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SER M.any One: by which we turn our Eyes
always towards the Best side of a Man,
And This Sense is grounded upon a
On the Contrary it deserves observation, * Kærúz- that, where-ever the Greek Phrafe *, 7vclipeces which is here translated by Covering Sin,
+ See Ps. occurs in Scripture, it constantly + sig. Pf.xxxii. nifies that Pardon of Sin which proceeds 1. and Ne- from God, not any Instances of Good hem.iv.s.
Nature and Forgiveness exercised by SERM. Men.
We may farther observe, that This Sense of the Words is by no means full enough to bear the Weight of that emphatic and solemn Preface with which the Apostle introduces them : but above all things (says He, in the Words immediately before the Text) have fervent Charity among your felves : for Charity shall Cover the multitude of Sins. 'Extevñ iyarl, intense, or fervent Charity must signify somewhat more than the bare Acts and Offices of Good-Nature. If they, to whom the Apostle wrote, were above all things to have fervent Charity among themselves, it could not be for This Reason, because Charity would render them inoffensive towards Others, and not easy to be offended Themselves. For though This be a commendable Degree of Virtue, and very fit to be enjoined, because not frequently practis'd ; yet can it not deserve that peculiar Emphasis and Stress which is here laid upon it. Especially, if we consider it as succeeding the mention of those more important
SERM. and necessary Duties, to which the A
postle exhorts them in the preceeding
The Words, therefore, have, in the Second place, been thus also interpreted. Charity shall Cover the multitude of Sins, that is, says the excellent Grotius, it will have a mighty Influence towards reclaim, ing Sinners from the Errour of their Ways; the Consequence of which is, That the Sins of Men thus reclaim'd, are pardon'd, or cover’d. Charity, which is an exalted Love of God and our Neighbour, will make us industrous in procuring Glory to the One, by the Salvation of the Olther. It will create a mighty Zeal for the Interests of Virtue, and the Honour of the Gospel, and the Good of our Souls; and it will run through all the Difficulties that lie in the way towards so good an End, with Readiness and Pleasure. It
will not be frightned from making At-SERM. tempts even on Those of the first Rank in Wickedness, the Worst and most Hardned of Men; because it knows, that Their Revolt from Sin to Virtue (if it can be compass’d) will be of mighty Consequence to Religion, and will probably draw whole Troops of Common Sinners along with it : The Sense they have of their Own Sins being cover'd, will make Them also eager, in their turn; to cover those of Other Men.
This is a very Good and Pious Sense of the Words, but (I believe, it will be allow'd me) no very Easy and Natural One : they must be rack'd e'er they can be brought to confess This Meaning. However, it was what that Learned Person was led into by a former Explication he had made of a Parallel place in St. James; which I shall crave leave to produce at length, and to comment upon, because I take it to be the Key of the Text, which easily and readily lets us into the True sense of it. Brethren (says St. James, at the Conclusion of his Epistle) if any one of James."
SERM. You do Err from the Truth; and One
Convert him, let him know, that he which converteth a Sinner from the Errour of his Ways, shall save a Soul from Death, and shall hide a Multitude of Sins. He intended to shut up his Epistle with recommending to them One of the most important and useful Virtues, That of endeavouring the Conversion and Reformation of Men. And he intended also to stir them up to the Exercise of this Virtue by the most powerful Motives he could propose: What are they? Why, first, That He who converteth a Sinner from the Errour of his ways, should consider, that he saveth a Soul from Death; and then, secondly, and chiefly, That he shall [also] cover a multitude of Sins. Whose Sins ? Those of the Converted Person ? Nay, but That was already faid, and much more than that in the foregoing Motive, He shall save a Soul from Death: for surely the saving a Soul from Death, necessarily includes and presupposes the Remission of its Sins. It must then be meant of His Sins who makes, and not of His who becomes,