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Only God is Good
by William Law

A religious faith that is uninspired, a hope, or love that proceeds not from the immediate working of the divine nature within us, can no more do any divine good to our souls, or unite them with the goodness of God, than an hunger after earthly food can feed us with the immortal bread of heaven. All that the natural or uninspired man does, or can do in the church, has no more of the truth or power of divine worship in it, than that which he does in the field, or shop, through a desire of riches. And the reason is, because all the acts of the natural man, whether relating to matters of religion or the world, must be equally selfish, and there is no possibility of their being otherwise. For self-love, self- esteem, self-seeking, and living wholly to self, are as strictly the whole of all that is or possibly can be in the natural man, as in the natural beast; the one can no more be better, or act above this nature, than the other. Neither can any creature be in a better, or higher state than this, till something supernatural is found in it; and this supernatural something, called in scripture the WORD, or SPIRIT, or INSPIRATION of God, is that alone from which man can have the first good thought about God, or the least power of having more heavenly desires in his spirit, than he has in his flesh.

A religion that is not wholly built upon this supernatural ground, but solely stands upon the powers, reasonings, and conclusions of the natural uninspired man, has not so much as the shadow of true religion in it, but is a mere nothing, in the same sense, as an idol is said to be nothing, because the idol has nothing of that in it which is pretended by it. For the work of religion has no divine good in it, but as it brings forth, and keeps up essential union of the spirit of man with the Spirit of God; which essential union cannot be made, but through love on both sides, nor by love, but where the love that works on both sides is of the same nature.

No man therefore can reach God with his love, or have union with him by it, but he who is inspired with that one same Spirit of love, with which God loved himself from all eternity, and before there was any creature. Infinite hosts of new created heavenly beings can begin no new kind of love of God, nor have the least power of beginning to love him at all, but so far as his own Holy Spirit of love, wherewith he hath from all eternity loved himself, is brought to life in them. This love, that was then in God alone, can be the only love in creatures that can draw them to God; they can have no power of cleaving to him, of willing that which he wills, or adoring the divine nature, but by partaking of that eternal Spirit of love; and therefore the continual immediate inspiration or operation of the Holy Spirit, is the one only possible ground of our continually loving God. And of this inspired love, and no other, it is that St. John says, "He that dwelleth in love, dwelleth in God." Suppose it to be any other love, brought forth by any other thing but the Spirit of God breathing his own love in us, and then it cannot be true, that he who dwells in such love, dwells in God.