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GOD's GREAT LOVE
.. U N T Oi, ":::::: * Μ Α Ν Κ Ι Ν 0,
THROUGH : JESUS CHRIST, Our LORD.
And there came a Voice out of the Cloud, saying, Tbis
(i. e. Christ) is my beloved Son, bear ye bim, LUKE ix. 35.
If ye love me, keep my Commandments, John xiv. 15.
For God so loved the World, that he gave his only begot*ten Son, that whosoever believed in bim, mighi not pe
risks, but bave everlasting Life, John iii. i
PREFACE to the READER.
IN Sincerity, and unfeigned Love, both to God and
Man, were these Lines penn'd: I desire thee to pe
ruse them in the same Love, and then, peradventure, thou may find some Sweetness in them. Expe&t not A 2
learned Phrases, or florid Expresions ; for many Times, beavenly Matter is bid in mean Sentences, or wrapp'd up in plain Expressions. It sometimes pleases God to reveal the Mysteries of bis Kingdom (Ibrough the Grace of bis Son, our Lord Jesus Chrift) to Babes and Sucklings; and be oftentimes ordains Praises out of their Mouths one of wbich, Reader, I desire ihou may be. or in
MY Intent in Writing these Sheets, is, that they, through the Help of God's Grace, and the good Spirit of Cbril, may ftir up true Love in thee ; first, to God and Christ, and then, to Man: Tben thou wilt be fit to be espoused to him, who is altogether lovely (that is, Cbrift) wbich is the Defire of him, that is thy Friend, more in Heart, than Word.
GOD's Great Love to MANKIND, &c.
AVING been concerned for the Good 16 and Welfare of the Children of Men, in
my youthful Days, and tasted of the infi.
i nite Love of God, in, and through his dear Son, the holy Lamb Jesus, who laid down his Life for the Sins of the World ; and, in my tender Years, reaped great Benefit, through Faich in, and Obedience unto, him: For, truly, I have found, by sufficient Experience, that one without the other (to wit) Faith without Works, will not answer the End of the great Love of Christ Jesus, our Lord, in that he offer'd himself a Sacrifice for all Mankind; not for People to live in Sin, but to take away the Sin of the World: In a Word, Faith without Works is dead, ; James ï. 20. For my Part, I found it so, and so must all true Believers in the Son of God.
Christ he first loved us, and paid that Debt for us, that, of ourselves, we were not able to do. Oh his infinite Love! it hach ofcentimes melted my Soul into Tenderness. Methinks it is abundance of Pity, that ever the Sons of Men should requite Evil for Good, or Disobedience for such gracious Obedience: I would to God, that all Believers in Christ, would live in that Fear of God, and that Love to Christ, thac keepech the Heart clean; because nothing unclean can enter the Kingdom of Heaven. I don't mean a Navish Fear, but Fear, that is wrought by Love: For them
1697. that love the Lord, the Great, Everlasting God, will
fear to offend Him.
This is the Matter that chiefly beareth Stress on my Mind, at this Time, The Necessity of Love to God, and Christ, and one another: Eye bath not seen, nor Ear beard, neither bath it entered into the Heart of Man to conceive, the Things that God baib prepared for them that love Him, i Cor. ii. 9. For my Part, I can't pretend to tell thee, O Man! to the Full ; but only a little to hint at it: It is, Joy unspeakable, and full of Glory: But then we must love him, so as to keep his Commandments. This is the work that I am very earnest in pressing People to ; whether Youth, or Aged: It is not too soon for the Young, neither too late for the Aged, to begin this work of Obedience, through Faith, and Love to God and Christ, if his Spirit is reproving or striving in them. But it is more honourable and acceptable, for a Man to give up the Strength of his Days to serve the Lord, and to remember his Crearor in the Days of his Youth, before Sin is too much rooted and grown in Man; for then it will be much more Labour, to get the Root of Unrighteousness plucked up. · So that in that Ability, which God hath given me, I would endeavour to ftir up all to serve him, and to be in good Earnest, and not to put the Day of God, even the mighty Jehovah, a-far off; but to love the Lord unfeignedly, and with true Obedience ; since it is that Sacrifice, that is only acceptable to God; that is to say, To love him in Deed, and in Truth, more than in Word, and with Tongue: For against such a People, the Lord, by his Servant, complain'd in old Time ; Tbey, faith the Lord, draw nigh to me with their Mouths, and with their Lips do bonour me : But, Oh! their great Misery was, their Hearts were far from him; they did not love him with their whole Hearts; that was their great Fault: This Thing is al. so a great Evil in the sight of the Great God, in this
our Age, and it is too frequent in England, the Land 1697. of my Nativity, as also in other Isands, and Places, w beyond the Sea. What Lamentation shall be taken up, for such as do so mock the Lord, the Great God of Love? Surely he will render Vengeance, as in Flames of Fire, upon all the Wicked, and Ungodly, and those that forget him. 'Tis not by Saying, but by Doing, that we are justified, through Faith in Chrift: Not he that saith, Lord, Lord, only ; but he that doth his Will also, shall enter the Kingdom:
Now the Will of God, and Christ his Son, is, That we should love him above all; and in loving him, we shall love one another; for Christ saw the great Need there was of loving God above all, and also of loving one another ; therefore he answered thus to him that asked him, which was the greatest Commandment-Thou malt love the Lord thy God, with all thy Heart, and with all thy Soul, and with all thy Mind, Mat. xxii. 37.
This (says Chrift) is the first and great Commandment ; and the Second is like unto it, Thou palt love tby Neighbour as thyself: On these two Commandments bang all the Law and the Prophets, Verses 38, 39, and
Now if these two great Commandments were obey. ed, it would answer God's great Love to us, in send. ing his Son to bless us. O! the Glory of God, how it would shine! it would make the young Men, as Valiants of Israel, and the old Men as Captains of Thousands; then Christ would reign gloriously indeed, in the Hearts of the Children of Men; here the Lamb and his Followers (that walk in the Light, and that Commandment, that burns as a Lamp) would get the Victory over the Devil, and his Followers: But, on the contrary, this is the great Error of Mankind, they talk of God, and Christ, in Words; but deny him in Works : Nay, some will not stick to say, It is imposible to keep the Commands of Christ. It is