I have showed you all things, how that so laboring you ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus…
To be governed by this principle is an argument —
I. OF A MORE HAPPY SPIRIT AND TEMPER. Because —
1. It is the nearest resemblance of the Divine nature, which is perfectly happy.
2. It is a grateful acknowledgment of our obligations to God, and all that we can render to Him for His benefits.
3. It is an argument of great wisdom and consideration; for the reflection upon any good that we have done is a felicity much beyond that of the greatest fortune of this world; whereas the spirit contrary to this, is always uneasy to itself; but were our nature rectified and brought back to its primitive frame and temper, we should take no such pleasure in anything as in acts of kindness, which are so suitable and agreeable to our nature that they are peculiarly called humanity.
II. OF A MORE HAPPY STATE AND CONDITION.
1. To receive from ethers plainly shows that we are in want. But to be able to benefit others is a condition of freedom and superiority, and the happiness which we confer upon others we in some sort enjoy, in being conscious to ourselves that we are the authors of it. And could we but once come to this excellent temper we need not envy the wealth and splendour of the most prosperous.
2. To depend upon another, and to receive from him, is the necessary imperfection of creatures; but to confer benefits is to resemble God. Aristotle could say, that by narrowness and selfishness, by envy and ill-will, men degenerate into beasts, and become wolves and tigers to one another; but by goodness and kindness, by mutual compassion and helpfulness, men become gods to one another.
3. The angels are, as it were, perfectly transformed into the image of the Divine goodness, and therefore the work which, with so much cheerfulness and vigour, they employ themselves in, is to be ministering spirits, to bring men to goodness, and to encourage, and assist, and comfort them in well-doing. And our blessed Lord, when He was upon earth, did in nothing show Himself more like the Son of God than in going about doing good.
III. OF A GREAT REWARD. There is no grace which hath in Scripture the encouragement of more and greater promises than this.
1. Of happiness in general (Proverbs 14:21; Matthew 5:7; Luke 6:38; Job 25:19).
2. Of happiness in this life (Psalm 37:3; Proverbs 28:27; Psalm 41:1-3).
3. Of happiness in death (Proverbs 14:32; Isaiah 57:1).
4. Of happiness in the world to come (Luke 14:13, 14; Luke 16:9; 1 Timothy 6:17-19).
Parallel VersesKJV: I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.
WEB: In all things I gave you an example, that so laboring you ought to help the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that he himself said, 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.'"