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in compliance with what we have heard, may not be altogether unfeasonable or unuseful.
Our business and duty is to set forth the sufferings and death of our Lord Jesus Christ, and therein principally to call to mind his love What you have heard ry well occasion us to think of that passage of the apostle, wherein he earnestly prays for them.
And to know the love of Chrif, which passeth knowledge.
This is a peculiar kind of expression; the meaning is, that we may know that experimentally, which we cannot know comprehensively; that we know that in its power and effe&ts, which we cannot comprehend in its nature and depths. A weary person may receive refreshment from a spring, who cannot fathom the depths of ihe ocean from whence it doth proceed. And if we would have our hearts in this ordinance, and at other times, affected with the love of Christ, which is the thing we are to aim at, (to know his love, and to experience the power of it), it is of great advantage to us to consider, that it is such a love as pafses knowledge, that our faith concerning it must issue in admiration, not comprehension.
I shall name two or three things, that may give a little sense of this love as it passes knowledge.
1. The love of Christ is the fountain and spring of all the glory that is in heaven, or shall be there unto all eternity. God's eternal glory is eternally the same
". from everlasting to everlasting thou art God;" but all | the created glory that is in heaven, or ever shall be
there, springs out of the love of Christ. It is true, the angels were not redeemed by him, but they were confirmed by him. They were not recovered out of a lot .estate by him, but they were continued in their first ettate by him. Hence it is, that God gathered all things in heaven and earth unto an head in him, "Eph. i. 10. And there is a great deal to the same purpose in that expression of the apostle, when he had
mentioned “principalities and powers," Col. i. 7. “ In him all things confift," they have their confiftence in him. All would diffolve and fall to nothing, if they had not their consistence in Jesus Christ. Certainly this is a love that palles knowledge, that is the fountain and spring of all the glory that is in heaven. If God help us by faith to look within the vail, and to take a view of all those glories where with the Holy God is encompassed, we shall see that this love is the fountain and spring of them; the interpofition of Christ faved the creation, and brought in that everlasting glory that shall dwell in heaven. God knows this love, God understands the way of it ; but as to us it paffes knowledge.
Again, 2. This love of Christ passes the comprehenfion and knowledge of angels; and therefore Peter tells us, Pet i. 1 2. speaking of the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that followed, " Which things, (says he), the angels desire to bow down, and look into.' gels in heaven live in an admiration of the love of Christ unto finners, that is, that love he expreffed in fuffering, and in the glory that did ensue. And O! what thoughts ought we to have of this love, who have all the benefits of it? The angels had no benefit by the sufferings of Christ, but their benefit and advantage ensued on the affumption of the human nature to bring the creation into a consistence, and his interposition between God, and all his creatures. They admire and adore it. What ought fuch poor creatures as we are to do? It may well be said to pass our knowledge, for it passes the knowledge of all the angels in heaven.
3. It paffes knowledge, in that the effects of it in Christ himself pass all our knowledge and comprehenfion. To give but two instances.
(1.) His condescension to assume our human nature paffes all our comprehenfion. No man can fully understand the mystery of the affumption of our nature into the personal fubfiftence of the Son of God. Some difpute, whether we shall understand the mystery of the incarnation in heaven; here we believe it. It is love which paffes knowledge, that the eternal Son of God should take our nature into personal union with himself; it is that we may admire and ought to admire; and God
help us, we are such poor earthly creatures, that we cannot admire it as we ought; though it be much in our nature to admire what we cannot comprehend.
(2.) We cannot fully understand his passion and sufferings. God alone knows what is in the curse of the law; we do not know it. God alone knows what is the true desert of lin; it cannot be fully understood by any but himself. They who undergo it, must suffer to eternity; there is no end ; they never see, never know what fin deserved. How do we know then what Christ suffered, when the punishment due to our fin, when all our iniquities met upon him, with the curse of the law ? God only knows what is in these things; the fruits and effects of this love in himself, in his incarnation and palfion, are past our knowledge, therefore the love itself furpaffes our knowledge.
