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mediate inspiration ; because the external revelation already made is sufficiently plain. We only need (1.) to be effectually awakened, to attend to those manifestations which he has made of himself in his works and word, that we may see what he is. And (2.) to have a spiritual taste imparted to us, by the immediate influence of the Holy Ghost, that we may bave a sense of his infinite glory in being such. For these two will lay an effectual foundation in our hearts for that love which the law requires. By the common influences of the Spirit, we may be awakened to a realizing sight and sense of what God is; and, by the special and sanctifying influences of the Spirit, we may receive a sense of his infinite glory in being such. And also the sense of his glory will naturally cause us to see more clearly what God is; for a sense of the moral excellency of the divine nature fixes our thoughts on God; and the more our thoughts are fixed, the more distinctly we see what he is. And while we see him to be what he is, and see his infinite glory in being such, hereby a divine love is naturally enkindled in our hearts. And thus, He that commanded the light to shine out of darkness, shines in our hearts, and gives us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God. And so we all, with open face, behold, as in a glass, the glory of the Lord, and are changed into the same image. 9 Cor. iii. 18. iv. 6. A sight of the moral excellency of the divine nature makes God appear infinitely glorious in every respect. Those things in God, which before appeared exceeding dreadful, now appear unspeakably glorious. His sovereignty appears glorious, because now we see he is fit to be a sovereign, and that it is fit and right he should do what he will with his own. His justice appears glorious, because now we see the infinite evil of sin; and a consideration of his infinite understanding and almighty power enhances his glory. And while we view what he is, and see his greatness and glory, and consider bis original, entire, underived right to all things, we begin to see why he assumes the character of most high God, supreme Lord, and sovereign Governor of the whole world; and we resign the throne to him, and take our places, and become his willing subjects; and our hearts are framed to love him, and fear him, and trust in him through
Jesus Christ; and we give up ourselves to him, to walk in all his ways, and keep all his commands, seeking his glory. And thus a sight and sense of the infinite dignity, greatness, glory, and excellency of the most high God, lays the first foundation for a divine love. God's being what he is, is the primary reason that he requires us to love him with all our hearts; and it is the first motive of a genuine love.
I might now pass on to consider the additional obligations we are under to love God; but that it may be profitable to stop a while, and a little consider the nature and properties of this first and greatest, and most fundamental obligation; and take a view of some important constquences necessarily following therefrom. And here,
1. This obligation is binding antecedently to any consideration of advantage or disadvantage ; of rewards or punishments; and even prior to any consideration of the positive will and law of God himself.
2. It is infinitely binding.
5. It is that from which all other obligations originally derive their binding nature.
1. This obligation which we are under to love God with all our hearts, resulting from the infinite excellency of the divine nature, is binding antecedently to any consideration of advantage or disadvantage ; of rewards or punishments, or even of the positive will and law of God himself. To love God with all our hearts, naturally tends to make us happy ; and the contrary, to make us miserable; and there are glorious rewards promised on the one hand, and dreadful punishments threatened on the other; and God, as Governor of the world, has, with all his authority, by his law, expressly required us to love him with all our hearts, and forbidden the contrary; and all these things are binding; but yet the infinite excellency of the divine nature lays us under bonds prior to any consideration of these things. So that if our interest did not at all lie at stake, and if there had never been any express law in the case, yet it would be right, and our indispensable duty, to love God with all our hearts. His being infinitely
lovely in himself, makes it our duty to love him ; for he is in himself worthy of our highest esteem. He deserves it; it is, in the nature of things, his due : and that antecedent to any selfish consideration, or any express law in the case. To suppose the contrary, is to deny the infinite amiableness of the divine nature, and to take away the very foundation of the law itself, and the very reason of all rewards and punishments. For if our supreme love is not due to God, then he is not infinitely lovely; and if he does not deserve to be loved with all our hearts, why does he require it? And if, in the nature of things, it is not right and fit that we should love him, and the contrary unfit and wrong, what grounds are there for, rewards or punishments? So that it is evident the infinite excellency of the divine nature biods us, and makes it our duty, antecedent to any consideration of advantage or disadvantage, rewards or punishments, or even of the positive will and law of God, to love God with all our hearts; and there. fore our love must primarily take its rise from a sense of this infinite excellency of the divine nature, as has been before observed; and that seeming love, which arises merely from selfish considerations, from the fear of punishment or hope of reward, or because the law requires it, and so it is a duty and must be done, is not genuine ; but is a selfish, a mercenary, and a forced thing. How evidently, therefore, do those discover their hypocrisy, who are wont to talk after the following manner : “ If I am elected, I shall be saved, let me do what " I will; and if I am not elected, I shall be damned, let me “ do what I can: and therefore it is no matter how I live.". And again, after this sort : “ If I knew certainly that God “ had made no promises to the duties of the unregenerate, as “ some pretend, I would never do any more in religion.” Surely they had as good say that they have no regard at all to the infinite excellency of the divine nature, but are entirely influenced by selfish and mercenary motives in all they do: they do not seem to understand that they are under infinite obligations to love God with all their hearts, and obey him in every thing, resulting from God's being what he is, and that antecedent to all selfish considerations ; such know not God; 1 John iii. 6.
