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VV God is both untrue and abfurd,

SERMON XIV.
Preached November 22, 1676.

1.John IV. 20.
He that loveth not his Brother, whom be
bath seen; bow can he love God, whom
be hath not feen?

E are endeavouring to shew you,

that their pretence to the love of who love not their brother. And as to this we proposed to shew in the

.

I. PLACE how we are to understand the duty of loving our brother; that is, in what extent and latitude, and also with what restriction and limitation.

II. Whence it is that persons pretend to the love of God, who never loved their brother. We now proceed,

III. To shew the falfhood and absurdity of that pretence; or to evince to you, that the pretence of love to God, where there is no love to our brother, is both false and absurd. That it is false is exprelly enough said in this very verse, and we need go no further for the proof of it. If

VOL. a man say be loveth God, and hateth bis brother,
I. he is a liar. What need we more to prove this

pretence false? That it is also absurd, is to be
evinced to you from the confiderations we shall
give you for that purpose, which are especially
two: namely, the necessary connexion that there
is between the love of God, and the love of our
brother, in the nature of things; and the greater
difficulty of loving God whom we have not seen,
than our brother whom we have seen. So that
it is absurd for a man to pretend, that he has
mastered the greater difficulty, who has not over-
come the less.

1. The absurdity of this pretence may be evinced from the necessary strict connexion there is between the love of God, and the love of our brother, even in the nature of the things themselves. And here we shall shew you that there is a fourfold connexion between them.

(1.) They are connected in respect of their
object.

(2.) In respect of their root and principle.
(3.) In respect of their rule. And
(4.) Of their End.

(1.) THE Y are connected in respect of their
object. Love to God and love to our brother,
will be found to have in some sort the same object.
I would not go about to prove any great affinity
between the things themselves, but it is plain, I
say, they have in some sort the same formal
object. That is, our love to our brother if it is

right

1

right and true, falls in with our love of God; SERM. so as that our love of God must be the

very

XIV. formal reason of our loving our Brother, whom we can never truly love, if we do not love him for God's 'fake and because we primarily love God.

The truth is, whatever specimens of beauty or excellence we find any where in the creature, we are then only said to love them duly, when our love is pitched upon them as so many rays and beams from the first and supreme good. And so it is the original primary goodness which we rightfully love, even in this or that creature. It is true indeed, goodness in its original, and in its descent and derivation are not univocally the same. Nothing can be univocally common to God and the creature. But they are analogically the same. Goodness is primarily in God, and so descends, and is imparted to this or that creature. But it is only there by dependance upon him, from whom and in whom it originally is. And our love to our brother, in the strictest sense of that expression, is exerted, when it meets with that goodness, which is the most express and vivid image of God's own. We there love the representation of God in that subject wherein he has proposed himself to us as our pattern, even the excellency and glory of his holiness.

THEY that are in the strictest sense our brethren, as you have heard, are God's own regenerate fons; and because we are to love him that begat, we are to love them that are begotten

of

VOL. of him. And it is therefore to be observed, that I.

elsewhere in this Epistle, our states Godward are to be measured by this one thing, namely, our love to the brethren. We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren b. So that if we compare place with place, it is very plain that the measure here is but mensura mensurata; that is, it is it self to be measured by a supreme measure, namely, our love to God. It is a mark or character, which itself is tried by a higher mark. By this, says the Apostle, we know that we love the Children of GOD, when we love God and keep bis commandments c. So that no man may depend further upon this as a mark and trial of his state with respect to God, that he loves such and such his children, than as he is able to evince the love of them to be for God's own fake, and as they bear his image and likeness. And so the trial finally and ultimately resolves in this, " Am I a “ lóver of God, yea or no?"

It is very true, that I may first and more fen. fibly have the perception perhaps of my love to this or that particular man. But I must run the matter higher, and particularly inquire, what is the reason I love this man? Is it because he is a good man? taking goodness in the strictest and most noble sense. Is it because he hath participated of the divine goodness ? and is a follower, imitator, representer of God's moral goodness, which is his holiness? We muft be capable of concluding our selves

lovers 1 John v. I. ! John 111. 14.

c ch. v. 2.

lovers of our brethren, as they are holyones, as they Serm. bear, or appear to us to bear, the image of God. XIV. And hereby, and not otherwise, can we conclude our love to our brother to be of the right kind, by our being able to evince that we love God primarily and above him, that is, that we love him for God's fake. And whatever is to be said of any thing for such a reason, and only upon that account, is much more to be faid of that reason it self. We do not therefore love our brother aright, if God be not loved much more; our love to God being the very reason, why we truly and aright do love our brother.

Thus they stand connected in their object. You see they cannot be’severed ; and that a man cannot possibly love his brother aright, if he loveth not GOD: therefore the love of GOD must needs draw in the love of our brother, as a thing inseparably connected with it.

(2.) They are connected also in the root and principle, which in both is one and the same; namely, that very spirit of love, which is mentioned by Paul to Timothy, and which God has given us, as well as that of power, and of a sound mind. We must know that love to our brother is a fruit of the spirit as well as love to God. We have an enumeration of the several fruits of the fpirit in the Epistle to the Galatians, and love is set in the front of them alle. Now if you consider what fruits of the Aesh those of the {pirit do stand in opposition to, you will find

your . Gal. vi. 25

• 2 Tim. 1. 7.

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