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of his mediatory office, from the first susception of it in his incarnation in the womb of the blessed Virgin, unto his present intercession in heaven, but is an effectual motive unto the love of him, and as such is proposed unto us in the Scripture. Whatever he did or doth with or towards us in the name of God, as the king and prophet of the church, whatever he did or doth with God for us as our high-priest, it all speaks this language in the hearts of them that believe; O love the Lord Jesus in sincerity.
The consideration of what Christ thus did and doth for us, is inseparable from that of the benefits which we receive thereby. A due mixture of both these, of what he did for us, and what we obtain thereby, compriseth the substance of these motives. Who loved me, and gave himself for me. Who loved us, and washed us in his own blood, and made us kings and priests unto God. For thou wast slain, and hast bought us unto God with thy blood.' And both these are of a transcendant nature, requiring our love to be so also. Who is able to comprehend the glory of the mediatory actings of the Son of God, in the assumption of our nature, in what he did and suffered therein? And for us, eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, nor can it enter into the heart of man to conceive, what we receive thereby. The least benefit, and that obtained by the least expense of trouble or charge, deserveth love, and leaveth the brand of a crime, where it is not so entertained. What then do the greatest deserve, and those procured by the greatest expense; even the price of the blood of the Son of God?
If we have any faith concerning these things, it will produce love, as that love will obedience. Whatever we profess concerning them, it springs from tradition and opinion, and not from faith, if it engage not our souls into the love of him. The frame of heart which ensues on the real faith of these things, is expressed, Psal. ciii. 1-5. ‘Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits. Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases. Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with loving-kindness and tender mercies; who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagles.' Let men pretend what they will
there needs no greater, no other evidence, to prove that any one doth not really believe the things that are reported in the gospel, concerning the mediatory actings of Christ, or that he hath no experience in his own soul and conscience of the fruits and effects of them, than this, that his heart is not engaged by them unto the most ardent love towards his person.
He is no Christian who lives not much in the meditation of the mediation of Christ, and the especial acts of it. Some may more abound in that work than others, as it is fixed, formed, and regular. Some may be more able than others to dispose their thoughts concerning them, into method and order. Some may be more diligent than others in the observation of times for the solemn performance of this duty. Some may be able to rise to higher and clearer apprehensions of them than others. But as for those, the bent of whose minds doth not lie towards thoughts of them, whose hearts are not on all occasions retreating unto the remembrance of them, who embrace not all opportunities to call them over as they are able; on what grounds can they be esteemed Christians? How do they live by the faith of the Son of God? Are the great things of the gospel, of the mediation of Christ, proposed unto us, as those which we may think of when we have nothing else to do, that we may meditate upon, or neglect at our pleasure, as those wherein our concernment is so small as that they must give place unto all other occasions or diversions whatever? Nay; if our minds are not filled with these things; if Christ doth not dwell plentifully in our hearts by faith; if our souls are not possessed with them, and in their whole inward frame and constitution so cast into this mould, as to be led by a natural complacency unto a converse with them, we are strangers unto the life of faith. And if we are thus conversant about these things, they will engage our hearts into the love of the person of Christ. To suppose the contrary, is indeed to deny the truth and reality of them all, and to turn the gospel into a fable.
Take one instance from among the rest; namely, his death. Hath he the heart of a Christian, who doth not often meditate on the death of his Saviour, who doth not derive his life from it? Who can look into the gospel and not fix on those
lines which either immediately and directly, or through some other paths of divine grace and wisdom, do lead him thereunto? And can any have believing thoughts concerning the death of Christ, and not have his heart affected with ardent love unto his person? Christ in the gospel is evidently set forth, crucified before us.' Can any by the eye of faith look on this bleeding dying Redeemer, and suppose love unto his person to be nothing but the work of fancy or imagination? They know the contrary, who always bear about in the body, the dying of the Lord Jesus;' as the apostle speaks, 2 Cor. iv. 10. As his whole name, in all that he did, is an ointment poured forth, for which the virgins love him,' Cant. i. 3. so this precious perfume of his death, is that where with their hearts are ravished in a peculiar manner.
