« PreviousContinue »
It is another conclusive proof of the unholiness of all these principles, that they not only are unaccompanied with the love which the divine law requires, but have no tendency to produce it. The instincts, for instance, have no tendency to carry forth the heart to God and his kingdom, because affections limited in their very nature have no tendency to become unlimited. And into no affection but that of universal benevolence can the love of God enter, because to love God is to be like him, and God is universal love. Though these instincts do indeed lay some restraints on selfishness, they do not on the whole diminish the aggregate strength of the limited affections which act against God. Of course they have no tendency to weaken the body of sin. They may garnish that body; they may vary its forms; but they still leave it in full life. Show me an unsanctified worldling who possesses all these principles in the highest degree, and has cultivated them with the most studious care, and I will show you one who loves himself as inordinately as any other sinner, though his pride and education and the manners of cultivated society may have thrown his selfishness into new forms and drawn over it the vail of good breeding. I will show you one whose pride is in full strength, whose indolatrous love of the world is not a whit abated, and whose unbelief has never opened its eyes. And with these four grand sins of a depraved soul in full vigor, what has he gained in point of real sanctification by all his natural principles? A little paring and polishing of the extremities, but the pulse of sin still beats strong at the heart. The most that he can boast of is love to But is even that love such as the divine law requires? No, the love contemplated in the Second Table, far from being natural, is "the fruit of the Spirit," the offspring of regenerating grace: "Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God, and every one that loveth is born of God and knoweth God."
"We know that we have passed from death unto life because we love the brethren." "By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep his commandments."* So long as men retain. "the carnal mind" of "enmity against God," they have no true charity to men, not even to good men. In every point of view they fall short of that "love" which "is the fulfilling of the law." And this wanting, what are all their natural affections? This wanting, miraculous powers are nothing, nothing the consecration of all their goods to feed the poor and of their bodies to be burned.† Their inscription still is, Destitute of that "holiness without which no man shall see the Lord."
Let the unregenerate hear this. Let the unsanctified think of this. Let it follow them to their closets and their pillows. And O let the peal never cease to ring through their ears, Destitute of that "holiness without which no man shall see the Lord."
* Gal. v. 22. 1 John iii. 14. and iv. 7. and v. 2.
+1 Cor. xiii. 1-3.
SUPREME LOVE OR ENMITY.
MATTHEW VI. 24.
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.
In the last lecture you saw the doctrine of total depravity deduced from the nature of holiness; in this you will see the same truth drawn from the nature of sin. From the nature of sin I shall undertake to prove that the mass of men are the enemies of God; and this, as appeared in the foregoing lecture, amounts to the fullest proof that they are totally depraved.
Our text distinctly affirms that to love another object supremely is to be the enemy of God. "No man can serve two masters;" no man can satisfy two conflicting claims; no man can be under the commanding influence of God and mammon. Either he will hate God and love mammon, or he will cleave to God and despise mammon. If one is supreme the other must be hated or despised. despised. The reasoning though applied to wealth is not confined to it; the application being intended only to furnish an in
stance to illustrate what is manifestly laid down as a universal maxim, that "no man can serve two masters," that no man can love two objects severally and imperatively claiming to be supreme. plain instruction is, that the man who loves any creature supremely is the enemy of God. And this is taught expressly by the apostle James: "The friendship of the world is enmity with God: whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God."*
When I speak of supreme love to the world, I mean nothing different from supreme self-love. What is self-love? No man feels that fondness for his own. person which he may feel for another. Nothing can be meant by the love of himself but a regard for the happiness attached to his own consciousness. Now that happiness can reach his consciousness through no other medium than the gratification of his tastes and feelings. Self-love then is a regard for the gratification of one's own tastes and feelings. And what is the love of the world? Not a mere relish for worldly things, as food, a landscape, a garden, &c. That relish is not indeed self-love, nor is it what the Scriptures mean by the love of the world. The love of the world is a doting on worldly things. And why? No man loves these things as he loves beings capable of pleasure or pain, with an affection terminating in them. He dotes on them, (except so far as he regards them as the means of happiness to others,) only as instruments of his own gratification, that is, as instruments of his own happiness. And to dote on wealth and honour, for instance, as the mere instruments of his own happiness, is not distinct from loving himself. All that is sinful then in the love of the world, (except the small portion to be charged to the account of undue social affections,) is compre
** James iv. 4.
hended in inordinate self-love or selfishness. To this principle as the grand root of sin I now wish to draw your attention. The thoughts which I have to suggest on this subject shall be arranged under the following heads:
I. The grand root of sin is inordinate self-love. II. Every man who is not supremely attached to God is supremely attached to himself.
III. Supreme self-love necessarily produces enmity to God.-It follows from these principles,
IV. That all men by nature are God's enemies. I. The grand root of sin is inordinate self-love. Unless something is loved or regarded as desirable, there can be no motive to action, no excitation of feeling, nothing to inflame the passions. The love of something therefore must precede every sinful action or emotion. As then holiness radically consists in the love of universal being, (as was shown in the last lecture,) the root of sin, its opposite, must be found in love confined to a private circle or object, -in affections so limited as to set up the interest or gratification of an individual, a family, a country, or a world, in opposition to the interest of God and the universe. Now it is a law of these limited affections that their strength increases as their circles contract. No man loves the world at large as well as he loves his own country, nor his country as well as his family, nor his family as well as himself. Self-love* of course becomes the ruling passion and by far the most productive source of sin. It is obviously this which produces pride; and "only by pride cometh contention."+ Only by pride come therefore the causes of contention, viz. anger, malice, envy, self-will, ambition, and I may add, the whole family of depen
* When I speak of self-love as the source of sin, I mean self-love unsubjected by a higher principle, or inordinate self-love, properly denominated selfishness. Mere self-love is only the love of happiness, and aversion to misery, and so far from being sinful, is an essential attribute of a rational and even of a sensitive nature. + Prov. xiii. 10.