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J. Now, to love God, is to poffefs our Minds with fuch a due Senfe and Eftimation of the Excellencies and Perfections which are in the Divine Nature, as may make us look upon God as our chief Good; make Choice of him as the only proper Object of our Happiness; and prefer his Caufe and Intereft before any Thing else that may come in Competition with it: For the Language of a true Friend and Lover of God is that of the Royal Pfalmift, Whom have I in Heaven but thee? And there is none upon Earth that I defire befides thee. And, indeed, whether we confider God abfolutely, as he is in himself, or relatively, as he fhews himself to us, there is all the Reafon imaginable, why he should be feated in the Throne of our Affections.

1. Abfolutely, and in himself, God is propofed to us as the most lovely and amiable of all Beings, in whom there is an barmonious Concurrence of all Beauties and Perfections, and who has all the Excellencies that can poffibly attract our Love, in infinite Degrees, concentered in his Nature. Wif dom, both the Ornament and Perfection of a Creature, is but a Spark of Light, fallen from the Father of Lights, and is to be found originally in him, who is the only wife God. Power, the Thing which is univerfally courted among Men, is fundamentally in him, who hath made the Heaven, and the Heaven of Heavens, and who preferveth them still. Juftice, which makes the righteous Man more excellent than his Neighbour, is a glorious Attribute of his Godhead, who is righteous in all bis Ways, and boly in all his Works. Holiness, a Thing fo venerable among Men, the most orient Pearl, that they can fhew, is but a faint Ray of that infinite Purity, which is in God. Kindness and Beneficence, which no Man ever hated, which wins upon all, is effential to him, who is the Fountain of all Good,


and whofe Mercy endureth for ever. And, to name no more, Beauty, that common Allurement of Love, is fo confpicuous in him, that the most glorious Inhabitants of Heaven, who fee bis Face, are dazzled with the Glory of it: For the Seraphims, in Ifaiah's Vifion, appear covering their Faces in the Prefence of God, either as blufhing at their own comparative Deformity, or as unable to fuftain the refulgent Luftre of the Divine Perfections. If then we deservedly love and esteem thofe Perfons, who are poffeffed of those Graces, tho' in an imperfect Degree; how can we but love and reverence God, who is the glorious Center, in whom all thefe Excellencies meet; in whom perfect Wisdom and unerring Justice, melting Goodness, and alluring Mercy, are all united to captivate our Affections? Especially confidering,

2. That, befides these effential Qualities in God, we have abundant Reason to love him, in his relative Capacity, for the daily Emanations of his Goodness to us. At first he produced us out of nothing, and made us thereby capable of receiving all Kindneffes from him. Our Existence could be no Addition to his Happiness, and therefore our Creation was the mere Effect of his eternal Love. The fame Philanthropy still fuftains and preferves us, and keeps us from relapfing into the Abyss of Non-Entity. The Divine Providence continually watches over us, fkreens us from Dangers, and confers on us actual Favours and Mercies: And, therefore, if we think ourselves bound to love our Friends and Benefactors, or Parents and deareft Relations, there is much greater Reason to love God, whofe Kindnefs to us far exceeds all the Care and Affection of the most entire Friend, of the moft indulgent Parent. But, of all the Inftances of his Love, that of fending his Son, for the Redemption of Mankind, is of the moft endearing Nature. With

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what a Variety of tender Expreffions does the Apostle describe this great Act! God, who is rich in Mercy, fays he, for his great Love, wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in Sins, bath quickened us together with Chrift, (by Grace ye are faved) and bath raised us up together, and hath made us fit together in heavenly Places, in Christ Jesus: That, in the Age to come, he might fhew the exceeding Riches of bis Grace, in his Kindness to us, through Chrift Jefus ; for by Grace are ye faved, through Faith, and that not of your felves, it is the Gift of God. Here is Grace, and Gift, and Kindness, exceeding Riches of Grace, and great Love, and Riches of Mercy, and thefe, if duly attended to, cannot fail, one would think, of kindling a reciprocal Flame of Love in our Hearts; which is therefore more peculiarly due to God; because,

