LOVE to our NEIGHBOUR RECOMMENDED; AND The DUTIES thereof IMPORTUNATELY URGED: A SERMON SHEWING What is Required, and what is not Required in Loving our Neighbours as Ourselves, and why we must do it, &c.

Preached at Freehold in the Jersies.

By Joseph Morgan, A. M. Pastor of a Church there.

Now Publish'd at the Desire and Expence of One that lately perused, and very much approves of it.

NEW-LONDON, Printed in the Year 1727. BOSTON: N. E. Re Printed by JOHN GREEN, 1749.


LOVE to our Neighbours.


And the Second is like unto it, Thou shalt Love thy NEIGHBOUR as thy self.

AS Love is the ground of Happiness; so a Spirit of Love is necessary to the Happiness of the Creature. We can have no Pleasure in that which we Love not; whether it be good or evil. And the better the thing Loved is, and the stronger the Love, the greater is the Happiness of enjoying it. So it has been GOD's un­speakable kindness to us, to make us such as are capable of Loving him, who is Infinitely more Excellent than all the whole Creation. And hence our Soul is ever empty [Page 4]of its proper and sufficient Happiness, while it does not enjoy GOD; and cannot be truly Happy, except it Love him strongly with all its Power and Strength: which cannot be without knowing his excellent Good­ness. Joh. 17.3.

And Hence, as GOD is Love, and Loves to make us Happy: So he has made this the Sum and Substance of all our Duty. To Love the Lord with all our Heart and Soul, &c. Mat. 22.37. So the substance of all our Duty and Happiness (which are inseparably joyned in one) is Love. And if we Love dutifully and happily, we shall proportion our Love to every Thing according to its worth. And hence shall Love GOD for his own sake, and his Creatures for his sake, and modify our Love to his Creatures according to their use and worth. He that had this Love is happy: he that wants it is mise­rable; tho' at present he perceive it not.

Hence the whole Law is comprized in these two Commands, To Love the Lord our GOD with our whole Heart, Soul, Mind and Strength, and to Love our Neighbour as our self.

Hence when Men and Devils had by Sin forfeited their Happiness, they became Angry, Malicious, Proud, Deceitful, &c. And therefore the Gospel of Christ is bro't in (since the everlasting Law) to restore some of the Children of Men to the Spirit of Love again, that they may be happy, since Christ has satisfied Justice for them. Here our LORD first shews which is the first and great Command: And then says of the other, that it is like the first. That is, we cannot be happy without it. The Spirit of not loving our Neighbour, that evil and disquieted Spirit, would render us in it self unhappy, and uncapable of Communion with GOD, who is Love.

[Page 5] So I Observe, The Loving our Neighbours as we love ourselves, is necessary unto our Duty and Happiness.

I shall here in the first Place enquire, What it is, to love our Neighbour as ourselves.

In order unto which, I lay down this Position, viz. An Unregenerate Person, while in that State, is uncapable of keeping this Command, according to the Inten­tion of it.

To Explain this, I add, It is a very great Wickedness for an Unregenerate Person to love his Neighbour as he does love himself. It is his great Duty to love his Neighbour as he ought to love himself: But not as he does love himself. I shew it in these Instances.

1. He loves himself for his own sake. He loves him­self, not under GOD, but above GOD, and his love to GOD is only for himself and for his own sake. He cares not for GOD's Glory otherwise than for his own Interest. He Spiritually feeds on the forbidden Fruit continually; in setting up for himself a Happiness sepa­rate from GOD's Glory. His Religion is only to make himself easy. He serves his own Conscience, and not GOD.

Among many Instances, I name one. If he think he is not Elected to Salvation, he will not seek to serve GOD: It appears he cares not for Him, nor for his Glory. But if he think he is Elected, then he cares as little; for he thinks he is safe enough, and desires not to Glorify GOD in his Life, but to take his own Com­fort and live to himself.

Therefore, If an Unsanctifyed Person love his Neigh­bour as he loves himself, he is an Idolater in doing it: He sets his Neighbour in God's Stead, to be loved for his own Sake, and not for the Sake of God's Glory by him.

[Page 6] 2. An Unregenerate Person loves himself very Trea­cherously. Because he loves not GOD truly, therefore he loves not himself truly; for these Interests are joyned in one by GOD in our Creation, and therefore they can­not be separated. He that is True to GOD is True to himself: And he that is False to GOD is False to himself. So are the Wicked Snared in the Work of their own Hands, Psal. 9.16. He Labours after Humiliation, Faith and Repentance very Unfaithfully; and hence is never made Partaker of either in Truth, but is deceived with a false Hope. He Labours to keep off Convictions, because he is afraid to trust his Soul with Christ, lothe to loose his easy Mind, and his good Opinion of himself. When he examines himself, Whether he be in Christ; he does it very Partially, takes every Argument to think all well, and takes off all that Condemns him: And if he yet cannot find himself in Christ, yet he is easy with false Purposes of what he will do hereafter. So that if an Unregenerate Person love his Neighbour as he loves himself, he must be as Treacherous to him as the Devil is, and seek to lead him to Hell. Alass how many do so!

