Owen - BX9315 O81

68 THE ESPECIAL PRINCIPLE OF OBEDIENCE CHAP. XII. TAE ESPECIAL PRINCIPLE OF OBEDIENCE UNTO THE PERSON OF CHRIST, WHICH 'IS LOVE. REALITY VINDICATED. THAT which Both enliven andanimate the obedience whereofwe have discoursed, is love. This himselfmakes the 'foundation of all that is acceptable unto him. If, saith he, you love me, keep my commandments, John xiv. 15. As he distinguisheth between love and obedience, so he asserts the former as the foundation of the latter. He accepts of no obedience unto his commands, that cloth not proceed from love unto his person. That is no love which is not fruitful in obedience, and that is no obedience which proceeds not from love. So he ex- pressed' on both sides: " Ifa man love me, he will keep my words: and he that loved' me not, keepeth not my sayings," ver. 23, 24. In the Old Testament the love of God was the life and substanceof all obedience. " Thou shalt love the Lord thy Godwith all thy heart, with all thy soul, thy mind and strength," was the sum of the law. This in- cludes in it all obedience, and where it is genuine, will produce all the fruits of it. And where it was not, no multiplication of duties was accepted with him. But this in general we do not nowtreat of. That the person of Christ is the especial object ofthis divine love, which is the fire that kindles the sacrificeof our obedience unto him; this is that alone which at present I design to demonstrate. The apostle bath recorded a very severe denunciation of divine wrath against all that " love him not: If any manlove not the Lord Jesus Christ, let himbe anathe- ma, maran-atha," 1 Cor. xvi. 22. And what was add- ed unto the curse of the law, we may add unto this of the gospel; andall the people shall say, Amen, Deut. 'xxvii. 26. And on the other hand, he prays for grace, on allthat love him in sincerity, Eph. ii. 26. Where- fore none who desire to retain the name of Christians, can deny in words at least, but that we ought with all our hearts to love the Lord Jesus Christ. I donot so distinguish love from obedience as though it were not itself a part, yea, the c'iefest part ofour o- bedience. So is faith also, yet is it constantly distin- guished from obedience properly so called. This alone ITS TRUTH AND is that which I shall demonstrate, namely, that " there is, and ought to be in all believers, a divine gracious love unto the person of Christ, immediately fixed on him, whereby they are excited unto, and acted in all their obedience untohis authority." Had it been only pleaded, that many who pretend love unto Christ, do yet .evidence that they love him not, it is that which the scripture testifieth, and continual experience Both proclaim. If an application of this charge had been made unto them, whose sincerity in their profession of love unto him can be no way evicted, it ought to be borne with patience, amongst other reproaches of the same kind that are cast upon them. And some things are to be premised unto the confirmation of our asser- tion. 1. It is granted, that there may be false pretence of love unto Christ. And asthis pretence is ruinous unto the souls of them in whom it is, so it oft-times renders them prejudicial and troublesome unto - others. There ever were, and probably ever will be hypocrites in the church. And a false pretence of love is of the essential form of hypocrisy. The first great act of hypocrisy with respect unto Christ, was treachery veiled with a double pretence oflove. He cried, Hai/ Master! and kissed kits, whobetrayed him. His words and actions proclaimed love, but deceit and treachery were in his heart. Hence the apostleprays for grace on them who love the Lord Jesus i, á¢9agr! ; without dissimulation or doubling, without pretences and aims at other ends, without a mixture of corrupt affections; that is sinceri- ty, Eph. vi. 24. It was prophesiedof him, that many who were strangers unto his grace, should lie unto him, Psal. xviii. 44. 1,', ,o,rn pros) feignedly submit, or yield feigned obedience unto him. So is it with them who profess love unto him, yet are enemies of bis " cross: whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly: and whose glory is their shame, who mind earthly things," Phil. iii. 18, 19. All that are called Christians in the world, do, by owning thatdenomination, profess a love unto Jesus Christ. But greater enemies, greater haters