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that we are not forced into it as by engines, but naturally grow up into the likeness and image of God. For when it is duly affected with the excellencies of God in Christ, it fills the mind with thoughts and contemplations on them, and excites all the affections unto a delight in them. And where the soul acts itself constantly in the mind's contemplation, and the delight of the affections, it will produce assimilation unto the object of them. To love God is the only way and means to be like unto him.
(3.) It is a love of complacency, and therein of benevolence. Upon that view which we have by spiritual light and faith of the divine goodness, exerting itself in the way before described, our souls do approve of all that is in God, applaud it, adore it, and acquiesce in it. Hence two great duties do arise, and hereon do they depend. First, Joyful ascriptions of glory and honour unto God. All praise and thanksgiving, all blessing, all assignation of glory unto him, because of his excellencies and perfections, do arise from our satisfactory complacence in them. The righteous rejoice in the Lord, and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness;' Psal. xcvii. 12. They are so pleased and satisfied at the remembrance of God's holiness, that it fills their hearts with joy, and causeth them to break forth in praises. Praise is nothing but an outward expression of the inward complacency of our hearts in the divine perfections and their operations. And, secondly, Love herein acts itself by benevolence, or the constant inclination of the mind unto all things, wherein the glory of God is concerned. It wills all the things wherein the name of God may be sanctified, his praises made glorious, and his will done in earth as it is in heaven. As God says of his own love unto us,' that he rejoiceth in it with singing, and resteth in it ;' Zeph. iii. 17. as having the greatest complacency in it, rejoicing over us with his whole heart and his whole soul;' Jer. xxxii. 41. so according unto our measure, do we by love rest in the glorious excellencies of God, rejoicing in them, with our whole hearts and our whole souls.
(4.) This divine love is a love of friendship. The communion which we have with God therein, is so intimate and accompanied with such spiritual boldness, as gives it that denomination. So Abraham was called the friend of God,'
Isa. xli. 8. James ii. 23. And because of that mutual trust which is between friends, the secret of the Lord is with them that fear him, and he will shew them his covenant;' Psal. xxv. 14. For as our Saviour teacheth us, servants, that is, those who are so, and no more, 'know not what their Lord doth;' he rules them, commands them, or requires obedience from them. But as unto his secret, his design and purpose, his counsel and love, they know nothing of it. But saith he unto his disciples, 'I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard of my Father, I have made known unto you;' John xv. 15. He proves them to be rightly called his friends, because of the communication of the secret of his mind unto them.
This is the great difference between them who are only servants in the house of God, and those who are so servants as to be friends also. The same commands are given unto all equally, and the same duties are required of all equally, inasmuch as they are equally servants. But those who are no more but so, know nothing of the secret counsel, love, and grace of God, in a due manner. For the natural man re
ceiveth not the things that are of God. Hence all their obedience is servile. They know neither the principal motives unto it, nor the ends of it. But they who are so servants as to be friends also, they know what their Lord doth; the secret of the Lord is with them, and he shews them of his covenant. They are admitted into an intimate acquaintance with the mind of Christ, (we have the mind of Christ;' 1 Cor. ii. 16.) and are thereon encouraged to perform the obedience of servants with the love and delight of friends.
The same love of friendship is expressed by that intimate converse with, and especial residence that is between God and believers; God dwelleth in them, and they dwell in God, for God is love; 1 John iv. 16. If a man,' saith the Lord Christ, love me, he will keep my words; and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him;' John xiv. 23. And if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come into him, and will sup with him, and he with me;' Rev. iii. 20. These are not empty sound of words; there is substance under them, there is truth in them. Those whose hearts are duly exercised in and unto the love of God, have experience of the refreshing
approaches both of the Father and of the Son unto their souls, in the communications of a sense of their love, and pledges of their abode with them.
These things have I briefly premised concerning the nature of divine love, that we may the better apprehend what we understand by it, in the application of it unto the person of Christ. For,
[1.] The formal object of this love, is the essential properties of the divine nature, its infinite goodness in particular. Wherever these are, there is the object and reason of this love. But they are all of them in the person of the Son, no less than in the person of the Father. As therefore we love the Father on this account, so are we to love the Son also. But,
[2.] The person of Christ is to be considered as he was incarnate or clothed with our nature. And this takes nothing off from the formal reason of this love, but only makes an addition unto the motives of it. This indeed for a season veiled the loveliness of his divine excellencies, and so turned aside the eyes of many from him, For when he took on him the form of a servant, and made himself of no reputation,' he had unto them who looked on him with carnal eyes, neither form nor comeliness' that he should be desired or beloved. Howbeit the entire person of Christ, God and man, is the object of this divine love, in all the acts of the whole exercise of it. That single effect of infinite wisdom and grace in the union of the divine and human natures, in the one person of the Son of God, renders him the object of this love in a peculiar manner. The way whereby we may motives unto it, shall close
attain this peculiar love, and the these considerations.
