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only to this thing, that it is true, that Chrift came into the world to fave finners; but to this, that this is the way whereby God is and will be glorified. He will be glorified in pardoning fuch guilty creatures as we ar in imputing righteousness to such finners as we are. is glorified in laying all our iniquities on Chrift. B this way, his righteoufnefs, his love, his grace, and wi dom are all manifefted; this is God's being glorified If our fouls come up to a free close with these things that all these properties are manifested in this way, that is an act of faith, and may the Lord help us unto it.
3. Let us gather up our minds to this inftitution, whereby these things are reprefented to us. Here is represented the death of Chrift, the immediate object of our faith, as God's ordinance. If the Lord help us to fee it so reprefented to us, as that divine righteousness and wisdom, love and grace, do all centre therein and appear eminently to our fouls, we shall have communion with God in this ordinance.
September 3. 1676.
OU have been minded of, and inftructed in the na ture and benefit of our love to God; and I shall take occafion thence a little to mind you of the love of Chrift unto us, the love in an especial manner which he fhewed in dying for us, which is that we are here gathered together to remember and celebrate, not barely the death of Chrift, but that which is the life of that death, the love of Christ in his death. And I would ground it on that which the apoftle fpeaks in
ROM. v. 5, 6.
The love of God is fhed abroad in our hearts, by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.
THIS is that which I know you all long for, and prize above life;" the loving kindness of God is better than life." Why foFor, (fays he), when we were yet without ftrength, in due time Chrift died for the ungodly."
An apprehenfion of the love of Chrift as dying for us ungodly creatures, is that which is fhed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghoft. Do not let your minds go upon uncertainties: when the Holy Ghost gives you a due apprehenfion of Chrift's love in dying for ungodly finners, as we are, then is this love fhed abroad in our hearts. The apoftle there proceeds to fhew how great this love was, in that Christ died: he died, not for good inen, and righteous men, and for friends, but he died for the ungodly, for finners, and for enemies. This was great love indeed. We are here to remember that love of Chrift wherewith he gave himself to death for us, when we were enemies, and would have continued fo to eternity, had he not loved us, and given himself for us.
Brethren, if we barely remember the love of Chrift in the way of an ordinance, and our hearts be not powerfully affected with it, we are in danger of being difadvantaged by our attendance. Pray remember it; you know how plainly I ufe to fpeak on thefe occafions; I fay, we have frequent opportunities of remembering the love of Chrift in dying for us, in this ordinance reprefenting of it; but if our hearts be not not powerfully influenced and affected by it, we shall be lofers by the frequency of ordinances.
I will add one word more; according as our hearts are affected with the love of Chrift, fo will be our love to Chrift, and no otherwife. And truly, even that faith which difcovers too much felfishness is very dangerous. If we come here to act faith, to look for no other effect
of it, but what evidence and fenfe we have of the par don of our fins, how our confciences may be quieted and cleared, faith ends in felf; it is dangerous left it fhould be only a branch from, and commenfurate with convictions. True faith acting itfelf on Chrift in this ordinance, will work by love unto Chrift: I would not fay, principally, or in the first place; I know poor creatures are apt to look after themselves, and their own relief; but it will fo work alfo and truly, brethren, this it will not do, we shall not have faith working by love towards him, unless we have fome fenfe of the love of Christ on our hearts.
How fhall we know, whether our hearts are under the powerful influence of the love of Christ in dying for us? Why, the love of Chrift in dying for us has three properties with it, which will have an influence on our fouls, if we are affected with it.
1. It has a transforming power, property, and efficacy with it. They are plain truths I am fpeaking, but of great concern to our fouls, to know whether we are affected with the love of Chrift or not. If we are rightly affected with it, I fay, it will transform and change our whole fouls in fome measure into the likeness of Christ. How fo? I will tell you in the most familiar manner I am able: If you are affected with the love of Chrift, it lays hold upon, and poffeffes your affections; the affections being poffeffed, ftir up many thoughts; thoughts are the very image of the foul, reprefent it, to fhew you what the foul is: and thofe things concerning which your thoughts do most abound, that carries the frame of the foul. Let a man profess what he will, if his thoughts are generally converfant about worldly things, he has an earthly and worldly mind; and if his thoughts are converfant about fenfual things, he has a fenfual and carnal mind; for whatever he may outwardly fay, as he thinks fo is he; there is the image and likeness of the foul.
