« AnteriorContinuar »
our Sensations : That the Bodies that surround us do really act in and upon us, not only by making impression upon our Bodies, and striking upon our Organs of Sense, but also by raising and exciting, those Sensations our Spirits are conscious of, lo as to be the true efficient Causes of our Pleasure and our Pain : That the Fire gives us that sentis ment of Heat which we feel when we approach it : and, That Wine causes in us that pleasing Taste which we feel when we drink it : And the like.
Now I confess, if this Hypothefis be true, if fenfible Objects do really act upon our Souls, and are the proper efficient Causes of those pleasing Sensations which we feel there, then 'twill necelfarily follow, that a certain portion of my Love is due to these fenfible Objects : for, if these Objects produce Pleasure in me, then they do me good, they perfect my Being, and render it more happy; and if they do me good, then in their proportion they are my good, and if they are in any degree my good, then they are so far lovely; and if they are any way lovely, then fo far they ought to be loved. But now, if some part of olir Love be due to sensible Objects (as upon this Hypothesis it is) then ?tis impossible that God should have a right to all of it; and consequently, to love him with all the heart, and all the foul, and all the mind, càu signifie no more than to love him principally and above all, to give him the Preference in our Love. I say the Preference, for it seems the Creatures put in for a share; and
if they have a part, 'tis impossible that God should have the whole : they must then both go sharers in our Affection; and the only Priviledge which God can claim upon this Hypothesis, is, to have the largest share in our Love.
Whether this Hypothesis be true or no, shall be a consider'd in its proper place ; in the mean while pi it may ferve as a strong Presumption, that it is not, that the Explication which is founded upon it falls so very short of the literal Emphasis of the Text, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy foul, and mith all thy mind. But is it to love God at this ratę, to love him only principally, and more than any thing else? Does this exhaust the sense of this great Commandment? Can he be said with any tolerable Sense to love God with all his heart, all his soul, and all his mind, that only loves him above other things, at the same time allowing other things a share in his Love? Can he be said to love God with all his Love, that loves him only with a Part? What though that part be the larger Part, 'tis but a Part still, and is a Part the Whole? What Logick, or what Grammar, will endure this?
I think it therefore very evident, that the words of this grear Law do call for a higher senfe.) And what can that be short of this (which indeed is what in ordinary construction they import) that we ought to love God, not only with the Best and most, but with the whole of our Affe&tion; that we love him intirely, not only with an
B 4 • integrity
integrity of Parts, but with an integrity of Degrees; that we love him not only with every
Capacity, Pastion, and Faculty; with the Under- standingssuppose) Will and Affections, (here ex
prest by Heart, Soul, and Mind) but in every, degree of every Power, with all the Latitude of' our Will, and with the whole Possibility of our Souls; that we bestow on him not only the highest degree of our Love, but every degree of it, the Whole ? In one Word, that God be not only the principal, but the only, Object of our Love. This indeed is a Sacrifice worthy of a God, when the Whole Man is offer'd up to him as a Burnt Offering : And no less can he be supposed to require from us by vertue of this great Law, when he bids us to love him with all our Heart, with all our Soul, and with all our Mind. In the same Sense therefore as 'tis said, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve", so is this great Commandment to be understood, as if it were said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou desire. For Love is the true natural Worship of the Soul; and as we are to Worship none but God, so are we to Love none but God. : But to make this appear intelligible Divinity, we must look about for a proper Ground for it in Philosophy; it being necessary that we lay our Foundation as much deeper than the Common Interpreters have done, as we intend to build higher. Which leads me to the second general part of my Undertaking; namely, to confider the Reason
and Bottom upon which this great Commandment stands..
The Sense of it I have already explain'd, and made to be the same with what the Letter of the Text imports; namely, That our whole Affection be placed upon God, and that we love him so intirely as to love none but him. I come now to justifie this Sense, which I shall endeavour to
establish upon this double Basis in general. .: I. That God is the only Author or Cause of our Love..
II. That he is also the only proper Object of it.
First, I consider that God is the only Author or Cause of our Love. By Love here I understand that original Weight, Bent or Endeavour whereby the Soul of Man stands inclined, and is moved forwards, to Good in general,or Happiness. Now that this Impression is from God, and that 'tis he alone that has put this Biass into our Natures, I think demonstrable several ways; but at present shall only consider that this Motion of the Soul is a necessary Adherent to our Beings, such as we were never without, and such as we can never put off ; such as is all over invincible and irresistable. The Soul of Man must not pretend to the least degree of Liberty here (for indeed it being impoflible that our Love to Good in general should be bad, it was not fit it should be free) but is al. together passive in this Motion, and moves no otherwise than as she is moved. She has no more Command over this Motion than she has over the Motion of the Heart or Pulse, which shews it to
be equally Vital and Natural, and of the very effential Make and Constitution of our Being. Well then, I demand, Is this natural neceffary Motion, from our Selves or from God? If from our Selves, How comes it then to pass, that we cannot command it, or stop it ? Had we Power to produce,what we have not Power to govern? or,
is it more difficult to govern than to produce 9 No certainly, were we the Authors of this Mo
tion we should have some Power over it, and be able to manage and controul it ; which since we cannot do, we may well conclude, that 'tis not a thing of our Production, and that though it be in us, yet 'tis not of or from our Selves. And whence then must it be but from God? Who else could kindle in our Natures such an unquenchable Flame? Who else could fix such a strong Spring in our Souls, and actuate our Beings with such a mighty Energy? And who should be the Author of what is Natural and Necessary in us,
but he that is the Author of our Natures? Love ) is the same in the Moral and Intellectual World,
as Motion is in the Natural ; and as we make God to be the Author of Natural Motion, so there is as much reason to make him the Author of our Love. But now if God be the only Author and Cause of our Love, has not he then the sole Right and Title to it; and has not he also a Right to ít a!!? This may seem perhaps at first glance to be a captious and surprizing way of Arguing; but consider it well ; Has not God a Right to all that he produces ? What is it that gives him a