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Rule i. Affectionate, sincere love in all things, without dissimulation towards one another, like that which Christ bare to his church.

John xv. 12, “This is my commandment, That ye love one other, as I have loved you.”

John xiii. 34, 35, “A new commandment I give unto you, ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”

Rom. xiii. 8, “Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.”

Eph. v. 2, “Walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us.”

1 Thess. iii. 12, “The Lord make you to increase and and love one toward another.”

1 Thess. iv. 9,” Yourselves are taught of God to love one another.”

1 Pet. i. 22, “Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the troth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently.”

1 John iv. 21, “This commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.” Rom. xii. 10, “Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love.”

Explication i. Love is the fountain of all duties towards God and man, Matt. xxii. 37, the substance of all rules that concerneth the saints, the bond of communion, “the fulfilling of the law,” Rom. xiii. 8–10, the advancement of the honour of the Lord Jesus, and the glory of the gospel. The primitive Christians had a proverbial speech, received, as they said, from Christ, “Never rejoice but when thou seest thy brother in love;” and it was common among the heathens concerning them, “See how they love one another!” from their readiness for the accomplishment of that royal precept of laying down their lives for their brethren. It is the fountain, role, scope, aim, and fruit of gospel communion. And of no one thing of present 63performance is the doctrine of the Lord Jesus more eximious and eminent above all other directions than in this of mutual, intense, affectionate love amongst his followers; for which he gives them innumerable precepts, exhortations, and motives, but, above all, his own heavenly example. To treat of love, in its causes, nature, subject, fruits, effects, tendency, eminency, and exaltation, or but to repeat the places of Scripture wherein these things are mentioned, would not suit with our present intention; only, it may be plainly affirmed, that if there were no cause besides of reformation and walking in fellowship but this one, — that thereby the power and practice of this grace, shamefully, to the dishonour of Christ and his gospel, lost amongst those who call themselves Christians, might be recovered, — it were abundantly enough to give encouragement for the undertaking of it, notwithstanding any oppositions. Now, this love is a spiritual grace, wrought by the Holy Ghost, Gal. v. 22, in the hearts of believers, 1 Pet. i. 22, whereby their souls are carried out, 1 Thess. ii. 8, to seek the good of the children of God as such, Philem. 5, Eph. i. 15, Heb. xiii. 1, uniting the heart unto the object so beloved, attended with joy, delight, and complacency in their good. The motives unto love, and the grounds of its enforcement from, —

1. The command of God, and nature of the whole law, whereof love is the accomplishment, Lev. xix. 34; Matt. xix. 19; Rom. xiii. 9, 10:

2. The eternal, peculiar, distinguishing, faithful love of God towards believers, and the end aimed at therein by him, Ezek. xvi. 8; Deut. vii. 8, xxxiii. 3; Zeph. iii. 17; Rom. v. 8; Eph. i. 4:

3. The intense, inexpressible love of Jesus Christ, in his whole humiliation and laying down his life for us, expressly proposed as example unto us, Cant iii. 10; John xv. 13; Eph. v. 2:

4. The eminent renewal of the old command of love, with such new enforcements that it is called “A new commandment,” and is peculiarly the law of Christ, John xiii. 34, xv. 12; 1 Thess. iv. 9; 2 John 5:

5. The state and condition of the persons between whom this duty is naturally to be exercised, as, — (1.) Children of one Father, Mal. ii. 10; (2.) Members of one body, 1 Cor. xii. 12, 13; (3.) Partakers of the same hope, Eph. iv. 4; (4.) Objects of the the same hate of the world, 1 John iii. 13:

6. The eminency of this grace, — (1.) In itself, and divine nature, Col. ii. 2; 1 John iv. 7; 1 Cor. xiii.; (2.) In its usefulness, Prov. x. 12, xv. 17; Gal. v. 13; Heb. xiii. 1; (3.) In its acceptance with the saints, Eph. i. 15, 16; Ps. v. 11; 1 Cor. xiii.:

7. The impossibility of performing any other duty without it, Gal. v. 6; 1 Thess. i. 3; 1 John iv. 20:

648. The great sin of want of love, with all its aggravations, Matt. xxiv. 12; 1 John iii. 14, 15, and the like; — are so many, and of such various consideration, as not now to be insisted on.

Love, which is the bond of communion, maketh out itself and is peculiarly exercised in these things following:—

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