Again, As there can be no faith in Christ, where there is no love unto him, on the account of his mediatory acts; so, where it is not, the want of it casteth persons under the highest guilt of ingratitude that our nature is liable unto. The highest aggravation of the sin of angels, was their ingratitude unto their Maker. For whereas, by his mere will and pleasure, they were stated in the highest excellency, preeminence, and dignity, that he thought good to communicate unto any creatures; or it may be, that any mere created nature is capable of in itself; they were unthankful for what they had so received from undeserved goodness and bounty, and so cast themselves into everlasting ruin. But yet the sins of men in their ingratitude towards Christ on the account of what he hath done for them, is attended with an aggravation above that of the angels. For although the angels were originally instated in that condition of dignity which in this world we cannot attain unto, yet were they not redeemed and recovered from misery as
In all the crowd of evil and wicked men, that the world is pestered withal, there are none by common consent so stigmatized for unworthy villany, as those who are signally ungrateful for singular benefits. If persons are unthankful unto them, if they have not the highest love for them, who redeem them from ignominy and death, and instate them in a plentiful inheritance (if any such instances may be given), and that with the greatest expense of labour and charge;
mankind without any regret, doth tacitly condemn them unto greater miseries than those which they were delivered from. What then will be the condition of them, whose hearts are not so affected with the mediation of Christ, and the fruits of it, as to engage the best, the choicest of their affections unto him? The gospel itself will be a savour of death unto such ungrateful wretches.
2. That which the Scripture principally insisteth on as the motives of our love unto Christ, is his love unto us, which was the principle of all his mediatory actings in our behalf.
Love is that jewel of human nature which commands a valuation wherever it is found. Let other circumstances be what they will, whatever distances between persons may be made by them, yet real love where it is evidenced so to be, is not despised by any but such as degenerate into profligate brutality. If it be so stated as that it can produce no outward effects advantageous unto them that are beloved, yet it commands a respect as it were whether we will or no, and some return in its own kind. Especially it doth so if it be altogether undeserved, and so evidenceth itself to proceed from a goodness of nature, and an inclination unto the good of them on whom it is fixed. For whereas the essential nature of love consisteth in willing good unto them that are beloved; where the act of the will is real, sincere, and constantly exercised, without any defect of it on our part; no restraints can possibly be put upon our minds from going out in some acts of love again upon its account, unless all their faculties are utterly depraved, by habits of brutish and filthy lusts. But when this love which is thus undeserved, doth also abound in effects troublesome and chargeable in them in whom it is, and highly beneficial unto them on whom it is placed, if there be any such affection left in the nature of any man, it will prevail unto a reciprocal love. And all these things are found in the love of Christ unto that degree and height, as nothing parallel unto it can be found in the whole creation. I shall briefly speak of it under two general heads.
(1.) The sole spring of all the mediatory actings of Christ, both in the susception of our nature, and in all that he did and suffered therein, was his own mere love and grace, work
ing by pity and compassion. It is true, he undertook this work principally with respect unto the glory of God, and out of love unto him. But with respect unto us, his only motive unto it was his abundant overflowing love. And this is especially remembered unto us in that instance wherein it carried him through the greatest difficulties, namely, in his death and the oblation of himself on our behalf; Gal. ii. 20. Eph. v. 2. 25, 26. 1 John iii. 16. Rev. i. 5, 6. This alone inclined the Son of God to undertake the glorious work of our redemption, and which carried him through the death and dread which he underwent in the accomplishment of it.
Should I engage into the consideration of this love of Christ, which was the great means of the conveying all the effects of divine wisdom and grace unto the church; that glass which God chose to represent himself and all his goodness in unto believers; that spirit of life in the wheel of all the motions of the person of Christ in the redemption of the church unto the eternal glory of God, his own and that of his redeemed also; that mirror wherein the holy angels and blessed saints, shall for ever contemplate the divine excellencies in their suitable operations; I must now begin a discourse much larger than that which I have passed through. But it is not suited unto my present design so to do. Nor considering the growing apprehensions of many about the person of Christ, which are utterly destructive of the whole nature of that love which we ascribe unto him, do I know how soon a more distinct explication and defence of it may be called for. And this cause will not be forsaken.
They know nothing of the life and power of the gospel, nothing of the reality of the grace of God, nor do they believe aright one article of the Christian faith, whose hearts are not sensible of the love of Christ herein. Nor is he sensible of the love of Christ, whose affections are not thereon drawn out unto him. I say, they make a pageant of religion, a fable for the theatre of the world, a business of fancy and opinion, whose hearts are not really affected with the love of Christ, in the susception and discharge of the work of mediation, so as to have real and spiritually sensible affections for him. Men may babble things which they have learnt by rote; they have no real acquaintance with