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have to God: it delighteth in duty : it conquereth difficulties: it contemneth competitors, and trampleth on temptations : it accounteth nothing too much, nor too dear for God. Love is the soul's nature, appetite and • pondus,' according to which it will ordinarily act. A man's love, is his will, his heart-himself: and if God have our love, be hath ourselves, and our all; so that God cannot but love the soul that truly loveth him as God.
But here are some doubts to be resolved.
Quest. 1. What if the same soul have love and sin mixed; or sincere love in a degree that is sinfully defective, and so is consistent with something of its contrary; God must hate that sin ; how then can he love that soul ?'
Answ. Remember still that diversity is only in us, and not in God: therefore God's will is related and denominated towards us, just as its object is. All that is good in us God loveth : all that is evil in us he hateth. Where goodness is predominant, there God's love is predominant, or greatest, from this relation and connotation. Where sin is predominant, God's aversation, or hatred is the chief : and we may well expect that the effects are answerable.
Object. “But we are beloved as elect before conversion.'
Answ. That was answered before. That is, God from eternity purposed to make us good, and amiable, and happy; if you will call that (as you may) his love.
Object. But we are beloved in Christ, for his righteousness and goodness, and not for our own.
Answ. The latter is false : the former is thus true. For the merits of Christ's righteousness, and goodness, God will pardon our sins, and make us good, holy and happy; and will love us as the holy members of his Son; that is, both as related to him, and as holy.
Object. . But if God must needs love sincere imperfect lovers of him as such, with a predominant love (which will not damn them :) then sin might have been pardoned without Christ's death, and the sinner be loved without his righteousness, if he had but sincerely loved God.
Answ. The supposition is false, that a sinner could have loved God without pardon and the Spirit, purchased by the death and righteousness of Christ. God perfectly loveth the perfected souls in glory, for their own holy perfection, but they never attained it, but by Christ. And God loveth us here, according to the measure of our love to him: but no man can thus love him, until his sin be pardoned; for which he was deprived of the Spirit, this must kindle love. And imperfect love is ever joined with imperfect pardon, (whatever some falsely say to the contrary ;) I mean that love, which is sinfully imperfect.
Quest. 2. • Doth not God's loving us make us happy? And if so, it must make us holy. And then none that he loveth will fall away from him: whereas the fallen angels and Adam loved him, and yet fell from him : how then were they beloved by him ?'
Answ. I before told you that God's will (or love) is first efficient, causing good, and then final, being pleased in the good that is caused. God's efficient will or love, doth so far make men holy and happy as they are such, even efficiently : but God's will, or love, as it is our causa finalis,' and the terminating object of our love, and as pleased in us, and approving us, is not the efficient cause of our holiness and happiness ; but the objective and perfect constitutive cause. Now you must further note, that God's benevolent efficient will, or love, doth give men various degrees of holiness. To Adam in innocency he gave but such a degree, and upon such terms, as he could lose and cast away ; which he did. But to the blessed in glory he giveth that which they shall never lose. These degrees are from God's efficient love or will ; which, therefore, causeth some to persevere, when it left Adam to himself, to stand or fall. But it is not God's final love of complacency, as such, that causeth our perseverance : for Adam had this love, as long as he loved God, and stood ; and he after lost it : so that it is not that final complacency, which is the • terminus' of our holiness, and constitutive cause of our happiness, which alone will secure the perpetuity of either of them.
Object. Thus you make God mutable in his love, as loving Adam more before his fall, than after.' Answ. I told you, loving, and not loving
no changes in God, but in the creature. It is man that is mutable, and not God. It is only the relation of God's will to the creature, as varying in itself, and the extrinsic denomination, by connotation of a changed object, which is changed as to God. As the sun is not changed when you wink and when you open your eyes; nor a pillar changed when your motions sets it sometimes on your right hand, and sometimes on your left.
5. Lastly, it must be noted, as included in the text “That our own loving God, is not the only or total notion of our end, perfection, or felicity; but to be known and loved by God, is the other part which must be taken in, to make up the total notion of our end.'
In our love, God is considered as the object : but in God's complacential love to us, he is considered as active, and his love as an act, and man as the object : but yet not as an object of effici. ency, but of approbation, and a pleased will or delight. Here then the great difficulty is, in resolving which of these is the highest perfective notion of man's felicity; perfection, or ultimate end ; our love to God, or God's love to us.
Answ. It is mutual love and union which is the true and complete notion of our end; and to compare God's love and ours as the parts, and tell which is the final principal part or notion, is not easy, nor absolutely necessary. But I conceive.
1. That our love to God is objectively, or as to the object of it, infinitely more excellent than God's love to us, as to the object; which is but to say, that God is infinitely better than man. God loveth man who is a worm ; but we love God who is perfect goodness.
2. God's love to us, as to the agent and the act.ex parte agentis,' is infinitely more excellent than our love to him : for it is God's essential will, which loveth us; and it is the will of a worm that loveth God.
3. That man's felicity, as such, is not the chief notion of his ultimate end; but he must love God as God, better than his own felicity as such, or better than God considered as our felicity..
4. That man's true ultimate end, containeth these five inadequate conceptions. 1. The lowest notion or part of it, is, our own holiness and felicity. 2. The next notion of it, is, the perfection of the church and universe, to which we contribute, and which we must value above our own. 3. The third notion, is, the glory or lustre of God's perfections, as they shine forth in us and all his perfected glorious works. 4. The fourth notion is, God's own essential goodness, as the object of our knowledge, love and praise. 5. The fifth and highest notion is, the active love or complacency of God's fulfilled will, in us, and in the whole creation. So that the pleasing of God's will, is the highest notion of man's ultimate end : though all these five are necessarily contained in it.
DOCT. 3. THEREFORE KNOWLEDGE IS TO BE
VALUED, SOUGHT, AND USED, AS IT TENDETH
This third doctrine is much of the scope of the text: all means are for their end : so far as knowledge is a means of love, it must needs hence have the measure of its worth, and we the motives of our desires of it, and the direction for our using of it.
1. All knowledge that kindleth not the love of God in us, is so narrow and small that it deserveth not indeed the name of knowledge ; for the necessary things that such a person is ignorant of, are a thousand times more or greater, than