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The Love of God.
St. Matt. xxii. Vers. 36. 37, 38. Master, which is the great Commandment
in the Lam? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the
Lord thy God with all thy Heart, and
N Reading the Gospel of Christ with due
but observe that our Saviour, in his Difcourse and Arguings with the Jews, very often fetch'd bis Proofs from the Scriptures of the Old Testament, as the most proper
and undeniable Evidence to convince them, being
they own'd and receiv'd them as the sacred
At the 23d Verse, The Sadduces came, and
Te do greatly err, fays be, not knowing the Scriptures, nor the Power of God. For in the Refurre&tion, they neither marry, nor are given in Marriage ;
but are as the Angels of God in Heaven. For
the Proof of this, he refers them to a noted 1; 31. 32. Passage in their own Scriptures. Have not ye
read that which was spoken unto you by God, faging, I am tbe God of Abraham, and the God of Ifaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not God of the Dead, but of the Living. When the Multitude beard this, they were astonished at his Do&trine.
The Pharifees perceiving, that he had thus put the Sadduces to Silence, moved with Indignation, resolve to try their Skill upon him. To this purpose one of thein, a Lawyer, according to St. Mark, a Scribe; a Man, no doubt of Letters, of Figure, and Reputation among them for his Knowledge in expounde ing their Law and Traditions, came unto him and insiduously ask'd him this Question, Ma
fter, which is the great Commandment of the Law ? He knowing their Craftiness, answers him with another Quotation out of their own Scriptures. Thou sbalt love the Lord thy God, toith all thy Heart, and with all thy Soul, and with all thy Mind. This is the first and great Commandment. After this, no Man was able to answer bim a Word, neither durft any Man from that day forth ask him any more Questi
Verse the last. This was the Occasion of the Words.
My Design from thein is to discourse unto you of the first and great Commandment of the Moral and Christian Law, viz. Our Love to God.' And what I shall advance and
pursue upon that Subject, shall be comprised in explaining and enlarging upon this one general Head, viz. To give you the just Meaning and Impor- The gene.
tance of this first and great Command-ral Head
the Enjoyments of this world.
love him unfeignedly, fervently, constantly,
our God betb given us richly to enjoy : And Tim. 4 that every Creature of God is good, if received,
We can't conceive any Being, but God alone, without Imperfections and Wants; and consequently without vehement Desires and Endeavours to have them redressed and supplied ; and therefore it can never be unlawful for indigent Creatures to act in pursuance of these natural Instincts and harmless Desires, which God in their Creation made them subject to;
Deut. 26. 1.
nor inconsistent with any Duty we have to him, who pursue with Prudence, Moderation, and Submislion to his Will, those Things which his good Providence hath suited to their Convenience and Support.
The juft Importance therefore of these Words, may, I presume, be sufficiently and satisfactorily explain’d by inlarging upon these three following Particulars,
1. That we love God in such a Degree, with
our Understandings, and in our Consciences, as to value nothing in Heaven, or
in Earth, in Comparison of Him. 2. That we suffer nothing to rival, or stand
in Competition with him in our Wills
and Affections. 3. That he be the great Object of our Reve
rence and Fear, and that the Authority and Awe of his presence, govern all our Designs and Adions.
1. The first is, That we love God in such a Degree, with our Underftandings , and Consciences, as to value nothing in Heaven, or in Earth, in Comparison of Him. That is to say, that we efteem, and reverence, and adore him, as the only Sovereign Omnipotent Lord of the whole World; the Creator of Heaven and Earth, of all Things visible and invisible, Angels, Men, and Devils; that they all subfist by his Power, act by his Permission, and are obedient to his Will and Command D