Owen - BX9315 O81

74 TAE NATURE, OPERATIONS, AND CAUSES OP pR!INE LOVE,- will manifest myself unto him," John xiv. 21. And ver. 23. " My Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him." What heart can conceive, what tongue can express the glory of these promises, or the least part of the grace that is contained in them? Who canconceive aright of the di vine condescension, love and grace that are expressed in them? How little a portion is it that we know of God in these things? But if we value them not, ifwe labour not for an experience of them, according unto our measure, we have neither lot nor portion in the gospel. The presence and abode of God with us as a Father, manifesting himself to be suchunto us, in the infallible pledges and assurances of our adoption; the presence of Christ with us, revealing himself unto us, with all those ineffable mercies wherewith these things are ac- companied, are all contained in them. And these pro- mises are peculiarly given unto them that love the person of Christ, and in the exercise of love towards him. Hereunto are designed the gospel Gerizim and Ebel, the denunciation of blessings-and curses. As blessings are declared to be their portion who love the Lord Jesus in sincerity, NI. vi. 24. so those who love him not, have the substanceof all curses denounced against them, even anathema maran- atlìa, 1 Cor xvi. 22. So far shall such persons be, whatever they may profess of out- ward obedience unto the gospel, from any blessed inte- rest in the promises ofit, as that they are justly liable un- to final excision from the church in this world, andeter nal malediction in that which is to come. It is evident therefore, that the love of the church of believers unto the person of Christ, is not a distempered fancy, not a deluding imagination, as some have blasphemed, but that which the nature of their relation unto him makes necessary; that wherein they express their renovation into the image of God, that which the scripture indis- pensably requires of them, and whereon all their spirit- tual comforts do depend. These things being spoken in general, the particular nature, effects, operation, and motives of this divine love must now be farther inquir- ed into. CHAP. XIII. THE NATURE, OPERATIONS, AND CAUSES OF DIVINE LOVE, AS IT RESPECTS T THAT we may the better understand that love unto the person of Christwhich we plead for, some things must be premised concerning thenature of divine love in general, and thereon its application unto the parti- cular actings and exercise of it which we inquire into, will be plain and easy. God bath enduedour nature with a faculty anclabili- ty of fixing our love upon himself. Many can under- stand nothing of love, but the adherence oftheir minds and souls unto things visible and sensible, capable of a present natural enjoyment. For things unseen, especial- ly such as are eternal and infinite, they suppose they have a veneration, a religious respect, a devout adora- tion; but how they should love them, they cannot un- derstand. And the apostle doth grant, that there is a greater difficulty in loving things that cannot be seen, than in loving those which are always visiblypresent PERSON OF CHRIST. unto us, Z John iv. 20. Howbeit this divine love bath a morefixed station andprevalency in the minds of men, than any other kind of love whatever. For, I. The principal end why God endued our natures with that great and ruling afièction, that bath the most eminent and peculiar power and interest in our souls, was, in the first place, that it might be fixed on him- self, that it might be the instrument of our adherence unto him. He did not create this affection in us, that we might be able by it to cast ourselves into the embra- ces of things natural and sensual. No affection hath such power in the soul to cause it to cleave unto its ob- ject, and to work it unto a conformity unto it. Most other affections are transient in their operations, and work by a transport of nature, as anger, joy, fear and the like. But love is capable of a constant exercise, is a spring unto all other affections, and unites the soul,