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tion will be the image of God's perfection : not but that all crcatures still receive from God, and in that sense may be said to need, in that they have nothing of themselves, but all by gift and communication from him ; but being still and full possessors, they cannot properly be said to want. Complacency in that which we possess is love and pleasure in one act; and, indeed, pleasure and love are the same thing. To love any thing, is to have that thing to be pleasing to my mind. Even when it is wanted, it is thought on as a pleasing thing, and therefore desired, so that the desiring act of the will is but a second act occasioned by want, and following the first act, which is complacency, or simple love. I desire it because I love it. Rightly, therefore, is the will itself called love, for in the first act love, will, and rational appetite, are all words of the same signification. My will, therefore, must needs be perpetually full of perfect joy, when enjoying love and pleasure will be my will itself. Thus shall I have in me the spring of living waters, and the comforter will then perfectly do his work, when my constant will itself shall be comfort. Well, therefore, is glory said to be the perfection of sanctifying grace, when this grace is the beginning of that love and joy which glory is the perfection of; and perfection is the Spirit's work.
Sect. 6. IV. And it will be much of my felicity that my will shall be confirmed and fixed in this conformity to the will of God, and holy love will be its nature. Now both understanding and will are so lamentably mutable, that further than God promiseth to uphold us, we know not one day what we shall think, judge, or will, the next. But when love is as a fixed nature in us, we shall be still the same, adhering to amiable goodness, without intermission or cessation. It will be as easy to us (and more) to love God and holiness, as it is to the hungry and thirsty to love meat and drink, or to the proud to love praise or domination, yea or to any man to love his life. And we shall be no more weary of loving, than the sun is of shining, or than the hungry is of feasting, or a friend of friendly love and con
Nay, the comparison is quite too low, for all creatures here have a fading vanity which wearieth the satiated or failing appetite, but there is no such thing in heaven. .
Sect. 7. And as from the nature of that act, so much more from the nature of the object, my love will appear to be my happi
The objects (which are the matter of the act) will be these : 1. God himself will be the full and everlasting object of my love. And he that could but understand as well as those in heaven do, what this word signifieth, 'to love God, and be beloved of him,' would say, that there needs no other description of perfect happiness : perfect, joysul complacency in God is the heaven which I desire and hope for. This is my felicity, and much more. As I am the agent of love to God, and the object of God's love to me, it is my felicity. As God is the ultimate object of my love, and the agent of his love to me, (that is, of the effects of it,) so it is unspeakably more high and excellent than to be my felicity. Love is the closure of the wills of God and man, and as it is God's part or interest, (efficiently or objectively) it is infinitely more excellent than as it is my part and interest.
Sect. 8. In God there is all that love can desire for its full everlasting faith. 1. He is infinitely good in himself, that is, most amiable: and the nature of man's will is to love good as good. Could we love God with a love that is adequate to the object, we should be God ourselves, which is impossible, none but God can adequately know God or love him. In God's love to himself, both the act and object are infinite, and, indeed, are both one, there being not that formally which we know by the name of act and object; but 'act and object are our analogical, inadequate conceptions of that act of God which is his essence. But in our love to God the act is finite, and and infinitely below the object; yea, the object, which in reality is itself infinite, yet proximately as the esse cognitum is the object of our love, is finite there. It is the conception or idea of God in the intellect, which is the proper and nearest object of the will, and this is as a face in a glass, a shadow, even the finite little shadow of an infinite Being. The same infinite good is a felicity to divers persons in divers degrees, according as they diversely love him, and are receptive of his love.
Sect. 9. 2. God, who is infinitely good in himself, will be that most suitable good to me, and meetest for the dearest embracements of my will. For, He hath all in himself that I need or can de
sire. There is no room, nothing above him, or beyond him, or without him, for love to cleave to. Though below him the creature, though not being without him, is loved without him, by the deception of the mind.
Sect. 10. He is willing to be loved by me. He disdaineth not my love. He might have refused to be embraced by such affections as have so oft and sinfully polluted themselves by embracing vanity and filth. As persons of state, and stately cleanliness, will not be touched by filthy hands, much less let dogs or dirty swine leap on them which come from wallowing in the mire ; God might have driven me away from the happiness of loving him, and have denied me the leave for so high a work, but he commandeth my love, and maketh it my greatest duty. He inviteth and entreateth me, as if he were a gainer by my happiness. He seeketh to me to seek to him, and as he is the first, so is he the most earnest suitor. He is far readier to receive my love than I am to give it him. All the compassionate invitations which I have had from him here, by his word and mercies, assure me that he will there receive me readily ; he that so valued my poor, cold imperfect love to him on earth, will not reject my perfect love in heaven. He that made it the great work of his Spirit to effect it, will not refuse it when it is made perfect by himself.