3. An Unregenerate Person's love to himself makes him love to please himself in his Sinful Lusts (to GOD's Dishonour.) Some in one thing, some in another, ac­cording to their Constitution and Temptations: And it is Wickedness against GOD and his Neighbours Soul, to love his Neighbour so; yet how many do it, Rom. 1. last.

Therefore if an Unsanctifyed Person love his Neigh­bour as he does love himself, it is not an Obedience to this Command of Love, but the very Reverse of it.

Yet Observe. Some Unsanctifyed Men go beyond the Command, and yet keep it never the better: For they love their Neighbours better than they love them­selves; [Page 7]especially such as they have least love for. For they will be angry at their Sins, and seek to cross them in their Sinful Lusts, and to have them Punished, or Convinced of the Evil of their way. A good thing when done in Obedience to this Command.

Having shewed what is not required but forbidden in loving our Neighbours as ourselves. I Proceed to shew in the Affirmative, what is required.

(1.) We are to love our Neighbour from the same Motive for which we should love ourselves That is be­cause of GOD's Image which we see in them, and that GOD may be Glorified by them: And the more we see of this in them, (in the way wherein it is our Duty to Glorify Him) the better we are to love them. And therefore (since the Fall) almost the only Motive to love them must be the possible Hope that Peradventure the Glory of GOD in the Gospel of Jesus Christ may be Magnified in their Salvation. For this reason the Angels of God love us and rejoice in our Welfare, Luk. 2.14.

And hence, Those we hope are brought over to Christ, and those we hope are of GOD made Instru­ments of bringing others to Christ, are to be Proporti­onally abundantly the more beloved. If you love your self Truly, you will not love your self Idolatriously: And therefore this will be the reason why you can have any Pleasure in your self. Thus you are to Love your Neighbour as your self.

(2) We are to love our Neighbours as Truly, as Sin­cerely, and as Honestly and Uprightly, as we love our selves. We are to do by them as we desire (in the way of GOD's Glory) they should do by us. Luk. 6.31. We are to be as loath to hurt ourselves. We are to cover his Frailties (if it may consist with the good of [Page 8]his Soul) as carefully as we would have our own covered. We are to be as willing to help him in any need, as we wou'd desire that he should help us in like need. We are to take no Advantage of his Ignorance or Necessity in dealing with him, more than we would be willing he should take of us in like Case. My Hearers, I demand of your Conscience that it do it's Office, and tell whe­ther you do so or not. If you love your own Soul, Ob­serve upon all such Occasions; that you may find out, whether you perform this Part of loving your Neighbour as yourself.

If we love our Neighbour as ourselves, we are to be as truly pleased with his Prosperity as with our own. We are to seek no Revenge upon him for Injuries done, more than we would desire of him upon us in like Cases: Yea no more than we would have that God should take Vengeance upon us for our Sins, Luke 11.4. Eph. 4 last. &c.

But to shew the Truth on both sides, least we give it a wrong Luster. God had given each Man a peculiar Charge of himself, we are to Eat to preserve our own Lives, we must Believe and Repent for ourselves, in this sense, another cannot do it for us, each one must be Saved for himself, or Damned for himself, feel Comfort for himself, and Trouble for himself, and give an account to God of himself. So we are not to exercise love in the same degree for our Neighbour as for ourselves, but in the same Sincerity and Truth.

(3) If we love our Neighbours as we ought to love ourselves, we must above all, seek in our Capacity, to be helpful to their Souls good: for this is the greatest kindness we can (in Truth) desire from our Neighbour. To help his Body is a needful Kindness, but to help his Soul, is unspeakably more needful; to Save him from Hell.

[Page 9] Let the same Mind be in us which was in Christ Jesus, Phi. 2.4, 5. We are bound to Exhort one another Daily, Heb. 2.17. Each one in his Capacity, some in more Publick Teaching, some in more Private Dis­courses, all in Praying for GOD's Blessing upon Endea­vours, and all, according to their Ability, in upholding such as make it their Work to Teach the Way of Salva­tion, and in upholding them to Teach such as know not the need of it themselves.

This last is a very manifest Act of loving our Neigh­bours as ourselves. If we do not expend to help their Perishing Souls, when God has given us to see it; How do we love them as we love ourselves? Or at least as we ought to love ourselves? I must think they love not themselves truly, who have so little love to their Neigh­bours, as to think it enough to be Saved themselves, with their own Friends, and do not with their Prayers and Endeavours, all that in them lies, to Promote the saving of all they can beside.

