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liar regard for one another : And the enthusiast and blazing hypocrite may, from the same principle, seem to be full of love to their own sort, though full of malice against all others : And they may think that it is the image of God which they love in their brethren, when, indeed, it is only the image of themselves. Persons of a bad taste may greatly delight in those things in others, which are very odious in the sight of God: But surely this cannot be the love required ; and yet, by this very thing, many a hypocrite thinks himself a true saint.
Thus we see what it is to love God with all our hearts, and our neighbors as ourselves, and see these two distinguished from their counterfeits : And so we have gone through the two great commands of the law, in a conformity to which the very essence of religion does much consist.
And now it is added by our Savior, Upon these two hang all the law and the prophets. The law and the prophets, i. e. the inspired writings of the Old Testament consider these two maxir „, that we must love God with all our hearts, and our neighbors as vurselves, as first and foundation-principles : and all the va. rious duties which they urge, respecting God and our fellowmen, are but so many inferences and deductions from them.
God must be loved with all the heart : and therefore we must make him our God and none else, according to the first conmand—worship him according to his appointed institutions, agreeably to the second command—with becoming reverence and devotion, according to the third and that in all such set times as he hath appointed in his word, according to the fourth.
Our neighbor must be loved as ourselves : and therefore we must render honor to whom honor is due, according to the fifth command ; and be tender of our neighbor's life, chastity, estate, and good name, according to the sixth, seventh, eighth, and ninth commands ; and rejoice in his welfare and prosperity, according to the tenth : and, in all things, treat him as we could reasonably desire him to treat us, according to that golden rule of Jesus Christ, in Matthew vii. 12.
And as all the duties we owe to God and man, are thus, in the theory, but so many deductions, necessarily flowing from these two maxims, or first principles, so, when the law of God is written in the heart of a sinner by divine grace, and put in his inward parts, there will, from these two principles, naturally flow all duties to God and his neighbor, in his daily practice ; i. e. from a disposition to love God supremely, live to him ultia mately, and delight in him superlatively, he will naturally be inclined and enabled sincerely to do all his will—to make him his God, according to the first command—to worship him aca. cording to his own appointments, with becoming reverence, and at all suitable times, according to the rest. It will be his nature to do all this his meat and his drink, and so his greatest delighte And so, also, from a genuine disposition to love his neighboras himself, he will be naturally inclined and enabled, in all things, and at all times, sincerely to do as he would be done by. It will be his nature to do so~his meat and his drink, and so his greatest delight.... Heb. viii. 10mJohn xv. 14–1. John ïi, 3, 4
Psalm xix, 10,
So that, as it is in theory, so also it is in practice; these two. are like the seed that virtually contains the whole plant, or liko the root from which the whole tree grows, with all its branches and fruit, And in proportion as a man, loves God and his neighbor with a genuine love, in the same proportion will hiss inclination and ability, thence arising, be, to do all these duties : and consequently, when his love to God and his neighbor arrives to perfection, he will be perfectly inclined and enabled to be perfect in holiness and righteousness, and will actually, in all things, perfectly conform to both tables of the law. And it is equally evident, that, until a man has a genuine love to God and his neighbor in his heart, he will have neither inclination nor ability (in a moral and spiritual sense) to perform one act of truc obedience : for as all true abedience, according to the law and prophets, is to flow from these two principles, so, consequente ly, according to the law and prophets, that is not true obedience, which does not : And, therefore, when all a man's religion is
merely from self-love, and for self-ends, he cannot be said, strictly speaking, to do any duty to God or his neighbor, or ebey one command; for he only serves himself, and that from a supreme love to himself, which the law and the prophets do not require, but strictly forbid, in that they enjoin the direct contrary.
So that now, in a few words, we may here see wherein true religion does consist, as it stands distinguished from all the false religion in the world. The godly man, from seeing God to be just such a one as he is, and from a real sense of his infinite glory and amiableness in being such, is thereby influenced to love him supremely, live to him ultimately, and delight in him superlatively : from which inward frame of heart, he freely runs the way of God's commands, and is in his element when doing God's will. He eats, he drinks, he works, he prays, and does all things, with a single eye to God, who has placed him in this his world, allotted to him his peculiar station, and pointed out before him all the business of life....always looking to him for all things, and always giving thanks unto his name, for all his unspeakable goodness to a wretch so infinitely unworthy. And, with a spirit of disinterested impartiality, and genuine benevolence, he views his fellow-men....gives them their places ....takes his own, and loves them as himself : Their welfare is dear to him ; he is grieved at their miseries, and rejoices at their mercies, and delights to do all the good he can, to every one, in the place and station which God has set him in. And he finds that this new and divine temper is inwrought in his very nature ; so that, instead of a forced religion, or a religion merely by fits, his very heart is habitually bent and inelined to such views and apprehensions--to such an inward temper, and to such an outward conduct.
