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and experience, that largeness in charity is the best and safest way of thriving in this world.

4. Where the objects of this exercise, of love are multiplied, weariness is apt to befall us, and insensibly to take us off from the whole. The wisdom and providence of God multiply objects of love and charity, to excite us to more acts of duty; and the corruption of our hearts, with self-love, useth the consideration of them, to make us weary of all. Men would be glad to see an end of their trouble, and of the charges of their love, when that only is true which has no end. Hence our apostle in the next verse expresseth his desire that these Hebrews should not faint in their work, but "shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope to the end." See Gal. vi, 9. And if we faint in spiritual duties because of the increase of their occasions, it is a sign, that what we have done already, did not spring from the proper root of faith and love. What is done in the strength and nature of conviction, however vigorous it may be for a season, will, in process of time, decay and fail; and this is the reason why many are exhausted in the course of their profession. Only the Spirit of God is living water that never fails. The way of the Lord is strength to the upright, Prov. x, 29. Where we are upright in the way of God, the very way itself will supply us with new strength continually; and we shall go from strength to strength; Psal. lxxxiv, 7. From one strengthening duty to another, and not be weary. But to this end, no small degree of diligence and labor is also required.

From these and the like considerations it is, that the apostle here mentioneth the industrious "labor of love" that was in the Hebrews, as an evidence of their saving faith and sincerity. The next thing expressed in these words is, the evidence they gave of this labor of love, and the means whereby the apostle came to know

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it; (evedeace) ye have shereed, or manifested; the same word that James useth in the like case, (detov poi, chap. ii, 18.) "Shew me thy faith by thy works;" declare it, make it manifest. To shew the labor of love, is to labor in the duties of it, as that it shall be evident. Yet this self-evidencing power of the works of love is a peculiar property of those that are some way eminent. When we abound in them, and when the duties of them are above the ordinary rate, then are we said to shew them, that is, they become conspicuous and eminent. To that purpose is the command of our Savior, Matt. v, 16, "Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." Not only let it shine, but let it so shine, which respects the measure and degree of our obedience; and herein are we required so to abound that our works may be evident to all. Nothing is to be done by us that it may be seen; but what may be seen is to be done, that God may be glorified. Wherefore these Hebrews shewed the work of faith, and the labor of love, by a diligent attendance to, and an abundant performance of the one and the other.

The end or reason of their performance, which gives them spirit and life, rendering them truly Christian and acceptable to God, is added, (es To ovoμa avis) towards his name. And we may observe, that the phrase is peculiarly annexed to the "labor of love;" the labor of love towards his name. And the saints were the immediate object of that love; as follows, "In that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister." Wherefore, it is a love to the saints, on account of the name of God, that is intended. And this love to the "saints," is "towards the name of God," because their relation to God is the reason why they labored in love towards them. The whole, therefore, of this duty rightly performed, begins and ends with the name of God.

It is not improbable but that there might be some in the church, who, escaping the common calamities of the most, were able to contribute bountifully to the necessity of others, and their discharge of duty is reckoned to the whole church. And those who are furnished with the like ability in any church, would do well to consider, that the honor and reputation of the whole church, in the sight of God and man, depends much on their diligence and bounty in this respect. Hence that direction to Timothy: "Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not high minded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy, that they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate," 1Tim. vi, 17, 18.

§11. The special manner of the exercise of this labor of love is called ministration; "in that ye have ministered to the saints and do minister;" importing the common ministration of brotherly love, what every one doth or ought to do in his own person. And the acts of it are many and various, such as visiting them administering advice and counsel consolation -temporal supplies endeavors in the use of means, for their full relief: With God, in continual prayers and supplications; with men, according to our interests and advantages, not being ashamed or afraid to own them in their poverty, distresses, and sufferings. The rule of this ministration is, every man's opportunity, ability, and special call by circumstances that offer themselves. To conclude, here we have a true character of a church of sound believers:-They are such a society as, being called into the fellowship and order of the gospel, walk in faith, expressing it in fruits of obedience, carefully and diligently exercising love towards one another, on the account of the name of God, es

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pecially with a continual regard to them who suffer or are in any distress. These are the things indeed that accompany salvation.

§12. "And we desire of you." It is no small part of the duty and wisdom of gospel ministers to instruct their hearers in the proper use and due improvement of the promises and threatenings of God.

(Eziovμsper dé) “Moreover we desire." Chrysostom is large in the consideration of this word, and the wisdom of the apostle in the use of it. It certainly intends an earnest desire, and such ought to be the desire of ministers towards the profiting of their people. Where this is wanting, there will be but a cold, lifeless administration of the word. How were it to be wished, that all who are called to the care and charge of souls,would continually propose to themselves the example of this apostle! Do we think that the solicitude, watchfulness, tender love and affections, earnest and fervent desires for their good, expressed in the prayers, tears, travels, and dangers which he every where testifieth towards all the churches under his care, were duties prescribed to him alone, or graces necessary for him only? Do we think that they are not required of us, according to our measure, and the extent of our employment? The Lord help men, and open their eyes before it be too late! for either the gospel is not true, or there are few who in a due manner discharge that ministry which they take upon them.

I say, without this earnest and fervent desire after profiting and salvation of our people, we shall have a cold and ineffectual ministry among them. Neither is it our sedulity or earnestness in preaching that will relieve us, if that be absent. But whence does this desire proceed? From zeal for the glory of God in Christ;-real compassion for the souls of men;-and a



conscientious regard to our duty and office, with respect to its nature, trust, end, and reward. These are the principles that both kindle, and supply with fuel, those fervent desires for the good of our people, that oil the wheels of all other duties, and speed them in their course. According as these principles flourish or decay in our minds, so will be the acceptable exercise of our ministry in the sight of Christ, and the profitable discharge of it towards the church. And we have as much need to labor for this frame in our hearts, as for any thing in the outward discharge of duty. We must in the first place, “take heed to ourselves," if we intend to "take heed to the flock" as we ought, Acts XX, 28.

§13. We desire that "every one of you." He had so the care for the whole flock, as to be solicitous for the good of every individual person among them: he so labored, that, if it were possible, not one of those whom he watched over should miscarry. And it is of great advantage when we can so manage our ministry, that no one of those committed to us, may have any just cause to think themselves disregarded. And moreover, he shews hereby, that the matter insisted on concerned them all; for he doth not suppose that any one of them were in such a condition of security and perfection, as not to stand in need of the utmost diligence for their preservation and progress; nor any to have so fallen under decays, but that in the use of diligence they might be recovered. So should the love and care of ministers be extended to all the individuals of their flocks, with an especial regard to their respective conditions, that none, on the one hand, grow secure; nor, on the other hand, be discouraged. "Shew the same diligence;" (Evdenvuoda) to shew, is so to do any thing, as that the

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