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the Son by the Spirit, is that which is the leaft notion we have of the bleffedness of the eternal God. John i. 18. "The only begotten Son, who is in the bofom of the Father." Pray obferve it, that I yet speak only of the divine perfon of Chrift antecedent unto his incarnation, and the ineffable mutual love of the bleffed perfons in the holy Trinity, which Jefus Chrift wonderfully fets out in John xvii. There is his relation unto God, he is the only begotten Son, by eternal generation; what follows? he is in the bofom of the Father, is in the Father's eternal infinite love. Herein is God's love; and every thing else of love is but a free act of the will of God, a free emanation from this eternal love between the Father and the Son. God never did any thing without himself, but the end of it was to manifeft what is inhimself. The old and new creation that God hath wrought, was to manifeft what was in himfelf. God made this world to manifeft his power and wisdom; God made the new world by Jefus Chrift, to manifeft his grace, his love, goodness, &c.
The fole reason why there is fuch a thing as love in the world, among the creatures, angels or men, that God ever implanted it in the nature of rational creatures, was, that it might fhadow and reprefent the ineffable eternal love that the Father had unto the Son, and the Son unto the Father by the Spirit.
Contemplative men of old did always admire love, wherein they would have the life, luftre, and glory of all things to confift; but they could never fee the rife of it and they traced fome things to this, that God neceffarily loved himfelf; and it is true, it cannot otherwife be; but God's loving of himself, abfolutely as God, is nothing but his eternal bleffed acquiefcence in the holy, felf-fufficing properties of his nature. This they had fome reach after; but of this eternal ineffable love of the Father to the Son, and of the Son to the Father by the Spirit, that they had no conjecture of. But this is the fountain and fpring head; and all fuch things as love in the old and new creation, as I faid, is but to resemble and fhadow out this great prototype of divine love. I acknowledge there is little difcerned of these things, by reason of the weakness of our under
ftandings; but the fcripture having fo directly declared to us the mutual love of the Father and the Son, (which truly is of fach fingular ufe, that I would fix perfons upon it in conceiving of the doctrine of the Trinity), that it is matter of admiration and thankfulness to us. Here lies the foundation of all love, whereunto we hope to reduce our love unto Chrit, viz. in the unchangeable love of the Father to the Son.
2. The perfon of Christ as vefted with our naturë, and undertaking the work of mediation, is the first object of the Father's love, wherein there is any mixture of any thing without himself.
The first love of God the Father to the Son is that we call ad intra, where the divine perfons are objects of one another's actings; the Father knows the Son, and the Son knows the Father; the Father loves the Son, and the Son loves the Father; and fo confequently of the Holy Ghoft, the medium of all thefe actings.
But now, I fay, the first act of the love of God the Father, wherein there is any thing ad extra, or without the divine effence, is the perfon of Christ, confidered as invested with our nature. And had not the love of God been fixed in the first place in all things upon the perfon of Christ, there would have been no redundancy, to us, nor communication of love unto us, From the first eternal love of God proceeds all love that was in the first creation; and from this fecond love of God to the perfon of Chrift, as incarnate, proceeds all the love in the fecond creation. See how God expreffes it in a profpect of what he fhould be, Ifa. xlii. 1. "Behold my fervant whom I uphold, mine elect in whom my foul delighteth." And this is fingular in the whole fcripture, that God fpake the fame words twice from heaven immediately, and they were thefe, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased;" at his baptifm, Mat. iii. 17. and at his entrance on his fufferings, Mat. xvii. 5. which was the voice which came from the excellent glory. I would obferve this unto you, because I think it is what God would have us take notice of, the emphafis in the words, "Behold my fervant, mine elect, my Son, my beloved Son! (what of him)? in whom I reft, in whom I am well pleased and delighted." All of them
emphatical words. Saith God, Let the fons of men (f fpeak it from heaven again and again) take notice of this that the infinite love of my whole foul is fixed on the perfon of Jefus Chrift, as incarnate. And you will find the Lord Jefus Chrift pleading this as the ground of that truft committed unto him, and all that he received, John iii. 35. "The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand." John v. 20. "The Father loveth the Son, and fheweth him all things that himfelf doth ; and will shew him greater works than thefe." He lay's the foundation of all the truft that God the Father committed unto him, in the peculiar love of the Father to him as the Son incarnate.
