has an outward look, as if offering its heart to the service of others. And while unpleasant things occur, and wrongs are perpetrated, it is not made ahoy, nor does it nurse malice and resentment, nor rejoice at the retributions that overtake iniquity. Joy, indeed, it has, but its gladdest hours are those when love clasps hands with truth, and when seeketh not its own finds its highest realization in fellowship with truth. But the positive side of love must now be presented. It "beareth all things," that is, "hides to itself and to others" (Bengel), conceals or covers up the infirmities of others, which envy, pride, malice, would not expose, but delight in the exposure. A virtue is most glorious when it courts silence and prizes it as a beatitude. Unwitnessed patience and heroism are grandest when the soul asks no recognition, but abides with its consciousness alone in God. In his four statements in ver. 7 this quiet bearing of the imperfections of other people is first mentioned. And. with what expressiveness of diction! "Beareth all things." That passive strength which bears life's burden is no sudden, still less an early, acquirement. It is a slow growth. Time, as a coworker with grace, has much to do with its excellence. Years only can give it maturity and years full of providence. Consider, too, what a co-education of the body is implied here, what a subduing of recreant nerves, what a check on the blood, what refusals to obey sensations, before one can learn the art of silence as to the faults that annoy and often vex. If it is thus that Christian character is rounded off, we cannot doubt that it is not attainable except through a tedious and protracted experience. But does this bearing with the faults of others comply with the requirements of social duty? Nay, says the apostle, love "believeth all things." It searches for good qualities in men who are disagreeable and even repulsive, and whatever its diligent scrutiny can bring to light amid the mass of infirmities overlaying better traits, yields it genuine pleasure. Colour blindness is not confined to the physical eye. Individuals who are sensitive to the faults of others, and habituated to criticizing them, are generally more affected by nervous annoyance than by conscience, and it commonly happens with such that they seldom look for any redeeming goodness. To estimate the force of circumstances, to study motives, to make charitable allowances, are alien to their tastes and temper. On the contrary, the instinct of love is to believe that others are better, or, at least, may be better, than they seem. So that while love is an heroic believer, it is also a wise doubter, and gives the unhappy idiosyncrasies of men the benefit of its doubts. Because of this, it "hopeth all things." Right believing is an expansive force in the intellect. It is a quickener of imagination. It finds reasons for confidence unknown to him who has the conceit of scepticism, and cherishes it for its own sake, and prides himself on it as a sign of intellectual acumen. Faith acts on the emotions. These two, imagination and sensibility, stimulate hope, that in turn rises above the senses and comprehends, to some extent, the mighty forces engaged on the side of goodness. The power of God in Christianity makes its way slowly to the heart, while Satanic influence is demonstrative to the eye. Hope is not left to itself, but is taught of Christ, who, in the days of his flesh, looked beyond humiliation, obloquy, death, to the glory waiting to invest him. So, then, we may say that large views and large hopes go together, and the grace that "believeth all things" also "hopeth all things." But is a great hope immediately gratified? Never; if it were it would lose its greatness. Hope is a beautiful education, and it is this by holding back its fulfilment and thereby expanding the soul's capacity for the fullest gratification. Hope must have time and opportunity to develop the sense of enjoyability in us before it bestows the reality. Each day of postponement goes onward to the day of realization, which is thousands of days in one. But it educates us in other forms. The delay of hope to meet our anticipations tests our strength and patience. Has the hope a firm hold on our souls? If so, its possessor "endureth all things." Through doubt and darkness, amidst adversity, despite opposing circumstances, love is persistent, and its persistency is the measure of its power. When we reach this ability to endure, waiting in serene patience, submissive to God's will, content with today for what it is in itself, anticipating a coming Joy, but leaving its birth hour to him who keeps the times and seasons for himself, - when we attain this point of experience, we are near the boundary of earthly growth. Passive excellence, such as that pointed out by the word "endureth," seems to be the final work of the Holy Ghost in the human heart. Fitly, therefore, St. Paul finds the climax of expressions (ver. 7) in "endureth all things." True, "beareth," "believeth," "hopeth," are alike related to "all things" with "endureth," and yet this is obviously the consummation of the idea pervading the apostle's mind. Fitly so, we have said, since men are accustomed to regard endurance as the mark of the highest power. It is a trained and balanced power. Body, soul, and spirit are present in the fulness of its strength. There is no disquiet in those sensibilities that are ever creating ripples on the surface of life. There is no agitation in those great depths that once heaved under the fury of the storm. Enduring love has entered into rest, and the repose is God like. - L.







Charity suffereth long, and is kind.
I. SUFFERS LONG. The Greek denotes having the power "to hold the mind long," i.e., it is the opposite to rash anger. There are persons who, when they are afflicted by Providence, or provoked by man, are unable to hold their minds. Like the water which has mastered the dam, so do some men's unhappy feelings rise and overspread their families and neighbourhood. But when one has failed in his duty towards the charitable man it may grieve him, but he seeks for grace to bear the trial. He holds his mind long; and while not forgetful of the demands of justice, is influenced by the spirit of forgiveness.

II. IS NOT EASILY PROVOKED. If a man's spirit be fully imbued with an affectionate complacency towards God and man, he is not thrown into bitter resentments by unjust usage. He is "slow to wrath." Provocations must and will arise. The state of the health, mind, temperature, circumstances, will make a man more disposed to fretfulness or reserve, one day than another. "Behold how great a matter a little fire kindleth!" A family pique has overthrown an empire, and a bodily sensation directed the course and given the feeling to a man's life! But the spirit of the charitable man does not soon become acid. His injured feelings do not ferment into vinegar.

III. BEARETH ALL THINGS, or "covereth all things." "Hatred stirreth up strife, but love covereth all sins." As you would conceal a defect in your person, or cover up what was offensive on your grounds, so does the spirit of the gospel lead us to hide a brother's infirmities from the animadversion of others. The spirit of envy and revenge would lead you to speak of the misconduct of others with exasperated feelings. But here an objection has arisen. "How unmanly is this charity which you commend! Are we then to be trampled upon? "Not so: love can feel injured, and seek redress, but not recklessly and bitterly; and when in pursuit of her rights she is all the while calm and kind and universally benevolent.

IV. ENDURETH ALL THINGS. Christian love remains under its burdens. Bad usage from man and affliction from God it teaches us to sustain. Let the conduct of Christ illustrate the spirit of His own religion. He was not impatient with the ignorant, or revengeful upon His persecutors.

(Isaac Taylor.)

These features are —

I. MANIFOLD. There are some landscapes that are almost tame; some faces not featureless, but not marked and vivid. Not so with love. It is the landscape of Devonshire rather than Lincolnshire; of Switzerland rather than Holland. Read this description — there is no monotony, eye bright, brow clear, lips strong and definite.

II. HARMONIOUS.

1. There is the presence of all that could complete character. Patience, kindness, joy, fortitude. "Strength and beauty are in the sanctuary"; the full diapason of the music of morals.

2. There is the absence of any element that could be disfigurement or discord. "Envieth not, is not puffed up," etc.

III. BEAUTIFUL. There is not one virtue in this description that is not like a splendid Corinthian column. Nothing deforms the landscape, nothing disfigures the face. Rather every element heightens the loveliness. There is not only a wealth, but a wealth of the beauties of love.

IV. PERMANENT. "The grass withers, the flowers fade"; even "the human face Divine" grows old, the brow wrinkled, the eye dim, the mouth weak. The beauty of love is imperishable. "Love never faileth." The word "faileth" pictures either a flower whose petals never fall off, or an actor "who is never hissed off the stage, has its part to play on the stage of eternity."

(U. R. Thomas.)

Why has the Church assigned this chapter to Quinquagesima Sunday, the Sunday immediately preceding the season of Lent? We shall be able to answer that question if we consider what the season of Lent means, and why it has been set apart as a season of special humiliation, self-mortification, and prayer. Lent is the introduction to Good Friday and Easter Day. It is meant to prepare us better to realise and understand the great mystery of godliness, the unsearchable riches of God's truth, so beautifully summed up in the words of Jesus (Luke 18:31-33). We cannot take one step forward into the knowledge of God's truth without love. Love is the very first condition without which it is impossible to see even the outside of the great mystery of godliness. Let a man look at the Cross of Christ, and without the light of love it will be foolishness to him, Or let him look at the power of God manifested in the resurrection of Christ, and without the light of love: it will be a riddle to him. Love is the microscope which reveals the hidden and. deep things which the careless eye scans without any sense of their inexpressible beauty and value. You have noticed, have you not, on a calm and sunny day, how softly and how beautifully the clear bright sky above us is reflected in the still surface of some deep pool of water? The sky, you know, is, as it were, received into the bosom of the water. Now, God's truth is just like the sky above; and the heart that is full of love — love to God and love to man — the heart that is steeped in love is just like the still surface of the deep and steady pool. It can receive the truth into itself and reflect it. If we suffer the gusts of passion, of hatred, and envy, and malice, and uncharitableness, and ill-will to sweep over our hearts and ruffle them, we shall become quite incapable of receiving and discerning the truth. We shall be no longer like the steady lake which receives the glorious sky so beautifully into its bosom, and mirrors it back so faithfully. Surely, then, we have great need to pray for love; we have great need to pray that God will send His Holy Spirit, and pour into our hearts that most excellent gift of charity. Where shall we find anything fairer, anything pleasanter to behold or more joyful to possess than charity? Is selfishness, or ill-will, or pride, or vanity, or any other thing that is not of God, either more beautiful to look upon, or more delightful to hold, than charity? Oh, then, let us, as the apostle bids in the first words of the next chapter, "follow after charity." So doing, we shall be laying hold of that which is imperishable.

(Canon D. J. Vaughan.)

