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far inferior to a thousand things upon earth, to which you have given your love. Now you would not dare to utter such blasphemy as this, and how can you dare to declare it, much more strongly, by the temper of your hearts, and stand to it as a truth? O! will you never retract it by becoming a lover of God? My brethren, can you imagine a more shocking, insolent wickedness than this? And what an hateful soul must that be that has been guilty of it all its days! What is this but to say, with the atheistic fool, No God ? for he is not God, if he be not supremely excellent and amiable ? and if you wish there were no God, what do you do but wish universal desolation, and imprecate destruction to yourself, and every other being? for were there no God, there could be nothing else ; there would not have been one spark of being through infinite space in any point of duration.
2. Your not loving God is a most unnatural wickedness. He is your Father; and that in a higher sense than your earthly parents can be.
He is the Author of your bodies, because it was he that first established, and still continues in force, those iaws of generation, by which they were produced : and had it not been for this, men could no more produce one another than a stone or a clod of earth. As to your souls, the nobler part of your persons, they are his immediate offspring, produced by him without the instrumentality of secondary causes, of any pre-existent ma. terials. Thus he is your father in the highest sense ; and yet you have not loved him! You have not loved him who gave you the power of love ! You have not loved him from whose creative hands you came a few years ago! What an unnatural wickedness is this? What were you an hundred years ago? You were nothing; and you would have continued so to all eternity, had he not spoke you into being. And yet you have not sincerely loved him to this moment! Most astonishing! Must you not tremble at and abominate yourselves as the vilest and most unnatural monsters? Should the child that received his being from you in a subordinate sense, the child you dandled upon your knees, and for whom you are now laboriously making provision, should he hate the sight of you, shun your company, and do nothing to please you, how would you take it ? Would you not think the unnatural miscreant unworthy of life? And yet thus you have treated your heavenly Father, to whom you were under much higher and more endearing obligations. You have treated him as only a de
spised broken idol, in whom you could take no pleasure. And are you pleased with yourselves notwithstanding ? shall not such a shocking prodigy, at which angels gaze with horror, be struck with horror at itself ?-Should all the world treat God as you have done, what would be the consequence? Why, there would not be one lover of God to be found among all the numerous race of man. And yet, if you have a right to hate him, they have too. Have you any peculiar indulgence in this case ? Can you produce an exemption from that universal law, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart ? &c. You see then whither your conduct leads, and do you not shudder to think of it? And can you imagine yourselves innocent still ? Do you think you have tolerably good hearts for all? I am sure your reason, if it be not entirely lost, will not allow you to think so.
3. This is a most ungrateful wickedness. Think what God has done for you ; how many mercies he has given you, as many mercies as moments ; think how many deliverances he has wrought for you ; see what a well-furnished world he has formed for your accommodation.—Think, O think, of the love and sufferings of Jesus ; see the abasement, the labours, the hardships of his life ; see the agonies of his crucifixion ; see the crown of thorns, the mangled visage, the disjointed limbs, the flowing blood, the bursting heart, the dying pangs of your blessed Re. deemer. O! think upon, and view these things, and then say, what do you think of your enmity against him after all this? Can ingratitude rise to a higher pitch ? O! is this your return for all the kindness of God ? for all the love of Jesus? There was something very cutting in his question to the Jews, Many good works kave I done among you. I have never provoked you by any thing but good works ; and for which of these do you slone me ? John x. 32. This may be easily accommodated to you. Many kind actions has he done to you, many grievous sufferings has he undergone for you ; and for which of these do you hate him? O must not such an expostulation wound you to the heart, and melt you down at his feet in the deepest repentance ? O! can you continue enemies to the very cross of Christ ? Must not that disarm your resentment, and dissolve your hearts, hard as they are, into the most tender love?
4. This is a most comprehensive wickedness. You are repeatedly told, that love is the fulfilling of the law. Rom. xiii. 8, 10. James xi. 8. The first and great commandment upon whicla
(with a like precept with regard to our neighbour) the whole law and the prophets depend, is, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, &c. that is, love is the root, the principle, the , substance of all obedience, because it constrains a man to a cheerful observance of every divine precept, and naturally disposes him to a dutiful conduct. Now if love be the fulfilling of the whole law, it follows, that the want of love is the breach of the whole law : it is dashing the two tables of the law in pieces at once. As love is the principle of all obedience, so enmity is the principle of all disobedience; and while this reigns in your hearts, it diffuses a deadly poison through every thing you do ; and you cannot perform one action acceptable to God. All your endeavours are but the treacherous flattery of an enemy, or the forced homage of a rebel obliged to feign submission. In short, the want of love to God is the want of every thing that is morally good : it is the root of all evil ; it is a complication of all wickedness ; a summa. ry, nay, I may say, the sum total of all disobedience and rebellion. And can you any longer build your hopes on the fewness or smallness of your sins ? Alas! while you are possessed of this temper, your hearts are full of every evil. This renders not one ly your actions, your words, and thoughts of every kind, guilty and vile, but the stated, settled bent and disposition of your minds, most wicked and abominable. * And must you not fall on your faces before your injured Sovereign, and cry, guilty, guilty ?But,
5. This is a most inexcusable wickedness. Your moutb must be stopped, and you have no plea left to excuse or extenuate it." You cannot plead here, as you do in some other things, “ There are so many different denominations in the world, so many different opinions about religion, that I know not what to choose ;* for here, as I told you, all are agreed. They are all unanimous in this, that love to God is essential to religion. Not only all denominations of christians, but Jews, Mahometans, Heathens, and all that believe the existence of a God, confess this. And are you of a religion that does not include the love of God in it? It is the religion of devils, or rather it is the most diabolical irrelig. ion. I insist the more boldly upon this point, because it is a catholic truth, free from all suspicion of party. You cannot plead
When the omniscient God views you asleep, when all the powers of action are suspended, what can he say of you but this, “ Here lies an enemy of God ?"
