Love for God
1. Comes from a knowledge God. Knowledge should lead to love. Its springs are God's character, his actions and his promises about the future.
2. Involves feelings for him. He allows for temperament and nationality and even the weather remembering that the body and soul are a unity - but there will be some feeling. God has made us in such a way that feelings of gratitude and joy are bound to affect us to some extent.
3. If it is ruling in a person's heart, will lead to a looking to God rather than a sense of drudgery in duty. What we love and hate affects everything else about us. Love for God will lead all our other passions if it is there as seen pre-eminently in Jesus. It is bound to lead into joy and pleasure in him and all that belongs to him. It will promote zeal for him, hatred for what offends him, etc.
4. Must not lead to enthusiasm of the wrong sort. We must take care not to let any of our passions degenerate. Watts warns against living for experience or depending on them. Living on our emotions is not helpful.
5. Can be excited not by an effort of mere will but by a consideration of the truth. Meditation is the key, especially meditation on the more emotive parts of Scripture, particularly the Psalms. Watts is keen on the impact that public worship and other opportunities for fellowship can make. He warns against substitutes for real love.
We were pointed to the way Watts last view here fed into his best known work that of hymn writing.
Such wondrous love awakes the lip Of saints that were almost asleep,
To speak the praises of thy name, And makes our cold affections flame.
He opposed the practice of "lining out" hymns chiefly because of the way it militates against stirring the emotions, as funeral dirges can also do. Preaching must also warm the heart above all. The preacher begins by warming his own heart. He must feel what he says.
Some final applications included these areas
1. The need to promote the love of God today
2. The practical help Watts can be for example with the meditations he gives at the end of each chapter
3. The need to address people's feelings, to get behind them
4. The importance of this leading to action, well motivated action
5. The whole question of praise and what it is to be like
6. In preaching, the need engage our own passions as preachers
7. Are we those who attend to our own hearts and motives seeking a heartfelt love for God?