1. Every great engine is brought to precision of movement, to the quiet and steady exertion of power, by means of a governor or regulator. The world is full of jarrings and disturbances, and man finds a strange warfare going on in his own breast. Such was the state of things when Christ came. He saw the need of some Divine principle of life to act as a regulator both in the individual and in society. This regulator is love: the life of the soul; the all-pervasive and all-controlling energy of our spiritual being.

2. The apostle, in his vivid analysis of this Divine principle, looks upon it as embodied in character. He tells how this lovely personage will think, speak, and act in the midst of unloveliness and sin. He views love as a person in her attitude —

I. TOWARDS SELF.

1. She is modest and unassuming. "She vaunteth not herself." While she maintains a true self-respect and a wise estimate of her own worthiness she never displays arrogance or self-conceit.

2. "She seeketh not her own." The belittling limitations of selfishness are not permitted to dwarf the outgoings of her generous heart.

II. TOWARDS THE TRUTH.

1. This is one of affectionate desire and rejoicing. Here truth is also personified. Both experience profound satisfaction in the enlightenment and ennobling of man.

2. In reference to truth and its ultimate triumph love is also trustful and hopeful. "She believeth all things." This does not signify credulity, for there is nothing so wise and discerning as love. Discerning but not doubtful, she rejoices to accept every revelation or manifestation of God.

3. Her temperament, or, better, her faith is buoyant and cheerful. "She hopeth all things." Expects good instead of evil; is not foreboding and gloomy; trusts a kind Providence; believes in the possibilities of men.

III. TOWARDS OTHERS.

1. "Love suffereth long." In the face of provocation where others would be vehement with passion, she maintains her own serene dignity. This is almost identical with "not easily provoked," "beareth all things," "endureth all things." These manifold expressions reveal love as a personage of great moral strength, as well as of unrivalled loveliness. She maintains constant equipoise of spirit.

2. "Is kind." Her self-forgetful love makes her gracious, benignant, generous, and forgiving under all circumstances.

3. "Envieth not." Competition is the most conspicuous trait of men in their relations one with another. To live without envy is a miracle of grace.

4. "Does not behave itself unseemly." She has a delicate discernment of what is appropriate at all times and places; is never indecorous or unrefined.

5. "Thinketh," or " taketh not account of evil." Not suspicious or self-seeking by nature, she does not impute evil to others.

6. "Rejoices not in unrighteousness." The world seems to take delight in the downfall of others. Yet love grieves and blushes at another's immorality.

(D. W. Pratt, M.A.)

I. WHAT? Unkindness, opposition, injury, etc.

II. How?

1. Long.

2. Patiently.

3. Without resentment.

III. WHY?

1. For Christ's sake.

2. For man's sake.

3. In hope.

(J. Lyth, D.D.)

I once undertook a duty the like of which I would never attempt again. A widow lady had a son — a poor prodigal. He had spent his all, and was fast making inroads upon his mother's little competence. Some friends had suggested that I should call upon her, and offer a gentle expostulation. I did so. I fancy that I can see her now — her white hair and her widow's cap. She patiently heard my message, but she turned to me in tears, and said, "Yes, Mr. Garrett, you are very kind, you mean well, and all you say is true; but still, after all, he is my son!"

(C. Garrett.)

is not feebleness, cowardice, indifference, nor imbecility; but a principle perfectly consonant with the largest mental endowments, the loftiest aims and the noblest endeavours, with freedom of speech, firmness of purpose, and unwearied perseverance in well-doing; while it is totally opposed to all temporising expedients, vacillating policies, and inconstant endeavours. Christ is our example of long-suffering charity; yet witness how He clears His Father's temple of the sacrilegious throng, and rebukes the wickedness of the Scribes and Pharisees. It is the depth of the river, not its shallowness, that makes it so smooth and gentle in its flow; and the mountain stream, which in the drought of summer went brawling from rock to rock and from pool to pool, with a thousand disturbances of its surface and misdirections of its course, now, when the autumn rains have fallen, or the winter snows have melted, and tributary torrents have swollen it to full flood, guides with an evenness and beauty between its green banks, with a placidity of strength and a unity of might which, while pleasant to behold, is terrible to withstand. Even so charity, subordinating all the feelings and faculties of the soul to one Divine impulse, and consecrating all to one holy and benevolent purpose, flows on with a mild and gentle majesty, undisturbed by rude speeches and unkind actions, and never diverted from its aim by the annoying accidents of society, straight forward to the vast ocean of blessed being, its destined union with God in Christ, and all that is great and good and happy in the universe. The tranquil meekness of charity, therefore, is perfectly consistent with true grandeur of soul, and of all true grandeur of soul is itself an essential element; even as the most perfect harmony consists with the mightiest tones in music, and the nicest cultivation of plants contributes to their most stately forms and most luxuriant fruitfulness, and the careful discipline of domestic animals results in the development of superior stature, with more strength of muscle, and greater fleetness of course, and whatever else belongs to the utmost perfection of their nature.

(J. Cross, D.D.)

Meekness is a great part of the Christian spirit (Matthew 11). And meekness, as it respects injuries received from men, is called long-suffering, the fruit of the true Christian spirit (Galatians 5:22; Ephesians 4:1, 2; Colossians 3:12). Note —

I. SOME OF THE KINDS OF INJURIES THAT WE MAY RECEIVE FROM OTHERS. Some injure others —

1. In their estates by unfairness and dishonesty in their dealings.

2. In their good name, by reproaching or speaking evil of them behind their backs.

3. In their thoughts, by unjustly entertaining a low esteem of them (Job 5:21; Psalm 140:3).

4. In their injurious treatment.

II. HOW SUCH INJURIES OUGHT MEEKLY TO BE BORNE.

1. The nature of the duty enjoined. It implies that injuries should be borne —(1) Without doing anything to revenge them.(2) With the continuance of love in the heart, and without those passions that tend to interrupt and destroy it.(3) Without our losing the quietness and repose of our own minds and hearts (Luke 21:19).(4) With willingness to suffer much in our interests and feelings for the sake of peace, rather than do what we have opportunity, and perhaps the right, to do in defending ourselves (1 Corinthians 6:7).

2. Why it is called long-suffering.(1) Because we ought meekly to bear not only a small injury, but also a good deal of injurious treatment from others.(2) Because in some cases we should be willing to suffer a great while in our interests, before we improve opportunities of righting ourselves.

III. HOW THAT LOVE, WHICH IS THE SUM OF THE CHRISTIAN SPIRIT, WILL DISPOSE US MEEKLY TO BEAR SUCH INJURIES.

1. Love to God and Christ has a tendency to dispose us to this; for it —(1) Disposes us to imitate Him, and therefore disposes us to such long-suffering as He manifests (Exodus 34:6; Romans 2:4; 1 Timothy 1:12-16).(2) Disposes us thus to express our gratitude for His long-suffering exercised toward us.(3) Tends to humility, which is one main root of a meek and long-suffering spirit (Ephesians 4:2).(4) Disposes men to have regard to the hand of God in the injuries they suffer, and not only to the hand of man, and meekly to submit to His will therein (2 Samuel 16:5, 10).(5) Sets us very much above the injuries of men.

(a)Because nothing can ever really hurt those that are the true friends of God (Romans 8:28; 1 Peter 3:13).

(b)Because the more we love God, the more we shall place all our happiness in Him.

2. Love to our neighbour will dispose us to the same. Long-suffering and forbearance are always the fruit of love (Ephesians 4:1, 2; Proverbs 10:12).Conclusion: The subject —

1. Exhorts us all to the duty of meekly bearing the injuries that may be received from others. Consider —(1) The example that Christ has set us (2 Corinthians 10:1). He meekly bore innumerable and very great injuries from men.(2) If we are not disposed meekly to bear injuries, we are not fitted to live in the world, for in it we must expect to meet with many injuries from men (Matthew 10:16).(3) In this way we shall be most above injuries. He that has established such a spirit that the injuries received from others do not disturb the calmness of his mind, lives, as it were, out of their reach.(4) The spirit of Christian long-suffering, and of meekness in bearing injuries, is a mark of true greatness of soul (Proverbs 16:32; Proverbs 14:29; James 3:13).(5) The spirit of Christian long-suffering and meekness is commended to us by the example of the saints.(6) This is the way to be rewarded with the exercise of the Divine long-suffering toward us (Psalm 18:25, 26; Matthew 7:2, 14, 15).

2. But some, in their hearts, may object —(1) That the injuries they receive from men are intolerable.(a) Do you think the injuries you have received from your fellow-man are more than you have offered to God?(b) Do you not hope that as God hitherto has, so He will still bear with you in all this, and that notwithstanding all, He will exercise toward you His infinite love and favour?(c) When you think of such long-suffering on God's part, do you not approve of it, and think well of it, and that it is not only worthy and excellent, but exceeding glorious?(d) If such a course be excellent and worthy to be approved of in God, why is it not so in yourself?(e) Would you be willing, for all the future, that God should no longer bear with the injuries you may offer Him, and the offences you commit against Him?(f) Did Christ turn again upon those who injured and insulted and trod on Him, when He was here below; and was He not injured far more grievously than ever you have been?(2) That those who have injured you, persist in it, and do not at all repent, but go on doing it still. But what opportunity could there be for long-suffering, if injury were not persisted in long?(3) That your enemies will be encouraged to go on with their injuries. But you do not know this, for you have not an insight into the future, nor into the hearts of men. And, beside, God will undertake for you if you obey His commands; and He is more able to put a stop to the wrath of man than you are (Romans 12:19).

(Jon. Edwards.)

