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Nould love one another as he had loved them. Greater Love hath no Man than this, that he lay down his life for his Friends By this shall all Men know that
ye are my Disciples. Now as this is the new Commandment of Christianity; the grand Characteristick of Christ's Disciples; as it comprehends in it all Virtue; the Discharge of all Offices; so was it very natural for the Disciples of Christ, in After-ages, to use the Term Love in the general Way they did; and to intend by it that Love which our Lord exemplify'd towards his Disciples, and which he commanded them to have to one another.
To search after the Truth in Love then, is to do it with the same Mind or Temper which was also in Christ Jesus, in his disinterested Love and most generous Benevolence.
The Connexion between this Love, and the Discovery of Truth, as before explain’d, together with the Conse
quences of their Union, is what remains in the third and last Place to be consider'd.
And, First, I observe that a Connexion between these two is more than intimated in many other Passages of the Scripture. St. Paul prays for the Ephesians (Ch. iii. Ver. 17.) that being rooted and grounded in Love, they might be able to comprehend with all Saints, &c. And again, Phil. i. 9, 10. and this I pray, that your
may abound yet more and more in Knowledge and in all Judgment, that gje may approve things that ar: excellent. St. Paul says of the Romans, Ch. xv.
that they were full of Goodness, filled with all Knowledge, and able to admoni,h one another, and St. Peter commands to add to our Faith Virtue, and to Virtue Knowledge. St. John faith, He that faith he is in the Light and hateth his Brother, is in Darkness even until
now; he that loveth his Brother abideth in the Light, and there is none Occasion of stumbling in him, 1 John ij.
Now where such a Connexion and Dependance of things is so frequently and openly declared, it plainly demands a strict Attention and Enquiry. That Love, Goodness and Virtue are introductory to Light, Knowledge, and Judgment, appears very plainly from the fore-cited Passages.
I observe further, that the Business of John the Baptist, and our Lord's Ministry were not to teach their Difciples Systems of Truth immediately, but gradually to settle this Love as a Habit in their Hearts, which would induce that Spirit which was to guide them into all Truth; to teach Men to regulate their Affections; to exercisc them daily with Trials proper to carry them on from Strength to Strength; and by this means to give
them a Love of Truth, a moral Difcernment of Offices, and a Power of forming their Manners accordingly; this
, I say, is a very different thing from meerly laying before them a System of moral and religious Offices, and then leaving them to themselves, without any further Steps, to act up to such Institutions. John, whose Business it was to
for him who came prepare after, taught them Repentance, which was plainly nothing else but an actual Reformation of their known Vices; a very obvious, but necessary Beginning; and which needed no mighty Works to support or enforce it. Our Lord who came after, and, as is very evident, chose his own out of John's Disciples, advanc'd them into a higher School, and introduced a greater Refinement of their Tempers and Affections. What they were to learn of him was, to forsake all; to
become as little Children; to be meek and lowly of Heart. There are no Systems of Doctrine to be found, no subtil Reasonings, no first Principles laid down, no regular Series of Deductions drawn from them; these things seem to be every where induAtriously avoided.
On the other hand, What is the Reason assign’d of the Unbelief of the Jews but the Hardness of their Hearts, their not being our Lord's Sheep, that is, the Irregularity of their Dilpositions? In other things they were allow'd to be wise and prudent. 'Tis plain also, that our Lord's Disciples had imbib'd all the common Prejudices of their Nation, and that they continued in the grossest Errors even 'till after his Crucifixion; they cou'd have nothing but an honest and good Heart to endear them to their Lord, and give them that Distinčtion with the common Lover of Mankind;