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The Great Commandment

By Thomas Watson


      "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with ALL thy heart." God will have the whole heart. We must not divide our love between Him and sin. The true mother would not have the child divided, nor will God have the heart divided; it must be the whole heart. We must love God for Himself, for His own intrinsic excellencies. We must love Him for His loveliness. It is a harlot's love to love the portion more than the person. Hypocrites love God because He gives them corn and wine: we must love God for Himself; for those shining perfections which are in Him.

      Love to God must be active in its sphere. Love is an industrious affection; it sets the head studying for God, hands working, feet running in the ways of His commandments. It is called the labor of love. 1 Thess. 1:1-3 Mary Magdalene loved Christ, and poured her ointments on Him. We think we never do enough for the person whom we love. If we love God, our desire will be after Him. "The desire of our soul is to thy name." Isa. 26:8. He who loves God, breathes after communion with Him. "My soul thirsts for the living God." Psa 42:2. Persons in love desire to be often conferring together. He who loves God, desires to be much in His presence.

      He who loves God cannot find contentment in any thing without Him. Lovers faint away if they have not a sight of the object loved. A gracious soul can do without health, but cannot do without God, who is the health of His countenance. Psa. 43:5. If God should say to a soul that entirely loves Him, "Take thy ease, swim in pleasure, solace thyself in the delights of the world; but thou shalt not enjoy My presence:" this would not content it. Nay, if God should say, "I will let thee be taken up to heaven, but I will retire into another room, and thou shalt not see my face;" it would not content the soul. It is hell to be without God. The philosopher says there can be no golden joy in the soul without God's sweet presence and influence.

      He who loves God, weeps bitterly for His absence. Mary comes weeping, "They have taken away my Lord." John 20:13. One cries, "My health is gone" another, "My estate is gone" but he who is a lover of God, cries out, "My God is gone! I cannot enjoy Him whom I love." If Rachel mourned greatly for the loss of her children, what can shadow out the sorrow of that Christian who has lost God's sweets presence? Let us be persuaded to love God with all our heart and might. O let us take our love off from other things, and place it upon God. Love is the heart of Christianity, the fat of the offering; it is the grace which Christ inquires most after. "Simon lovest thou me?" John 21:15.

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