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the Son by the Spirit, is that which is the least notion we have of the blessedness of the eternal God. John i. 18.
The only begotten Son, who is in the bolom of the Father." Pray observe it, that I yet speak only of the divine person of Christ antecedent unto his incarnation, and the ineffable mutual love of the blessed persons in the holy Trinity, which Jesus Chrift wonderfully sets 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 bosom 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 Fa. ther and the Son. God never did any thing without himself, but the end of it was to manifest what is in himself. The old and new creation that God hath wrought, was to manifest what was in himfelf. God made this world to manifeft his power and wisdom; God made the new world by Jesus Christ, to manifest his grace, his love, goodness, &c.
The sole reason why there is such a thing as love in the world, among the creatures, angels or mev, that God ever implanted it in the nature of rational creatures, was, that it might shadow and represent the ineffable eternal Jove 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 see the rise of it : and they traced fome things to this, that God neceffarily loved himfelf; and it is true, it cannot otherwite be; but God's loving of himself
, absolutely as God, is nothing but his eternal blefled acquiescence in the holy, self-sufficing properties of his nature. This they had some reach after ; but of this eternal ineffable love of the Father to the Son, and of the Son to the Fa. ther by the Spirit, that they had no conjecture of. But this is the fountain and spring head; and all such things as love in the old and new creation, as I said, is but to resemble and shadow out this great prototype of divine love. I acknowledge there is little discerned of these things, by reason of the weakness of our under. standings; but the scripture having so directly declared to us the mutual love of the Father and the Son, (which truly is of such fingular use, that I would fix persons 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, whereumto we hope to reduce our love unto Cwritt, viz. in the unchangeable love of the Father to the Son.
2. The person of Christ as vested with our nature, and dertaking 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 persons 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 so contequently of the Holy Ghost, the medium of all these actings.
But now, I say, the first act of the love of God the Father, wherein there is any thing ad extra, or without the divine essence, is the person of Christ, considered as invested with our nature, And had not the love of God been fixed in the first place in all things upon the person 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 second love of God to the person of Christ, as incarnate, proceeds all the love in the second creation. See how God expresses it in a prospect of what he should be, Isa. xlii. I." Behold my servant whom I uphold, mine elect in whom my soul delighteth.” And this is singular in the whole scripture, that God spake the same words twice from heaven immediately, and they were these, “ This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased ;" at his baptism, Mat. ii. 17. and at his entrance on his sufferings, Mat. xvii, 5. which was the voice which came from the excellent glory.. I would observe this unto you, because I think it is what God would have us take notice of, the emphafis in the words, “Behold my servant, 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 (1 (peak it from heaven again and again) take notice of this that the infinite love of my whole soul is fixed on the person of Jesus Christ, as incarnate.' And you will find the Lord Jefus Christ pleading this as the ground of that trust committed unto him, and all that he received, John
“ The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand.” John v. 20. “ The Father loveth the Son, and theweth him all things that himself doth; and will shew him greater works than these.” He lays the foundation of all the trust that God the Father com. mitted unto him, in the peculiar love of the Father to him as the Son incarnate.
Truly I shall not go beyond this foundation, to manifeft to you, that the person of Chrit is the complete adequate object of the love of the Father. The great satisfaction of the soul of God, wherein he rests and delights, confiits in love to Christ as incarnate.
I will make but this one inference from it ; propora tionable to the renovation of the image and likeness of God upon any of our souls, is our love to Jesus Chrift: He that knows Jesus Christ moft, is most like unto God, for there the foul of God rests, there is the complacency 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 person of Jesus Christ. And pray let me observe it to you, the world, that is full of enmity to God, doth not exercise 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 bis image, we do not exercise 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 Jesus Christ. 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 fir up our hearts more to the ex. ercise of this grace!
July 8. 1677.
SHALL speak 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 such as are least acquainted with this mystery that I would have most refpect unto, triat nothing of God's provision in his house may be lost to his children, for want of underftanding aright to come to his table, where he makes this provision.
I pray you, brethren, exercise your thoughts unto the inftitution of this ordinance, wherein you exercise your obedience; unto the proposition of Christ in this ordinance, wherein confifts the peculiar acting of your and unto the exhibition of Christ in this ordinance, which is the ground of your thankfulness."
What shall I do that I may please God now, please Jesus Christ, and benefit my own soul in the administration of this ordinance?
Why, 1. Consider the institution of it, wherein we have the authority of Jesus Christ put forth, and acting towards our souls. " Do this in remembrance of me." Labour therefore to bring your hearts into an actual obedience to the authority of Jesus Christ in what we are about. This the Lord Jesus doth require at our hands. We do not come here in a customary manner to satisfy our convictions, because we ought to come; we do not come here merely to make use of our privilege, but our hearts are to bow to the authority of Jesus Christ. Confider, I pray you, the institution of this ordinance, and labour to bring your fouls into actual obedience to Jelus Christ. We do it because Christ has required it of us. If our hearts are in that frame, that we are here upon the command of Christ, to do what he has appointed, and we can recommend our consciences unto him, that i: is in obedience to his command that we are here, then our obedience is in exercife.
2. Consider the propofition that is made of Jesus Christ in this ordinance to us, that our faith may be in its pro
will itir up your
The Lord take off our hearts from the confideration of the outward signs merely. Christ in his love, Christ in his bloodshed, agony and prayer, Christ in his death is here proposed before us. “ Ye lhew forth the Lord's death."
Who proposes it? He that hath appointed these things proposes it. And there is the engagement of the faithfulness of God and Christ in this proposition and tender that is made of Jesus Chriit; and it is a peculiar way, and as I could prove, full of love, that God hath found out a way to propound Chriít as dying, and crucified, to all our souls. Therefore stir up your hearts to this. To every one of you there is, by the grace and faithfulness of God, a proposal of Jesus Christ in his death, and all the be. nents of it, unto your souls. The whole question is, Whether you
hearts to a new and fresh receiving of Jesus Chriit, 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 Jesus Christ, we do what we can to make God a liar, as though he was not tendered unto us. The especial exercise of your faith in this ordinance, is
upon the love, grace and faithfulness of God, propofing and tendering of Chrilt unto you, the death of Christ, and the benefits of Christ in This way which he has chosen ; submit unto it, and embrace it.
3. As your obedience is required with respect to the inititution; (we give this account before God, angels and men, that we are here in obedience to the command of our Lord Jesus Chri); and as faith is required with respect to the proposition of Christ, whereby he is evidently proposed and tendered by God unto us ; so in this ordinancé, to them that believe, there is an exhibition of Christ : Christ is really exhibited and communicated to the souls of racii, who exercise faith upon him in this