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Quest. x111. Doth any ungodly person love the godly comparatively more than others ?
Answ. So far as he doth love them as godly, so far he may love them more than those that are not such: many a bad father loveth a religious child better than the rest; because they think that wisdom and godliness are good ; and they are glad to see their children do well, as long as they do not grate upon them with troublesome censures : for another man's godliness costeth a bad man little or nothing; he may behold it without the parting with his sins.
Quest. xiv. 'Doth every sincere Christian love all the godly with a special love? even those that oppose their opinions, or that they think do greatly wrong them?'
Answ. 1. Every true Christian loveth a godly man as such, and therefore loveth all such, if he take them to be such. 2. No godly man doth habitually and impenitently live in such malice or enmity, as will not suffer him to see the godliness of a dissenter or adversary, when it hath suf ficient evidence. 3. But ill education and company, and want of opportunity, may keep a true Christian from discerning the godliness of another, and so from loving him as a godly man. 4. And error, and faction, and passion may in a temptation so far prevail as at present to pervert his judgment, and make him misjudge godly men to be ungodly, though when he hath opportunity to deliberate and come to himself, he will repent of it.
Quest. xv. · What is that love to the godly which proveth a man's sincerity, and which no hypocrite or unregenerate person doth attain to ?'
Answ. It hath in it these essential parts : 1. He loveth God best, and his servants for his sake. 2.
2. He loveth godliness, and the person as godly, and therefore would fain be such himself; or loveth it for himself as well as in others. 3. He loveth not one only, but all the essential parts of godliness (our absolute resignation to God our Owner, our absolute obedience to God our Ruler, and our highest gratitude and love to God our Benefactor and our End). 4. He loveth godliness and godly men, above his carnal worldly interest, his honour, wealth or pleasure; and therefore will part with these in works of charity, when he can understand that God requireth it. These four set together make
up that love which will prove your sincerity, and which no hypocrite doth perform. Hypocrites either love the godly only as their benefactors with a self-love; or they love them as godly to themselves, but would not be like them, and love not godliness itself to make them godly; or they love them for some parts of godliness, and not for all; or they love them but in subjection to their worldly love; with such a dry and barren love as James rejecteth, James ii., as will not be at any great cost upon them, to feed, or clothe, or visit, or relieve them.
Tit. 2. Directions for Loving the Children of God.
Direct. 1. ‘Once get the love of God, and you cannot choose but love his children. Therefore first set your hearts to that, and study the Directions for it, Part i. God must be first loved as God, before the godly can be loved as such ; though perhaps this effect may sometimes be more manifest than the cause : fortify the cause and the effect will follow.
Direct. 11. 'Get Christ to dwell in your hearts by faith ' And then you will love his members for his sake. The study of the love of God in Christ, and the belief of all the benefits of his love and sufferings, will be the bellows continually to kindle your love to your Redeemer, and to all those that are like him and beloved by him.
Direct. III. Cherish the motions of God's Spirit in yourselves.' For he is a Spirit of love ; and it is the same Spirit which is in all the saints ; therefore the more you have of the Spirit, the more unity and the more love you will have to all that are truly spiritual. The decays of your own holiness, containeth a decay of your love to the holy.
Direct. iv. 'Observe their graces more than their infirmities. You cannot love them unless you take notice of that goodness which is their loveliness. Overlooking and extenuating the good that is in others, doth shew your want of love to goodness, and then no wonder if you want love to to those that are good.
Direct. v. 'Be not tempters and provokers of them to any sin.' For that is but to stir up the worser part which
• Eph. iii. 17.
is in them, and to make it more apparent; and so to hide
graces, and converse much, with them in the exercises of grace.' If Aristotle or Socrates, Demosthenes or Cicero, stood silent by you among other persons, you will perceive no difference between them and a fool or a vulgar wit: but when once they open their lips and pour out the streams of wisdom and eloquence, you will quickly perceive how far they excel the common world, and will admire, love and honour them. So when you converse with godly men about matters of trading or common employments only, you will see no more but their blamelessness and justice ; but if you will join with them in holy conference or prayer, or observe them in good works, you will see that the Spirit of Christ is in them. When you hear the longings of their souls after God, and their heavenly desires, and hopes, and joys, and their love to piety, charity and justice, express themselves in their holy discourse and prayers, and see the fruits of them in their lives, you will see that they are more than common men.