In the Second place I Enquire, Why we must love our Neighbour as ourselves?

[1] Because there is the same Reason for it. He is GOD's Creature so well as we, and of the same Kind. GOD may as well be Glorified in him as in us. It is as much for GOD's Honour that my Neighbour be Sa­ved, as it is that I be: And the Misery of Hell would be as bitter to him. And if the Glory of GOD be our Reward and Treasure, then we shall as truly Rejoyce to see another Glorify Him, as to do it ourselves.

If I only seek to have my self and Friends Happy, and Saved, it is a Sign I love my self Separate from GOD, which is Idolatry.

[2.] If we can be happy in GOD, we have His Im­age, and if we have His Image, then it will appear in [Page 10]our Practice, in Reason and Equity; and if we have not this part of His Image, then we can never enjoy Communion with him. Now their is as much Reason that my Neighbour should desire to enjoy Health and Prosperity, as that I should: And as much Reason that I should wish his Good, as that he should wish mine.

If we Profess to be GOD's Children, and do not shew His Image, by Equity and Love, we Scandalize His Glorious Name. Mat. 5.16. Let your Light so shine before Men, that they may see your good Works and Glorify your Father which is in Heaven.

[3.] The Rejoycing in the Glorious Excellencies of GOD is the Joy of Heaven. Every redeemed Soul (even the least of all) is an Instance of GOD's Glorious Redeeming Grace, and thereby an Addition to the Joy of all the rest, and even of the Angels, Luk. 15.10. Thus as our own Salvation (if we have it) will be matter of Everlasting Joy in the Glory of GOD; so will that of our Neighbour. And hence; if we have the Grace of GOD in our Soul, we have the same Motive to de­sire our Neighbours Good and Salvation, which we have to desire our own.

From these things we may be Informed,

1. The Reason why Love to the Brethren is a Mark of one Passed from Death to Life, 1 Joh. 3.14. Be­cause the Foundation of the Glory, Excellence and Hap­piness of a Rational Creature consists in Love, Love to GOD, and hence, Love to his Image, and Love to all that Glorifies Him. But Observe,

We are not to love those that Glorify GOD against their will, such as the Devils and Damned. We are to Rejoyce that GOD is Glorified upon them: But we owe them no good will for it. But while we have any hope that they will yet Obey the Gospel of our LORD [Page 11]JESUS CHRIST, we are to Love them with this hope and desire as Sincerely as we Love ourselves.

But when a Person appears to have Obeyed the Gos­pel, we are to rejoice in him, and to love him with a pure Heart Fervently in a more peculiar manner.

But as every Mark of Grace may be Counterfeited, so this of Love to the Brethren. For Devils and wicked Men are forced to honour the Image of GOD; it car­ries a Majesty with it and a Beauty of Holiness. They are Obliged to bow before it, while they hate it. Their Conscience declares the good estate of such a Man. This sometimes Torments them that they are not so themselves. Rev. 11.10. But instead of yielding Subdued, they seek Evasions, and strive to make themselves believe it is Hy­pocrisy, and are glad to find Evil to speak of them. A Poor way to cure their own Wound! Thus they strive and take pains to go quietly to Hell, and delude their own Conscience. They love themselves most Treach­erously. So this sort of Love to the Brethren is no Evi­dence of a Child of Grace, but of the very contrary.

2. Here appears, The person who has not this Love to GOD and his Neighbour, is a Miserable unhappy Creature. He has not the Root of Happiness, but of Torment. Heaven can be no Heaven to him were he there. GOD's Glory can be no Joy to him, but a Ter­ror. He has the Seed of Hell Fire in him. If he have all Knowlege, and do all the great Works in the World, and dy a Martyr, and have not this Love; it all avails him nothing, 1 Cor. 13.1, 2, 3. Heaven and Hell are as Contrary in their Inhabitants as in their Natures.

3. Hence. The Person who seeks to make his own Gain by his Neighbours Loss, walks not according to Love. And how shall we know the Tree but by it's Fruit? Mat. 7.18.

[Page 12] GOD's Infinite Wisdom has made our way of Living so agreeable to Love (when rightly used) that what a Man gains honestly is some way for the Publick Good, or such as deal with him are the better for it, so well as himself. What the Farmer raises on his Land makes so much the more Provision in the Country. The Trades-Man serves his Customers so well as himself, and supplies what is needed in the Land. The Merchant brings into the Country what it needs, and disposes of their Super­fluities for them. The Teacher promotes Knowlege, for the Publick Good. Thus Men need a Communion for the good of each Party, to shew by Similitude the Heavenly Communion.

What is ours lawfully Gained, may lawfully be Pos­sessed: But what is gained by anothers Loss, in bargaining or otherwise, brings no good to the Publick, and is con­trary to the Law of Loving our Neighbour as ourselves; and therefore a breach of one necessary Rule unto Salvation.