Now, if we are affected with the love of Chrift, it will beget in our fouls many thoughts of Chrift, in our lying down and in our rifing up, in our beds, in our ways, on our occafions, as well as in ordinances. If indeed our hearts are affected with the love of Christ, our
thoughts of Chrift will abound, and thofe thoughts will work again on our affections, and conform our fouls more and more unto the image of Jefus Chrift. That man who thinks much of the earth, because affected with it, his foul is like the earth; and that man who thinks much on the love of Chrift, because he is affected with it, his foul is like Chrift.
If it has not been thus with us, brethren, in our preparation, for this ordinance, or at any time, that thoughts of Christ have not abounded, verily there has been a failing in us. Let us strive for the future to amend it, that we may find the love of Chrift begetting in us many thoughts of him, working upon our affections, and with a transforming power changing the frame of our fouls
into his own likeness.
Again, 2. The love of Chrift, if we are affected with it, has an attractive power." John xii. 23. “And I, if I be lifted up, will draw all men unto me.' I cannot flay to fhew you the drawing power and efficacy there is in the love of Chrift when dying on the crofs; but this I will fay, it is that which converted the world of all that did believe. It was the love of Chrift, fet forth in his death as one crucified for them, that drew all men unto him. "When I am lifted up, when I have accomplish ed, manifested and evidenced the unspeakable love which I have for the finful fons of men, in being lifted up for them, I will draw them unto me." If you have a true fenfe, brethren, of the love of Chrift in dying for it will draw your fouls unto him. Cant. i. 4. you, "Draw me, we will run after thee." I do not now fpeak to you about the first drawing of Chrift, which is as unto believing; I hope Chrift has fo drawn all our fouls; but the following efficacy of the love of Christ, to draw fouls that do believe nearer uuto him. Whoever is fenfible of this attractive power of the death of Chrift, it will have this efficacy upon him, it will have adherence and delight; it will caule him more to cleave to Chrift. The foul will cleave to Chrift with delight, that is affected with the attractive drawing power of his loving kindness in his death. There is a great deal in that word, "Cleave unto Christ with love and delight," with the best of our affections and deareft of our valua
tions, to cleave to him with truft, and to him alone. I do but remind you of what you know, that you may reduce it into practice. Pray, in this ordinance, labour to have fuch a fenfe of the drawing power of the love of Chrift in his death, that you may refolve to cleave unto him with full purpose of heart, to cleave unto this Chrift who has thus loved us.
3. Whenever we are affected with the love of Christ, it is accompanied with a constraining power, 2 Cor. v. 14. "The love of Christ constraineth us," and that constraint is unto obedience; it conftrains us to judge, that we ought to live to him who died for us. It is a bieffed thing, brethren, to walk in our obedience under a fenfe of the conftraining efficacy of the love of Chrift. Take but this one word to discover to you, whether you walk in your obedience under a fense of the constraining power of Chrift, it comprehends all others, 1 John v. 3. “His commandments are not grievous." When a foul works out of love, what it doth is not grievous. And the inward and outward commands of Christ will be grievous to all that are not under the conftraining power and efficacy of his love.
I have no more to fay, but only to tell you, that we fhould labour to have our hearts affected with the love of Chrift in this ordinance. I have fhewed you the danger, if it be otherwife; and given you fome ways to examine your hearts, whether they are so affected or not. The Lord grant, that where they are, it may be increafed; and where they are not, that God would renew it by his Spirit in us.
October 29. 1676.
E have had, through the providence of God, for good and feafonable a word unto the prefent occafion, that there is no need, as well as but little time to offer any thing farther unto you. Yet a few words,,