« הקודםהמשך »
S E ir M . So that •whosoever hath, that is, knows IX- and loves the son, the same. hath the father yr~^~mJalso. - * -.. v. • jr.; -Ick
- It is apparent likewise that some of the principal motives of affection, proposed in seripture, to God, and to his son, ace the fame. The perfections of power, wisdom, holiness, and goodness are ascribed to both, The works that the father doth, the fame doth the son likewise. The worlds were madi by him, and in him all things co?tfisl. lie works with the father hitherto, in the pro* vidential care, and government of the. world. If the divine attribute of perfect holiness is the most worthy of our esteem and imitation, our Lord Jesiis Christ is also holy, harmless, undented, and separate from fin* ners, and has given us a most complete pa^ tern of all amiable virtue, that we should follow his steps. If the love of God ma*; nifested to us, not only by the gifts of his providence, but especially by the benefit of. our redemption, be an argument for our gratitude to him, the same consideration should excite our love to Christ; for he loved us, and gave himself for us, to redeem us from all our iniquity. .. u\
And as moral excellence is the' ihsepara- $ E.k M. ble character of the Deity, so dial iris absurd to pretend that we love him withoutJ"""'v"'""i laving it; that we love the hoKeft and-best of all Beings, without loving holiness and goodness itself j the fame is true concerning our Saviour, whom the scripture always represents, as therefore altogether lovely; because he is altogether holy, and most compassionate to sinners, intending their happiness by saving them from their fins. Indeed, the idea which the gospel principally intends to give us of him, is that of the image of the invisible God, the bright* ness of the divine glory, as manifesting in the most conspicuous manner the moral perfections, the essential purity, and infinite goodness of the Deity. And if we consider the humiliations, the sufferings and death of our Lord Jesus Christ, which indeed contain powerful motives to love him, it is the greatest absurdity, and the highest dishonour to him, to separate these from what he intended to accomplish by them, namely. the restoring and promoting true holiness and virtue among men. * He gave himself for us, to redeem us from all our iniquities,
* Titus ii. 14.
S E R "M.and to purify unto himself a peculiar people IX. zealous of good works: He loved his L" church, and gave himselffor-it; that he might sanctify and cleanse it, with the wajhing of water, by the word; that he might present it unto himself a glorious churchy not having spot or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that itshould be holy and without blemish*.
Upon the whole then, it is evident that the love of Christ, or the love of God, manifestly contains in it the love of righteousness and goodness, essentially importing a disposition to practise it; and if we mean any thing else separate from, and unconnected with this, we certainly deceive ourselves. Some seem to place it in an unintelligent zeal and warmth of imagination, without considering the true character of the object; expressing itself by an intemperate heat for speculative notions and external circumstances, supposed to belong to the religion of Christ, with violence against all, who are differently minded concerning them. But, surely a rational love to any person, is founded on just apprehensions of his real 1 character, and it shows itself by a studious imitation of him, and a constant endeavour • to * Eph. v. 25, 26, 27.
to please him in all things. If an illustriousSERM.
• character be known to us only by description; IX.
'and yet more especially, if it falls within
v our own observation and acquaintance, the admiration of it naturally inclines us, as far as we can, to form ourselves upon the fame model. And if he is loved as a good man, with whom we have to do in any relation,
•we will undoubtedly endeavour to recom• mend ourselves to his approbation, in our whole behaviour. This is the love which our Lord Jesus Christ requires of all his disciples, that they may be worthy of him, and this affection in a higher degree than is
•allowed to father, mother, brother, sister, any other person, or any other thing in this world.
Now, from all that has been said, the truth of our Saviour's declaration in the text sufficiently appears; that without such love to him, as has been described, greater love than we have to father, mother, or any thing in life, yea, than to life itself, we cannot be worthy of him, or be his sincere disciples. Indeed the declaration itself is enough to satisfy us in this point. For since Jesus Christ is the author of christianity, it is he only who must fix the terms of it. $£RM. Every man is at liberty. as to his entering JX. into that profession: It is a voluntary act, u""v'—"'and he may choose for himself, whether he will do it, or not. But as to the conditions, he is not at liberty. They are establislied by the author in the original institution unalterably. But we may observe, that whatever other representations are given us of the terms, they perfectly agree with this: And in whatever true light we take Christianity, it is impossible to answer the design of it, without coming up to what is here required. If it be a divine religion, intended. to repair the moral blemishes and defects of. human nature, and restore men to innocence } and virtue, that they may be qualified for > enjoying the savour of God; How can this . be accomplished without their being brought to a prevailing love of innocence and virtue; which, as I have shown you, is loving Christ more than any thing else?
Again, let us consider that to be worthy of Christ, to be his true disciples, and obtain his acceptance, it is absolutely necesiary that we should adhere to him inviolably, that we Jhould hold fast the profejston of our" faith without waverings and be stedfast and immovable in 'good works: For they only wBcf"