Truly I fhall not go beyond this foundation, to manifeft to you, that the perfon of Christ is the complete adequate object of the love of the Father. The great fatisfaction of the foul of God, wherein he refts and delights, confifts in love to Chrift as incarnate.
I will make but this one inference from it; proportionable to the renovation of the image and likeness of God upon any of our fouls, is our love to Jefus Chrift. He that knows Jesus Christ most, is most like unto God, for there the foul of God refts, there is the complacen cy of God; and if we would be like to God, have pledges in ourselves of the renovation of this image upon us, it must be in the gracious exercise of our love to the perfon of Jefus Christ. And pray let me obferve it to you, the world, that is full of enmity to God, doth not exercife its enmity against God immediately under the first notion of God, but exerciseth its enmity against God in Chrift and if we return to God by the renovation of his image, we do not exercife our love to God immediately as God, but our love to God by and in Chrift; that ye through him might believe in God. Here is a trial, brethren, of our return to God, and of the renovation of his image in us, viz. in our love to Jefus Chrift. There God and man do meet, there God and his church above and below centre. The Lord grant that this ordinance may be the means to ftir up our hearts more to the exercife of this grace!
July 8. 1677.
SHALL fpeak to them who have a mind to be found performing their duty; but it may be, it doth not occur to them what is particularly required of them. They are fuch as are least acquainted with this mystery that I would have meft refpect unto, that nothing of God's provifion in his house may be loft to his children, for want of understanding aright to come to his table, where he makes this provifion.
I pray you, brethren, exercife your thoughts unto the inftitution of this ordinance, wherein you exercise your obedience; unto the propofition of Chrift in this ordinance, wherein confifts the peculiar acting of your faith; and unto the exhibition of Chrift in this ordinance, which is the ground of your thankfulness.
What fhall I do that I may please God now, please Jefus Chrift, and benefit my own foul in the administration of this ordinance ?
Why, 1. Confider the inftitution of it, wherein we have the authority of Jefus Chrift put forth, and acting towards our fouls. "Do this in remembrance of me.' Labour therefore to bring your hearts into an actual obedience to the authority of Jefus Chrift in what we are about. This the Lord Jefus doth require at our hands. We do not come here in a customary manner to fatisfy our convictions, because we ought to come; we do not come here merely to make ufe of our privilege, but our hearts are to bow to the authority of Jefus Chrift. Confider, I pray you, the inftitution of this ordinance, and labour to bring your fouls into actual obedience to Jefus Chrift. We do it because Chrift has required it of us. If our hearts are in that frame, that we are here upon the command of Chrift, to do what he has appointed, and we can recommend our confciences unto him, that it
is in obedience to his command that we are here, then our obedience is in exercise.
2. Confider the propofition that is made of Jefus Christ in this ordinance to us, that our faith may be in its proper exercife.
The Lord take off our hearts from the confideration Chrift in his love, Christ prayer, Chrift in his death "Ye fhew forth the Lord's He that hath appointed And there is the en
of the outward figns merely. in his bloodshed, agony and is here propofed before us. death." Who propofes it? thefe things propofes it. gagement of the faithfulness of God and Christ in this propofition and tender that is made of Jefus Chrift; and it is a peculiar way, and as I could prove, full of love, that God hath found out a way to propound Christ as dying, and crucified, to all our fouls. Therefore ftir up your hearts to this. To every one of you there is, by the grace and faithfulness of God, a propofal of Jefus Chrift in his death, and all the be nents of it, unto your fouls. The whole question is, Whether you will ftir up your hearts to a new and fresh receiving of Jefus Chritt, who is thus propofed and tendered unto you, evidently crucified before your eyes, ofTered to you by the love and faithfulness of God? But if we do not endeavour every one of us, in the participation of this ordinance, a fresh acceptance of Jefus Chrift, we do what we can to make God a liar, as though he was not tendered unto us. The efpecial exercise of your faith in this ordinance, is upon the love, grace and faithfuluefs of God, propofing and tendering of Chrift unto you, the death of Christ, and the benefits of Chrift in this way which he has chofen; fubmit unto it, and embrace it.
3. As your obedience is required with refpect to the inftitution; (we give this account before God, angels and men, that we are here in obedience to the command of our Lord Jefus Chrift); and as faith is required with refpect to the propofition of Chrift, whereby he is evidently propofed and tendered by God unto us; fo in this ordinance, to them tha believe, there is an exhibition of Chrift: Chrift is really exhibited and communicated to the fouls of men, who exercife faith upon him in this