Owen - BX9315 O81

76 7VIE NATURE, OPERATIONS, AND CAUSES OF DIVINE LOVE, our natures are capable. We are made for him, and or beso manifested unto us, as that we may and ought to lovehim, but by his love in Christ, his sending of him, and lovingus in him. Before this, without this, we do not, we cannot love God. For "herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins." This is thecause, the spring and fountain of all our love unto him. They are but empty notions and imaginations, which some speculative persons please themselves withal, about love unto the divine goodness absolutely considered. For however infinitely amiable it may be in itself, it is not so really unto them, it is not suited unto their state and Condition, without the considerationof the communica- tions of it unto us, in Christ. 4. These things being premised, we may consider the especialnature of this divine love, although I acknowledge that the least part of -what believers have an experience of in their own souls, can be expressed at least by me. Some few things I shall mention, which may give us a shadow of it, but not the express imagé of the thing it- self. L Desire ofunion and enjoyment is the first vital act of this love The soul, upon the discoveryof the ex- cellencies of God, earnestly desires to be united unto them, to be brought near unto that enjoyment of them whereof it is capable, and wherein alone it can find rest and satisfaction. This is essential unto all love; it u- nites the mind unto its object, and rests not but in en- joyment. God's loveunto us ariseth out of the over- flowing of his own immense goodness, whereof he will communicate the fruits and effects untous. God is love, and herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his only -begotten Son. Yet also Both this love of God tend to the bringing of us unto him, not that he may enjoy us, but that he maybe en- joyed by us. This answers the desire of enjoyment in us, Job. xiv. 15. "Thou shalt call me, (that is, out of the dust at the last day), thou wilt have a desire to the work of thy hands." God's love will not rest, until it bath brought us unto himself. But our love unto God ariseth from asense of our own wants, our insufficiency to come unto rest in ourselves, or to attain untoblessed- ness by our own endeavours. In this state seeing all in God, and expecting all front the suitableness of his ex- cellencies unto our rest and satisfaction, our souls cleave unto them, with a desire of the nearest union whereof cannot rest until we come unto him. Our goodness extends not unto God; we cannot pro:. fit him by any thing that we are, or can do. Where- fore his love unto us -bath not respect originallyunto any good in ourselves, but is a gracious free act of his own. He cloth good for no other reason but because he is good. Nor can his infinite perfections take any cause for their original actings without himself. He wants nothing that he would supplyby the enjoyment of us. But we have indigency in ourselves to cause our love to seek an object without ourselves. And so his goodness, with the mercy, grace, and bounty included therein, is the cause, reason, and object of our love. We love them for themselves; and because we are wanting and indigent, we love themwith a desire of u- nion and enjoyment, wherein we find that our satisfac, tion and blessedness clothconsist. Love in general u- nites the mind Unto the object,- the person loving unto the thing or person beloved. - So is it expressed in an instance of human temporary changeable love, namely, that of Jonathan to David. " His soul was knit to the soul of David, and he loved him as his own soul," 1 Sam. xviii. 1. Love had so effectually united them, as that the soul of David was as his own. Henceare those expressions of this divine love, by " cleaving unto God, following hard after him, thirsting, panting" after him, with the like intimations of the most earnest endeavours of our nature after union and enjoyment. When the soul bath a view by faith (which nothing else can give it) of the goodness of God as manifested in Christ, that is, of the essential excellencies of his na- ture as exerting themselves in him, it reacheth after him with its most earnest embraces, and is restless until it comes unto perfect fruition. It sees in God, the foun- tain oflife, and would drink of the " rivers of his plea- sures," Psal. xvi. 8, 9. that in his presence is fulness of joy, and at his right hand are pleasures for evermore," Psal. xvi. 11. It longs and pants to drink ofthat foun- tain, to bathe itself in that river of pleasures; and where- in it comes short of present enjoyment, it lives in hope that when we " awake, it shall be satisfied with his like- ness," Psal. xvii. 15. There is nothing grievous unto a soul filled with this love, but what keeps it from the full enjoyment of these excellencies of God. What doth so, naturally and necessarily it groans under.