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and apprehension of his free love, of his ancient love, his antecedent love, his preventing love, such as I have spoken of, be no motive or argument to influence us to love him, there is no argument in the world will
2. It hath a physical influence, in point of power; and so it is not only the moral, but the productive cause. There is a power in his love that conquers, captivates, and overpowers the man, so that he cannot but love: God's love hath a generative power: our love is brought forth by his love, James i. 18. "Of his own will he begat us;" that is, of his own free love and good-will. Divine love makes such an impression, that it instamps love upon the foul. As his love hath a generating power, so it hath a creating power; his love insuses and creates love in the person. Beloved, it works good in the man, that is the object of it: his power and will are commensurate; what he wills, he works; and when the time of love or of manisesting love comes, the time of power comes; " Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power." His love hath a conllraining power; "The love of Christ constrains us;" and his love hath a drawing power; "I have loved thee with an everlasting love; theresore with loving-kindness will I draw thee." He draws with the cords of love, and thereby draws the heart towards him in love: and hence never a foul tasted the sweetness of his everlasting love, but .at the same time he selt the power of it warming the heart, and kindling a sire of love there. O how does his mighty love break the power of their mighty enmity 1 Was ever pardoning mercy and love intimated, but the pardoned foul behoved to read the pardon with tears of joy; and to love much when much was forgiven? Can they chuse but love him, "Who are the called according to his purpose of love?" Rom. viii. 28.—" We love him, because he sirst loved us."
IV. The fourth general head, was the application. Is it so, that God's love to his people is the source and cause of their love to him? Then we may apply it for information; and,
C 4 z. Hence
I. Hence4see the difference betwixt God's love to the saints, and the saints love to God. Ii is true, their loves agree in several things: his love to them is a love ot' complacency, he delights in them; and their love to him is a love of complacency, they delight in him: he loves them in Christ, and they love him in Christ; but yet vastly great is the difference betwixt his love and theirs, 1. His love is eternal, their love is but of yesterday's date. 2. His love is the original cause, their love is the native effect of his. 3. His love is an antecedent love, it goes before theirs, as the sather loves the child, when the child knows not the father, much less loves him; yea, they are by nature haters of God. And surely all must begin on his side; "Herein is love, not that we loved God,, but that God loved us:" yea, his love not only goes besore our love, but besore every thing that is lovely in us; " God commends his love towards us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." Sin imports all unlovelineis and undesirableness that can be in a creature; yet he loves; but then our love is a consequential love. 4. His love being free and eternal, is always equal and unchangeable; for, "The Strength of Israel is not a man that he should repent;" but our love to him is unequal and changeable, up and down: his love is like the sun, always the same in its light, though a cloud may sometimes interpose; our love is like the moon, hath its -waxings and weanings: his love, I say, is like the sun, always the same in its light. It is true, as the sun is sometimes under a cloud; so the fruits and manisestations of God's love may change; now he mines, now he hides his sace, as it may be most for our prosit;
but still his love in itself is the same. Whatever
changes affect the saints, whether as to sin or susfering, yet God's love to them is. unchangeable. Why, were it not blasphemy to say, that God loves his people in their sinning, as well as in their strictest obedience? If so, who will care to serve him more? To which it might be replied, The love of God in itself is no more changeable than God himself; and what then? Loves he his people in their sinning? by no
means; means; he loves his people, not their sinning. Alters he his love to them? No; not his love, but the discoveries of his love: he smites them, rebukes them, and sills them with a sense os indignation. But wo would be to us is he changed in his love; nay, " He is God, and changes not; theresore the sons of Jacob are not consumed." These very things which seem to be demonstrations of the change of his affection, do as clearly proceed from love to them, even his chastisements, as any other dispensations. Well, but will not this encourage to sin ?" O sure he never tasted, as one ** says, of the love of God, that can seriously make "this objection." The doctrine of grace may be turned into wantonness, but the principle of grace cannot. His love, I say, being free, eternal, and preventing love, is in itself always equal and unchangeable; but our love to God is an ebbing and flowing love. We are scarce a day at a stand. This hour we may be at this, " Though all men forsake thee, yet will not I!" And the next hour at this, "I know not the man." When was ever the time that our love was equal one day to an end?
