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elective powers. Persons of fancy, such as are women and children, have always the most violent loves: but, therefore, if we be careful, with what representments we fill our fancy, we may the sooner rectify our love. To this purpose it is good, that we transplant the instruments of fancy into religion: and for this reason music was brought into churches, and ornaments, and perfumes, and comely garments, and solemnities, and decent ceremonies, that the busy and less discerning fancy, being bribed with its proper objects, may be instrumental to a more celestial and spiritual love.
3. Remove solicitude or worldly cares, and multitudes of secular businesses: for, if these take up the intention and actual application of our thoughts and our employments, they will also possess our passions; which, if they be filled with one object, though ignoble, cannot attend another, though more excellent. We always contract a friendship and relation with those, with whom we converse: our very country is dear to us, for our being in it; and the neighbours of the same village, and those that buy and sell with us, have seized upon some portions of our love; and, therefore, if we dwell in the affairs of the world, we shall also grow in love with them; and all our love or all our hatred, all our hopes or all our fears, which the eternal God would willingly secure to himself, and esteem amongst his treasures and precious things, shall be spent upon trifles and vanities.
4. Do not only choose the things of God, but secure your inclinations and aptnesses for God and for religion. For it will be a hard thing for a man, to do such a personal violence to his first desires, as to choose whatsoever he hath no mind to. A man will many times satisfy the importunity and daily solicitations of his first longings; and, therefore, there is nothing can secure our loves to God, but stopping the natural fountains, and making religion to grow near the first desires of the soul.
5. Converse with God, by frequent prayer. In particular, desire that your desires may be right, and love to have your affections regular and holy. To which purpose make very frequent addresses to God by ejaculations and communions, and an assiduous daily devotion; discover to him all your wants; complain to him of all your affronts; do, as Hezekiah did, lay your misfortunes and your ill news before him, spread them before the Lord; call to him for health, run to him for counsel, beg of him for pardon; and it is as natural to love him, to whom we make such addresses, and of whom we have such dependences, as it is for children to love their parents.
6. Consider the immensity and vastness of the divine love to us, expressed in all the emanations of his providence; 1. In his creation ; 2. In his conservation of us. For it is not my prince, or my patron, or my friend, that supports me, or relieves my needs; but God, who made the corn that my friend s,ends me; who created the grapes, and supported him, who hath as many dependences, and as many natural necessities, and as perfect disabilities as myself. God, indeed, made him the instrument of his providence to me, as he hath made his own land or his own cattle to him: with this only difference, that God, by his ministration to me, intends to do him a favour and a reward, which to natural instruments he does not. 3. In giving his Son; 4. In forgiving our sins; 5. In adopting us to glory; and ten thousand times ten thousand little accidents and instances, happening in the doing every of these: and it is not possible but, for so great love, we should give love again; for God, we should give man ; for felicity, we should part with our misery. Nay, so great is the love of the holy Jesus, God incarnate, that he would leave all his triumphant glories, and die once more for man, if it were necessary for procuring felicity to him r.
In the use of these instruments, love will grow in several knots and steps, like the sugar-canes of India, according to a thousand varieties in the persons loving; and it will be great or less, in several persons, and in the same, according to his growth in Christianity. But, in general discoursing, there are but two states of love; and those are labour of love, and the zeal of love: the first is duty; the second is perfection.
The two States of Love to God.
The least love that is, must be obedient, pure, simple, and communicative: that is, it must exclude all affection to sin, and all inordinate affection to the world, and must be expressive, according to our power, in the instances of duty, and must be love for love's sake: and for this love, martyrdom is the highest instance; that is, a readiness of mind, rather to suffer any evil, than to do any. Of this our blessed Saviour affirmed, that no man had greater love than this: that is, this is the highest point of duty, the greatest love, that God requires of man. And yet he, that is the most imperfect, must have this love also in preparation of mind, and must differ from another in nothing, except in the degrees of promptness and alacrity. And in this sense, he, that loves God truly (though but with a beginning and tender love), yet he loves God with all his heart, that is, with that degree of love, which is the highest point of our duty, and of God's charge upon us; and he that loves God with all his heart, may yet increase with the increase of God: just as there are degrees of love to God among the saints, and yet each of them love him with all their powers and capacities.
'Sic Jesus dixit S. Carpo apud Dionysium epist. ad Demophilum.
2. But the greater state of love is the zeal of love, which runs out into excrescences and suckers, like a fruitful and pleasant tree; or bursting into gums, and producing fruits, not of a monstrous, but of an extraordinary and heroical greatness. Concerning which, these cautions are to be observed:
Cautions and Rules concerning Zeal.
