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Charles Buck Theological Dictionary
Love to God
Is a divine principle implanted in the mind by the Holy Spirit, whereby we reverence, esteem, desire, and delight in Him as the chief good. It includes a knowledge of his natural excellences, Psalms 8:1 . and a consideration of his goodness to us, 1 John 4:19 . Nor can these two ideas, I think, be well separated; for, however some may argue that genuine love to God should arise only from a sense of his amiableness, yet I think it will be difficult to conceive how it can exist, abstracted from the idea of his relative goodness. The passage last referred to is to the point, and the representations given us of the praises of the saints in heaven accord with the same sentiment: "Thou art worthy, for thou hast redeemed us by thy blood, " Revelation 5:9 .
See SELF-LOVE. "Love to God is a subject, " says bishop Porteus, "which concerns us to inquire carefully into the true nature of. And it concerns us the more, because it has been unhappily brought into disrepute by the extravagant conceits of a few devout enthusiasts concerning it. Of these, some have treated the love of God in so refined a way, and carried it to such heights of seraphic ecstacy and rapture, that common minds must for ever despair of either following or understanding them; whilst others have described it in such warm and indelicate terms as are much better suited to the grossness of earthly passion than the purity of spiritual affection. "But the accidental excesses of this holy sentiment can be no just argument against its general excellence and utility.
"We know that even friendship itself has sometimes been abused to the most unworthy purposes, and led men to the commission of the most atrocious crimes. Shall we, therefore, utterly discard that generous passion, and consider it as nothing more than the unnatural fervour of a romantic imagination? Every heart revolts against so wild a thought! and why, then, must we suffer the lover of God to be banished out of the world, because it has been sometimes improperly represented or indiscreetly exercised? It is not either from the visionary mystic, the sensual fanatic, or the frantic zealot, but from the plain word of God, that we are to take our ideas of this divine sentiment. There we find it described in all its native purity and simplicity. The marks by which it is there distinguished contain nothing enthusiastic or extravagant." It may be considered,
1. As sincere, Matthew 22:36; Matthew 22:38 .
2. Constant, Romans 8:1-39 :
3. Universal of all his attributes, commandments, ordinances, &c.
4. Progressive, 1 Thessalonians 5:12 . 2 Thessalonians 1:3 . Ephesians 3:19 .
5. Superlative, Lamentations 3:24 .
6. Eternal, Romans 8:1-39 : This love manifests itself,
1. In a desire to be like God.
2. In making his glory the supreme end of our actions, 1 Corinthians 11:31 .
3. In delighting in communion with him, 1 John 1:3 .
4. In grief under the hidings of his face, Job 23:2 .
5. In relinquishing all that stands in opposition to his will, Philippians 3:8 .
6. In regard to his house, worship and ordinances, Psalms 84:1-12 :
7. In love for his truth and people, Psalms 119:1-176 : John 13:35 .
8. By confidence in his promises, Psalms 71:1 .
And, lastly, by obedience to his word, John 14:15 . 1 John 2:3 . Gill's Body of Div. p. 94. vol. 3: 8vo. Watts's Discourses on Love to God; Scott's Serm. ser. 14; Bellamy on Religion, p. 2. and Signs of Counterfeit Love, p. 82; Bp. Porteus's Sermons, vol. 1: ser. 1.
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Buck, Charles. Entry for 'Love to God'. Charles Buck Theological Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/cbd/l/love-to-god.html. 1802.
the Week of Proper 12 / Ordinary 17