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and Sisters, yea, and his own Life also, be cannot be my Disciple. Not that a Man ought to hate any of these, but he ought to love them all less than Yesus Christ: He ought to postpone them; he ought to light, and forsake, and abandon them, whenever he cannot keep them, and preserve his Love, his Duty, his Fidelity to God. Thus much for this Time.
O God, who hast prepared for them that love Thee, such good Things as pass Man's Understanding ; pour into our Hearts such Love towards Thee, that we loving Thee above all Thing's, may obtain thy Promise, which exceeds all that we can depre, thro Jesus Christ our Lord. To whom, &c.
Matt. XXII. 37, 38, 39, 40.
37. Jefus said unto him, Thou shalt love the
Lord thy God with all thy Heart, and with
all thy Soul, and with all thy Mind.. 38. This is the first and great Commandment. 39. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt
love thy Neighbour as thyself. 40. On these two Commandments bang all the
Law and the Prophets.
Vorg Began to treat on this Text the
a laft Lord's Day; and the Method as I proposed was;
1. To give some Account, what is meant by loving God with all our Heart, and Soul, and Mind.
II. To shew in what Respects, or upon what Grounds, this Love of God is the first and greatest of the Commandments.
III. To make some Inferences from this Proposition of our Saviour, that to love God with all the Heart and Soul, is the first and greatest of the Commandments.
IV. To observe some practical Case about the Love of God.
As to the first of these Points, What it is to love God, with all our Hearts, and Souls, and Minds; I shewed you, that it must necessarily comprise in it these four Things.
First, That we have a great and just Esteem of God.
Secondly. That we have an earnest Desire 1 to be made Partakers of his Perfections,
Thirdly, That we heartily endeavour to recommend ourselves to his Favour, by doing such Things as are pleasing and acceptable to him.
Fourthly, That we so far dread his Dira pleasure, that we would not for any worldly Consideration incur it.
On these Things I dwelt the last Lord's Day, and therefore shall not now enlarge upon them; but proceed to the second general Point of my proposed Method, and that is, to fhew in what Respect, or upon what Accounts, this Precept of loving God is the first and greatest Commandment..
Now, I fay it is so, and must be accounted fo, for these following Reasons :
First of all, in regard, that, in the Order of Nature, it is before the other Commandments, and is, as it were, the Foundation of them.
The other Duties of the Law are built and grounded upon this, and do derive their Obligation from it. For Instance, the Duty we owe to our Neighbour, to be just and faithful in our Dealings, to be merciful and charitable, to be quiet and peaceable; as likewise the Duties we owe to ourselves, to be chaíte, and modest, and temperate: These are acknowleged to be necessary indispenfable Precepts. But now from whence doth our Obligation to them arise? How comes it that they do bind our Consciences to the Performance of them? Is it because they are Things reasonable in themselves, and agreeable to the Frame of Human Nature? Or is it because the Practice of these Things is the natural Means to make our Lives more easy and comfortable in this World? Why, I grant, that both these Things are true, and both of them are likewise considerable Motives to engage us to the Practice of them ; but yet, in strict speaking, neither of them is sufficient to lay a direct Obligation upon our Consciences, to the practising of them, without something else, and that is this:
The Authority of the Great God (whom we are all bound to love and serve with all our Hearts, with all our Minds, and with all our Strength), that hath made these Things
to be our Duty, that hath prescribed it as a Law to us, to be just, and charitable, chaste, and temperate, and the like: I say, it is this that layeth the direct Obligation upon Conscience; fo that were we not bound in Conscience to serve and love Gob, neither should we be bound in Conscience to practise those other Things.
The Truth is, were there no God in the World, whom we were bound to love and serve, there would be no such Things as Love and Conscience in the World: It is the Consideration of God in the Action, that makes any Action to be Religious or Irreligious: And it is the Consideration of God's Authority, that makes any thing to be a Duty in point of Conscience, or to be a Sin against Conscience. And therefore, since to love and cleave to God, is the first Duty, and that which gives the Stamp of Conscience and Religion to all the rest, it must needs be the first and greatest of all the Commandments.
Secondly, This Law of loving God with all our Hearts and Souls, is the greatest of all the rest, in regard of its Excellency and Dignity; because it employeth and exercises the Powers of our Souls in the highest and noblest Operations, and about the best Object they are capable of. To love God, is certainly the highest Perfection and Accomplishment of human Nature; for hereby we are made like unto God; we are made Par