1. If zeal be in the beginnings of our spiritual birth, or be short, sudden, and transient; or be a consequent of a man's natural temper; or come upon any cause but after a long growth of a temperate and well-regulated love; it is to be suspected for passion and frowardness, rather than the vertical point of love s.
2. That zeal only is good, which, in a fervent love, hath temperate expressions. For let the affection boil as high as it can, yet if it boil over into irregular and strange actions, it will have but few, but will need many, excuses. Elijah was zealous for the Lord of Hosts; and yet he was so transported with it, that he could not receive answer from God, till, by music, he was recomposed and tamed : and Moses broke both the tables of the law, by being passionately zealous against them, that brake the first.
1 KaXov bi To faXovrSou ly ry *«Xai travroTi. — Gal. iv. 18.
3. Zeal must spend its greatest heat, principally in those things that concern ourselves; but with great care and restraint in those that concern others.
4. Remember that zeal, being an excrescence of divine love, must, in no sense, contradict any action of love. Love to God includes love * to our neighbour; and therefore no pretence of zeal for God's glory must make us uncharitable to our brother; for that is just so pleasing to God, as hatred is an act of love.
5. That zeal, that concerns others, can spend itself in nothing but arts, and actions, and charitable instruments, for their good: and, when it concerns the good of many, that one should suffer, it must be done by persons of a competent authority, and in great necessity, in seldom instances, according to the law of God or man; but never by private right, or for trifling accidents, or in mistaken propositions. The Zelots, in the old law, had authority to transfix and stab some certain persons, but God gave them warrant; it was in the case of idolatry, or such notorious huge crimes, the danger of which was insupportable, and the cognizance of which was infallible: and yet that warrant expired with the synagogue.
6. Zeal, in the instances of our own duty and personal deportment, is more safe than in matters of counsel, and actions besides our just duty, and tending towards perfection. Though, in these instances, there is not a direct sin, even where the zeal is less wary, yet there is much trouble and some danger; as, if it be spent in the too-forward vows of chastity, and restraints of natural and innocent liberties.
7. Zeal may be let loose in the instances of internal, personal, and spiritual actions, that are matters of direct duty: as in prayers, and acts of adoration, and thanksgiving, and frequent addresses: provided that no indirect act pass upon them to defile them; such as complacency, and opinions of sanctity, censuring others, scruples and opinions of necessity, unnecessary fears, superstitious numberings of times and hours: but let the zeal be as forward as it will, as devout as it will, as seraphical as it will, in the direct address and intercourse with God there is no danger, no transgression. Do all the parts of your duty as earnestly as if the salvation of all the world, and the whole glory of God, and the confusion of all devils, and all that you hope or desire, did depend upon every one action ".
'Phil. iii. (5.
8. Let zeal be seated, in the will and choice, and regulated with prudence and a sober understanding, not in the fancies and affections v; for these will make it full of noise and empty of profit; but that will make it deep and smooth, material and devout.
The sum is this: that zeal is not a direct duty, no where commanded for itself, and is nothing but a forwardness and circumstance of another duty, and therefore is then only acceptable, when it advances the love of God and our neighbours, whose circumstance it isw. That zeal is only safe, only acceptable, which increases charity directly: and because love to our neighbour and obedience to God are the two great portions of charity, we must never account our zeal to be good, but as it advances both these, if it be in a matter, that relates to both; or severally, if it relates severally. St. Paul's zeal was expressed in preaching without any offerings or stipend, in travelling, in spending and being spent for his flock, in suffering, in being willing to be accursed for love of the people of God and his countrymen. Let our zeal be as great as his was, so it be in affections to others, but not at all in angers against them: in the first, there is no danger; in the second, there is no safety. In brief, let your zeal (if it must be expressed in anger) be always more severe against thyself than against othersx.
% The other part of love to God is love to our neighbour, for which I have reserved the paragraph of alms.
Of the external Actions of Religion.
Religion teaches us to present to God our bodies as well as our souls; for God is the Lord of both; and if the body serves the soul in actions, natural, and civil, and intellectual, it must not be eased in the only offices of religion, unless the body shall expect no portion of the rewards of religion, such as are resurrection, re-union, and glorification. Our
u Lavora, come se tu avessi a compar ogni hora: Adora, come se tu avessi a morir allora.
'Rom. x. 2. * Tit.ii. 14. Rev. iii. 16. * 2 Cor. vii. 11.