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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 honor or interest calls therefor. 2. In order to a right understanding of this standard, we must also observe, that our love toourselves is habitual, unfeigned, fervent, active, and permanent: so also must be ourloveto our neighbors. 3. A regular self-love respects all our interests, but especially our spiritual and eternal interest: so ought our love to our neighbors. 4. A regular selflove naturally prompts us to be concerned for our welfare tenderly....to seek it diligently and prudently....to rejoice in it hear. tily, and to be grieved for our calamities sincerely : so ought our love to our neighbors 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 neighbor; 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 neighbor's sins, or weaknesses, or any way expose him to shame and contempt in the world, in any case whatsoever, except such wherein 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 neighbor as thyself. To love God with all our heart, lays a foundation, and prepares the way for us to love our neighbort 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 tend jointly to influence us to all love and goodness towards our neighbors : 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 ....I. 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 neighbor, 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 from 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 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 neighbor, reigning in the heart, may be, in the good-natured man, consistent with his goodnature, 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 evidently are not ; but every man is not a saint, because he has natural af fection : 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 welfare than for his 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 wid. ow 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 af. ter God: They love their bodies, but care little for their souls: Their loye 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 influence 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 : Nor, indeed, does there seem to be any more of the nature of true virtue or real religion in the natural affection of men, than there is in the natural affection of beasts—both resulting merely from animal nature and a natural self-love, 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 plead, stand
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 humor and gratify it more than to sec 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 neighbor, 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 magis. trate, 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 neighbors, if all arises merely from self-love, or is for self-ends, nothing is genuine: and that whether things worldly, or things religious, occasion their love. A
poor man will love and honor 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, afterwards, they lost their love, and turned his enemies, for his telling them the truthwhile others, who loved him truly for what he was, were more and more knit unto him for those very doctrines for which the Galatians hated him. If ye love them which love you,
what reward have ye? Do not the publicans the same ?....Mat. v. 46. There is no virtue nor religion in such a kind of love, and it is evidently not the thing required by the divine law. And in. deed it is a thing as difficult, and as contrary to corrupt nature, for us genuinely to love our neighbors as ourselves, as it is to love God with all our hearts; and there is as little true love between man and man, as there is between men and God. It is for our interest to love God, and it is for our interest to love our neighbors, and therefore men make as if they did so, when, really, there is nothing genuine and true : And, at the day of judgment, when a wicked world comes to God's bar, and their past conduct is all brought to light, nothing will be more manifest than that there never was a spark of true love to God or man in their hearts, but that, from first to last, they were acted and governed either by their animal constitution, or else merely by self-love.
6. I may add, nor is that the love required, when men love others merely because they are as bad, and so just like themselves :
-Nature and self-love will prompt the worst of men to do so. The vain and profligate love such as are as bad as themselves : And, from the same principle, erroneous persons have a pecu