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xxix. 13. Though necessity and fear are very helpful to the most sincere, yet fear alone, without love or willingness is a graceless state.
VI. 1. A Christian indeed dotlı love God in these three gradations : he loveth bim much for bis mercy to himself, and for that goodness which consisteth in benignity to himself; but he loveth him more for his mercy to the church, and for that goodness which consisteth in his benignity to the church. But he loveth him most of all for his infinite perfections and essential excellencies ; his infinite power, and wisdom, and goodness, simply in himself considered. For he knoweth that love to himself obligeth him to returns of love; especially differencing, saving grace: and he knoweth that the souls of millions are more worth incomparably than his own, and that God may be much more honored by them, than by him alone; and therefore he knoweth that the mercy to many is greater mercy, and a greater demonstration of the goodness of God, and therefore doth render him more amiable to man; Rom. ix. 3. And yet he knoweth that essential perfection and goodness of God, as simply in himself and for himself, is much more amiable than his benignity to the creature; and that he that is the first efficient, must needs be the ultimate, final cause of all things; and that God is not finally for the creature, but the creature for God, (for all that he needeth it not) “For of him, and through bim, and to him are all things;" Rom. xi. 36. And as he is infinitely better than ourselves, so he is to be better loved than ourselves. As I love a wise and virtuous person, though he be one I never expect to receive any thing from, and therefore love him for his own sake, and not for his benignity or usefulness to me: so must I love God most for his essential perfections, though his benignity also doth represent him amiable. As he is blindly selfish that would not rather himself be annihilated or perish, than whole kingdoms should all perish, or the sun be taken out of the world ; (because that which is best must be loved as best, and therefore be best loved :) so is he more blind, who in his estimative, complacential love, preferreth not infinite, eternal goodness, before such an imperfect, silly creature as himself (or all the world). We are commanded to love our neighbor as ourselves, when God is to be loved with all the heart, and soul, and might, which therefore signifieth more than to love him as ourselves; (or else he were to be loved no more than our neighbor). So that the strong Christian loveth God so much above himself, as that he accounteth himself and all his interests, as nothing in comparison of God, yea, and loveth himself more for God than for himself: though his own salvation be loved and desired by him, and God must be loved for his mercy and benignity; yet that salvation itself which he desireth, is nothing else but the love of God: wherein his love is the final, felicitating act, and God is the final, felicitating object, and the felicity of loving is not first desired ; but the attractive object doth draw out our love, and thereby make us consequentially happy in the enjoying exercise thereof. Thus God is all and in all to the soul; Psal. lxxiii. 25. Rom. xi. 36. 1 Cor. x. 31. Deut. vi. 5. Matt. xxiii. 37. xix. 17.
2. A weak Christian also loveth God as one that is infinitely better than himself and all things; (or else he did not love him at all as God). But in the exercise he is so much in the minding of himself, and so seldom and weak in the contemplation of God's perfections, that he feeleth more of his love to himself, than unto God; and seeleth more of his love to God, as for the benefits which he receiveth in and by himself, than as for his own persections; yea, and often feeleth the love of himself to work more strongly than his love to the church, and all else in the world. The care of his own salvation is the highest principle which he ordinarily perceiveth in any great strength in him; and he is very little and weakly carried out
; to the love of the whole church, and to the love of God above himsell; Phil. ii. 20—22. 1 Cor. x. 24. Jer. xlv. 5.
3. A seeming Christian hath a common love of God as he is good, both in himself, and unto the world, and unto him. But this is not for his boliness; and it is but a general, ineffectual approbation and praise of God, which followeth a dead, ineffectual unbelief : but his chief, predoininant love is always to his carnal self, and the love both of his soul, and of God, is subjected to his fleshy self-love. His chief love to God is for prospering him in the world, and such as is subservient to his sensuality, pride, covetousness, presumption and false hopes; Luke xviii. 21, 22. 1 John ii. 15. 2 Tim. iii. 2, 4. John. xii. 43. VII. 1. A Christian indeed doth practically take this love of God, and the holy expressions of it, to be the very life and top of his religion, and the very life, and beauty, and pleasure of his soul: he makes it his work in the world, and loveth himself (complacentially) but so far as he findeth in himself the love of God; and so far as he findeth himself without it, he loatheth himself as an unlovely carcase: and so far as his prayers and obedience are without it, he looks on them but as unacceptable, loathsome things; and therefore he is taken up in the study of redemption, because he can nowwhere so clearly see the love and loveliness of God, as in the face of a Redeemer, even in the wonders of love revealed in Christ. And he studieth them, that love may kindle love; and therefore he delighteth in the contemplating of God's attributes and infinite perfections ; and in the beholding of him in the frame of the creation, and reading his name in the book of his works, that his soul may by such steps, be raised in love and admiration of his Maker. And as it is a pleasant thing for the eyes to behold the sun or light, so it is to the mind of the Christian indeed, to be frequently and seriously contemplating the nature and glory of God: and the exercise of love in such contemplations is most of his daily walk with God. And therefore it is also, that he is more taken up in the exercises of thanksgiving, and the praises of the Almighty, than in the lower parts of godliness ; so that though he neglect not confession of sin and humiliation, yet doth he use them but in subserviency to the love and praise of God: he doth but rid out the filth that is undecent in a heart that is to entertain its God. He placeth not the chief his religion in any outward duties, nor in any lower, preparatory acts; nor doth he stop in any of these, however he neglect them not. But he useth them all to advance his soul in the love of God; and useth them the more diligently, because the love of God, to which they conduce, as to their proper end, is so high and excellent a work. Therefore in David's psalms you find a heart delighting itself in the praises of God, and in love with his word and works, in order to his praises; Psal. cxvi. 1. &c. cvi. cisi.cxlv. cxlvi. &c. Rom. viii. 37.
