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SERMON II.

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
with all thy Soul, and with all thy

Mind.
This is the first, and great Commandment.

I

N Reading the Gospel of Christ with due
Attention and Understanding, we can't

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

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. 29.

they own'd and receiv'd them as the sacred
Oracles of God, very remarkable in this
Chapter.

At the 23d Verse, The Sadduces came, and
proposed fome Sceptical Questions to our
Lord, concerning the Resurrection of the Dead.
Where, after he had rectify'd their Errors and
Carnal Motions concerning the State of the
Resurrection, which they took to be a Sort of
Mabometan Paradise of Luxury and Unclean-
ness; he shewed them what the true Nature
and Spiritual Joys of it were.

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

ster,

3•

ons.

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
ments; How we may be said to love the of Dil-
Lord our God with all our Heart, and with
all our Soul, and with all our Mind
How fuch Measures of Divine Love are
practicable in themselves, and consistent
with that Love and Affection, we bear to

the Enjoyments of this world.
Now the several Synonymous Words, which
are here used of loving the Lord our God, with
all our Heart, Soul, and Mind, can't be sup- .
pos’d to import any thing more, than that we

love

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love him unfeignedly, fervently, constantly,
fuperlatively with an upright Intention of
Heart, with an ardent Zeal of Conscience,
with a veheinent Desire of Affection, with an
unalterable Fixation of Resolution ; in a word,
above all created Beings loever, whether
Things or Persons. And therefore they are
not to be taken in their exalted and rigid Sense,
as if our Love to God excluded all our Affe-
aion and Delire,' all our Care and Concern
for the Things of this World in a subordinate
Degree ; as if that was either unlawful in it
felf, or inconsistent with our Love to God.
Indeed such an indiscreet Interpretation of the
Words hath had its ill Effects upon weak and
injudicious Minds, by intangling them in per-
plexing Doubts and Scruples, and running
them upon the dangerous Rocks of Enthusiasm,
or Superstition, or Dispair ; and is in it self an
Wir orthy Reflection upon
Wisdom of God, who hath cominanded us.
To rejoice in every good Thing which the Lord

our God betb given us richly to enjoy : And Tim. 4 that every Creature of God is good, if received,

with. Thanksgiving:

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

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

That

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