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which causes" a righteous man" to regard "the life of his beast," since this is a part of moral goodness which God has seen fit to approve. * An affection thus going forth to being as such, without regard to character, relation, proximity, or species, must have for its object ALL existence capable of pleasure or pain. It can find nothing to limit it to the inhabitants of one world, except ignorance that others exist. In a finite being it will indeed act most strongly towards objects most in view; but the same good will that can love an enemy and wish well to a brute, would for the same reason love millions of beings of other worlds as fast as they should come into view. This is that general benevolence which makes men good citizens of the universe. This is that law which was fitted for a universal empire. You must possess domestic affections to render you good members of a family; you must have the more extended principle of patriotism to render you good members of the state; for the same reason you must possess universal benevolence to render you good subjects of a kingdom which comprises all worlds as so many provinces of a vast empire. Nothing short of this is holiness. Family regulations are necessary for the domestic circle; civil laws are necessary for the commonwealth; but this great law of love, which knows no limit of time or place, is fitted to be the statute of a kingdom comprehending all worlds.
But though this affection fixes on general beings as its primary object, it has a secondary object, and that is holy love, including both the love of being and the love of holiness. As it delights in the happiness of general existence, it delights in that benevolence which is friendly to general existence and which loves this sacred temper in others. Like God himself it regards with complacency both the love of being and the love of holiness.
* Prov. xii. 10.
May I not add as a distinct idea, that this holy affection delights in the measures on which the happiness of general being depends, such as the law and providential government of God and the Gospel of Christ. It delights also in the truths which relate to these measures, and in those which relate to the character of God and the mode of his existence.But this is not a distinct idea. For to love divine truths is not distinct from loving the objects which the truths disclose. The only way in which we see the objects is in the truths which relate to them, and all that we see in truth is the objects disclosed. Hence the unavoidable inference, that the haters of divine truth must be strangers to holiness.
But there is one attribute of holy love which I wish to set more distinctly in your view. Whether this affection respect being or character, it will necessarily regard God supremely. That benevolence which wishes well to being, will value the happiness of God more than that of all creatures, because he comprises in himself infinitely the greatest portion of existence. That charity which takes complacency in moral excellence, will love the character of God more than that of all creatures, because he possesses infinitely the greatest portion of benevolence. Where God therefore is not supremely loved there can be no holiness. This will be more evident when it is considered that where he is not loved supremely he is not loved at all.* And certainly there can be no love of general being that wholly disregards him who comprises in himself infinitely the greatest portion of general being, nor any love of moral excellence that wholly disregards him who contains infinitely the greatest portion of moral excellence in
* The author does not mean to approach the question, whether in those hours when the Christian's love is not supreme, it is extinguished; nor the question, whether love may exist in a disposition when it is not in exercise. He only means to say, that they who never love God supremely never love him at all.
himself. The man who after God is clearly revealed does not love him, cannot possess a spark of true benevolence nor any delight in it. This will be still more evident when it is considered that the man who does not love God is his enemy. There can be no indifference here. You may be indifferent to a thousand things in which you have no concern; but your king, whose laws interfere with every action of your lives and every motion of your hearts,-that great and dreadful king who has you in his hands and is to make you happy or miserable to eternity,-to him you cannot be indifferent. Him you must love or hate. And now let common sense speak. Can there be a particle of universal benevolence in those who hate the being that comprehends in himself infinitely the greatest portion of existence? Can men possess a particle of love for moral excellence, who hate the being that contains in himself infinitely the greatest portion of moral excellence, and even hate him for that very reason?
I will now show you how far some of the foregoing views are supported by the word of God. That teaches us, in the first place, that where God is not loved supremely he is not loved at all. For, first, it instructs us that all who love him in the least degree, are accepted as Christians and heirs of salvation. All the promises are made to those who possess the smallest degree of love. "Whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in my name, because ye belong to Christ, verily I say unto you he shall not lose his reward." "Be merciful unto me as thou usest to do unto those that love thy name,"--in the least degree. "We know that all things work together for good to them that love God." "Eye hath not seen nor ear heard neither have entered into the heart of man the things which God hath prepared for them that love him." "The kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him." "The
crown of life which he hath promised to them that love him."* Secondly, it teaches us that all who are thus accepted as Christians and heirs of salvation love God supremely. "He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me." "If any man come to me and hate not his father and mother and wife and children and brethren and sisters, yea and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.-Whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.' The great rival of God is the world; but Christians are represented as being "dead" to the world, as not coveting the world, (for "no-covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ,") and as even "hating covetousness." "God forbid that I should glory save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me and I unto the world." "Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire besides thee." To "mind earthly things," to serve "the creature more than the Creator," to be "lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God," to "love the praise of men more than the praise of God," are set down as incontestable marks of unrenewed nature.† But both of the foregoing particulars are comprised in a single text: "If any man love the world, [supremely,] the love of the Father is not in him."‡
Thus the Scriptures instruct us that where God is not loved supremely he is not loved at all. But they stop not here. They teach us that the man who does not love God is his enemy. "He that is not with me is against me, and he that gathereth not with
Ps. cxix. 132. Mark ix. 41. Rom. viii. 28. 1 Cor. ii. 9. James i. 12. and ii. 5. For a vindication of this construction of the above texts, see Note to page 40.
+ Exod. xviii. 21. Ps. lxxiii. 25. Prov. xxviii. 16. xiv. 26, 33. John xii. 43. Rom. i. 25. 1 Cor. vi. 10. v. 5. Phil. iii. 19. Col. iii. 1-3. 2 Tim. iii. 4. +1 John ii. 15.
Mat. x. 37. Luke
me scattereth abroad." In one of the ten commandments, intended for all ages and nations, the whole human race are divided into two classes, those who love God and those who hate him. "I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation, of them that hate me, and showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me.' ""* We are then brought to the conclusion that they who do not love God supremely are his enemies. And this is asserted in express terms: "No man can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will hold to the one and despise the other: ye cannot serve God and mammon." "The friendship of the world is enmity with God: whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God."*
All who do not love God supremely are then his enemies. But I go further. All are his enemies whose hearts and lives are not governed by this affection as their ruling passion, so habitually as to form their general character. What else can be understood by the passages already quoted? In these there is a character ascribed to Christians, (including all who love God at all,) and this character is, that they hate their nearest relations and even life in comparison with him; that they do not "love the world," are not friends of the world, do not "mind earthly
* Exod. xx. 5, 6. Mat. xii. 30.
+ Mat. vi. 24. James iv. 4.
What is said in this and the next paragraph is not inconsistent with the assertion repeatedly made, that the least degree of love entitles one to all the promises. The harmony of these thoughts will appear when it is considered, (1) that all who love God in the least degree, nay all who are not unreservedly his enemies,love him supremely. If this point has not been sufficiently established, the reader is requested to suspend his judgment till he has perused the fourth lecture. (2) All who love God supremely are Christians in the highest sense of the word. This will not be denied. (3) All who are truly Christians love God habitually. The proof of this is to be exhibited in the remaining part of this second head. Therefore, (4) all who love God in the least degree love him habitually. In other words, the least degree of love will certainly in all cases be habitual,- -on supposition of the perseverance of the saints.