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may more liberally solace and refresh himself in God, may safely take it as an evidence of his love to God.
Now that, after the same manner, the love of our neighbour is the sum of the second table, the apostle St Paul proves for us clearly and briefly, Rom. xiii, 9, 10. All the commandments touching our neighbour, are for the guarding of bim from evil and injury. Now Love worketh no ill to his neighbour ; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. He that truly loves his neighbour as himself, will be as loath to wrong hiin as to wrong bimself, either in that honor and respect that is due to him, or in bis life, or chastity, or goods, or good name, or to lodge so much as an unjust desire or thought, because that is the beginning and conception of real injury. In a word, the great disorder and crookedness of the corrupt heart of man, consists in self-love: it is the very root of all sin both against God and man, for no man commits any offence, but it is in some way to profit or please himself. It was a high enormity of self-love, that brought forth the very first sin of mankind. This was the bait which took more than either the color or the taste of the apple, that it was desirable for knowledge; it was in this, that the main strength of the temptation lay, Ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. And was it not deep self-love to affect that? And it is still thus. Though we feel the miserable fruits of that tree, the same self-love possesses us still ; so that to please our own humors and lusts, our pride, or covetousness, or voluptuousness, we break the law of God, the law of piety, and of equity and cha. rity to men. Therefore the apostle, foretelling the iniquities and impieties of the last times, that men shall be covetous, boasters, and lovers of pleasures, more than lovers of God, sets this on the front, as the chief leading evil, and the source of all the rest, lovers of their ownselves ; Men shall be lovers of themselves, therefore covetous ; and lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God, because lovers of their ownselves ; 2 Tim. iii, 2. Therefore this is the sum of that which God requires in his holy law, the reforming of our love, which is the commanding passion of the soul, and wheels all the rest about with it in good or evil.
And its reformation consists in this, in recalling it from
ourselves unto God, and reflecting it from God to our brethren. Loving ourselves sovereignly by corrupt nature, we are enemies to God, and haters of him, and cannot love our neighbours but only in reference to ourselves, and so far as it profits or pleaseth us to do so, and not in order and respect unto God. The highest and the true redress of this disorder, is that which we have here in these two precepts as the substance of all; first, that all our love ascend to God, and then that what is due to men descend from thence, and so, passing that way, it is purified and refined, and is subordinated and conformed to our love of him above all, which is the first and great commandment.
II. Here we have the supreme object of love, to whom it is due, the Lord thy God, and the measure of it, which is indeed to know no measure, with all thy heart, all thy soul, and all thy mind; for which, in Deut. vi, 5, we have all thy strength. Luke hath both. The difference is none, for all mean that the soul and all the powers of it should unite and combine themselves in their most intense and highest strength, to the love of God, and that all the workings of the soul and actions of the whole man, be no other than the acting and exercise of this love.
He accounts not nor accepts of any thing we can offer him, if we give not the heart with it; and he will have none of that either, unless he bave it all, And it is a poor all, when we have given it, for the great God to accept of. If one of us had the affection of a hundred, yea, of all the men in the world, yet could he not love God in a measure answerable to his full worth and goodness. All the glorified spirits, angels, and men, that are or shall be, in their perfections, loving him with the utmost extent of their souls, do not altogether make up so much love as he deserves. Yet he is pleased to require our heart, and the love we have to bestow on him ; and though it is infinitely due of debt, yet he will take it as a gift; My son, give me thy heart. - Therefore, the soul that begins to offer itself to him, although overwhelmed with the sense of its own unworthiness and the meapness of its love, yet may say, Lord, I am ashamed of this gift I bring thee, yet because thou callest for it, such as it is, here it is ; the heart and all
the love I have, I offer unto thee, and had I ten thousand times more, it should all be thine. As much as I can, I love thee, and I desire to be able to love thee more. Although I am unworthy to be admitted to love, yet thou art most worthy to be loved by me, and besides, thou dost allow, yea, commandest me to love thee. My loving of thee adds nothing to thee, but it makes me happy; and though it be true, the love and the heart I offer thee are infinitely too little for thee, yet there is nothing besides thee enough for them.
