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in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth Serm. that I defire besides thee '.
V. Such expressions as these verbal ones, and some significantly real actions and sufferings on the account of love to God, will not suffer us to doubt but that there have been true lovers of God, whatever there are in our days. And it is to be hoped, that there are some even now. However it is to be feared, that there are persons in the world who are heartily grieved, and vexed at the very heart, that there should be such expressions as these now mentioned, in those writings which they think it convenient to acknowledge as divine. For if they did not think thus, how loudly and clamorously would David and those who speak such words, have been cried out upon ; and perhaps be charged with being fanaticks and enthusiasts, as much as any in our days!
And that an unseen Goo should be loved, and an unseen Christ, who is also out of sight, is spoken of in Scripture not only as the true character, but the high glory of Christian believers. Whom baving not seen, says St. Peter, ye love ; in wbom though now ye see him not, yet believing ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory k. This is not barely affirmed, concerning these primitive Christians, but spoken of them as their high praise and encomium ; as being a discovery of the refinedness, excellency, and greatness of their spirits, who could so far lift up themselves
above * 1 Pet. 1. 8,
i PS. LXXIII. 25.
vol. above sense and sensible things, as to place their I.
highest and most vigorous love upon an unseen object. That was glorious joy, and glorious love, placed upon what was not seen ; a deserving object, at least believed to be fuch, though not seen.
AND so it is we know that the blessed God becomes visible. By faith Moses indured; as seeing him who is invisible! The word of God is a representation of himself, and makes report, of all the glorious excellencies belonging to him, Among the rest this is his peculiar and distinguishing attribute, that he cannot lye m. His truth is one of those excellencies; therefore it is impossible that he should misrepresent himself, or say that he is other than he is. For, as the Apostle says, what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him ? Even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the spirit of God". He sure can best tell what an excellent and glorious Being he is, and as he has told us he is such a one (which it was imposible he should do if he was not really poffeffed of those excellencies) then there is all the reason in the world to acknowledge, that he ought to be loved infinitely above all. And this hath been the sense of many, whose practice also hath been answerable to it; who have been in this world, living in tabernacles of clay and earth as we do. Therefore it follows, that it is no impossible thing that God should be loved,
though m Heb. vi. 18. o i Cor. 11. ii.
1 Heb. xi. 27.
though he be not seen. And fupposing it not SE RM. impossible, then
V. In the next place it is eafy to be proved also, that it is not unfit to love God, for that reason. Sundry suggestions might be used to enforce this, and afterwards the absurdities of this excuse might also be brought in view. Indeed I have had it most in my eye, to expose this absurd principle, that men have no need to concern themselves with things unseen ; I would fain, I say, drive it out of the world. And if men would but examine it thoroughly, it would appear to them monstrously absurd. To do this therefore, and set it before their eyes, would be worth our time, and shall ac cordingly be done hereafter.
in hand. How can be love God,
SERMON VI. Preached September 27, 1676.
1 JOHN IV. 20. -He that loveth not bis Brother, whom he bath feen; how can be love God, whom be hath not seen?
PON the latter part of the text lies the
main weight of the discourse we have whom be bath not seen? In which it is plainly implied, that we are still perpetually bound to love God, notwithstanding his being invisible. And the vehemence of the Apostle's expoftulation here, implies it to be a most intolerable thing not to do so.
And therefore we have observed,
THAT not to love GOD is a sin most hor. rid and heinous, notwithstanding the excuse that we see him not. Here we proposed in the .
1. PLACE to fhew the vanity and impertinence of this excuse; and then,
II. To demonstrate the heinousness of this sin, and its horrid nature.
SERM. In order to evince the impertinence of this VI. excuse, there were two things which it was charged with ; to wit, that it has nothing which a valid excuse should have; and if it could be admitted, it would draw the worst consequences after it.
1. It is insufficient, as we have observed, to alledge this as an excuse for not loving God, that we see him not ; because it is not for this reason impossible, nor unfit, that God should require this by a law *.
(1.) It is not impossible. For the fight of our eye is not the immediate cause of our loving any thing, but only the medium by which the mind discerns the loveliness of the object. For there are other means besides this of sight, to possess our minds with the love of certain things. And since there are such in the present case, which lead us to the love of God, and have actually led others to it, it is therefore possible to be
• Here we shewed that if any thing be brought in excuse for not obeying a law, and the exception is not against the authority of the lawgiver, but to the matter of the law, that which is alledged as a valid excuse, must be able to evince one of these two things : either that the thing injoined by this law, is impossible to them on whom it is injoined ; or that at least though poslible, yet it is unfit, and therefore unreasonable to be imposed. Neither of which will be ad. mitted. It is indeed impoflible to men considered under the reigning power of sin, and while they remain so. It is so only by a compound impoflibility; as there is a compound neceffity, by which a thing is said necessarily to be, while it is. But to love God though we see him not, is not a simple impossibility; for then it were imposible, that he should be loved by any one at all.