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Imt a new Creature. Wherefore let us pray and labour for a firm and stedfast Faith in Christ -, and that riot a dead, idle, and ineffectual Faith, but a Faith that is lively and operative, and is accompany'd with good Works : for a dead Faith will never bring us to Life, nor obtain the. Pro-* mife of Salvation for us.
The Gospel for the Thirteenth Sunday after Trinity,
St. Luke x, 23 38.
Jilejsed are the Eyes that fee the things that ye fee; for J tell you, that many Prophets and Kjngs have defied to fee those things which ye fee, and have not seen them, and to hear those things that ye heart and have not heard them. And behold A certain Lawyer fiood up, &c.
THE Epistle for the Day spake of Christ in the Promise made to Abraham and his Seed, long before his Coming; of which before. The Gospel speaks of him as actually come, shewing himself to his Disciples, anc} delivering to them the Words of eternal Life: and thence declares the much greater Blessedness of those that faw him in the Flestj, than they that only beheld him in the Promise as 'tis a far greater Comfort to fee a Friend, than barely to hear of him, Which made him turn to his pisciples, and fay privately to them. , Blejfed are the Eyes that fee the things that ye fee, &C, meaning, that their Eyes were blessed with the sight of the most glorious Object, in seeing their Saviour, that they were capable of beholding, A sight that made good old Simeon desire to see nothing more after he had seen that, as knowing that the World could not afford such another Prospect: Now (faith he) let thy Servant depart in peace, for mine Eyes have seen thy Salvation, which thou hast prepared pared before the sace of all People, to be a Light to lighten the Gentiles, and to be the Glory of thy People Israel. Luke 2. 29, 30, &c.
St. John -fells us, that he and many others were bless'd with that happy Sight, John 1. 14. The Word was made Flejh, and we beheld his Glory, as the Glory of the only-begotten Son of God, full of Grace and Truth. And elsewhere, That which we have seen with our Eyes, which we have looked on, and our Hands have handled of the Word of Life, that declare we unto you ; for the Life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal Life that was with the Father, and was manifested unto us. i John 1.1, 2.
Now here the Eyes are pronoune'd blessed, that thus faw him in the Flesh ; and that because many Prophets and Kings have desir'd to fee those things which ye fee, and have not seen them, and to hear those things which you hear, and have not heard them. The Prophets and Kings here mention'd, were Abraham, Moses, with other succeeding Prophets and Princes, who in all the Messages they deliver'd concerning the Messias had longing Desires to see him, and likewise to hear the Doctrine to be reveal'd by him. And yet none of them ever had the happiness of either ., for tho God discovers himself to some of them, and employ'd them in revealing his Will to others, yet the Revelations now made to you, are infinitely beyond any that were afforded to Men before. Abraham indeed is faid to see Christ's Day, but that was through a Glass darkly; he faw him afar off in the Promise and the Prophecy, but ye faw him face to face. And thence he proceeds to bless the Eyes that faw his Person, and the Ears that heard his Doctrine-, both which were Favours and Privileges never vouchfafed to any Kings or Prophets before.
Upon Christ's speaking these things to his Disciples, Behold, a certain Lawyer stood up and tempted him, fay'ng, Master^ what shall I do to inherit eternal Life? Wnicht Question proceeded not from any sincere Desire of knowing or doing his Duty, but from an insidious Design of intrapping or intangling of him: to defeat which, our Saviour so orders the matter, as to make him answer his own Question j for referring him to the Law, he asks what is written there? and how readest thou? He answering, said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy Hearts and with all thy Soul, and with all thy Strength, and with Jl
X 4 thy thy Mind, and thy Neighbour as thy self. Whereupon Christ; told him, that he had answer d right; this do, and thou shalt live. Where our Saviour comprizes the whole Law in two words, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God, &c. and thy Neighbour as thy [elf; and promises eternal Life upon the doing of them.' In' treating pf which? 'twill be requisite to shew.
First, The Mature and Properties of Love,
Secondly, The double Object of it, viz.. God and our
'Thirdly, The Manner and Measure of both: the one is to be lov'd with all the Heart, Sec. the other is to be lov'd as our selves. And,
Lastly, The Reward of so doing, which is eternal Life;
This do, and thou shak live,
First, For the Nature of Love, it may be thus describ'd; ^Tis a Pastion of the Soul that inclines it to unite to the thing beloved. I stile it a Passion of the Soul, to shew that 'tis seated within, not in the Lip or the Tongue, but in the Heart•, and thence shews it self in Deed and in Truth. And'tis a Passion that inclines to unite it self to something that is pleasing to it •, for all true Love, you know, covets the nearest and closest Union with what it is set upon. The Properties of it are chiefly these two j a Desire to please, and a Desire to enjoy. 'He that truly loveS any Person, will endeavour to ap* prove himself to him, to do all'things that may be grateful arid well-pleasing to him, and likewise to avoid all that may any ways offend dr displease him. The most disficult Service will be easy to a true Lover, and the most grateful things will be forborn, when they may prove offensive.