This, this is the religion of the Bible--the religion which the lait and the prophets; and which Christ and his apostles too, all join to teach the religion which Christ came into the world to recover men unto, and to which the spirit of God does actually recover every believer, in a greater or lesser degree. Thus, those who are dead in sin, are quickened....Ephii. 1-Have
the law written in their hearts.... Heb. viii. 10-Are made new creatures, all old things being done away, and all things become new....II. Cor. v. 17—And are effectually taught to deny all ungodliness and worldly lusts, and to live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world.... Tit. ii. 12—And so serve God without fear, in holiness and righteousness, all the days of their lives..... Luke i. 74, 75.
And this is specifically different from every sort of false religion in the world : For all kinds of false religion, however different in other things, yet all agree in this, to result merely from a principle of self-love, whereby fallen men, being ignorant of God, are inclined to love themselves supremely, and do all
. things for themselves ultimately. All the idolatrous religion of the heathen world, in which some took much pains, had its rise from this principle. They had some notion of a future stateof a heaven and a hell, as well as of temporal rewards and punishments, and so were moved by hope and fear, from a principle of self-love, to do something to pacify the anger of the gods, and recommend themselves to the favor of their deities : And all the superstitions of the seemingly devout papist....his paternosters, his ave-marias, his penances and pilgrimages, and endless toils, still arise from the same principle : So does all the religion of formalists, and legal hypocrites, in the reformed nations : It is a slavish fear of hell, and mercenary hope of heaven, which, from a principle of self-love, sets all a going ; yea, the evangelical hypocrite, who mightily talks of supernatural, divine light of the spirit's operations-of conversion, and a new nature, still, after all, has no higher principle in him than self-love. His conscience has been greatly enlightened, and his heart terrified, and his corruptions stunned : and he has, by the delusions of Satan, obtained a strong confidence of the love of God, and pardon of his sins ; so that, instead of being influ. enced chiefly by the fear of hell, as the legal hypocrite is, he is ravished with heaven ; but still, all is from self-love, and for self-ends : and, properly and scripturally speaking, he neither knows God, nor cares at all for him. And this is the very case
with every graceless man living, of whatever denomination ; whether a Heathen, or Jew, or Christian--whether Papist, or Protestant--whether Church-man, Presbyterian, Congregationalist, or Separatist-whether a Pelagian, Arminian, Calvinist, Antinomian, Baptist, or Quaker. And this is the case with every graceless man living, whatever his attainments may otherwise be ;-though he hath all knowledge to understand all mysteries, and can speak with the tongues of men and ángels, and has faith to remove mountains, and zeal enough to give all his goods to feed the poor, and his body to be burned; yet he has no charity-he is perfectly destitute of this genuine love to God and his neighbor, and has no higher principle in his heart, from which all his religion proceeds, but a supreme love to himself. For, ever since our first parents aspired to be as gods, it has been the nature of all mankind to love themselves supremely, and to be blind to the infinite beauty of the divine nature ; and it remains so to be with all, until renewed by divine grace: So that self-love is the highest principle from which unregenerate men do ever act, or can act,
Here, therefore, we have true religion....a religion specifically different from all other sorts of religion in the world, standing in a clear view : yea, and we may be absolutely certain that this is the very thing which has been described : For this conformity to the moral law is, throughout all the Bible, by Moses and the prophets.... by Christ and his apostles, represented to be the very thing in which the essence of religion originally consists.
“Blessed be the name of the Lord forever, “ who has given us so clear a revelation of his will, and so sure “ and certain a guide as his word,” Come here, all you poor, exercised, broken-hearted saints, that live in this dark, benighted world, where many run to and fro, and where there are a thousand different opinions, and every one confident that he is right ;-come here to the law and to the testimony ;-come here to Christ himself, and learn what the truth is, and be settled-be confirmed, and be established forever ; and remember, and practise upon those words of Jesus Christ, in John vii, 17