Owen - BX9315 O81

70 THE ESPECIAL PEIN (5.) I acknowledge there have been great pretences of such a love unto Christ as cannot be justified. Such is that which some of the devotionists of the Roman ehuech, have endeavoured rather to express out of their fancy, than declare out of their experience.. " Rap - rnges, ecstasies, self-annihilations, immediate adhesions and enjoyments," without any act of the understanding, and with a multitude of other swelling words of vanity, they labour to set off what they fancy to be divine love. But there want not evidences of troth, sufficient to de- feat these pretences, be they never so specious or glori- ous. For, (1.) As it is by them described, it eaceedeth all scrip- tureprecedents. For men to assume unto themselves an apprehension that they love Christ in another manner and kind, in an higher degree at least, and thence to enjoy more intimacy with him, more love from him, than to any of the apostles, John, or Paul,. or Peter, or any other of those holy ones, whose love untohim is re- corded in the scripture, is intolerable vanity and pre- sumption. But no such things as these devotos pretend unto, are mentioned, or in the least intimated concern- ing them, and their love to their Lord and Master. No man will pretend unto more love than they had, but such as have none at all. (2.) It is no way directed, warranted, approved by any command, promise, or rule of the scriptures. As it is without precedent, so it is without precept. And hereby, whether we will or no, all our graces andduties must be tried, as untoany acceptation with God. What- ever pretends to exceed the direction of the word, may safely be rejected; cannot safely be admitted. What- ever enthusiasmsor pretended inspirations may be plead- ed, for the singular practice of what is prescribed in the scripture, yet none can be allowed for an approvedprin- ciple of what is not so prescribed. Whatever exceeds the bounds thereof is resolved into the testimonyofevery dis- tempered imagination. Nor will it avail that these things amongst them are submitted unto the judgment of the church. For the church bath no rule to judge by but the scripture; and it can pass but one judgment of what is not warranted thereby, namely, that it is to be rejected. (3.) As it is described by those who applaud it, it is not suited unto the sober sedate actings oftherationalfa- cuities of our souls. For whereas all that God requireth CIPLE OP OBEDIENCE of us, is, that we love himwith all our souls and all our minds, these men cry up a divine love by an " immedi- ate adhesion of the will and 'affections unto God, with- out any actings of the mind and understanding at all." Love indeed is the regular acting of ourwhole souls, by all their faculties and rational powers, in an adherence unto God. But these men have fancied a divine love for Them whom they would admire and extol, which dis- turbs all their regular actings, and renders them of little or no use in that which, without their due exercise, is nothing but fancy. And hence it is, that, under pre- tence of this love, sundry persons among them, yea, all that have pretended unto it, have fallen into such ridi- culous excesses and open delusions, as sufficientlydis- cover the vanity of the love itself pretended by them. Wherefore we plead for no other love unto the per- son of Christ, but what the scripture, warrants as unto its nature, what the gospel requireth of us as our duty, what the natural faculties of our minds are suited unto, and given us for, what they are enabled unto by grace, and without which, in some degree of sincerity, no man can yield acceptable obedience unto him. These things being premised, that which weassert, is, " that there is, andought to be in all believers, a re- ligious gracious love unto the person of Christ," distinct from, and the reason of, their obedience untohis com- mands; that is, it is distinct from all other commands; but is also itself commanded and required of usin a way of duty. That there is in the church such a love unto the person of Christ, the scripturetestifies both in the preceptsit gives for it, and the examples of it. And all those who truly believe cannot apprehend that theyunderstand any thing of faith, or love of Christ,- or themselves by whom it is called in question. If therefore I should enlarge on this subject, a great part of the doctirine of the scripture from first to last most be represented, and a transcript of the hearts of believers, wherein this love is seated and prevalent, be made according . to our ability. And there is no subject that I could more willingly enlarge upon; but I must at present contract myself in compli- ance with my design.' Two things only I shall demon. strate. (1.) That the person of Christ is the object of divine love. (2.) What is the nature of that love in us; what are the grounds of it, and the motives unto it, in them that do believe.