« AnteriorContinuar »
(1.) This love vents itself in prayer and supplication; "O God, thou art my God, early will I seek thee," Psalm lxiii. I.
(2.) It vents itself in praise and commendation; "My beloved is white and ruddyj the chies among ten thousand," Cant. v. 10.
(3.) It vents itself in wonder and admiration; "Behold what manner of love the Father haih bestowed upoa us, that we should be called the sons of God."
(4.) It vents itself in obedience aud observation of his law ; " If you love me, keep my commandments."
(5.) It vents itself in hatred of sin, and every salse way; " Ye that love the Lord, hate evil."
'(6.) It vents itself in loving every thing that belongs to God.—And this might lead me to Ihew how,
7. We may consider this love in the object of it, and in the extent of its object: why, the true lover of Christ he loves a whole Christ.
(1.) He loves him in his person, as he is the brightness of the Father's glory, and the express image of his person, Heb. i. 3.
(2.) He 'loves him in his natures, as he is God-man; "Immanuei., God with us."
(3.) He loves him in his ossices; as he is a Prophet, to take away his darkness; a Priest, to take away his guilt; and a King, to take away his sin, and to subdue his lusts.
(4.) He loves him in his relations; as he stands related to God, being his eternal-Son; as he stands related to the covenant, being the Mediator, Witness, Surety, and Testator, and all of it; and as he stands related to his church, being their Head and Husband, and all relations to them. You see what a large sield I might here go through.
(5.) He loves him in his righteousness, both active and passive, as having sulsilled the law, and satissied the justice of God in our room.
(6.) He loves him in his merit and purchase; he loves him in his Spirit and grace; he loves him in his commands, promises, and comforts; he loves him in his work and wages; he loves him in his ministers and
people; people; he loves him in his gospel and ordinances; he loves him in his crown, honour, and glory; he loves him in his cross, his reproach, and suffering; he loves him in every thing about him, and especially in himself, as being altogether lovely. And this leads to another consideration.
8. We may consider this love in the grounds of it. Indeed it is a God in Christ they love: more particularly, is you alk, what are the grounds of the saints love to Christ? Why,
(1.) Their love to him is grounded upon his worth, beauty, and excellency; the foul loves him, because of his own amiable excellency. When the foul gets a view of Christ's own beauty, and of the glory of God in him, his power, wisdom, holiness, grace, mercy, and other properties, his heart is ravished with love within him. O the thoughts of his worth, and his sulness of grace and good-will is overcoming?" Because of the savour of thy good ointments, thy name is as ointment poured forth, theresore do the virgins love thee," Song i. 3.
(2.) Their love to him is grounded upon his undertaking for them, and accomplishing that undertaking: they love him because of what he did undertake from eternity, and perform in time; "Who loved me, and gave himself for me!" They love him, because he put himself in their nature, for their good; they love him, because he put his name in their debt-bonds and bills: they love him, because he put their names in his lastwill, and in the book of lise; they love him, because he put his Spirit, his nature, and 'his Father's, image into them.
(3.) Their love to him is grounded upon his Father's love to him, and satissaction in him; "The Lord is well pleased for his righteousness sake, saying, This is ray beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." And, O but Christ be deservedly the object of the saints love, because he is the object of the Father's love, who loves him, both as he is his Son, and as he is our Surety; and theresore as the sum of all.
•Ca 4. Their
(4.) Their love to him is grounded upon his love to them; "We love him, because he sirst loved us." This leads me to
III. The third general head, viz. The Influence that his love hath upon theirs as the cause of it. And here I would, J. Clear and demonstrate it, that his loving us is the Cause of our loving him. 2. Enquire what Influence his love hath upon ours.
