Owen - BX9315 O81

AS IT RESPECTS TliE PERSON OF CHRIST. 7$ 3. The especial object of divine gracious love, is the divine goodness. " How great is his goodness, how great is his beauty ?" Zech. ix. 17. Nothing is amiable, or a proper object of love, but what is good, and as it is so. Hence divine goodness, which is infinite, hath an absolutely perfect amiableness accompanying of it. Because his goodness is inexpressible, his beauty is so. How great is his goodness, how great is his beauty? Hence are we called to give thanks unto the Lord, and to rejoice in hint, which are the effects of love, because he isgood, Psal. cvi. 1. cxxxvi. 1. Neither is divine goodness the especial object of our love as absolutely considered. But we have a respect unto it, as comprehensive of all that mercy, grace, and bounty, 'which are suited to give us the best relief in our present condition, and an eternal future reward. In- finite goodness exerting itself in all that mercy, grace, faithfulness, and bounty which are needful unto our re- lief and blessedness in our present condition, is the pro- per object of our love. Whereas therefore this is done only in Christ, there can be no true love of the divine goodness, but in and through him alone. The goodness of God as a creator, preserver, and rewarder, was a sufficient, yea, the adequate object of all love antecedently unto the entrance of sin and mis- ery. Inthem, in God under those considerationsmight the soul of man find full satisfaction as unto its present and futureblessedness. But since the passing of sin, misery, and death upon us, our love can find no amia- bleness in any goodness, no rest, complacency, and sa- tisfaction in any, but what is effectual in that grace and mercy by Christ, which we stand in needof, for our present recovery and future reward. Nor doth God re- quire of us that we should love him otherwise, but as he " is in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself." So the apostle fully declares it. " In this was manifest- ed the love of God towards us, because that God sent his only-begotten Son into the world, that we might live throughhim. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propi- tiation for our sins. And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and lie that dwelleth in love, dwelleth in God, and God in him," 1 John iv. 9, 10, 16. God is love, of a nature infinitely good and gracious, so as to be the only object of all divine love. But this love canno way be known, with as efficacy not easy to be expressed unto its object. And shall we think that God who made all things for himself, did create this ruling affection in and with our natures, merely that we might be able to turn from him, and cleave unto other things, with a power and faculty above any we have of adherence unto him? Wherefore, at our first creation, and in our primitive condition, love was the very soul and quickening principle of the life of God, and on our adherence unto him thereby, the continuance of nur relation unto him did depend. The law, rule, and measure of it was, " Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and all thy soul." For this end did God create this affection in us. Not only our persons in their nature and being, but in all their powers and faculties, were fitted and prepared un- to this end, of living unto God, and coming unto the enjoyment of him. And all their exercise on created objects was to be directed unto this end. Wherefore the placing of our love on any thing before God, or above him, is a formal expression of our apostacy from 2. Divine excellencies are a proper adequate object of our love. The will indeed can adhere unto nothing in love, but what the understanding apprehends as unto its truth and being. But it is not necessary that the understanding do fully comprehend the whole nature of that which the will doth so adhere unto. Where a dis- covery is made unto and by the mind of real goodness and amiableness, the will there can close with its affec- tions. And these are apprehended as absolutely the most perfect in the divine nature and holy properties of 'it. Whereas, therefore, not only that which is the proper object of love is in thedivine excellencies, but it is there only perfectly and absolutely, without the mix- ture of any thing that should give it an alloy, as there is in all creatures, they are the. most suitable and ade- quate object of our love. There is no greater discovery of-the depravation of our natures by sin, and degeneracyof our wills from their originalrectitude, than that, whereasweare soprone to the love of other things, and therein do seek for sa- tisfaction unto our souls, where it is not to be obtained, it is so hard and difficult to raise our hearts unto the love of God. Were it not for that depravation, he would always appear as the only suitable and satisfactory object unto our affections.