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to pass for a day's work, that he may get his wages at night, which is all he wants.
THIRDLY. We may be as certain, that all that seeming love is counterfeit, which arises merely from a strong cuntidence which a man has, that his sins are pardoned, and that Christ loves him, and will save him. As when a man is under great terrors, and has fearful apprehensions of hell and damnation, and is ready even to give himself up for lost: but suddenly great light breaks into his mind; be sees Christ with his arms open and smiling, and it may be bis blood running, and hears bim, as it were, say, Be of good cheer, thy sins are forgiven thee ; I have loved ther with an everlasting love : Comi, thou blessed of my father, inherit the kingdom ; and now he is certain that his sins are pardoned, and that heaven is his, and he is even ravished with joy, and calls upon all to praise the Lord. For all this proceeds merely froin self-love, and there is no love to God in it: for all this love arises from his false confidence, and not from any true knowledge of God; and commonly such turn out as the Israelites did who sang God's praise at the Red Sea when Pharaoh and his host were drowned, and they delivered, and their hopes of getting to Canaan highly raised; but they soon forgat his works, and rebelled against him, and their carcasses fell in the wilderness. They loved themselves, and therefore they rejoic ed at their wonderful deliverance; they loved themselves, and therefore they murmured three days after, when they came to the bitter waters. Their joys and their murmurings proceeded from the very same principle, under different circumstances; but the love of God was not in them: and just this is the ease bere. And this is commonly the event, that, the fears of hell being now over, their joys gradually abate, and they grow more and more secure, till, after a while, they return to folly, as the dog to his vomit, and as the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire; and so are as bad and sometimes worse than ever ; (2 Pet. ii. 20, 21, 22.) And now they plead that the best are dead sometimes, and that David and Peter had their falls; and so keep their consciences as quiet as they can : and thus they live along whole months and years together.
FOURTHLY, and lastly. We may also be certain, that all that seeming love to God, which arises merely
from the gratification of spiritual pride, is counterfeit. As when men dream
, dreams, see visions, and hear voices, and have impressions and revelations whereby they are set up in their own esteem, and in the opinion of others, for some of the most peculiar favourites of heaven, and very best men in all the world; and hence they rejoice, and bless God, and mightily love him: but, in truth, they are only ravished with self-conceit, and feel blessedly to think themselves some of the best men in the world, and to think they shall shortly sit at the right hand of Christ in heaven among the apostles and martyrs, while their persecutors and haters will be burning in hell : but they neither know God nor love him; and, for the most part, by heretical doctrines, or wicked lives, or both, are a scandal to religion. These are so far from being truly religious, that they are the very tares which the devil sows. Mat. xiii. 39.
In each of these sorts of love there are these three defects or faults ;-(1.) They have no true knowledge of God; and so (2.) they only love themselves; and (S.) their seeming love to God arises from a mistake. The ambitious and worldly man thinks himself very happy, because he rises in honour and estate; the legalist thinks that God loves him, and will save him for his duties; the next firmly believes that his sins are pardoned ; and the last, that God looks upon him as one of the best men in the world : but all are wofully mistaken; and when, at the day of judgment, they come to see their mistake, their love to God will vanish away, and they turn everlasting haters and plasphemers of the most High. And another defect in these and all other sorts of counterfeit love, is, that they none of them will ever make men truly obedient : for when men's seeming to love God is nothing but self-love in another shape, all their seeming obedience will, in reality, be nothing but self-seeking. They may pretend to be the servants of God, but will only mean, ultimately, to serve theinselves.
SECTION III. CONCERNING THE MEASURE OF LOVE TO GOD REQUIR
ED IN THE DIVINE LAW. I PROCEED now to the next thing proposed, which was,
III. To show what is that measure of love to God, which the law requires of all munkind. And our blessed Saviour clears up this point in the most plain and familiar language : Thou shalt love the Lord thy God, with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind; and it is added, in Mark xii. 30, with all thy strength; i. e. in other words, we ought to love God in a measure exactly proportionable to the largeness of our natural powers and faculties; which to do, is all that perfection which God ever required of any of his creatures*.
