Wednesday, July 12, 2006

A Life Well Lived: Charity and Its Fruits (6)

"In the strong language of Solomon (Proverbs 14:30), 'A sound heart is the life of the flesh; but envy is the rottenness of the bones.'"

Jonathan Edwards

"Love does not envy or boast" (1 Corinthians 13:4b, ESV).

From Lecture Six: "Charity Inconsistent with an Envious Spirit"

The spirit of envy is the very contrary of the spirit of heaven, where all rejoice in the happiness of others; and it is the very spirit of hell itself — which is a most hateful spirit — and one that feeds itself on the ruin of the prosperity and happiness of others, on which account some have compared envious persons to caterpillars, which delight most in devouring the most flourishing trees and plants. And as an envious disposition is most hateful in itself, so it is most uncomfortable and uneasy to its possessor. As it is the disposition of the devil, and partakes of his likeness, so it is the disposition of hell, and partakes of its misery. In the strong language of Solomon (Pro. 14:30), “A sound heart is the life of the flesh; but envy is the rottenness of the bones.”

It is like a powerful eating cancer, preying on the vitals, offensive and full of corruption. And it is the most foolish kind of self-injury; for the envious make themselves trouble most needlessly, being uncomfortable only because of others’ prosperity, when that prosperity does not injure themselves, or diminish their enjoyments and blessings. But they are not willing to enjoy what they have, because others are enjoying also. Let, then, the consideration of the foolishness, the baseness, the infamy of so wicked a spirit, cause us to abhor it, and to shun its excuses, and earnestly to seek the spirit of Christian love, that excellent spirit of divine charity which will lead us always to rejoice in the welfare of others, and which will fill our own hearts with happiness. This love “is of God” (1 John 4:7); and he that dwelleth in it, “dwelleth in God, and God in him” (1 John 4:16).


Anonymous said...

Envy really is such a foolish type of self-injury. I wish I could say that I knew nothing of this hateful spirit in my life and that I did not need the reminder of its destruction, but it is all too familiar with me. Thank you for your insight and discussion with us in Sunday school. I have enjoyed it and look forward to the rest of the quarter.

Bradford Mercer said...

Thanks Rachel. The class is a blessing.