4. Give me leave to say, the very fruits of it in ourselves do pats knowledge. No man that lives knows what there is in these three general heads of the fruits of Christ's love, in justification and pardon of fin, in the renovation and fančtification of our natures, and in the inhabitation and confolations of the Holy Spirit. No man living can find out these things to perfection. None of us fully understands and comprehends what it is to be justified in the light of God, to have sin pardoned, to have our natures renewed, and transformed into the likeness of God, and to have the Holy Ghost dwell
The love of Christ therefore passes all knowledge, for the very fruits of it in ourselves are beyond what we can comprehend, there is a greatnels in them we cannot reach unto. Why then, my brethren, let us labour to have our hearts affected with this love. If God would be pleased to give unto every one of us some fense and impression of the greatness of this love of Christ, glance it into our hearts, beam it upon us in this ordinance, we thould have cause to bless him all the days of our lives. The faith and light of it issue in admiration; the light of glory will bring us to comprehension. Let us have such a sense as may cause us to admire what we cannot now comprehend.
(1.). I could speak fomething, but I will not now, to the actings of faith in admiration; it being the proper
nature of faith to issue itself in the admiration of that which is infinite. If we can get our souls up to an holy admiration of this love, we have some gracious sense of it upor our hearts, if we can go no farther.
(2.) Let us learn to run up all the mercies we are partakers of, whatsoever it be we value, to the proper Spring, “ Who loved me, and gave himself for me, If we have any relief, or supply, or refreshment of foul, in a sense of pardon of fin, in spiritual light or confolation, pray let us exercise ourselves to run up all these things to the fountain : it is all from the love of Chrift, that unspeakable love which paffes knowledge.
(3.) În this let us be ashamed, seeing the love of Christ to us is fuch as paffes our knowledge, our love to him is fo weak, that sometimes we know not whether we have any or not. For this let us be greatly humbled. This is not the way to answer that love which passes knowledge, to know not whether we love Christ again or not. Let us be ashamed for our want of love. I
And laftly, Let us abound in praise and thanksgiving for his love, and all the fruits of it.
For my part I do not know, whether that vision in Rev. v. g. does express the rejoicing of the church above, or the duty of the church below; bat both, I am sure, are of so near affinity, that apply it to which
you will, you do not miss it.
And what do they there? why, it is said, “They sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the feals of it: for thou wait flain, and has redeemed us to God by thy blood, out of every kindred and tongue, and people, and nation; and hat made us unto our God kings and priests,” de. And it is said again, “ Worthy is the Lamb that was flain, to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and bles. fing;” and again he repeats it in ver, 13. I fay, I, know not whether this be a representation of the rejoicing of the church above, or a représentation of the duty of the church below; but I can conclude from it, that the enjoyment of the one and the duty of the other, confifts greatly in continual giving praise and thankfgiving to Christ, for his unspeakable love in our redemption,
February 18. 1676.
E are met here to remember the death of Chrift
in the way and by the means that he himself hath appointed ; and in remembering the death of Christ, we are principally to remember the love of Christ, “ who loved
and wathed us from our fins in his own blood ;” and that which on our part is required herein, is faith in Christ who died for us, and love to Christ, who loved us 1o, as to give himself an offering and a facrifice to God
1. That which I would now observe is this, (to make way for the ftirring up of our love) that the person of Christ is the adequate complete object of the love of * God, and of the whole creation that bears the image of God, I mean, the church of God above, the angels and faints; and the church of God below in believers, which are the creation that has the image of God upon it.
The person of Christ is the first complete object of the love of God the Father. A great part (if I may
fo fpeak, and I must so speak) of the eflential blefiedress of the holy Trinity, consists in the mutual love of the Father and the Son, by the Holy Ghoft, which is the love of them both.
That which I would now take notice of, I fay, as the foundation of all, is this, that the divire nature in the person of the Son, is the only full, resting complete oba ject of the love of God the Father. I will give you a place or two of scripture for it, and so go on to another instance. Prov. viii. 30. “ Then (faith he, that is, from everlasting,) I was by him, as one brought up with him ; and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him," that is, as the fpeciál object of his love; as among you men one that is brought up with you, as your child is. The delight of the Father from all eternity was in the Son. The ineffable love and mutual delight of the Father and