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ert itself ; because a sinful nature and a holy nature are diae metrically opposite to each other: And, therefore, the clearest external revelation of God cannot bring sinners to loye him. All the world will see just what kind of Being he is at the day of judgment, and that in a very plain and clear manner : But yet they whose nature it is to hate him for being what he is, will hate him still; yea, hate him more than ever : And, therefore, besides the external revelation which God has made of himself, by his works and in his word, there is an absolute necessity that he should internally reveal himself in his glory to the heart of a sinner, in order to beget divine love there : Which brings me to add,
Thirdly. God reveals his infinite glory in being what he is in the hearts of sinners, by his holy SPIRIT....Mat. xi. 25, 27. By his works and in his word he has revealed what he is, and that in a manner sufficiently plain—even so plainly that there is no need at all of any further objective revelation ; and he is really infinitely glorious in being what he is : Now, therefore, if we would rightly attend to that revelation which God has made of himself, we could not but have right apprehensions of him; and if we had a good taste for true beauty, we could not but be ravished with his glory: but we are naturally disinclined to right apprehensions of God, and are entirely destitute of a true taste for moral beauty : And hence we may learn what kind of inward illumination we stand in need of from the spirit of God. We do not need the holy spirit to reveal any new truths concern. ing God, not already revealed; for the external revelation which he has made of himself, is sufficiently full:-we do not need to have the holy spirit immediately reveal all these truths concerning God over again to us, by way of objective revelation, or immediate 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 have 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 inflences 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... II Cor. iii. 18. and 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 à 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 his original, entire, underived right to all things, we begin to see why he assumes the character of most high God, supreme Lord,
nd 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 Jésus 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 consequences 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: Hç deserves it ; it is, in the nature of things, his due : and that an
tecedent to any selfish consideration, or any express law in the case. To
To suppose the contrary, is to deny the infinite amiable . ness 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 ex. cellency of the divine nature binds 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 therefore 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 elect"ed, I shall be damned, let me do what I can: and therefore it "is no matter how I live.” And again after this sort...." IT 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 hearis, 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....I. John, iii. 6.
2. This obligation, resulting from the intrinsic excellency and amiableness of the divine nature, is infinitely binding; because this excellence 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 honorable, reason teaches us that we ought to love and honor him, and that it is wrong to dislike and despise him : And the more lovely and honorable, the greater is our obligation to love and honor him ; and the more aggravatedly vile is it to treat him with contempt. Since, therefore, God is a Being of infinite dignity, greatness, glory and excelleccy, 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 honored and cbeyed by us, therefore we are under an infinite obligation to honor and obey him; and that with all our heart and soul, and mind and strength. Hence,
[1.] Perfect love and perfect obedience deserve no thanks at his hands. If we perfectly love him, even with all our hearts, and give up ourselves entirely and forever 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 him; 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 hearts 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, to receive glory, and honor, and praise forever. And they deserve no thanks for their doing so, for they but own the very truth.