Sect. 11. And he is near to me, and not a distant God out of my reach, and so unsuitable to my love. Blind unbelievers may dream that he is far off, but he is as near us, even now, as we are to ourselves. He is not from any of us, for in him we live, and move, and have our being. The light of the sun is not so near my eyes, as God will be for ever to my mind. When he would sanctify us to love him, he bringeth us nigh to him in Christ. As we love ourselves easily as being, as they say, the nearest to ourselves, so we shall as easily love God as ourselves, when we see that he is as near us as we are to ourselves, as well as that he is infinitely more amiable in himself.
Sect. 12. And because of the imparity of the creature and the Creator, he hath provided such means to demonstrate to us his nearness, as are necessary to the exercise of our love.
We shall see
his glory, and taste his love, in our glorified Mediator, and in the glory of the church and world. God will condescend to show himself to us according to our capacities of beholding him. Here we see him in his works and word, and there we shall see him in the glory of all his perfect works. But this leadeth me to the second object of my love.
Sect. 13. II. Under God, as I shall see, so I shall delightfully love, the glorious perfection of the universe, even the image of God in all the world; as my love will be my delight, so I shall love best, that which is best, and most delight in it: and the whole is better than any part; and there is a peculiar beauty and excellency in the whole world, as perfect, compaginate, harmonious, which is not to be found in any part, no, not in Christ himself, as man, nor in his church.
The marvellous inclination that all things have to union, even the inanimates, might persuade me, if I felt it not certainly in myself, that it is most credible that man also shall have the like inclination, and such as is agreeable to the nature of bis faculties; and therefore our love and delight in all things is that uniting inclination in man.
Sect. 14. III. And I shall have a special love to the holy society, the triumphant, universal church, consisting of Christ, angels, and saints, as they are specially amiable in the image and glory of God. God himself loveth them more than his inferior works; that is, his essence, which is love, and hath no degrees or change, doth send forth fuller streams of good upon them, or maketh them better and happier than the rest. And my love will imitate the love of God, in my capacity. And if societies on earth, more holy and wise than others, though imperfectly, are very amiable, what then will the heavenly society be? Of this I spake before (of knowing them).
Sect. 15. 1. Think here, O my soul, how sweet state unto thee it will be to love the Lord Jesus, thy glorified Head, with perfect love! When the glory of God, which shineth in him, will feast thy love with full and everlasting pleasure, the highest created perfection of power, wisdom, and goodness, refulgent in him, will not give leave
to thy love to cease, or intermit, or abate its fervor. When thou shalt see in the glorified church the precious fruits of Christ's redemption, grace, and love, this also will feed thy love to him, from whom this heavenly glory cometh. And when thou shalt feel thyself possessed of perfect happiness, by his love to thee, will not this also do its part? Yea, the remembrance of all his former love, what he did for thee, and what he did in thee here on earth, how he called thee with an holy calling ; how he washed thee in his blood from all thy sins; how he kindled in thee those desires which tended to that perfect glory ; how he renewed thy nature; how he instructed, and guided, and preserved thee from thy childhood; and how many and how great sins, enemies, dangers and sufferings, he saved thee from ; all this will constrain thee everlastingly to love him. Thus, (though
( he give the kingdom to the Father, as ceasing his mediatory, healing, saving work of acquisition, he will be to thee the Mediator of fruition. God in him will be accessible, and condescend to a suitable communion with us. (John xvii. 24.) And as Christ is thy life, radically and efficiently, as he is the giver of grace and Spirit of love, so he will be objectively thy life as he is lovely, and it will be formally thy life to love him, and God in him, for ever.
Sect 16. 2. Think, also, O my soul, how delectable it will be to love (as well as to know) those angels that inost fervently love the Lord! They will be lovely to thee as they have loved thee, and more as they have been lovers and benefactors to the church and to mankind; but far more as they are so many refulgent stars, which continually move and shine, and burn in purest love to their Creator. O blessed difference between that amiable society of holy spirits, and this dark, mad, distracted, wicked world! Here devils tempt me within, and devils incarnate persecute me without. Blaspheming of God, reviling godliness, deriding the sacred Scriptures, and sacred exercises, malignant slandering of the servants of God, hating, persecuting, silencing, and saying all manner of evil falsely of them, for their righteousness' sake, while such crimes are pretended, as they once falsely charged on Christ himself. This is the conversation of those that I have long dwelt with in the world : atheism, infidelity, papal church tyranny, bloody wars, destroying the righteous, oppress