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VOL. love, and the inward spiritual sense of the new I.
creature, whereof this love is the heart, and life, and foul.“ What! shall external sense impose
upon me, and tell me what is fit for me to love, o and what not? What! shall I love no higher “ than so? no higher than a brute?". Therefore, how much more noble and excellent a fpirit is that of the truly good man, than the men of this world are of! and how excellent is the spirit of divine love, which is in the saints, above that which is earthly and sensual! Let us believe this therefore, and be convinced, that the spirit that is peculiar to godly men is quite another thing, from a vul. gar and mundane spirit; and its strain and genius different, from that of the men of this world. These love only what they fee, and think they are excused from loving any but sensible objects. But says the good man, “ When I have seen, “ and viewed all the good, and all the excellen“ cy that this sensible creation can offer to my “ view, I must have something unseen for my “ love to pitch upon which is beyond all this." Therefore a gracious spirit is an excellent spirit. It cannot grovel upon this earth. It must ascend above all visible things, and get up to that God who is invisible.
6. Since we are so strictly obliged to the love of God though we cannot see him ; what reason have we to charge and condemn ourselves, and even loath and abhor our selves, that we have loved him so little, and that so small a part
of our life can be said to have been spent in this SERM. divine exercise! It is high time for us to under- IX. stand the state of our case, and to consider it in this respect: though it is very much to be feared that it is but little considered; for alas, how generally do people carry it as if they thought themselves innocent in this point! After all the injury that has been done to God by our not loving him, this is the most intolerable aggravation that we should think our selves innocent therein, and maintain · that temper of spirit as if we apprehended all was well. And how plain is it that it will not enter into the souls of men, that they are guilty creatures before the Lord on this account, that they have not loved him?
If a man had secretly and privily been guilty of the death of another on such a day, and the matter was closely covered up and no body knew it; yet how would his own thoughts dog him and accufe him at night! The blood of that man would so cry in his conscience, that certainly he would have but a hard matter of it to compose himself to quiet peaceful repose. Why, men in not loving God are guilty of deicide, as much as they can be, or as far as their power extends. It is an attempt against God. It is saying in their hearts, No God! For it is a plain denial of his goodness, and therefore of his being. It is as much a denial of his goodness, as infidelity is of his truth. What a strange thing is it, that men can be so much at peace with themselves, can pass over whole days one after another, yet no
VOL, such thing as the love of God to be found among 1.
them! and at night can deep and rest, and their hearts never smite them for it.
METHINKS it is strange that men can make fo flight a matter of breaking all laws at once, as you have heard this is of not loving God; of subverting the whole frame of the divine government over us. For how do we obey it in any thing, who comport not with the first principle of obedience, namely love to God? Oh that men fhould be guilty of a more horrid fact, than it would be, if it were in their power, to turn all things out of order, and yet not only be able to rest but even to think themselves innocent all the while!
These things, in my apprehension, do make a mot wonderful conjuncture, where they happen to meet together ; these four things especially.
That it should be fo plain to every man that he ought to love God;
That it should be so plainly demonstrable as to the most, that they do not love God;
That it should be so confessedly a foul and horrid thing not to love him, even by every man's acknowledgment; and yet,
THAT so many can be guilty of this horrid crime all their lives, and yet live as if all was well, and they were innocent all the while. All these things make, I say, an amazing conjuncture. I appeal to you if they do not.
But that none of us may be so stupid under such guilt as this, let us, since we cannot excufe
it, freely condemn our felves. For who is there SERM, among us but must be forced to acknowledge, IX. that the love of God is too little exercised, or is very faint and languid among us? Methinks we should hate our felves for this, that we do not love God. It ought to be looked upon as a frightful thing, a monstrous indisposition in us. We should then in our own thoughts, commune with our selves, and reason thus. " Why, what
a creature am I! what a strange creature am “ I! of how amazing a composition! I have an “ understanding about me. I know that which u is good and what is best. I know the author ☆ of all goodness and excellency, must needs be so the highest excellency and goodness himself. so I have also love in my nature, which I can “ employ upon inferior things, and which I con“ fess to be of unspeakably less, and of diminutive “ goodness. How monstrously strange is it then " that I cannot feel daily emotions of love in my “ heart to God! that I cannot find my heart to " beat for him! that every thought of him is not “ pleasant to me! How amazing and wonderful is “ this!" Why sure it is a very befitting posture, that we should be covered with shame and confusion before the Lord; and be even wallowing in our own tears, lamenting that there should be fo stupid and cool an ascent in our hearts towards him. That we can spend whole days without him; give him no visits, and receive none that are of concernment to us; and in a word, lead our life as it were without God in the world.
VOL. It should make us alhamed to read that pre-
• cept of an heathen emperor*, who expresies him-
your selves well pleased with every thing that he
dispenseth to you, and take all kindly at hiş “ hands; and when also you obey that leader and “ ruler," (he can mean nothing but the conscience that is in man) “ which he hath set to be “ the guide of your actions. So shall
So shall you lead your lives with God, and have daily converse Go with him.” And now to have daily our conversation in the world without God, and yet have no scruple about it, nor remorse upon it, is a marvellous thing; especially among us, who hear of him and from him so often, and know that we must be happy in him at last, or else eternally miserable. In the
LAST place, since our not seeing God cannot excuse us from loving him, how much we are concerned to fee to it that it be no hindrance or impediment to this our duty of loving God. And that it may not, it is very necessary that it be some way or other supplied. Since it is imposfible for us to see God, we ought to consider seriously with our selves, whether there be not something or other that may ferve us instead of the sight of God, and be a means of our living in his love. And here I had several things in my thoughts to have hinted to you, and intended to have gone through them at this time, but I must leave them to the next opportunity.
SERM. * Antoninus,