« VorigeDoorgaan »
and benefactor. And now, to come to God and pretend to worship him as if he was God, and yet not to do it at all because he is God, but for mean, and mercenary, and selfish ends, is a very complicated wickedness; and to think to please God in this way, and get into favor by this means, discovers such ignosance and contempt of God, and a frame of heart so full of se. cret blasphemy, spiritual idolatry, pride and hypocrisy, as cannot easily be expressed : They practically deny his divinity, yet pretend to pay him divine worship. They pretend to serve God, yet really intend only to serve themselves : They make as if they loved God, but only love themselves : Yet so intolerably mean are their thoughts of God, that they expect to please him by all this. To make the best of it, all that religion is mere hypocrisy, which does not primarily take its rise from a sense of the infinite excellency of the divine nature.
Thus, then, we see what is the first and chief motive of a genuine love to God. He is a Being of infinite understanding, and of almighty power--infinite in wisdom, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth....and so a Being of infinite glory and excellency....and so infinitely amiable, and infinitely worthy to be loved with all our hearts. And this obligation is binding ori. ginally in itself, antecedent to a consideration of any other motive whatsoever : and it is infinitely, eternally, and unchangeably binding, and gives life, and energy, and strength to all other obligations. And hence, if we do love God with all our hearts, we do but our duty, and deserve no thanks; but we are infinitely to blame for the least defect, and can never do any thing to atone for it, but deserve everlasting dainnation. And it will always be our duty thus to love God, and the least defect will be always thus blame-worthy, let our circumstances, as to happiness or misery, be what they will. All our hearts will be always due to God, and we shall always stand bound to pay this debt, whether we have any heart for it or no: and God will always appear such an infinite enemy to the least defect, as in his law he has declared himself to be ; nor is there any hope of our finding acceptance in his sight, unless it be by a union
to, and interest'in, him who has answered all the demands of the law, in the room of those who believe in him. And all pretence of love to God, which docs not take its rise from this foundation, is but mere hypocrisy. All these consequences so necessarily follow, from a supposition of the infinite excellency and amiableness of the divine nature, and so evidently, as that, if God be but seen aright, a sense of his infinite beauty will iminediately assure the heart that these things are so. A sense of his infinite glory will make us see and feel that we are under infinite obligations to love him with all our hearts, and that we could deserve no thanks for doing so, but that the least defect is infinitely wrong, &c. A sense of the infinite glory of God will effcctually establish the heart in these things against
all the subtle arguments and fair pretences of heretics. A sense • of the infinite glory of God, immediately imparted to the soul by
the spirit of God, whereby the heart is thus divinely established in the belief of the truth, is, therefore, that unction from the holy one, which all the saints have, whereby they are effectually secured from being finaliy led away by false teachers ; at least, that unction consists partly in this, (I. John ïi. 20—27,) And at the same time that the people of God are thus established in the belief of these truths, relating to law and duty, from a sense of the infinite glory of God; I say, at the same time this sense of the infinite glory of God begets a disposition in the heart to conform to this law and do this duty. And thus it is that God writes his law in our hearts, and puts it in our inward parts, when he intends to become our God, and to make us his people.... (Heb. viii. 10, 11.) And hence it begins to be the nature of the people of God, to love him with all their hearts ; and their views and their temper, and every thing else being thus entirely new, hence they are called new creatures. Old things are passed away, and all things are become new. But now, this sense of . the infinite glory of God, which thus lays the very lowest foundation of true religion, is entirely left out of all false religions. And by this, true religion stands distinguished, as something specifically disferent from all the false religions in the world.