I. ITS MANIFESTATIONS. There may be a world where love is not strained and taxed as it is here. Here there is certainly scope for the manifestation of patience in —

1. The relationships of life.

2. The antagonisms of life.

3. The philanthropy of life.And in all these it is claimed and will be manifested in —

(1)Gentleness,

(2)Unsuspiciousness,

(3)Tolerance,

(4)Forgivingness,

(5)Continuance.

II. ITS BEAUTY. Love is —

1. Sensitive, yet patient. Not hard and servile.

2. Anxious, yet patient. Eager, not apathetic.

III. THE EXPLANATION. Because love cares for the beloved rather than for self. Self is thrown away in the interests of others, the welfare of others, This patience and all the powers of love are in its self-sacrifice.

(U. R. Thomas.)

God suffereth Himself to be conceived in the womb of a mother, and abideth the time: and being born, waiteth to grow up: and being grown up, is not eager to be acknowledged, but putteth a further slight upon Himself, and is baptized by His own servant, and repelleth the attacks of the tempter by words only. When from the Lord He became the Master, teaching man to escape death, having well learned, for salvation's sake, the forgiving spirit of offended patience: He strove not: He cried not: the shattered reed He did not break, the smoking flax He did not quench — God did put His own Spirit in His Son with perfection of patience. None that desired to cleave to Him did He not receive: no man's table or house did He despise. Yea, Himself ministered to the washing of His disciples' feet (even of him who betrayed Him). He scorned not the sinners nor the publicans. He was not angry with that city which would not receive Him. He healed the unthankful. He gave place to those who laid snares for Him. He, at whose side, if He had desired it, legions of angels from heaven would at one word have been present, approved not the avenging sword of even a single disciple. In Malchus the patience of the Lord was wounded. Wherefore also He cursed the works of the sword for ever after, and by the restoration of soundness to him whom He had not Himself hurt, He made satisfaction through patience, the mother of mercy and charity. The Lord Jesus is long-suffering and kind: is patient and gentle. I pass in silence the Crucifixion, for it was for that that He came in the world: yet, was there need of insult, alas! that He might undergo death? But being about to leave the world, He desired to be filled to the full with the pleasure of patience. He is spit upon, is beaten, is mocked, is foully clothed, and still more foully crowned. Wondrous constancy in long-suffering and patience!

( Tertullian.)

Louis XIV in a gay party at Versailles thought he perceived an opportunity of relating a facetious story. He commenced but ended abruptly and insipidly. One of the company soon after leaving the room, the king said, "I am sure you must all have observed how uninteresting my anecdote was. I did not recollect till I began that the turn of the narrative reflected very severely on the immediate ancestor of the Prince Armigue, who has just quitted us; and on this as on every occasion, I think it far better to spoil a good story than to distress a worthy man."

(W. Baxendale.)

1. In spirit.

2. In action.

3. To all.

4. At all times.

5. Without selfish ends.

(J. Lyth, D.D.)

Like the last word, this is one in frequent use by our apostle. He employs it —

1. As an avowal of his own attitude to men.

2. As an injunction to others.

3. As a description of God.The thing he here indicates is rather the fragrance of the whole flower of love than any one of its petals, the lustre of the entire diamond rather than any one of its facets. Kindness is —

I. A CHARM OF THE CHRISTIAN LIFE. The word is a beautiful word, and is the expression of a beautiful grace; sometimes being rendered gentleness, goodness — in the Rheims' version-benignity. It is not simply a manner, but a moral loveliness that shines through all manner.

II. AN OBLIGATION OF THE CHRISTIAN LIFE. It is not an ornament to be worn at option, but the constant garb of our life, not a work of supererogation, but a necessary, essential, and elemental duty.

(U. R. Thomas.)

It is like the teeming cloud, emptying its copious blessing upon the thirsty soil. It is like the swelling stream, overflowing its banks to enrich the plantations of the valley. It is like the fruitful field, pouring its golden harvest into the exhausted granary. It is like the generous oak, shaking the genial dew from its branches upon the humbler herbage at its roots. Nay, it is like God's incarnate love, walking the sinful world, chasing sorrow from the abodes of men, shedding the light of immortality into the valley of the shadow of death, and amidst the dissonances of human selfishness singing a melody which charms the angels down from heaven!

(J. Cross, D.D.)

In things lawful and things indifferent it bends to the partialities and predilections of others, studying to please all for their good to edification. It would not needlessly crush the wing of an insect, much less inflict upon a rational and immortal being an evil remediless and everlasting. It is eminently pacific and conciliatory; as far as possible without any compromise of the Christian law, endeavouring to live peaceably with all men, and labouring in many ways to promote the harmony of human society. As the sea is composed of drops, and the earth is compacted of atoms, and the daylight is only a profusion of inappreciable rays, and forest and field are refreshed and beautified by millions of imperceptible particles of dew, so it is the aggregate of little things that makes the happiness or unhappiness of domestic and social life; and charity is attentive to the minutest circumstance that can affect the comfort and welfare of mankind, planting here a lily and there a rose where she cannot convert the whole desert into a paradise, pouring in a thousand tiny rivulets to swell the great ocean of human blessedness, and thus impressing the universal conviction of her kindness.

(J. Angell James.)

Dr. M'Crie, in his life of the late Sir Andrew Agnew, M.P., says; "We were speaking one day of the difficulty of confessing Christ before the world. It was affecting to hear Sir Andrew acknowledge this difficulty, who had borne Christ's reproach so manfully in all places. He told me, that when he first began to take up the cause of the Sabbath, there were many worldly men who disliked him so much that they seemed anxious to stare him out of their company, and that he had felt this particularly at the New Club. One honourable baronet, not satisfied with this species of annoyance, when he saw that Sir Andrew had courage enough to despise it, and to frequent the club regularly every day notwithstanding, began speaking at him, and acting as rudely as he could towards him. One morning Sir Andrew was waiting for his breakfast at the club, when the baronet to whom I allude came in, apparently in great agitation. Sir Andrew, perceiving this, asked him if anything was wrong; to which he replied that his lady had last night had an attack of paralysis, and that she was dangerously ill. Sir Andrew said he felt for him sincerily, and expressed his sympathy warmly. Next morning he met him again with his two sons, who had come to see their mother, and he asked for Lady — with much interest. The answer was that he had been sitting up with her all night, and that she was no better. Ultimately, however, she did recover; and on one occasion afterwards, the baronet referred to came up to Sir Andrew, and with feeling that did him great honour, said, 'Sir Andrew, there are many people who like to laugh at you and abuse you, because of your Sabbath principles, and I confess that I have been among the number, but I trust I shall never so far forget myself again.'

I. THE NATURE OF THE DUTY OF DOING GOOD TO OTHERS. And here three things are to be considered, viz. —

1. The act. Persons may do good —(1) To the souls of others, which is the most excellent way of doing good.(2) In outward things, and for this world (Matthew 25:35, 36). in three ways Christianity requires us to do good to others.

(a)To give to others (Luke 6:38).

(b)To do for others (1 Thessalonians 2:9; Hebrews 6:10).

(c)To suffer for others (Galatians 6:2; 1 John 3:16).

2. The objects of this act are often spoken of in the Scriptures by the expression, "our neighbour" (Luke 10:29, etc.). We are to do good —

(1)Both to the good and to the bad (Matthew 5:43).

(2)To friends and enemies (Matthew 5:44).

(3)To the thankful and the unthankful (Luke 6:35).

3. The manner in which we should do good to others. This is expressed in the single word "freely." This seems implied in the words of the text; for to be kind is to have a disposition freely to do good. And this doing good freely implies —(1) That our doing good be not in a mercenary spirit (Luke 6:35; Luke 14:12-14).(2) That we do it cheerfully or heartily, and with real good-will to the one we would benefit (1 Peter 4:9; 2 Corinthians 9:7; Romans 12:8; Deuteronomy 15:10).(3) That we do it liberally and bountifully (2 Corinthians 9:8, 11; Deuteronomy 15:8; Proverbs 11:25; 2 Corinthians 9:6).

II. THAT A CHRISTIAN SPIRIT WILL DISPOSE US THUS TO DO GOOD TO OTHERS. And this appears from two considerations.

1. The main thing in that love which is the sum of the Christian spirit is benevolence, or good-will to others (Luke 2:14).

2. The most proper and conclusive evidence that such a principle is real and sincere is its being effectual. The proper and conclusive evidence of our wishing or willing to do good to another is to do it. The Scriptures therefore speak of doing good as the proper and full evidence of love (1 John 3:18, 19; James 2:15, 16).Conclusion:

1. What a great honour it is to be made an instrument of good in the world (Genesis 12:2). Eastern kings and governors used to assume to themselves the title of benefactors, that is, "doers of good," as the most honourable that could think of (Luke 22:25).

2. Thus freely to do good to others, is but to do to them as we would have them do to us.

3. How kind God and Christ have been to us (2 Corinthians 8:9; 1 Peter 1:4).

4. What great rewards are promised to those that freely do good to others (Psalm 18:25; Acts 20:35; Matthew 25:34-40).

(Jon. Edwards.)

Charity envieth not
To see that envy is utterly incompatible with charity, we need but glance at some of its characteristic qualities and fruits.

I. CHARITY IS DISINTERESTED GOODNESS; ENVY IS UNMINGLED SELFISHNESS. It would grasp all riches, absorb all enjoyment, engross all admiration and esteem. Every superior and every rival would it destroy, and live alone in an impoverished or depopulated universe. The envious man, like Gideon's fleece, would absorb every particle of moisture that falls from heaven, and leave all around him dewless as the desert.

