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which is the method instituted by Christ for re-SERM. storing and reviving love to God in the souls of IV. men. But though this is necessary, yet we are also to know that it is not sufficient ; for all the preaching in the world cannot alone make the fenfual heart of man to love God. And there fore we proceed to infer further;
6. That lince men are so very unapt to love God, and for this reason, because they see him not; there is great need of the communication and influence of that glorious and mighty spirit of life to relieve him in this fad extremity and distress. For surely it is a very distressed case, that man cannot love his own Maker, the author of his life and being; him in whom is his eternal hope, and all because he cannot see ltim. It is a case that calls for a very great and powerful hand to redress į and no other hand is propora tionable to the exigence thereof. Though he works by means, and even by that of the Gospel-revelation, yet it doth not follow that the means will do the business alone; but the contrary follows, that because they are means, therefore there must be an agent, and an efficient, to use them, and one proportionable to the work of forming and disposing the spirits of men towards God, that they may be capable of his love, and admit it into their hearts so as to rule and govern there.
there. And what can do this búe the spirit of God? What else is it that can awaken and rouze the dull, Nuggish, drowlý spí. rics of men ? What else, I say, can quicken, pri
VOL. rify, and refine spirits lost in pleasure and sense?) 1. The way of bringing any foul to love God, is
to give it the spirit of love. . There is no other way of doing it. Now the Apostle says, that God bath given to us not the spirit of fear ; but of power, and of love, and of a sound minda. One and the same spirit is all these at once. And till that spirit is given us, there is nothing but enmity and disaffection towards God; there is nothing but feebleness -and impotence, as to any thing that is good; there is nothing but distemperature and diseasedness in man, which have pierced him to the very heart. This spirit therefore, in reference to these several exigencies, is a Spirit of love, of power, and of a sound mind. That same spirit that makes the soul capable now of doing things that require power ; that same spirit that rectifies the mind, and heals it of those distempers under which it was waiting and consuming before, is a SPIRIT OF LOVE. It is faid to be a spirit given, a spirit fuperadded to our own, a spirit that we had not before, Indeed it must be some other spirit than ours, which must render us capable of loving God.
You know, that the Apostle recounting the several fruits of the spirit, (as he had done those of the Aesh before).sets this of love in the front of them. The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, , &c. And after telling us, that exe bath not seen, nor ear beard, neither have entered into the beari of man, the things which God hath prepared for
tben 2 Tim. 1.7.
them that love him ; he tells us also of a spirit Serm. different from that of the world, the spirit which
IV. is of God, which such as they had received. We have received, says he, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of Godd And in this fame chapter, wherein is our text, you have the Apostle John speaking to this very case, to wit, the impossibility of our feeing God: No man batb seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfeated in us. Hereby know we that we dwell in bim and be in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit Love to one another as Christians or saints, is also a fruit of that same blessed fpirit. And if there be such a principle of love within us, it plainly speaks that God dwells in us, and we in him, and that he hath planted his own love in our souls, which is perfecting there. It is manifest now that he hath taken possession of us, and drawn us into union with himself, so as to become the great fountain of that principle of love in us, whereby we are capable of loving him, and loving such as are his for his fake.
And because the act of the heart in loving supposes some foregoing act of the mind by which the object is perceived to be lovely, therefore this same spirit is elsewhere called a spirit of wifdom, and revelation, in the knowledge of himf, whom we are to love. The Apostle is there praying earnestly on behalf of the Ephesians,
1 Cor. 11. 9. Ephes. 1. 17.
• Ver. 12.
er John iv. 12, 13,
VOL. that this spirit might be given them, by which I.
they might be capable of knowing, and knowing practically, as the word * signifies, and of coming into union with that blessed one that is known. And on this union love hath a great influence. St. John says, We know the son of GOD is come and bath given us an understanding that we may know bim that is true; and we are in bim that is true, even in his son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life. The understanding here spoken of is said to be given, by which we so come to know God in Christ, as to be brought into union with him by love ; it is, I say, a given thing, men have it not of themselves.
It is very requisite, and therefore I so long infift upon it, that we understand how necessary it is, that there be another and a better spirit than our own, to render us capable of loving God whom we have not seen ; for otherwise we shall never love beyond the sight of our own eye. And it is very strange, that this necessity, since the case speaks it self, and the holy scriptures so often declare it, should be no more understood. If there be no such necessity, what is the reason we are taught to pray for the spirit", as starving children do for bread? That we are bid to live in the Spirit', to walk in the spirit, and by the fpirit to mortify the deeds of the flesh'? And are we not told, that we must be born of the spirit,
emigratie: 8 1 John v. 20. # Math. vii. 9, 10, ili i Gal. V. 25.
Rom. vii, 1. Ver. 13.
or else we shall never enter into the kingdom of Serm. God m? All this is plain language one would IV. think, and easy enough to be understood by those that have a mind to it. But it is very observable, that those notions which tend to make as little as possible of the depravity and corruption of man’s nature, to magnify beyond measure the power of man in his fallen state, to depress preaching, and to make light of the operations of the Holy Ghost upon the minds of men, are all of a sort, all of a piece. These are notions that hang upon one thread, and when we see wherein they issue and terminate, we may easily discern the danger of them ; and into how great hazard they bring the eternal concerns of the souls of those men, who suffer themselves to be tainted with them. We again farther infer,
7. That the work of regeneration must needs stand in very great part in the implanting and seating in the souls of men such principles, as may directly tend to controul the dictates of sense, and in opposition to it rule and govern in men. The infirmity and distemper of man's nature easily shews, wherein this cure and renovation must consist. This is at present the great distemper of his soul, it cannot love but where it can see. It is the fight of the eye that carries the heart, and draweth it this way and that way. A most dreadful distemper this! But as we know the distemper, we know wherein the cure must consist. Regeneration is that which restores the
John III 3.