Owen - BX9315 O81

MOTIVES UNTO THE LOVE OF CHRIST. 83 which we may think of when we have nothing else to do, that we may meditate upon, or neglect at our plea- sure, as those wherein our concernment is so small, as that they must give place unto all other occasions or di- versions whatever? Nay, if our minds are not filled with these things; if Christ cloth not dwell plentifully in our hearts by faith; ifour souls arenot possessedwith them, and in their whole inward frame and constitutionso cast into this mould, as to be led by anatural complacency unto a converse with them, we are strangers unto the life of faith. And if we are thus conversant about these things, they will engage our hearts into the love of the person of Christ. To suppose the contrary, is indeed to deny the truth and reality of them all, and to turn the gospel into'a fable. 'Fake one instance from among the rest; namely, his death. Huth he the heart of a Christian, who -dokh not often meditate on the death of his Saviour, who doth not derive his life from it? Who can look into the gospel, and not fix on those lines which either im- mediately and directly, or through some other paths of divine grace and wisdom, do lead him thereunto? And can any have believing thoughts concerning the death of Christ, and not have his heart affected with ardent love unto his person? Christ in the gospel is evidently set forth, crucified before us. Can any by the eye of faith look on this bleeding dying Redeemer, and sup- pose love unto his person to be nothing but the work of fancy or imagination? They know the contrary, who always bear about in the body, the dying of the Lord Jesus; as the apostle speaks, 2 Cor. iv. 10. As his whole name, in all that hedid, is an ointment poured forth, for which the virgins love him, Cant. i. 3.; so this precious perfume of his death, is that wherewith their . hearts are ravished in a peculiar manner. Again, as there can be no faith in Christ, wherethere is no love unto him, on the account of his mediatory acts; so, where it is not, the want of it casteth persons under the highest guilt of ingratitude that our nature is liable unto. The highest aggravation of the sin of an- gels, was their ingratitude unto their Maker. For whereas by his mere will and pleasure theywere stated in the highest excellency, pre-eminence, and dignity that he thought good to cbmmunicate unto any crea- tures, or it may be, that any mere created nature is ca- pable of in 'itself; they were unthankful for what they had so received from undeserved goodness and bounty, and so cast themselves into everlasting ruin. But yet the sins of men in their ingratitude towards Christ on the account of what he hash done for them, is attended with an aggravation above that of the angels. For -al- though the angels were originally instated in that condi- tion of dignity, which in this world we cannot attain unto, yet were they not redeemed and recovered from misery, as we are. In all the crowd of evil and wicked men, that the world is pestered withal, there are none by common consent to stigmatized for unworthy villany, as those who are signally ungrateful, for singular benefits. If persons are unthankful unto them, if they have not the highest love for them, who redeem them from ignominy and death, and instate them in a plentiful inheritance, (ifany inch lnstáñces may be given), and that with the greatest expence of labour and charge; mankind with- out any regret doth tacitly condemn them unto greater miseries than those which they were delivered from. What then will be the condition of them whose hearts are not so affected with the mediation of Christ, and the fruits of it, as to engage the best, the chdcest of their affections unto him? the gospel itself will be a savour of death unto such ungrateful wretches. 2. That which the scripture principally insistetli on as the motives of our love unto Christ, is his love unto us whichwas the principle of all his mediatory acting; in our behalf. Love is that jewel of human nature which commands a valuation wherever it is found. Let other circumstan- ces be what they will, whatever distancesbetween per- sons may be made by them, yet real love where it is e- videnced so to be, is not despisedby any but such as de- generate into profligate brutality. Ifit be so stated as that it can produce no outward effects advantageous un- to them that are beloved, yet it commands a respect as it were, whether we will or no, and some return in its own kind. Especially it doth, if it be altogether un- deserved, and so evidenceth itself to proceed from a goodness of nature, and an inclination unto the good of them on whom it ii fixed. Forwhereas the essential nature of love consisteth in willing good unto them that are beloved; where the act of the will is real, sincere and constantly exercised, without any defect of it on our part; no restraints can possibly be put upon our minds