II. CHARITY IS THE BROTHERHOOD OF THE HEART; ENVY IS AS MALICIOUS AS IT IS SELFISH. Joseph was hated by his brethren because he was beloved by his father, and because his dream made him their superior. And Haman was full of indignation against Mordecai because he held a high place in the favour of the king. And the same evil spirit inflamed the wrath of Saul against David. The envious man resents the good of others, as if it were an injury to himself. Envy is like the ocean, which because it cannot shine as the firmament does, would shroud the starry lustre of the latter with its vapoury exhalations. Nay, in order to enjoy the glimmer of its own rushlight, it would extinguish the sun and leave the world in darkness.

III. CHARITY IS A MEEK AND GENTLE SPIRIT; ENVY IS AS OUTRAGEOUS AS IT IS MALICIOUS. It is "cruel as death and insatiable as the grave." There is in its hate an inhuman fierceness, in its action a diabolical fury, which respect no dignity, reverence no sanctity, pause abashed at no splendid array of virtue. What slew Caesar, and banished Cicero. and put out the eyes of Belisarius, but a merit too great for wealth to reward or envy to endure? Envy murdered Abel at his altar, and nailed the Son of God upon the Cross. Envy first blighted the bloom of paradise, and ever since it has raged through the scene of its ruin, filling the earth with dire confusion, and every evil work; and well saith the wisest of ancient monarchs, "Wrath is cruel, and anger is outrageous, but who can stand before envy?"

IV. CHARITY IS READY UNTO EVERY GOOD WORK; ENVY IS MISCHIEVOUS. There is no injury it would not inflict upon its happier neighbour. It would poison your peace and blacken your fame. Who shall set bounds to its wickedness, or limit its baleful power? Has it not rifled the richest treasuries, thwarted the shrewdest policies, conquered the mightiest warriors, and subverted the proudest thrones? If there is any exemption from the inflictions of envy, it is only in the case of those who have nothing for which they can be envied, whose obscurity is their fortress, whose poverty is their panoply. The tornado may spare the willows, but woe to the oaks! Never pitying, never relenting, envy follows its victim to the very grave, and tramples upon his ashes, and desecrates his memory, and persecutes his posterity.

V. CHARITY IS FREE FROM DECEIT; ENVY IS HYPOCRITICAL. Pride, anger, gluttony, drunkenness, etc., are ordinarily frank and open. But envy, conscious that it is an unnatural disposition, having more the rancour of a fiend than the temper of a man, and branded by common consent with a stigma deep and foul, conceals its real nature. As Bishop Ball says, "It is indeed a most reputable and orthodox vice, a regular church-going sin, dressing like virtue and talking like piety. It has a great zeal for religion, a keen sense of public justice, and is much shocked at the inconsistencies of good people. It exults when the hypocrite is unmasked and exclaims — 'Ah! I told you so; I always suspected him.' It is also most benevolent; and when adversity overtakes a brother, prays devoutly that it may be the means of promoting his humility and other Christian graces."

VI. CHARITY IS FRAUGHT WITH DIVINE PEACE AND CONTENTMENT; ENVY IS MISERABLE. Hating and hated, can it know anything of a good conscience and a cheerful mind? Deceitful and treacherous, must it not be like the troubled sea that cannot rest? Baffled and chagrined, will it not become desperate, and turn its fangs upon itself, and devour its own vitals? Conclusion: Charity and envy are as much opposed as light and darkness. Charity is from above; envy is from beneath. Charity is the fruit of the Spirit; envy is the work of the flesh. Charity is the outgrowth of the new heart; envy is the product of the carnal mind. Charity is as pure as the mountain stream; envy is as foul as the city sewer. Charity is as harmless as the gentle dove; envy is as deadly as the viper's fang. Charity is as tranquil as the summer evening; envy is as restless as the troubled sea. Charity is as tender and pitiful as an angel; envy is as heartless and cruel as a demon. Charity is the spirit of Christ and the temper of heaven, envy is the rankling selfishness which makes the immitigable woe of the lost, the wormwood and gall transfused through all the faculties and feelings of a reprobate immortality. No two principles could be more antagonistic and irreconcilable.

(J. Cross, D.D.)

I. THE NATURE OF ENVY.

1. A spirit of dissatisfaction with, and opposition to, the prosperity and happiness of others as compared with our own (Esther 5:13; Numbers 11:29; Genesis 37:11).

2. A dislike of their persons for it (Esther 5:9; Genesis 37:4, 5).

II. WHEREIN A CHRISTIAN SPIRIT IS THE OPPOSITE OF SUCH A SPIRIT. A Christian spirit —

1. Disallows of the exercise and expressions of such a spirit.

2. Tends to mortify its principle and disposition in the heart (Philippians 4:11).

3. Disposes us to rejoice in the prosperity of others (Romans 12:15).

III. WHY IT IS THAT A CHRISTIAN SPIRIT IS THUS THE OPPOSITE OF A SPIRIT OF ENVY.

1. A spirit and practice entirely contrary to an envious spirit is much insisted on in the precepts of Christ and His apostles (Romans 13:13; 1 Corinthians 3:3; 2 Corinthians 12:20; Galatians 5:21, etc.).

2. These precepts are strongly enforced —(1) By the Christian scheme of doctrine. For there we are told how God has not begrudged us His well-beloved Son, nor the highest honour and blessedness in and through Him. How far Christ was from begruding us anything that He could do for or give us!(2) By its history. And particularly is this true of the history of the life of Christ, and the example He has set us.

3. The true spirit of Christian love will dispose us to yield to the authority of these precepts, and to the influence of the motives enforcing them.(1) By its own immediate tendency; for love does not grudge, but rejoices at the good of those who are loved.(2) By inclining us to humility. It is pride that is the great root and source of envy.Conclusion: The subject —

1. Should lead us to examine ourselves, whether we are in any degree under the influence of an envious spirit.

2. Exhorts us to disallow and put away everything approaching to it.

(J. Edwards.)

Envy is a sensation of uneasiness arising from the advantages which others are supposed to possess above us, accompanied with malignity towards those who possess them. The character of an envious man is universally odious. All disclaim it; and they who feel themselves under the influence of this passion carefully conceal it. But it is proper to consider that among all our passions, both good and bad, there are many different gradations. Sometimes they swim on the surface of the mind, without producing any internal agitation. They proceed no farther than the beginnings of passion. Allayed by our constitution, or tempered by the mixture of other dispositions, they exert no considerable influence on the temper. Though the character in which envy forms the ruling passion be one too odious to be common, yet some tincture of this evil disposition mixes with most characters in the world. The chief grounds of envy may be reduced to three.

I. ACCOMPLISHMENTS, or endowments of the mind. The chief endowment for which man deserves to be valued is virtue. This forms the most estimable distinction among mankind. Yet this, which may appear surprising, never forms any ground of envy. No man is envied for being more just, more generous, more patient, or forgiving than others. This may, in part, be owing to virtue producing in every one who beholds it that high degree of respect which extinguishes envy. But probably it is more owing to the good opinion which every one entertains of his own moral qualities. Some virtues, or at least the seeds of them, he finds within his breast. Others he vainly attributes to himself. Those in which he is plainly deficient he undervalues; on the whole he is as worthy as his neighbour. The case is different with regard to those mental abilities and powers which are ascribed to others. As long as these are exerted in a sphere of action remote from ours, and not brought into competition with talents of the same kind, to which we have pretensions, they create no jealousy. They are viewed as distant objects, in which we have not any concern. Even then, envy is, properly speaking, not grounded on the talents of others. For here, too, our self-complacency brings us relief; from the persuasion that, were we thoroughly known, and full justice done to us, our abilities would be found not inferior to those of our rivals. What properly occasions envy, is the fruit of the accomplishments of others; the pre-eminence which the opinion of the world bestows, or which we dread it will bestow, on their talents above ours. Mere rivality, inspired by emulation, would carry no reproach; were not that rivality joined with obliquity, and a malignant spirit; did it not lead to secret detraction, and unfair methods of diminishing the reputation of others. Let such as are addicted to this infirmity consider how much they degrade themselves. Superior merit of any kind always rests on itself. Conscious of what it deserves, it disdains low competitions and jealousies. They who are stung with envy, especially when they allow its malignity to appear, confess a sense of their own inferiority; and, in effect, pay homage to that merit from which they endeavour to detract. But in order to eradicate the passion, and to cure the disquiet which it creates, let such persons further consider how inconsiderable the advantage is which their rivals have gained by any superiority over them. They whom you envy are themselves inferior to others who follow the same pursuits. Public applause is the most fluctuating and uncertain of all rewards. Within what narrow bounds is their fame confined? With what a number of humiliations is it mixed? To how many are they absolutely unknown? Among those who know them, how many censure and decry them?

II. ADVANTAGES of fortune, superiority in birth, rank, and riches, even qualifications of body and form, become grounds of envy. Among external advantages those which relate to the body ought certainly to hold the lowest place, as in the acquisition of them we can claim no merit, but must ascribe them entirely to the gift of nature. Yet envy has often showed itself here in full malignity. It would have proved a blessing to multitudes to have wanted those advantages for which they are envied. How frequently has beauty betrayed the possessors of it into many a snare, and brought upon them many a disaster? Short-lived at the best, and trifling at any rate, in comparison with the higher and more lasting beauties of the mind. But of all the grounds of envy among men superiority in rank and fortune is the most general. Hence the malignity which the poor commonly bear to the rich, as ingrossing to themselves all the comforts of life. Alas! all this envious disquietude which agitates the world, arises from a deceitful figure which imposes upon the public view. False colours are hung out: the real state of men is not what it seems to be. The order of society requires a distinction of ranks to take place; but, in point of happiness, all men come much nearer to equality than is commonly imagined. The poor man possesses not, it is true, some of the conveniences and pleasures of the rich; but, in return, he is free from many embarrassments to which they are. subject. When you think of the enjoyments you want, think also of the troubles from which you are free. Often, did you know the whole, you would be inclined to pity the state of those whom you now envy.