The Lord or Jehovah, thy God. There lie the two great reasons of love Jehovah, the Spring of being and goodness, infinitely lovely; all the beauty and excellencies of the creatures are but a drop of that ocean--and Thy God, to all of us the Author of our life, and of all that we enjoy; who spread forth those heavens that roll about us and comfort us with their light, and motions, and influences; and established this earth that sustains us; who furnisheth us with food and raiment, and in a word, who gives us life, and breath, and all things ; and, to the believer, his God in a nearer propriety, by redemption and peculiar covenant. But our misery is, the most of us do not study and consider bim, wbat he is in himself and what to us ; and therefore we do not love him, because we know him not.
And thy neighbour as thyself. If we will not confess nor suspect ourselves, how much we are wanting in the former, yet our manifest defect in this latter will discover it. Therefore the apostle, Rom. xiii, 10, speaks of this as all, because, though inferior to the other, yet connected with it, and the surest sign of it : for these live and die together. The apostle St. John is express in it, and gives those hypocrites the lie plainly; If any man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar. We have no real way of expressing our love to God, but in our converse with men, and in the works of love towards them.
Certainly that sweet affection of love to God, canoot consist with malice and bitterness of spirit against our brethren. No, it sweetens and calms the soul, and makes it all love every way.
As thyself; as iruly both wishing and, to thy power, procuring his good, as thy own. Consider how unwilling thou art to be injured or defamed ; and have the same thoughts for thy brother ; be as tender for him. But how few of us aspire to this degree of charity !
Thy very enemies are not here excluded. If self-love be still predominant in thee, instead of the love of God, then thou wilt make thine own interest the rule of thy love ; so when thou art or conceivest thou art wronged by any one, the reason of thy love ceasetb. But if thou love for God, that reason abides still : God hath commanded me to love my enemies, and he gives me his example ; he does good to the wicked who offend him.
And this is indeed a trial of our love to God. One hath married thee; that gives thee to think that thou hast no cause to love him for thyself; be it so; self-love forbids thee, but the love of God commands thee to love him. God says, If thou lovest me, love him for
sake. And if thy love to God be sincere, thou wilt be glad of the occasion to give so good a testimony of it, and find a pleasure in that which others account so difficult and painful.
Hebrews viii, 10.
of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts; and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people.
The two great evils that perplex sensible minds, are the guiltiness of sin, and the power of it. Therefore this new covenant hath in it two promises opposite to these two evils ; free pardon to remove the guilt of sin, and the subduing of its power by the law of God written in the
heart. Of this latter only, for the present. Having spoken somewhat of the sense of the law in the ten commandments, and of the sum of it in two, this remains to be considered as altogether necessary for obedience, and without which, all bearing and speaking, and all the knowledge of it, will be fruitless. Though it be made very clear and legible without, we shall only read it, and not at all keep it, unless it be likewise written within.
Observe, in the first place, the agreement of the law with the gospel. The gospel-bears the complete fulfilling of the law, and the satisfying of its highest exactness, in our surety Jesus Christ, so that, in that way, nothing is abated; but besides, in reference to ourselves, though it take off the rigor of it from us, because answered by another for us, yet it doth not abolish the rule of the law, but establisheth it; Rom, iii, 31. It is so far from tearing or blotting out the outward copies of it, that it writes it anew, where it was not before, even within, sets it upon the heart in sure and deep characters. We see this kind of writing of the law, is a promise for the days of the gospel, cited out of the prophet Jeremiah ; xxxi, 33.
There is indeed no such writing of the law in us, or keeping of it by us, as will hold good for our justification in the sight of God; therefore that other promise runs combined with it, the free forgiveness of iniquity. But again, there is no such forgiveness as sets a man free to licentiousness and contempt of God's law, but, on the contrary, binds him more strongly to obedience; therefore to that sweet promise of the pardon of sin, is inseparably joined this other of the inward writing of the law. The heart is not washed from the guiltiness of siu in the blood of Christ, that it may wallow and defile itself again in the same puddle, but it is therefore washed, that the tables or leaves of it may be clean, for receiving the pure characters of that law of God which is to be written on it.
Concerning this writing, there are three things you may mark; I. what it is ; II. what is its necessity; III. who is its writer.
1. What it is. The writing of the law in the heart, is briefly no other than the renewing and sanctifying of the