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cause, are fast approaching to Infidelity. But unless we suppose that these professors of religion ought to have received the love of the truth, there is no accounting for the awful judgments of God upon them for the contrary.



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Though this controversy has been mostly carried on with respect to the duty of faith; yet it, in reality, extends to the whole of spiritual religion. Those who deny that sinners are obliged to believe in Christ for salvation, will not allow that it is their duty to do any thing truly and spiritually good. It is a kind of maxim with such persons, that none can be obliged to act spiritually, but spiritual men.' Spiritual exercises appear, to me, to mean the same as holy exercises; for the new man which is created after God, is said to be created in righteousness, and TRUE HOLINESS: and as to two kinds of true holiness, the scriptures, I believe, are silent. But, as my opponents affix different ideas to the term spiritual, to prevent all disputes about it, I shall proceed on a ground which they will not refuse. Whatever has the promise of spiritual blessings, is considered as a spiritual exercise. With this criterion of spirituality in view, let the following passages of scripture be carefully considered. How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity; and the scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge? Turn you at my reproof: behold I will pour out my Spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you.-The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction. Wisdom crieth at the gates, at the entry of the city, at the coming in at the doors. Unto you, O men, I call; and my voice is to the sons of man. O ye simple, understand wisdom; and ye fools, be ye of an understanding heart. Hear, for I will speak of excellent things; and the opening of my lips shall be right things.-Receive my instruction, and not silver, and knowledge rather than choice gold.-Hearken unto me, O ye children: for blessed are they that keep my ways. Hear instruction, and be wise, and refuse it not: Blessed is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors. For whoso findeth me, findeth life, and

shall obtain favour of the Lord. But he that sinneth against me, wrongeth his own soul: all they that hate me, love death. -And now, Israel, what doth the Lord thy God require of thee, but to FEAR the Lord thy God, to walk in ALL his ways, and to LOVE him, and to SERVE the Lord thy God with ALL THY HEART, AND WITH ALL THY SOUL ?-Circumcise, therefore, the fore-skin of your heart, and be no more stiff-necked.-Rend your HEART, and not your garments, and turn unto the Lord your God.-Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. -REPENT ye, therefore, and be CONVERTED, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.*

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We may remark on these passages, First: The persons addressed were unconverted sinners; as appears by their characters: fools-scorners-haters of knowledge-uncircumcised in heart-impenitent. Secondly: The things to which they were exhorted were things spiritually good. This appears, in part, from the names by which the exercises themselves are denominated; namely, such understanding as originates in the fear of the Lord-fearing-loving-serving God with all the heart, and with all the soul-circumcision of the heart -repentance-conversion; and, partly, from the blessings of salvation being promised to them: these are expressed by the terms, blessedness-life-favour of the Lord-the blotting out of sin.

More particularly: The love of God is a spiritual exercise; for it has the promise of spiritual blessings. All things work together for good to them that love God.-He that dwelleth in love, dwelleth in God, and God in him.-Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.† But the love of God is required of men, without distinction. The people of Israel, like all other people, were composed of good and bad men; but they were all required to love Jehovah, and to cleave to him, and that with all their heart, and soul, and mind, and strength. The moral part of these pre

* Prov. i. 22, 23. 7. viii. 3—6. 10. 32-36, Deut. x. 12. 16. Joel ii. 13. Matt. iii. 2. Acts iii. 19.

† Rom. viii. 28. 1 John iv. 16. 1 Cor, ii. 9.

+ Deut, vi, 5. xxx. 20,

cepts which God gave to them on tables of stone, were binding on all mankind. Even those who had no other means of knowing God than were afforded by the works of nature, with, perhaps, a portion of tradition, were required to GLORIFY HIM AS GOD, AND TO BE THANKFUL.*

The love of God, as is here intimated, is either a holy thankfulness for the innumerable instances of his goodness, or a cordial approbation of his glorious character. It is true, there are favours for which the regenerate are obliged to love him, which are not common to the unregenerate: but every one has shared a sufficient portion of his bounty to have incurred a debt of gratitude. It is generally allowed, indeed, by our opponents, that God ought to be loved as our Creator and benefactor: but this, they suppose, is not a spiritual exercise. There is a kind of gratitude, it is granted, which is not spiritual, but merely the effect of natural self-love, and in which God is no otherwise regarded, than as subservient to our happiness. But this does not always respect the bestowing of temporal mercies: the same feelings which possessed the carnal Israelites, when they felt themselves delivered from Pharaoh's yoke, and saw their oppressors sinking in the sea, are still the feelings of many professors of religion, under a groundless persuasion of their being elected of God, and having their sins forgiven them. Gratitude of this sort has nothing spiritual in it: but then, neither is it any part of duty. God no where requires it, either of saints or sinners. That which God requires is a spiritual exercise; whether it be on account of temporal or spiritual mercies, is immaterial; the object makes no difference as to the nature of the act: that thanksgiving with which the common mercies of life are received by the godly, and by which they are sanctified to them,† is no less of a spiritual nature, and is no less connected with eternal life, than gratitude for the forgiveness of sin. This thankful spirit, instead of being an operation of self-love, or regarding God merely in subserviency to our own happiness, greatly consists in self-abasement, or in a sense of our own unworthiness. Its language is, Who am I, O Lord God? and what is my house, that thou hast brought me hith