III. SUPERIOR success in the course of worldly pursuits is a frequent ground of envy. Among all ranks of men competitions arise. Wherever any favourite object is pursued in common, jealousies seldom fail to take place among those who are equally desirous of attaining it. "I could easily bear," says one, "that some others should be more famous, should be richer than I. It is but just that this man should enjoy the distinction to which his splendid abilities have raised him. It is natural for that man to command the respect to which he is entitled by his birth or his rank. But when I and another have started in the race of life, upon equal terms, and in the same rank, that he, without any pretension to uncommon merit, should have suddenly so far outstripped me; should have engrossed all that public favour to which I am no less entitled than he; — this is what I cannot bear; my spirit swells with indignation at this undeserved treatment I have suffered from the world." Complaints of this nature are often made by them who seek to justify the envy which they bear to their more prosperous neighbours. But if such persons wish not to be thought unjust, let me desire them to inquire whether they have been altogether fair in the comparison they have made of their own merit with that of their rivals? and whether they have not themselves to blame more than the world for being left behind in the career of fortune? The world is not always blind or unjust in conferring its favours. Supposing, however, the world to have been unjust with regard to you, this will not vindicate malignity and envy towards a more prosperous competitor. You may accuse the world, but what reason have you to bear ill-will to him? You, perhaps, preferred the enjoyment of your ease to the stirs of a busy or to the cares of a thoughtful life. Ought you then to complain if the more laborious have acquired what you were negligent to gain? Consider that if you have obtained less preferment you have possessed more indulgence and ease. The causes that nourish envy are principally two, and two which, very frequently, operate in conjunction: these are pride and indolence. The connection of pride with envy is obvious and direct. The high value which the proud set on their own merit, the unreasonable claims which they form on the world are perpetual sources, first of discontent, and next of envy. When indolence is joined to pride the disease of the mind becomes more inveterate and incurable. Pride leads men to claim more than they deserve. Indolence prevents them from obtaining what they might justly claim. Disappointments follow; and spleen, malignity, and envy rage within them. As, therefore, we value our virtue or our peace, let us guard against these two evil dispositions of mind. Let us be modest in our esteem, and by diligence study to acquire the esteem of others. So shall we shut up the avenues that lead to many a bad passion, and shall learn, in whatsoever state we are, therewith to be content. Finally, in order to subdue envy, let us bring often into view those religious considerations which regard us particularly as Christians. Let us remember how unworthy we are in the sight of God; and how much the blessings which each of us enjoy are beyond what we deserve. Let us nourish reverence and submission to that Divine government which has appointed to every one such a condition in the world as is fittest for them to possess.

(H. Blair, D.D.)

Envy is one of the most malignant and, if we except vanity alone, the most empty of all human passions. Other affections have some good thing in view either real or apprehended; but envy has nothing for its object except an ill-natured pleasure in the hurt of our neighbour. Charity is quite inconsistent with envy, and, whenever it prevails, expels that malicious passion from the heart. Has God bestowed on others larger measures of knowledge and understanding, of honour and respect, of riches, of power and authority, of any blessing, spiritual or temporal? The charitable man, though eclipsed in these respects, does not look up to those who eclipse him with an envious eye. He takes not an ill-natured pleasure in the disappointments and misfortunes, in the decline and fall of those above him He does not attempt, by malicious detraction, to depreciate the merits of those who excel; and, though unable to rise to their standard, he does not enviously endeavour to bring them down to his own, and to keep all mankind on a level with himself He considers worldly blessings as the gifts of God, who may bestow them on what persons and in what degrees He pleases; and, satisfied with his own condition, he rejoices to see the glory of the giver advanced and the ends of the gift answered, who ever may be chosen by Providence for the accomplishment of these ends.

(A. Donnan.)

Charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up
I. THE EVILS INDICATED.

1. Assumption.

2. Vanity.

II. THEIR OFFENSIVENESS. They imply —

1. Contempt for.

2. Disregard of the feelings and claims of others.

III. THEIR CONSEQUENT INCONSISTENCY WITH LOVE. Love —

1. Is humble in spirit and deportment.

2. Willingly offends none.

(J. Lyth, D.D.)

Family Circle.
"It was my custom in my youth," says a celebrated Persian writer, "to rise from my sleep, to watch, pray, and read the Koran. One night as I was thus engaged, my father, a man of practised virtues, awoke. 'Behold!' said I to him, 'thy other children are lost in irreligious slumbers, while I alone wake to praise God.' 'Son of my soul,' said he, 'it is better to sleep than to wake to remark the faults of thy brethren.'"

(Family Circle.)

We think we need not love God less, nor our neighbourless, by a little harmless talking of ourselves. But we do. We rob God, because in vaunting we forget that it all comes from Him, and we cannot possibly have anything whatever to vaunt or to boast of. We rob our neighbour because, unconsciously perhaps, we put him in a lower position than ourselves, and look down upon him, or we may make him envious of us. And we rob ourselves, because we deprive ourselves of the reward of any good we may have done. The grace of charity is deprived of its bloom, or indeed of its fruit, by vaunting or boasting.

(J. B. Wilkinson, M.A.)

Of all feelings, there is none of which men need be so little ashamed of as true love, and none which so much puts on all the appearance of shame. For love is born behind blushing defences. And after it has won its victories and subdued to itself the whole of life, it then more than ever has in it the necessity of hiding itself. For love, like the blood in the human body, though it be the cause of all the life that appears, is itself hidden within the veins and never seen.

(H. W. Beecher.)

To vaunt is to boast, to make an ostentatious display of our own qualities or achievements, it is the language of pride.

I. the NATURE OF PRIDE.

1. It is not to be confounded with that courtly demeanour which is so natural to some people, and so suitable to certain ranks in society. This is the use of our dignity, not the abuse of it.

2. It is an over-valuing of self. Was there ever a time when this hateful vice was more prevalent than it is at present? Does not the age vaunt its enlightenment and its progress? Do not persons of all classes vaunt their superiority in one respect or another? There is a pride of birth, of wealth, of power, of knowledge, of morality, and even of humility.

II. THE REPUGNANCE OF SUCH A SPIRIT TO CHARITY. Charity is unselfish; pride is one of the many forms of selfishness. Charity yields to its neighbour due honour; pride claims all respect and honour for its own dignity. Charity accords to every man his proper place and merit; pride aims to impress its brother with a mortifying sense of his inferiority. Charity tenderly regards your sensibilities, and carefully avoids giving you offence; pride tramples upon all courtesy, and cares not whom nor how deeply it wounds. Charity sheds a benign influence over the heart, expanding it to all that is noble and magnanimous; pride folds the soul in upon itself, freezing up the genial springs of sympathy and affection. Charity is the spirit of those who veil their faces before the throne of God, and the temper of Him who for our sake humbled Himself to the death of the Cross; pride is the spirit of rebellion which of old, seeking to exalt itself against the God of love, plunged headlong into hell. Charity knows something of angelic blessedness; pride shares the misery of Satan.

(J. Cross, D.D.)

As, on the one hand, it prevents us from envying others what they possess, so, on the other, it keeps us from glorying in what we possess ourselves.

I. WHAT HUMILITY IS.

1. A sense of our own comparative meanness.(1) As regards God (Genesis 18:27).(2) As regards our fellow-creatures. Man is very mean as compared with multitudes of a superior rank in the universe, and most men are mean in comparison with many of their fellow men. He that has a right sense and estimate of himself in comparison with God, will be likely to have his eyes open to see himself aright in all respects. All this would apply to men considered as unfallen beings. But humility in fallen men implies a sense of a tenfold meanness.(a) Man's natural meanness consists in his being infinitely below God in natural perfection, and in God's being infinitely above him in greatness, power, wisdom, majesty, etc.(b) The truly humble man, since the fall, is also sensible of his moral meanness and vileness (Isaiah 6:5; Job 42:5, 6; Psalm 51:17; Isaiah 57:15; Matthew 5:3).

2. A disposition to a corresponding behaviour and conduct. Without this there is no true humility. The devils and damned spirits see much of their comparative littleness before God in some respects. Note —(1) Some things in our behaviour toward God to which humility will dispose us.

(a)To acknowledge our meanness or littleness before God.

(b)To be distrustful of ourselves and to depend only on God.

(c)To renounce all the glory of the good we have or do, and to give it all to God (Psalm 115:1).

(d)Wholly to subject ourselves to God.(2) It disposes to a behaviour toward men answerable to our comparative meanness. It tends —

(a)To prevent an aspiring and ambitious behaviour amongst men (Jeremiah 45:5; Romans 12:16).

(b)An ostentatious behaviour (Matthew 23:5).

(c)An arrogant and assuming behaviour (Philippians 2:3; Ephesians 3:8).

(d)A scornful behaviour (Romans 12:16).

(e)A wilful and stubborn behaviour (Romans 12:19; 1 Corinthians 6:7; Matthew 5:40, 41).

(f)A levelling behaviour (Romans 13:7; Titus 3:1).

(g)A self-justifying behaviour (James 5:16; Psalm 141:5).

II. THE SPIRIT OF CHARITY IS AN HUMBLE SPIRIT.

1. It implies and tends to humility.(1) It implies humility. And this appears plain from two considerations: because a sense of the loveliness of God is peculiarly that discovery of God that works humility; and because, when God is truly loved, He is loved as an infinite superior.(2) It also tends to humility.(a) Love inclines the heart to that spirit and behaviour that are becoming the distance from the beloved. The devils know their distance from God, but they are not reconciled to it. And so love to man, arising from love to God, disposes to an humble behaviour toward them, inclining us to give them all the honour and respect that are their due.(b) Love to God tends to an abhorrence of sin against God, and so to our being humbled before Him for it.

