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forgive the greatest injuries. Since the great Governor of the · world has treated us worms and rebels as he has, one would think that after all this we should never be able to find a heart to hate or injure any mortal ; surely, we are under very strong obligations to accept that divine exhortation in Eph. iv. 31, 32.“ Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour,and evil speaking be put away from ainong you, with all malice: and be ye kind one to another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you." (And chap. v. verse 1.)“ Be ye followers of God as dear children.” Besides, there are many additional obligations to love and bepevolence, and to peculiar respect and kindness between husband and wife, parents and children, friend and friend, &c. arising from their mutual relations, and dependencies, and from special kindnesses already received or hoped for. And now,
THIRDLY. As to the standard by which our love is to be regulated, viz. Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. In order rightly to understand it, we must, 1. Place ourselves, sensibly, as in the presence of the infinitely great and glorious God, before whom all the nations of the earth are nothing, and less than nothing, and vanity; and in the light of God's greatness and glory, we must take a view of our own liuleness and deformity, and so learn how we ought to be affected towards ourselves, compared with God; and as we ought to love
1 ourselves, so ought we to love our neighbour. And now, in general, we ought to be disposed towards God, as being what he is, and towards ourselves and neighbours, as being what we and they are. Particularly, God's honour in the world ought to appear infinitely more valuable and precious than our own, and . therefore our ownought to seem as a thing of no worth, compared with his, and as such to be freely parted with when God's honour calls for it; and as free should we be to see the reputation of our dearest friends given up for God's sake. The same may be said of our worldly interest and of all our worldly comforts, when compared with God's interest and the interest of his Son's kingdom in the world, and of the worldly interests and comforts of our dearest friends. All, both ours and theirs, is comparatively nothing, and ought to appear so to us; yea,
our lives and their lives are just the same things; comparatively of no worth, and to be parted with in a moment, without the least reluctance, when God's honour or interest calls therefor. 2. In order to a right understanding of this standard, we must also bserve, that our love to ourselves is habitual, unfeigned, fervent, active, and permanent : so also must be our love to our neighbours. 3. A regular self-love respects all our interests, but especially our spiritual and eternal interest: so ought our love to our neighbours. · 4. A regular self-love naturally prompts us to be concerned for our welfare tenderly, to seek it diligently and prudently; to rejoice in it heurtily, and to be grieved for our calamities sincerely : so ought our love to our neighbours to prompt us to feel and conduct with regard to their welfare. 5. Self-love makes us take an unfeigned pleasure in promoting our own welfare. We do not think it hard to do so much for ourselves; the pleasure we take in promoting our welfare rewards our pains. The same genuine kind of love ought we to have to our neighbour: and so to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive. 6. We ought never to speak of our neighbour's sins, or weaknesses, or any way expose him to shame and contempt in the world, in any case whatsover, except such where in it would be our duty to be willing ourselves to be so exposed by him, were we in his circumstances, and he in ours. And then we are to do it with that sensible tenderness for him that we could reasonably desire from him, towards us in a like case.
Thus, then, we have briefly considered the second great command of the law, and see what that meaneth-Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. To love God with all our heart, lays a foundation, and prepares the way for us to love our neighbours as ourselves. It removes and takes away those things which are contrary to this love; such as pride, selfishness, worldliness, a narrow, stingy, envious, revengeful temper. True love to God mortifies and kills these things at the root. And, secondly, True love to God assimilates us to the divine nature, and makes us like God in the temper of our minds.But God is love : and the more we are like God, the more are our hearts, therefore, framed to love and benevolence. He
that dwelleth in love, dwelleth in God, and God in him. Love to God sweetens the soul, and enlarges our hearts to love our fellow-men. And, thirdly, The more we love God, the more sacred is his authority with us, and the more glorious amiable, and animating does his example appear, and the greater sense have we of our obligations to gratitude to him all which tends jointly to influence us to all love and goodness towards our neighbours. So that, he that knows God, and loves him, will be full of love to mankind; and, therefore, he that loveth not, knoweth not God. 1 John iv. 8. On the other hand, where there is no true love to God, there is no true love to mankind; but the heart is under the government of pride, selfishness, and other corruptions, which are contrary to love. So that a genuine love to mankind is peculiar to the godly. i John iv. 7, 8.
And now, from what has been said, we may evidently see these following sorts of love to our neighbour are, neither of them, the love required, however nearly they may sometimes seem to resemble it.
