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be no herd in the stalls. Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation. Finally, from this delight in God arises a holy disposition to renounce all other things, and live wholly upon him, and take up everlasting content in him, and in him alone. Psalm lxxiii. 25, 26. Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is
earth that I desire besides thee. My flesh and my heart faileth : but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever. The vain man takes content in vain company; the worldly man takes content in riches; the ambitious man in honour and applause; the philosopher in philosophical speculations; the legal hypocrite in his round of duties; the evangelical hypocrite in his experiences, his discoveries, his joys, his raptures, and confident expectation of heaven : but the true lover of God takes his content in God himself. Psalm iv. 6, 7. And thus we see what is implied in love to God.
And now, that this is a right representation of the nature of that love which is required in the first and great commandment of the law, upon which chiefly all the law and the prophets hang, is manifest, not only from the reason of the thing, and from what has been already said, but also from this, that such a love to God as this luys a sure and firm foundation for all holy obedience. That love to God is of the right kind, which will effectually influence us to keep his commands. John xv. 14. 1 John ii. 3, 4, 5. But it is evident, from the nature of things, that such a love as this will effectually influence us to do so. As self-love naturally causes us to set up self and seek self-interest, so this love to God will naturally influence us to set up God and seek bis interest. As delight in the world naturally makes us seek after the enjoyment of the world, so this delight in God will naturally influence us to seek after the enjoyment of God: and while we love God primarily for being what be is, we cannot but, for the same reason, love his law, which is a transcript of his nature, and love to conform to it. If we loved him only from self-love, from the fear of hell, or from the hopes of heaven, we might, at the same time, hate his law: but if we love him for being what he is, we cannot but love to be like him; which is what his law requires. To suppose that a man loves
God supremely for what he is, and yet does not love to be like him, is an evident contradiction. It is to suppose a thing supremely loved; and yet, at the same time, not loved at all: so that, to a demonstration, this is the very kind of love which the Lord our God requires of us. So, saints in heaven love God perfectly, and so the good man on earth begins, in a weak and feeble manner, to love God : for there is but one kind of love required in the law; and so but one kind of love which is of the right sort: for no kind of love can be of the right sort, but that very kind of love which the law requires. There is, therefore, no difference between their love in heaven, and ours here upon earth, but only in degree.
SHOWING FROM WHAT MOTIVES TRUE LOVE TO GOD
TAKES ITS RISE. II. I now proceed to show more particularly from what motives we are required thus to love God. Indeed, I have done this in part already; for I have been obliged all along, in showing what is implied in love to God, to keep my eye upon the first and chief ground and reason of love, namely, what God is in himself. But there are other considerations which increase our obligations to love him and live to him; which ought, therefore, to come into the account. And I design here to take a general view of all the reasons and motives which ought to influence us to love the Lord our God; all which are implied in those words, The Lord thy God. Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, i.e. because he is the Lord and our God.
1. The first and chief motive which is to influence us to love God with all our hearts, is his infinite dignity and greatness, glory and excellency; or, in one word, his infinite amiableness. We are to love him with all our hearts, because he is the LORD; because he is what he is, and just such a Being as he is. On this account, primarily, and antecedent to all other considerations, he is infinitely amiable; and, therefore, on this account, primarily, and antecedent to all other considerations, ought he to appear infinitely amiable in our eyes. This is the first and chief reason and ground upon which his
law is founded, I AM THE LORD. (Exod. xx. 2. Lev. xix.) This, therefore, ought to be the first and chief motive to influence us to obey. The principal reason which moves him to require us to love him,ought to be the principal motiveof our love. If the fundamental reason of his requiring us to love him with all our hearts, is because he is what he is, and yet the bottom of our love be something else, then our love is not what his law requires, but a thing of quite another nature. Yea, if the foundation of our love to God is not because he is what he is, in truth, we love him not at all. If I feel a sort of respect to one of my neighbours, who is very kind to me, and either do not know what sort of man he is, or, if I do, yet do not like him, it is plain, it is his kindness I love, and not his person; and all my seeming love to him is nothing but self-love in another shape: and let him cease being kind to me, and my love will cease: let him cross me, and I shall hate him. Put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face, (Job i. 11.) said the devil concerning Job; and, indeed, Job would have done so, had not his love to God taken its rise from another motive than God's kindnesses to him. But why need I multiply words ? For it seems even self-evident that God's loveliness ought to be the first and chiet' thing for which we love him.