that you have no time for the exercise of love to God; for love is not the work of the hands, but of the heart ; and may be performed while you are engaged in other business. Can you not think affectionately of a friend behind a counter, or over a plough? So you might love God, and yet follow your daily employments.-Nor can you excuse yourselves from your inability; for God has implanted the passion of love in your nature, and you find it easy to love other things : you can love the world, you can love a child or a friend, and why cannot you love God? The act of love is the same in both cases, and one would think it would be an easier thing for you to love him who is the Supreme Excellence, than imperfect creatures, whose excellency is limited, or mingled with many hateful qualities. Whence then is your inability in this case? It is nothing else but the strength of your enmity ; that is, you are so disaffected to the ever-blessed God, that you cannot love him ; and does this lessen your crimed: Do the inveteracy and rancour of your enmity excuse it ? Alas! that is its most dreadful aggravation. O! how wicked must you be when you are so disaffected to the God that made you, and the Saviour that died for you, that you cannot prevail, upon your hearts to love him ! Farther, Have you tried what can be done to root out and subdue this enmity by the power of the Holy Spirit? Have you cried to God in earnest prayer, and used all means for that end? If not, it is plain you are an enemy to God, and love to continue so : you hate him, and practically insist upon it you do right. Nor can you pretend ignorance in this case ; for your own conscience tells you, it is your duty to love God. In short, you are entirely inexcusable : you sin against the full conviction of your own minds, and you must join with God, angels and men, in your own condemnation.
6. This temper, if it continue, will certainly exclude you from the kingdom of heaven. "Alas! what would you do there with your disaffected hearts ?-Heaven would be an enemy's country to you. What pleasure could you have in the society or service of that God whom you hate? in those exercises and enjoyments for which you have no relish ? Could you be happy in the practice of eternal flattery, bowing and singing insincere complimental praises to an enemy? Could you affect the society there? There is not one like you in all that innumerable assembly : they all love that God whom you disgust. And with what pleasure could you mingle among them ? How could you live in a country where,
the laws, the customs, the employments, the disposition of the inhabitants, are all contrary to your temper? O! you need no sentence from your Judge to exclude you, you would escluce yourselves, and choose to mingle with your fellow-devils :Which leads me to add,
7. This temper, if it continue, will certainly lead you to hel! You are fit for no other place. Where should the enemies al God be, but in an infernal prison ? There is the same propriety in it as in shutting up madmen in bedlam, or rebels in a dasgeon. Why, you are devilized already ; you have the very temper of devils : enmity to God is the grand constituent of a devil ; the worst ingredient in that infernal composition ; and this you have in your hearts, and, as it were, incorporated with your habitual temper. And what do you think will become of you ? Judge yourselves, must you not be doomed to that everlasting fire, which was prepared for the devil and his angels, whom you resemble ?
Here I must subjoin, that if ever you are brought to love God it must be in this world. In heaven and hell no new dispositions are planted ; but those that are found prevalent in the soul will ripen and grow to perfection. None begin to grow wicked in hell, or to love God heaven : the seeds are all sown in the present state, which then spring up to maturity. Therefore, il you would ever have the love of God shed abroad in your hearts, now, now is the time ; now or never.
But, “ What means (you will say) shall I use for this purpose ?"—Here I must be short : but if you are really in earnest, you will easily understand the shortest hints.
1. Labour to be deeply sensible of the aggravated sinfulness and danger of your present state. Deeply impress your minds with this. Check the levity of your minds, and indulge a serious, anxious, sorrowful temper ; for your case really requires it.
2. Be deeply sensible of the necessity of divine grace to change your hearts, and inspire you with divine love. The disease is so far gone, you cannot heal yourselves ; but, blessed be God, He is able, He is able to make such an enemy as you his hearty friend and dutiful subject. Therefore,
3. Betake yourselves to earnest prayer ; and confess your guilt, your vileness, your liableness to divine displeasure : cry for his Spirit 10 shed abroad his love in your hearts : here let your petitions centre ; for this is the main thing. Endeavour to de