2. This obligation, resulting from the intrinsic excellency and ainiableness of the divine nature, is infinitely binding ; because this excellency and amiableness is in itself infinite, Our obligation arises from his desert; but he infinitely deserves our love, because he is infinitely lovely. When any person is lovely and honourable, reason teaches us that we ought to love and honour him, and that it is wrong to dislike and despise him. And the more lovely and honourable, the greater is our obligation to love and honour him; and the more aggravatedly vile is it to treat him with contempt. Şince, therefore, God is a Being of infinite dignity, greatness, glory, and excellency, hence we are under an infinite obligation to love him with all our hearts; and it is infinitely wrong not to do so. Since he is infinitely worthy to be honoured and obeyed by us, therefore we are under an infinite obliga. tion to honour and obey him; and that with all our heart and soul, and mind, and strength. Hence,
[1.] Perfect love and perfect obedience deserves no thanks at his hands. If we perfectly love him, even with all our hearts, and give up ourselves entirely and for ever to him, to do his will and seek his glory, and so cordially delight in him as to take up our full and everlasting contentment in hiin; yet, in all this, we do but our duty, and we do no more than what we are under an infinite obligation to do; and therefore, we deserve no thanks; Luke xvii. 9, 10. Yea, we do nothing but that in which consists our highest perfection, glory, and blessedness; and therefore, instead of deserving thanks, we ought to account it an exceeding great privilege that we may thus love the Lord, live to him, and live upon him. Psalm xix, 10.
When therefore eternal life was promised in the first covenant as the reward of perfect obedience, it was not under the notion of any thing being merited; nor did it ever enter into the bearts of the angels in heaven to imagine they merited any thing by all their love and service; for from their
very hearts, they all join to say, Worthy art thou, O Lord, tu receive glory, and honour, and praise for ever. And they deserve no thanks for their doing so, for they but own the very truth.
When, therefore, sinful men, poor, hell-deserving creatures, think it much that they should love and serve God so well, and take so great pains in religion ; and are ready to think that God and man ought highly to value them for their so doing, and are always telling God and man how MIGHTY good they are; as he, Luke xviii. 11, 12. God, I thank thee, I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican ; no, far from this, I am one of the best men in all the world.: 1 fast twice in the week : I give tythes of all that I possess. This appeared to him such a Mighty thing, that he thought it quite worth while to tell God himself of it. Now, I say, when this is men's temper, it is a sign they neither know God, nor love him ; for, if they did, they could not set so high a price upon their duties, since he is so infinitely deserving. The plain truth is, such have intolerable mean thoughts of God, and intolerable high thoughts of themselves; they are brim-full of spiritual pride and self-righteousness; and such are exceedingly hateful in the sight of God. They implicitly say that God is not infinitely glorious, and infinitely worthy of all love and honour: he does not deserve it: it is not his due ; but rather, he is beholden to his creatures for it, and ought to render them many thanks for their love and service. The language of their hearts is, God has so little loveliness that it is much to love him : Like a bad mother-in-law, who thinks it nothing to toil for her own children, because she loves them; but grudges every step she takes for the rest, and thinks every little a great deal, because she cares not for them : so, such men think it nothing to rise early and sit up late, to get the world; to get riches, honour, and pleasure; for they love themselves : but think it much to take the tenth part of the paing in religion ; because they love not God. Their whole frame of mind casts infinite contempt upon the glorious majesty of heaven, to whom all honour is infinitely due, and in whose service all the hosts of heaven account themselves perfectly blessed. They feel as if they deserved to be paid for all.
True, there are glorious rewards promised in the law and in the gospel : But why ? and upon what grounds ? A man may be said to be rewarded in three different senses.
(1.) When he receiv's what he strictly deserves, as an hireling receives his mages at night. But, in this sense, the angeis in beaven are