And hence we may observe, that it is spoken of in scripture, as something peculiar to true saints, that they see God and know God. John yiïi. 19, 55....Ye neither know me, nor my Father. John xiv. 19.... The world seeth me no more, but ye see me. I. John iii. 6....Whosoever sinneth, hath not seen him, neither known him. I. John ii. 3.... Hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. I. John iv. 7, 8.... Every one that loveth, knoweth God. He that loveth nat, knoweth not God. And the unregenerate, not knowing God....not having a sense of his infinite glory to lay the foundation of their love and of their religion, hence all their love and all their religion entirely take their rise from mere selfish considerations, and nothing but self-love lies at bottom. And hence it is natural for unregenerate men to think they deserve something for their duties, and as natural to be insensible of the infinite evil of their sins : And so it is their nature to magnify and be proud of their own goodness, and to extenuate and be unhumbled for their badness. And from hence results our native aversion to fuith and repentance, and contrariety to the gospel-way of salvation. And now new gospels, new sorts of faith and repentance are coined, new notions of religion contrived, to suit the depraved temper and vitiated taste of unhumbled, impenitent sinners, who are concerned to secure their own interest, but care not what becomes of God's honor. Hence errors take their rise, and professing christians are divided into parties, and one runs this way, and another that, and all hope to get to heaven at last. And now, at length, after so great a variety of inferences and remarks, and so large a consideration of the first and chief motive of a genuine love to God, I proceed,
2. To take a short view of the additional obligations which we lie under, to love God with all our hearts. I AM THE LORD, (this lays the first foundation, and leads the way, when from Mount Sinai the Almighty proclaims his law, but then he immediately goes on to add,) thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt and out of the house of bondage....Exod. xx. God has such a right to us, and such an authority over us, and has
done so many things for us, and promised so many things to us, that our additional obligations to be the Lord's, to love him and live to him, are exceedingly great. Particularly,
Nothing is more reasonable than that we should be entirely dedicated to that God, whose we are originally, and by an entire, underived, and unalienable right : especially, considering what he is in himself, and that he is Lord of all things, and, by nature, God most high: Indeed, if our Creator was not, by nature, the most high God, then he could not be the supreme Lord of all things; for there would be one above him; and so we should not be his, entirely and absolutely ; for he himself, and we his creatures, would belong, originally, to another...even to him that, by nature, would be the most high God; and him we ought to love and worship. But our Creator himself, being absolutely the first, and absolutely supreme, self-existent, and independent, the sole author and Lord of all things, as well as infinitely glo. rious in himself, his right to us is original, underived, and most absolute and entire: and therefore it is infinitely fit and suitable that we should be, in the constant frame and disposition of our hearts, absolutely, entirely, and wholly the Lord's, and that we should forever exert all our powers, to the very utmost, to promote his honor and interest. And it is infinitely unreasonable that we should ever set up ourselves, and be attached to any interest of our own, separate from his. And, inasmuch as he is infinitely better than we are, (yea, all the nations of the earth are less than nothing before him,) and has such an entire right unto us, his interest, therefore, should be regarded as more valuable than our own....yea, infinitely more : For if our own interest appears as valuable to us as his, we set ourselves upon a level with him, and claim as great a right to ourselves as he has ; and if his interest does not appear as being of infinitely greater value to us than our own, we do not esteem him as being infinitely better than we are ourselves, and his right to us infinitely greater than our own right to ourselves is. It is, therefore, infinitely reasonable, since God is what he is, and has such a right to us as he has, that we should be constantly, from the very
bottom of our hearts, wholly his, and every moment live wholly to him, and always have his interest lie most near our hearts, as being of infinitely more worth, value, and importance than our own : As Moses, who, in a measure, was made partaker of this divine nature, in the anguish of his heart, cries, when God tells him he will cut off Israel, and make of him a great nation, “Lord, let my name be blotted out of thy book ; let it be forgot“ten from among the living, and be never heard of again in " the world that ever I was in being : But what will become of “thy great name?”—God's honor and interest were dear to him; but he, comparatively, cared not for his own at all....Exod. xxxii.-Num. xiv.
But this our obligation to be entirely the Lord's, is still in. finitely increased, if we consider the authority of the supreme Governor of the world, which, by his express law, has en. joined this upon us. It is not only infinitely fit, in its own nature, that we should love God with all our hearts, considering what he is in himself, and that we should be entirely for him, in the temper of our minds, considering what an entire right he has to us as his creatures, who have received all we have from him, and are absolutely dependant on him for all we want; but God has, by law, as Governor of the world, enjoined this upon us as our duty, and that with all his authority : And now, considering what he is in himself, and the natural right he has to all things, and how entirely we are his, and absolutely under his government, his AUTHORITY is infinitely binding ; especially, considering how infinitely engaged he appears to be to see that his law be exactly obeyed, in promising eternal life on the one hand, and threatening eternal damnation on the other: This his infinite engagedness, lays us under infinite bonds to be and do exactly what he requires.
But still, our obligation to love hine with all our hearts, and be wholly the Lord's, is yet infinitely more increased, if we consider what ways the Lord has taken with us in this apostate world, since our rebellion against him...since we have lost all csseem for him, turned enemies to him, cast off his authority, and