; 2. The weak Christian is taken up but very little with the lively exercises of love and praise, nor with any studies higher than his own
distempered heart: the care of his poor soul, and the complaining of his manifold infirmities and corruptions, is the most of his religion: and if he set himself to the praising of God, or to thanksgiving, he is as dull and short in it as if it were not his proper work; Psal. lxxvii. Mark ix. 24. xvi. 14.
3. The seeming Christian liveth to the flesh; and carnal self-love is the active principle of his life; and he is neither exercised in humiliation or in praise sincerely, being unacquainted both with holy joy and sorrow: but knowing that he is in the hands of God, to prosper or destroy him, he will humble himself to him to escape his judgments, and praise him with some gladness for the sunshine of prosperity; and he will seem to be piously thanking God, when he is but rejoicing in the accommodations of his flesh, or strengthening his presumption and false hopes of heaven; Luke xviii. 11. xi. 19. Isaiah lvü. 2.
VII. 1. A Christian indeed is one that is so apprehensive of his lost condition, unworthiness, and utter insufficiency for himself, and of the office, perfection, and sufficiency of Christ, that he hath absolutely put his soul, and all his hopes into the hands of Christ, and now liveth in him and upon him ; as having no life but what he hath from Christ, nor any other way of access to God, or acceptance of his person, or his service, but by him. In him he beholdeth and delightfully admireth the love and goodness of the Father; in him he hath access with boldness unto God; through him the most terrible, avenging judge is become a reconciled God, and he that we could not remember but with trembling, is become the most desirable object of our thoughts. He is delightfully employed in prying into the unsearchable mystery : and Christ doth even dwell in his heart by faith; "and being rooted and grounded in love, he apprehendeth with all saints, what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height, and knoweth the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge;" Ephes. ïïi. 17—19. He perceiveth that he is daily beholden to Christ that he is not in hell, that sin doth not make him like to devils, and that he is not utterly forsaken of God: he feeleth that he is beholden to Christ for every hour's time, and every mercy to his soul or body, and for all his hope of mercy in this life, or in the life to
He perceiveth that he is dead in himself, and that his “lise is
hid with Christ in God.” And therefore he is as “buried and riser again with Christ;" even “ dead to sin, but alive to God through Jesus Christ;" Rom. vi. 3, 4. 11. Col. iv. 4. He saith with Paul, Gal. ii. 20. “I am crucified with Christ : nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” Thus doth he live as truly and constantly by the second Adam, who is a quickening spirit, as he doth by the first Adam, who was a living soul; 1 Cor. xv. 45. This is a confirmed Christian's life.
2. But the weak Christian, though he be also united unto Christ, and live by faith, yet how languid are the operations of that faith? How dark and dull are his thoughts of Christ? How little is his sense of the wonders of God's love revealed to the world, in the mystery of redemption? How little use doth he make of Christ ? And how little life receives he from him? And how little comfort findeth he in believing, in comparison of that which the confirmed find? He is to Christ as a sick person to his food: he only picketh here and there a little of the crumbs of the bread of life, to keep him from dying; but is wofully unacquainted with the most powerful works of faith. He is such a believer as is next to an unbeliever, and such a member of Christ, as is next to a mere stranger.
3. And for the seeming Christian, he may understand the letter of the Gospel, and number himself with Christ's disciples, and be baptized with water, and have such a faith as is a dead opinion ; but he hath not an effectual, living faith, nor is baptized with the Holy Ghost; nor is his soul engaged absolutely and entirely in the covenant of Christianity to his Redeemer: he may have a handsome, wellmade image of Christianity, but it is the flesh and sense, and not Christ and faith, by which his life is actuated and ordered ; John iïi. 6. Rom. ii. 28.
IX. 1. A Christian indeed doth firmly believe that Christ is a “ Teacher sent from God,” (John iii. 2.) and that he came from heaven to reveal his Father's will, and to bring “ life and immortalily” more fully “to light by his Gospel;” and that if an angel had been sent to tell us of the life to come, and the way thereto, he had