A due consideration of, and meditation on the proposal of the person of Christ unto us in the Scripture, are the proper foundation of this love. This is the formal reason of our faith in him, and love unto him. He is so proposed unto us in the Scripture that we may believe in him, and love him, and for that very end. And in particular with respect unto our love, to ingenerate it in us, and to excite it unto its due exercise, are those excellencies of his person as the principal effect of divine wisdom and goodness, which we have before insisted on, frequently proposed unto us.
To this end is he represented as altogether lovely, and the especial glories of his person are delineated, yea, drawn to the life, in the holy records of the Old and New Testaments. It is no work of fancy or imagination; it is not the feigning images in our minds of such things as are meet to satisfy our carnal affections, to excite and act them; but it is a due adherence unto that object which is represented unto faith in the proposal of the gospel. Therein as in a glass do we behold the glory of Christ, who is the image of the invisible God, and have our souls filled with transforming affections unto him.
The whole book of Canticles is nothing but a mystical declaration of the mutual love between Christ and the church. And it is expressed by all such ways and means as may represent it intense, fervent, and exceeding all other love whatever, which none I suppose will deny, at least on the part of Christ. And a great part of it consists in such descriptions of the person of Christ and his love, as may render him amiable and desirable unto our souls, even altogether lovely. To what end doth the Holy Spirit so graphically describe and represent unto us the beauty and desirableness of his person, if it be not to ingenerate love in us unto him? All want of love unto him on this proposal, is the effect of prevalent unbelief. It is pretended that the descriptions given of Christ in this book are allegorical, from whence nothing can be gathered or concluded. But God forbid we should so reflect on the wisdom and love of the Holy Spirit unto the church, that he hath proposed unto the faith of the church an empty sound and noise of words, The expressions he useth are figuwithout mind or sense. rative, and the whole nature of the discourse as unto its outward structure is allegorical. But the things intended are real and substantial, and the metaphors used in the expression of them are suited in a due attendance unto the analogy of faith, to convey a spiritual understanding and sense of the things themselves proposed in them. The church of God will not part with the unspeakable advantage and consolation, those supports of faith, and incentives of love, which it receives by that divine proposal of the person of Christ, and his love which is made therein, because some men have no experience of them, nor understanding in them.
The faith and love of believers is not to be regulated by the ignorance and boldness of them who have neither the one nor the other. The title of the forty-fifth Psalm is,
A song of loves;' that is, of the mutual love of Christ and the church. And unto this end, that our souls may be stirred up unto the most ardent affections towards him, is a description given us of his person, as altogether lovely. To what other end is he so evidently delineated in the whole harmony of his divine beauties by the pencil of the Holy Spirit?
Not to insist on particular testimonies, it is evident unto all whose eyes are opened to discern these things, that there is no property of the divine nature which is peculiarly amiable, such as are goodness, grace, love, and bounty, with infinite power and holiness, but it is represented and proposed unto us in the person of the Son of God, to this end, that we should love him above all, and cleave unto him. There is nothing in the human nature, in that fulness of grace and truth which dwelt therein, in that inhabitation of the Spirit which was in him without measure, in any thing of those 'all things' wherein he hath the pre-eminence, nothing in his love, condescension, grace, and mercy, nothing in the work that he fulfilled, what he did and suffered therein, nothing in the benefits we receive thereby, nothing in the power and glory that he is exalted unto at the right hand of God, but it is set forth in the Scripture and proposed unto us, that believing in him we may love him with all our hearts and souls. And besides all this, that singular, that infinite effect of divine wisdom, whereunto there is nothing like in all the works of God, and wherewith none of them may be compared, namely, the constitution of his person by the union of his natures therein, whereby he becomes unto us the image of the invisible God, and wherein all the blessed excellencies of his distinct natures are made most illustriously conspicuous, in becoming one entire principle of all his mediatory operations on our behalf, is proposed unto us as the complete object of our faith and love. This is that person, whose loveliness and beauty all the angels of God, all the holy ones above do eternally admire and adore. In him are the infinite treasures of divine wisdom and goodness continually represented unto them. This is he, who is