2. It tends to draw forth such exercises of love as do especially imply and tend to it. The gospel leads us —(1) To love God as an infinitely condescending God(2) To love Christ as an humble person (Philippians 2:6-8; Matthew 10:24, 25; Matthew 20:25-28; John 13:13-16).(3) To love Christ as a crucified Saviour.(4) To humble exercises of love, because it leads us to love Christ as one that was crucified for our sakes.Conclusion:

1. Note the excellency of a Christian spirit (Proverbs 12:26; 1 Peter 3:4).

2. Examine yourselves, and see if you are indeed of an humble spirit (Habakkuk 2:4; James 4:6).

3. Let strangers to the grace of God seek that grace, that they may thus attain to this spirit of humility (Proverbs 16:5; Proverbs 6:16; Proverbs 29:23; 2 Samuel 22:28; Isaiah 23:9).

4. Let all be exhorted earnestly to seek much of an humble spirit, and to endeavour to be humble in all their behaviour toward God and men.

(Jon. Edwards.)

Charity endeavours to conceal its good works as the sea conceals its pearls and the earth its gold. It is not the ambitious sunflower that lifts its gaudy head on high, and expands its inodorous petals to the broad light of the noon; but the unobtrusive violet that hides its delicate beauty in the bank of a shady brook, and from its green seclusion perfumes the dewy twilight. Intent only on doing good, it cares nothing for the applause of the world, and seeks to build no temple to its own fame. Aming only at blessing others, it is comparatively a small matter whether it win another's blessing or incur another's curse. It sends no herald to announce its advent, blows no trumpet to proclaim its purpose, unfurls no banner to catch the eye of the world, saith to no son of Rechab, "Come with me and see my zeal for the Lord"; but, like its Divine example, goes about doing good, without causing its voice to be heard in the street, or letting the left hand know what the right hand doeth; and like those holy and blessed creatures who minister to the heirs of salvation and shed a thousand blessings from wings unseen, it conceals its beneficent agency even from its beneficiaries. King Hezekiah lost his royal treasures by an ostentatious display of them to the Assyrian embassy; and tells us that virtues, like precious stones, must be concealed to be kept; for if we display them publicly, we lose them, and vain-glory is the one thief that has robbed many of their treasure laid up in heaven. But this celestial visitant in the abodes of men carries her jewels in a safe casket — hides them in her own heart, while she herself lies hidden in the secret place of the Most High, and abides secure under the shadow of the Almighty.

(J. Cross, D.D.)

The Siamese Twins seem to have been two perfect human beings, each possessing all the functions of life complete, though so bound together that the sundering of the ligament would probably have been fatal to both.

I. Thus PRIDE AND VANITY ARE TWO VICES SO CLOSELY RELATED that they are seldom found apart, YET SO DISTINCT that we ordinarily have no difficulty in their identification and discrimination. Like two plants springing from the same root, they are both the products of selfishness, alike partaking of its qualities, but differing in form and aspect. Pride is an undue estimate of self; vanity is an inordinate desire of the esteem of others. The former makes a man odious; the latter renders him ridiculous.

II. CHARITY IS EQUALLY OPPOSED TO BOTH. Humble, it is opposed to pride; modest, it is opposed to vanity. Humility and modesty, though as intimately related to each other, are as perfectly distinct as pride and vanity. Humility is opposed to pride, modesty is opposed to vanity. The former is the inward feeling of lowliness, the latter is its outward expression. The one makes a man sensible that he merits but little, the other renders him moderate in his demands and expectations. Both, therefore, are essential attributes of charity. Notwithstanding their distinction, it is difficult to separate them; for they run into each other, like the blending of two shades in painting, or two tones in music.

(J. Cross, D.D.)

Charity does not boast of its connections, and talk of the dignity of its family, the lustre of its ancestors, the fortune and rank of its relations, and its intercourse with the great; as little does it magnify itself on account of its external possessions, and set forth in lofty terms its own riches, its credit and interest among men, its power and authority over others. Neither does it vaunt of its personal accomplishments and exalt itself above those whom it seems to excel in point of learning and knowledge, of wit and courage, of dexterity and address, or of beauty and strength. It does not even boast of its own good deeds, and take undue praise to itself from the things it has done and the actions it has performed. In every case charity forbids us to seek our own gratification in the diminution of that of our neighbour whom we should love as ourselves. It modestly declines to talk concerning itself, and avoids every subject in conversation which tends to elevate its own merit, and to place that of another in an inferior point of view.

(A. Donnan.)

Doth not behave itself unseemly
I. THE CONDUCT IT AVOIDS.

1. Ill mannered.

2. Reproachful.

3. Unbecoming age, station, and place.

II. THE CONDUCT IT OBSERVES.

1. It honours all men.

2. Seeks to please all.

3. Specially regarding the civilities of life; treating superiors with respect and inferiors with consideration.

(J. Lyth, D.D.)

is acting contrary to a scheme to form which is becoming, or due, or right. It is, in fact, to be deformed; for there is a deformity of mind as well as a deformity of body: and just as deformity may affect various members of the body, so also may it affect various qualities of the mind or soul. Hence we get an enormous range for this word unseemliness. Beauty is the very-type or attribute of God's creation. All things, as they originally left the Creator's hand, were beautiful, being "very good." All things were "seemly" and "comely." Sin alone marred their fair proportion, and their seemliness and comeliness. Sin alone introduced deformity and undue proportion. Man was created "seemly" in the image of God. The impress of God's love was upon the soul of man. God is love — charity. So love is not, and cannot, and doth not, behave itself "unseemly," unlike the image upon which it was formed or fashioned.

(J. B. Wilkinson, M.A.)

What dignity and yet what condescension! what perfect self-possession and yet what abandonment of self! what purity, what modesty, what retiredness! what humility in the King of heaven, without any loss of dignity, making fishermen His companions and intimate friends! He eats with the Pharisee, and yet is a guest of publicans and sinners! He is left alone with the woman taken in adultery and pardons her. He welcomes the Magdalen and forgives her. He converses with the woman of Samaria, to the astonishment of His disciples. He despises none. He hides not His face from shame and spitting. He gives His back to the smiters in the flagellation or scourging. He dies the shameful death of the Cross! and in all that unseemliness Divine charity is most seemly, most dignified, most attractive, most loving, most charitable. Yes, in His person, the person of very charity herself.

(J. B. Wilkinson, M.A.)

Accurate fitting of the parts of a machine is not all that is needed. Oil is required. Our life functions bring us together. Something is needed to make all work smoothly. Good manners, courtesy, pleasant behaviour is this oil which is needed. Some say: What have we to do with good manners between master and workmen? Every creaking bearing in the social machine means loss of power. All heating and friction must be avoided. "Fair words butter no parsnips," is an old adage. But they do much in a shop where the assistants are attentive and obliging. Customers will he more likely to come. So in all things. The faculty of mastership is largely behaviour. The man on a committee who is courteous is worth two who are not. Courteous manners and fair words, if they do not put money in the pocket, sweeten life and make it more endurable.

(Brooke Herford.)

Of unseemliness there are many varieties, alike the fruit of selfishness, and equally alien to charity, which is the most effectual conservator of good manners. There is —

I. A FORWARD AND OFFICIOUS BEHAVIOUR. But charity is never meddlesome. It is pride and vanity that makes men "busybodies in other men's matters."

II. AN UNCIVIL AND DISRESPECTFUL BEHAVIOUR. Who has not met with those who affect what they call honest bluntness, who feel above all conventional forms, and care not how many they disgust by their brusquery? Charity, however, considers the tastes and customs of society, and restrains from all that is offensive to the best culture? Christian love produces the most genuine politeness, and the best Christian is the most perfect gentleman or lady.

III. AN INVIDIOUS EMULATION AND AMBITION. But charity, content with her own position, caring little for the honours of the world, practically heeds the words of her Divine Master — "Whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister," etc.

IV. A NOISY AND BLUSTERING OSTENTATION. Nothing is farther from charity than display. If gifted, she exhibits no anxiety to impress the world with the superiority of her endowment. If she achieves anything for the improvement of humanity, she is influenced by no desire to be applauded of men. If she has cast her spiritual sounding-line into the deep things of God, she still owns with him who was not a whit behind the very chiefest of the apostles, "I am less than the least of all saints."

V. AN ARROGANT AND SUPERCILIOUS DEPORTMENT. But charity, minding not high things, condescends to men of low estate. The disciple of the lowly Man of Nazareth, without desiring to destroy the just distinctions of social life, conceals his rank so far as duty will permit, and unites his advantages with such affability and gentleness as shall render them attractive to all.

VI. AN OBSTINATE AND IMPERIOUS WILL. Some people are always setting up their own judgment as the standard, and their own decision as the law. On the contrary, he who is under the influence of charity yields gracefully to the opinions and preferences of his brethren, except where such compliance involves some dereliction of truth and duty.

VII. AN UNSEEMLY SELF-CONFIDENCE AND SELF-RELIANCE. Charity looks to a higher wisdom for guidance and a higher power for strength; and feels itself, in the presence of God, as less than nothing and vanity.

VIII. AN UNSEEMLY HASTE AND IMPETUOSITY OF SPIRIT, which it is the tendency of charity to moderate, and one of its chief offices to control. How often, from this very infirmity, did St. Peter subject himself to mortifying rebuke and bitter sorrow!

