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VOL. him and us; but he is with us in our walking in I.
the way, in our sitting down in our houses, in our lying down on our beds, in any wilderness, in any den or desart. Certainly it can be no way unfit, that he should be chosen for our converse, and for the great object of our love, though we cannot see him. Our not being able to see him detracts nothing from the reasonableness of placing our love there, upon all these accounts. Therefore the pretence for our not loving God because he is invisible, is altogether insufficient, and carries nothing in it that a valid excuse should have to make it so. I should now proceed to Thew the intolerable absurdities of not loving God because he is invisible ; but the time doch not give me leave now to speak to them,
Preached October 11, 1676.
1 JOHN IV. 20. -He that loveth not his Brother, whom he bath seen ; how can be love God, whom he hath not seen?
AVING in the three last discourses
shewn the invalidity of the excuse for not loving God, drawn from his in
visibility, we now proceed in the 2. PLACE, To evince more fully the obligation we are under to this duty, and to shew the intolerable absurdity of this excuse, that is, of pleading that we do not love God, only because we cannot see him *.
For (1.) It would infer, that we are to be affected or moved with no invisible thing whatsoever ; or that nothing but what can strike our senses, ought to touch our hearts. For if this be a good reason in the present case, we do not love God because we cannot see him, wheresoever the case is alike, the reason will be fo too ; and so we are to be moved by nothing at all, but what is to be seen. No threatning danger then is to be feared
* See Sermon V. p. 75.
VOL. or provided against, and no distant good to be I. cared for; and so our greatest concernments that
should urge us more than all others, must be quite thrown aside. Our business for eternity and another world, the apprehensions of which men cannot quite abolish out of their minds, must all stand still ; and we live at such a rate that no man will be able to give a tolerable account what he livcth for, or what his business in this world is. For it is altogether inconceivable for what purpose such a creature as man is should be here in this world, furnished with so much higher and nobler faculties than the brute beasts, and yet to do no other business but what they might do as well as we.
(2.) It would hence be consequent, that the blessed God would be everlastingly excluded our love, or that he could never be loved by his reasonable intelligent creature for an eternal reason; because he can never be seen, as we see our brother with eyes of flesh. None of us in this sense can ever behold Gop; and if this reason be con. clusive, to all eternity he must be excluded our love. And so it may be affirmed even of his reasonable creatures, none do love him, nor ever Ihall. And again,
(3.) ACCORDING to this way of reasoning God would lose his interest in our love by the excellency of his nature. And how monstrously absurd is it, that by how much the more excellent an object is, so much the less it should be loved! For it is owing to the excellency of his
nature and being, that God cannot be seen. Ser M. And is it not an horrid consequence, that because VIII. he is so excellent as he is, therefore he is not to be loved ? Nothing is more manifest, than that by how much the more excellent any thing is, so much the more it is remote from our sight. And shall this be admitted as a principle, that by how much the more excellent any thing is, the less it shall be loved ? Shall Gop lose his interest in our love, merely because he is so excellent and perfect as he is? or shall be for this reason be less loved than visible objects are ? Again,
(4.) ALL commerce would hereupon cease, or rather never be, between the bleffed God and his intelligent creature, at least all intellectual commerce suitable to such a creature. For if this were a good reason, he is not to be seen, therefore he is not to be loved, it would also follow, that he is not to be trusted, feared, or 0beyed. All which would infer, that God hath made an intelligent being with whom he can converse no way suitable to its nature, than which nothing can be thought more abfurd. Further,
(5.) ALL differences of moral good and evil, in such a case, would be quite taken away, or all apprehensions of them, from among men. For the rectitude or irrectitude of actions is not to be judged of, nor discerned by the sight of our eye. We cannot by this means alone tell whether this or that thing be right or wrong. And this by consequence would necessarily render mankind inçapable of being governed by laws; because the
VOL. reason why a law should oblige, doth not fall unI.
der any man's fight. The decency and fitness of a thing the eye does not reach; for to discern this is the busineis of the mind. And so it would be left altogether impossible for any one to assign a reason, why it should be more congruous to equity and justice for one to embrace his friend, than to murder him; why a man should relieve the poor who cannot help themselves, rather than oppress them; or why a man should not as well, and with as great reason and equity, affront a ruler, as obey him and be subject to his authority ? So that in short you take away the foundation of converse with man, at the same time you take away the foundation of religious converse with God and invisible things. By this kind of argument you not only overturn the practice of godliness and piety, which is a great part of that love to GOD we ought to be exercised in, but you do as effectually by the fame means destroy all civil commerce between man and man, howsoever related ; and leave no foundation for human society, considering the members of it in relation to governors or rulers, and to one another. And
(6.) It would hence follow, that the original constitution of man's nature was made up of inconsistencies ; nothing else but a piece of selfcontradiction. That is, it would be necessary to do a thing, and yet at the same time imposible, It is necessary by the constitution of the human nature that man do love å known good, and