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On the Love of God.

On the Love of God.

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Published by glennpease

REV. DAVID TAPPAN, d. d.


Majik xii. 30.
Thou shah loi)C the Lord thy God %mth all thy hearty and
ivith all thy soul, andxmth all thy mind, andnxi'ith all thy
strength : this is the first and great commandment.

REV. DAVID TAPPAN, d. d.


Majik xii. 30.
Thou shah loi)C the Lord thy God %mth all thy hearty and
ivith all thy soul, andxmth all thy mind, andnxi'ith all thy
strength : this is the first and great commandment.

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Published by: glennpease on Sep 14, 2013
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04/12/2014

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On the Love of God.
REV. DAVID TAPPA, d. d.Majik xii. 30.Thou shah loi)C the Lord thy God %mth all thy hearty andivith all thy soul, andxmth all thy mind, andnxi'ith all thystrength : this is the first and great commandment.All religion IS founded in the existence, pciiec-tions, and providence of one Supreme Being, the Crea-rtor and Governor of the world ; so this infinite Beingmust be the prime and terminating object of religion ;and a supreme regard to him must be the first duty, thecrowning virtue of rational creatures. Agreeably,when our Saviour was asked by a Jewish lawyer,which is the first commandment of all, he replies in thewords just read ; " Thou shalt love the Lord thy Godwith all thy heart ;.... this is the first and great com-mandment."In discoursing on this very nobje and interesting sub- ject, we will endeavour to illustrate the nature, thegrounds, the measure, and the superior importance of love to God.With regard to the nature of the affection here en- joined, it must be understood to comprehend all thoseinward regards to the Deity, which his perfections, re-lations, and benefits demand. In other words, it in-cludes the \^'hole of piety, viewed in its internal princi-ples, or as seated in the mind ; just as love to ourneighbour, required in the second great command,46 O THE LOVE OF GOD. [Ser. IV.
 
comprises the whole principle of social virtue. Ac-cordingly, the first ingredient in love to Gop is a justview and esteem of his character ; for so far as we en-tertain false and dishonourable ideas of the SupremeBeing, our regards to him will be misplaced, degrad-?ing, and idolatrous ; they will really centre on a wrongobject, an idol of our own imagination, It is thereforehighly important, that our views of the divine characterbe founded in truth, that they be derived from the sarcred oracles, that they present the Deity to our mindsin a glorious and amiable light, in the full-orbed lustreof his natural and moral perfections, Then, and onlythen, shall we perceive a beauty, a transcendent dignityin his nature, which will cornmand our rational, our su-perlative esteem. We m^y indeed possess a kind of selfish, enthusiastic love to God without this scriptural,impressive sight of his inherent excellence ; that is, wemay love him with the mercenary affection of publicansand sinners, froni a flattering confidence of his speciallove and benefits to 14s, either enjoyed or expected ; ora pleasing idea, that he is just such a Being, as our^selves. But this is only a reflection and refinement of self-love, and neither involves nor produces any genurine esteem of the divine, character ; for proper esteen^of a worthy object never grows out of mere self-rlove,but is ever founded on the apprehended worth of theparty esteemed, Which leads us to observe, that truelove to God unites the heart to his glory, and conse^crates all its faculties to his service, The mind, in a justview and esteem of his infinite excellence, sees it to bsthe noblest and happiest thing in the world to honourand please him 5 to contribute to the display of his glo^rious perfections, and the advancement of his moralkingdom. Hence its active powers and pursuits arepiainljr and habitually directe4 to this object ; insomuchSuR.IV.j O THE LOVE OF GOD. 41
 
that the pious lover of God eats and drinks, and does jcvery thing to his glory. Hence too, he places his ownhighest delight and felicity in contemplating, serving,and imitating his Maker, and enjoying the emanations^d assurances of his favour. We necessarily delightin those chaiacters, to whom our hearts are united by-sincere esteem and affection ; their society, their friend-ship, their approving smile, their growing prosperity,afford us the highest enjoyment- By contributing totheir pleasiu-e or interest we essentially promote ourown. This happily illustrates the inseparable connex-ion between serving God and enjoying him, in the un-ion of which the compilers of a celebrated religious com-pend have wisely placed the chief end of man ; for boththese ideas meet in one indivisible point.By loving and glorifying God w'e immediately enjoyhim, or find.our own happiness in these noblest exer-cises of our minds upon their higliest object, especiallyas connected with correspondent returns of love fromthis object. On the other hand, our felicity in the reg*ular and full enjoyment of our Maker eminently glorifieshim, both as it displays the riches and triumph of hisgoodness }n harmony with his other perfections, andfurnishes us with the greatest incentives and advantagesto serve and praise him forever.This, by the way, forcibly represents the absurdityand self-contradiction of that sentiment, which statestrue love to God to imply a willingness to give up theenjoyment of him for the sake of his greater glory ! Asentiment as repugnant to the nature of the thing, as itis to the whole tenor of Scripture, and to the essentialconstitution of man, considered either as merely ration-al, or sanctified.Further, it is easy to see that gratitude to God for hisfavours is an important branch of the pious temper ; for

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