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formalists and all self-seekers, That all the saints in scripture are represented as loving God for his benefits ; whence they argue, that they are right, and their religion genuine, which results merely from self-love, and the fear of hell, and hope of heaven, or from a confident persuasion that their sins are pardoned: For it is evident, that true saints do not love God for his benefits, nor eye their own happiness, in the same manner that such men do; but in a manner altogether different. Saints know the God they love, and love him, primarily, for what he is in himself, and because he is just what he is : But hypocrites know not God, nor love him ; but are, in all things, contrary to him, and are only pleased with the false image of God they have framed in their fancies, merely because they think that he loves them, and has done, and will do, great things for them. Saints are affected with the divine goodness itself, for the moral beauty there is in it; but hypocrites are affected only with the fruits and effects of divine goodness to them, as tending to make them happy. Saints love God for his benefits, under a real sense of their infinite unworthiness of the least of them ; but so it is not with hypocrites. Saints love God for all the streams of divine goodness, because they are designed, and actually do lcad them up to God, the fountain, who is the portion of their souls: But hypocrites live upon the streams, disrelishing the fountain. Saints love God, dearly, for all his gifts, because by them they are put under such advantages to live to God, to promote his interest and honor, and to do good in the world ; but hypocrites are confined within the narrow circle, self. The love of saints to God animates them to live to God, and to exert themselves to promote his honor and interest, and to do all the good they can : but the hypocrite, after all his pretended love to God, cares not what becomes of his interest and honor, if it may but go well with him, his friends and party : So that, while true saints love God for his benefits, they act, in a gracious manner, conformable to the law of God, and to the reason and nature of things ; whereas, all the love of the most refined hypocrite is merely the workings of a natural self-love, in a manner directly contra
ry to the law of God, and to the reason and nature of things; and is nothing but mere mockery....Psalm lxxviii. 34, 35, 36, 37_Zech. vii. 5, 6.
Thus we have gone through the two first general heads, and see what is implied in love to God, and from what motives we ought to love him : And, from the whole, we may learn so much of the nature of true religion, as that, with much evidence and certainty, we may conclude,
FIRST, That all that seeming love to God is counterfeit, which arises merely from men's corruptions being gratified: As when ambitious men are, by God's providence; raised to high degrees of honor, and worldly men are prospered in all which they put their hands unto, and herefrom the one and the other rejoice and bless God, and seem to love him, and verily think they are sincere : This is all hypocrisy ; for, in truth, they only love their corruptions, and are glad they are gratified. And accordingly, instead of improving all their riches and honor for God, to advance his interest and honor in the world, they improve all only for themselves, to promote their own ends ; and care not what becomes of God's honor, and interest, and kingdom ; and commonly such men shew themselves the greatest enemies to the cause of God, and to the religion of Christ : and should God but touch all they have, they would curse him to his face.
Secondly, We may be equally certain, that all that seeming love to God is counterfeit, that arises merely from a legal, selfrighteous spirit: As when a man, only because he is afraid of hell, and has a mind to be saved, sets himself to repent, and reform, and do duties, and tries to love God and aim at his glory, to the intent that he may make some amends for past sins and recommend himself to the divine favor, and so to escape hell and obtain heaven: And when he has grown so good, as to have raised hopes of attaining his end, he is ravished at the thoughts, and rejoices, and blesses the Lord, and loves him. It is plain all this is hypocrisy : for the man, in truth, only loves himself, and is concerned merely for his own interest ; but does not care at all for God, his glory or honor : for, if there
were no heaven nor hell, such would serve God no more. Children will work for their parents, without being hired, because they love them: but hirelings will not strike a stroke if there is no money to be gotten ; because they care for nothing but their own interest : Hence this sort of hypocrites are wont to say, that if they once believed that God had made no promises to the best they can do, they would never do more. And farther, it is plainly all hypocrisy ; for, if their consciences but fall asleep, so that they are troubled no more with the thoughts of another world, they will leave off their duties, let down their watch, break all their resolutions, and be as bad as ever : and hence their doctrine of falling from grace probably took its rise. And their hypocrisy is still more evident, in that they are commonly so much concerned to find out what the least measure of saving grace is, and so strenuous in pleading for great abatements in the law : for, from hence, it is plain, that all they are after is only to get just grace enough to carry them to heaven; as a lazy hireling, who is for doing but only just work enough to pass for a day's work, that he may get his wages at night, which is all he wants.