Direct. vii. ' Foresee the perfection of their graces in their beginnings.' No man will love a seed or stock of those plants or trees which bear the most beautiful flowers and fruits, unless, in the seed he foresee the fruit or flower which it tendeth to. No man loveth the egg aright, who doth not foreknow what a bird it will bring forth. Aristotle or Cicero were no more amiable in their infancy than others, except to him that could foretel what men they were like to prove. Think oft of heaven, and what a thing a saint will be in glory, when he shall shine as the stars, and be equal
to the angels; and then you will quickly see cause to love them.
Direct. viii. 'Frequently think of the everlasting union and sweet agreement which you must have with them in heaven for ever.' How perfectly you will love each other in the love of God! How joyfully you will consent in the love and praises of your Creator and Redeemer? The more believingly you foresee that state, and the more you contemplate thereon, and the more your conversation is in heaven, the more will you love your fellow soldiers and travellers, with whom you must live in blessedness for ever.
Tit. 3. Motives or Meditative Helps to the Gudly.
· Consider what relation all the regenerate have to God.' They are not only his creatures, but his adopted children d: and are they not honourable and amiable who are so pear to God?
Mot. • Think of their near relation to Jesus Christ :' they are his members, and his brethren, and the purchase of his sufferings, and co-heirs of everlasting life.
Mot. III. ' Think of the excellency of that Spirit and holy nature which is in them.' Regeneration hath made them partakers of the Divine nature, and hath indued them with the Spirit of Christ, and hath by the incorruptible seed made them new creatures, of a holy and heavenly mind and life ; and hath renewed them after the image of God! And what besides God himself can be so amiable as his image?
Mot. vv. Think of the precious price which was paid for their redemption:' if you will estimate things by their price, (if the purchaser be wise,) how highly must you value them?
Mot. v. ' Remember how dearly they are beloved of God, their Creator and Redeemer.' Read and observe God's tender language towards them, and his tender dealings with them. He calleth them his children, his beloved, yea, dearly beloved, his jewels, the apple of his eye'. Christ
d Gal. iv. 6.
e Rom. viii. 16, 17. Ephes, v. 26, 27. Deut. xxxii, 12. Psal. 1x. 5. cxxvii. 2. Col.ju. 12. Jer, xii, 7. Mal. jii. 17. Zech, ïi. 8. Deut. xxxii. 10.
calleth the least of them his brethren, Judge of his love to them by his incarnation, life, and sufferings ! Judge of it by that one heart-melting message after his resurrection, “Go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend to my Father and to your Father, to my God and your God h.” And should we not love them dearly who are so dearly beloved of God ?
Mot. vi. ' They are our brethren begotten by the same Father and Spirit, of the same holy seed,' the Word of God; and have the same nature and disposition: and this unity of nature and nearness of relation, is such a suitableness as must needs cause love.
Mot. vi. ' They are our companions in labour and tribulation, in our duty and sufferings :' they are our fellow soldiers and travellers, with whom only we can have sweet and holy converse, and a heavenly conversation; when the carnal savour not the things of God.
Mot. viii. Consider how serviceable their graces render them, for the pleasing of God and the good of men.' They are the work of God, created to good works. They are fitted by grace to love and praise their Maker and Redeemer, and to obey his laws, and to honour him in their works, as shining lights in a dark generation. They are the blessings of the place where God hath planted them; they pray for sinners, and exhort them, and give them good examples, and call them from their sins, and lovingly draw them on to conversion and salvation. For their sakes God useth others the better where they live. Ten righteous persons might have saved Sodom. They are lovely therefore for the service which they do.
Mot. IX. ' All their graces will be shortly perfected, and all their infirmities done away.' They are already pardoned and justified by Christ; and every remaining spot and wrinkle will be shortly taken away', and they shall be presented perfect unto God. And they that shall be so perfect then, are amiable now.
Mot. x. * They shall see the glory of God, and live for ever in his presence :' they shall be employed in his perfect love and praise, and we shall be their companions therein : and those that must sing hallelujahs to God in perfect amity Matt . xxv. h John ax. 17.
Eph. v. 26, 27.