2. Hence see the difference betwixt justisication and sanctisication; and the priority of justisication to sanctisication: We may here notice the difference betwixt the one and the other. Many are the differences betwixt them, but I consine myself to what the text imports. ,1. In justisication, God loves us, and shews his love in Christ; in sanctisication, we love God, and shew our love to him: for the comprehensive sum of active holiness is love, which is the sulsilling of the law. 2. In justisication, we have the savour of God; in fanctisication, we have the image of God; and the special part of his image is love. 3. In justisication, we are passive, as when God set his love upon us; but in sanctisication, we are active, while his love causes us to act in loving him. 4. Justisication is God's act of love without us, in and through the merit and righteousness of Christ imputed to us; sanctisication is God's work of grace within us, by the Spirit of Christ imparted to us ,as a Spirit of love, as well as of other graces. 5. Jus*
tisication tisication is persect, equal, and always the same, like the love of God, the original cause, and the righteousness of Christ the meritorious cause of it; but sanctisication is impersect, unequal, and changeable; for the love of the saints, as I laid, is up and down. 6. Justisication is the cause; sanctisication the effect; even as God's love is the cause of our love. 7. Faith in justisication is an instrument receiving Christ, as the Lord our righteousness, and apprehending the love and mercy of God in him; but saith in sanctissication is an agent, employing Christ as the Lord our strength, to enable us to manisest our love to him. Thus we see the priority of divine love and savour, and acceptation and justisication besore any work of ours; and so, how any can maintain, that actual gospel-repentance (which must be a work of ours, and a piece of sanctisication at least) doth go besore, and is necessary in order to justisication, let the judicious consider, without receding from our standards, and binding their saith to the belt of any sallible creatures, councils, or acts. That legal repentance, or humiliation and conviction, and sense of sin, does go besore justisication, in order of divine operation, is plain; and that habitual sanctissication, or regeneration, and the insusing of all grace into the soul, is also precious, is not denied: But that gospel-repentance, or any part of actual sanctisication, is necessary in order to justisication and pardon, I do not see how it is possible to maintain that, without running into the Roman camp, and sighting with Popish weapons, and inverting the order of our text, making any part of our love to God necessary sirst in order to God's loving us. But sure God's method of doing, will stand in spite of hell and earth: "We love him, because he sirst loved us."
3. Hence we may see, that as the persuasion that is in the nature of saith lies in the apprehension of the love and mercy of God in Christ to a man's self in particular; so this doctrine of saith does not make void the law, but establish and fulsil it, is we consider love as the sulsilling of the law; for the language of this
text, text, when read in the singular number is," I love him, because he sirst loved me:"—"He sirst loved me," there is saith's apprehension of the mercy of God in Christ. It is true, a believer may say, 1 know not whether he loved me or not; but sure I am it is not his saith that lays so, but unbelies; but the stronger that his saith is,' to be sure the more will he be able to say, "He loved me:" And the more he can say this, the more'can he say the other also, " I love him:" And there is obedience, gospel-obedience, the obedience of saith, which is a loving obedience; for the law of Christ is a law of love: it is blasoemy against the love of God to reproach it, as a mother of licentiousness, and a nurse of carnal security. They that have the love of God in their eye, can take no encouragement from thence to sm; for sin tends to cloud that light wherein they rejoice. If it were possible for a believer to think that God loves him, and thereupon stiould take encouragement to sin, then I am bold to say, it is not the saith of God's operation takes place at that time with him, but only a fancy, and a strong temptation of Satan, working upon that sancy: for a true saith of God's love, brings holiness, love, and obedience along with it, as natively as the rising-sun brings light. God's love of bounty displayed, does as natively bring in our love of duty, as it is natural for the sire to bring heat. Is it possible that God's communicating his thoughts of peace to a child, will embolden him to new acts of treason? No; is the sense of God's love did not wear off, and security and unwatchsulness wear on, the believer's love would always be flaming in the sire of God's love. They have no experience of the love of Gcd, who think that the discovery thereof-would give them a license to transgress.
4. Hence we see, that as the believer is persectly free from vindictive wrath, from the curse and penal sanction of the law, so his gospel-obedience is not influenced by slavish sear of hell, but by the love of God. How can the man that is actually justisied, and accepted in the Beloyed, and so the actual object of God's everlasting, unchangeable love, ever sall under his vindic