Humphreys Burroughs was a messenger to the 1689 London Baptist Assembly on behalf of the Pennington Street Particular Baptist Church. His son Joseph Burroughs (1685-1761) was a minister, though an Arminian,General Baptist. Sadly, it appears that Joseph may have fell into seriously unorthodox opinions late in his life.
Nevertheless, on March 2nd, 1742, Joseph preached a sermon to a society for the relief of the widows and orphans of dissenting ministers. The sermon was titled: “The blessedness of a benevolent temper” and was based on Acts 20:35.
In it, Burroughs argues that taking pleasure in doing good is not only allowable, but important. It is “so far from being evil, that it highly becomes us.” He argues that it is a way we can imitate God, “who is the most happy of all beings”. When we do good to another person, we are “in the place of God towards them.”
“The man who relieves his distressed brother” is, in Joseph’s mind, not only partaking in another man’s joy, but taking a high delight of his own. And this delight can be pure and need not be mixed with pride.
Joseph also noted that those that pretend that God’s glory is the ONLY end and our happiness means nothing are reasoning in opposition to “the very nature of things, ” and God “never taught us to reason or to act after [that] manner.”
Joseph then concludes with a word of encouragement, stating that that “it is not the quantity of our contributions, which render them acceptable [to God]..but the delight it self in doing good, and the sincere gratitude of the heart, in remembrance of that goodness to which we stand indebted.”
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