1. As to the sirst of these, to clear this point, we would offer the following considerations.
(1.) Consideration is, That a natural man, that looks upon God, can never have a heart-love to him, whatever he pretends. It is true, many sancy God loves them, and pretend they have a love to him, like some in the church at Ephesus, who said, they were apostles, and were not, but were found liars; so many pretend they know God, and love him, who yet in works deny him; and by their practice are found liars; and the vision of their heads is like to end in utter darkness; It is true also, that all that have a love to God> have not the sull assurance of God's love to them: some may live under his frowns, who are yet in a state of savour: there may be some true love, where yet there is but little joysul assurance; yet, I say, these who have no saith at all of God's love in Christ, but look upon God as an implacable enemy, they can have no hearty love to him ; nay, consciousness of guilt, and sear of wrath make them run away from God as an enemy; the spirit of slavish sear, which all awakened sinners are naturally possest of, till God shew them his love and savour in Christ, will rather harden men in their enmity, than melt them into love. If there were nothing but the terror of the Lord to be known, conversion would be impossible.
(2.) Consideration is, That the greater the sense of God's love in Christ is, the stronger will our love to hira be. Hence there are such different degrees of love to God among the saints, and even in the same saints, or believers, at several seasons, according as they have more or less of the comfortable apprehension of the love of God in Christ; fof, although the love of God be not variable, yet our views and apprehensions of it are. Every believer hath his dark and gloomy days, as well as his bright and pleasant days; and the less sensible views he hath of God's love and savour, the more sensible deadness in duty, and decay of love to God takes place. When the believer wants the saith of God's love, his wings are clipt; but when his heart is fraughted with a large measure of the saith of God's love, then he mounts up on wings as an eagle: then the love of Christ constrains him; and his heart is enlarged to run the way of God's commandments.
(3.) Consideration, That the love of God discovered, breaks the power of all these things that hinder our love to him. Is self-love a snare to keep us from the love of God? Well, a display of God's love breaks the power of self-love. When Job got a discovery of the glory os God's grace, then he abhors himself. When we know that God is pacisied towards us, it makes us loath and abhor ourselves, Ezek. xvi. 63. A sinner is never so odious in his own sight, as when he is persuaded of his being precious in God's sight. Does the flattery of the world allure men from the love, of God? Well, but the displays of God's love make the world to be crucisied to us, and us to the world.— Christ's love discovered, obscures all the seeming glory of the world, as the sun darkens the lesser lights, and as the works of nature spoil the reputation of the works of art. Do the frowns of the world scare us from the love of God and his way? Well, but the display of God's love to us is a noble security against this temptation; for little matter, who be against us, is God be far us; "His loving-kindness is better than lise;"' therefore, though the rage of men stiould reach our lives, yet what comparison is betwixt the breath of our nostrils, and the savour of an eternal God? We do not love God in Christ, because we do not know him; but when his love is displayed, then he is known in the light of the Spirit, "As a Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Christ;" the Spirit comes as
C 3 * , a Spirit a Spirit of light; and thus the love of God is shed abroad upon the heart by the Holy Ghost.
(4.) Consideration, When God displays his love, he at the same time transforms the foul to whom he discovers himself, and makes it a new creature. Now, the new 'nature is a gratesul and loving nature; depraved nature may reward evil for good, and hatred for love; but it is not so with the new nature, it natively renders love for love; it is native to the foul upon the discovery of God's love, his everlasting love, to be constrained to his service and obedience; "If you love me, keep my commandments." Now, this love, that is the product of God's love, is virtually all obedience; and theresore love is said to be the sulsilling of the law; and when love takes place, his commandments are not grievous, but pleasant; yea, when the love of God is
in the heart, then the law of God is in the heart.
2. To enquire more particularly what influence God's love hath upon ours: "We love him, because he sirst loved us:" our love is just the retlex of his, as the sun shining upon a glass. Why, how does his love to us influence our love to him? (1.) It hath a moral influence, in point of motive. (2.) A physical influence, in point of power.
(1.) It hath a moral influence, in point of motive; and so it is the moral cause of our love; the incentive, the argument. What will move us to love, is the display of this insinite love does it not? We cannot but love such a good God, who was sirst in the act and work of love; that loved us when we were both unloving and unlovely; that loved us at such a rate, as to seek and solicite our love at the expence of his Son's blood. O amazing love! Is there any motive can be stronger to engage us to love him again? Shall not the 'love of Christ constrain us to love him again? What in all the world will endear a foul to God, is the love of
God do it not ?. So much as we see of the love of
God, so no,uch we love him, and delight in him, and no more. Every other discovery of God without this, will but make the foul to flee from him. If the saith