THIRDLY, We may be as certain, that all that seeming love is counterfeit,which arises merely from a strong confidence which a man has, that his sins are pardoned, and that Christ loves him, and will save him: As when a man is under great terrors, and has fearful apprehensions of hell and damnation and is ready even to give himself up for lost : but suddenly great light breaks into his mind; he sees Christ with his arms open and smiling, and it may be his blood running, and hears him, as it were, say, Be of good cheer, thy sins are forgiven thee.... I have loved thee with an everlasting love....Come, thou blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom ;-and now he is certain that his sins are pardoned, and that heaven is his, and he is even ravished with joy, and calls upon all to praise the Lord : For all this proceeds merely from self-love, and there is no love to God in it: for all this love arises from his false confidence, and not from any truc knowledge of God; and commonly such turn out as the Israel
ites did, who sang God's praise at the Red-Sea, when Pharaoh and his hosts were drowned, and they delivered, and their hopes of getting to Canaan highly raised; but they soon forgat his works, and rebelled against him, and their carcases fell in the wilderness. They loved themselves, and therefore they rejoi. céd at their wonderful deliverance; they loved themsekes, and therefore they murmured three days after, when they came to the bitter waters : Their joys and their murmurings proceeded from the very same principle, under different circum. stances ; but the love of God was not in them; and just this is the case here. And this is commonly the event, that, the fears of hell being now over, their joys gradually abate, and they grow more and more secure, till, after a while, they return to folly, as the dog to his vomit, and as the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire; and so are as bad, and sometimes worse than ever....(II. Pet. ii, 20, 21, 22.) And now they plead, that the best are dead sometimes, and that David and Pe.. ter had their falls, and so keep their consciences as quiet as they can: and thus they live along whole months and years tegether.
FOURTHLY, and lastly, We may also be certain, that all that seeming love to God, which arises merely from the gratification of spiritual pride, is counterfeit : As when men dream dreams, see visions, and hear voices, and have impressions and revelations whereby they are set up in their own esteem, and in the opinion of others, for some of the most peculiar favorites of heaven, and very best men in all the world ; and hence they rejoice, and - bless God and mightily love him: but, in truth, they are only ravished with self-conceit, and feel blessedly to think themselves some of the best men in the world, and to think they shall shortly sit at the right hand of Christ in heaven, among the apostles and martyrs, while their persecutors and haters will be burning in hell : but they neither know God nor love him; and, for the most part, by heretical doctrines, or wicked lives, or both, are a scandal to religion: These are so far from being truly religious, that Ihey are the very tares which the devil sows....Mat. xiii. 39.
In each of these sorts of love there are these three defects or faults :-(1.) They have no true knowledge of God; and so (2.) they only love themselves ; and (3.) their seeming love to God arises from a mistake. The ambitious and worldly man thinks himself very happy, because he rises in honor and estate ; the legalist thinks that God loves him, and will save him for his duties; the next firmly believes that his sins are pardoned ; and the last, that God looks upon him one of the best men in the world : but all are wofully mistaken; and when, at the day of judgment, they come to see their mistake, their love to God will vanish away, and they turn everlasting haters and blasphemers of the most High. And another defect in these and all other sorts of counterfeit love, is, that they none of them will ever make men truly obedient : for when men's seeming to love God is nothing but self-love in another shape, all their seeming obedience will, in reality, be nothing but self-seeking: They may pretend to be the servants of God, but will only mean, ul. timately, to serve themselves.
SECTION III. CONCERNING THE MEASURE OF LOVE TO GOD REQUIRED IN
THE DIVINE LAW.
I proceed now to the next thing proposed, which was,
III. To show what is that measure of love to God, which the law requires of all mankind.—And our blessed Savior clears up this point in the most plain and familiar language :- Thou shalt love the Lord thy God, with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind; and it is added, in Mark xii. 30, With all thy strength ; i.e. in other words, we ought to love God in a measure exactly proportionable to the largeness of our natural powers and faculties ; which to do, is all that perfection which God ever required of any of his creatures.*
The law runs thus : Thou sbalt love the Lord thy God with all thy beart, &c. and thy neighbor as thyself. God is to have the highest degree of love we are capable of ; but a much less degree is due to ourselves and neigh. bors : So that, according to the tenor of the law, our love to God is to be greater and more fervent, than our love to ourselves. And therefore the law does suppose that God is worthy of our supreme love for what he is