Owen - BX9315 O81

UNTO THE PERS of him he hath not among the children of men, than Many of them are. This falsely pretended love is worse than avowed hatred, Neither will the pretence of it stand men in stead at the last day. No other answer will be given unto the plea of it, be it inwhom it will, but " Depart from me, I never knew you, ye workers of iniquity." Whereas thereforehe himself bath pre- scribed this rule unto all who would be esteemed his dis- ciples, Ifyou lone me, keep my commandments, we may safely conclude, that all wholive in a neglect ofhis com- mands, whatever they pretend or profess, they love him not. And the satisfaction which men, through much - darkness, and many corrupt prejudices, have attained unto in the profession of Christian religion, withoutan internal sincere love unto Christ himself, is that which ruins religion and their own souls. 2. As there is a false pretence of love unto Christ, no there is, or may be a false love unto him also. The persons in whom it is, may in some measure be sincere, and yet their love unto Christ may not be pure, nor sin- cere, such as answers the principles and rules of the gospel. And as many deceive others, so some deceive themselves in this matter. They may think that they love Christ, but indeed do not so. And this I shall ma- nifest in some few instances. (1.) That love is not sincere and incorrupt, which proceedeth not from, which is not a fruit offaith. Those who do not first really believe on Christ, can never sin- cerely love him. It is faith alone that worketh by love towards Christ and all his saints: if therefore any do not believe with thatfaith which unites themunto Christ, which within purifies the heart, and is outwardly effec- tual in duties of obedience, whatever they may persuade themselves concerning love unto Christ, it is but a vain delusion. Where the faith of men is dead, their love will not be living and sincere. (2.) That loveis not so, which ariseth from false i deas and representations that men make of Christ, or have made of him in their minds- Men may draw ima- ges in their minds of what they must fancy, and then dote upon them. So some think of Christ only as a glorious person exalted in heaven at the right hand of God, without farther apprehensions of his natures and offices. So the Roman missionaries represented him unto some of the Indians, concealing front them his cross and sufferings. But every false notiomc.oneerning ON of CHRIST. 6.9 his personor his grace, what he is, bath done, or cloth, corrupts the love that is pretended unto him. Shall we think that they love Christ by whom his divine nature is denied? or that those do so who disbelieve the reality of his human stature? or those by whom the union of both in the same person is rejected? There cannot be true evangelical love unto a false Christ, such as these imaginations do fancy. (3.) So is that love, which is not in all things as to causes, motives, measures, and ends regulated by the scripture. This alone gives us the nature, rules, and bounds of sincere spiritual love. We are no more to love Christ, than to fear and worshiphim accordingun- to our own imaginations. From the scripture arewe to derive all the principles and motives of our love. If either the acts or effects of it will not endure 'a trial thereby, theyare false and counterfeit, and many such have been pretended unto, as we shall see immediately. (4.) That is so unquestionably which fixeth itself on undue objects, which, whatever is pretended, are nei- ther Christ, nor means of conveyingour love unto him. Such is all that love which the Romaniste express in their devotion unto images, as they fancy, of Christ, crucifixes, pretended relics of his cross, and the nails that pierced him, with the like superstitious repre- sentations ofhim, and what they suppose lie is concern- ed in. For although they express their devotion with great appearance of ardent affections, under all outward signs of them, in- adorations, kissings, prostrations, with sighs and tears; yet all this while it is not Christ which they thus cleave unto, but a cloud of their own imagi- nations, wherewith their carnal minds are pleased and affected. That is no God which a man heweth out of a tree, though he form it for that end, though he faileth down unto it, and worshippeth it, and prayeth unto it, and saith, Deliver me,for tleou art my God, Is. xliv. 17. The authors of this superstition, whereby the love of in- numerable poor souls is depraved and abused, do first frame its their minds, what they suppose may solicit or draw out the natural and carnal affections of men unto it, and then outwardly represent it asan object for them. Wherefore some of their representationsofhim are glo- rious, and some of them dolorous, according as they aim to excite affections in carnal minds. But, as I said these things are not Christ, nor is he anyway concern- ed in them. -