Again, True Love desires to enjoy: it delights in "the Presence, and grows impatient of the Absence of what 'tis fix'd upon. The Love 6f a Friend will make us desire his Converfation, to wish for his Company, and to be pleas'd with the enjoying it.' This is briefly the Nature, and these are the Properties of Love, and by these Fruits you may know the Truth and Reality of it j which you niay therefore try' by this Touchstone."
Seondly, As for the Object of Love? 'tis double, viz.. Qoc|, and our Neighbour. ........
........u ',j . • The
The first and great Object of our Love is God -, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God. He is the Lord, and so his Power and Sovereignty may command our Affections. He js our God, in Covenant and Relation to us; and so his Kindness and Nearness to us may engage us to love him. The two strongest Motives of Love, are infinite Greatness and infinite Goodness, both which center in God, and in none beside him.
As for the infinite Greatness and Excellency of his Person, that is far above all that we can express or conceive, for he is the Sum and Source of all Perfections: all imaginable Excellencies are originally in him; and whatever is excellent in any of his Creatures, is intirely deriv'd from, him. And what nobler Object can we have for our Love, than He who is the Author and Fountain of all Perfections? . . .. . (
But beside the transcendent Greatness of his Person, the infinite Goodness and Bounty of his Nature may justly command our Affection: He is good (faith the Pfalmist) and doth good. He is infinitely good in himself, and he is unspeakably so to all his Creatures ., for he daily watches over us for good, and is still protecting us from all evil 5, he provides for our Bodies, and preserves our Souls: in a! word, he freely gives us all things that are necessary both for Life and Godliness. And what great reason have we to love so amiable an Object, and to give our selves to Him, whoso freely gives us all things? But our Saviour men? tipns here, . .: '. . .
zdly, Another Object of our Love; and that is, our Neighbour :. for 'tis faid not only, that thou shalt love the Lord thy God, but likewise that thou (halt love thy Neighbour, And this we are commanded to do,
(1.) And chiefly for God's fake, whose Creature, Child, and Servant he is. Thy Neighbour hath the Image of God stamp'd upon him; his Body is wonderfully made and framed by him in all its parts, his Soul is immortal like himself j he is ally'd to the Father of Spirits, and akin to the holy Angels: which made St. John iay^ He that loveth God, must and will love his Brother also; i John 4. 20,21. Again,
(2.) Thy Neighbour is to be lov'd for his own fake, because he hath the fame Nature with thy self; his Body is made of the fame Mould, his Soul came out of the fame Hands, and is. endqw'4 with the fame, noble and excellent
u w . FacalFaculties: In this (faith Solomon) the Poor and the Rich meet together, that God is the Maker of them ail. Prov. 22.2.
Lastly, Our Neighbour is to be lov'd for our own fake, because he is Bone of our Bone, and Flesh of our Flesh, being the fame Substance multiply'd and enlarg'd into more Persons: so that to be cruel to him, is in effect to. be cruel to our selves and to be kind to him, is indeed to cherish our own Flesh. In a word, if likeness be any Cause or Motive of Love, we are to love our Neighbour for God's, for his, and for our own fake; he being in Likeness of Nature ally'd and related to them all. And this Love is to be express'd, partly by avoiding all things that are any way hurtful or displeasing to him, in Body, Goods, or Name; and partly by doing all good Offices, that may be helpful or beneficial to him in all or either of them. This is, in short, the double Object of our Love.
r But, Thirdly, how or in what measure are these two to be lov'd by us? Why, that oar Saviour here tells us Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy Heart, and with all thy Soul, and with all thy Strength, and with all thy Mind: that is, with the highest and most superlative Affection. And likewise, Thou shalt love thy Neighbour as thy self; that is, with the like Affection that thou Dearest to thy self.
For the 1st, The loving of God with all the Heart and all the Soul, &c. denotes both the Sincerity and Integrity of our Love to him.
The Sincerity is signify'd by its being from the Heart, flot from the Teeth or the Tongue outward, but from the j-leart, Soul, and Spirit; and what springs from thence is commonly found and sincere. And therefore we find God tailing for it, My Son, give me thine Heart. 'Tis not for the Ear only to listen to him, nor for the Tongue to talk of him; but for the Heart to receive and embrace him. All true Love of God is rooted there, and all the Acts of it mutt proceed from thence: it must be with the Heart, Soul, and Mind, that is, with the Understanding, Will, and Affections; which are all to be devoted to him, and inwardly touch'd and inflamed with the Love of him.
And as the Heart, Soul, and Mind denote the Sincerity; so with all the Heart, and with all the Soul, and with all the Mind, denotes the Integrity of our Love to him : that is, he must have all, and will admit of no Rival with him in our Affections; for though he loves a broken, yet he