3. Himself is the only Author and Cause of this Affection in us. That we have a Biass in our Natures, inclining to what is good in general, and which the Soul can no more controul, than she can the Motion of the Heart or Pulfe, is obvious to any one, that obferves his own particular Make and Constitution. Now, if there is fuch an Impreffion in our Nature, we may ask the Queftion, whether it is from ourselves, or from God. If from ourfelves, how comes it to pafs, that we cannot command or stop it?. Were we the Authors of this Motion, we should certainly have Power over it, and be able to manage and reftrain it, as we faw fit: But, fince we cannot do this, we may well conclude, that it is not a Thing of our own Production; and, if not of our own Production, then certainly it came from God, for who fhould be the Author of what is natural and neceffary in us, but he that is the Author of our Nature itfelf? Love is the fame in the moral and intellectual World, that Motion is in the natural; and, as we make God to be the Au


thor of natural Motion, so there is as much Reason to esteem him the Author of our Love. But, now, if God be the Author and Caufe of our Love, he, doubtless, has an abfolute Right and Title to it. For, what is it that gives him a Right to the whole World, but his Production of it? Why has he a Right to any of us, but because we are his Creatures? Why a Right to all our Powers and Faculties, and to all the Service of them, but because he produces and fuftains them; because in him we live, move, and have our Being? But, now, if God does as much produce our Love, as he does our Being, then has he the fame Right to our Love, that he has to any Part of our Nature, and 'tis an Injury and Injustice done him, whenever we transfer it, in any great Degree, to any other Object; fince to love God with all our Hearts, &c. cannot but imply thus much, that we love him in a peculiar and fuperlative Manner, in a Manner, wherein we must not love any Thing befides. Our Friends and Relations, our Neighbours and Acquaintance, may have fome Share of our Love and Efteem, but nothing must be loved above God, nothing equally with God, much lefs contrary to, and against him; nothing must have the Heart fo entirely as he, and nothing, that opposes him, must have it at all; seeing God is to be loved principally, and for himself; other Things only fecondarily, and in Subordination to him.

II. How then fhall we refolve ourselves in this great and important Queftion, whether we love God in the Manner we ought to do? Why, we must attend to the genuine Fruits and Properties of human Love, and thence make the Estimate of the Nature of our Love towards God. Now,

1. Every Man thinks him lovely whom he loves; and what he esteems in another, he wishes to be poffeffed of himself, that fo, becoming like unto


him, he may appeat as lovely in the Eyes of his beloved, as his beloved does in his. And, in like Manner, if we love God, we must neceffarily esteem him exceeding lovely and endearing, and, under this Efteem, must be naturally led to resemble him in all those amiable Qualities, that so much endear him to us. Did we love him indeed for his Eternity, or his Power, or his Immenfity, we might wish to be like him, but all in vain; because, in these Perfections, we are not capable of imitating him : But the Beauties, for which we love him, are his Goodness, and Wisdom, and Righteousness, and Mercy, &c. all which are Matter of our Imitation, and may be tranfcribed into our Natures. So that, if we love God, we cannot but defire to resemble him in those Things, for which we love him; and, these being all of an imitable Nature, our Defire of refembling him will provoke our best Endeavours to be pure, as he is pure; just, as he is just; and merciful, as he is merciful.

2. The greatest Ambition of Love is, to appear amiable in the Eyes of its beloved; and, that it may do so, it studiously avoids whatever may be difpleafing or distasteful, and endeavours to adorn itself with fuch fweet Graces, as may endear and recommend itself to the Object beloved. And fo, if we love God, we cannot but defire to appear lovely to him, and that Defire, if it be fincere, muft neceffarily engage us to acquire whatever is pleafing, and to avoid whatever is hateful in his Sight. Now Virtue and true Goodness are the only Beauties that endear us to God; as, on the contrary, Sin and Wickedness are the only Deformities, for which he detefts us: And therefore, as we would approve our Love to God, we must flee from Sin, and from every Appearance of Evil, left they turn away his Eyes from us; and, to conciliate his good Graces, give all Diligence to add to our Faith, Virtue; and to


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