IX. AN UNSEEMLY INCONSISTENCY AND INCONGRUITY OF DEPORTMENT, a want of harmony between the manners and the profession of the Christian. Charity in the heart is the temper of Christ. Charity in the action is the imitation of Christ. Charity in the character is Christ's unmistakable image. Now what ought that man to be who professes to furnish to the world a miniature likeness of the Incarnate Perfection? Verily, he should be harmless and blameless, holy in all manner of conversation.

(J. Cross, D.D.)

It inspires a disposition to please, and leads to that propriety of conduct which is so beautiful in itself and so acceptable to mankind. It is always unwilling to give offence, and leads us studiously to avoid, both in conduct and speech, whatever may seem unbecoming in ourselves and offensive to others. It introduces civility into conversation, and guards against that harshness and indelicacy of expression which are inconsistent with good manners, and hurt the feelings of mankind. It restrains a petulant disposition of mind, and permits not men to take freedoms which are impertinent and disrespectful to those around them. It checks that spirit of arrogance and ambition which breaks in upon the peace of society and the happiness of mankind. Charity does not arrogate to itself more honour and respect than is justly due to its rank, and necessary to the order of society. It avoids giving offence by standing on little points of honour, and insisting on precedency from a conceit of superior station or distinguished ability, nor does it thrust itself into offices above its ability and beyond its sphere, to the subversion of order and the hurt of society. In every situation and under all circumstances of life, charity guards against improper behaviour, and allows not men to act in a manner unbecoming the station they hold, the abilities they possess, or the period of life they are in.

(A. Donnan.)

Seeketh not her own
I. LOVE IS UNSELFISH.

1. Seeketh not her own honour, pleasure, advantage.

2. Inordinately, injuriously, mainly.

II. IS, ON THE CONTRARY, SELF-SACRIFICING.

1. In its endeavours to benefit others.

2. Which is the very essence of love, as exemplified by Christ.

(J. Lyth, D.D.)

S.
Paul showeth the temper of mind, on account of which "Charity doth not behave herself unseemly." She "seeketh not her own," for the beloved she esteems to be all: and to benefit her beloved she doth not so much as count the thing unseemliness. This is friendship, that the lover and the beloved should no longer be two persons divided, but, in a manner, one single person, a thing which nohow takes place except from love. Seek not, therefore, thine own, that thou mayest find thine own: for he that seeks his own, finds not his own. Wherefore also the same St. Paul says, "Let no man seek his own, but every man another's wealth."

(S. Chrysostom.)

Like seeks like. Charity seeks charity, or God, who is Love. It cares little or nothing for aught else. It knows that all the rest will come in time. It remembers how it is written, "Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you." How deadly opposed this true charity is to that cruel, cold, worldly maxim, that "Charity begins at home." Ah! yes, it forgets that Charity was once homeless, and had not where to lay His head, in order to procure for us an eternal home in the heavenly Fathers mansions.

(J. B. Wilkinson, M.A.)

The life of Divine charity, which is the life of Jesus Christ, was a life summed up in one word as a, life of search, a seeking for souls. So ever He sought them, by day and by night, in the crowded streets of the city and in the desert places, on the mountain-side and on the sea-shore, in the house of the Pharisee, as equally as in that of the publican; amongst Gentile kings as amongst Jewish peasants, amongst the rich as amongst the poor, amongst the learned doctors as amongst the ignorant common people, in Bethlehem as at Calvary, in the cradle as on the Cross, at the beginning of His earthly life as at the end of it, at the beginning of His passion as at the end of it, from the nailing on the bitter tree to the last sigh, or the loud cry of His departing spirit. He seeks not His own, He sought no relief for Himself, He prays for His enemies, He prays for His mother, He prays for the beloved disciple, He prays for the thief on the cross; for in seeking them He, by that very fact, interceded for them. And even when He prays for Himself, it is such a prayer as can only be understood by including all. He is forsaken, derelict, left, as it were, the hull of that which had once been a gallant ship, left at the mercy of the waves, and all only that we should not be forsaken. When He thirsts, He thirsts only to be thirsted for. In commending His Spirit to the eternal Father, He commends our spirits and souls to the keeping of that Father's love. He descends to the lower parts of the earth to proclaim, not His own victory, or He only proclaims it that the good news of the redemption should be proclaimed to the spirits in prison. He rises, as a pledge of our resurrection. He ascends, that we may now in heart and mind ascend, and when the time comes, also our body ascend with Him, be glorified with Him, and with Him continually dwell.

(J. B. Wilkinson, M.A.)

Who are the best loved people in the community? I answer unhesitatingly they are the unselfish. They are those who have drunk deepest of the spirit of Christ. They are those who have the most effectually cut that cursed cancer of self out of their hearts, and filled its place with that love that "seeketh not its own." This beautiful grace sometimes blooms out in most unexpected places. It was illustrated by the poor lad in the coal-mine when a fatal accident occurred, and a man came down to relieve the sufferers, and the brave boy said to him, "Don't mind me; Joe Brown is a little lower down, and he's a'most gone, save him first! There are enough "Joe Browns" who are lower down in poverty, and ignorance, in weakness and in want than we are, and Christianity's first duty is to save them. It was to save sinners that Jesus died on Calvary. He who stoops the lowest to rescue lost souls will have the highest place in heaven. Will it not be these unselfish spirits who will have John's place up there on the Saviour's bosom and will be "the disciples whom Jesus loves"?

(T. L. Cuyler.)

Here is a little story which tells better than a dictionary can the meaning of the word "disinterestedness." The late Archdeacon Hare was once, when tutor of Trinity College, Cambridge, giving a lecture, when a cry of "fire" was raised. Away, rushed his pupils, and forming themselves into a line between the building, which was close at hand, and the river, passed buckets from one to another. The tutor, quickly following, found them thus engaged. At the end of the line one youth was standing up to his waist in the river. He was delicate and looked consumptive. "What," cried Mr. Hare; "you in the water, Sterling; you so liable to take cold!" "Somebody must be in it," the youth answered; "why not I as well as another?" The spirit of this answer is that of all great and generous doing. Cowardice and coldness, too, say: "Oh, somebody will do it," and the speaker sits still. He is not the one to do what needs doing. But nobility of character, looking at necessary things, says: "Somebody must do it; why not I!" And the deed is done.

James Freeman Clarke describes in his fragment of autobiography a journey from Massachusetts to Kentucky in the days before the railroad. He noticed, he says, that the tone of a stage coach party often depended upon the temper of a single individual. A cross, ill-natured, complaining fellow would make all the other passengers cross, ill-natured, and complaining. "Once," he says, "when going through the Cattaraugus woods, where the road was mostly deep mire and there was every temptation to be cross or uncomfortable, one man so enlivened and entertained our party, and was so accommodating and good-natured that we seemed "to be having a pleasant picnic, and the other inmates of the coach took the same tone. I, therefore, found it best for my own sake, as soon as we took our places in the coach for a long journey, to manifest an interest in my fellow. passengers, and their comforts; offering, for example, to change places with them if they preferred my seat to their own, and paying them such little attentions as are always agreeable. It happened almost always that the other passengers would follow this lead, and take pains to be civil and accommodating."

I. THE NATURE OF THAT SELFISHNESS OF WHICH CHARITY IS THE OPPOSITE. Observe —

1. That charity is not contrary to all self-love. If Christianity tended to destroy a man's love to himself and his own happiness, it would tend to destroy the very spirit of humanity. The saints and the angels love their own happiness; otherwise they would not be happy; far what one does not love he cannot enjoy. Nor is it unlawful, for God's law makes self-love a rule by which our love to others should be regulated (Matthew 19:19). And the same appears also from the fact that the Scriptures are full of motives which work on self-love.

2. That the selfishness which charity is contrary to, is only an inordinate self-love. This consists —(1) In its being too great comparatively; either by love to God and to man being too small, as it is in many Christians, or by its being none at all, as is the case with the unregenerate. In some respects, of course, wicked men do not love themselves enough; for they do not love the way of their own happiness; and in this sense it is said of them that they hate themselves, though, in another sense, they love self too much.(2) In placing that happiness in things that are confined to himself. And when it is said that charity seeketh not her own, we are to understand it of her own private good — good limited to herself (Philippians 2:21; 2 Timothy 3:2).

II. HOW CHARITY IS CONTRARY TO SUCH A SPIRIT.

1. It leads those who possess it to seek not only their own things, but the things of others.(1) It seeks to please and glorify God (Ephesians 6:6; 1 Corinthians 10:31).(2) It seeks the good of our fellow-creatures (Philippians 2:4; 1 Corinthians 10:24, 33; Romans 14:2) for —

(a)It is a sympathising and merciful spirit (Colossians 3:12; James 3:17; Psalm 37:26). It is —

(b)A liberal spirit (Hebrews 13:16; Galatians 6:10).

(c)It disposes a person to be public-spirited. A man of a right spirit is not a man of narrow and private views, but is greatly interested and concerned for the good of the place in which he resides, and the society of which he is a member (Jeremiah 29:7; Luke 7:5; Esther 4:16; Romans 9:1-3). Especially will the spirit of Christian love dispose those that stand in a public capacity, such as that of ministers, and magistrates, and all public officers, to seek the public good.

2. It disposes us, in many cases, to forego and part with our own things, for the sake of others (Acts 21:13; 1 John 3:16).

III. SOME OF THE EVIDENCE SUSTAINING THE DOCTRINE. This appears from —

1. The nature of love in general. It is of a diffusive nature, and espouses the interests of others.

2. The peculiar nature of Christian or Divine love. Though all real love seeks the good of those who are beloved, yet all other love, excepting this, has its foundation, in one sense, in the selfish principle. So it is with the natural affection which parents feel for their children, and with the love which friends have one to another. But as self-love is the offspring of natural principles, so Divine love is the offspring of supernatural principles, for it embraces enemies as well as friends.

