« PreviousContinue »
On the right Love of the Lord God.
* And one of the Scribes came, and having heard them reasoning low
gether, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, which is the first commandment of all ? And Jesus answered him, the first of all the commandments is, 'hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord; and thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength :' this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself :' there is none other commandment greater than these.". Marx, xii. 28, 29, 30, 31.
OUR blessed Saviour has delivered in these words
four very important truths: First, he teaches us the right knowledge of the Lord God.
Secondly, the right love of him.
Thirdly, the right love of our neighbour, arising from the right love of God; and
Fourthly, the greatness of these commandments; there is none other commandment greater than thesc.
The first of these particulars has been already treated of. It is contained in these words: Hear, O Israel, Jehovah our Alebim is one Jehovah. There are three that have entered into covenant in heaven, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and these three are one, three persons of one essence. This is the revealed account, and this, my brethren, you are bound
to receive, if you believe in God: for if you withdraw your allegiance from the three persons in one Jehovah, and pay it to an absolute God existing in one person, you are as guilty of idolatry as if you had tweny thousand Gods. This is the case of every deist, who, by rejecting the scripture-doctrine of the Trinity in Unity, is in as bad a state as the atheist: for what is the difference between him who has no God, and him who has a false God? They are both without the true God in the world, both traitors against the majesty of Jehovah, and both have turned away their ears from hearing his laws. He has commanded them to believe in him as Jehovah Alehim, but they refuse to believe in him. The atheist says there is no Jehovah, and the fool upon record, the deist, hath said in his heart there are no Alehim; and how then can they escape his vengeance, since he has threaten. ed that they who only forget him shall be punished in everlasting fire? “The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the people that forget God." The crime is small to forget God, compared to theirs who deny his very being, or who refuse to worship him as the true God. In either case they are guilty of high treason : for the Lord God calls upon them to hearken to him. He is about to deliver the first and great commandment, and he requires his people to attend and to receive the law from his mouth-Hear, O Israel! Israel signifies all the people of God, in whatever age or country they live, whether they be Jews or Gentiles. “ Hear, O Israel, Jehovah our Alehim is one Jehovah:” Jehovah is one, but Alehim is plural, more than one, namely, the three in covenant, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, who took this name, because the covenant was confirmed by an oath, for the sake of the heirs of promise, that they might have two immutable things to rest their faith upon. The right knowledge of God then consists in believing, that in Jehovah, the self-existent essence, there are three co-equal and co-eternal persons, between whom there is no difference or inequality, but grace. Their
what is made by the covenant of
names, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, are not descriptive of their nature, but of their offices; they are not to teach us in what manner they exist in Jehovah, but they are covenant names, belonging to the offices which the divine persons sustain in the covenant. ture does not use these names to teach us how the divine persons exist, but how they act; how they stand related to the heirs of promise, and not what they are in themselves, as persons in Jehovah. This is a truth of great importance, which I have endeavoured to defend both from the pulpit and from the press, and particularly in a printed discourse upon the self-existence of Jesus Christ. The true object of worship, then, to whom our obedience and love are due, is Jehovah Alehim; according to what is said in the creed, “the Unity in Trinity, and the Trinity in Unity is to be worshipped.” And is this, my brethren, the object of your worship? Do you pay your allegiance to a God in one person, or to Jehovah in Trinity? If you have not been determined to worship Jehovah Alehim, but have broken this first part of the great commandment of all, you cannot keep the other parts: for the love of God depends upon the knowledge of God. How should you love the true God, until you know him? But if
know him as he has been pleased to reveal himself to us in the text, as three persons in one essence, and are desirous of paying him that tribute of love which he requires, then you will gladly follow me to my second general head, namely, to the consideration of the right love of the Lord God. And may he be present with us, while we are treating of his love! O that he would send his good Spirit to stir up longings in their hearts, who have as yet no desire to love the Lord God, to shed his love abroad in their hearts, who are hungering and thirsting for it! and may both speaker and hearers find their love to God increase from what shall be said upon these words :“ Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength.” In discoursing upon which I shall,
First, show the nature of the love here cominanded.
Secondly, I shall consider whether all men keep this commandment.
Thirdly, if they do not, in what way the gospel directs us to attain the love of God, and then in order to stir us up to attain it I will lay before you,
Fourthly, some of the exceeding great and precious promises made to them, who love God.
First, the text treats of our love to the Lord God, requiring our love to arise from our knowledge of him.. When the understanding perceives what he is, the heart ought to receive him for its chiefest good. As Jehovah, he is the fountain of all good; he is the self-existent essence, through whose power and goodness all other beings exist, and therefore to him they all owe their tribute of love and obedience, As Jehovah Alchim, the Trinity in covenant, he has engaged to bestow upon his redeemed people every grace and every blessing which they stand in need of, in time and in eternity, and on this account he has an undoubted claim to their allegiance. When they view him in this light their hearts should be determined to love him, and when they partake of the graces and blessings of the covenant they ought to love him out of gratitude. The debt of gratitude is so immense that they can never repay it, and therefore they are the more obliged to make every possible acknowledge ment of their thankfulness. They ought to love Jehovah their Alehim with all their heart, with all their soul, with all their mind, and with all their strength. And
yet when they do love him in this perfect manner they can only acknowledge the debt, for they leave it still unpaid : and it will be for ever unpaid, as to any return in kind that they can make. They can only love (and what less can they do than love !) he Lord their God for his infinitely rich blessings; and this love he demands. As Jehovah, he has a
right to demand it of all his creatures, and as Alehim he may claim it of every one who partakes of the benefits of the covenant. They ought to love him
“ With all the heart." The heart is the seat of affection. All the affections belong to the heart, and the Lord God here claims them all. They are all to centre in him. He is to reign sole monarch of the heart, and the affections are to be his willing subjects, loving him above all things, and in all things. Whatever any of them desire as good, they are to desire it out of love to God: and they are not to give any object a place in their esteem, unless their love to it be a proof of their love and obedience to God. My son, says he, give me thy heart, all thy heart, and let me have no rival to share in thy affections. And as he thus demands the love of the immortal spirit within us, so does he in the next words claim the affections of the human frame. Thou shalt love the Lord thy God
“ With all thy soul.” The Hebrew word here rendered soul, never signifies the immaterial and immortal Spirit, but is constantly used in scripture for the parts concerned in carrying on the circulation of the blood, and in which the appetites of the human frame are placed. These are to be regulated by the love of God, and they are all to be used in his service. The heart being the commanding and ruling faculty, ought to influence them at all times to act upon a principle of love to their infinitely kind creator and benefactor. Every desire aud craving, every instinct and passion of the animal faculties, should be brought into such a cheerful subjection to the Lord God, that. to do his will should be their delight. There should not be a motion or stirring of desire in any of the appetites, but what took its rise from love; for all the soul, the whole human frame, was to be governed and influenced by the perfect love of God. There should noi be a desire in any one instinct or appetite, but what sprung from divine love; and when carried into act and gratified, it ought to be invariably directed