1. What is commonly called natural compassion, is not the love here required; for the most wicked, profane man, may be of a very compassionate temper: so may the proud, the selfish, the envious, the malicious, and spiteful man--as experience plainly shows. And besides, natural compassion does not take its rise from any sense of the rectitude and fitness of things, or any regard to the divine authority, but merely froin the animal constitution : and men seem to be properly passive in it. It is much the same thing in the human, as in the brutal nature: It is, therefore, a different thing from the love here required.
2. The same may be said of what is called good-nature: It arises merely from animal constitution, and is not the love here required; for such a man is not influenced in his love by
l the reason and nature of things, or the authority of the great Governor of the world, or from a consideration of the infinite goodness of the divine nature, any more than the beasts are, who are some of them much better tempered than others : so that this sort of love has nothing of the nature of religion in it. And it is evident that many wicked and ungodly men have
much of this natural good temper, who yet have no regard to God or duty: yea, a secret grudge against a neighbour, reigning in the heart, may be, in the good-nutured man, consistent with his good-nature, but it is not consistent with the love here required ; and therefore they are evidently two things.
3. That love which is commonly called natural affection, is not the love here required. It is true, that man is worse than the beasts, who is without natural affection, for they evidenly are not; but every man is not a saint, because he has natural affection : and it is true we owe a peculiar love, according to God's law, to our relatives ; but natural affection is not this love: for there are many ungodly wretches, who care neither for God nor his law, who have as much natural affection as any in the world; yea, it is a common thing for ungodly parents to make very idols of their children ; for them, they go, and run, and work, and toil, by night and day, to the utter neglect of God and their own souls: and surely this cannot be the very love which God requires. And besides, as natural affection naturally prompts parents to love their children more than God, and be more concerned for their weifare than for bis glory, so it is commonly a bar in the way. of their loving others as they ought. They have nothing to give to the poor and needy, to the widow and the fatherless; they must lay up all for their children : yea, many times they rake and scrape, cheat and defraud, and, like mere earth-worms, bury themselves in the world ; and all this for the sake of their children. And yet all this love to their children does not prompt them to take care of their souls. They never teach their children to pray, nor instruct them to seek after God: they love their bodies, but care little for their souls. Their love to the one is beyond all bounds, but, to the other, is little or nothing: it is an irrational fondness, and not the love required. Indeed, if parents loved their children as they ought to do, their love would effectually ivfluence them to take care of their souls, and do all their duty to them—which natural affection evidently does not; and therefore it is not that love with which God, in his law, requires parents to love their children: Snor, indeed, does there seem to be any more of the nature of true virtue or real religion in the natural af
fection of men, than there is in the natural affection of beasts -both resulting merely from animal nature and a natural selflove, without any regard to the reason and nature of things.
4. Nor is that the love here required, which arises merely from a party-spirit ; because such a one is of their party, and on their side, and loves those whom they love, and will piead, stand up, and contend for them, and maintain their cause : for such a love is pregnant with hatred and ill-will to every body else; and nothing will humour and gratify it more than to see the opposite party hated, reviled, and blackened : and besides, such a love is nothing but self-love in another shape.Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy : But I say unto you, love your enemies. Mat. v. 43, 44.
5. Nor is that the love here required, which arises merely from others' love to me : As if a rich man is kind and bountiful to poor people all around him, and appears to love and pity them, they, though almost ever so wicked, will feel a sort of love to him. But if this rich man happens to be a civil magistrate, and is called to sit as a judge in their case, and passes judgment against them for their crimes, now their love dies, and enmity, and hatred, and revenge begin to ferment in their hearts. In this case, it is not the man they love, but rather his kindnesses : and their seeming love is nothing but a certain operation of self-love. And indeed, however full of love persons may seem to be to their neighbours, if all arises merely from self-love, or is for self-ends, nothing is genuine : and that, whether things worldiy, or things religious, occasion their love. A poor man will love and honour those who are rich, if he hopes to get any thing by it. A rich man may be kind to the poor, with an eye to his credit. An awakened sinner will love an awakening preacher, in hopes he shall be converted by his ministry. A minister may seem to show a world of love to the souls of sinners, and all with an eye to applause. Hypocrites will love a godly minister, so long as he thinks well of them, and happens not to detect their hypocrisy in his public preaching. Even the Galatians were very full of love to Paul for a while, so long as they thought he loved them, and had been the instrument of their conversion ; yet,