Where there is Profit on both sides, Men may divide it as they can agree; but not to that degree, that shall turn all the Profit to one side. But what is gained by Wagers, is a sinfully Lost as Gained: For Men are not Lords, but only Stewards of all which GOD has lent them, and must as well give an account how they dispose of it, as how they get it.

4. Hence Such as love to speak evil of their Neigh­bours more than good, have the mark of Hell upon them. They love not their Neighbours as themselves. We see that Men naturally take the part of their nearest Friends when they are spoken against, because they have a na­tural love for them. But we see that in many Places, an evil Report (true or false) of any Person, will spread much faster then a good Report: Whereby it appears that the most part love not their Neighbours as them­selves, [Page 13]but bear them an inward Hatred, or else (which is as bad) that they have an inward hatred to Holiness it self (tho' they think they have it) and are glad to tell of evil Committed. My Hearers, I beg of you, Ex­amine yourselves. It is a Point of Life and Death. Well might our LORD tell us, There be few that find the strait and narrow Way to Life, Mat. 7.14.

5. Hence we see the Reason why the Devils are of such a Malicious Angry Evil Temper. It is because no Happiness belongs to them, for they have Sinned it a­way, and so their Temper is become Miserable. For Love is the Temper of Happiness, and Anger or Hatred, the Temper of Misery.

And here we see that an Angry Contentious Wilful Temper in Men, carries the mark of Misery and Con­demnation. What shall an Angry Creature do in Heaven? Where it is all Love.

Some vent their Anger in Religious things; and thereby not only quiet their Conscience, but also build a great hope of their Grace unto Salvation: But let them read, James 3.15, 16, 17. This Wisdom de­scendeth not from above, but is Earthly, Sensual, Devilish. For where Envying and Stife is, there is Confusion and e­very evil Work. But the Wisdom that is from above is first Pure, then Peaceable, Gentle and easy to be Intreated, &c.

I can excuse a passionate Man, who breaks out into Raptures of Anger, and cannot help it, but upon second Thot's, is grieved for it. But I know not how to ex­cuse a Wilful Contentious Person, who upon Mature Tho'ts, will rather Rend the Church or Town or Neigh­bourhood than loose his will or be tho't to have been in a wrong cause. These often think they stand for the Honour of GOD, when their own will at the Bottom blinds 'em to think so: And their want of love to their [Page 14]Neighbour makes 'em think worse of him then he is. Luk. 9.55. That Love, without which all great things are nothing, is thus Described, 1 Cor, 13. ver. 4, 5, 6, 7. (Translated in our Bibles, Charity) Suffereth long, and is kind; Envieth not, Vaunteth not it self, is not Puffed up, doth not Behave it self unseemly, Seeketh not her own, is not easily Provoked, thinketh no Evil, &c. We ought to stand firm for the Truth of Christ: But if it break out into Anger and Hatred, it is Sinfully Managed. 2 Tim. 2.25. In meekness Instructing them that oppose themselves, if GOD Peradventer will give them Repentance to the acknowledging of the Truth. We ought to be di­ligent to keep the Church clean from Scandalous Persons: But if a Secret Grudge at the Person be at last found to be the cause of your Zeal; it will be found but a Ser­vice of the Devil. Men need know well by what Mo­tive they are set on Work. The way is Narrow!

Nor do I know how to excuse those who in Families or in Neighbourhoods, are ever and anon in Anger, and giving angry Language (whether to Equals or In­feriors.) They are much easier Reformed by Convincing Loving Reasons: And if Inferiors must have Correction, it will take much the better Convincing Impression, when few or no angry Words (which always seem to shew Revenge) are mixed with it; as Experience shews where it is used. But an angry murmering Temper looks so little like Heaven, and so much like Hell; that I must beg of such as use it to consider on what Ground they stand.

6. Here see what we are to aim at, in all our Religion, viz. to be Transformed into Love, that Glorious Ver­tue, and a resemblance of GOD! We lost it by the Fall when Man set up for himself in Seperation from GOD. We became Hateful and Hating one another. [Page 15]CHRIST came to Redeem us, and to Sanctify us and to Purify us, and turn us again into Love. Come to CHRIST to bring you to it, by his Mediation and holy Spirit. Know what Progress you have made of Faith in Him, by the Fruit of it in Love, Gal. 5.6. Know that if you make no Progress in that, then all you have done yet has bro't nothing to Effect; you are yet in your Sins and bear the Image of the Devil. I do not mean an Affectionate Passion of Love (which yet is very good in it's time and place) but I mean that Love by which Faith works in a due care for GOD's Glory and your Neighbours Good and Peace and Comfort: Which among many greater Effects makes you bear with many considerable Faults in others, without being angry at them, knowing how much you need the same from GOD.


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