3. The nature of this love to God and to man in particular.(1) From the nature of this love to God. The Scriptures teach that those who truly love God, love Him so as wholly to devote themselves to Him and His service (Mark 12:30).(2) From the nature of this love to man.(a) We are required to love our neighbour as ourselves (Leviticus 19:18; Matthew 22:39).(b) We are to love others as Christ hath loved us (John 13:34). In John 15:12 Christ calls it His commandment.

(i)Christ has set His love on His enemies (Romans 5:8, 10).

(ii)Such was Christ's love to us, that He was pleased, in some respects, to look on us as Himself (Matthew 25:40).

(iii)Such was the love of Christ to us, that He spent Himself for our sakes.

(iv)Christ thus loved us, without any expectation of ever being requited by us for His love.Conclusion: Let me dissuade all from a selfish spirit and practice, and exhort all to seek that which shall be contrary to it. In addition to the motives already presented, consider —

1. That you are not your own (1 Corinthians 6:19, 20; 1 Peter 1:19).

2. That by your very profession as a Christian, you are united to Christ and to your fellow-Christians (Romans 12:5; 1 Corinthians 12:13).

3. That, in seeking the glory of God and the good of your fellow-creatures, you take the surest way to have God seek your interests and promote your welfare.

(Jon. Edwards.)

I. LOVE SEEKETH NOT HER OWN.

1. To the injury of others.

2. Regardless of the welfare of others. We are to love our neighbour as ourselves, even blessing those who curse us.

3. Self-sacrifice is involved. A mother shows it, for her children's sake. Paul for his kinsmen. Christ, for our sakes, became poor.

4. In efforts for the good of others. Love seeketh not her own, as the great end of life and action. This is not the central mainspring — self-worship or the credit which may be gained of men.

II. WHAT DOES LOVE SEEK?

1. The glory of God. This is a privilege, a gratification, and not a dreaded task.

2. The welfare of others Charity begins, but does not end, at home.

3. The welfare of Christ's cause.

III. WHAT DOES LOVE GAIN?

1. Her own true honour. Christ, who "emptied Himself," receives now the adoration of earth and heaven. The unselfish shall hear at last, "Come, ye blessed."

2. Her own highest blessedness. It is more blessed to give than to receive.

3. Her highest usefulness. Unselfish love is the mightiest of moral forces. Example is powerful, but behind that is the subtle power of character. This is the highest power of the preacher. The same mind which is in Jesus should be in us.

(W. W. Woodworth.)

Love seeks the happiness of its object, and not mere self-interest. I do not say that all religion is employed about the interest of others. Love for character is a love for that which regards our own interest as well as that of others. Some of the exercises of religion transact with God directly about our own interest, and contemplate God as standing related to our own interest, and consist in those feelings of gratitude, trust, hope, and dependence which have immediate reference to our own interest. I will endeavour to set before you some of the leading attributes of true religion. Its vital principle consists in that love which "seeketh not her own." Although it has more to do with personal concerns than with the concerns of any other individual, yet so far as the interest of others comes into view, it does, when perfect, love a neighbour as one's self. It respects all beings that are clearly seen, according to their moral excellence. Of course it delights in the character of God more than in that of all created beings, and it regards his happiness more than theirs. Here, then, you have the picture of a real Christian. His care is more for the honour of God and the interest of His kingdom than for his own happiness. He really loves God better than himself. What a noble and lovely temper is this! How vast the difference between such a man and the sordid wretch who cares not what becomes of God or His kingdom provided he is safe! This will let you into a view of the character of God. Such love fills his heart. His whole heart is fixed on the public good. His own happiness consists in promoting that and in enjoying that. His benevolence therefore hates sin and takes the form of holiness. It was benevolence which founded a moral government, to secure the holy order and happiness of the creation. From this view of the character of God we may discover the different motives which excite the Christian and the hypocrite to love him. The Christian loves him because he is love, and has set his heart on the happiness of the universe. He delights in God's wisdom and power because it is their nature to contrive and execute glorious purposes for the general happiness. But the selfish man loves God only as a personal friend — because he has done him good, and as he hopes, intends to save him. He loves to meditate on God's milder attributes, because he regards them as pledges of his salvation. And now he is full of joy and praise and love, and is melted into tears by a sense of God's mercies to him, and is willing to do many things for his heavenly Friend. But his love is worthless because it is selfish. We may also see from what different motives the Christian and the hypocrite rejoice that God reigns. The Christian rejoices that all things are under the Divine direction, because in this he sees a security that all things will be conducted for the glory of God and the good of His kingdom. The hypocrite rejoices that God reigns, because if his friend has the management of affairs, he trusts it will fare well with him. The view we have taken of the nature of charity will help us to discover the excellent nature of the Divine law. Look again at that amiable man who loves the interest of God's kingdom better than his own, who pities and relieves the hungry and the naked; whose heart is under this dominion of justice and universal benevolence. Well, this is the model which the law of God has formed. Were the law universally obeyed, it would fill the world with just such characters. It enjoins nothing but love and its fruits. And what does it forbid? Here is a selfish wretch who would burn a house and send a whole family to perdition for the sake of robbing it of a few shillings. Here is another who would demolish the throne of God and bury the universe under its ruins, for the sake of being independent. What a satanical temper is this! Well, this, and nothing but such as this, the Divine law forbids. How clear it is that this law is the friend of the universe! Here again the true character of God comes out to view. This spirit must be in Him or it could not flow forth in His law. We now see how certain it is that a good man will love the Divine law. He has the very temper of the law in his heart, and he sees that the happiness of the universe rests on the principles which the law contains. We may now see from what different motives the Christian and the hypocrite oppose sin. The good man abhors sin as being a transgression of the Divine law, an enemy of God and His kingdom; but the selfish man, having connected together the ideas of sin and misery, resists sin merely as an enemy to himself. We are now prepared to discover how charity will regard the atonement and mediation of Christ. Had it proclaimed that the penalty should never be exeuted, it would have ruined the law, and the Sufferer might better have remained in heaven. But it pronounced exactly the opposite truth. The obedience of Christ likewise honoured the law. Let us now examine the general grounds on which a benevolent man will approve of this way of salvation. He wishes well to the universe, and is prepared to approve of any measure which is conducive to the public happiness. These are some of the ways in which that charity which "seeketh not her own" will act towards God, His government, His law, and towards sin and the gospel. I pray you to bring your religion to this test. If it does not agree with this, cast it from you as a viper that will sting you to death.

(E. D. Griffin, D.D.)

I. WHAT IS THAT SPIRIT TO WHICH CHRISTIAN LOVE IS THE OPPOSITE OF A WRATHFUL DISPOSITION? It is not all anger that Christianity is opposite to (Ephesians 4:26). Anger may be undue and unsuitable in respect to —

1. Its nature, i.e., when it contains ill-will, or a desire of revenge. We are required by Christ to pray for the prosperity even of our enemies (Matthew 5:44; Romans 12:14). And so revenge is forbidden (Leviticus 19:18; Romans 12:19; Ephesians 4:31; Colossians 3:8).

2. Its occasion, i.e., when it is without any just cause (Matthew 5:22). And this may be the case —(1) When there is no fault in its object. Many are of such a proud and peevish disposition, that they will be angry at anything that is troublesome, whether anybody be to blame for it or not. And it is a common thing for persons to be angry with others for their doing well, and that which is only their duty.(2) When persons are angry upon small and trivial occasions. Some are of such a fretful spirit, that they are put out of humour by every little thing in the family, society, or business, that are no greater faults than they themselves are guilty of every day.(3) When our spirits are stirred at the faults of others chiefly as they affect ourselves, and not as they are against God. We should never be angry but at sin.

3. Its end. When we are angry —(1) Without considerately proposing any end to be gained by it.(2) For any wrong end.

4. Its measure. When it is immoderate —(1) In degree. Sometimes men's passions rise so high that they act as if beside themselves.(2) In its continuance (Ecclesiastes 7:9; Ephesians 4:26). If a person allows himself long to hold anger towards another, he will quickly come to hate him.

II. HOW CHARITY IS CONTRARY TO IT.

1. It is directly, and in itself, contrary to all undue anger, for its nature is good-will.

2. All its fruits, as mentioned in the context, are contrary to it. It is contrary to —(1) Pride, which is one chief cause of undue anger.(2) To selfishness. Love, or charity, is contrary to anger. It is because men seek their own that they are malicious and revengeful.Conclusion: Consider how undue anger —

1. Destroys the comfort of him that indulges it.

2. Unfits persons for the duties of religion (Matthew 5:24).

3. The angry men are spoken of in the Bible as unfit for human society (Proverbs 22:24, 25; Proverbs 29:22).

(Jon. Edwards.)

Is not easily provoked
I. THE SELF-COMMAND OF LOVE. Under passion it is —

1. Cool, not passionate.

2. Calm, not stolid.

3. Patient, not peevish.

4. Serious, not sarcastic.

5. Forgiving, not resentful.

II. THE SECRET OF ITS POWER — humility, enlightenment, pity for the offender, steadfast reliance on God.

(J. Lyth, D.D.)

After an intimate acquaintance with Archbishop Leighton for many years, and having been with him by night and by day, at home and abroad, in public and private, I must say I never saw him in any temper in which I myself would not wish to be found at death.

(Bp. Burnet.)

St. Remigius, Archbishop of Rheims, foreseeing that a year of famine was approaching, stored up a quantity of grain for the poor of his flock. Some drunkards set fire to his granaries, and the Saint hearing of it, mounted his horse and rode to the spot to save the corn. Finding, however, that the fire had gained too great power, he quietly dismounted, and approaching the fire, stretched out his hands as if to warm himself, observing: "To an old man a fireplace is always acceptable."

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