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VOL. if they could not trust one another. Without
mutual confidence, there would be an end of all traffick. But to this human society Thews there is a disposition ; and you can easily find out persons, in whom you would as safely repose your trust and confidence, as in your own hearts. You can say, “ I would put my life into such a man's “ hands, or whatever is most dear to me.” And if that person should but promise to undertake an affair, saying, “I will do such a thing for
you, trust me with it, leave it upon me;" you would be as quiet, as if you saw the business done and already effected. But how unapt are the hearts of men to trust in God! And this it is, that holds off the world from him. He hath sent the gospel of peace and reconciliation to mankind, and therein declares the good tidings, how willing he is that the controversies should be taken up between men and himself; yet none will believe it, none think him in earnest, till he is pleased himself to draw them. Who hath believed, faith' the Prophet, cur report? or, to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed & ? Plainly intimating, that the arm of God must go forth to make a man believe him, and take his word. A strong argument, that he hath but little love among men, when he cannot be trusted; or, at least, when fo few will give him credit!
3. A READINESS to be concerned for one another's interest, and reputation, is also a natural evidence of love. And we know how easily men are drawn in for one another, and take part with
a & Isaian LiII, I.
a neighbour, or a friend, when they are traduced, Serm. and evil spoken of; and especially when they
I. see indignities and affronts put upon them. There is usually a great fiding among persons upon such occasions.
“ Such a one has spoken « ill of my friend, I must stand up for him to “ the uttermost. Another has injured him, “ purloined from him that which was his, and “ the like ; I must right him.” Should we not reckon him a base fellow, who should behold an act of stealing committed upon the estate of another, and not make a discovery of it, or endeavour to have him righted ? But how little generally are men concerned for God, and his affairs ! What robberies are every where committed against him, and yet how few do lay it to heart ! How evil is he spoken of many times, and his truth, and his ways! But how few can fay, The reproaches wherewith they have reproached thee, have fallen upon me"! It is true, this is the sense of David, when he cries out, As with a sword in my bones mine enemies reproach me, while they say unto me daily, where is thy Godi? It is to me as if one was forcing a sword into my bones, even into my marrow; a most intolerable torment to be upbraided in respect to my GOD: that he is either impotent, and cannot help me; or that he is false to me, and answerech not the trust I have reposed in him. But how few are there of David's mind, in this case? How many oaths and blasphemies can they hear, wherein the fa
cred Pf. 1811.9.
i Pl. XLII. 10.
VOL. cred name of God is rent and torn, and yet I.
their hearts are not pierced at all! Further,
4. An earnest study to please men is a natural expression of love. Now let the matter be estimated by this, how much less God is loved in the world than men. It is an ordinary thing with them to study to please ofte another, to humour one another. “ Such and such things I do, “ and such I omit, left I should displease a rela“ tion, a friend, or one that I have frequent oc“ casion to converse with.” But how few are the persons, who can say, “This I do purposely “ to please my God?" or with Joseph, How can I do this great wickedness, and fin against GOD k! A man will oftentimes cross his own will, to comply with that of another; and reckon it a great piece of civility to recede from his own inclination in order to gratify another person, when he can do it without any great inconvenience. But how rare a thing is this with respect to God! To be able to say, “In such a thing “ I displease my self, that I may please God; “ I cross my own will, to comply with his.” Among men there is especially one fort, that we are more concerned and obliged to please, so far as we can ; and that is, such as rule over
We are bound to please our superiors; and to obey them, that we may do so.' And there is no obedience either to GOD or man, that is right in its own kind, but what proceeds from love, and is an evidence as well as an effect of it.
IF 1 Gen. XXXIX, 9.
If you love me, faith Christ, keep my coinmand- SERM. ments!. And this is the love of God, faith St.
I. John, that we keep his word. Moreover the duties of the second table, which we owe to men, particularly that of obedience to superiors, are summed
all in love. The Apostle having, in the xiri chapter of his Epistle to the Romans, pressed fubjection to the higher powers, in that they are of God, adds in the roth verse, that to love one another is the fulfilling of the law. Render, saith he, in the same discourse, to all their dues : tribute, to whom tribute is due; custom, to whom custom ; fear, to whom fear ; honour, to wbom bonour n.
Yet observe, all is wrapt up in love ; for the command is immediately after, to owe no man any thing, but to love one another : and in short there is nothing which love doth not comprehend, or to which it doth not incline us.
But however, though such obedience be due to our human superiors as proceedeth from love ; yet how apparent is the case, that herein is greater love shewn to men, than to GOD, though too little to both? There is indeed too little regard to laws both human and divine, in the most important matters; yet surely a great deal less to the latter, than to the former. The thing speaks itself as to common observation : and we daily see how much more human laws do influence men's practice, than those which are divine ; and that persons are a great deal more prone to
• John XIV. 15. , 1 John v. 3.
o Rom. x111, 7, 8.
VOL. be precisely observant of them about matters, I.
which they themselves do otherwise count indifferent, than of the laws of God, which are about the most necessary matters, and which also are acknowledged as such. Thus it hath long apparently been in the Christian world. A greater account hath been made of this and that arbitrary circumstance, than of the substance of religion it self. More stress hath been put upon the cream, the falt, and the oil, and such additionals of human invention, than on the great obligations of the baptismal covenant. And if it were not 1o, it could never have been desired by any, that we should rather be all infidels, than not be Christians after their fashion, and in their way. For that it hath been 'evidently so, may be seen in this; that this whole nation it self hath at once suffered under the interdict of excommunication in former days. All the doors of our churches and chapels have been shut up, only for some non-compliance, with this or that human addition; thus they chose we should rather be no Christians at all, than not have Christianity with those additions. This thews a greater disposition in the minds of men to obey human laws, in circumstantial matters ; than divine laws, in those points which are most necessary and important.
WHAT then is more apparent, than that God is less loved in the world than men are ; fince persons are more forward to thew respect to them, than to him ? Not but that we are bound