Now, God is infinitely lovely, because he is what he is; or, in other words, his infinite dignity and greatness, glory and excellency, are the result of his natural and moral perfections. So that it is a clear sight and realizing sense of his natural and moral perfections, as they are revealed in his works and in his word, that make him appear, to a HOLY soul, as a Being of infinite dignity and greatness, glory and excellency. Thus, the Queen of Sheba, seeing and conversing with Solomon, and viewing his works, under a sense of the large and noble endowments of his mind, was even ravished ; and cried out, The one half was not told me! And thus the holy and divinely enlightened soul, upon seeing God, reading his word, and meditating on his wonderful works, under a sense of his divine and incomprehensible perfectious, is ravished with his infinite dignity, majesty, greatness, glory, and excellency ; and loves, admires, and adores ; and says, Who is a God like unto thee!
His nattural perfections are,
(1.) His infinite understanding, whereby he knows himself, and all things possible, and beholds all things past, present, and to come, at one all-comprehensive view. So that from everlasting to everlasting, his knowledge can neither increase nor diminish, nor his views of things suffer the least variation; being always absolutely complete, and consequently necessarily always the same.
(2.) His almighty power, whereby he is able, with infinite ease, to do any thing that he pleases.
And his moral perfections are,
(1.) His infinite wisdom, whereby he is able, and is inclined to contrive and order all things, in all worlds, for the best ends, and after the best manner.
(2.) His perfect holiness, whereby he is inclined infinitely to love right, and hate wrong: or according to scripture-phrase, to love righteousness and hate iniquity.
(3.) His impartial justice, whereby he is unchangeably inclined to render to every one according to his deserts.
(4.) His infinite goodness, whereby he can find in his heart to bestow the greatest favours upon his creatures, if he pleases and is inclined to bestow all that is best, all things considered.
(5.) His truth and faithfulness, whereby he is inclined to fulfil all his will, according to his word: So that there is an everlasting harmony between his will, his word, and his performance.
And his being, and all his natural and moral perfections, and his glory and blessedness, which result from them, he has in himself, and of himself underived ; and is necessarily infinite, eternal, unchangeable, in all; and so absolutely independent, self-sufficient, and all-sufficient.
“ This is the God, whom we do love!
“ He is our all, for evermore.” Now there are three ways by which the perfections of God are discovered to the children of men : By his works, by his word, and by his spirit. By the two first, we see him to be
what he is; by the last we behold his infinite glory in being such : The two first produce a speculative knowledge; the last, a sense of moral beauty.
First. These perfections of God are discovered by his works, i. e. by his creating, preserving, and governing the world; and by his redeeming, sanctifying, and saving his people.
1. By his creating the world. He it is, who has stretched abroad the heavens as a curtain, and spread them out as a tent to dwell in ; who has created the sun, moon, and stars, and appointed them their courses ; who has hung the earth upon nothing; who has fixed the mountains, and bounded the seas, and formed every living creature. All the heavenly hosts he hath made, and created all the nations that dwell upon the earth : and the birds of the air, and the beasts of the field, and the fishes of the sea, and every creeping thing, are the works of his hands : and the meanest of his works are full of unsearchable wonders, far surpassing our understanding. So that the invisible things of God, from the creation of the world, are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead: as St. Paul observes, in Rom. i. 20.
2. By his preserving the world. His eyes run to and fro throughout all the world, beholding every thing. His eyes are upon all his works; so that even the sparrows are not forgotten by him, and the very hairs of our head are all numbered. And he holds all things in being; and the opening of his hand fills the desires of every living creature : even the whole family of heaven and earth live upon his goodness, and are maintained by his bounty. In a word, his infinite understanding sees all; his infinite power upholds all ; his infinite wisdom takes care of all, and his infinite goodness provides for all, and that every moment; so that the invisible things of God are discovered in preserving as well as in creating the world. And hence when the pious Psalmist meditates on the works of creation and preservation, he sees God in them and views his perfections, and is touched at heart with a sense of his glory; and is filled with high and exalted, and with admiring and adoring thoughts of God. So, Psalm xix. 1. The heavens declare the glory of the Lord,