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make God the only ultimate Object of all Divine Worship ; and so do these Men make him the only last Object of Love ; But yet they allow of giving Divine Worship to a Creature, provided it be in a transitive and relative way; that is, provided it only pass through the Creature, and terminate upon God. And so these Men allow of bestowing our Love upon a Creature, provided it be for God's sake; or in relation to God; provided it do not stop and rest at the Creature, but run on, till at last it fix upon God as its final Object. The Notions are exactly Parallel to each other, and they both shew how extreamly loath Men are to take a final leave of the Creature, to disengage intirely from sensible things. They cannot be perfectly wean'd from what they so dearly affect, and therefore would fain contrive the matter so, as in the midst of all their Love and Devotion to God, to have still some Reserve for the Creature ; to maintain some little under. current of Religion and Affection for sensible things which they would still have leave to Worship and Love, though it be never fo remotely and indirectly,though it be but in a Relative way. This I take to be the true Ground and Bottom of both these Notions, the Common Diseafe of our Nature, the great Propensity of the Soul to sensible things, which make's Men still willing to allow them a share both in their Religion and in their Affection, and that they might' do it with the better Colour, has put them upon finding out this Notable Distinction of a Relative Worship,
and of a Relative Love. And truly I think one is as good as the other ; that we may as well Worship the Creature with a Relative Worship,as well as Love the Creature with a Relative Love. For 'tis plain that this later Distinction does as much suppose that God only is the proper Object of Love, as the other does suppose that he is the only proper Object of Worship; otherwise, what need this Qualification of our Love to the Creature, that it be Relative ? Well, but if so, then as to worship the Creature though but Relatively, is to give that Worship to the Creature which is proper to God; so to love the Creature though but Relatively, is in like manner to give that Love to the Creature which is proper to God. And if this be thought a sufficient Reason to difallow of a Relative Worship, I cannot see why we should not for the very fame Reason give Sentence against this Relative Love or why one should not be reckon'd Idolatry as well as the other. But to bring this Matter to a compendious Issue, the short is this ; either Creatures are truly and really lovely, as being our true and proper Good; or they are not. If they are, then a Relative Love is too little, we ought to love them with more than a Relative Love, we ought to love them Absolutely and for themselves. But if they are not (as by a Light as clear as Day it appears they are not) then even a Relative Love is too much. For what is not truly lovely, is always loved too much if it be loved at all. So that either way there is no Pretence for admitting this last expe
dient of our Concupiscence, the Relative Love of the Creature. And thus all the Doors and Avenues of the Heart of Meri are fhut fast and bolted against the Creatures, who are now all banish'd from this Seat of Love, and God only left in Possession there.
Thus it is in Theory, but oh when will it be thus in Practice ? When will degenerate Mankind rise up to this noble Pitch of Divine Love? When shall we thus love the Lord our God with our whole Heart, Soul and Mind? When shall we be thus loose and free from the Creatures ? When shall we learn to lift up our Hearts above this sensible World ? When shall we exalt our Souls above the Love of Bodies ? When shall we leave off to idolize Matter? O wretched Men that we are, who shall deliver us from the Body of this Death! Rom. 7. 24. The Soul by her Body has contracted such an Alliance with the Material World, that we have a fort of Magnetick Incli. nation towards sensible things which in fome Men is exalted to that degree, that instead of loving God with all their Hearts, Souls and Minds, they love the World at that rate, making that their God, their End, their Supream Good. Wonder. ful Stupidity, as well as Impiety, to love that beyond and more than God, which we are not so much as to love at all ! What a Reverse is this of this great Law, to love the World, as we are commanded to love God, with our whole Heart, Soul and Mind! Who would ever think it poffi ble that the Great God should be thus out-rivaļd hy his Creatures ? But the misery of it is, as we
live by Sense, so we love also by Sense. We dwell - in Matter, and we are inviron'd all round with Matter, so that we cannot get through the Croud and Throng of Creatures to come at our God. The Creatures do so press upon us, and so continually court our Love by addressing themselves to all our Senses, that we cannot deny their importunity. They also have the advantage of being the only Objects of our Sight; for none Thall see me and live, faith God. Let us enlarge
our Prospect never so far and wide, we see no. ise thing but Creatures. In them our Prospect be
gins, and in them it terminates. They also have the Privilege to stand before us,and look us, as it were, in the Face, whenever we feel Pleasure or Pain ; and 'tis at their Impression that we ordinarily have these Sentiments, which imposes upon our Imaginations, making us apt to look upon them as the Causes of our Good and of our Evil, and accordingly as the proper Objects of our Love, and of our Fear; and all because we have our Sensations at their presence and upon their Impression; while in the mean while God, who is the true'Cause, appears not in view, but hides himself from us, and acts his part behind a Cloud. But were our Eyes once open'd, could we but see how absolutely and intirely we depend upon God both for our Being, and for the whole Perfection of it, for all that we are, have or ens joy; how he alone acts in us, and causes our Sensations ; how he inlightens our Understand
· ings ings with his Light, warms our Wills with his Love, and refreshes our Souls with his Pleasure, while in the mean time all the Creatures stand. mute and filent before him, and like so many Cyphers, in his 'Presence, having not the least Activity or Operation upon our Spirits ; I say, could we have such a Scene as this before us, we should quickly dismiss the whole Creation from our Hearts, and be wholly possess’d and swallow'd up with the Love of God. We should then love God, as God loves himself; not with the same Infinity, but with the same Intireness, of Love. For as God loves none but himself, só should we 87.239. then love nothing but God.
In the mean while, I make no question but that it is now thus in Heaven. The Saints and Angels there with their Beatifick Vision of God, have also a clear Sight of their absolute and intire dependance upon him. They see the true Origin of all Good, and can trace Happiness to its Head. They see where and whence its Springs do rise, that they all issue forth from the foot of the Throne, where is the Well of Life spoken of both by the Psalmist and by St. John, Pfal. 36. Rev. 22. 1. whence all the Streams of Pleasure take their several Channels to water and refresh the mystical Eden, the Intelle&ual Garden of God. 'All this which we are now fain to argue out by a train of Consequences, is plainly laid open to the clear view of the blessed Inhabitants of that Place, which must necessarily represent God to them as the only lovely Object, and by conse