« EdellinenJatka »
VOL. your selves necessitated to admit and conclude, I. that love there is not meant of love to God alone,
but of that love which diffuses and spreads it self duly according as the objects are presented or do invite; in which the divine goodness is found, in himself primarily, and derived to this or that creature, and especially to such as bear, as was said, the more lively image and representation of his goodness.
We are not therefore to think, that love to God is one gracious principle, and love to our brother is another gracious principle: but we must know, that it is one and the same gracious principle of holy love which works towards this or that object, according to the excellency and amiableness thereof; that is, proportionably to what I see of divine goodness in it, which is the formal reason of my love. Holy love is the affection of love fanctified; which affection is not many but one, but yet turns it self towards this or that object according as the object claims and requires.
And therefore we find expressly that love to our brethren is resolved into the spirit of holiness, as its original cause, which is the thing that I would mainly, and principally inculcate, that so it may not be looked upon as a thing of an inferior nature; since we are too apt to look with a diminishing eye upon this duty of love to our brethren. It is really one of the fruits of the spirit of holiness, a part of its production in renewed souls. See how expressly the Apostle Peter speaks to this purpose. Seeing ye bave purified
your souls in obeying the truth through the spirit, un- Serm. to unfeigned love of the brethren; see that
ye one another with a pure beart fervently . So again we are told, that the end of the commandment is charity (or love, for it is the same word that is rendered sometimes one way and fometimes the other) out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned By the end of the commandment is meant the perfection, the top, the sum of it; or that which does virtually include all that liech within the whole compass of the commandment. And what we are to understand by the word commandment, which is expressed indefinitely, we may see in what follows; namely, that it is the same thing with the . law. The law, says the Apostle, is not made for a righteous man; but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for finners, for the unboly and profane, &ck. which supposes the commandment and law here to be meant of the law in its extent, as it comprehends both tables; not only our duty to God, but to our brother also. And therefore that love which is the coronis and very sum of it, goes to both. Now it is said concerning this love, taken 'thus extenfively, that it must proceed out of a pure heart, and faith unfeigned. It must proceed from that faith, which is peculiar to the regenerate sons of God. They that believe are born of Godi And as many as received him to them gave the power VOL. I.
VOL. to become the sons of God, even to them that be-
lieve in his name; which were born not of blood,
WHERETORE this love is in most necessary
Y E A and to evince this a little farther you find that in this very Epistle in which is our text, love to our brother, even an indigent brother,
is k John i. 12, 13
I Luke xvil. S. 2 Fet. 1. 5, 6, 7,
is called by the name of love to God; that is, Serm. not with reference to him considered as the ob
XIV. ject (though in some respects as was faid before God may be considered as the object too) but in reference to him as the original and author of this love. He that bath this world's good, faith the Apostle, and seeth his brother have need, and Jhutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him o? It is as if he had said, it is plain, that this divine love, which God is the author of, and of which this poor indigent brother is an object, is not in him, if he has no bowels of compassion towards him at fuch a time, when the exigency of his case calls for relief.
The Apostle Paul tells the Thessalonian Christians, that concerning brotherly love they needed not that he should write unto them, for (faith he) you your selves are taught of God to love one another o Sure we are not strangers to the inport of that expression in Scripture, or what it is to be taught of God. The expression is paralleld by those which represent men as drawn by him, efficaciously moved, and acted by his almighty spirit. Every one, faith our Saviour, that hath beard and learned of the Father, cometh unto me P. That hearing, and learning of the Father, is expounded by that of being drawn, or powerfully attracted by the Father. Therefore the meaning of this expression, You have been taught of God, is this ; your hearts have R2
i Joha VI. 45.
VOL. been powerfully drawn by God into the exercise
of this love to one another. You need not that I
In the second Chapter of this same Epistle of
.9 Jerem. XXXI. 31-35.
? Heb. viii. 11.