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neither Ear has heard, neither has it enter'd into the Heart of Man to conceive, those things which God has prepard for them that Love Him. 'Tis for Love we see that this glorious Recompence is laid up. This is the Substantial Reason of our Hope: and That which do's otherwise seem so wonderful and amazing, (the infinite Disproportion of the Recompence and the Service, an Everlasting Crown and a far more exceeding weight of Glory for short and imperfect performances) no longer confounds our Understanding or ftaggers our Belief. For tho’our Works are nothing worth, yet the Affection by which they are produc'd may be of great Value in the light of God. We know that the meaneft Services, that We do but guess to proceed from Love, are esteemd, even by Men that are Evil, not according to their Intrinfick Value., but the kind Affection from which we are willing to believe they. flow. How much more then shall God, who by his Infinite Wisdom is intimately Conscious to our Love of him, out of his Infinite Goodness accept of it, tho’express'd in very low and inconsiderable Services ; inconfiderable upon any other score, but that they are Hearty and Sincere? And thus knowing and accepting our good Will, reward us, not as becomes our Doings, but as befits his Grace? And when it is not
strict Justice, but most free Grace, that rewards, and when it is not the Work that is rewarded, but the Love; There is no reward can be too great for that most free, infinite Grace to bestow.
I shall now proceed with an earneft Exhortation to this Love of God, that I have endeavour'd, tho' very faintly for the Dignity of the Subject, to describe, and excite you to give up your Hearts and Souls, all your Powers and Affections, and the utmoft. Strength of them all to God, as the Chief, and Only, and Perfect, and Infinite Good. :
That God is in His Pure and Glorious Essence Infinitely Amiable; that nothing besides him is Lovely, any farther than it bears some impressions of his Loveliness; is the Voice of Nature itself, fhines thro all the Visible Creation, thro' all his Works and Dealings with the Children of Men; and the Wise Heathens themselves could not be blind against so clear a Light.
But my purpose is not to entertain you with a Philosophical Contemplation of his Immanent Goodness, and Essential Perfe&tions, tho they, even by themselves confider'd, might justly claim our most exalted Affections of Admiration, Delight and Love: For God is not only the moft Excellent Being in himself, but the most Beneficent
to his Creatures; a Good not only to be Admir'd and Contemplated, but to be Felt and to be Enjoy'd. Thou art Good, says the Royal Psalmist; And doft Good. Psal. 119.68. I shall desire you therefore chiefly to recollect often, and seriously weigh, and ftudiously medicate upon His Communicated, Emanant, Diffusive Goodness, the continual Eflux of his Loving Kindness to Vs; and then try if it be possible to deny him a return of all the Choicest, and Sweetest, and Ferventest Motions of our Souls, as the just Tribute due to his unbounden and overflowing Grace...
Now, which way foever we turn our Thoughts, whether we regard the Present Life or the Future, whether we consider ourselves as the Works of his Hands as we are Men, or of his Grace as we are Chriftians; or, as I may say, as the Works of our own Hands as we are Sinners; if we observe from how many Terms of Enmity and Distance God has freed us, with how many Titles of Nearness and Relation he has endear'd us, if we recollect how Absolute our Dependance is upon him, how Universal our Receipts are from him; which way foever we look, his Benefits are so far beyond our repaying by Deeds, that they are far above our acknowledgment by Words, nay beyond the very conceptions of our Heart.
For so immense a Debt, that we are so far from being able to discharge, that Numbers are wanting to reckon up the Sum, and imagination is too narrow to conceive the dignity of the least Particular of it, what return can be made, nay what do's the Uni versal Creditor demand but Love? And can we be so Ingrateful, so Insensible, fo Dead, as to refuse Him This? Shall Love upon Us only lose its Natural Power , it's common Effect of begetting Love? Shall fuch a Love lose it? A Love so boundless, so undeserved, so free, as that wherewith God has Loved Us? The Lord did not set His Love upon you, says Mofes to Israel, because you were more in Number, but because the Lord Loved you. Deut. 7.7,8. As the Almighty could describe himself by nothing but Himself, I am that I am; fo his Love, that is Himself, For God is Love, can be resolv'd into no other Motive but his Love, He Sav'd us, because he Lov'd us. But all this, all that Moses could say to the Israelites, is yet far short of the Breadth, and Length, and Depth; and Height, of the Love of Christ to us. To be Loving, and Kind, and Beneficent, to those, who have not in the least desery'd any such thing, is exceeding Gracious, 'is Godlike, is Divine. But to confer the highest Benefits that So. vereign Love can invent, on those that on the contrary juftly deserv'd the greatest Evils
that Omnipotent Anger could inflict; not only to remove those from us, but himself to undergo them for us, what shall we call this? It is Godlike, for we can say nothing greater ; but so Godlike, that even of God himself, whose very Being is Goodness, who is himself Love, we could not have conceiv'd it, had we not had the moft clear Revelation, and most Wonderful, and Grácious Experience of it. This is the highest Pitch, the Miracle, the Mystery of Love, this is the Love of Christ, as St Paul speaks, that passes all Knowledge. Ephes. 3; 19.
And what is of Value enough to return for such incomprehensible Love? Nothing certainly but Love. This is a Debt that must be paid in Kind, tho' it is impossible to be paid in Degree. Blessing therefore, and Praise, and Thanks, to this great Lover of Souls for Condescending to be Beloved by us, nay to Command, nay to Desire our Love; and again, Blessing, and Praise, and Thanks to him for teaching us how to Love. bim, for giving us his Commandments, the Law of Love. Alass! how could we poor Worms be satisfy'd, tho we never so eagerly desir'd it, whether we did Love him, as we ought, a Being so superiour to our most elevated Thoughts, had He not Himself out of Infinite Compassion to our Weakness taught us, what it was to do so? He that