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taught this lesson after he had lent his friendly aid to idolatrous Ahab. "And Jehu the son of Hanani the seer went out to meet him, and said to king Jehoshaphat, Shouldest thou help the ungodly, and love them that hate the Lord? Therefore is wrath upon thee from before the Lord," 2 Chron. xix. 2. Samuel was rebuked for this also, even by God himself. "And the Lord said unto Samuel, How long wilt thou mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel?” 1 Sam. xvi. 1. Natural affections will love a fellow creature, and lead us to pity and exercise compassion towards him; for God loveth the stranger in giving him food and raiment, Deut. x. 18; and we are commanded to love our enemies, Matt. v. 44; and to feed them also. "If thine enemy
be hungry, give him bread to eat; and, if he be thirsty, give him water to drink." Remember, reader, these are called our enemies; but Ahab hated God. I do not find that Ahab was an enemy to Jehoshaphat, or that he ever opposed him. Ahab was God's avowed enemy, being a lover of idols, and an encourager of idolatry. The charge brought against the king of Judah is that he helped the ungodly, and loved them who hated the Lord. Jehoshaphat fell into this snare again; "And after this did Jehoshaphat king of Judah join himself with Ahaziah king of Israel, who did very wickedly, to make ships to go to Tarshish: and they made the ships in Ezion-gaber. Then Eliezer, the son of Dodavah of Mareshash, prophesied
against Jehoshaphat, saying, Because thou hast joined thyself with Ahaziah, the Lord hath broken thy works. And the ships were broken, that they were not able to go to Tarshish." No doubt but the king of Israel shewed great love to Jehoshaphat, in order to ensnare him. Every staunch ally of Satan, who travails with mischief, aims at affecting the passions, but they never affect well, Gal. iv. 17; for, "The tender mercies of the wicked are cruel." And this is true in every branch of their tender mercies. Every false prophet and idolator, that endeavours to infect others, does all that he can to destroy their souls. And he that gives much alms to be seen of men is cruel to his own soul, for he reaps the damnation peculiar to hypocrites. If his friend be sick and afflicted, if his mind and conscience be alarmed, he does all he can to divert, quiet, and harden him, which is cruel. If he loves his friend, it is because he is wicked, like himself; "Sinners love sinners." And so in every other branch of their tender mercy there is cruelty.
There are none so merciful as those who have obtained mercy, for such will be faithful both to God and man, 1 Cor. vii. 25. Nor can any but such do good to those who hate them, or pray for them which despitefully use and persecute them, Matt. v. 44; for what good can wicked men do? Nor can such pray; no, not even for themselves, much less for others. Divine charity has a wonderful influence, even upon natural affections; and
this the believer may find if he observes, especially when Satan comes to him transformed into an angel of light, in order to stir up the bowels of fleshly love, and turn him into an Arminian. He will make his bowels yearn over sinners, beasts, and devils; but fill him with enmity against the sovereignty of God, his decree of election, and against the objects of God's choice. Christ prayed not for the world, but for them which God gave him out of the world; and Christ knew who these men were; but we do not, therefore we are commanded to pray for them that persecute us, not knowing but there may be some like a persecuting Saul among them. And many of the saints' prayers have been heard in behalf of persons that never will be saved; as when prayers have been put up for people sick, afflicted, or in poverty; God has raised them up, delivered and relieved them. The whole ship's crew that sailed with Paul reaped the benefit of his prayers, and so did many sick in the isle of Malta.
None talk about charity more than hypocrites: but none love God and his saints except those whom God loves first. "We love him because he first loved us." None love God but those who are prevalent with him in prayer. "I love the Lord, because he hath heard my voice and my supplications." And they love most who have "This woman's sins, which are
many, are forgiven; for she loved much," Luke vii. 47.
Divine charity is among the regenerate, and no other; and is in the highest sense exercised towards each other, but not towards them who make it manifest that they hate God. The command of the law is exceeding broad; but this is not so, as will appear from the following passages.
Charity edifieth: it raises the edifice of mercy; and, when this charity comes to build up Zion, then God appears in his glory. Charity is the cement of Zion.
Charity is the bond of perfectness. It is the bond of the covenant, in which all the elect are bound up: it runs through the whole family, and unites them all to the loving Head; and, when love is perfected, the soul is ripe and in full staThis is Christ's yoke, which he says is
"Follow after righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart." Here we are exhorted to follow after charity; but it is with them who call upon God out of a pure heart, not with unbelievers and hypocrites, whose mind and conscience are both defiled.
Again. "And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves; for charity shall cover the multitude of sins. Use hospitality one to another without grudging. As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God," 1 Pet. iv. 8-10. This charity is
to be exercised among the saints, in hiding the faults of the brethren, and in ministering the grace of life to their establishment, comfort, and growth. Those who minister, and those who receive, are called stewards of grace; they minister grace one to another.
Again. "We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all towards each other aboundeth," 2 Thess. i. 3. Here the account is that the charity of all these saints abounded towards each other. The wicked of this world are not the objects of it, much less impostors, apostates, and hypocrites. "He that loveth his brother abideth in the light." But what fellowship hath light with darkness? He that loveth hath fulfilled the law, and is righteous. But what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness, or divine charity with open enmity? Just as much as Christ hath with Belial. Faith and charity, or faith that worketh by love, is Christ's law; and he that loveth in deed and in truth bears another's burdens, and so fulfils the law of Christ, Gal. vi. 2.
The commandment which ordered this law to be published came forth from God the Father to Christ. "The Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak. And I know that his commandment is life everlasting."
And this holy commandment was given by