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The Perfect Law

The perfect law of God requires only this: complete love without the least defect—all the heart, all the soul, and all the might. A corrupt grain makes the whole unacceptable, as one condition not observed forfeits the whole lease, though all the rest be kept. … We are bound to strive after [this perfect law] … We cannot arrive to the perfectness of the glorified estate, but we are pressing towards it. Allowed failings cannot stand with sincerity … he that cares not how little God be loved, provided he may be saved, does not sincerely love God. A true Christian will endeavour a constant progress, and aim at no less than perfection. Christians, this is still your rule, all the heart and all the soul, and all the might. The Lord has such a full right to your love, that coldness is a kind of a hatred, and the grace which we received in conversion will urge us to it … The whole latitude of understanding, will, and affections is due to Him, without division or derivation to other things.

Thomas Manton (Works 13:171)
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Supremacy of Love for Christ

Christians ought to love Christ with supremacy of love; they must place Him in the highest seat of their hearts (Matthew 10:37). … Christians may love father and mother; the laws of God and nature require it. They may love husband and wife; the Word of God enjoins the husband to love his wife as his own body and as Christ loved the Church. They may love sons, daughters, brethren, sisters, kindred, friends, yea, enemies—and they ought to do it. Yet all must be with a subordinate love. They must love Christ with their chief love; otherwise, they are not worthy to stand in the relation of disciples.

Thomas Vincent, The True Christian’s Love to the Unseen Christ
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Delightful Duty of Divine Love

The severities of a holy life, and that constant watch which we are obliged to keep over our hearts and ways, are very troublesome to those who are only ruled and acted by an external law, and have no law in their minds inclining them to the performance of their duty; but where divine love possesseth the soul, it stands as centinel to keep out every thing that may offend the beloved, and doth disdainfully repulse those temptations which assault it: it complieth cheerfully, not only with explicit commands, but with the most secret notices of the beloved’s pleasure, and is ingenious in discovering what will be most grateful and acceptable unto him: it makes mortification and self-denial change their harsh and dreadful names, and become easy, sweet, and delightful things.

—Henry Scougal
The Works of the Rev. H. Scougal (London: Ogle, Duncan, and Co., 1822), 29.

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Would You Have Godly Desires?

Do as they do that would keep in the fire, cherish the sparks and blow them up to a flame. There is no man that lives under the means of grace, and under the discoveries of God, but hath his good moods and very lively motions. Take hold of this advantage, ‘Strengthen the things that remain and are ready to die’ (Rev 3:2), and blow up these sparks into a flame. God hath left us enkindling means—prayer, meditation, and the word. Observe where the bellows blow hardest, and ply that course.

The more supernatural things are, there needs more diligence to preserve them. A strange plant needs more care than a native of the soil. Worldly desires, like a nettle, breed of their own accord, but spiritual desires need a great deal of cultivating.

—Thomas Manton
The Complete Works of Thomas Manton, 6:432.

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True Piety

I call “piety” that reverence joined with love of God which the knowledge of his benefits induces. For until men recognize that they owe everything to God, that they are nourished by his fatherly care, that he is the Author of their every good, that they should seek nothing beyond him—they will never yield him willing service. Nay, unless they establish their complete happiness in him, they will never give themselves truly and sincerely to him.

—John Calvin
Institutes of the Christian Religion, I.ii.1.