?$ THE NATURE, OPERATIONS, A as unto his secret; his design, and purpose, his counsel and love, they know nothing of it. But saith he unto his disciples, " I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father, I have made known unto you,".John. xv. 15. He proves them to be right-. lycalled his friends, because of the communication of the secret of his mind unto them. This is'the great differencebetween them who are on- ly servants in the houseof God; and those who are so servants as to be friends also. The same commands are given unto all equally, and the same duties are required . of all equally, inasmuch as they are equally servants. But those who are no more but.so, know nothing-of the secretcounsel, love, and grace of God, in a due man. tier. For the natural man receiveth not the things that are ofGod. Henceall their obedience is servile. They know neither the principal motives unto it, nor the ends of it. But theywho are so servants, as tobe friends also, know what their Lord cloth; thesecret of the Lord ís with them, and he shews them ofhis covenant. They are admitted into an intimate acquaintance with the mind of Christ, (" we have the mind of Christ," 1 Cor. ii. 16.), and are thereon encouraged to perform the obedi- ence of servants, with the love and delight of friends. The same love of friendship is expressed, by that in- timate converse with, and especial residence that is, be- tween God and believers; " God dwelleth in thesis, and they dwell in God, for God is love," 1 John iv. 19. " If aman," saith the Lord Christ, " love me, he will. keep my words; and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him," John xiv. 28. 01 And if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come unto him, and sup with him and he with me," Rev. iii. 20. These are not an empty sound of words; there is substance under them, there is truth in them. Those whose hearts are duly exercised in and unto the love of God, have experience of the refreshing approaches both of the Father and of the Son unto their souls, inthe communicationsof a sense of their love, and pledges of their abode with them. These things have I. briefly premised concerning the nature of divine love, that we may the better apprehend what vve understand by it, in the application of it unto the person of Christ. For, 1. Thefarmal object of this love, is the essential pro- perties ofthe divine nature, its infinite goodness in par- ND CAUSES OE DIVINE LOVE, ticular.Wherever these are, there is the object and reason of this love. But they are all of them in the person of the Son, no less than in the personof the Fa- ther. As therefore, we love the Father on this account, so are we to love the Son also. , But .. 2. Theperson of Christ is to be consideredas he was incarnate, or clothed with our nature. And this takes nothing off from the formal reason of this live, but only makes an, addition unto the motives of its Thia indeed for a season .. vaned the loveliness of his divine excellencies, and so turned aside the eyes of many from him. For when he took on him the form of a servant, and made himself ofno reputation, he had unto them, who looked on him with carnal eyes, neither forni nor comeliness that he should be desired or beloved. How-, beit, the entire person of Christ God and man is the ob- ject of this divine love, in all the acts of the whole exer- cise of it. That single effect of infinite wisdom and grace in the union of the divine and human natures, in the one person ofthe Son of God, renders him the ob- ject of this love in a peculiar manner. The way where- by we may attain this peculiar love and the motives un- to it, shall close these considerations. A clue consideration of, and meditation on the propo- sal of the person of Christ unto us in the scripture, are the proper foundation of this love. This is the formal reason of our faith in him, aid love unto him. He is so proposed unto us in the scripture, that we may be- lieve in him and love him, and for that very end. And in particular with respect unto our love, to ingenerate it in us, and to excite it unto its due exercise, are those excellencies ofhis person as the principal effect of di- vine wisdom and goodness, which we have before insist- ed or, frequently proposed unto us. To this end is he represented as altogether lovely, and theespecial glories of his person are delineated, yea, drawn to the life in the holy records of the Old and New Testaments. It is no work of fancy or imagination; it is not the feign- ing images' in our minds, of such things as are meet to satisfy our carnal affection, to excite and act them; but it is 'a due adherence unto that object which is re- presented unto faith in the proposal ofthegospel. There- in, as in a glass, do we behold the glory of Christ, who is the image of the invisible God, and llave our souls filled with transforming affections unto him, The whole book of Canticles is nothing but a mysti- es. -_.: _ - __- _ .