IV. THE LOVE OF GOD consists in acknowledging him to be good and merciful in the highest degree, and that not only in himself, but also towards us, and therefore to love him supremely to desire more earnestly to be united and conformed to him, and to have his will accomplished in us, than to enjoy all things beside, and to be willing to suffer the loss of all things, which we have, sooner than be deprived of his favor. Or, it is from a knowledge of the infinite goodness of God, so to love him, that we would rather suffer the loss of all things, than to be deprived of communion with him, or offend him in anything. True love comprehends two things. First, a desire of the safety and preservation of that which we love; and secondly, a desire to be united with the object of our love, or to have it united to us. In reference to this it is said: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God, with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.” “If any man come to me, and hate not his father and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren and sisters; yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.” (Deut. 6:5. Luke 14:26.)

There is opposed to the love of God, on the side of want, 1. A rejection of the love of God, or a contempt and hatred to God, which is to flee from God, who accuses and punishes the wicked for their sins, and to indulge enmity towards him, arising from the aversion which our nature has to God and his justice, and the propensity which it has to sin. It is said of this sin: “The carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.” (Rom. 7: T.) 2. An inordinate love of self, and of other creatures, which is to prefer our own lusts, pleasures, life, honor and other things to God, and his will and glory, and to disregard and offend him rather than to suffer the loss of those things which we love. “Whosoever loveth father, or mother, more than me, is not worthy of me.” (Matt. 10:37.) 3. A feigned, hypocritical love of God. In regard to this virtue there can be no excess, for the reason that we never love God as strongly as we ought.