When the law requires us to love God with all our hearts, it either means, to the utmost extent of our natural capacity, or else only to the utinost extent of our moral capacity; i. e.' only so much as we are inclined to. And then the less we are inclined to love God, the less love is required ; and so if we have no heart, no inclination to love him, then no love at all is required. And according to this rule, the carnal mind, which is enmity against God, is not in duty bound to be subject to the law, neither indeed can be: and where there is no
The law runs thus : Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, &c. and thy neighbour as thyself. God is to have the highest degree of love we are capable of : but a much less degree is due to ourselves and neighbours : So that, according to the tenour of the law, our love to God is to be greater and more fervent, than our love to ourselves. And therefore the law does suppose that God is worthy of our supreme love for what he is in himself, antecedent to any selfish consideration, from a sight and sense of which worthiness our love to God is primarily to take its rise : For, in the nature of things, it would be impossible for us, from self-love, to love God more than ourselves. Or thus, the law requires us to love God more than ourselves; but, in the nature of things, it is impossible that mere. ly from self-love we should love God more than ourselves : therefore the law supposes that there is something in God to excite our love, antecedent to any selfish consideration, and that our love to him is not to proceed merely from self.love : For, otherwise, the law requires us to do that which in its own nature is absolutely impossible. And this, by the way, may serve still further to confirm the truth of what has been before said.
law, there is no transgression ; where there is no duty required, there can be no sin committed : and so the vilest ut mortals are the freest from sin, and the least to blame ; which is the grossest absurdity. When, therefore, the law requires us to love God with all our hearts, it bas no reference to our moral inclination, but only to our natural capacity. And indeed nothing can be more unreasonable, than to suppose that the law only requires us to love God so far as we have a heart and disposition to do so; for this would leave us entirely at liberty to do otherwise, if we were so inclined, and, in effect, it would make the law say, If you feel inclined to love God, more or less, so far it is your duty, but further you are not bound, but are at your liberty ; i. e. the law is not binding, any further than you are inclined to obey it; i. e. in reality it is no law, but every man is left to do as he pleases. The whole heart, therefore, does the law mean to require, let our temper, inclination, or disposition, be what it will.
God, the great author of all things, has been pleased to create intelligent beings of different sizes, some of a higher rank, and some of a lower; some of greater capacities, and Sime of less; some are angels, and some are men; and
among the angels, some are of larger natural powers, and some of smaller. So it is anong the good angels, and so it is among the evil angels. There are angels and arch-angels, i. e. beings of various natural powers and capacities, among the good and bad. And so it is among men; among yood and bad, there is a very great variety ; some have larger souls than others.
Intelligent beings are capable of a degree of knowledge and love, exactly proportionable to their natural powers. Angels are capable of a degree of knowledge and love, greater than men, and one man of a greater degree than another. As they are of different sizes; of larger and smaller natural powers, so their capacities to know and love are some greater, and some less. So it is among good and bad.
All that perfection which God requires of any of his creatures, is a measure of knowledge and love bearing an exact proportion to their natural abilities. Since God has manifested what he is, in his works and ways, and since he is infinitely glorious in being what he is, and has an original and entire right to his intelligent creatures; therefore he requires all angels and men to attend diligently to the discoveries which he has made of himself, and learn what he is, and behold his glory, and love him with all their hearts. This is the extent of what God requires of the highest angel in heaven, and this is exactly what he requires of all the children of men upon earth.
The law requires no more than this of mankind, under a notion that their natural powers are lessened by the fall. Whether we are beings of as large natural powers as we should have been, had we never apostatized from God, or no, yet this is plain, we are no where in scripture blamed for having no larger natural powers, nor is any more ever required than all the heart, and all the soul, and all the mind, and all the strength. This is evident through the whole Bible.
And the law requires no less of mankind, under a notion that they are turned enemies to God, and have no heart or inclination to love him. Be it so, that mankind are ever so averse to attend to those manifestations which God has made of himself, and ever so averse to take in right notions of God, and ever so far from a disposition to account him infinitely glorious in being what he is, and from an inclination to love him with all their hearts; yet the divine law makes no allowances; no abatements; but insists upon the same-the very same it ever did : Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart.
Indeed, some do dream that the law is very much abated. But what saith the scriptures as to this point? Does the word of God teach us that there is any abatement made? Where do we read it? Where is it plainly asserted, or in what texts is it implied ? Truly, I know nothing like it in all the Bible, nor what texts of scripture this notion can be built upon : and besides, if the law is abated, when was it abated? Was it abated immediately upon Adam's fall? Surely no; for, above two thousand years after, from Mount Sinai, God declared that he required sinless perfection, and threatened a curse against the man that should fail in the least point. Exod. xx. Deut. xxvii. 26. Was it abated upon Christ's coming into the world ? Surely no; for he, in the strongest terins, taught his VOL. 1.