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rto ?—What shall I render unto the Lord, for all his benefits ? This is holy gratitude; and to be destitute of it, is to be unthankful, unholy.

With respect to a cordial approbation of the divine charac Zer, or glorifying God as God, and which enters into the essence of holy love, there can be no reasonable doubt whether it be obligatory on sinners. Such is the glory of God's name, that nothing but the most inexcusable and deep-rooted depravity could render any intelligent creature insensible to it. Those parts of scripture which describe the devout feelings of godly men, particularly the Psalms of David, abound in expressions of affection to the NAME of the Lord. How excellent is thy NAME in all the earth !—Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but unto thy NAME give glory.—O magnify the Lord with me; and let us exalt his NAME together.—Sing unto God, sing praises to his NAME: let them that love thy NAME say continually, the Lord be magnified.-Blessed be his glorious NAME for ever, and let the whole earth be filled with his glory. Amen, and Amen.

This affection to the name of the Lord, as it is revealed in his word and works, and particularly in the work of redemption, lies at the foundation of all true desire after an interest in his mercy. If we seek mercy of any one whose character we disesteem, it is merely for our own sakes; and if he be acquainted with our motives, we cannot hope to succeed. This it is that leads us to mourn for sin as sin, and not merely for the inconvenience to which it exposes us. This it is which renders salvation through the atonement of Christ so acceptable. He that loves only himself, provided he might be saved, would care little or nothing for the honour of the divine character: but he that loves God, will be concerned for his glory. Heaven itself would be no enjoyment to him, if his admission must be at the expense of righteousness.

"God is to be loved," says Dr. Gill, “for himself; because of his own nature, and the perfections of it, which render him amiable and lovely, and worthy of our strongest love and affection; as these are displayed in the works of creation and providence, and especially of grace, redemption, and salvation; to all which the Psalmist has respect, when he says, O Lord, our Lord, how excellent is thy NAME, nature, and per

fections, in all the earth! (Psalm viii. 1.) As God is great in himself, and greatly to be praised; great, and greatly to be feared; so, great, and greatly to be loved, for what he is in himself. And this is the purest and most perfect love of a creature towards God: for, if we love him only for his goodness towards us, it is loving ourselves rather than him, at least, a loving him for ourselves, and so a loving ourselves more than him.”* But this "most pure and perfect love" is manifestly the duty of all mankind, however far they are from Give unto the Lord, ye kindreds of the people, give unto the Lord glory and strength. Give unto the Lord the glory DUE unto his name: bring an offering, and come before him: worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.-Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands.King's of the earth, and all people; princes, and all judges of the earth; both young men, and maidens; old men, and children: let them praise the name of the Lord: FOR HIS NAME ALONE IS EXCELLENT: his glory is above the earth, and heaven. Let the people praise thee, O God; let all the people praise thee !†

a compliance with it.

That love to Christ is a spiritual exercise, may, I suppose, be taken for granted. The grace, or favour of God, is with all who possess it in sincerity.‡ But love to Christ is the duty of every one to whom the gospel is preached. On no other principles could the Apostle have written as he did: If any one love not our Lord Jesus Christ, let him be anathema, Maran-atha! It is worthy of notice, that this awful sentence is not denounced against sinners, as positively hating Christ, but as not loving him; plainly implying his worthiness of a place in our best affections, and that, were it possible for us to be indifferent towards him, even that indifference would deserve the heavy curse of the Almighty at the last judgment. Paul appears to have felt as a soldier would feel towards the best of princes, or commanders. If, after David's return from his engagement with Goliath, when the women of Israel were praising him in their songs, any of the sons of Belial had spoken of him in the language of detraction, it would have been

*Body of Divinity, Vol. III. Chap. IX.

1 Chron. Xvi 28, 29. Psa. cxlviii. 11-13. c. 1. lxvii. 3. + Ephes. vi 24.

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